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Full Version: Becoming healthy (or, "When did my bottom get so big?")
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I think I have one of those 4 ingredient soup cookbooks--it seems like a good way to learn to make basic quick soups that focus on bringing out the flavour of one ingredient. If you'd like it, I can send it to you--PM me and I'll pop it in the mail.

There are also some superb blogs out there with good food writers. I know I've pushed this site before, but it really is a good one: is written and illustrated by Heidi Swanson, she's really adventurous with food--and she's a great instructor. Her photos and travel videos are also really beautiful, and there's so much passion in what she does its infectious. The one great thing I love about her recipes is that they're really quite simple--she uses good quality ingredients, and she doesn't often do the "special chef thing" where intricate techniques are required, but she does explain the steps really well. Some of her recipes include one great veggie, for example, and suggestions about seasonings to use or a quick write up on how to prepare them easily. Check out this link for a quick, easy recipe for spicy thai pumpkin soup that uses 5 ingredients (roasted squash, coconut milk, thai curry paste, butter, and water) and only takes minutes (she says 90 seconds, actually) to prepare.

For a nice selection of food writing and interesting recipes that always changes...try
Re: breakfast- For whatever weird reason, I find that I go longer before hunger hits when I eat a *small* breakfast, rather than a large one. A cup of soymilk over a little bit of high-fiber cereal will tide me over for a long time. The mini-breakfast could be worth a try...
i'm kinda the same way about breakfast. usually, i wake up ravenous, sooo hungry and empty. even when i eat a big egg breakfast, i'll still be hungry a few hours later. but if i just eat cereal, even kashi that has protein and stuff, i'll be still starving 2 minutes after i eat it. to me, the high fiber cereal is just like a warmup, something to get things moving. on the weekends i'll start out with that, or oatmeal, and then i'll move on to my 'real meal."

man, i love food. my boy and i ordered yummy food on wed. night and they were closing early so we coudn't get fries and we were sooo sad. tonight we're getting those fries and we are geekily excited about it. smile.gif

Maddy, I know what you mean. The first time I ever tried sweet potato fries I became a bit obsessive about them. They were just a side on a veggie burger that I ordered, and they were served with thai peanut sauce...suddenly I seemed to want them every day. And once when I went back to the place where I'd first had them, hoping to get some again, they were out; nothing on that menu (which was all pretty impressive, they are pretty creative folks) would do.

It's a few years later, and I'm over it now. But occasionally M.ChaCha will roast some sweet potatoes up and serve them with thai peanut sauce and I'll feel the same old craziness about them.

I guess you have to face it sometime, Maddy, you're well on your way to becoming a foodie. cool.gif
chacha...I am totally with you on the sweet potatoes....they are truly among my favorite foods - but I haven't dipped them in peanut sauce - I shall have to try that. Mostly I roast 'em up with olive oil, rosemary, garlic and a little chile powder....soooo good. Damn, now I'm going to have to roast some up this weekend!
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I'm going to check out the online stuff immediately - looking over my budget, I may have hold off on the books (unless I can take them out of the library, which I probably can).

Re: How to Cook Everything - I almost took that out of the library, but it's so big and heavy and it's a half hour walk (and I knew at the time the chances of me using it more than once or twice before I had to return it were slim) that I put it back. I guess it's the kind of book you need to invest in, eh? I guess I just have to be ready (and have the money) to be more committed to cooking more. I eat reasonably (usually - lately it's been up and down) healthy - not packagekd, but not prepared either - but it gets really boring b/c I don't actuallydo anything with my food. An egg sunny side up here, a salad with balsamic vinaigrette there. I need to start mixing it up.

For example, today's brunch:

- egg sunny side up
- three olives
- three prunes
- 85% dark chocolate (two small servings - 40 grams? - I meant only to have one if I was going to have chocolate that early at all, but I'm PMSing laugh.gif )
- Roibos tea

I want to work out soon (after not doing so at all - formally, anyway, I did walk a lot - this week), and I probably should have had some grains. I might still. I get very hungry this time of the month.
about how to cook everything: it's a great book, worth reading as well as consulting recipes. it's a basic cookbook with a lot to learn from, and its recipes often have ideas for alternate ingredients or variations. i would highly recommend it (as everyone else has) as a cooking investment--it's the cookbook that's pulled out at my place more than any other, and we cook as much as we can.

re: breakfast, if you have the time for it (or get your microwave technique just right) steel-cut oatmeal is WONDERFUL stuff. i used to eat it every morning with honey and butter and dried fruit--i'd throw a bowl of it in the microwave for 20 minutes (you have to get the water level just right so it doesn't explode though--eek), go on a little walk for some morning fresh air, and come back and eat my oatmeal before starting my day. it's really hearty and healthy and good--probably my favorite breakfast, though smoothies are my main breakfast these days. steel cut oats are fairly inexpensive too, if you buy them at a bulk foods place.
These all sound good, you guys!!

My boyfriend actually *made* sweet potato fries. Yow, so good.

I'm going to hit the cookbooks now -- we're having people over for dinner. We have Joy of Cooking, the Moosewoods, and a gourmet everything-from-the-beginning including spices and tools explained

versions of Chinese and Mexican. Authentic stuff, not goofy stuff.

I read that the way to get through a work out without being exhausted or ravenous at the end was to have a high fiber snack before hand -- a bit of hummous and an apple, for example.

Sounds good to me.
Hello internet! I need your help!

I'm trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet, and I've largley succeeded... mostly... on some days of the week. OK, basically, I have these crippling and fully INSANE sugar cravings. This has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, and my mom gets the cravings too.

