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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Feeling Pretty Rough

I started a post or two and did not get them finished.  I did a little veering off the path on a couple of days, but have pulled it back together.  I let stress get to me.

I had been working on my budget with no overtime, and it was not looking good.  Still isn't, but I won't feel the effects for a bit.  I had some money left over to pad things and my paycheck last time was substantially more than I anticipated yesterday.  We get paid for what sick leave/personal time we do not use in the prior 6 months, and I guess I didn't use any.  I knew that was coming, but it was quite a bit more than I thought it would be.  So it will help for a paycheck or two.  I can either pay down on a credit card, or use it to help me get through the coming weeks.  I will have to decide.

Pain has been up.  Even though I have been on track pretty well for a week to 10 days (on keto/low carb), I am having a lot of pain right now.  I know weight loss will help, but my back is not a happy camper.  Mobility is pretty bad right now.  But when I think about veering off track again, I think about that and it is keeping me going.  I need to do some fasting to speed things up a bit.  I know it is getting pretty bad when I am having difficulty walking from the train to my office and feeling like I might not make it.  It is only a half a block.  It is pain that makes me feel like I can't make it.  Yesterday I stopped in the lower level of the building I work in and sat down a minute.  I had had to do some extra standing to take care of an issue and the pain was out of control.  It took a while after getting to work to get back to "normal."

Today I am hurting more just sitting in my chair.  And I have to make multiple trips up and down the hall to the conference room.  My hips are hurting a lot, which I know is related to my sciatic nerve.  I have a doctor's appointment next week and will see about getting another injection.  In fact, I need to get two or three.  Sometimes getting three "in a row" helps inflammation settle down.  But I hate how I feel on the steroids.  I would rather get it settled down with fasting and eating low carb.

I've done better on making low carb meals than I have in a while.  I also made a keto dessert last weekend, and that is helping.  For me, being prepared can make the difference.  Working less does help with that, anyway.  I need to make some more recipes so I don't get tired of things.  And I need to make more veggies.  My daughter is planning to get back to some cooking next week.  (I hope so.  That helps me a lot.)

Guess that's it for today.  I needed to talk myself through.  I am feeling pretty rough today.

Friday, January 3, 2020

So Far, So Good

Wednesday
 
I was able to go to sleep.  I woke up around 5:30 feeling withdrawal symptoms, so took my medication.  Except for the extra half-dose, it had been 7-1/2 hours since the prior dose.  I am going to listen to my symptoms today, but will probably plan on taking medication around every six hours.  That is 2 less pills per day than I am prescribed.

I got up before 9 and was having electrolyte symptoms when I woke up.  I took my usual potassium and magnesium, and took some salt.  I think I also took calcium.  I haven't been taking my calcium regularly lately.  I take it some days and not at all other days.  I was still have symptoms around Noon, so I started analyzing my specific symptoms and reading up on which electrolyte they might be related to.  I felt quite certain it was electrolyte related.  And possibly dehydration.  The symptoms I had last night were severe foot cramps, and sometimes severe ankle stiffness or cramping (it is hard to describe).  Today I am having tingling around my mouth.  You can look up that symptom and find all kinds of undesirable things it could be related to, so I looked it up as relating to electrolytes and what came up was hypocalcemia.  Low calcium.  It described the tingling around the mouth and the foot and ankle cramps perfectly.  So I took some calcium.  I will need to try to catch up on it and be sure to take it every single day, especially when fasting.  I will also concentrate and drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day.

This has become kind of a chronic condition (electrolyte imbalance) and I will need to watch it carefully when following a fasting routine.  But I also believe one of the main things contributing to it is blood sugar.  I had these symptoms regularly even when eating 3 meals a day and any time I felt like it in between.  The increased urination from high blood sugar along with not drinking enough water I think is exacerbating the situation.  I need to watch every mineral carefully and drink plenty of water.  As all this sugar is flushed out of my system, I think it will begin to improve.  I need to find a doctor who will not jump to conclusions that are outdated and just wrong.  One who supports my dietary efforts.  Not one who automatically thinks I have a heart problem and just because my blood tests are normal discounts the possibility of this being electrolyte-related.  I just read part of a study that showed why you can get a "normal" calcium level reading in the typical blood tests doctors do and still have symptoms of low calcium.  There is a specific test you have to do.  Your body strictly regulates the calcium in the blood.  The calcium that regulates your cells is a different type, so they have to test for that particular type.  An emergency situation with low calcium is treated with calcium administered in an IV.  Chronic problems are treated with taking calcium and Vitamin D, which is exactly what my supplements are.  I tend to focus more on potassium issues, but when I am feeling like this, I now know it is calcium.  I need to be taking it all the time.
 
