Tag Archives: health

My Gluten-Free Experiment

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I debated whether or not to share this online, but I thought my experience might help other women, so be warned that this is of a highly feminine and personal nature (men may want to just ignore this post).  

This wasn’t my first time to eliminate a food from my diet.  While nursing my first daughter (second child), I quit eating tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers (the nightshade family) because these foods in my breast milk irritated her stomach.  If you know me at all, you will understand how difficult this was for me.  I LOVE spicy foods.  I add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, salsa, jalapeños, and/or Ro-tel to almost everything I eat.  However, it was worth it to avoid the awful blowouts, ruined outfits, and smelly diapers.  

After I had the twins, we quickly realized that one of them had an intolerance to dairy in my milk, so I eliminated dairy for several months.  This was not as hard for me as the previous exclusions had been (except for the ice cream!).  I learned how to cook with coconut oil, almond milk, coconut milk, etc., and it was completely beneficial for everyone.  My baby was able to sleep and so were we.  

Eliminating gluten came in a round-about way.  A few years ago (while not consuming dairy and for awhile after), I had a weird, mild stomach pain that didn’t seem to be connected to anything I ate.  I saw my physician who ordered an ultrasound to check my gallbladder, even though my symptoms weren’t consistent with gallstones (no sharp pains, no nausea, not occurring after eating fatty foods, etc.).   The ultrasound showed two small stones, and my doctor wanted me to schedule surgery.  I’m a firm believer in keeping the body parts God gave me unless absolutely necessary, so I opted to change my diet and not undergo surgery.  The pain eventually stopped occurring, and I was glad I didn’t have surgery.  

Ever since I had my first daughter, I have had very heavy menstrual cycles.  So heavy on a couple of the days that I felt I couldn’t leave the house.  I was in the restroom every thirty minutes, and even then I might have to change clothes.  I discussed this with my OB/GYN, and my options were limited to some sort of birth control, which I did not want to use since I had my tubes tied after the twins were delivered.  I just dealt with it each month.  I tried various essential oils with mild effects.  I returned to my OB/GYN to discuss ablation or any other option.  She refused to perform an ablation on me because I’ve had multiple pregnancies, and the risks for me outweigh the benefits.  She informed me that I needed to take action because I would end up in the hospital from losing too much blood one of these days.  (My periods would last at least a week, and then I would have a couple of dry days before bleeding again for a couple of days.)  My doctor prescribed the low dose pill for me to try for a few months, starting mid-February, and the pill definitely did lighten my cycles.  

I spent all day on April 13th preparing food for our annual Easter egg hunt on Good Friday.  I made a lot of foods that contain gluten, and I sampled them throughout the day.  By that evening, I was having severe pain in my abdominal area and had trouble sleeping all night.  The next day, the pain continued to increase until my back hurt as well.  I was tempted to go to the ER, but the pain stopped by bedtime Friday night.  I decided Friday morning that I would eat clean for a few days in case it was a gluten issue or a gallbladder issue.  I did some research on both and discovered that birth control pills can contribute to gallbladder disease, so I quit taking those as soon as I finished the last two active pills.  I also read that gluten can contribute to menstrual problems, so I decided to conduct an experiment.  I would eliminate gluten for a few months and see if anything changed.  I visited my physician on Monday to make sure I didn’t need to have any tests run or anything.  He supported my decision to eliminate gluten.  

Three months and four cycles later, I am pleased to report that my experiment has been successful.  I figured the first two cycles would be lighter because I had been on the pill, so I continued to eliminate gluten to see what would happen.  While I still have one heavy day during each cycle, I only need to visit the restroom every two hours on that day, which is a vast improvement for me.  My cycle is also much shorter, lasting about five days, but the best thing is not having any bleeding between cycles.  I am planning to continue to eat gluten-free indefinitely.  I will visit with my OB/GYN on Monday and share my findings with her.

As I said when I began this post, I’m hoping my experiences will help other women who have similar issues.  It is not easy to cook without gluten, certainly not for my family, but it is possible.  Even though I struggled when I eliminated the nightshade family and later dairy, those were easier for me because I knew I only needed to do it for a short time (less than a year).   Not having an end in sight makes this elimination more daunting.  However, a friend told me that she allows her daughter to have gluten occasionally without her daughter experiencing symptoms.  She said it takes five days to get it out of her system, so I allowed myself to eat some cheesecake last weekend when my husband and I had a rare date night.  I don’t think the small amount of flour in the crust will have any adverse effects on my next cycle, but I guess that is to be determined.

Let me know if you have experienced similar issues or if you have some great gluten-free recipes.  I’d love to hear from you!  I have been experimenting with gluten-free flours and pastas, but I’m always willing to try something new.  

