Tag Archive for energy

Getting Healthier in 2011 – October Health Goals

Since starting my “Getting Healthier in 2011″ series, I have accomplished the following goals for my health:

  1. Getting allergies under control – I used to have allergy attacks on a very regular basis.  Now they only come rarely…very rarely!
  2. Lost 10 lbs of body fat, and people are noticing!  Heck yeah!
  3. Elimination of acid reflux symptoms for a year (these recently returned, but more on that below)
  4. Pain management improvement – While I still have some back, shoulder and neck pain, physical therapy and changes in my activity and posture are making a positive difference.

Obviously, coming up with monthly health goals, even when I don’t stick with them as much as I’d like, is helping me to make a positive change in my health and wellness.

What I’m doing for my health right now

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B sup...

Take your vitamins!

I take Vitamin C Supplements on a daily basis in the form of Emergen-C (which also contains B- Vitamins) 1-3 times per day.  That’s 1,000-3,000 mg of Vitamin C every day to boost my immune system, help with allergies and asthma, and assist me with my weight loss goals.

I take Flaxseed Oil on a daily basis containing 1,100 mg of omega 3 fatty acids per day to assist with weight loss and to help boost my mood.  I find it helps when I stick to it, but I don’t always do this.

I take Quercetin (500 mg) daily for allergies and energy in addition to Chaste Tree Berry (400-440 mg) to help with PMS symptoms.  The Chaste Tree Berry definitely makes a huge difference.  The Quercetin helps with my allergies, but I haven’t noticed any difference in my energy.

I have continued taking my prescribed medications including Zyrtec (Cetirizine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine).  I take Nasonex steroid nasal spray as needed for allergies.

I recently increased my dose of Prozac on the advice of my doctor.  However, this change made my symptoms worse, so I’ve reduced my dose back down, and I’m waiting to hear back from my doctor to decide what the next step will be.

Health Goals for October

Don’t gain weight. I’m not going to try to lose weight (maybe I am subconsciously, but it’s not going to be a goal), but I just don’t want to gain any weight back.  I will continue brewing my own coffee at home as much as possible and avoiding Starbucks (I’m there now, but whatever – haha) as much as possible.  A few when I crave it is fine, but mostly, I will make my own coffee and avoid sweets as much as I can.

Young Couple Sleeping

Image by epSos.de via Flickr

Get more sleep. I will go through spurts of getting plenty of rest, but then I stay up late one night and throw off my entire sleep cycle and end up exhausted.  I need to decide on a bed time and stick with it!

Discuss options with doctor to treat dysthymia.  Upping my antidepressant dose hasn’t helped. In fact, it made me worse.  So I need to have a discussion with my doctor on another option and consider seeing a psychiatrist and therapist for better care.

Continue Physical Therapy and do my exercises at home to reduce back, neck and shoulder pain.

Continue taking supplements. Try to take them more consistently and regularly.

Continue prescribed medications.

Go Gluten Free!!!

Chenopodium quinoa

Quinoa - my favorite gluten free grain

Yes. I went gluten free for a couple of week long or 2 week long spurts.  Each time I go gluten free, I feel pretty good.  Once I eat gluten again, my acid reflux returns with a vengeance.   It’s excruciating.

I’ve been gluten free before, and when I was, I didn’t have all the pain and mood issues that I have now. I also didn’t have as many issues with my sinuses.  I was better all around.  It’s time to go back to what worked for me in the past and stop eating gluten and crappy processed junk!

Learn About Mindfulness Techniques

I’m learning a little bit about being mindful. A good friend, who seems to be the most relaxed, peaceful and in tune person I’ve met in my whole life, is helping me a bit with this process. She introduced me to it, and she’s allowed me to borrow some books as well.  This will help me to connect with my thoughts, take control of those thoughts, help me to enjoy my life more fully and reduce my stress.

Don’t Eat the Halloween Candy!!

I think these are good goals for October.  I will add more posts later about going gluten free and mindfulness techniques as I go.

Question:  What are your health and wellness goals for October?  How did you do last month in September?

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Getting Healthier in 2011 – June Health Goal Wrap-up & July Health Goals

drink 3000 mg of emergen-c for vitamin c, energy and improved mood

I love my Emergen-C, and I need to drink it again. It really helps me feel energized and well.

