Category Archives: Health

Back Pain Update

For those of you who care, and for those of you who are going through the same thing, I thought I should update everyone on my back pain situation.

First of all, I have bad genetics when it comes to my spine. It seems that everyone in my family has some sort of Degenerative Disc Disease. I thought that I was preventing damage to my back by being active and athletic, but it seems that my attempts to prevent back pain may have advanced it faster than anyone else in my family. (This is speculation, since I have not had any type of annual x-rays of my spine; however, it explains a lot, as you shall see).

I have had issues with slipped discs in the past but the worst days I had I just missed a day or two of work or school. Two years ago I had a “flair up” of Sciatica (your disc is out of place and putting pressure on your sciatic nerve, causing pain, numbness, or tingling in the back of your leg and/or buttock). I had x-rays done but no one really told me what the results of the x-rays were. It got better on its own, and doing some Googling I learned a few exercises to do to help out my back. I was fine for 2 years.

Then, April 2014 I did a super intense Cycling class. I was so proud of myself. I had whipped my own butt in class so bad, that I was feeling my sciatic swelling up again. Whoops, I thought. Better ice it down and relax for a couple days.  Except I know that the best way to fix it is to work your abs and back to strengthen your core and push your disc back into place where it isn’t pushing on anything it ins’t supposed to. So I continued to work out, lifting weights that were heavy but being careful not to throw my body around like I see some people do at the gym, that makes my body hurt just watching them, sure that they are going to have a tendon shoot out of their arm and across the gym at any second…too graphic? Sorry. Anyway, I was about to go on vacation to Yellowstone National Park, so I wanted to be as healthy as possible. I was convinced that if I just strengthened everything before I went that my back would be better before we left.

What I should have done was very different. I should have let my back rest. Since you use your back for everything, using it extra while it’s swollen makes things worse. Not better. So while I thought I was doing good for myself, I was preventing it from healing.

I hate going to the doctor. Half the time they tell you what you already know. Other times you get better right after you saw them, and there wasn’t a point to going in the first place. So I avoided going to the doctor until we were 2 weeks away from our vacation. I realized I had to do something, but I didn’t just want a prescription for pain meds like I have gotten in the past – they didn’t help anything. So I went to a chiropractor instead. I had never been before so I thought I would give it a try. I felt great for the first few minutes after my sessions, but then everything felt like it was compressing, and started to hurt again.

I ran out of time before we went on vacation, but I was NOT about to cancel. My back wasn’t THAT bad, I kept telling myself.  Every day on the trip my back got worse and worse. In order to get out of the car, I would open the door, put out my legs, grab the roof of the car, and lift/swing my body out, and then slowly stand up. Each time the process took longer and longer. Until about Day 5 when I couldn’t stand it anymore. While watching wild wolves and talking to fellow photographers, I couldn’t enjoy what I was doing because I was in so much pain. I was practically cross-eyed with pain. I told Hubby we had to go to the doctor’s office in the park and we headed north toward the Mammoth Clinic. I even tried to get out of the car on our way there, to get some pictures of black bears on the side of the road, but I couldn’t handle it. The doctor wrote me a couple prescriptions for muscle relaxers and pain meds, but they didn’t do anything except knock me unconscious for the next 3 days. Our flight home was terribly painful, and stopping at every red light on the drive home was torture. Lovely, huh?

After a few more days of pain meds and rest with icing my back in between, I ended up going to the doctor and having some x-rays done again. While I was there, the doctor looked at my old file from 2 years before when I had x-rays done the first time. She showed me that I had scoliosis. Now, I know this is not an uncommon thing, but I was never told I had scoliosis. She also told me that I had severe arthritis which was causing constriction on my spinal cord. Questions running through my mind at this time: Has my back been crooked the whole time? Is it going to get worse? Am I ever going to be pain free again? Do I need surgery?! Needless to say, I freaked out a bit.

