Swollen, Tender Ankle After Walk

Quick update on my 1st walk.  A few hours after my post went live, my right ankle swelled, and I couldn’t put any weight on it. I treated it by following RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation — and by evening my ankle was fine. While I anticipated some discomfort after my walk, I didn’t expect my right leg — the good leg — to have the problem.

This morning, after a few minutes of ankle circles, the foot feels great. I’m about to embark on my Day 2 walk after some stretching. And yes, I’m including ankle and calf stretches.  Rather than just going about my regular routine after my walk, I’m going to take 5 minutes for some cool down stretches.

I’ll monitor the ankle to see if the swelling starts again. My guess is changes to my gait are at work. I’ve certainly had to rely more heavily on my right leg than my left for nearly 3 years. That certainly will take a toll.

Fingers crossed for a smoother post-walk day. Oh, and if you don’t know what ankle circles are, here’s a brief video.

 


Upgrading My Fasting Routine

A great book for those of you interested in learning about the benefits of and ins and outs of fasting.

I never really stopped intermittent fasting. I’ve done IF for the last 7 years. I settled into an 8-hour eating window and 16 hours of fasting. The problem is that over the last few years the hubby and I just did a lot of damage in that 8-hour window. Although I’m still trying to figure out which direction to take my diet – low carb, keto, carnivore or P:E – I’ve decided I want to push myself on the fasting front.

After a morning binge of Dr. Jason Fung videos, I dusted off the good doctor’s The Complete Guide to Fasting.  I have to say: I love the grids of his fasting protocols. Visually, it’s a great way to show what a 24-, 36- or 42-hour fasting routine looks like.

This week I’m starting the 24-hour fasting protocol. I’m still doing the 16 fasting and 8 hour eating window, but every other day I’m only eating dinner. Today is a fasting day. That means my last meal was last night’s dinner, which I finished eating at 7:00 p.m. My first meal today will start at 7:00 p.m. – 24 hours later.

The only thing I’m allowing myself is water, herbal tea, and one coffee with 1 tbsp. of cream during my fasting hours. Now, I know that some of you are asking: How can you have cream on a fast? Good question! And I have two answers for you.

First, I’m following Jason Fung’s liquid guidelines. That cream is adding so little to my total caloric intake – 50g – it’s too little to matter. Second, my ultimate goal is to eliminate coffee from my diet. I’m drinking one cup a day. That’s down from five cups! I expect to be coffee free within a week or two.

Fasting Isn’t Starvation
There are real benefits if fasting is done right. Clearly, fasting can help with weight loss by helping me get into ketosis. But if I don’t eat right, I’ll stop burning fat.

Fasting is so much more powerful than fat loss. I’m combining fasting with my diet to help boost my energy levels, banish brain fog, reduce inflammation, and improve both leptin and insulin resistance. Once I’ve removed coffee from the diet, fasting will help stimulate autophagy – the body’s process for cleaning out damaged cells and regenerating healthier cells.

I’m finding the 24-hour fast easy to slide into after doing IF for years.  In fact, Jason Fung uses the 36- or 42-hour fasting protocol with his patients for better results. My plan is to move to 36-hour fasting 3 times a week in February before moving to the 42-hour protocol in March.

Of course, life happens. Family get-togethers, dinner with friends, special occasions… Heck, my birthday is this week – on a fasting day no less! Fasting doesn’t mean I become a hermit. I can still enjoy my life. In fact, it makes sense to fast after a feast.

Disclaimer: Fasting isn’t for everyone. There are people who shouldn’t even try fasting, including children, pregnant women and people with eating disorders.  If you are thinking about trying a fast, check in with your doctor first, especially if you are taking any medications. I’m not a doctor and this article is just to let you know what I am trying in regard to my health. It is not medical advice.


Dot’s 2021 Healthy Living Goals

Getting back into shape

My new resistance bands arrived late yesterday. Hello soreness my old friend!