They make me binge on sugar in all of its forms. I never buy sweets, so I don't have refined sugar in my house, or white bread, pasta or rice. Instead, I will devour whole wheat tortillas, fruits, etc., until I've eaten half a day's worth of calories in about 20 minutes, trying to get my sugar fix. If I make the mistake of buying a box of whole wheat crackers, I will eat the whole godamn box.

If I'm out for dinner or at my parents' place and they have dessert - get the hell out of my way because I'm going for seconds. And then maybe thirds in an hour when I've got some more room in my stomach.

So, as you can see, this is totally out of control. I eat protein with every meal, and choose low-GI foods, eat small frequent meals, etc., but when those cravings hit I have *zero* willpower. So I'm eating healthy, but constantly putting on weight (slowly, thank god) due to simply eating too many calories.

I know the intensity of the cravings is tied to how bored or stressed out I am. I'm making it my focus to relax, and maybe that should be where this advice is directed. So I'm not sure if I'm in the right thread, but if you're reading this, dear interweb, and you can help a girl out, please do.

I'm a full time student with a part time job. There's a lot of pre$$ure on me to get straight-A's, and my job is also in my field, so it's necessary I keep it. I live on bank loans, but I'd rather have debt than live with my folks. I have a history of serious depression, but it's been a few years since I've had a major episode. I think the remnants of that are that I'm very sensitive to stress. The sugar cravings are the worst when I'm stressed and feel totally out of control with 4 days worth of dishes and laundry and projects and work to do.

Phew! So whatever advice you've got, be it diet-related or relaxation-related. let me have it! I feel totally out of control and lethargic all of the time.
Johanna, when I read your post 3 things stick out for me:

1) very strong cravings for refined sugar, in all it's forms (tell me, do you smoke or drink as well?)
2) gaining weight slowly
3) feeling lethargic

and the first thing I think of is--have you been tested for hypothyroidism?

Usually the strong sugar craving leads me to suspect this illness, but your other remarks about weight gain and lethargy also make me think it's possible. Other remarks you make--such as the fact that stress seems to trigger it, you've a history of depression, and the fact that your mom also suffers the same cravings (thyroid problems are often hereditary)--also seem to point out this possibility. If your thyroid gland is underfunctioning, no amount of dieting will take away the sugar craving or the weight gain. In fact, they'll both just become more pronounced symptoms. If the gland is not functioning properly it could be something initiates, or stems from, other glandular dysfunction or hormonal imbalances. It sounds like something minor now, but in the long run, no chronic illness is "minor".

You really should go and see a doctor and arrange to have a blood test done as well as a referral made to some good endocrinologists--if you are suffering from this, you'll need a good endocrinologist to help you figure out what to do next. Don't wait! People who suffer from hypothyroidism and seek out treatment--conventional or alternative--wonder how it was they went so long feeling like they did. If this is indeed what you've got, it does need attention.

Good luck!
Johanna, chacha is wise and that's good advice. The other thing I wanted to suggest is that you may want to start out addressing the stress issue, if your thyroid doesn't seem to be the problem. I totally used to have the same problem (I wrote about it a few posts down) and what really helped for me was cutting out all processed foods (which it sounds like you've done) AND addressing my stress levels and my relationship with food. I'm a student, too, and I gained 20 lbs last school year by using Ben and Jerry's as my primary means of stress management. And I would go on binges, too.

But I found that yoga and meditation have helped a lot with the stress, and have helped me start to develop mechanisms to control how much I eat carb/sugary stuff. Also, I recommend the book "Eating Mindfully."
Hey guys, thanks for much for the advice!

I've been to the doctor and was tested for hypoglycemia and hypothyrodism, and both tests can back negative. I think it is largely a stress issue.

I've started to write down what bothers me and what relaxes me, and to steer my life toward the relaxation side as much as possible.

Maybe yoga is something I should be doing! I'll keep you updated on how it goes. Right now, I'm going to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather smile.gif
Hi again Johanna,

Not to belabour the point--but the "tests" (especially if they were blood tests and not saliva tests) can be interpreted as "negative" incorrectly. This is why an endocrinologist should be working with you, and not someone who isn't specialised in diseases of the glands and/or hormonal balance. There's a very wide "range" of "normal" in those tests--often someone "looks" normal because they fall in that range, but there is definitely a glandular dysfunction. Don't quickly rule out hypothyroidism because you've got a lot of symptoms that say something is definitely going on--especially the "stress" you write about.

It's very likely there are a whole series of glands which are being affected, starting with the adrenals (which would play a HUGE role in how your body handles and reacts to stress), including the thyroid (affecting thyroid stimulating hormone as well as cortisol), and pancreas (all that sugar has to have an effect there, no way around it). One thing I'd suggest you add to your diet are the B vitamins, as I think one big reason why you're eating a lot of processed "wheat" (even the ones that say whole wheat are usually not whole wheat) foods and sugary/starchy foods may be that your body is in need of B vitamins, and they are often found in grainy, starchy foods. B12 and folic acid are really important, and you can get fairly large doses of these vitamins combined in little pills you can take sublingually; I'd also suggest a combined B vitamin pill that includes a variety of B vitamins in at least 50mgs each per dose and also includes Choline and Inositol and other lipotropic factors--these B's play a big role in hormone production and fat storage, and many B combinations now include them for helping the body cope with stress.

B12 should be in the methylcobalamin form, as it's much easier for you to absorb and use; and you should get 1000mcg of that B vitamin alone per day. As for the B vitamin combinations, the best formulations are not encased in magnesium stearate, which makes it almost impossible for your body to actually absorb the nutrients in the actual pill.