She wrote me another prescription for pain meds that didn’t do anything, and told me to see a specialist. I waited a couple weeks to see if my back would just get better on its own, and it did a little but not much.  He took more x-rays, and had some good news and some bad news. Good news was, my “scoliosis” was nothing to worry about. More than likely it was just caused by my pain – I couldn’t lie straight down on the x-ray table because I was in pain, so that was as straight as I could make my back without crying. Awesome!  Except, his bad news scared me even worse. He showed me my x-ray and said that I have practically no disc left between three of my lower vertebrae. I don’t have a swollen, bulging disc like I thought, I have multiple compressed discs which are pushing on my sciatic. Now, I have never had good luck with doctors and their bedside manner. But this guy seemed to take the cake. He asked me what I do for a living, so instead of telling him my job title because that doesn’t really tell him anything, I started to explain what my job was. “Every day is different. Some days I’m in front of a computer, some days I’m on my feet walking…” He interrupted me to ask his question again, as if I didn’t understand. “I’m an environmental scientist.” So then he asked what that meant. That’s why I started telling you the way I did, jerk! I have gotten that question enough that I know how to answer it! Anyway, so I told him that I carry heavy ladders some days and his response was, “oh, you can’t do that.” I’m sorry, are you telling me that I need to change careers?! Cuz, that’s kind of a big deal… But he didn’t write me any letters to my boss, excusing me from work, so I guess that’s not what he meant. He asked me what I have done to try to let this heal on my own, and when I told him I exercise, he practically laughed when he said, “what kind of exercises? You’re not doing Deadlifts, are you?!” I couldn’t believe it.  I couldn’t even imagine doing deadlifts without my back hurting and he’s being condescending?

I asked for some different options because going to doctors in the past, they don’t really seem to think of “options” just one thing for you to do. I asked about cortisone injections or anything else that might help, and it was like a light went on in his head when he thought of a solution – nerve pain meds. Not NSAIDS, but actual nerve pain meds – Lyrica. I couldn’t believe that this hadn’t been brought up as an option before. My sciatic nerve was hurting, so why didn’t they try this FIRST?!

Of course like any medicine that has a commercial, the list of side effects is long and scary. But when you are in pain it’s worth a try. I used it as prescribed for a month and did exercises and physical therapy between (not tough exercises, I learned my lesson). I went back for my recheck and the doctor told me that I should use the Lyrica if I need to, and if I need more after the prescription runs out I can either get more, or they can “explore other options” (i.e. injections or surgery). So after my recheck I decided to reduce my doses to see what my back would do, and I haven’t had a single dose for a week. My back feels amazing! The Lyrica took the pain away enough for me to exercise and gain the strength back that I needed to keep my discs where they need to be. I had a couple side effects (weight gain, tired easily, sometimes I felt numb, and didn’t seem to think clearly all the time), but nothing I couldn’t stand and nothing that was permanent (i have already lost the weight and I feel much more alert).

The only thing I still can’t do is run, and I really miss running. I still have degenerating discs, and I will probably need surgery in the future, but hopefully I can hold out for a long, long time. Technology is only getting better, and surgical procedures take a lot of technology.

So, if you are having similar issues here are some things to remember:

1. Doctors are busy. You are probably going to have to do some research on your own, and go prepared with questions and suggestions, because they have a million things going through their heads and probably won’t think of your best solution.

2. Use your insurance. I am always afraid of what things are going to cost, going to the doctor. But you have to remember it’s your health and it’s important. You pay for insurance for a reason, so take advantage of it when you need to.

3. Take it easy, but not too easy. Bed rest is good for your back, but only for a day or 2. After that, your back will start to seize up and will take much, much longer to heal if you don’t move around a little bit.

4. Ice is better than heat. Heat is great for taking out certain aches and pains, but if you use it too much it will increase inflammation and make the pain worse. When in pain, ice it first.

5. Finally, I am not a doctor. I am writing this basically to remember what happened, explain everything to the few people who have asked what happened, and give some advice if you are having a similar problem. But I am not a doctor – this is just a stupid travel blog, so if you take this advice to a T and it doesn’t work for you, don’t blame me, I was just trying to help! 🙂 When I was trying to research sciatica before I went to the doctor, I never found anything even similar to this post, so I’m hoping that I can help people in the future who are trying to learn why they are in so much pain, and what they can do about it.

So cheers to good health!