It’s a new year and that means it’s time for resolutions. I’ve come to hate resolutions because I always fail at them. I’d rather set measurable goals so I can actually track my progress. After putting pen to paper, I came up with four measurable goals for a healthier 2021 for myself. Sadly, they are very similar to my goals when I started my little health journey back in 2012.

Over the last 2-½ years I’ve gained about 50 pounds. I lost my focus and fell into a funk. That means I have to drop 100 pounds to get back to my low point. Well … can’t say I don’t love a challenge.

What are my four health goals for 2021?

1. Get Healthy…Again
That doesn’t just mean fat loss. I’m including mental clarity. That means reading more, improving sleep, creating routines, practicing gratefulness, de-stressing, and de-cluttering (mess creates stress!). When I talk about “getting healthy” I mean the full package – mind, body and soul.

2. Build Strength & Stamina
I’m in my 50s. I know the road before me is shorter than the road behind me. I don’t want to spend my golden years in and out of doctor’s offices or hospitals. Building strength and cardio will keep me mobile as well as boosting my overall health and mood. That means a much better quality of life.

I’m still building my routine, but I plan to use a mix of bodyweight and resistance band exercises 2-3 days a week. As for cardio, I’m thinking more tortoise than hare. I’m starting the Mayo Clinic’s 12-week walking routine. I’m easing my hip back into a routine and the last thing I need is an injury.

3. Walk Pain Free
My body has a weight threshold. If I cross it, it lets me know with lower back pain when I walk too much. I need to loose roughly 5% of my body weight – about 15 pounds – for that pain to go away. Fingers crossed that by the end of January, I’ll fall under that threshold.

4. Stay Active
When I started my journey almost 9 years ago, staying active was really difficult for me. I’d left my job. Despite that, I still found myself sitting at a desk working on my computer.  I really needed a mental shift from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one.

That shift came after finding the keto diet and wearing a Fitbit. I went from an average of 2,300 steps in a day to 15,000-20,000 steps. But it wasn’t all power walks, 5k training, and spin classes. Nearly half those steps were from working around the house and running errands. I hated sitting for more than 30 minutes. I was bursting with energy. Sitting down wasn’t going to release that energy.

This last Thanksgiving, I found an old pedometer and gave it a whirl. In December, I averaged 4,000 steps a day. That’s much better than I thought, but it’s still a quarter of what I used to do. Frankly, I know I can do better. By year’s end I want to average 20,000/day.

Those are my four goals. To keep me honest, the plan is for regular postings here on my progress.

And yes, I’m working on new recipes.

What are your goals for a healthier you in 2021?


Why We Need To Focus On Health

I cannot stress enough why we need to make our own health a priority. Watch the video below and understand that 1/3 of all US adults are in the at-risk category. That’s 100+ MILLION US ADULTS. It’s everyone with type 2 diabetes (and pre-diabetes), hypertension, metabolic syndrome, obese, etc.

Being too heavy comes with lots of underlying health risks. That makes it easy for COVID-19 to push your body to the point of no recovery.


Keto Carnivore…Our Way

IMG_3528-300x300The one thing about eating low carb, both blessing and a curse, is that everyone has an opinion on how to do it. I love how you can go into any online community and get help with nearly every challenge or issue.

On the other hand, I hate when I hear, “you’re doing it wrong.” There is only one way to eat low carb, don’t cha know? And the people who believe that are the first ones who to let you know loudly and proudly.

Well. I hate to break it to the don’t-cha-know crowd: there is more than one-way to keto.

  1. We’re not the same – someone with IBD is going to keto differently than someone eating for athletic performance.
  2. Our diets change as we change. As we age, our bodies have different needs when it comes to nutrition.

I tried going back and doing my tried-and-true low carb style – the one that helped me shed all that weight. This time around, though, it didn’t work. I felt tired and hungry. My joints—already hurting—seemed to hurt a little more. Was I perfect? No, because I’m human. But something was different this time around, and I think that “something” is me.

Now, I love to do 30-day challenges. Why? I like to stretch myself and see what does and doesn’t work for me. It’s almost like test-driving a car to see if I really wanted to buy it. Also, frankly, it’s just fun to shake things up and experiment.

