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Low Carb Lifestyle Benefits: By The Numbers

numbersHealth benefits should outweigh (pun intended) vanity for us all when trying to lose weight. I mean, gosh, it really doesn’t matter how good you look, or how thin you are if you’re sick. If you’re life/health are in jeopardy, what’s the point? I know, looking better is big (there’s that word again…) for most of us, but feeling better and knowing that you’re not a ticking time bomb is HUGE!

My health has always been pretty great. With my weight gain though, I was on the verge of Type 2 Diabetes, and was at a fairly high risk, after having gestational diabetes 14 years ago, but other than that? Well, I’m a high-risk for Alzheimer’s too. My grandmothers both had it, and my sweet mom had it too. Considering that research is now tying Alzheimer’s to diabetes, it looks like my health was more dangerously imperiled than I believed. Denial? Oh yes.

I’ll give you a peek at my numbers. Keep in mind that last year, I weighed about 30 pounds more. I’ve been on a low carb, high protein diet for the last 112 days (almost 4 months).

Blood pressure a year ago was 123/81 (pre-hypertensive). Most health care practitioners would say that it was fine. However, I know that for me, that was pretty high and it always shocked me to see it like that. This year my blood pressure was taken after having blood drawn and having been poked TWICE trying to find the proper vein (uh, yes, my blood pressure went up with those sticks thank you very much…), my blood pressure was 119/70. Honestly, it’s consistently 110/70 when there are no needles involved. Awesome.

My total cholesterol which was already in the “ideal range” at 181 last year, is now 153. My only downer was that my good cholesterol dropped slightly too. That, I’m sure is because I’ve done no exercise for the last 3 months because of the knee surgery. That will go up with exercise, I’m sure.

My fasting glucose was below 100 for the first time in years! That’s a good sign too!

My hubby’s cholesterol dropped on his screening too. His is not naturally low like mine, so that makes me super happy! He’s been eating (fairly) low carb with me. He’s not as strict, but he is sticking to gluten-free most often too. We’ve had plenty of red meat and eggs which traditionally were no-no’s. He also adds a lot of naturally cholesterol lowering foods like steel cut oats, grapefruit, extra fiber and  chia seeds. We’re not eating “low” fat either. I guess that we’re living the article I posted a few days ago.

I really hate doing those health screenings for his insurance company. Every year I’ve rolled my eyes and gone in because we save money by doing so. This year, I went in genuinely curious at what my numbers would look like. I was rewarded with big improvements where I didn’t think I needed any (cholesterol) and my health went from a C grade to an A!

I can’t argue with the numbers. Huge strides were made health wise in just four months. And, though I said vanity shouldn’t really matter, we all know it does. I don’t just feel better, I look better in my own healthier skin!

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Inflammation: The Root of All Evil

Dr. Dwight Lundell, M.D
Dr. Dwight Lundell, M.D

A naturopath once said to me, “Inflammation is the cause of most known diseases and ailments. We could prevent almost all of them.” I really wanted to believe her. Who doesn’t want to believe that cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s are easily prevented? Well, it’s hung about in my brain for quite some time now. When I read this article by Dr. Dwight Lundell, M.D. a western medicine heart surgeon, I suddenly felt compelled, and a wee bit embarrassed that I didn’t take the information and run prior to this article, to share.

If you do one thing for yourself today, please read this. If you won’t do it for yourself, please think about someone you know who you couldn’t bear to lose. PLEASE! Share it on Facebook, Tweet, Blog about it. When I started this low carb diet, I noticed HUGE changes almost immediately. My hands weren’t swollen, my face didn’t look puffy, my joints didn’t ache, I have fewer migraines and my blood pressure went down. My blood pressure wasn’t even considered high, though I knew 125/80 was high for my body. I’m at 110/70 now, just about all the time, sometimes less.

My body is ahead of schedule healing from my surgery and I honestly believe my diet changes have made a huge difference. The PT guy was a bit flustered that I could bend my leg equal to my right, and straighten within two degrees of my other. “You don’t really need me,” he said. “Come in once a week for the next two weeks, then we’ll see where we are.”

Here’s the full link to the article, and I’m asking you to read it. Please. Read More At http://www.getholistichealth.com/40505/world-renown-heart-surgeon-speaks-out-on-what-really-causes-heart-disease/

Here’s to our health!!

