Posted in Diet

My Spring Break

I have made no progress in this venture. I think the problem is that I don’t seem to care anymore. And I don’t care about not caring either.

I have been really busy with this new job (school bus driver). I’m pretty sure that I like the job enough to keep it for a while. It wears me out though because I have to be up before the kids who ride the bus. So I’m up around 4 a.m.

I don’t know what bearing this has on me eating right. It would be just another excuse I suppose.

This morning I am emerging from a week with the worst cold I have ever experienced. And as luck would have it, it was Spring Break for the schools I serve. I wanted to enjoy the break just like the kids. Instead, I lay on the couch or in bed struggling to stay alive. At least, that’s what it felt like.

It began with a cough on Friday evening. Saturday, I was down for the count. I was in pain all over, sneezing, chilled to the bone and wishing I could be someone else until this thing was over.

And for the cherry on top of it all, yesterday I discovered I somehow got Thrush, a fungal infection which babies usually get. At least that’s what I hope it is. I’m not accepting anything else! It is very painful. It’s no wonder that babies scream when they have it.

So, tomorrow is the end of my break. I didn’t have any fun.  I’m back to work Monday morning. I’m not even gonna pretend that I intend to try to get back on track with diet or exercise because I just don’t care at the moment. Just glad I didn’t die this week.

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Posted in Health

My Makeover

What exactly is a makeover anyway? What exactly should I be trying to achieve? Am I trying become a skinny person? I don’t think that is actually going to happen. I think I love food too much, and that includes all the ones that are supposed to be terrible for you.

I think maybe I am, or maybe should be, trying to simply develop a healthier attitude about foods in general. I still like the Ketogenic diet. It is easy to follow and a fairly healthy way of eating. However, I find that I am prone to taking advantage of the higher fat intake with the wrong kinds of fat. I have been doing better with that part. This year so far I am mostly overdoing it with the carbs. As you may know, the ketogenic diet is low carb by design.

I don’t ever remember being especially concerned about my appearance when it came to weight. However, before I turned 40 I had never been heavier than 185 – 195 pounds. When I turned 40 things just seemed to slow down; my metabolism, my running speed, and my energy level went way down. I got out of the Navy when I was 44. I feigned injury to get out of my final Physical readiness test (PRT). I would have probably hurt myself doing it anyway.

So when I began writing this blog I had just had my 50th birthday in March. The month I started writing (Sept), is the month my Mom died. She was my best friend. Nothing could have prepared me for such a loss. I was, and am, affected deeply by this event. I think sadness sometimes has a lot to do with the way we eat. Some of the times I ended up eating when I’m not hungry are times I thought to pick up the phone and call my Mom, having forgotten for a fraction of a second that she is gone. There are, of course, other triggers. I think this is what is meant by emotional eating. Everyone probably does it.

As far as controlling weight gain I believe exercise is half of the equation, but sometimes injuries can keep that from happening. I have had a lower lumbar fusion, two levels. I have had the same type of surgery on my neck, level C6. The one thing I am never without is physical pain. My doctors always ask me what my pain level has been between visits (1-10). Mine is always between 5 & 10. Most days it is around 8.

So, I don’t know what kind of a makeover am trying to achieve or could expect. I once thought that if I lost weight maybe my pain level wouldn’t be so high. I’m not sure I believe that anymore, mainly because I don’t think I will ever lose enough weight, but also because degenerative disc disease is, well, degenerative. So, a makeover I may need or want, but, I don’t know what that actually means.

Maybe, in the beginning, I wanted to prove I could lose a lot of weight, and be able to post before and after photos. Now I don’t care about that part of it. Some days I just want to feel sane or normal and feel good physically. Maybe I suffer depression. I don’t know. Perhaps a makeover of the mind is in order.

So, I don’t know what a makeover means for me. I will always try to watch my weight. At my age its a sensible thing to do. I want a healthy mind and emotions. Maybe when that happens (and I believe it will) I will have a better relationship with food, or a healthier one anyway.

