Monday, July 28, 2014

Am I only losing weight because I have money again?

Last week, I was quick to (kind of) declare myself potentially free from having an eating disorder (you can read that post HERE).  In doing so, I really just confirmed I'm still battling an eating disorder (no, I swear I'm not an alcoholic, I just had this *one* drink!).  I listened to another podcast from the Second Annual Eating Psychology Conference and it pretty much mirrored my life, so yeah...  I don't regret lessening the amount of sugar I eat, and I do still believe that eating less sugar has curbed a lot of cravings, but the demon is still lurking under the surface.

gimme all your candy!!!
A couple of years ago, I wrote about how filing for bankruptcy had made me fat (you can read that post HERE).  While listening to that second podcast last week, and then while chatting online with some of the members of my weight loss surgery support group, it really did hit me:  It is very possible the reason I have so easily transitioned into following Ellen's food suggestions is because my money situation recently became a little bit less stressful.  I didn't win the lottery or anything but I am no longer sweating over whether I can pay all the bills anymore.  And I have pretty much been sweating it for the last three years straight.  It is much easier to control my food choices when I can lean on my other addiction, shopping.  I haven't been going nuts or anything but I certainly have picked up some new clothes, shoes and books that I have had on my list awhile.  That also isn't to say that Ellen isn't giving me amazing advice, but it does explain why I have jumped right into this without feeling on the verge of being triggered at all. 
I have certainly written about this kind of thing before, so I shouldn't be shocked.  But I will admit I'm a little bummed.  Here, I thought I was almost cured. 







I knew it couldn't be that easy, but now I just get to hope that my realization isn't the catalyst into a low-grade binge.  I don't know why this anxiety seems to follow me everywhere.  I've told it that it is unwelcome but it likes to just hang around.  

How do you deal with set-backs?  I don't feel like I have actually had one but it is probably coming.  I can usually see it coming down the pike but can't always figure out how to stop it from happening.  For now, I can only stay the course, continue to eat the healthy things I have in my fridge and make sure I don't pick up fast food or candy from the store. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sugar or Eating Disorder?

Let's play a game.  It's called "sugar or eating disorder."  I have been a compulsive overeater for pretty much my entire life.  I am more of a grazer than a binge eater.  No disappearing into the closet to consume an entire pizza and half a cake for me, thankyouverymuch.  It doesn't mean that I didn't/don't have disordered eating though.  For a long time, I just didn't realize that not being a binger didn't mean I didn't have food issues (that's a lot of "didn'ts" -- sorry!).  It does mean I would have the compulsion to put food in my mouth pretty much every other minute of every single day.  When I wasn't eating, I was deciding what I would eat next.  It literally took all of my energy figuring out all my food stuff.  [You can read more on my sugar adventure HERE.]

Silly monkey, eat the right food!
So fast forward to now.  I'm almost three months in to following Ellen's eating advice.  She never took anything away from me.  She just made some suggestions and let me follow my own path.  Sugar makes you tired?  Hey, maybe you shouldn't eat that!  Suddenly, less sugar was making me more tired.  Maybe cut down some more!  Then suddenly, now if I eat too much sugar, I get a blinding headache.  All in the span of about two months.  But I never felt like Ellen told me I couldn't eat sugar.  I just started making the choice not to eat something that made me feel like shit.  In fact, at Ellen's birthday over the weekend, I ate about one-quarter of a cupcake and it was too much for me (at least I only got sweaty and tired, I didn't get the headache, but I stopped because I knew my limit).  This coming from a girl who could at least eat one entire cupcake only three months ago.  It didn't take my body long to celebrate the loss of a "food source" it didn't need and start reminding me not to eat it whenever I did.  I've lost about 15 pounds, and that's all from changing the foods I eat, not reducing the calories I eat. 

Yesterday I was listening to a podcast from the 2nd Annual Eating Psychology Online Conference.  He was interviewing a woman about eating disorders.  Granted, they were mostly talking about binge eating disorder, but other disorders were mentioned, and I realized something I hadn't noticed before -- I don't feel that way at all anymore.  No constant compulsion to eat anything and everything at all hours of the day.  I'm not rabidly searching my shelves for sugary snacks at work.  I don't think about what I'm going to eat next as I am eating my current meal/snack.  I actually now have defined meals and snacks instead of leaving food on my desk and literally munching all day long.  I certainly still have A LOT to learn about what to eat and when to eat (just because I work so much and have too many side activities), but I am now eating because my stomach is hungry, not because my head told me I needed to eat.  I am also still making the majority of my meals at home, I have cut out fast food almost completely, and when I do eat out, I am making better choices for myself.  Also -- and this is huge -- when stress hits me, jellybeans are no longer my first thought.