Other supports to conside, in terms of supplements:
-Chromium picolinate, which is needed in every cell of the body so that each cell can process sugar effectively
-Holy Basil extract, which can be found in a pill form--a really good product line called New Chapter makes a very effective capsule which can be taken every day. It's pricey, but holy basil really helps with stress management and hormone balance, particularly where sugar is concerned.
-for short term use-- no longer than one month--the herb Gymnema Sylvestre. I like to use one made by Professional Health Products. It's an ayurvedic herb that really cuts down the body's (pathological) dependency on sugar.

This way, even if you're in the "borderline" but still "technically" normal range of thyroid function, you will be able to help the body change the need for this obvious craving by allowing the glands to have a bit of a break. The supplements will also help a great deal with the "stress" you're talking about.

Other changes: remove stimulants from your diet--avoid caffeine in all its forms, including coffee, sodas, teas, etc. All of them effect the adrenal glands in a way which perpetuates what you're going through--do this for a number of weeks and you'll be giving your adrenals a break.

Also: watch the intake of sugar and sugar substitutes--cut smoking and drinking (way) down.
went to the gym last night--hopefully getting back on track with that!

sweet potatoes are amazing with curry. i only just realized this. i make them, or yams, mashed quite often and the last time on a hunch i threw in some curry powder--damn! so good.

there is a restaurant called monk's in philly that has sweet potato fries to die for. i still crave them.

wombat, i love allston! i used to go to super 88 all the time. <3 <3 <3
Ooh, mouse, that curried sweet potato sounds good! And congrats on getting back to the gym!

So, I'm feeling inspired to do a getting-healthy update:

I'm very happy because I'm now generally able to do stationary bike for 30 minutes a day-- a feat impossible only a month or two ago! Cardio exercise is a great feeling. I do want to get back to the weights more though... it's tough to find time for the bike, physical therapy twice daily for the knees, once daily for my back, and then lift weights on top of it!

I've been learning more and more about nutrition and it's been leading me to consider eating a wee bit of fish (salmon in particular). I've been veggie (and sometimes vegan) for going on 10 years now, though, and never ate fish before that anyway... so I don't know how easy it would be to start up with the fish. I ate a bit of a friend's salmon a while back and though it tasted good, I couldn't quite wrap my head around eating fish and not feeling weird/bad about it. Nor would I have the slightest idea how to prepare it. Any favorite salmon dishes, anyone?

Also, I think I'd like to start eating more "dark leafy greens". Any favorite (and easy) ways to eat/prepare those babies?
_octinoxate, i think the best way to cook salmon is to grill it just with a little lemon. so good! another good thing is to poach here's how i like to do that:

Fold a large (at least 4x the size of the piece of fish) square of tinfoil in half. Place the fish on top of the foil and then fold it up so that it forms "walls" around the fish. Pour olive oil, vinegar, sliced tomatoes and a few garlic cloves over the fish, and then close the top of the foil package. Bake the fish on 375 for 20-30 minutes (10 minutes for each inch of thickness). It's ready when the meat is flaky.

Also, I like to sautee leafy greens with olive oil and garlic. Also, tossing in some raisins and pine nuts is awesome!
re: dark leafy greens--we have collard greens or kale with double garlic (a mark bittman how to eat everything recipe), with homemade biscuits and mushroom gravy ALL THE TIME.

also, you can incorporate spinach into all sorts of things pretty easily. hummus with spinach, spinach sauteed with garlic and onions and mushrooms and thrown into a pizza dough pocket with goat cheese or regular cheese and sun-dried tomatoes...spinach pizza made more typically, spanakopita, all sorts of things.

with salmon, you can just prepare it plain if it's a good salmon steak. though there's lots else that can be done with it...i don't have much in the way of ideas because i'm mainly brainstorming vegetarian foods these days.

congrats on the fitness improvements! it's so satisfying when you know that you're getting stronger.
Mmmm....dark leafy greens - my favorite for kale, is to lightly steam it for 2-3 min first, drain. Then, saute a little shallot in olive oil, toss in your greens, grate some lemon zest over it, add sea salt, then at the last moment, add a tiny drizzle of honey....soooo good.

Tomorrow night, I'm making a cassoulet with some fresh chorizo (sauteed and drained), black beans, a little chicken stock, and then at the end you toss in some chopped chard, then serve topped with some nice queso fresco. Delish!

Salmon - my favorite preparation is to marinate it for 8 hours in: soy sauce, dry sherry, sliced scallions, 1Tb grated ginger, 2 cloves garlic - smashed, a dash of cayenne, and a dribble of honey - taste for balance of flavors. When you're ready to cook it, removed it from the marinade, and broil. (this is fabulous with the honey-lemon kale)

Congrats on the increased strength and endurance, octi!!! (I'm still working on getting my fanny out to get some decent workout gear....I've only one decent pair of spandex left - eep!)
Wow, thanks for the cooking suggestions, everyone! All those ideas sound delish... I'll have to get my cooking butt in gear. (Or maybe make someone get their butt in cooking gear for me, as my knees are still too sensitive to stand at the counter/stove for more than 5 minutes.)

Speaking of gear, I finally got some new shoes. I just ordered these online:

Turbo and annelise, thanks for the congrats. I'm afraid I spoke too soon, though: my right knee has gotten progressively more painful throughout the day and I've had to nix the gym and just stay home and ice it. I reeeeally hope today is just a fluke. I really hope this isn't the beginning of a decline. And I really hope my therapist gets the knee brace for me soon and that it works as well as he says it will.
Octi, I love reading your posts because you're proof that what seems impossible can be done--often with just the will to start and a bit of commitment. You've come so far in such a short time, and I remember when you were ready to think it just wasn't going to happen.