I usually do my wrap-up at the beginning of every month, but here it is, the 12th, and I have yet to do my wrap-up or create new health goals for July.

If my goal is “getting healthier”, then I’m seriously behind this month.  I also seriously lapsed on my June health goals shortly after my grandfather’s death and my sudden trip to Florida for his funeral.  So I haven’t been doing what I should be for my overall health and wellness at all, and I’ve fallen back into bad health habits such as not getting enough sleep and eating poorly.

I also gained weight during the week I was gone for the funeral and helping to take care of my grandmother.  She had a whole tub of ice cream!  She tempted me! It was awful. “It was your granddaddy’s ice cream.  I can’t eat it because I’m a diabetic.”  Oh man…  Oh, and she had these horribly unhealthy but delicious peach beverages that were loaded with corn syrup.  They were so bad for me, but they tasted so good!

I was weak, I know.  I’m sorry.

So, my health goals aren’t really changing for July.  July is basically June…part 2, with the exception of one addition (and a few removals that I know I can’t accomplish right now because it’s just too much).

My addition for July is to learn how to bake a batch of cupcakes using stevia.  I tried it a couple of days ago for my husband’s birthday. Let’s just call it an extreme baking fail for now.  I will post a full article, complete with photos, about the tasteless vegan, sugar free cupcakes I attempted.

I’m not going to try to go gluten free as I had planned, at least not right now.  So that item will be removed from the list.  I’m also going to map out a work-out schedule and attempt to accomplish the fitness goals I have listed below, though I’m not sure they are realistic.  We shall see.

Health Goals for July

  1. Floss daily – I never floss unless something is stuck in my teeth. That has to change.
  2. Take 3,000 mg of Vitamin C daily.  I felt healthier a few years ago when I did this very strictly, as per my Naturopathic doctor’s suggestion, so I’m going back to it to strengthen my immune system, help alleviate allergy issues, and also boost mood and energy.
  3. Take 3,000 mg or more of Omega 3s daily in the form of Flax Oil and Flax Milk to improve mood.  Consider switching from Flax Oil to Krill Oil (the pills are smaller and easier to swallow and each one contains a lot more Omega 3).
  4. Find a good probiotic supplement. I took a powdered probiotic that I got from my Naturopathic doctor a few years ago when I lived in New England. I have never found this probiotic on store shelves.  I either need to buy some from her and have her ship it to me or find one that is just as good or better than the one I used to take.  The probiotic she gave me was exceptional!
  5. Reduce gluten intake. I used to be on a strict gluten free diet.  After moving a couple years ago, though, it was hard to stick with and I haven’t gone back to it.  I think it’s time to do so…in fact, it’s passed time to do it.  I need to dramatically reduce my gluten intake this month, and I’d like to eliminate it by the start of July if possible.
  6. Take at least 400 mg of Quercetin per day (1 pill) for allergies and energy.
  7. Take 440 mg of Chaste Tree Berries per day (1 pill) for PMS symptoms.
  8. Continue taking medications for allergies, back pain and depression (zyrtec, nasonex, muscle relaxer, and prozac).
  9. Drink plenty of water – at least 9-8oz. glass per day minimum.
  10. Go to physical therapy appointments for back pain. Follow the therapist’s instructions at home!
  11. Do light-moderate morning exercises for energy such as a 10-15 minute walk, a 30 minute bike ride, pilates, etc…
  12. Do the heavier work-outs in the evening – 40 minutes a day / 3 days per week on the elliptical machine, treadmill, work-out bike, or Zumba class for weight loss, muscle building, and toning.  Consider running (I hate running, but I want to love it!).
  13. Get plenty of sleep per night.  At least 7 hours of sleep nightly.
  14. Take a multi-vitamin daily and find a new multi-vitamin that is easier to swallow.

I did find a multi-vitamin, though it doesn’t contain iron, which concerns me.

I was drinking plenty of water, but then I got home from my trip and moving from humid Florida back to the desert meant I needed more water and wasn’t getting enough.  My legs have been cramping, and I’m extremely tired from dehydration. I have to get back into the habit of drinking lots of water.

physical therapy

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been going to physical therapy, but I haven’t been doing the stretches as often as I should.   I have not, however, required the muscle relaxers lately and haven’t suffered from severe pain that kept me from going about my day as before.