Today, the hubby and I are officially keto-carnivore for 30 days.

What is keto-carnivore?

We all grew up with the food pyramid, where grains, breads, and cereals made up the foundation of the “Standard American Diet” (SAD in deed). Then fruits (2-4 servings) and vegetables (3-5 servings), followed by low fat dairy and lean meats, and fats were used sparingly.

With the keto-carnivore food pyramid, red meat (beef, deer, bison, lamb) is the staple, followed by fish. Pork and poultry are limited. Dairy (cheese, creams, butter) and fats like avocado (oil and fruit) coconut oil, and olive oil are used sparingly. Eggs are also part of the pyramid and we group them with red meat.

There’s one big caveat to our keto-carnivore challenge:

My Garden

BigOne

Yep, that’s 1.5 pounds of heirloom tomato you’re looking at.

Other than avocadoes, I’m not buying fruit or veggies, but I am growing them. We don’t want to waste them. Most of the plants we’re growing are low carb, so yes, we will incorporate them into our diet. If we grow them, we’re eating them.

As luck would have it, yesterday we had a big harvest.

  • Peppers – green bell, chili and ghost
  • Tomatoes – Yellow pear, plum, and some big-ass heirloom yellow tomatoes including a 1-½ pounder.

We normally eat 2 meals a day. To handle our little bounty, I’m limiting our veg intake to the first meal of the day. Dinner is meat only.

Now, hot peppers are not what I would consider “low carb,” so I’m using them in dishes that spread the carb count across multiple servings. I’m talking beef chili and spicy pulled pork barbacoa – dishes that will last us days. They can also be used in marinades where not all of the carbs will be absorbed (but I still count them anyway).

The key is we’re staying below 20g of total carbs daily when we have any vegetable. I fully expect that by Wednesday of next week we’ll be strictly meat only…until the next little harvest.

The nice thing about this challenge is it pretty much ends around when I expect the first frost to hit. If we’re happy with the results, and I see a noticeable change in how I feel, we may decide to go full-time keto-carnivore.

Wish us luck!


Hip Tests Are In, And…

hip

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t have a stress fracture. YAY!!!! But I do have osteoarthritis in my hip, am suffering from iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and have a hamstring that is too frickin’ tight. A triple whammy!

What does it all mean? How do I get back on my feet again? Is training for a 10k completely out of the picture? Are any of these new problems related to my chronically tight calf muscles?

Physical Therapy Here I Come
The answer to the first two questions is up to me. I have to do the work, and a lot of it. Tomorrow I meet my physical therapist for a 90-minute evaluation that puts me through my paces. From there I’ll have  PT twice a week for at least six weeks (maybe longer) and daily homework that tackles the hip and my supposed chronic calf problem (more on that later).

The osteoarthritis is very mild and my doctor assured me that with physical therapy and a year to a year and a half of work, the hip pain goes away AND I put off surgery until my golden years.

Diet will be a big part in minimizing osteoarthritis. I’ve put on way too many pounds after my cancer diagnosis in 2016.  To me, that’s the trigger in this latest saga with my left leg.

As for the IT syndrome, it’s normally associated with knee pain. However it does cause a dull ache or a sharp, acute pain in the hip. The band runs along the outside of the leg. While there are lots of causes for the inflammation, my doctor things muscle tightness in my glutes and quads are leading culprits.

All I know is when he started bending my leg like a pretzel, I wanted to smack him upside the head.

Oh And About My Calf Problem
It turns out that my calf isn’t causing the pain in my Achilles tendon. Two years of stretching down the drain. Ugh!

When we discussed my chronic Achilles pain thanks to my overly tight calf muscles, the doctor quickly started stretching my foot and examining the calf, and announced “Your calf isn’t tight…it’s your hamstring.”

So I spent 2+ years not addressing the root cause of my pain. So say I’m a little annoyed is putting it mildly. But at least I’m on the right path.