I pondered whether I ever had an eating disorder at all, or if the sugar was just always controlling me. 

I guess that in itself is probably an eating disorder, or at least disordered eating -- whatever you feel comfortable calling it.  And I certainly felt like I transferred addictions after gastric bypass [HERE is another post you can read on the subject].  When I couldn't eat, I shopped.  When I couldn't shop anymore, I started eating again and gained weight.  I took anti-depressants and gained more weight.  I tried diet products and gained even more weight.  But all of that could still have been fueled by too much sugar and processed food in my diet (including the "necessity" of the anti-depressants, which are terrible for my body).  I guess I'll never truly know.  I have so many health issues related to gastric bypass and my food choices.  I can honestly say I probably would not have lived into my 80's or 90's like my grandmothers before me if Ellen had not intervened.  I realize none of us know when our time will come but now I at least feel like I have a fighting chance.  I will be forever grateful to Ellen for sending me down the right path in the food department. 

So saying I never had an eating disorder or have now been cured of one might be dangerous but I certainly do feel better about my life in general since cutting down on sugar.  If you have had similar experiences with sugar, please share them with me.  I love hearing from all of you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

The last few years, my eyelashes have gotten super sparse.  I don't know if it's age or years of abusing them by gluing false lashes to my eyeballs and then ripping my own lashes out as I remove them.  I have also been unhappy with mascara.  I used to love some basic drug store brands like Almay but I feel like they changed their formula ten-plus years ago and I haven't really been into it since.  I've used some expensive mascaras and some cheap ones, but none have blown my mind.

I was at Twirly Girls a couple of months ago and I saw a couple of girls putting on some magic mascara.  I thought it was pretty cool but I didn't buy it.  I kept putting on my crappy mascara and kept getting sadder and sadder about the state of my eyelashes.  I have heard people talk about some stuff you put on your lashes to make them grow.  Side effect?  Potential blindness.  No thanks.  I'll stick to my crappy mascara.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I finally messaged Cindy and said I wanted to try her magic mascara.  It is called Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.  I tried it last week for the first time and I LOVE it!  It takes me less time to apply the fibers (which are just on a mascara brush, so it isn't difficult) than it would false lashes (and only like a minute more than just putting on my own mascara).  Granted, if I wanted a truly crazy, heavy eyelash look, I would still probably use falsh lashes, but for a day-to-day look, or even for going out at night, Moodstruck is perfect for me. 

Since pictures spreak louder than words, you can check out my first couple of attempts using Moodstruck.

regular mascara

right side, no make-up - left side, Moodstruck

Fully finished make-up, although I could have done up the left side more

Fully finished eyes

The process
Cindy was kind enough to set up an online party for me.  The link below is valid for 10 days from today.  Full disclosure:  If you know me, you know I absolutely hate home parties where people beg their friends to buy things.  But I figured if I am going to share my experience with people, and people are interested in buying anyway, maybe I can get some product out of it.  ;-)

If you end up trying it, let me know by sharing some photos with me! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Sasja Lee Weekend

I wrote about Sasja Lee, aka Sassy, over two years ago.  We bonded over In-N-Out on Facebook and we have been FB buddies ever since.  Last weekend, Sasja came to San Francisco to dance at Volare Variety and teach some workshops, so we got to hang out a little bit. 

Cast of Volare
Sasja has been tearing up the competition circuit this past year.  I watched her win California Pole Dance Championship last year and she has been pretty much winning every competition since.  I really don't know what she can't do.  I understand she won CPDC just days after being in a horrible car accident!  Beast mode.  Seriously. 