I'm pretty convinced you've become so much stronger now that the little occasional aches and pains like the knee you have to ice are just minor setbacks to remind you that your improvement isn't going to make you immune to all aches and pains in the future--no one's free of that. So I want to encourage you to stop worrying that this is the beginning of a decline--it's merely a reminder of the need for some rest, on occasion. If you could become stronger 3 months ago, when you were far less toned and fit, think of how much more capable and vital your body's become since then (and how much more capable it is of quick recovery, as a result). Of course you'll be moving again, and very soon. Don't doubt it--doubt always makes for panic, poor judgement in approach, and then, self-fulfilled failure. It's just not worth it when you can see how effectively you progress without it.

Octi, one of the best salmon dishes I've ever made is a tequila marinated version that I make up with a fresh jalapeno and cherry tomato relish (so it really helps if you make this dish in the summer when you've got the freshest ingredients available). You can use the marinade for anything, and it's great on meats but it's really memorable on salmon, arctic char, and trout (the tequila seems to love the rich fats in the fish).
I prefer to use the filet rather than the steaks (a lot less bones to worry about!). Here's alink to the recipe online; I know it's named for a roast dish, but it really works well with fish (I've made both, and the fish is always more popular).

Also--this month's has a section called "What to cook now" and it's devoted to Kale.

Cassoulet!!! I love cassoulet, but it's getting very hard to find the confit du canard around here this year. Maybe I'll venture out to the winery that's been the "source" around here and see if they've got some in. It's just the kind of snowy cold day that cassoulet needs, I think.
oxytocinate, have you tried water exercise by any chance? i might have mentioned this before, and you could be allergic to chlorine or something, but i thought i'd tell my story anyway.

a long time ago, i had knee probs that got progressively worse over time. i was very physically active at the time, but the pain started to get in the way of running, then biking and stairmaster. it was very frustrating. i ended up seeing a chiropractor who taught me to walk in a way that i wasn't pronating as much and not putting so mcuh pressure on my knees. around that time, i started doing water step aerobics. the water felt really good, and it barely hurt my knees at all. i loved the class, and was able to get really strong without putting stress on my joints. and once i was really strong, i had much more muscle to support my joints.

it probably took about a year, but my knee probs very gradually went from really bad to nearly nonexistant. i still have cranky knees (especially now, since i have an unrelated chronic illness that really limits me)...but i know the ways to deal with them and make them better. the shoes i wear really affects them. the degree of musculature i can manage affects them. the way i move affects them (but in a way that i can control). sometimes they're cranky for no discernable reason and it scares me a bit--but those phases always pass.

if your knees are bothering you from the exercise that you're doing, it's a sign that you should take it easy a little more and rest, certainly. but when you're feeling like you need to rest a lot--there might be gentle alternatives to the exercise you usually try to do. even isometric exercises and gentle floor exercises are something.

because i was so athletic before getting my knee probs, i used to really beat myself up over the things that i had trouble doing, and felt like a wimp when i had to be gentle to myself, but that's b.s.

it's really important to listen to and respect your body, and at the same time do what you can to improve things. forcing your body when it's not ready for something just doesn't work...but you can gently work within your limits, and sometimes you can make more progress that way than you'd expect.

it sounds like your situation with your joints is a bit different from mine was, but i thought i'd share my perspective, anyway. it's frustrating to deal with pain, but there's hope. that's really what i'm trying to say.

could you pull a chair up to the stove for cooking?

Chacha, you're right: thanks for the reminder that I just need to stay positive and committed and the progress will continue. Why wouldn't it? Like you said, I have a stronger base to work from now.

Annelise: It's really, really helpful for me to read your story... when I hear about other people recovering from similar problems it makes me more hopeful-- esp. when b/c your recovery was such a long process. One thing that was (has been?) really scary for me is that originally I was told this is a problem that takes maybe 4-6 weeks to recover from, and I'm on about 10 months now. I thought that my body must be seriously fucked up, or they misdiagnosed me, or or or-- anyway, it's good to hear from others with slow recoveries. Did you find that the pace of your recovery speeded up dramatically toward the end? Another person with a similar experience said that was the case for him.

And yep, I'm doing pool exercise. It's physical therapy oriented rather than exercise oriented, but yes, I agree that it's very good news for me.

Oh and- I'm happy to say the knees are feeling much better today after giving them a couple days' rest! Hopefully I'll be back on the bike this evening.... and I'm looking at getting a real bike again soon, as my disabled parking permit expires at the end of the month, and I think/hope I'll be ready to bike around a bit!!!! I've heard that more lightweight bikes (esp. street-style, instead of mountain) are way easier to pedal... anyone know if this is true?? Is it worth a difference in price?
i really don't know how my recovery progressed--i'd had knee probs for years before i found what really helped, and i don't really remember a time frame. i was so amazed that i was improving at all that i didn't really keep track of time. i got in really great shape from the water exercise too, and lost some weight (in a good way).

the docs might tell you one thing or another about what to expect, but you're an individual, and there's a lot of variability with these things. they never knew what to say about my knees.

i'd about lost hope on ever improving when i was recommended to this chiro, who completely turned things around. i was doing a bit better because of the chiropractic, and then with lessened pain i had the confidence to do water exercise. it was gentle enough that my knees could tolerate it and i'm sure it made my knees much stronger and boosted my healing a lot. so yeah, i guess one thing builds on another when you're going in a good direction. smile.gif

with bikes, i'm not sure about the particulars anymore, but the seat height makes a big difference with the stress on your knees. i've had experiences with misaligned bikes that were as bad as really high heels for my knees--temporarily bringing all the pain back. ow.

glad you're doing better. you're always welcome to pm me if you need a knee peptalk. smile.gif
Annelise, can I ask exactly what your diagnosis was (if they gave you one)?