Bucket List #2

There have been many things I have accomplished in my relatively short adult life so far. I graduated with my bachelors degree in 3.5 years. I got my masters degree right after that. I have been to Europe. But the things that I have crossed off my bucket list are what I’m really proud of.

1. Swim with manatees
2. Hold a wild nurse shark
3. Drive to Alaska
4. Live in the rainforest (it was only for a month, but it was far from a vacation!)
5. See wild humpback whales (recently accomplished!)
6. Dive Monterey Bay (also recently accomplished, on the same day as the whales!)
7. Foster MULTIPLE litters of kittens and several dogs
8. Gone on a cruise in Hawaii
9. Ran a half marathon (accomplished March 23)
10. Go parasailing

I have also added a few things to my bucket list, and thought of a few more things that I have always wanted to do, but forgot to add to the last list:

15. See a wild whale shark
16. Witness a massive hammerhead migration (while diving below them)
17. Go to India (This had actually been on my list for a while, but I just forgot to write it down)
18. Bathe an Indian elephant in a river
19. See the whooping cranes
20. Work on coral reef restoration

My First Half Marathon

A couple weekends ago I completed my first half marathon! It’s been a long time coming, but I was finally able to complete this task. This is how it all started:

Last fall, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to join her in running her first half, which was scheduled in October. I didn’t care for the charity, and wasn’t remotely ready to run a half, but she got the idea planted in my head. So hubby and I signed up for the Shiner Beer Run, scheduled for December 16, 2012, and the charity was The Boot Campaign . I was super excited about it, and told everyone what we were going to do. Somewhat related, I had made my New Years Resolution for 2012 to run 10 miles without dying. Not without stopping, but in one running event. So I thought that running a half marathon was the best way to accomplish that.

The problem was the date. December was the busiest month ever. We had something going on every weekend, and three things planned for the weekend of the half. My mom-in-law graduated with her bachelor’s degree on Saturday (congrats!), my work Christmas party was Saturday night, and the half was early Sunday morning, and it was about 2 hours away.

The Christmas party ended up running really late, and the weather was not great (cold and drizzly-no bueno for running 13.1 miles) so we ended up not running the half.

I still planned on running 10 miles without dying, so hubby and I went to a local state park to run our own half marathon the next weekend. I developed a horrible bursitis at about mile 3, and pushed until mile 7 until I had to have hubby get the car because I couldn’t move. Hubby ended up getting a swollen tendon in his hip, that caused him pain for several weeks after our run. My goal was shattered. I wasn’t going to make my goal before the end of the year and I was heartbroken.

Then a couple months later the same friend who put the bug in my ear about the first half marathon asked if I wanted to join her in another half in March. It was the Baylor Bearathon, and the money for entrance fees went toward scholarships for Baylor students. We also had a free place to stay at my friend’s house, so there was really no reason NOT to do it!

Of course, after I signed up for it I saw “This is the toughest half marathon in Texas!” So that was something to look forward to…

Hubby went with me for moral support, and we headed up to our friend’s house the night before. It was an early, COLD morning, but the run went great! So I was getting tired by about mile 10, and I couldn’t believe how long it took me to run the last three miles, but I finished. Unfortunately, my Garmin running watch, which I started every time I started to run, and stopped every time I had to walk in order to record the 10 miles I was going to run to complete my goal, had a lap error at mile 9. It would flash and beep and say LAP ERROR every second, and was no longer recording distance. I was heartbroken yet again. Finally, the next day, my watch stopped saying lap error and instead said that I ran a whopping 16 miles. Ya, NOT ACCURATE. So I can’t even keep the record of my run from before the watch malfunctioned, because it’s not the true time and distance.

Guess I’ll just have to run another one.

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Nerve of Steel

I have been having Sciatic pain issues for almost a year now.  That’s what happens when you go from being an active Grad Student doing field work and hiking all the time, to a desk job with a crappy chair.  It slowly got manageable, so I just had concern for my back, rather than actual pain, and if I walked around all day, like when we went to the Boat Show, it got pretty miserable, but that was the extent of it. Until about a month ago. We got really slow at work, so to keep myself busy, I was getting a bunch of old files, purging the documents, and then scanning the old files into the server. A couple of weeks of that, and my back attacked me.