Anyway, after Volare, Sasja and SeanMichael rode back on BART with Rita and me, where they gave BART riders a thrilling public trans shoulder mount experience.  It was so funny!  I got photos but I guess video would have been better -- maybe next time!  It turned out that Sasja was eager to ride BART after reading on Facebook about some of my "awesome" experiences. 

shoulder mount on BART
The next morning, Sasja did two workshops at Twirly Girls.  I pretty much judge my workshop experience based on how an instructor treats me after the class has advanced beyond my skills (which will happen in most workshops and I am okay with it).  We were learning a little routine.  After she taught each piece, Sasja would come around and watch each of us do the move.  We finally got to a point where you would invert, pike, then go into superman.  I giggled.  Time for me to check out!  So she gets to my pole and she says, your turn!  I said, yeah right.  She goes, no seriously, try it!  So I went to get my woody band seat belt and I got myself upside down.  She says, now let go and grab above your leg.  I said, you're crazy.  She said she's heard that before.  HA!  Look, once I'm upside down, I need all my arms and legs to hold on for dear life.  I'm not ready to let go yet.  I really, really appreciated her continuing to include me in the class, and I feel like I learned so much even once the routine was more advanced than I could do.  I really do appreciate those instructors who continue to include me even though I can't do all the moves.  It is a small effort and makes a dancer who struggles with moves like I do feel like I am still part of class.  I still got some pretty awesome bruises that I've been proudly showing off to anyone who will look. 

That being said, for the last 20 minutes, I did just go to the back room and start stretching.  Perhaps a brutal yoga class right before a 90 minute Sasja Lee workshop wasn't my best choice that day! 

I really wish I had been able to spend more time with Sasja during her trip.  I swear, I'm going to win the lottery someday and just start hanging out with these cool people who have such interesting lives!

Have you ever taken a workshop with Sasja?  Tell me about it in the comments section!

Covering up Sasja's amazing arms
Getting ready for the BART shoulder mount
Our class
My tiny sister
That's me!!!  This bruise is the most fantastic!

New Hair, New Me

I started dying my hair when I was probably 14 years old.  My mom is a hair stylist so I was a guinea pig for new coloring methods.  So playing with hair color or styles is not new to me.  But three years ago, I went dark with my hair.  Super dark.  I dyed my hair black once when I was a teenager, but for the most part, I have maintained some level of blonde highlights during my 20+ year hair-dying career. 

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVED the red.  I still love it.  I miss it.  But I LOOOOOVE the blonde too.  I feel like I dyed my hair red right as I entered a very dark period in my life.  After almost three years, I'm ready to come back into the light, so I'm blonde again!  I have been going through the process to lighten my red hair for a few months.  It has been a long process so that I didn't fry my hair right off my head.  But this last appointment, we finally got it!  And then we decided to cut it off!  I love it!  So many people have remarked on it and the feedback has been positive so far.  Bel and Jimmy both mentioned how it looks the way it did when I met them both. 

The last year has brought about a lot of changes for me.  A new job that makes me much happier than my old job.  No commute!  Rob has moved so he can finish getting his post-doctorate hours.  NCPP is becoming a reality (we're a month away!!).  And so I feel like a major hair change was necessary.  I feel better.  Like I recognize myself again.  It's so weird. 

So I enjoyed hanging out with that fun, redheaded stranger but I'm also happy to get back to feeling like myself.  Have you ever made major hair changes?  How does it make you feel?  I feel FABULOUS!! 

March 2010

Photo credit:

July 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 2014 Blog Hop: Mid-Year Review

It is time for the blog hop again and we are doing a check-in!  How is 2014 going for you?

My year has been fantastic!

I got a new job, have started gaining strength, and Rob is also working.  I am out of my dark place.

When I wrote about my intentions in January, I set four goals:

Flexibility:  I am hitting up yoga 3-4 days a week.  I still feel very inflexible but I can still tell the difference now that I am doing yoga so often.  I love how I feel!!  I feel strong. 

Deal with foot issues:  My feet hurt on occasion, but for the most part, I think my surgery foot is all healed up!  If I walk A TON, it will definitely be sore, but it no longer hurts.  It is such a relief.

Do more, do less.  Weeeeellllllll....I might need to work on this a bit.  I am doing too much and I'm exhausted.  But I feel like it is all stuff I need to do.  I have to work.  I have to work out.  I have to do NCPP stuff.  I have to foster friendships by spending time with people.  Sooooo....what do you cut out?

Be healthy.  I am on a journey and I am doing really well.  Ellen is literally saving my life.  You can read my latest post on that HERE.

 Anyway, there's my quick check-in.  Now you can check out a photo journal of the past six months.  I like to say that I'll sleep when I'm dead.  If I had more money, my adventures might be more grand.  But for what I have, I feel like my life is pretty fun. 