Also, what sort of pool exercise were you doing?

Also, what did the chiro do? You mentioned he taught you how to walk in a way that put less stress on your knees... did he do other things as well?

Also--yikes! What do you mean about "misaligned" bikes? Just the seat height, or other things too (maybe the frame size, for instance)? Scary. I wonder if that's something you notice immediately when you ride it, or if it messes you up gradually.

Thank so much for all the info (it's like I'm interviewing you) and the pep talk offer!! (I'd take this whole convo to PM but I really don't think it's OT... so many people have injuries, esp knee injuries, with exercise that I think it's valuable to have this info right here in the thread.)
the only diagnosis i got from the docs was chondromalacia, which is no big deal in a lot of people, and fairly common. it kind of seemed like a b.s. diagnosis, because they didn't know what else to say. i was in pain, and becoming more and more limited over time, and the docs had no idea what to do about it. i wondered if they thought i was faking it or something! when i started at my chiro he looked at my xrays and was amazed at them, saying i must be in a lot of pain. i was SO HAPPY to get that affirmation, because it never seemed like docs took me seriously before. having a medical professional acknowledge how messed up i was (and want to help/have ideas to help me) was really encouraging!

i'd done a lot of high-impact exercise (distance running) over the years with severely pronated feet, and screwed up the alignment of my knees royally and torqued one hip right out of the joint. the mainstream docs never had much to offer in the way of help, but the chiro changed everything, in concert with the water exercise.

when my knees were improving i was doing an aqua step aerobics class, which was awesome. i did a water walking class since then--the resistance of the water is great exercise, and it's so gentle on your joints. and the water feels refreshing! you can buy a floaty belt thing so that you can do water walking/running in any depth, or some pools have enough shallow water that you don't need that. i had the book "the waterpower workout book" (or something like that), which gave a lot of ideas of exercises adapted to water. that might be worth seeking out in the library if you're interested.

for a while i was a member at the y and they had those starting blocks at the deep end for swim racer people. there's bars underneath the platforms that you can grab onto (when you're in the water at the edge of the pool) and do pullups--your weight is held up partially by the water, which makes them muuuuch easier, and then you can do more reps. they're really great for your upper body.


by misaligned bikes i mostly mean seat height. when you have the pedals halfway you want your legs to be bent at a 90 degree angle. (i'm going from memory, so you might want to double check on that). i was on vacation a few years after the knee probs were resolved, and borrowed a bike from the youth hostel i was staying at--it was old and not adjustable for some reason. i rode for quite a while, and when i got off the bike, i could barely walk and was in all kinds of pain. it was an extreme example (the bike was a BAD FIT) but it drove home once again how differences in how you move can influence your joints.

Hey, I just wanted to pop in and say: for those of you who are on livejournal, a few of us busties on lj are starting up an lj community dedicated to, well, becoming healthy: Whole Broads

Unfortunately the way lj is set up, only lj users can be members. But if you're on lj, check it out!

"the only diagnosis i got from the docs was chondromalacia, which is no big deal in a lot of people, and fairly common. it kind of seemed like a b.s. diagnosis, because they didn't know what else to say. i was in pain, and becoming more and more limited over time, and the docs had no idea what to do about it. i wondered if they thought i was faking it or something!"

Annelise, this sounds so familiar!!! My diagnosis was (er, is?) chondromalacia (aka patella femoral pain syndrome), too!!! ... in conjunction with patellar tendonitis, according to one or two of my docs/PTs. And YES, it's something that is supposed to be common and minor, that got out of control for me... and YES, I felt like some of the docs (and other people in my life) almost thought I was making it up or like it was "all in my head"... that was so frustrating! When I'm in pain and struggling the last thing I want to hear is basically "it's your fault, you're creating it." Just because they don't get it or can't solve it doesn't make it less real. It is SO validating to hear that you had a similar experience. ...not that I'd wish this sort of thing on you or anybody else! (Although I must say it has been good for me personally in some ways.)

Did your chiro do actual joint manipulations that helped?

Thanks so much for sharing about your experience.
yeah, i was going in to the chiro weekly for manipulation (he was really sweet, because i was a poor college student at the time, and didn't charge me all the time!). he got me orthotics and taught me the importance of walking so that my weight was distributed properly over my feet. i kind of had to relearn how to walk, since i'd pronated so severely before.

i really think it was the combo of manipulation, walking differently, and water exercise that got my knees more normal--it got everything in line better with my bones/ligaments over time, and since i was moving differently, i wasn't perpetuating/worsening the probs anymore.

i am so glad that my stories help! i know how it is to have docs disbelieve you and think you should feel this or that way, when you want them to take it seriously how *you* say you feel!

When I'm in pain and struggling the last thing I want to hear is basically "it's your fault, you're creating it." Just because they don't get it or can't solve it doesn't make it less real.

this is so true of all sorts of health probs that the medical profession doesn't fully's enormously frustrating. i seem to have a talent for getting just those sort of probs! which is why i may have an education in science, but i believe firmly in alternative medicine too, because of lots of personal experience!
annelise and octi - Its awesome to hear that you're both really getting stronger, and working with people who are helping your progress!

