Monthly Archives: December 2012

TIME TO START OVER

Today is the day after Christmas and with all the celebrating that has taken place in my life for the last month I’m glad this holiday season is coming to an end.  I am anxious to get back to regular eating, sleeping and living. I’m ready for quiet weekends with my husband, catching up on things that make us really happy like being alone and together.  We are both extremely thankful for the families we have and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves this holiday season.  The love and laughter we shared with our families is exactly what this holiday is all about. This year was low stress as it should be and we were able to see as many people as possible.

Now I turn over a new leaf and start to focus on my health. I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions but I actually want to make one this year.  I am not waiting until Jan 1st to make it however, because today is my turning point.  I’m putting my energy and determination into my health and focusing on decreasing my inflammation levels.  I can finally start the AIP protocol and really see what effect food and diet have on my overall health.  I wouldn’t say that this holiday season I just gave into all temptations but I also cannot say that I have made any real positive progression in my MCTD health.  I know that sugar and gluten affect my inflammation so now I can really focus on eliminating this from my daily diet and see what kind of positive changes I can make.

I have 8 weeks until my next Rheumatology appointment and when I arrive at that appointment I would like to be feeling better and stronger.  I would like the fluid in my hands to be less and I would like my strength to be shining through when my doctor sees me.  He is always expecting something new and different from me but this time I’m expecting something different from him too, I’m ready for him to tell me that there is a significant decrease in my inflammation levels.  At this point I’m working solely on getting MCTD as quiet as possible.  I’m ready to start decreasing medications again, with his approval of course.  I’m ready to only feel soreness from my weight training no sore throats that can accompany healing from weight training.  Mostly I’m ready to wake up, climb out of bed and hear no creaking in my joints as I make my way to getting ready to work out.  I’m 40 years old but my creaks can sometimes sound as loud as an old oak door on an extremely old house.  My creaks need to be whispers; my joints need to feel great all the time not just when I’m coming out of a hot Bikram studio, or after I have walked for 5 miles.  I want my body to feel like it did….  I can’t finish that sentence because I don’t have a point of reference for when I felt great, but I’m ready now to start a new point of reference. I am looking for a new baseline where I can say that I really feel wonderful.  I certainly feel better and I do think that the changes I have made thus far are really helping despite the fact that it is not familiar to others.  I’m ready to see my blood work and have it read the same as a normal person’s blood work up.  I’m ready to drop prednisone all together and perhaps even my Mobic.

As I write the words I’m ready to drop Mobic I actually got a twinge of anxiety because I know that is the medicine that gets me out of bed every day and able to do whatever I want that morning. This medicine is what allows me to work as hard as I do, spend as much time chasing after my nephew as he will allow and allows me to be self-sufficient and not rely on my husband for everything. The idea of not taking it is liberating and exciting as well as frightening.  I know that my doctor will say this is the last one to go if any of my medications can be let go, but this is the one that would confirm that my body was healing from the inside out.  I don’t want to have a broken metabolic system and I don’t want to continue to do more damage by taking these stomach harming medications but it is so very important to me to find a balance I can live with.

With the help of my trusted doctor and I do say that with all that is honest in me, I’m ready for us to work together with another specialist that can analyze my lifestyle, diet, fitness, sleep, MCTD symptoms, and figure out a full life prescription detailed for me and only me.  I’m putting all the faith I have into finding the right balance but I know that I’m determined enough to do it.  My New Year’s Resolution starting Dec 26th 2012 is to make choices that only benefit me in finding my remission for MCTD.

SURVING THE HOLIDAYS

I love this time of year as much as anyone but I’m so ready for the holiday season to come to an end.  I have tried to stay on track but my wheels get pulled off the track frequently.  I try and make deals with myself, challenge myself and even say it out loud.  However, I still find myself being drawn to the yummy, oh so full of gluten and sugar treats around me.

I don’t bring them home so they are not in my tranquil environment when I just need to rest and de-stress and not think about sweets, however, everywhere else I seem to go makes it difficult for me to resist. The parties and gatherings, with all the company holiday parties is making me a little crazy so when this season finally comes to an end in a few days I can refocus and start a new challenge.  When I’m working on a challenge I’m more determined to stay focus and stay on task. I haven’t decided what my challenge will be yet but I’ll make it realistic and fun so I’m sure to complete it even with some difficulty.  Until then I’ll just keep walking, doing cross fit and going to Bikram so it might help offset the disastrous eating a little bit.

I was listening to Keifer last week and was half tempted to try carb back loading just as a way to remove some guilt but the decided against it because my long term goal is to get back to the Paleo lifestyle and really work hard to reduce my symptoms of MCTD, which will also keep my flare-up free.