I felt it getting tight, so I went home to do some yoga that night. apparently this is what my back was waiting for, and it struck back with

*BANG* MUSCLE SPASMS!

*BIFF* SHOOTING PAIN!

*BAM* THE INABILITY TO STAND UP STRAIGHT!

I called in sick to work the next day and spent the entire day laying on the floor with a heating pad on my sore back trying to calm down my muscles enough to make them let go of the Sciatic nerve that they had taken hostage.

That was actually the happiest I had ever seen Hondo though – I had to help Hubby that morning and follow him to the mechanic and then drop him off at work. So, like we do every morning, we left at the same time. But when I got back from dropping Hubby off at work, Hondo looked really confused for a second (as confused as a dog can look while wagging his stump of a tail), but then he realized that “MOM’S HOME FOR THE DAY!” He got so excited, and when I went back into the house and got my heating pad and a pillow set up on the living room floor, both dogs decided that I had stayed home from work to spend the day with them, and decided to wrestle on top of me. After a while they calmed down, and this is what I had: a serious dog pile on top of me.

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There are definitely worse ways to spend the day at home when you feel like crap.

After using a heating pad for a couple of days, my muscles relaxed, but a heating pad does diddly-squat for sciatic nerve pain, so my back still hurts, and now it has turned into the most uncomfortable night’s sleep ever. I have tried sleeping in my recliner, which actually works pretty well, and I have also slept in the guest room where we have a much firmer mattress than in the Master bedroom. Of course, I’m stubborn, so I usually spend a long time tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable before I come to terms with the fact that it won’t happen, and try a different location to sleep. Luckily though, hubby is a very hard sleeper, so I haven’t been waking him up.

I went to the doctor to see if they could tell me anything. The wonderful doctors that I saw gave me no information (other than taking an x-ray to determine I DON’T have cancer on my spin) and said my option if it gets worse is pain injections. Into my nerve. With a GIANT needle. I’m sorry, but I think there are a few less drastic options, right?

This was my conversation with the doctor, in a nutshell:

Me: It hurts. My sister did acupuncture for her Sciatica when she was in high school, and she loved it. Any thoughts?

Female Dr.: Let me get you some information on stretches you can do. If they don’t work, Pain injections are the way to go!

Female Dr. leaves the room, tells Male Dr. what my case is, and he runs in, excited to tell me his life story of how he used to suffer from Sciatica too, and this is what he did (attempts to explain some obscure yoga move that cured him, but I have no idea what he’s trying to explain).

Male Dr: You need to work out

Me: I work out 4-5 days a week

Male Dr: You need to lose weight

Me: I’m working on that. Actually I’ve – (cut off by dr)

Male Dr: Ho-kay (with an exaggerated eye blink to show he doesn’t believe me). We also need to check your cholesterol. (Because that could be the cause…?)

Female doctor never came back to give me the exercises she told me about.

Sends me to get x-rays, and gives me paperwork to go to the lab afterwards, so they can check my cholesterol.

So, I learned that I dont have cancer (not that I ever thought that was the problem). And this is why I have turned to acupuncture. I have heard wonderful things about it, and I’m terrified that while I’m on my up-coming vacation I’ll just be a miserable wreck, and won’t be able to do much, so I want to get this taken care of well in advance of the trip.

Last week I went for my first session.  I had never done acupuncture before, so I asked my sister, That Clever Chick, what she had to do and what she had to wear. She said that all they did was put one needle in her wrist, one in her ankle, and one in her knee.  This is definitely not what happened to me. First, the acupuncturist – no no no, that’s WAY too long and requires way too much concentration to type over and over. Let’s call him Captain Needles. So anyway, Captain Needles massaged the Ba-GEESUS out of my back and down my leg first. It hurt so good. Then he took three needles and put them into my lower back, to the right of my spine, and put another needle in my right buttock. He twisted them around, and then lit a stick on fire and held it to my skin. I’m not sure exactly what he was doing since he was behind me, and I was face down in a massage table, but it was different. There were a couple of times I had to tell him it was getting too hot, but Captain Needles did a pretty good job not burning the crap out of me. When he was done with the fire, I sat there for about another 20 minutes until he took the needles out.