I’m not sure how to schedule my exercise routines, but as I understand it, the best practice is a light work-out in the morning and a heavier one in the evening.  Not sure how to get that in, but I will see what I can do.

I completely stopped taking the supplements, and I’m getting back into the habit of it.  I need my Omega 3s and Vitamin C!  I feel so much better with it.

Oh, and no…I didn’t floss…at all.  I know!  I know!  *sigh*  I’m working on it.

Question:  What do you do when you fall face first and almost completely fail to reach your health goals?

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Tough Mudders are Bad Ass! — A Memorial Day Post

Tough Mudder Austin 2011

Image by glennharper via Flickr

I’m still all pumped up. The energy at the Tough Mudder event in SoCal was AMAZING!  Tough Mudders are the most bad ass people I’ve ever seen, and I’m proud to say that my husband was among them.

I watched the entire event with our kids while my husband and a couple of his friends joined THOUSANDS of other Tough Mudders in an obstacle course that I at first could only describe as “Completely Insane!”  I was actually quite angry with my husband at first for signing up for such an extreme and intense event, until he told me that the proceeds went to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that gives aid to veterans wounded in combat operations overseas.

I was terrified at first, and I didn’t get why he needed to participate in this obstacle course, based on British Special Forces training.  I was worried about his safety.  But once we got there, the energy in the air from all of the Tough Mudders participating just filled me up with this positive, pumped up energy.  I wanted to run too!

I know my physical health couldn’t have taken such a beating.  It was a 10 mile obstacle course, a lot of it was uphill (and we’re talking steep uphill runs).  My asthma especially couldn’t have handled the part where they run near fire…the smoke inhalation alone probably would’ve put me in the hospital.   And then there’s my back problems…

But as we drove home, which was an especially long drive, I was thinking that I should start training for next year.  Forget trying to just lose weight and get in shape and get healthy.  I want to be a bad ass Tough Mudder like them.  I want to abuse my body and actually accomplish something in the process.  I want to be a Tough Mudder.

Wounded Warrior Project - Supported by Tough Mudders

Wounded Warrior Project - Supported by Tough Mudder

Is it a realistic goal?  I’m not sure.  Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m feeding off of the energy that I got from the event, and it feels really good.  At the very least, the energy in the air and the inspiration I got from all of the Tough Mudders I watched cross the finish line helped me re-realize something about myself that I’ve lost recently with my depression issues – just do it!! No excuses!  Just do it, live it and love it!  Eat better – just do it!  Exercise more – just get up and get it done!  Do what you gotta do because there are people overseas right now who have no choice and are pushing themselves mentally and physically to their limits and then surpassing those limits because there’s nothing else they can do.

Tough Mudders have nothing but my utmost respect.  If you can do that event, I think you can do anything.  And if you can go to war and come home and then go back again and again, well, I just want to shake your hand.

My husband is in the military.  We have not had to endure any deployments in the nearly 13 years he’s been in.  How did this happen? I don’t know. I always considered myself blessed in that, but I think I can do more to show such appreciation, and it begins with me…I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and making excuses and just get out and do it.  I had this energy a year ago, and it disappeared.  Why?  I don’t know.  But it stops now.

Tough Mudders – YOU ROCK!  All of our soldiers fighting overseas – YOU ARE MY HEROES!

What are you doing today? It’s Memorial Day, and for many of you it’s a day off from work, an extra day to go on vacation, and discounts at your favorite stores.  But for soldiers and their families, it’s a day of remembrance for all of the fallen…those who have died in battle, who gave their lives for our country and freedom.  Remember what Memorial Day is really about, and Support Our Troops!

Do you want to participate in Tough Mudder – as a participant, spectator or volunteer? Check out the Tough Mudders site and sign up for an event near you.

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Feeling Tired & Lazy

It’s hit me again, and now I’m not sure what to do. I just want to lie around most of the time and sleep. I don’t know if it’s the depression making me tired or being tired that’s making me depressed.  At this point, it’s just a cycle.  All I have the energy for is to sit on my behind in front of this computer screwing around most of the time.

Why am I so tired? What can I do about it?