HURT’N BODY

On Friday I did one of my heavy weight lifting sessions and proceeded with my day as normal but on Saturday my day wasn’t starting out so normal. I woke up with a really sore body. I chalked it up to my weight training and proceeded on with my day.  When I got to Bikram I was noticing that my body didn’t really want to move in the way I wanted it to move.  My cardio was fine during class but I was feeling sore and a bit tired. After class I came home and told my husband I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening but that I was tired and taking a nap.  A few hours later I woke up with the same body soreness as I had gone to bed with. 

The rest of the evening was very similar and today everything is back to normal so either I pushed it too hard on Friday and my body had to recover and by doing so I put myself into flare-up or it was normal body ache after a strenuous work out.  The hard thing with MCTD is that it is fine line and really could be a factor of both but it is hard to tell. I’m someone who is pretty connected to my body and can read signs and triggers but even after 10 years of dealing with MCTD I still have trouble reading all the signs.

My goal is to get stronger, the obstacle is my body doesn’t like anything different to happen to it and so it turns on itself causing me to wonder where to draw the line and how to make this work.  I have many months behind me of working out hard but not flaring.  I have seen my body get stronger and I have appreciated all this body can do. I want to push it gently and see if we can’t make it even stronger but not at the risk of frequently flaring.  I was frequently flaring when I was training with other personal trainers and when I flare I literally start at the beginning so I was constantly starting at the beginning with all these trainers. 

My new trainer has been able to get me to a good level of fitness in about 7 months and perhaps I should just be patient and work her program and see what happens. I’m choosing the 3rd day to really train hard because all the information tells me to lift heavy things.  Every podcast I turn on, every book I open now, every article I read all says the same, lift heavy things.  Truth be told, I can lift heavy things and I don’t worry so much about hurting myself.  There was a time when I was gingerly lifting weights for fear of my shoulders or wrists and even elbows.  Now I just do it. 

After my nap yesterday my husband and I moved a pallet of pellets for our stove which equals a ton a pellets.  My body was hurting but I was more than able to move each and every 50 lbs bag right along side of him.  This body of mine does incredible things most days. There are days I wake up extremely angry at this same body but I quickly remind myself what it can do and when it can’t it means it needs rest.  I hear all these stories about people who had, past tense, had an autoimmune disease. I find that incredible since I have been told I will always have, past, present, future, have this disease. I want this body to never hurt again and I want to be one of the past tense champions.

RACING AGAINST THE CLOCK

After my last post I was giving my workouts a lot of thought and wondering if this class idea was right for me. I started to do some research which is my best form of education.  I started to look up cross fit classes and see video of other types of cross fit classes.  I also looked at the videos on Everyday Paleo Fitness where I got the form videos for myself and they are conducting their class just like we conduct our class.  Once people are racing against the clock I was seeing in their form that it lacks also. However, they are able to hold a correct form longer than I was expecting.

I really enjoy taking this class and when I’m not in class I’m already lifting heavy and making sure my form is spot on.  During the class when we are bouncing between burpees, push-ups, jacks, plyo-jumps, squats, and sit-ups I’m still going to work on my form but I realize now that part of this type of working out is meant to fatigue the body and do it quickly therefore doing a perfect push-up every single time isn’t all that realistic but if I can make sure that I do as many as possible with great form and work within my 30 minute window I will gain strength which I already see and it allows me to continue taking the class that I get a lot of enjoyment out of.

The class structure is great for me because I like the camaraderie and that friendly competition that takes place. Besides, I do a lot of working out by myself so having others and especially a trainer involved a couple days a week is really beneficial to keep me motivated.  I actually feel better seeing some videos on line and also realize that what I’m doing is very similar to other cross fit places.  We aren’t flipping tires or have we “thrown” any weights but we are certainly doing the HIT, and heavy weight routines that I see at other locations.  I actually feel like an almost “real” cross fitter.  However, I still don’t know what a “snatch” is but when I’m ready I’ll research that too.

HEAVY LIFTING

I have been learning more about heavy lifting in the Paleo fitness realm and as I’m finding out just lifting heavy weights isn’t enough.  My form has to be right on target, which I actually thought it was.  If someone asked me if I knew how to do a squat, I would think of course I do.  In our cross fit training session we are racing against the clock so form isn’t the first ingredient in our recipe of exercise.  I now realize form must be first and foremost and the racing against the clock is foolish.  I love my cross fit class and I will continue to take it twice a week but on my off days I’m going to really focus on my lifts.

I realized after watching some lifting videos at Every day Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness that I was not sitting back far enough on my squats and putting unnecessary pressure on my knees.  I have corrected that as well as started at the beginning of the program they offer on their site and today worked on overhead press.  Again, I thought was doing the correct way but after watching the videos my elbows were too far out.  I dropped the weight from what I would have normally used to get my form down correctly and then once I know my form is good for each rep and each set I will add weight. My goal is to add weight but keep good form and when I hit the proper weight with good form than I can really work on gaining strength.  In the process of slowing down and making sure my form is correct I know I’ll gain strength in the process as well but just a little slower.  This also might help with pain in my wrists, elbows and shoulders when doing some exercises.

