Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's been a while....

Wow! It's been MUCH longer than I had anticipated between blogs.

Life has gotten in the way, I suppose. Actually, I more than "suppose"...I know it has. My lack of time at the gym, my big fat "Zero calories burned in the last 7 days" on the calorie tracker app I have, and my lack of weight loss all supports that life has interrupted my divine plan, at least until now. I have GOT to re-commit to this. Where there isn't time, I'm going to have to make it, even if that means making some sacrifices (mainly, my sleep, at this point).

I haven't been making completely terrible eating choices (though I have had a few bad meals). For the most part I have been sticking to eating clean, and making healthy snack choices. Because of that, the numbers on the scale haven't gone up. But, because of lack of exercise and not being as committed, the numbers haven't gone down, either. We're going to focus on the fact that there hasn't been an increase, because there is power in positive thinking (or so I'm told).

Anyway, we're into Spring time now, and I'm not where I wanted to be, so it really is time to buckle down. I keep telling myself "Oh, I will, I will" but I haven't been, so I'm not getting anywhere. It'll be pool weather before too long, and no one wants to see a beached whale, even if she is in a modest swimsuit. (Don't fear, I am not one of those that hangs the spare tire out for the world to see in a twenty-three size too small bikini).

There are a few areas in which I am really doing well, and those are mainly what I want to blog about today.

First, I am so excited to say that it has been 26 days since I have had a soda. That means no Dr. Pepper, no Coke Zero, no Sprite, no Root Beer, no Ginger nothing. When we go out to eat, I have either water or lemonade, usually. I have only had sweet tea 4 times in the last 26 days, too. I just started reading more and more about soda-- how it effects the body (the equivalent of something like 30 packets of pure sugar basically shocks the crap out of your system), how there are carcinogens in the caramel coloring (so much so that unless levels were lowered, there were going to have to be warning labels placed on cans due to a new law)-- things like that, and I just started thinking "What the hell am I drinking? Why am I doing this to myself?" I've even cut down dramatically on my coffee-- I've only had 4 coffees since the end of February.

Since I've cut out soda (and really, most processed sugar drinks), I have been able to tell a difference. I do feel better- I'm less jittery, I am sleeping SO much better (more on that in a bit), and I have had less issues with my acid reflux (more on that in a minute, too). I'm not filling my body up with chemicals and empty calories. The first few days, I did have some withdrawals. I got caffeine headaches and just felt icky and sluggish. I just upped my water intake and if I felt headachy, either drank some tea or took some excedrin migraine (which has caffeine in it). I always allowed migraines to be my "crutch" and my reason for allowing myself so much soda. I used to get terrible, awful, knock-me-down-into-my-bed-for-days migraines, and my doctor even would suggest to take my meds with a Coke for a big boost of caffeine. So if I felt a minor headache coming on...I'd have a Coke, ya know, to keep it from turning into a migraine (even though I know the difference between a tension headache, a fatigue headache, a hunger headache, and a migraine, and know when caffeine will help and when it won't).

After the "detox" period was over (which now, I think is just insane that I even had to detox off of something that some people even give little kids to drink), which was only a few days, I felt great! I can honestly say that I don't miss sodas. I never thought I'd really say that and it be true, but it really is!

Next, I have stuck to taking my vitamins, and have even added additional supplements. For some people, this might not be a big deal, but for me, it's huge. I have NEVER been able to remember to take my vitamins. Now, not only do I take the GNC Woman's multivitamin for metabolism & weight loss, but I also supplement with fish oil (omega 3's), cod liver oil (joint & muscle health as well as additional vitamins A & D), green tea extract (healing antioxidants, appetite suppression, & metabolism boosting), and biotin (healthy hair, nails, and skin). I take these all twice a day (except for the cod liver oil and biotin, which are just once a day) like clockwork. And believe it or not, I have noticed a difference!! For instance, a TERRIBLE stomach bug went through my work (and pretty much through the whole US, going by facebook). I was exposed to it a few times by close friends, and I didn't catch it. I had a few days where I felt peakid, like I was trying to get sick, but I never did. For those that really know me, you know how big of a deal this is-- I am the one that everyone says "Oh, poor thing. You're ALWAYS sick." I have been able to avoid several bad sicknesses this year, and I attribute this in part to vitamins helping to build my immune system and in part to being healthier (maybe not weight wise, yet but by making healthier choices).