On bikes, if you are considering purchasing a bike, DO go to a really nice bike shop that is going to take the time to really fit you to a bike, and let you test drive different models. They should also have a 30 day return policy, in case you don't like it. Seat height is definitely a part of the fit, your leg should have a slight bend in it at the bottom of the pedal stroke...also, try not to focus on the comfort (or rather, discomfort) of the bike seats on the bikes you try -- you can get a new seat with lovely gel padding for about $40, and that is an excellent upgrade. Frame size also really matters. You want to make sure that the frame itself is the approriate size for you, so that you're not reaching too far for the handlebars, or sitting too close...when your frame size is incorrect, it can cause back issues me on that one, when I bought a cheapo bike at Toys R Us when I first moved to Chicago. tongue.gif Hybrids are easier to ride than mountain bikes, as far as pedaling goes - there's just less bike to move around, and a medium width tire will give you less resistance against the ground than the big nubby tires on a mountain bike. But the *most* important thing to keep your bike in working order, is proper tire inflation. I commute on my bike, and I inflate my tires once a week, to the proper pressure, and keep a tire gauge in my saddle bags, along with an adapter that allows me to use any air pump. And don't be afraid to try men's bikes, either....I ride a men's Specialized brand bike, and it fit me much better than any of the women's bikes I tried. If you have any questions...just ask...its the one thing in the athletic realm that I really *love* to do!!
Hey! Wait a sec!! The science behind many alternative medical modalities is sound--it's just widely ignored by conventional medicine for reasons which have nothing to do with anything except politics and money. It's quite easy to make a rock solid argument that the science which is supposedly grounding conventional medicine is actually quite decadent--not supported by fact, not supported by even empirical evidence, and purely defining of science as simple biochemistry (when, you know, any chemist or physicist, for starters, can tell you the definition should include them, even if it's being applied to medicine).

Had to say that, as I'm not sure how we can get so brainwashed to believe thousands of years (in reference to modalities like TCM, herbalism, homeopathy, and even things like acupuncture and touching modalities like chiropractic) of empirical evidence is not scientific.
i agree with you, chacha! i generally don't have the ability/energy to bother arguing about it and stating the points you make, so i just say that i believe in alternative medicine, though i have a sci background and said sci community doesn't necessarily take such things very seriously (to their detriment!).

that's really an arrogant western bias--the sort of claiming that only things provable by OUR scientific studies are valid, when other cultures' perspectives and historical evidence could give us all sorts of knowledge. but they're not doing double-blind studies, so they're not valid! the open-mindedness that we need in such disciplines isn't so common, unfortunately, though many people take alternative medicine much more seriously than they used to in the past. (15 years ago when i was going to that chiropractor, i could tell that a lot of people thought i was just being gullible and dealing with a quack. when he turned out to be the guy who got me on the road to near-complete recovery, people were quick to assume that my knee probs had just been overstated in the first place, and no big deal. arrrrrgh.)

the studies that sci does do are sometimes based on faulty definitions of what they're studying...for (an extremely relevant-to-me) example, stuff they've studied on chronic fatigue syndrome have classified chronic fatigue syndrome very broadly, so they've been studying groups of mixed depression, CFS, and other idiopathic chronic fatigue that wouldn't necessarily qualify as emulating the syndrome. so there's years of research done over the past 10/15 years that have come to essentially nothing, with a few good standout studies. i don't read up on sci research about my illness anymore unless it's a big breakthrough, because i've become increasingly cynical about their methods, and it's just depressing. i tend to want to yell at the computer screen and argue with the basic premises they're using, and that does nothing but get me stressed, so screw that.

i would imagine that sci study of homeopathy would be incredibly difficult seeing that homeopathy is so individual and tailored to only one person--you can't get a group of ppl with similar symptoms together and give them all the same remedy, since that particular modality is much more attuned to nuance and individuality. (medicine could learn from that outlook, rather than blaming patients when we don't fit their little boxes!)

i haven't had many major health probs in my life, but the ones i've had have been very disruptive of my quality of life and functioning (the knee probs, and now CFS). both times i went to doctor after doctor after doctor, and got far more help from alternative med practitioners than i ever did from medical science. part of that may be due to the nature of the two disorders (not well understood by medicine). it certainly convinced me away from my medical-school leanings!
Yeah, I'll have to support you guys on the homeopathy, because so many difficulties -- or wait, is it just "parts of life" ? --- are complicated and related.

Besides, medecine takes from native healers all the time. North American, South American, you name it. Scientific American has had some great articles about health issues lately -- one was discussing how they comissioned more and more "studies" to cover up the fact that emissions from a certain plant were sickening the people around it.
Oh, Annelise, thank you for writing that.

I would, in my younger days (just like you!!) go through an expounding including exactly what you've stated...and peoples' eyes would glaze over, and etc. etc. etc.

But then I started to notice that people like you--who've even studied conventional medicine, and in many cases, go so far as to practice it--think the same way you do. And I realized that not everyone buys into the conventional paradigm. And then I noticed a lot of scientists just don't believe in the double-blind test (it is flawed as a standard, come on, let's face it already), and a lot more scientists have started to do intensive study on such things like homeopathic medicine and the whole idea of one's "energy" playing a role in health, and in disease as we understand it...and I began to stop feeling the need to expound. People are catching on, and they are seeing for themselves and making their own conclusions no matter what they're told to believe. And that's really reassuring.

And I think that's where you're at too--so I didn't mean to sound like I was preaching to the choir or anything, and I don't want to sound like a broken record. I just want to encourage people to consider ALL the options available to them, including the alternatives. And that's where you're at, too, I think--since they worked so well for you.

wombat, i'm curious about the scientific american articles you'd mentioned...are they pay articles, or do you have links?

How is everyone else's getting healthy effort going?