Day 43.1: Study Says Morning Light Keeps You Slim

Sunrise on Padre Island
Sunrise on Padre Island

Oh, no! This is very bad news because I love my bed. Maybe I need to sleep outside? I really could live out of doors. I love to be outside, I just don’t love getting up early! However, this new study says that people who roll their lazy asses out of bed rise early, and get outside are up to 30 pounds (holy shittakes) lighter. Are you kidding me? Can I possibly become a morning person?

Here’s the article! Check it out.

Anyone want to try to get up earlier with me? I’ll set my alarm for 6:30 for the next week and plan to go outside and enjoy the morning for 30 minutes or so. Challenge anyone? I mean, what have you got to lose, besides precious sleep poundage?? Who’s in?

 

Day 43: You Know You’ve Changed Your Life When…

You get giddy over a new water bottle. What has happened to me? I’m suspicious of plastic. All plastic. BPA free, or not. It’s just a matter of time before we find out that there’s some other chemical in there messing with our bodies — not to mention the mess it’s making of our planet. So, lately, I’ve experimented with a couple of different glass bottles. To be honest, my favorite glass water bottle was, stupidly, left on a tennis court (DOH) at a tournament… (Hey, where I first learned about Ideal Protein…) so it wasn’t a total disaster. I haven’t been able to find another like it. However, while in Colorado, I found this sweet replacement. My only issue is that the drinking hole is small. I have to drink out of it sideways so that air can get in and you don’t create suction. Once I figured that out, I’m very pleased. The other thing I always watch for is a “wide mouth” at the top. Easy to get ice, or scoops of drink mix in.

Don’t be too jealous. Just saying.

Shiner is a bit jealous of my new bottle, but she'll get over it.
Shiner is a bit jealous of my new bottle, but she’ll get over it.

Life Factory‘s even got a line of baby bottles, wine glasses and food storage containers. Check them out!

 

Day 34.1: Garden Tip — Go Native

photo-of-monarch-butterfly-caterpillar_014955
Monarch butterfly caterpillar, how cool is that? Oh and be sure to plant some milkweed!

So, a couple of days ago, I mentioned I wanted to plant a garden. I’m pretty much an earth mama too, buy Organic everything when I can get it so when I read this article on the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center’s FB page about planting native plants around the garden, and how beneficial (with concrete examples) it is, I got quite giddy! The native plants drew the pests away from the garden, and housed pest eaters like wasps and toads!

I’ve been slowly adapting the yard to native plants, but this is incentive. Please go read this article! I think that no matter where you live, you can adapt your plants!

Geez Louise, do we all go through this garden phase when we hit a certain age? Or is it the wisdom that happens to come along at a certain stage in life?

Day 34: I Never Thought I’d Say This, But…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vamcmag/I think that I want to plant a garden. (GASP), yes, I know. I am a self-professed veggie avoider, but believe it or not, the past 34 days have changed all that. In fact, I’m thinking about roasted okra right now, but I’d have to go to the store. What if I could just walk outside and pick some off the plant? That would be super cool. I’ve got to do a lot of research, but here’s what I think I’d like to grow: okra, tomatoes (big and tiny), lettuce, cabbage, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, corn, green onions, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Hmmm, might have to plant some beets for the hubby.

Wow, that’s plenty. And it’s pretty much all I eat so far in the veggie realm.

Anyone have a garden? Is it really tough? What’s your favorite thing to grow?

Day 31: Finding Inspiration

Id-rather-be-strong-thanHaving been an athlete all my life, I’ve never been one who wanted to look like a model, well, maybe once in a while I longed for longer legs. Yes, they’re considered beautiful by most of the world, but I always see them as fragile and sort of useless. Yes, you look pretty, but what do you do? These days, they’re definitely not what they seem, (f’ing Photoshop) and the whole industry is insulting to real women and damaging to young girls. Boys are looking for perfection and all of society measures worth against these ‘pictures’.

No, that’s not even slightly interesting to me. In fact, it’s disgusting. Let’s get real.

So, after I read my friend Fattie No More’s ideas on “thinspiration” I thought that it would be a great time to really think about mine.