I felt great immediately afterward. Of course, I started walking again, and my nerve freaked out a little bit, but I had a new tingle going down my leg. Meh, that can’t be a bad thing, right? I still haven’t been sleeping well, but my nerve doesn’t hurt to the extent that it was hurting (on the stupid 0-10 Pain Scale that doctors use, it was bouncing off the charts some days) and I was even able to sleep for extended periods on my stomach which was amazing.

Tomorrow, I go for another session, and hopefully there will be even more improvement. I really prefer several tiny needles to one giant one, so I’m really hoping there is something to this acupuncture and I don’t have to get a shot in my leg forcing a permanent Dead Leg.

There Will be Blood

Hubby and I had the great plan this weekend, to go for a long run in a nearby park, then head to Whole Foods and make ourselves sick by eating an entire box of ice cream bars. This is what we looked forward to all week.  But the plan changed after this happened:

I'm suddenly having a flash back to Grandma's driveway, asphalt, and a bar of soap....

 We planned ont he park being ubber full because of Easter, so we parked about a mile away from the park, and decided to run in, around, and back. We were going at a pretty good pace when Hubby asked me if I had remembered to grab something from the house before we headed out, and of course I had forgotten it. So as I closed my eyes in frustration at my goldfish brain, I tripped over an uneven part of the sidewalk.  You can see the scar from my childhood on my left knee. This is not the first time this has happened.  But as an adult I got up and planned on finishing the run. Hubby kept checking on me, making sure I wasn’t just being tough, and I wasn’t bleeding to death. When we got to the park, i had the bright idea to wash my knees off, and that’s when they started to feel a little bit on fire. Crazy on fire. I felt tough though – people would look at my knees as we ran by, and I just kept going. Even with the fall, our first mile was a 10:10!

But of course, now they hurt, and are swollen, and I’m much too old for this. For some reason, my ribs even hurt. Still can’t figure that one out.

Hubby says that since 1 in 3 runners develop an injury while running, he’s safe for now. After our run, we went to Whole Foods, but instead of getting sick on ice cream, we got a giant salad and some other deliciousness for lunch, and sat outside to eat. All the while, my knees look like this. I got a few funny looks, but I’m sure people thought I had just fallen in the parking lot or something, not fallen an hour earlier, and just hadn’t gotten around to doctoring them yet. Meh. How else am I going to test my immune system?

Be careful out there! And watch your step!

10K does not mean 10,000

I’M BAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I’m sure you have noticed, I haven’t been posting in a while. That is because I have been in school for a week! Ok, not so much school, but a continuing education course, to learn all about wetlands. Totally work related (i.e. I didn’t pay for the class), interesting, and I got to be outside for half a day all week, during beautiful weather. Life is good.

And now that I’m back, I can entertain you with a couple of adventures I had while I was cut off from the interwebs.

Hubby and I have the same birthday. This makes it easy to remember, but at the same time, there is no longer a day just for me. For years I didn’t have my own birthday cake, because Hubby and I met at our job, so I went about 7 years of having to share a birthday cake with him until I got my current job, where not only does Hubby not work with me, but I’m the only February birthday in the office, so I get the only cake for a month! Ok, so it’s a little selfish, but that’s the only reason we celebrate birthdays anyway, right?

I guess I could get back on track…. Hubby and I have the same birthday, so this year for our birthday we decided to do the Houston Rodeo Run 10K. My New Years Resolution was to run 10 miles.  Originally the goal was to run 10 miles without dying, but now I’m actually seeing that I might be able to run 10 miles without stopping! And this is coming from the girl who just last year could hardly run 1 mile without stopping.  Now people look at me like I’m crazy when I say, “what? It’s only 6 miles…”

This was our first 10K, and I was really excited about it! I have done a couple 5Ks…This is how they went:

First 5K – West Texas. Homecoming Fun Run for the university. We started out going UP the steepest hill in town. Literally. Then run around a couple of neighborhoods, go back up a hill, and then back down the first hill. It was pretty brutal. The lady behind me kept coughing up phlegm and spitting it out. *hork!* The best part of it was that I knew one of the police officers who was running traffic for the race, so when he was done at his post, he got back into his car to drive to the finish line. (I was one of the last runners) so as he drove by, he got on the loud-speaker of his police car, encouraging me to keep going. That’s what I love about small towns. Right there.

