My life with Anxiety

I feel bad for ignoring this blog. I was derailed by life. My pregnancy was rough. Early on, I was diagnosed with thrombophilia and was told that I needed to inject blood thinner daily or I could die… Or the baby could die. That’s quite a startling piece of information to hear, but I managed my best.

My OB visits always started with him scolding me for my weight gain. I was gaining fast, but not eating poorly. We figured out it was due to carbohydrate intolerance. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes that ended up being very difficult to control. I was now injecting insulin twice a day and blood thinners twice a day. Yet I managed and remained pretty calm.

One day before my baby shower and one week before I was going to start maternity leave, my mother suffered a massive stroke. I wasn’t sure she was going to make it. She was in a coma for weeks. Now, almost 4 months later, I’m still not sure if she is going to recover. I went to my baby shower pretty shaken up, but I managed my best and people admired my strength.

The day my daughter was born. It was wonderful to see her for the first time, but not so wonderful that I started to massively hemorrhage soon after. I didn’t see her for 10 hours while I was operated on and given a blood transfusion. Then, when I thought I was on the mend a couple days later, I hemorrhaged again requiring another surgery and transfusion.

This is when the panic set in and I didn’t realize it. I was trying to care for my kids and my body was aching. I felt scared to be with both of them alone while my husband was working. My shoulders felt like bricks and I started feeling burning sensations up and down my spine. I started feeling my face going numb and tingling sensations everywhere. I was convinced that something was really wrong with me and I was at the doctor nearly everyday. They couldn’t find anything medically wrong and tried telling me that it was stress. The symptoms kept getting worse and I couldn’t believe that stress would do this to me. I think I lost it when the dizziness set in. I was feeling dizzy all day long. I emailed my neurologist and he basically told me to see a therapist. This is when reality set in.

I noticed my symptoms were worse when I would talk to my dad about my mom. I would get back pain when talking about child are for my newborn daughter. The room would spin when I talked to my boss about my work from home options (please Lord let this happen). My anxiety manifested itself into physical symptoms.

All those moments I thought I was being stoic and “strong,” my body was just consuming my emotions and panic, only to manifest them later in a worse way. I’m sure that postpartum hormones don’t help either.

Now I need to find my balance. I am on medication now to help. I’m also seeing a therapist and telling myself that I’m okay and I can relax. Mind over matter. I’m taking vitamin d3 and b-complex and I feel like they help as well. I can get past this.

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Why I stopped following Bodyrock.tv

I’ve been a big supporter of bodyrock.tv for the past couple of years. I would recommend them to anyone I knew that was beginning a fitness routine, for weight loss, health, or just for fun. There was always a voyeuristic element to the site, but I didn’t mind it, because the workouts were great and the underlying message behind the site, to get healthy outside and inside, was something I could get behind.

Somehow, in the last few months, that has all changed. There is a superficially about it that I find unappealing.  Initially, it started with Lisa-Marie’s underwear workouts. Underwear tend to be a bit more revealing than bikini bottoms and track shorts, due to their breathability factor. If you are just working out at home in undies, more power to you, been there done that. 😉 However, if you are posing for a workout photoshoot…maybe not the best choice, but it does get people talking….

Not a good look! (courtesy of http://www.bodyrock.tv)

I liked the fact that bodyrock started utilizing social media, but I didn’t like the fact that they started posting vapid updates. I would see status after status linking to gossip magazines showing celebrities with “unflattering” figures with a title of “What do you think of this?” The whole concept of bodyrock became image related. I didn’t want to bring Zuzana up, but when she would offer up recipes, it would actually be a recipe…that you can make :), and she would explain why the ingredients were good for you. Now you are offered a picture of a salad with the caption “This is what I ate today”…which on a certain level, isn’t bad, but it only touches the surface on what it takes to commit to a healthy lifestyle. There seems to be more of a focus on “getting skinny” over at Bodyrock over actually “getting healthy.”

Then there is the cosmetic surgery. I’m not against cosmetic surgery, so when Lisa-Marie blogged about getting new boobs, I said more power to her. But soon after the boobs came the hair extensions, then the fuller lips, and then what appears to be botox around the cheeks/eyebrows. What startled me is that this happened so quickly, what also grabs my attention is that Lisa-Marie doesn’t seem like herself anymore. I know that this is just my own opinion, but it’s like all her insecurities are on full display. Her eyes look sad.

I found this image on a Pet Rock Studios blog post and it sums up this commentary perfectly.

There is also a major focus on the part of Freddie Light to highlight the new implants in most of the teaser photos…If it’s not the implants, it’s the crotch region. I don’t mind a touch of provocative, but bleh, I’m not really digging the new direction. I’m not going to get into the whole new “Flow” section, because I just don’t like the direction they’ve taken with it either.

Bottom line – While bodyrock.tv still has some great workouts to choose from, their direction into “Thinspo” has driven me away from recommending them and following the site in the future.