First Goal Exceeded!

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First Goal Exceeded!

I am so excited about beating my weight loss goal of five pounds for August!  After a rough two weeks with no loss, I buckled down the last 10 days of the month and started really watching what I ate.  It paid off more than I expected. 


Since August 1st, I have lost 5.8 pounds.  I have lost 1.5 inches on my waist at my belly button and 1.25 inches on my waist at its narrowest, 3/4 inch on my hips, 1/2 inch on each thigh, and 3/8 inch on my upper arm.  I gained 3/8 inch on my calf unfortunately. 


I can’t tell much difference between my photos a month ago and today.  My kids took the photos, so it was hard to get the exact same angle.  My son said my butt looked smaller, and I agree, but it could just be the different angle.  The capri pants I wore yesterday were hanging about three inches too low by the end of the day, so I have definitely lost inches.  It’s wonderful to see some progress.  Just 14 pounds to go!


If you are taking this weight loss journey with me, let me know how you did for August.  Let’s encourage each other to continue moving more and eating less. 

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

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If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

I get so frustrated when I wake up early to work out and my little girls get up before I can finish or, sometimes, even start working out.  Today was one of those mornings.  I woke up at 6:00 am and got ready to work out.  I remembered that I needed to post an answer key for my students’ weekend homework, and while I was doing that, I heard a little voice yelling for me.  She woke her sister, and neither one of them would go back to sleep because they were hungry.  I don’t understand how they can be hungry before the sun rises after eating dinner at 9:00 pm the night before, but I gave them each a bowl of cereal, thinking I could still work out while they were eating.  They saw their “thumbs up” coloring sheets (from gymnastics) on the table and asked for crayons so they could color them.  After last week’s crayon catastrophe (see photos below), I wasn’t about to leave them alone with crayons.  

Little Sister said she was trying to draw circles on the floor.


I made her pose with her “artwork”.

She said she drew a butterfly on this wall.

It took her a long time, but she was able to remove most of the crayon off the floors and baseboards by herself. The walls had to be repainted, and my husband spent awhile working on the grout in the kitchen.

So I stayed in the kitchen and put away dishes, started working on our September menu, and ate breakfast.  Then, the girls wanted to go outside, and after a few minutes, they asked if we could go for a walk, which means they ride their bicycles while I jog along beside them and then push them up hills and over all bumpy, rocky, and uneven areas.  I get a good workout doing this, so we went for a “walk” for about 30 minutes.  

They took their babies along for the ride.


We need to work on losing the training wheels, so I don’t have to stop and push them every time they get stuck. Big Brother rode without training wheels at 4 years and 3 months. Big Sister rode without them at 4 years and 11 months. Three years and six months might be a little early, but I may try it when it gets a little cooler.  

After our “walk”, I was not as grumpy as I was earlier this morning.  I felt that if I made the effort to get up early, I should have been able to work out.  I need to remember when I can’t beat them in the mornings, I should just let them join me in exercising.  It’s definitely better than not exercising at all.  

Weekends, Working Out, and Weighing In

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Our family calendar is set up with weeks beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday, but I prefer to think of Monday as the beginning of my week.  My kids have Daily Checklists that start on Monday, I start reciting my weekly Bible verses on Monday, the workweek begins on Monday, etc.  I think of the weekend as a unit, not as Saturday belonging to the past week and Sunday belonging to the next week.  Therefore, I usually plan to start new things on Monday.  However, I weighed and posted my weight-loss goals last Tuesday and started working out on Wednesday.  I’m looking forward to beginning August on a Monday and continuing to work on my goals.  I have resisted weighing myself since Tuesday because I know weight fluctuates, and I don’t want to be discouraged by weighing too often.  I plan to weigh every Monday morning and share my progress.

Many of you replied here or on Facebook that you were committing to get in shape with me, and I hope you will share what you are doing to get healthy and your success stories as they come.  The scale isn’t the only measuring tool for success, so be sure to take some measurements to compare later.  I measured my waist at its narrowest, my waist at my belly button, my hips, my right thigh, my right calf, and my right upper arm.  These are the areas in which I am hoping to lose significant inches.

I challenged a few friends to a “Weekend Warrior” competition on Fitbit to see who could take the most steps this weekend.  Without this challenge, I doubt I would have gotten up to work out this morning, but my competitive streak won.  I’m currently in the lead, but my friend Sherry and I have been neck and neck all weekend.  She has pushed me to keep moving all day!  I hope your weekend is going well.  If not, tomorrow starts a new week.  Set some goals and track your progress. 