Mine has been a bit stalled out the last few days as I've been having trouble with the knees again. I can almost directly attribute it to using the leg press a few days ago, so I've decided to stop that for at least a month. Meanwhile I'm working on bouncing back from that, restarting personal training next week, and looking forward to getting my brace on Monday or Tuesday. Wish me luck with that... come Mon/Tues I'm either going to be elated or (temporarily) crushed, depending on how it seems to fit/work.

I've been eating a TON the last two days, probably just b/c I've been feeling so damn good about my body that I'm not afraid of gaining weight, and cuz I just did major grocery shopping and have lots of yummies around suddenly. I do need to remember, though, that just b/c I'm not afraid of gaining weight doesn't necessarily mean that I want to or that it's a healthy idea to let my good eating habits slide (into doing things like snacking while surfing the net and such). At least I've been eating healthy stuff even if it's been a bit too much of it. I trust this will pass.

Oh! And I ordered fish at a restaurant- first time in my life!! It was delicious! Sesame seed- encrusted seared ahi... mmmmm...
Well, I finally dragged myself out to the gym last Friday and then the next day I got my period, and I swear, I felt so tired and fatigued, I barely did anything at all. So now it's Friday again and my period is finally dying down so I'm gonna try to make sure I get out there today.

What's weird is that I was getting that extremely fatigued weak feeling so I called up my doctor's office to make sure there was nothing abnormal with the blood test I got and I was told that I was fine. I understand that I need extra iron and stuff during my period but is it normal for me to be this dragged out? I mean, I feel like it gets in the way of me trying to exercise and be energetic. It seems to thwart all my attempts at actually being healthy.
I think the severity of the fatigue will lessen as you build up your B vitamin stores, but consider that it isn't something that's particularly bad for you. There was a time when women would withdraw, with other women, when their periods came--and they left the responsibilities they had other men... while they went off to rest for a four or five day "break" every month. I think this might be your body's way of making you rest and recharge, so it might be helpful to plan to do less strenuous work during your period or plan on relaxing as much as possible. Perhaps your body's not trying to sabotage you at all: it's trying to get you to pay attention to what it needs in so far as rest and regeneration. Maybe that's all the permission you need to give yourself to do what it seems to need done.

If the fatigue is really overwhelming, then I'd wonder if something else were going on, like low thyroid function or impaired parathyroid function, something other than just an anemic tendency. Did the blood test you took test for hormone levels? Just curious.
I tend to fatigue somewhat easily during my period, too. Especially during the first two-three days. Not to the point that I have to call in sick, but it definitely makes exercising more exhausting, and I tend to take it easy those days if I can.
The hubby and I are thinking of getting bikes this summer to take advantage of living so close to the Lake. Turbo, can you recommend a good bike shop in or near Rogers Park? I do like to be active, but I hate going to the gym and/or using exercise equipment. I got a pedometer and I’m trying to get 10,000 steps/day in; now that the weather is getting nice, I can walk during lunch and it’s easier to hit that mark. I also got a balance ball to try and get some strength training in. Hoping the bike purchase will help too!

I am attempting to “get healthy” and hoping weight loss will be a side effect of that. Dieting and I just don’t mix well; I want to try to focus less on pounds and more on how my clothes fit and how I feel. I’ve had the most success with WW in the past, but that seems too rigid for me now. I don’t want to have to count points, calories, or carbs; I don’t want to have to weigh or measure portions and I am fundamentally opposed to artificial/processed substitutions and things that are altered to be low fat/low cal (what the hell *is* fat free half & half anyway?). I can accept the fact that certain types of foods should be occasional indulgences and not everyday staples, but I refuse to accept that there are certain things I can “never eat.”

I’m not one for deprivation or eliminating food groups, but I’ve heard really good things about South Beach. At lot of the fundamental principals make sense and I think I will start to incorporate them – whole grains, good fats, eating six times a day, etc. I also like that there’s a big emphasis on eating real food as opposed to processed/prepackaged convenience items (though, still with the butter and sugar substitutes, WTF?). Cheese, chocolate, avocado and no counting of anything! I’m even considering doing phase 1 now that they allow dairy and caffeine. I just think my body needs a reboot – I’ve been feeling so lousy lately.
prophecy - we have got to get together sometime soon! I went to Kozy's Cyclery - there's one pretty close to the Addison stop on the Red Line - they were VERY nice - I must've test rode 18 bikes around and around the block - I even bought one and took it home, then returned it, as it just wasn't the right fit once I tried a longer ride. Their staff really know how to fit you to a bike. (and yes, I did take the bike with me on the red line - no problem at non-rush hours). I have a hybrid style bike, with the mountain bike style straight handlebars - a men's Specialized Sirrus, and I *love* it - that bike is my baby. I ride the lakeshore path downtown at least once a month in the summer, and go pretty much everywhere on my bike - we're in a great neighborhood for getting around on bike.

And we're on South Beach (modified/lax, nowadays), but we did the strict phase - which does allow caffeine and dairy, BTW....but its so deadly simple, its been good for us. I can't count anything when it comes to food - it only makes me obsess and fetishize it, and I LOVE the focus on snacks - I look forward to my snacks as little breaks in the work day. We don't do the sugar substitutes, though - that stuff is nasty. But anyway, turbomann's lost about 30lbs since we went on it, I'm down about 15, and now we're just at maintenance, and just eating pretty much like we always have (with my food sensitivities, we eat pretty healthy anyway)...we do pay more attention to portion size now, though, and after the strict phase, and living clean, I'm far less likely to even *want* to stuff myself silly. If you have any questions about it, just let me know. You should come to the book club at Heartland next Sunday, even if you haven't read the book! smile.gif
chacha, I don't know if they checked hormone levels, he just said I would be tested for "everything". And even when I looked at the sheet I didn't understand all of it.

