Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

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I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Spring Into Action

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According to the calendar, Spring starts on Thursday.  Although having just been outside it’s hard to believe we haven’t slipped back in time to the middle of January.  The average high right now is supposed to be around 50.  According to my Weatherbug it’s currently 29 degrees.  Only 21 degrees below normal.  In the middle of March.  This has been a long harsh winter.  It’s time for Old Man Winter to get his grumpy butt out of here.  It’s time for some warmth.  At least we’ve missed out on several snow chances this month.  There have been a few snowstorms around, but they’ve all been shunted to the south courtesy of the media flavor of the month, the good old Polar Vortex.  How many times have we heard about the PV this winter.  Way too many times if you ask me.  The PV can bugger off back to its polar home where it belongs.  Bring on the 60’s and 70’s. 

When it gets as cold as this, we tend to hibernate.  I have to admit, I don’t like extreme cold and I don’t like extreme heat.  Am I too fussy?  Just give me 60’s and 70’s, and if we want to head to the beach, some 80’s would be good.  Yes, I admit it, I’m a wimp.  I’m from Britain, where it rarely gets too hot or too cold.  More often than not, the temperature is just right.  Why do I suddenly feel like a character from the Goldilocks fairytale?

Anyway, I have to admit, I could stand to lose a few pounds.  As I’ve already indicated, I hibernate during the winter. And working from home makes it all to easy to hide yourself away.  Thankfully I’ll be able to take advantage of our Vitality range with our company.  We have products that help us have a good workout, that gives us plenty of fiber and products that help us lose weight.  Once we get some decent mild weather we’re going to go walking.  We have an amazing snack bar that is scientifically designed to allow our body to burn excess fat.  And it tastes great!  Bonus! 

So bring on the warm sunny days, when the girls wear fewer clothes and I can get my legs out again.  I’m ready to walk!

In Hibernation

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There’s a car under there, somewhere…

We’re in hibernation.  Until spring.  I’ve blogged a couple of times now about how great working from home is, how nice it is not having to face a rough commute to work and back in the cold and snow.  And it IS great!  However, there is a flip side.  Since the storm on Monday I haven’t been outside, other than to get the mail and, of course, shovel all this delightful snow. 

I love snow.  I really do.  But enough already!  I had to shovel eight inches of slop on Monday.  Today I had to shovel another inch or so of snow that seemed to be eighty per cent water.  And we are meant to have another snowstorm this weekend.  This one could be the biggest storm of the season.  Oh well, if nothing else, at least it gives me exercise.  I just wish I could remember to eat an Access bar before going out to shovel.  At least it would give me more energy.  But roll on spring now when at least we can get out and mingle more.  But all things considered, it still beats facing those treacherous messy commutes!

So, to all of you who work from home, how do you cope with the winter hibernation  blues?

Guest Blog: Battling Cancer with Physical Exercise

I’m sharing a blog today from fellow blogger, Melanie Bowen. Her blog is about using fitness as a tool in battling cancer. As someone who has lost loved ones to this horrific disease, I am always eager to help any way I can in the fight against cancer.

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Battling Cancer with Physical Exercise

Whether you are recuperating from a diagnosis of breast cancer, mesothelioma or prostate cancer, you will surely want to rely on physical exercise to regain your former strength. In all cases, you will need to progress from light to moderate to advanced activities. As long as you give your body time to adjust to each new level of exertion, you will find the benefits to be quite spectacular. Before taking up new cardiovascular activities, you should speak with your personal physician to make sure your body can handle the task.

Light: Breathing Exercises

In the immediate aftermath of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you will likely still feel a bit sluggish. By beginning with simple breathing exercises, you can slowly coax your lungs back into action. Breathing exercises will also improve your blood flow and circulation, which will be an immense help in your perpetual battle against fatigue. If you have had one of your lungs removed because of mesothelioma, you might engage in deep breathing techniques for several minutes at a time. As your respiratory system begins to function better, you will find yourself able to perform more of the essential tasks of daily living. By regaining some of your cherished independence, you can also give family members a bit of a break from attending to your needs.