Friday
 
I didn't get that post published, so will just keep going.
 
I decided to break my fast Wednesday evening.  I tend to put too much pressure on myself, and I think 3 days for my first week "back" is a good start.  I broke it with some soup and some nuts.  I still had tummy issues.  I am still having them a little bit, even today.
 
I am trying to eat the right things as best I can.  I haven't done any cooking yet.  Thursday for breakfast I just had a few nuts late morning.  For lunch I got a salad.  I still had some keto bagels I had made last week, so for dinner I made myself a sandwich using one of the bagels, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and some roast beef luncheon meet.  The bagel has "everything seasoning" on it.  Sometimes I just endure eating a sandwich on keto because the bread is not that tasty, but this was so good.  There was nothing wrong with that sandwich!  I'm going to keep those bagels on hand (sometimes made in a different shape) for different kinds of meals -- sandwiches, hamburgers and even a hot dog.  It is so nice to be able to make a good sandwich on keto.  Sometimes you need something easy and that was really easy.  I had bought some pre-cooked bacon for the sandwich since I got home late after going to the store, but most of the time I will just keep some bacon made up in the refrigerator to go with quick meals, or just make it when I get home when I get home on time.
 
Some plans for meals this weekend are  pizza made with fathead dough, enchiladas, and I will probably make some kind of soup.  The enchiladas use "tortillas" that are made strictly from cheese.  You put a pile of cheese on a silicone mat and let it melt, just long enough for it to get a little firm, but not hard.  I make the filling with shredded chicken mixed with a little sour cream and some green chiles.  For each enchilada, you fill the cheese tortilla, wrap it up, add some red sauce and sprinkle them with crumbly cheese, green onions, sour cream, and any other condiment you like.  They are really good!  Last time I just made enough for one meal at a time, but I may make a pan of them this time and freeze some leftovers.
 
For the pizza I will use some fathead dough, roll it out kind of thin and pre-cook it.  Then I can top it with different toppings and a little cheese.  I don't like to use too much cheese as a topping because fathead dough is made from cheese, too.  It is too rich if you put too much cheese on top.  So you add your pizza sauce (sometimes we use pesto for a different kind), probably will use some breakfast sausage, sautéed onion and bell pepper, and sprinkle with a little mozzarella.  It is really good!  Some fresher type ingredients, like the pesto with spinach, chicken and mushrooms, is really good too with the fathead crust.  It makes a pretty easy dinner too if you have fathead dough pre-made in your refrigerator.
 
I took some full fat yogurt and frozen blackberries for a meal this morning, but ended up stopping for some eggs and sausage at a place downstairs and had that for breakfast this morning.  Then I ate the yogurt and blackberries for lunch.  When I got home, I was pretty hungry, so I made another sandwich -- actually I ate two!  So good!!  So glad I found this bagel recipe.  You can also use it in the waffle iron and make kind of a crispy bread, if that is what you want.
 
I am realizing that the main thing that gets me off track is to be unprepared.  If I come home really hungry and nothing is cooked and I don't have anything easy I can fix, that is a time I often give in and eat junk.  And one thing leads to another and I am off the wagon again.
 
I am not sure if I fully explained my situation at work, but they have told me not to work any OT except under select circumstances.  So far they are sticking to it.  That means I have more time and more energy because I am not working so many hours.  So I need to be sure and do some cooking and keep myself on a good track.  I also want to fast fairly regularly, but as long as I am eating low carb, I can keep making progress whether I do a lot of fasting or not.
 
I am still having some sweet cravings, so plan to make myself at least one dessert to have on hand next week, but I am doing pretty well.  I am allowing myself to eat some fruit, even though that is not keto, but as long as I am eating real, unprocessed food, I believe my body knows how to handle the carbs (as long as I don't overdo).  Better to eat an apple than to give in to my cravings and go get a cookie.
 
That's it for today.  So far, so good.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!

I'm back.  I'm having a little difficulty tonight.  Not with wanting to break my fast; just feeling strange.

There's a lot going on in my body right now.  The main thing causing my discomfort is medication related.  For reasons I am choosing not to share, I am trying to cut back on my pain med as much as I can be comfortable with right now.  (Lots of people who want to judge out there.)  My prescription allows me to take up to 6 pills a day.  I have been on medication for maybe 10 years.  So although I am not emotionally addicted, I am definitely physically dependent (not to mention, have chronic pain issues).  Anyway, if I don't take it, I am going to have some unpleasant side effects.  So I was able to go almost 8 hours this morning, and then again this afternoon/evening, and I did pretty well.  When I took a dose at bedtime, it did not fully take away the withdrawal  feelings.  I kept waiting, but just could not settle down.