Posted in Diet

Perseverance

Well, it’s a new week and a new chance to get on track. I have been struggling since the beginning of the year with my diet, but I am determined to succeed. Besides, my ultimate health would be better if I do succeed and that is very important to me.

I have had an upset stomach for a few days because I have been completely off the diet. I think I have completely exhausted all of my off limit foods now, including the beer in my frig. I am down to only what I need for my diet again. I’m sure my stomach will be grateful in a few days. I will also go grocery shopping later today to get anything I am lacking.

This week I will get back into my walking routine again. It has been about a month (maybe two) since I’ve done it. It had been difficult because of my back. I have been receiving injections for pain in the last 3 weeks. They have helped a little but not a whole lot.

Sometimes I think there is no reason to try to continue because of my physical ailments.  But I guess my instincts to fight kick in and I keep trying. I guess that’s just human, the desire to persevere. In my case, I feel like I’m trying beat insurmountable odds. Maybe I am.

Posted in Diet

Discouraged

When I woke up today my right arm was almost completely asleep, and it hurt. No, I didn’t sleep on it. I sleep on my back. My neck and back are in such a condition that if I remain in one position for too long nerves are pinched and maybe even blood circulation diminished.

For the past several weeks I have been receiving injections in my lower back to help with pain. I don’t think I am going to continue. They have not helped. In some ways, it seems to have made things worse. I think stretching, exercise (whatever I can do) are the best courses to take.

I have posted any new pictures of my progress for a while. That is because I am not progressing, but regressing. My diet is suffering. I don’t know why I am having so much trouble staying on. Last year when I began it seemed so easy. Now I can’t seem to last more than a couple of weeks.

I still have a mind to keep fighting but is seems so hard now. I am somewhat discouraged by my pain. Sometimes I can’t rid my mind of thoughts that I may be in a wheelchair at some point before I’m old enough to be thinking about it. Quite frankly, it scares me. I don’t know how to go forward.

I would appreciate any ideas, prayers, or whatever.

Posted in Diet, pain

Ridiculous Pain

I have just spent the last 4 days in the most ridiculous pain. And I am pretty sure it was because of the foods I have been eating since the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I have consumed copious amounts of high carb and sugary foods.

Eating that way I believe that I caused enough inflammation in my body to cause significant pressure on the sciatic nerve on both sides of my body. The pain was almost unbearable in both legs. I didn’t sleep for nearly three days or nights.

The pain has now subsided. It only took about 36 hours or so of near-fasting. And today I have barely had any carbs, and no sugar whatsoever. I don’t really know how much this has actually affected my inflammation, or maybe it is coincidental, but I feel 100% better.

I have come to expect pain because of aging, and especially the degenerative disc disease. The last few days have made it clear that I should work very hard to avoid eating foods that would do me harm no matter how boring it can be.

I just find myself with an overwhelming desire to eat something processed (bread, cake, pie etc.). And if I don’t have it in the house I’ll run out to store and get it. Shameful I know. It’s the truth though.

So, needless to say, I have not been that successful during this first month of the year. I haven’t given up though. I can’t.  Eating the wrong crap makes me feel like..well, crap. Wish me better success. And if you feel so inclined, pray for me.

Posted in Diet, Health, pain

Still More Pain

The pain in my neck is increasing still. I made another appointment with the surgeon who performed my surgery. The medication I am taking does n0t stop my pain, but, makes me pretty dizzy; hydrocodone.

The surgery was supposed to  relieve neck pain but it seems to have made it worse. It was the same with my lower back. I don’t know why I keep listening to these doctors. I can promise you though, I have had my last spinal surgery.

If this pain ever goes away I will not complain about any other pain that may come, at least not to a doctor. I don’t think I can take another pain increase.

Posted in pain

Increasing Pain

A few mornings ago, just before waking up, I found myself in sleep, praying for death because of the pain in my lower back. I have only prayed for death one other time, which I will not tell about.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been experiencing a lot of pain in my back. It hurts worst in the morning when I first wake up. It hurts throughout the night which is why I don’t get much sleep because I’m constantly waking up and changing positions. But then at some point, I get so tired that I do actually fall into a deeper sleep and don’t move for a long while. That’s what causes the most pain.