Moderate: Yoga

As your level of fitness continues to make strides, you can eventually move on to yoga, which is considered a moderately strenuous activity. Yoga traces its roots to Eastern philosophical traditions that emphasize the melding of the mind and the body. In addition to increasing flexibility, yoga is also superb for the psyche. In fact, yoga enthusiasts have long found the activity to help with insomnia. If you are still suffering from quite a bit of pain, yoga has a remarkable ability to refocus the mind. Because a cancer diagnosis can also lead to anxiety, you will likely be looking for ways to relax. Yoga, in fact, can actually prevent the release of stress hormones within the body. The activity is excellent for men and women who have been suffering from mental distress.

Advanced: Weight Training

Once you have become a true expert at yoga, you can at last move on to weight training. Because weight training is specifically designed to build muscle mass, individuals who are underweight will likely benefit the most. If you have recently been battling stomach or prostate cancer, then building muscle mass will be especially important to the health of your body. To get started, you might want to join a gym. Most good gyms have a fair number of weight machines that will work well for beginners. Once you’ve become more confident that you are using the proper techniques, you can progress to free weights. By working your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs, you should be able increase cardiovascular health and regain strength that will help you continue your recovery.

As a cancer patient, you should develop an exercise blueprint before you begin any kind of physical activity. By starting with breathing exercises and gradually progressing to yoga and then weight lifting, you can give your body a chance to adapt to each new level of exertion. Exercise can ultimately lead to a renewed passion for life and a closer bond with family members and friends.

My Health Struggles

Wow, it’s been a while since my last blog.  I’ll have to make more of an effort.

I know I’ve blogged before about my health concerns and that I’m a diabetic.  Well, things have been going much better on that front.  Unfortunately I fell off the wagon of not eating bread.  That’s very hard to maintain.  Sandwiches are so easy and convenient.  I still try to regulate and limit how much bread I eat.  Honestly, if I could cut bread out of my diet altogether my health would benefit.

But I’ve had recent good news on my diabetes front.  I recently had my three month fasting sugar test.  My previous number had been 9.2.  But my latest number was down to 6.4.  For those that don’t know, the A1C test monitors how well your body breaks down sugars in your body over a 3 month period.  I believe 6.0 is considered normal.  So my A1C is close to normal.  This doesn’t mean i don’t have to watch what I eat or that I can stop exercising.  But it does mean that I’m doing well in controlling my diabetes. 

Having diabetes is a life-long battle.  But at the moment, I have the upper hand.  The hard part is staying that way.  I’m in it for the long haul.

So what did I do to bring my A1C down?  Well, obviously eating healthier is a big issue.  I still struggle with that.  We eat out a lot.  Too much really.  But I do try to make healthy choices.  Unfortunately when someone else is cooking your food, you don’t always know what goes into it.  Sauces can still be high in carbs and sugar.  Obviously, cooking at home is the best answer.  I need to learn to cook a greater variety of dishes.  But that’s a subject for another blog.

Another thing I’ve been trying to do is get more active.  My wife and I joined a gym.  We try to go more than once a week, but that takes discipline and that’s something we haven’t quite acquired yet. <ahem>

We found an amazing item called an Access bar. We shop with a Wellness company and the Access bar is only available through them.  You eat one fifteen minutes before starting a workout, on an empty stomach, and it helps to give you a more effective workout.  It’s designed to help burn off your fat cells.  It also gives you more energy.  I’m not too sure how the science behind it works, I just know that it works!  The first time I worked out at the gym after eating one of these bars, I spent over an hour on the treadmill, part of that with the treadmill set to a steep incline.  I felt great afterward, and the best thing was I had no aches or pains after the workout, even the next day.

So I’ve made the Access bar part of my workout routine.  As long as it works, I’m going to keep on using it.  Now, if only we could get into the habit of working out more often….