On top of that I am fasting after weeks of eating crap and not drinking enough water.  That can make you kind of uncomfortable.  And a side effect of that is having to run to the potty every 30 minutes, so I am becoming even more dehydrated than I have been.  So I am having foot cramps and feeling uncomfortable from that.

So I am up, drinking down some water, replenishing more electrolytes (using some magnesium oil on the foot cramps), and yes, taking a little medication (a half of one).  Guess I am going to have to take them every 6 hours instead of the every 8 hours I was trying to do.  I am doing this voluntarily this month, but I am not going to make myself miserable.

With all that, I am starting to feel a little better.  But I don't feel sleepy.  At least I don't have to work tomorrow.  :)

I am trying to decide on what kind of fasting schedule to do.  I like the 4 days fasting, 3 days eating schedule, but I think doing it week after week was probably too much.  So I am considering doing that every 2 weeks.  The question is what to do during the alternate weeks.  I may try to do every other day or 36 hours fasting, 24 hours eating and the weekend off.  I have not historically been very good at that.  But as I said in the last post, success is more about my mind than my body.  I need to learn to keep different schedules.  As for eating, I am going to eat as low carb as I can manage, but more than anything, I want to eat whole, real, unprocessed foods.

My daughter wanted to try to get one of the meal delivery plans to try to help her get on a better track (like Hello Fresh).  The plan was to get three meals a week delivered.  They deliver all the ingredients for the meals you choose and the recipes that show you how to cook them.  We are trying to choose options that are as low carb as possible, and if not completely low carb, at least not processed.  Like potatoes instead of pasta, etc.  I told her we would give this a try if she would cook the meals (I am paying for them).  We will see how it goes, but if it is not working, I don't want to do it.  She wanted to get going in the new year.

I told her that for this week, I needed her to tell me what her plan was and, whatever she chose, she had to follow through because I was going to plan my fasting schedule around it.  I told her she could choose not to do it at all this week, but I needed to know.  So that is what she decided.  I will ask that of her every week.  But I still want to do my fasting, so on the weeks she is cooking, I may just put my part of the meal(s) away to eat on days I am eating.  Mainly, if she says she is going to cook on a certain day and I am planning on that for one of my meals, I need her to follow through.  (We have tried this a little already and that has been a problem, but she has not been trying very hard to really get going until after the holidays.)  I will have to see how serious she is about it and adjust.  Whatever she does, I cannot let it mess me up.  If she will do it,  it will be helpful to me for her to cook.  But I am going to be pretty stubborn about her doing the cooking if I am paying for the meals.

One motivation for fasting is it costs me a lot less money for food.  With the cut in my pay because of not getting any OT, that will be a motivation.  But that is lower on the motivation scale than my health.  More than anything, my motivation is to feel better and to heal my body.

Guess I will try to settle down to sleep again.  Hopefully my discomfort has passed.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

All in My Mind

You know, this blog has always been a place where I could go and analyze and talk about things, and motivate myself to pull it back together.  But lately, it is something I avoid because I keep NOT pulling it back together.

I just read through my last post.  I HAVE TO.  But I didn't.  I went through the holidays, mostly eating what I pleased.  And feeling bad.  Of course there is always the intention to pull it back together after the holidays, and here I am.

I am almost 48 hours in on this fast.  I already feel better.  Pain has lessened just with two days.  Tonight I'm feeling a little hungry.  I have to keep reminding myself that hunger is expected and it will pass.  Then, I got home and the smell of just-baked brownies is in the air.  At least I think that is what it is.  But I will not stop.  I really want to keep going.

The thing is, fasting has more to do with the mind than with the body -- at least for me.  Especially now.  If my mind is where it needs to be, it doesn't matter that I am hungry.  For me, it is that way with most any weight loss efforts.  So, that tells me I need to work on keeping my mind in the right place.

I don't know that stress has really decreased much -- which I said was why I was struggling.  There are still issues at work causing me concern.  One thing has changed, though.  I have been told NOT to work ANY overtime.  There will be occasions where my boss will want me to stay late, but only when he specifically needs me to.  So far, he is sticking to that.  There is still talk of another person (or two) being let go (one person was laid off a couple of months ago).  That will leave us with a skeleton staff and I will feel like I cannot take days off.  And I am going to have to buckle down on my budget.  If my boss sticks to his guns.

Regardless, getting back on track will make me feel better, not worse.  If I don't know what to eat, I should just not eat.  I don't plan to do it that way, but I can in a pinch.  That's better than getting off track again.