Second 5K – Shriner’s Mud Run, Humble, Texas June 2011. June. In southeast Texas. It was awful. This was only the like 2nd Annual too, so they weren’t very organized. As soon as the starter pistol was fired, everyone took off, but in the very beginning, there was a giant mud pit and muddy hill to go through and over. Slippery muddy hill + beginning of the race = gridlock. Not only that, but did I mention it was June? In southeast Texas? Where the humidity was about 80% and it was 90 degrees by 9am? Even the water that we ran through was hot. And to top it all off the “official photographer” was only taking pictures of me when I was walking and looked like I was going to die. Why would I want to commemorate that moment in my life? When it was so hot outside that instead of drinking the ice water that was provided for us at the water station, I threw it down into my sports bra to cool off. Does that sound like something you would want a picture of? Cuz I sure didn’t. Of course all the pictures of Hubby made him look like he was in a running magazine. He was running in all of his pictures for one, which made me want to kill him, but he was also smiling. SMILING?!?! Who can smile while they are running in 130 degree weather?! He looked like he was having the time of his life. Not fair.

But this time was different. I have been training like crazy, running between 15 and 20 miles a week, and lifting weights to make my arms and legs stronger. Obviously you want strong legs for running, but you also need strong arms because you use them in your momentum, so if your arms get tired, you have to work the rest of your body harder to make up for it, making you tired faster.

This was my first race with a timing chip!

The Rodeo Run was great – it was the 25th Anniversary, so it was pretty well-organized, and we got there early, so we had some awesome parking near the finish line. I was prepared to run in shorts, but I was wearing sweats over them before the race because it was in the low 50s. I ended up running in my pants too just because I couldn’t imagine standing there waiting for the race to start, and freezing wearing shorts. 

Ready to Run!

So with my wicking shirt, running pants, amazing running shoes, and my handy-dandy GPS running watch, we hit the road for the race.

Now, I understand this is for charity (The Houston LIvestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship Fund) and I’m far from professional, but there were some stupid people we encountered while we were there! First of all, you are asked to line up in order of your running pace. so if you run a 4 minute mile, you should be in front of the people who run a 12 minute mile. We did what we were supposed to do, and got in the area of the 10 minute mile runners. Then I saw a sight in front of me: 4 women all together, wearing full makeup, with their hair done. One of them even had big heavy earrings in. And she was in front of US?!?! I don’t think so. So we walked up to the 9 minute mile area. Apparently we should have been at the like 7 minute mile marker, because for the first two miles we spend so much energy passing people who were already walking (and walking on the LEFT side), we were tired way early.

At mile 3 there was a bridge. Yuck. Bridge = Hill. And hills give me “The Fear” but I was happy to be able to pass people on the bridge as they slowed down. Then to our right, we saw the leaders of the race. Coming back up the bridge. At mile 5. We had to do it twice. Needless to say, I had my doubts.

By mile 4 I thought I was going to have to start walking. I was so disappointed, but my hips were hurting, and my tendons in my right calf were so tight I could barely flex my heel. But I pushed on. Hubby was my little puppy in front of me, looking back making sure I was still there, and encouraging me to continue. And it totally worked. By the time I got to mile 5, I knew I could make it forward to all the SWAG!

Crossing the finish line!

And sure enough, we finished in 1:05:13! I wish I had the energy to carry a camera on this run, because there were some people I wish I could have taken pictures, of, but I couldn’t even wear my heart rate monitor for the whole race! A word from the wise – that thing chafes after 5 miles! I really thought I was going to look down and there would be a giant blood stain on my shirt from the HR monitor.

When we got to the after party, SWAG was everywhere! They were giving away bagels, bananas, water, BEER, frozen yogurt, Go-Gurt, trail mix, Honey Milk, and all kinds of other stuff.

I was pretty tired by the time we got to the car, and even more tired by the time we got home, but it was my birthday so I did what I wanted. I TOOK A NAP.