In cross fit I’m going to work on form as well but I have to be realistic with myself and when you are racing against the clock speed takes over and form is the first to go so my hope is that between doing cross fit with my group but working on form and strength on my own I’ll have a nice routine.  Throw in my Bikram and walking and it should be a well-rounded program to get me through this long winter we are entering into.

EASIER SAID THAN DONE

We are coming off of our first real weekend of Holiday parties and although my challenge of eating only gluten-free foods work wonderfully during the week, on the weekends things get a little more tricky.  We had Christmas parties both Saturday and Sunday and on Sunday it was my husband’s family Christmas party.  I have been part of this family for a decade but they are a large group of people and they love their pasta and bread, with dips and sauces and let’s not even mention the dozens upon dozens of different desserts.  Granted, I love his family’s food so much and I love my health so what’s a girl to do?  I did the most diplomatic thing I could and just chose the things that meant the most.  Yes, I had lasagna and considering I haven’t eaten pasta in over 7 months it really did taste exceptionally delicious.  I also splurged on the incredible desserts and when it was all said and done I’m still standing and no damage done.

Today I go back to eating clean, whole foods and make better choices but let’s be honest in my regular life these choices are way easier.  I’ll run into some rough situations in the coming weekends so during the week I need to be even more strict with my choices and choose to forgo even yummy gluten-free items so that when I find myself in weekend situations I can just go with the flow.

I realize that part of the problem here, if it really is a problem, is that I’m not that forth coming with people about what I’m doing.  I’m still learning and researching and have never been the type of person to try and persuade others so I’m just quietly doing things on my own with the help of my husband.  Also, it is hard to explain to someone that I eat “Paleo” while I’m sharing in a plate of lasagna if you know what I mean? Once I come to grips with the fact that this is my new lifestyle and I’m having long term benefits from it than it might be easier to speak about it in party arenas. Right now I just prefer to be choosy about my choices and bring more for myself and my husband.  That was a big problem this past weekend.  Over Thanksgiving we took a ton of food that we knew we could eat and everyone loved it with no question about it being a “diet” food but we weren’t prepared this weekend and realized our choices were limited.

After the party we both talked about how a little preparation goes a long way.  Going forward we will be more prepared but we also have to realize that this is the type of season that just revolves around food, food and more food.  Nothing wrong with food, I love it more than anything but I also love my health and want to make sure I’m not hurting myself.  I don’t believe that one day falling off the Paleo wagon will hurt me and I know I don’t have celiac nor am I lactose intolerant but I do believe that processed foods can cause inflammation and the more I keep my inflammation down the better off I’ll be in the long run. Perhaps I might even hit my 200 days without a flare-up this time around.

TIS THE SEASON FOR FEASTING

Every time I turn around there is more food staring me in the face.  I’m sure this is happening everywhere considering this is the time of year that everyone shows their love with food.  I’m the same way and spend hours in the kitchen making everyone’s favorite treats.  When bellies are full and people are smiling I feel like I have done my job for the year.  However, I also don’t want to be on the receiving end of all that love that other people want to show to me.  Our office setting is full of goodies and food.  We have actually set up a designated area just for the goodies and food.  Each day something else arrives that looks incredibly delicious.

I decided to combat this potential eating problem with a commitment to myself.  My commitment is that I can indulge in anything food I want to as long as it is gluten free. I realize this does not solve my issue with sugar and eating crap food but by making this deal with myself right off the bat I have eliminated more than half of the problematic foods that face me.   Very rarely do people bake gluten free foods, or do companies have tins of gluten free cookies and cakes delivered to office settings. So far this deal is working quite well.  Granted the season has just started but as long as I keep this deal I should sail nicely through this holiday season.  The nuts and gluten free candies are still available and if I feel like I need a little bite I have one without guilt or ill feelings.

This time of year we pick and choose what to say yes to in terms of parties, food, goodies, time, and our own personal space.  I just want to make sure I pick and choose wisely as to not get overly fatigued, stressed, or start eating weird things that may not make me feel so good going forward.  Will there be slip ups? I’m certain of it, but the less the slip ups I have the better off I’ll be when this holiday season is finally over and hopefully I’ll be flare-up free through this stressful time.  My main concern is fatigue and I have a tendency to overdo just like everyone else but if I make my health first priority then everything should fall nicely into place.

On top of that my trainer is pushing us hard because she knows people have a tendency to overdo it this time of year and if our arms are too sore to lift then we won’t be able to reach for those extra goodies.