Anyway, I am trying to get going.  And success is all in my mind.
 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

I HAVE TO

Long time no write.  And I have not been doing well.  I  cannot seem to pull it together.  But I have to.

I had put the Diabetes out of my mind -- I know it is fully controllable with diet -- and it was under control, until I wasn't "eating right" anymore. I have come to the place where I have to acknowledge I am feeling "sick."  I haven't told anybody, really.  A couple of weeks ago I realized how much my blood sugar was affecting  me and I straightened things up for a bit and started immediately feeling better.  But I have slipped back into eating a lot of carbs and sugar.

It has to STOP!  It will start to damage my body.  It already is, in some ways, although I don't think permanently yet.  But I KNOW it will continue to get worse if I don't turn things around.

You may ask -- why don't I get on medication?  The medication will lower my blood sugar, temporarily, but it will make the diabetes worse.  The only permanent solution is to stop putting all the sugar in my body.

I have not had a great day early in the day today, but there is no reason I should not start right now.  I fell into a fitful sleep earlier (after a rough night with some diarrhea).  I had not taken my electrolytes, and woke up feeling shaky, foggy, and like I was radiating heat.  I just don't feel right.

Now part of the "heat" could be because I had an epidural steroid injection in my back on Thursday.  But it doesn't change the fact that I don't feel right.  Not at all.  It is time to pull this together.  Hopefully writing about it will help.

A lot of stressors are still present, but have improved somewhat.  I don't know why I am having so much difficulty focusing. I am still working A LOT.  But that doesn't have to affect my fasting.  Fasting makes it easier, really.

This is not the best time of year for pulling it together on eating carbs and sugar.  So I think fasting will be very important.  If I can fast as much as possible during the week (and eat low carb), some "indiscretions" on special occasions will not have a huge effect.  As long as I get right back to the fasting.  That is the hard part.  I am going to do my very best to keep it going.

As I said, I have to.  Life will be all downhill from here if I do not.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Getting On a Better Track

I'm trying to get on a better track, and am into my third day of a fast.

I have it in my mind that I haven't done anything for weeks.  Actually I did fast one day one week and most of one day of last week, so there is that.  It's funny that I've gotten to a place where that seems like nothing.  It is not enough, but certainly better than nothing.

My problem has been when I do eat.  I have to get that on a better track.  The thing is, nothing I "should" eat has tasted good to me.  I have been craving carbs and sugar.  So I felt I needed to reset everything with a good fast.  I don't know how long I will go, but at least I am going again.  I've talked myself out of the last two fasts.

There is a lot of stressful stuff right now, but I need to not let that affect me.

One thing I have noticed is that I have had increased symptoms of calcium deficiency lately, and I think there is a connection between that and craving carbs and sugar.  I am starting to realize that I crave carbs and sweets when I need calcium.  And I have found a little evidence those things are connected.  I haven't found anything that says it is directly related, but quite a bit on the link between weight loss (or weight gain) and the need for calcium.  I believe I have written about this before, and now here it is again.  I struggle when I have symptoms of calcium deficiency.  The two seem to go together for me.

I wasn't sure if the start of this fast was going to be any different, but it wasn't hard this time.  And since I finally realized I was having low calcium symptoms a lot more than usual, I made the connection again.  And I have been taking more calcium and was able to get going on this fast with no trouble.  So I think there is some connection in some way.

I also think I am not getting enough salt.  I know I need salt and I take it, but I am more sporadic about it than my other electrolytes.  And I realized that what I have been taking is not a very good source (it doesn't have nearly as many mg's as I thought, so I haven't been getting as much as I thought).  I saw a comment on one of my fasting FB pages that salt regulates the other electrolytes, so if you are not getting enough, your other ones may not be absorbed as readily.

I struggled quite a bit with electrolytes yesterday, even though I was taking them.  I felt foggy and twitchy and tingly and had heart palpitations more than usual.  That is when I discovered that the supplement I am taking for salt doesn't have as much as I thought.  I ordered a different kind, but they will not be here for a few days.  So I brought some coarse ground sea salt with me and have been supplementing with that some today.  I also drank some pickle juice, which is another good source of sodium.  I can tell that I need to stay on top of this if this fast is to be successful.  I was having way more symptoms than I am comfortable with yesterday.  I am feeling some better today, and I think that is because I am being more watchful to make sure I get enough of everything.

If I can keep that in check and control my mind, there is no reason I cannot have a good, productive fast.  As I said, I want to reset some things and hope to go longer than "usual" with this one.  I also want to feel better in other ways because I have been feeling very achy, joints are hurting, etc.  That's what carbs and sugar do to you.