Pizza, hot wings, and beer were the birthday dinner I had dreamed of for days, so we had that delivered to the house. Happy Birthday to us!

So far, so good

I would like to start passing on some health info that I have learned over the last couple years, because like most Americans, I thought I was eating right when in fact, I had no idea. I thought I knew how to work out, but I was wrong.

So first of all, I would like to give you a little bit of background, because I really don’t want to come off as a know-it-all. And I really just want to pass on good information.

From the “Beginning”

I think it was December 2010 when I was finally sick of myself. I had been steadily putting on weight through college, and although I stayed active, it kept creeping up on the scale.

Before December I avoided having my picture taken from the neck down, and even then I hated how I looked. So some time in December I decided enough was enough, and I needed to lose weight. I would do a comparison so you could see the difference, but even I don’t want to see that, so let’s move on.

I don’t remember the exact day, and I didn’t take “before” shots. Probably because I was worried that I wouldn’t have the discipline to actually make myself lose the weight and it would just be a constant reminder to me that I failed at something. Seriously.

Never be disappointed in your progress. It’s still progress.

Hubby has always been fit. Broad shouldered and strong, I always hated that he could eat the same things I was eating, and he still looked great. Stupid testosterone…..Anyway, so Hubby went to work, making me good food to eat (he’s the cook in our house), and we started running. Then we got a weight room in the house and he started helping me with weight training.

There have been several plateaus in my weight loss, but so far I have lost 34 pounds! I went from a snug size 12 to a loose-fitting size 8, and I think pretty soon I will be down to a size 6. It’s great to be able to see my progress every time I look in the mirror!

My first plateau hit when I had lost about 20 pounds. I still had a way to go, but nothing was changing. I was still working out and eating well, but I know I wasn’t running near as often as I should have been. It was hot! And I was BAD at running!

Except, I used to feel like the bottom picture, and I’m sure that’s what I looked like, too.

I attempted one of those diet pills that is supposed to give you energy and make you not want to eat. It was expensive and full of caffeine, so I couldn’t drink coffee or sodas because it made me feel sick. Not too bad, I needed to drink more water anyway, right? So I cut out additional caffeine. It did help curb my appetite, and I know I was eating WAY too much in one sitting, so it did really well making me feel full and making my portions smaller.  But I didn’t notice the weight loss that they said would happen. Ya, I lost a couple more pounds, but nothing that convinced me that it wasn’t just my work-out routine that made me lose it.  So I stopped taking that stuff.

I still try to drink a lot of water, and that’s tough for me, because to me when you say something tastes like water, that’s a bad thing.  My solution? Add Sweet-N-Low! It makes the water taste good, so you want to drink more of it! I also started adding lemon juice to my water, so now it’s like I’m drinking lemonade all day long. Yum!

My original goal weight was 150. I have only 2 pounds to go, and I will hit my goal! Yay me!

However, I plan on having legs I’m proud of, and that means about 10 more pounds to lose (or 10 pounds of fat lost, and 5 pounds of muscle gained). As long as I’m proud of the hard work I have done over the past 1+ year, it’s totally worth it.

Now, I’m training with Hubby to run a half marathon. I’m hoping to do one this fall. The bad part about training in Southeast Texas is, humidity will kill you. Seriously. It’s hard to run far distances (or at all) in the summer heat and humidity. Which is why I’m hoping to run a Half in the fall, when it’s nice and cool again.

This weekend we will be running a 10K, and I can actually say that I think it will be a piece of cake! I’m not saying I’ll WIN by any means, but I have the confidence to say that I can run the entire thing without stopping! 2 years ago I was proud when I ran 2 miles without stopping.  

So the lesson of today: there’s not just one thing you can do to lose weight. If you only try dieting, you will eventually fail. If you only try working out, you will fail. You have to be ready, mentally and physically, to crave foods you used to eat, and to be sore from a workout.

There is no magic bullet

But when you see your clothes are getting too big, you pick Subway of McDonald’s. And you pick running a mile over sitting on the couch.

Fo Show

 The best thing in the world though, is when you try on clothes at the store, and tell the chick in the fitting room who has to stand there all day to try to make sure people aren’t stealing stuff, “No, I’m not going to get these. I need a smaller size.”