I've come to some realizations about myself and eating. First off, I quit the whole not eating chocolate at all thing because cutting it out completely just made me want it even more. I talked it over with my psychologist and she is for this, she thinks it's better just to have things in moderation (duh) rather than depriving yourself completely.

Also, I've been in a really good mood the last couple of days and I noticed that it's taken my focus off food. I do much better when food isn't the first thing on my mind, and once again after talking to my doc, I realized that food had become something to look forward to. Not that it's bad to enjoy food but I think it's a problem if it's the only thing that I'm looking forward to.

I'm going to try to get out to the gym this weekend and of course there's going to be a trip to the grocery store, so I'm going to look for good healthy stuff.
Thanks for the bike info, turbo! It will probably be a few more weeks before we make the purchase, but this gorgeous weather has me itching to go now!

I'll likely start on South Beach sometime this week (I have some leftover Lou Malnati's pizza that I will not throw away!). I just picked up the cookbook and there are some genuinely tasty lookin' recipes in there, so I'm actually looking forward to getting started.

Took a walk and ate my lunch on the lake shore today, approx 3/4 mile from the office. Baby steps towards healthiness smile.gif
Does anyone jump rope as a form of exercise? My cousin does it because she doesn't have a lot of time to get to the gym or work out at home. She carries it with her in her purse and does it for 15 minutes a couple times a day. Discovery Health says you can burn 200 calories jumping rope steady for 15 minutes. With my crazy schedule I thought I might start. I could go to the gym at school during a couple of my breaks. It just sounds like it would fit into my schedule perfectly.
I bought a Nike Speed Rope yesterday and I started my jump roping this morning. I'm very overweight so I could only do about five minutes and I had to stop about every 10 jumps because I was out of breath. I wasn't jumping with two feet together either, if that makes sense. I was doing kinda of a right left, right left, right left thing. I think I'm going to do this until I can do this for fifteen minutes straight. Then I'll start on the two feet together thing. My knees and ankles felt woobly in the beginning but after the first ten jumps they started warming up and the jaring didn't feel so strange. I'm going to try to do another five minutes tomorrow or maybe tonight when I get home. It was kinda fun and easy too. Does anyone else feel like they just want to fall into bed after they do any kind of exercise? I swear I just want to get out of bed, workout and then fall back into bed and go back to sleep.
hey Pugs, I have a jump rope and exercise with it occassionally. It's great for a short exercise session - All I have to do is step outside and get started. The single-foot thing that you describe is the best way to do it for an extended period of time, like 10 minutes or more. I find the two-feet together thing requires more strength and you tend to skip faster when you do that, in order to keep a rhythm going. It's more like a sprint than a jog. You could probably do that for short intervals - starting at 10 seconds and eventually building up to 30 seconds or even a minute, but spend the rest of the time doing the single-foot thing.

Wow, that makes skipping rope sound so very technical...what I mean is, it's a good workout and, if you want, you could totally be serious about. Or you could be like me and sing garbled version of elementary-school skipping songs as you're doing it!
plynn -

I read on another site today that you can burn up to 1000 calories in an hour of jumping. Of course I have a long way to go since I can barely do five minutes. But I'm not frustrated or quiting. I just need to do it every day and work at it slowly. I've been watching some crazy jump roping videos on YouTube and I'm like, "WOW! Think I could do that? Um...ya after like 10 years of practice!" My little right left, right left, right left thing is going to be fine for me until I get a little more coordinated. I'll keep you posted.
[skips into thread humming]

I bought a bike and went on two rides yesterday and one today!

They were short rides, but this is still HUGE. smile.gif

Pugs, I'm glad you're feeling good about the jump roping! It sounds like a fun workout. (It's not hard on your knees? You said in the other thread that you have hyperextension issues-- on that topic, I do want to tell you that my roommate has the same thing- but she's a triathlete!! So there's lotsa hope there.)

I'm jealous octi, I miss my bike so much. It's still too cold here.
Hi again. So, I'm thinking of setting a goal about having a really hot ass. I saw this chick in the weight room today who had the cutest butt ever and thought "oh! I want one, too!" It wasn't about feeling inferior to her, just about wanting a hot butt smile.gif I used to have one but I never appreciated it and then it went away when i couldn't work out sad.gif But now I want to wear short spandex, and also cater to my current man's butt fixation!

So hm... I guess my hot-butt goal is primarily about building my glutes so it's nice and meaty and firm! It wouldn't be bad to lose just a wee bit of fat, but I won't worry too too much about that. (Maybe I'll just stop eating chocolate cake for breakfast- oops! wink.gif ) I know three good butt exercises on you do laying on the floor. Anybody else know any other ones?

What are you ladies' fitness goals at the moment? And how does this goal-setting stuff work, anyhow? I've never gone about it this way before. I guess you make some concrete and realistic end-goal and then set mini-goals along the way or something?

ETA: haha, erin, don't get TOO jealous- it's 94 here which isn't the awesomest of bike weather either! (I don't mind though, I'm just thrilled to be back on a bike after this long!)
congrats on the shiny new bike, octi!!!!

As of Monday, I'm back on my bike for commuting full-time - turbomann's finally got a job! WOOT!!!

I like my ass okay, it could definitely use some glute work too, though. I don't really know what particularly to do about it though...

Fitness goals, eh??? I'm thinking that I'd like to be able to do the Northshore Century Ride here in September - 100km....I may only make it 50k, but I think it would be fun. And maybe this is the year that I finally join the bike club here, and do weekend rides with them.

Oh, and it 33 degrees here....not exactly prime riding weather either, but that's okay, I've got the proper gear for any weather.
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