I have had a Tempur-pedic mattress which did not help much. I now have a Sleep number bed, and it is no more help. I’m not saying that these are not good products. I’m saying my condition has become more than a good bed can help.

I don’t know what else I can do. Pain meds don’t seem to help, so I don’t them very much. Needless to say, again, pain has slowed my efforts in the gym. However, at least this time I am eating better. I can also still walk without much difficulty.

 

Posted in pain, surgery

Surgery Update

I am in recovery. My surgery went well but I have a really sore throat. It will be that way for a few days I suppose.

They gave me good pain medication when I first woke up, Percocet. They have now switched to Neurontin which is non-addictive, and not as strong. So it takes a little longer to work, but it does.

Dr. Highsmith seems to think the surgery went very well and that I should have some relief from my neck pain. He also said that my grip was very much stronger than it was before, since the nerve is no longer being pinched.

Once I am healed I should be able to go back to lifting heavier weight at the gym.
Overall I think it went much better than my lower back surgery in 2010. And I think it will heal more quickly.

I have not eaten for nearly 33 hours. And though I am not hungry at the moment, I suspect in about an hour or so I will be extremely hungry, because they have stopped my IV, and I am up and about.

If I don’t eat here at the hospital before being discharged this morning, I will most certainly stop and waffle house and have some scrambled eggs and sausage. That is, if I can swallow it.

Posted in Diet, Health, pain

Surgery

I am scheduled for surgery on June 13. It will be to repair a herniated disc in my neck. They will cut a hole in the front of my neck, move my throat to one side, and take the disc out, add an implant, and close.

Sounds easy enough but, as I found out with my back surgery, nothing is easy. My back surgery recovery was supposed to be about 8 weeks.  It turned out to be closer to 8 months, and I still experience pain from it to this day.

I’m not expecting it to be easy this time either. I’m not really looking forward to it.  However, it is necessary because the disc is pressing against a nerve, which is causing some weakness and numbness in the left side of my body.

On the right side of my neck is a bone spur, which is causing pain. This will also be repaired. I really hope this surgery relieves some of that.

I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, so, it may not be my last time in surgery. I guess that’s assuming I survive this one.

Anyway, I am still losing weight. The diet is still going well. I’m looking forward to more progress.

Posted in Fitness

First Day Back at the Gym!

On Wednesday I went to the gym for the first time in nearly two years. Two summers ago my shoulders began to hurt. So much so, I ended up doing 6 weeks of physical therapy.  I had never injured my shoulders before that, ever. I had not put together a possible reason for the pain until I was in the gym Wednesday.

I had an MRI about a month ago and, the results showed that I have a ruptured or bulging disc in my neck, which is pressing against a major nerve to my left shoulder, arm, and hand.

Two summers ago during some of my workouts I experienced weakness in my left arm and hand. It was sudden and happened multiple times. I had no idea what was causing it. Like an idiot I kept working out like that, probably over compensating for the weakness, injuring my shoulders.

I did’t feel any weakness today. I was only using very light weight. But, I could feel the pressure in the area where the doctor told me the bulge had happened. Only then did I realize that this is probably what caused the weakness I felt two years ago. I will probably end up having surgery some time this summer. I don’t want to, but, what ever was going on two summers ago may happen again if I do not.

Other than that realization Wednesday I had a pretty good workout. I did some chest work, shoulder work, and upper back. Then I did a forty minute cardio workout on the elliptical machine.

I have to say that I was surprised by the amount of energy I had for cardio. Usually there is that sick feeling I get when I first begin, and once I push past that I can go on to finish the workout. Today however, even though I was expecting that sick feeling, it never happened. I had full energy from the start. No nausea. No hard time getting started. Just GO!

The only thing different is the diet. Not burning glucose (sugar) in the beginning; Burning fat! The Ketogenic diet is crazy. I am absolutely amazed. Its almost too good to be true, but it is!


Workout:

Strength Trainging
4 sets dumbbell chest press
4 sets lat pulldowns
4 sets military press

Cardio/Elliptical
40 minutes
2.59 miles
413 calories burned