Still chugging along…

I’m still here. Miraculously. 😉

My condition has not improved on the Amitiza. Somehow it has actually gotten worse, most likely do to stress and the side effects of the medication. So all this treatment has given me is added nausea. 😦 My GI doctor is perplexed, but he wants me to continue on a higher dosage on Amitiza. I’ve been on a higher dosage for the last couple of days, but still not getting complete bowel movements.The next phase of testing for me is to explore a pelvic floor dysfunction diagnosis. I have a hunch that this might be the root of my problem.

My son this week has been sick and his cough was worrisome enough for me to take him to the doctor. He was diagnosed with walking pneumonia today. My little man is in good spirits and happy to not be in school. I just have to keep my cool and not let this stress me out, especially when I have lots to do in the office and I can’t be there.

Still getting my workouts in! I’ve done a rotation of running/jogging 3 miles, going to the gym and doing a cardio/sculpt or Zumba class and doing Zumba Workout II on the Wii. Today I did Zuzka Light’s ZWOW #4

I did great! I was able to keep up with Zuzana and was a little faster than her on the burpees. I struggled with push-up twists – I had to do push ups on my knees during the last round, but I did it. 🙂 My son commented that she just better than me at jumping rope, but I told him that that just makes me try harder in order to get better. 😉

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that have been wearing a bodymedia fit armband. This little gizmo has been great. I bought an older model off of eBay and saved myself a ton of money. A new one costs $180+. The sensor keeps track of your calories burned, step taken and your sleep. I was really curious about the sleep part. Here you can see my graph for the day.I have not uploaded any data since I woke up this morning, so the rest of the data is incomplete. However, I want you to look the “Sleep Duration” row. I got 5:46 minutes of sleep last night. My son was coughing and hacking most of the night, but between 5-6 hours is what I have been averaging since I started tracking with the armband. That is horrible. Not not sure why I am a giant FAIL when it comes to sleep. I know part of it is that my husband works nights and I think subliminally I want to stay up to see him (He gets home around midnight usually). It’s tough when you work a different schedule from your partner. Another part of my problem is my couch potato tendencies. Once I get my son to bed, I don’t feel right just getting a yoga or Zumba session in and going to bed. I have to fart around on Pinterest or Facebook and then catch up on my DVR. By the time I do all that, my husband is home and then I’m chatting with him and my sleep is ruined. I will need to actively work to fix this.

 

Reviewing my goals

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What goals? lol.:) I didn’t make any concrete goals for 2012 except to get healthy and sleep better. So far, 12 days in, and I feel like I’m not quite where I should be. However, I’m making progress, baby steps, but that is still forward progress.

I told myself that I wouldn’t worry about the scale, but that is hard to do. I haven’t lost any weight, but I have been fluctuating due to IBS induced bloat AND I feel like I have more muscle. I do FEEL better and less flabby and I need to focus on that, but It would be nice to see the scale go down a smidgen. I’m the type of person that loves to be active, but I also have major couch potato tendencies. If my son want to play Mario Kart Wii, I’ll play right along with him, even though I should be doing a workout video (or laundry). I can spend an entire afternoon playing World of Warcraft. I have made strides in keeping those tendencies at bay, but I still need to work on it.

I have been trying to follow my sleep goals, but last week as not so good, probably because I was on vacation. I’m much better this week. Stopping online usage past 9pm has really helped. I would watch TV while tweeting or checking facebook and I think it was too much mental stimulation. Working out has helped as well, but my workouts are shorter nowadays, so my body isn’t as tired, but I believe that has aided in allowing me to have a steadier sleep pattern lately.

Yesterday’s workout: 25 minute walk + Bodyrock.tv Domino workout

Today’s workout: 25 minute walk + Turbofire HiiT 15 + 25 minutes of vinyasa flow yoga.

Probiotic Foods

I’m currently having a bit of an IBS flare :(, I believe it’s just a hormonal shift that normally occurs during the month. I have to take all my medication and probiotic supplements religiously. As you know, this can get pricey. I currently alternate between two supplements, but I’m going to narrow it down to one. Right now, I’m taking Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care & Align Probiotic. The Ultimate Flora supplement I have been taking for a while and I feel that it helps quite a bit. The problem is that it’s around $55 for a 60 day supply. The Align was recommended to me by two gastroenterologists. I bought it when I was in extreme distress last year and it seemed to be effective when alternating it with the Ultimate Flora, but I digress.

With all that said, I was thinking about what people eat when they couldn’t rely on supplements. Surely, this wasn’t a big problem in the past. Our bodies most likely made to function optimally when consuming food with a  certain amount of spoilage. However, in modern times, we know we tend to eat less spoiled and fermented items. 🙂 So while less people are dying from food poisoning and parasites, more people are getting digestive issues due to lack of good bacteria in their guts. Now we are trying to reintroduce this bacteria in capsule or powdered form.