One thing I mentioned earlier is that I have been a long sufferer of acid reflux. Terrible, blindingly painful acid reflux. It started several years ago, as my weight increased and my food choices deteriorated. It got worse during pregnancy, so bad that I went through 10 bottles of tums in the 36 weeks I was pregnant (10 bottles of tums is roughly 20,000 tums...yea...). When I was at the hospital after having L, one of the nurses cheerfully told me that she betted most of my reflux problems would be gone since I gave birth. I never asked for a single pain medication, nor any after-birth assistance, with the exception of requesting an no, cheerful nurse lady, it didn't go away. Up until about 6 weeks ago, I was taking 150mg of zantac TWICE a day- that's a double dose each day- to keep the acid at bay. Taking all that medication didn't guarantee I wasn't going to get reflux, either, it just made it bearable. Well, I have noticed as I clean up my eating (even if the dish is spicy), I have been getting less reflux.

So, one night, I ate bad, and got terrible, awful, reflux- probably one of the worst cases I have ever had. I was almost in tears, it hurt so bad. And then I remembered a friend of mine telling me about a home remedy she has tried in cases of desperation, and it worked. As unappealing as it sounds, she told me to drink a teaspoon to a tablespoon of straight vinegar. Let me tell you- I put this option off until the absolute LAST minute. Seriously, I had no other option that did not involve packing my child up at 2 am and hurrying to Walgreens, and when this particular event occurred, L was NOT sleeping well, so waking her was NOT on the table even if my chest was exploding. So out came the vinegar. I pinched my nose, held my breath, and swallowed a teaspoon. Cringed, from top to bottom, and felt it burn all the way down my esophagus. Much to my sputtering surprise, as soon as it hit my belly, the reflux stopped. Like, immediately.

There is something to be said about home remedies, and not filling our bodies with chemicals sometimes. It was just so disgusting to me to drink vinegar (eew, I mean, have you smelled that stuff?) that I would rather have spent 20000 times the money (probably literally, because 60 zantac is over $20 and lasted me a month...and vinegar is less than $2 a bottle and will last me probably 6 months or more at a tsp a dose) than to have taken 30 seconds of dealing with the bitterness of vinegar. While I still cringe from top to bottom, and it still burns all the way down, I am not nearly as disgusted by the taste...just don't chase it with water if you try it on your own. I did that the second time and all it did was amplify the taste and made it last about 10 minutes instead of 30 seconds. Just deal with the taste. Like the smell (if you use it to clean), it will go away pretty quickly.

I believe so strongly in the vinegar to treat reflux method now, that I will not buy tums or zantac anymore. I had to take it that night, then the next two nights after that. Then, I don't know what happened -- if the vinegar has neutralized acid production in my stomach or what-- but I have only had to take it a handful of times since. I have had reflux a few more times than a handful, but every single time, drinking a half a cup of whole milk has stopped it. I am floored, because before the vinegar trick, I could probably have drunk a gallon of milk and it would've just made it worse (seriously, folks, if my water was too cold, it gave me was THAT bad). That is why I think maybe the vinegar has done something to curb the excess acid production. Now, giving credit where it is due-- I'm also eating better so that is also a contributing factor-- but I truly believe that the vinegar has helped tremendously.

One thing I have learned that makes itself loud and clear, over and over again is that this journey is NOT just about losing weight. This journey is about changing my lifestyle to make healthier choices, in order to make being fit and healthy a lifetime commitment. It's not going to happen in a day, and it's going to take more than eating a salad instead of a slice of pizza. There are many parts to the pie of living a healthy life, and each one is as equally as important to the other (and directly effects the other).

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