Path Forward: Exercise, Nutrition & So Much More!
From what I surmised, my whole left leg is jacked up.  My doctor assured me that with PT and strength building I’ll be moving around with ease soon enough.  But it will take 12-18 months of hard work for me to feel 100% again.

I just need to exercise some caution. My inclination is to go full bore…and cause another injury. Maybe that dull, nagging pain in my hip can keep my natural tendencies in check.

As for diet, I’m reading a very interesting book, Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf (Mr. Paleo himself), and I love what I’m reading.  Although I’m eating carnivore for the rest of this month, I’m actually more excited about next month. That’s when I’m doing Wolf’s 30-Day Reset.

I just finished the book and plans for my reset began this morning. Unlike my failed keto reset, I’m feeling confident that the 30-day reset be different. My head is back in the game after being benched for 2 and 1/2 years.  It is a shame that it takes pain or a medical crisis for me to act, but hey, at least I have time to act.

I’ve had success with keto, but paleo seems to have more of the full picture — nutrition, sleep, gut biome, inflammation and movement (to name a few!).

Paleo really zeros in on overall health. Weight loss is a side benefit.  I had that attitude when I started my little low carb journey in 2012. And it worked! Now it seems like everything I’m reading about LCHF/keto all about weight loss and the blasted macros!

That doesn’t mean keto is bad at all. In fact I’m thinking of doing a keto version of paleo after the 30-Day Reset.

It’s just that you need the right mindset when changing your way of eating. My greatest success happened when I viewed my journey as a science experiment with me as the scientist and guinea pig. I was on a journey to get healthy. No pressure from the scale.

That’s what I want to get back to.

 

 

 

 


Keto Reset Challenge Day 14 – Everyday Beauty Is Back With Abandon!!!

mud mask

My first mud facial in more than a year! It felt so great, it’s time to get back to doing these twice a week.

A mud facial here…eyeliner there…soon I’m back to exfoliating once a week. Yeah, baby! My beauty routine is back with abandon. What does this have to do with my Keto reset? Everything!

Most people think keto or low carb reset is all about the food. It’s not. There is so much more. There is a reason people talk about making a lifestyle change. Healthy living/dieting is 95% food and 100% mental. When I start focusing on how I look each day and I’m not thinking about weight that is a good thing.

Wednesday morning was when I finally felt like I was turning the corner with this blasted cold. After brushing my teeth, instead of heading downstairs for some coffee, I looked at myself in the mirror for a few seconds. Then I just naturally reached for my make up drawer and put on my tinted moisturizer.

Next up the eye primer. Eye shadow and liner followed in short order. Next thing I know I’m brushing on bronzer and slapping on lipstick.

Without thinking about it, my old 10-minute make up routine just kicked in.

Happiness ensued…until I noticed the bed head that I was wearing. Curlers plugged in and within 15 minutes, I’m sporting a quick and easy hairstyle.

I use to call this Everyday Beauty. Just taking a few minutes each morning to doll myself up for me and no one else. I started wearing make up when I went low carb. It wasn’t vanity. It was about showing myself a little TLC after years of beating myself up.

Thankfully this reset restored that sense of pride in oneself. I didn’t have to work on it.

It just happened.

That tells me I’ve turned an important corner in this reset. I was too focused on eating the right things (always important) that I forgot about the mental side of getting healthy.

Learn About Dot’s Weight Loss Make Up Make Over Here and learning about what to wear as I slimmed down.


Keto Challenge Day 9: Weight Loss!

keto week 2Whatever bug I have kept me up most of the night coughing and sneezing. Although my energy is very low this morning, I had enough to pull myself out of bed and stumble onto the scale.

Weight wise I’m down, despite a couple of missteps last week. At the start of my reset I weighed 232.3. Today I’m at 230.8. Not to shabby.

No doubt my low appetite over the weekend (thanks bug!) contributed to my loss. So I look at the numbers with a very skeptical eye. Despite the lack of sleep I am feeling a little better today as my fever broke earlier this morning.

Practicing Mindfulness
As far as getting back on track with keto, I need to correct the problems (stress induced eating & drinking) from last week.