What about natural methods of eating probiotic foods? I’m all about convenience and cutting costs,this way I can be less reliant on supplements and still get the same benefit. The good thing (for me) is that most probiotic foods are among my favorite foods. The downside, is that you have to make the foods yourself to *truly* get the best benefit.

Here is a list of great probiotic foods

  • Yogurt  – Of course. Most doctors recommend yogurt if you need more good bacteria in your system. If you choose to by store-bought yogurt, make sure it has live cultures – Stoneyfield has the most. If you want to try to make your own yogurt, there is a great tutorial here
  • Sauerkraut – I could eat a whole jar of kraut. I love it, but again, stay away from the store-bought variety that has been pasteurized and either make your kraut yourself or buy from the deli. I know people that have had success making sauerkraut using a Perfect Pickler.  Alton Brown has a good recipe for homemade kraut.
  • Kimchi – very similar to sauerkraut, but with added spices and ingredients, like carrots, ginger, peppers, etc… Again, don’t buy the pasteurized shop. If you are lucky enough to live near a Korean grocery, buy it fresh there.  Great Kimchi recipe here.
  • Miso paste/soup – buy the unpasteurized miso paste. It tastes better and is better for you. Don’t buy instant. I happen to live near a Mitsuwa Markeplace (Japanese Grocery) and I get the Miko brand from there. I like Shiro miso the best. You can dilute miso in hot water for soup, use it in salad dressing, marinade, the possibilities are endless.
  • Tempeh – Fermented soybeans. I’ll admit to not eaint this very often, only at Indonesian restaurants, but I’m going to change that. Tempeh has a smoky flavor similar to a mushroom. If anyone has any good tempeh recipes please let me know. 🙂
  • Kefir – This is what I’ll give my son in smoothie form. It is made by adding kefir grains to milk and letting it ferment for about 24 hours. I think it’s great with enzyme-rich fruits, like pineapple.

In my opinion, it’s best to combine probiotic foods with prebiotic foods. Essentially,  prebiotics are the main source of food for your gut flora. This is what will keep them happy and healthy, allowing them to multiply and raise beautiful families. Combinations such as yogurt & honey, miso with edamame on the side are excellent choices.

Here are a couple of great articles on probiotic foods:
Top Probiotic Foods You Are Not Eating – The Conscious Life

WebMd -Top Foods for Probiotics

Healthy Sleep Habits = Happy You?

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Sleep is something I have been struggling with lately. Actually,  it has been long term problem for me. It takes about an hour before my brain realizes that my body needs to rest, more so if I don’t have any “white noise.”  If I don’t have something to listen to, I start thinking about my day, other people’s problems, and how to solve the mysteries of the universe – all night long. It would be brilliant if I could figure out how to end world hunger during one of these sessions, but my only guaranteed accomplishment, night in and night out, is lack of sleep.

As a kid and into my teens, I would would let the radio lull my to sleep. Listening to new music from The Smiths or Gene Loves Jezebel on KROQ (when it was actually a good station) was somehow conducive to good sleeping. 🙂 As I got older, I fell into the bad habit of snoozing with the television on. Admittedly, this wasn’t really a problem until I moved in my husband, who, at the time, needed total quiet in order to sleep. Now I’m convinced that he can sleep through WWIII now if he really wanted to. 🙂

My poor sleep habits didn’t really become a major issue for me until we had our son. He wasn’t the best sleeper from ages 1-3 (sleep apnea issues) and his sporadic sleep routine coupled with my inability to fall asleep right away manifested itself into something far uglier – insomnia and sleep anxiety

I spent nights awake in front of the TV *waiting* for my son to wake up. I was literally afraid to fall asleep.  I would eventually doze off, only to be awakened about about hour later convinced that my son was snoring or coughing. Usually what I was hearing was just hearing the voices on the television.  Now here was my conundrum – If I turned the TV off, my brain wouldn’t turn off, but I left the TV on, I would get spotty sleep at best. I couldn’t win.

My son’s sleep has improved through the years, but my sleep cycle continues to be debilitated. This lack of continuous sleep has affected my energy, my focus and my IBS symptoms.

What can I do about it?

  • Set a regular bedtime – After my son goes to bed, I crave some me time, the problem is that I give myself too much me time and my sleep suffers. The result? My time to myself is crappy because I’m over tired.  I’m going to set a realistic bed time and stick to it.
  • No TV, smartphones or computers in bed – If I want to watch a show or goof around on the internet, I’ll do so from the living room. My bed will be for sleeping, and maybe some reading (but not from my Kindle. lol)
  • Stretch before bed – I find that meditative yoga helps. I love this 8-minute routine
  • No caffeine – This shouldn’t be too hard since I don’t drink coffee in the evening and I rarely drink soda. I start making myself a cup of chamomile tea. I hear Yogi Tea’s “Sleepy Time” tea is great as well.

We’ll see how well this goes. I hope that a regular sleep cycle will help give me more energy for my workouts and aid in easing these IBS symptoms. Wish me luck! 🙂