There are so many people in this world that inspire me! Maybe I’m just easy (grin) but I can find inspiration just about anywhere. What about body image though? What’s my goal? What bodies do I find beautiful, useful and healthy looking? Not surprisingly, they’re athletic types. Oh, (Squirrel!) have you checked out ESPNs The Body Issue? Wow! My husband sent me a link a few years ago and not only is the photography beautiful, but those athletes… wow. That’s inspiring. Do yourself a favor and take a look!

Now, at 47, will I ever have a “Body Issue” athletic body? Bawhahahaha, hell, no. (Sorry, honey!) I do, however, want to be lean and strong again. Here’s a promise, if I ever look like those guys, I will hire a photographer and do my own shoot. I’ll post those here. Don’t hold your breath.

One company that does a great job, and uses real women as models is Title Nine. What I enjoy about it is they tell you about their model athletes. They even have a page where you can read each one’s story. There’s even a link for you to apply! Yes, all these women are lean, and pretty, but they’re real and they’re athletes. They’re not twigs! You see them surfing, biking, rock climbing… to me, it’s inspiring. I feel like I’d like those people. I’d wanna hang out and go biking, or play volleyball, or try surfing!

My husband once said while I was standing in the kitchen in my tennis skirt, “Now, that’s what a leg should look like, the line of the quad defined and the curve of the hamstring…” OH MY GOSH. Another time, during the middle of a grueling Adventure Race he was mountain biking behind me and on an uphill he said, “Your calves are awesome.” (It’s quite possible he wanted to give me a boost of adrenaline to make it up that danged hill… nah, they were awesome!) Now, THAT’S inspiring. That’s all I need. That’s what I’m shooting for.

BOOM. That’s my inspiration. I wanna be me. Me of my athletic past, bad-ass, but not half-assed… or wide assed! (snort)

What inspires you?

30 Flippin’ Days: Thorns and All

thornsI remember day freaking 3 of this thing. I truly believed that I would lose my absolute stuffing because this diet completely sucked. I was a big, bad, ball of bitch, remember that? I was hatin’ life, my body, my predicament. I was massively pissed off at the world including you, no doubt.  I had veered off my path. I’d taken the wrong fork, (okay too many forks, obviously) and had ended up trashing my athletic body and drowning my own spirit in flab I couldn’t own. So when I started this journey, for the bajillionth time, I knew it would be a path with thorns. It would be rocky and ugly. It would take perseverance and swallowing my pride instead of queso! It would make me cry, and curse and rant! It would make me bleed.

Anger, humiliation, pissed-offedness was the best I could muster. Not like me at all, honestly. I’m pretty much a cup-half full of vodka kind of person. Somehow, somewhere something happened. I had help, I had support, and I had sense of team. It almost felt like a competition. Something had turned my competitive spirit, my “let’s just finish this adventure race” stubborn-ness that used to alternatively make my husband proud, and scare the shit out of him when we adventure raced together as Team Craic— that same set of my jaw, furrowed brow and the “oh this is on mofo” look that let him know I would finish that damned race if I had to do it on my hands and knees. No broken limbs, blood and/or rattlesnakes would not stop me. I’d be damned if I’d let that race beat me.

This one either.

So, here I stand at the 30 day mark. It’s like knowing you’ve got miles and miles to go before you find that next check point, not to mention the finish line. But here we are, standing at the top of a long-ass, up-hill mountain bike leg. I made it to the top. I’m gonna stand and take it in from this vantage point. I’m gonna admire the view. I’m gonna take a long hard look across that valley at my next check point. Tomorrow, I’ll start heading to CP2. In 30 days, I can stand up there and look back here. I can admire this view, and look out toward CP3.

Oh, it is so ON mofo! Team Craic will be back!

Team Craic - Rattlesnake Racing Adventure Race circa 2004
Team Craic – Rattlesnake Racing Adventure Race circa 2004
Team Craic River Crossing
Team Craic River Crossing, Yes that is a tiara on my helmet.

30 Day Stats:

-16.8 pounds, -3 inches chest, -2.5 inches waist, -1″ hip, -2″ quad, -3% bodyfat

Day 23.2: Trail Zen For Your Day

So, in celebration of the smaller monkey, I decided to hit the trail and find some happy peace among the birds, bees, flowers and Momma Nature. It was so lovely. Just me and them.

Here’s a wee bit of Zen for your busy day!

Happy Trail
Happy Trail

Trail Music!

 

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