I have a doctors appointment the first week of November, but I’m losing the drive to improve my health and my life.  I’m too tired, and chronically so.  This worries me, as it seems a symptom of depression.  When depression gets hold of you, you stop caring.  I feel like I’m just going through the motions most days.

I’m feeling a bit hopeless right now, but I know deep down that it’s just a rut that I’m in, and I can pull myself out of it.  I just need that first big step, or push even, to do it.  I’m just not sure I have it in me right now.

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The Morning Calm – Boosting Mood & Energy

The kids have been total terrors lately.  Constant tantrums, demanding things from me, and just not getting along. Screaming…that’s a big one.

It’s physically and emotionally exhausting.  My energy levels and mood have not been so great lately as a result of this constant barage of mood swings from the kids.

Did I mention they aren’t listening and doing what they’re told either?  Infuriating.

Of course, as a result, with my energy and mood low, I have had some trouble recently getting motivated to do…well, anything.  The dishes piled up, and although I have caught up and the kitchen is clean again, I still have laundry piled up that I cringe at every time I look over at the laundry room, but still can’t muster up the energy to do something about it.

So last night, I dragged my lazy behind upstairs and made myself go to bed, even though I really wanted to watch another episode of Weeds on Netflix.  I set my alarm for 5 AM, and after only hitting the snooze 3 times, I fell out of bed, stumbled down the stairs and went to get on the computer.

But wait…the internet was down. That was probably a good thing.

4 Yoga Poses that will boost your energy naturally

Energize with Yoga - Women's Heath Magazine - womenshealthmag.com

So I went into the fridge, grabbed some cheese and started munching.  I look over at the counter and see the June 2010 issue of Women’s Health I picked up at the grocery story.  I read the cover.  “Instant Energy! Get It – and Keep It All Day Long.”  Oh yeah!  That was why I grabbed it. Duh!

So I opened up to page 60 and saw yoga poses staring at me.  Oh boy. Yoga is hard.  I don’t get that serene feeling other people say they get where they are at-one with the universe and content within their spiritual selves…or whatever New Agey crap people talk about.  All I can think about is, “I really don’t think my body is meant to turn that way…OW!”  Not very calming…no matter how much windy chime harp music may accompany it.

But if the goal here is to boost energy, I’m all for it.  According to the article I read as I munched on my cheese, “studies show that doing yoga reduces fatigue and adjusts the hormone cortisol…”  I’ve heard of cortisol. That’s that stuff some diet freaks were peddling in pills to help people lose weight without dieting. But, I also happen to know it’s something that occurs naturally in the body and is necessary to maintain for good health. Apparently, according to the Women’s Health article, too little cortisol means less energy. Who knew?

The balance required to do these poses does more than just annoy the shit out of you too, according to yoga expert Tara Stiles.  She says that the poses require so much balance and control, it “sharpens your focus”.   And all that breathing you have to do, it oxygenates your body and helps you feel more alert.

So I did all four poses, once on each side (they said 3 on each side, but I literally couldn’t stomach it).  It was very difficult (I’m not as flexible as I was, say, at age 12!), but definitely energizing.  I didn’t feel as grumpy about getting up at 5 am after that, so that’s good, right?

Pick up a copy of Women’s Health, June 2010 issue. It’s on page 60. Try it out and let me know what you think. :)

Or visit Women’s Health Magazine Online for the Energizing Yoga Poses described here.

After my yoga poses, I did a little stretching while reading some more of the magazine articles (I like the one about summer sex, and that explains why I’ve been so “in the mood” lately).  I then mixed my home-made iced coffee (minus the ice, I just refrigerate it), and drank it while I ate a few watermelon chunks.  I was inspired by all the health food articles and photos of fresh vegetables and lean meats.  It’s amazing how advertising affects you. (Ignore the big M when you drive by, Jen. You don’t want that cheeseburger!!)

And now, I’m wrapping up this article.  DS1 is up and slowly pulling himself together while I wrap up this post, so I should pull myself away from this computer and start making some breakfast BEFORE the tantrums start. I’ve had a good morning to myself.  Today should be much better now.

It really makes a huge difference to have that calm, quiet time to yourself in the morning before the kids are up demanding your time and undivided attention.  I recommend setting your alarm for an hour before the kids wake up in the morning.  It really does wonders for the mood.

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