While convalescing in bed this weekend I made an effort to use my meditation app. Of course, it was easy since I was sick in bed…I mean how much stress is involved with that! Still, it’s good practice. Any time I felt frustrated that I couldn’t do anything, I reached for my phone and listened to some calming sound or music.

That put me right to sleep…almost as good as NightTime NyQuil.


Keto Day 5 — Feeling Horrible

Yesterday I attributed my low energy level to purging the last bit of bad carbs out of my system (A.K.A. The Low Carb Flu). Well today I woke up with a sore throat. After drinking lots of hot tea, taking medicine and napping on and off today, my sinuses are a runny mess. Ugh!

Fingers are crossed that it’s just a mild head cold.  The silver lining in being sick? I have no appetite.  Well that’s one way to shed some re-gained pounds.

Off to bed again.


Keto Reset Day 1: Dot By The Numbers

As promised, below are my metrics for the start of my 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge. These are my baseline numbers that I’ll use to measure my progress against. I should note that I plan to track everything.

  • Ketone Levels
  • Measurement & Weight
  • What I eat
  • Water Intake
  • Energy Level
  • Menopause symptoms (which ones, when they hit & triggers)
  • Stress/Emotional Level (stress eating got me into this mess)
  • Body Fat
  • Workout/Stretches
  • How I Look (before, during & after photos)

To me, this reset is one big science experiment.  I’m looking to re-break bad habits and re-enforce the good ones. I can’t do that unless I track, track and track some more.  With that, let’s see where I’m starting at.

This morning was a mixed bag of fun. I pricked my finger for my keto meter AND stepped on the scale for the first time in over 4 months. All before that first cup of Joe.

Sept 10 weight

My weight at the start of my 30-Day Keto Reset Challenge. As expected, I’m up after 4 months of stress and bad eating.

The Bad News
Four months of stressing out, eating bad and not taking care of myself took it’s toll on my waistline. I’m up 25+ pounds since May. Well I lost that weight before and I’ll do it again.

The Good News
First up, mentally, my head is in the game (finally!). No freaking out. The number is the number this morning. That’s it. Now the work begins.

Second, while today is Day 1 of the challenge, yesterday I cleaned up my act.

  • No snacking
  • No eating out
  • No drinking alcohol.

As a direct result, I was rewarded with being in very light nutritional ketosis.

As of this morning my ketone level was 0.5 mmol/L.

Granted I’m at the low-end of the scale, but I’ll take it. I’m shooting for optimal ketosis and it is going to take a while to get there. But that’s what this little reset is all about.

Nutritional Ketosis Range
KETOSIS

Measurements
My husband left for work early today so I’ll post my measurements tomorrow morning. Yes, it’s on Day 2, but I’m not expecting to drop inches overnight. I’ll just update this post with the numbers.

FitBit Data & Exercise
My workouts are zero! Nothing. Nada. So the only data I have right now comes from my Fitbit Ionic (and I don’t even wear that everyday). Right now I’m averaging 2500 steps a day.  That’s it. That’s my exercise. Sad!

Until my injury, I could easily do 15,000 – 20,000 steps a day. Well now I’m committed even more to following my physical therapist advice to the letter. Fingers crossed I can get to 5000 steps/day by the end of the month.

The good news is that I’m testing the leg this week with a spin class. PT thinks it shouldn’t be a problem. I certainly hope so. It is very frustrating when your movement is restricted.

Week 1 Menu is Live
I posted my Week 1 menu for the curious. The macros are off, but I tend to look at macros as more of a guide. I’d go nuts trying to hit everything spot on.

You’ll notice I didn’t include calories. At this point they just are not that important to me. Calories will come into play at a certain point. I just want to get back into the habit of eating right.

Tomorrow I will post my plan of attack when it comes to what I’m eating. Needless to say, there are lots of variations on the ketogenic diet. Rather than create my own thing, I’m following the guidelines of a doctor I respect and trust.

But like I said, that’s for tomorrow.