Support = Success

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Support = Success

I’m overwhelmed by the positive responses from my post yesterday.  Thank you for all the advice and support!  It’s wonderful to know I’m not alone in this struggle.  I’m thankful for those of you who have said you will work on losing weight with me.  


I wrote that my goal was to lose five pounds in August, but I started eating less and moving more yesterday.  With your support, I was able to keep my calories under 1800 and meet my step goal of 10,000 steps.  I got up at 5:15 this morning and worked out on the elliptical and started four 30 Day challenges (push-ups, planks, leg raises, and crunches).  I wore my Fitbit on the elliptical, so I’ve already met my step goal for today.  Woohoo!


I made more zucchini bread this afternoon, and it was difficult for me not to eat some bread fresh from the oven, but I wanted to make sure I have enough calories after I eat dinner.  Speaking of dinner, I have been working on my meal plan for August to make sure I’m prepared for dinner each evening because eating out is not only high in calories but terribly expensive for our family of six.  I will share my meal plan once I have it ready, but I want to encourage you to plan ahead too.  

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/gal.6.9.niv

A Weighty Matter

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A Weighty Matter

I have been debating whether or not to share this with everyone, but I need some accountability, and I think being honest with you about my weight will push me to finally lose the extra pounds I have put on over the last five years.


I have never before in my life weighed this much unless I was pregnant or postpartum, but I have been stuck at this weight for a few months now, and the twins are three years old.  I used to run or work out on our elliptical several days a week and got down to my lowest adult weight of 122 pounds in late 2010, but I let the weight sneak back on until I weighed 135 pounds in 2012.  Then I found out I was expecting twins, and I had to stop all exercise except walking.  I grew lazy, and then having twins changed everything.  I am a stress eater, and having four kids is stressful.  A trip to the store with all of them warrants a treat, right?  I’m trying to work out and lose weight, but I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed at 5:00 am or the self-control to eat less.   I need a challenge, competition, and/or accountability, so here I am laying it all out there.  Someone, please challenge me or hold me accountable.  My goal is to lose five pounds a month in August, September, October, and November.  Would any of you like to join me?

My fitness plan:

  • work out on our elliptical at least three days a week
  • use my 30 Days app to challenge myself to complete crunches, push-ups, leg raises, and planks
  • wear my Fitbit and take at least 10,000 steps a day

My nutrition plan:

  • eat less than 1800 calories a day
  • track food eaten throughout the day
  • drink at least 72 ounces of water a day


I had my oldest daughter take photos of me this morning in tighter clothing than I feel comfortable in, but I’m hoping they will show the changes in my body as I lose weight and get in shape.  My main complaint is my belly, but I need to slim down everywhere and tone my muscles.  I will post photos to show my progress as I change my lifestyle to become healthier.   
If you would like to join me on this journey, please comment and let me know.  It will help me stay motivated if I know I’m not alone.

My Starting Weight ~ July 26, 2016

New Year, New You?

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  I never have before, but I decided that I would floss my teeth every day in 2016.  I know that’s a seemingly small thing, but it makes my bedtime routine that much longer.  However, I know it’s good for my health, so I’m working on consistency and haven’t missed a day so far.  

I also decided that I would work out every day, even if it was just for five to ten minutes.  I must admit that I have already failed at this one, but I have been much more active this month.  My mom gave me a Fitbit for Christmas, and we have been challenging each other to meet our step goals.  This past week, I challenged the four friends on my list who always have the most steps for the past seven days to a “Workweek Hustle”.  I amazed myself by taking over 18,000 steps on Monday and again on Tuesday!  Obviously, I am highly motivated by competition.  

  
I woke up at 4:30 or 5:00 am each morning to work out on our elliptical, and I tried to stay moving throughout the day.  I had gained a pound earlier in the month and lost that pound this past week, so I am challenging those same friends to another “Workweek Hustle” and hope to lose another pound this coming week.

  

Yesterday, I completed a burpee challenge and a sit-ups (crunches) challenge using a free 30 Days app.  I had never done burpees before, but I ended the challenge with a set of 29!  Crunches are easier for me, and I ended that challenge with 126.   I have already completed the starting tests for my February challenges:   push-ups and sit-ups (crunches).

As this first month of the new year comes to a close, I have been reflecting on what I have accomplished in January. I have been trying to eat less and move more, but the scale doesn’t show any weight loss. Fortunately, I don’t rely solely on my weight to determine my progress. In the last month, I have lost an inch on my waist and 3/4 of an inch on my hips. I know I could have lost more if I would have eaten less, and that will be my focus in February. It will be difficult with four birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and two banquets, but I am determined to lose at least four pounds in the month of February.   

What are you doing to be healthy?