I had a water only fast yesterday and so far today.  On some fasts I have had one diet drink a day, but I wanted a clean one this time.  I had a significant headache this morning and I thought it might be from caffeine, but after a dose of the sea salt, it almost immediately went away.  So I think that was it.  And I know I have been dehydrated for quite a while.  I haven't been drinking nearly enough water lately.  (I did end up having a diet drink because my head was hurting so bad, but I can wean myself off of caffeine.  I may not need it again.)

It is now after 9:00 and I have made it through this day.  I feel pretty decent.  I was having some symptoms on the way home, but I had run out of calcium and did not take any this morning.  It had been delivered today, so I took some a while ago and am starting to feel the difference.  I am still feeling a little tingly, but it is the kind I associate with switching over from sugar burning to fat burning, or weight loss in general.

That's it for tonight.  Hopefully I will continue on a good track.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

When It Rains, It Pours

I know.  I haven't posted in a while.  It has been one of those "when it rains, it pours" kinds of month.

To start with, my a/c unit started leaking again (like last summer).  (You may remember we were in a hotel over 6 weeks last year while that was going on.)  We realized it on a Thursday evening and I filed a service request with my home warranty the next day.  The service contractor could not come until the following Monday, so when I told them we needed help NOW, they said I needed to turn off the a/c for the weekend.  We cranked it up to 85 and stayed in a hotel.  I didn't want to take all the pets, and I needed it to stay at a level that was not dangerous to them.  They also had access to go outside through the doggie door.  I took my Yorkie with me.

The contractor comes Monday, supposedly fixed it, and we went on with our lives.  The following Monday, we realized it was still leaking.  I sent out some help questions on FB and my daughter asked her ex-boyfriend about it, since he is in the business.  In the meantime, we figured out a way to contain the water as long as we shop vacced it out twice a day.  My daughter's ex came and looked at it and found out our drain pan is cracked.  I don't know how long it has been like that, but I have had multiple contractors out to look at the a/c during the preceding year and no one ever checked for that, including the one who came the week before.  We called them to come out again, and sure enough, it was cracked.

In the meantime I contacted a water restoration company to look at things to see what was up with my floors.  (The a/c leaks water under my laminate floors.)  It was not as bad as last time and I bought water resistant flooring, so I wasn't sure what the prognosis would be.  They came and checked, and although not as widespread as last time, a lot of the flooring will have to be taken up, the surface dried up, and the flooring replaced.  Sigh.  I filed a homeowners claim.

In the meantime, they told me the air handler unit (the inside unit) would have to be completely replaced and I might want to replace the outside unit while I am at it, because they will be phasing out the kind of Freon it uses next year.  So I have been exploring possibilities about that.  To do all that, even with the coverage my warranty company covers, would cost me over $4,000.  Stephanie's ex said he could get me a unit at cost and it would cost a little less than that for him to do that.  He also said I might think about getting a heat pump because it would make a lot of difference in my utility costs in the long run.  Until the unit is replaced, they cannot start the drying out process and the floor replacing process.

I decided last night to go with the heat pump and my daughter's ex is going to install it without charge.  It will cost $5,000 for the unit.

In the meantime, the pump on my pool went out.  It is going to have to be replaced (unless I want a swam in my back yard).  That is going to cost me between $500 and $1,000.  I got blessed on this one, too.  My pool guy said the guy he would normally have install a new pump would charge me about $1,000 just for labor.  He said he has been wanting to learn to do it himself, and if I would allow him to install it, he would only charge me $100-200.  (He has been learning from the other guy.)  He does a great job with everything else and I told him to go for it.  I ordered the pool pump last night for just over $400.

On top of all this, work has been going absolutely crazy.  I worked over 60 hours last week.

So, I've been a little stressed.  You would think I would be more stressed than I am, but I know it does no good, so I haven't allowed myself to get there.  But I have found it difficult, to say the least, to concentrate on fasting and eating right.  And I haven't a lot of the time.  I am cutting myself some slack as far as my attitude toward myself about this.  I have enough to handle without getting extra down on myself.

I am also exhausted.  I just cannot seem to bounce back from working all the hours last week.  I am sure eating crappy has something to do with that too.  I ache all over and I am exhausted.  I have asked off an extra 3 days (besides Labor Day) next week while my boss is out of town.  I just have to keep plowing through and do what I can do.  I know I will get back to it, but I don't want to undo a lot of progress.  I'm going to go home on time tonight and rest, rest, rest.

Honestly, I am just so tired....