January: Volare Variety
February: Cowboy Wild's show at 1220

February: Yoga in Lake Tahoe
March: Volare Variety

March: Twirly Girls

March: Hey look, I'm doing yogini!  hahaha!
April: Twirly Girls

April: Stiletto Night at Twirly Girls

April: Fun night at Diablo Gym

April: Lovely Rita Fundraiser

April: Twirly Girls
May: Playing Candy from Chunky Girl Comics

May: Dressed up as Snow White

May: Twirly Girls
June: Twirly Girls

June: From Liquidpulp photoshoot

June: Horseback riding on the beach

June: AIDS Walk Fundraiser...Bitches be like...

June: Twirly Girls
July: Fly Gym at Twirly Girls

July: New hair!

June: Twirly Girls
I am looking forward to the next half of the year!  Tell me how you're doing with your goals!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Confessions of a Sugar Addict

I had a super active and awesome weekend.  On Friday, I got some alone time in the studio, which allowed me to get some photos and videos with my new hair.  Saturday, I did some yoga, had a great meeting with Ellen about NCPP, then went to Volare Variety for a fun burlesque/pole show.  Sunday, I did more yoga then had a workshop with the beautiful Sasja Lee. 

Then came Monday.  I had picked up a "fruit parfait" from Whole Foods.  It's from Whole Foods, so it's healthy, right?!  Oh man.  It was so delicious.  Dip in and it's clearly custard, not yogurt (basically, it was whipped cream, custard, cake squares and a tiiiiiiiiiiiiiny bit of strawberry).  I ate half of it before I even knew it.  I sat for a second.  I didn't feel too bad.  And then it started. 

First I started sweating.  Hey, that has happened to me a lot since gastric bypass.  I know how to deal with that.  Desk fan on.  I got crazy tired.  Then my heart started racing.  I got a huge headache and I got kind of dizzy.  I sat in a conference room for about 15 minutes, hoping it would go away.  It didn't.  I tried drinking water to push it through faster.  It just filled me up and made me feel worse.  I spent about 90 minutes at work, feeling like I was dying.  I felt like I was having a migraine and heart attack all wrapped up in one.  Today, I feel hung over.  I'm up two pounds, have a headache, and just don't feel good in general.  All from sugar. Fun, huh! 

I have been doing so well over the last couple of months.  I have not gone sugar-free, but I have gone WAY-less-sugar.  I do eat fruit but have cut out all the jellybeans.  Vitamin Waters are only making an appearance about once every other week (used to be one to two daily).  I am only picking up a couple of pieces from the co-worker's candy jar instead of ten.  And not every day.  I am skipping donut day more often than not.  I turned down a salted caramel brownie at Twirly Girls last night!!!  And if I needed any more reason to cut sugar, yesterday was it. 

I've written about sugar a lot more lately, if you want to read about my lower-sugary adventures:

My liver feels more cirrhosis'ed today for sure.  Anyway, I know sugar is bad for me and I'm mostly over the crackhead feeling of needing to eat it, so why do I do stuff like I did yesterday?  Guess it's just never that simple. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

UPA's Bringing Sexy Back 2014

Here is my contribution to UPA's Bringing Sexy Back 2014 challenge. 

This is probably the first full song I've free danced in almost two years.  My foot is mostly pain-free again!  I've lost about 15 pounds, and I feel stronger than I have in a long time.  It looks like I'm on my way back!  Thanks to everyone who has been on this journey with me!

Pole Strength: More Woody Band Exercises

I made a couple of new videos about how to use iron woody bands for pole strengthening exercises.  Check them out.  One is a pole-up to the side of the pole and the other is a push-up on the ground.  Let me know what you think, and if you have any requests, leave a comment.  Thanks!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Psoriasis and C-Reactive Protein

I was lamenting my high c-reactive protein level while at Twirly Girls recently and Ginger looked at me and said, well psoriasis is inflammation at the cellular level, so that makes sense.


Catch up on the CRP journey below:


Lowering CRP

CRP and Cholesterol

So, I let my teacher, Google, tell me a little bit about psoriasis and inflammation in general.  There's actually a lot out there. 

For example, in THIS study, it discusses CRP, toll-like receptor gene 4 and the development of psoriatic arthritis (I have the full article printed, but I only the abstract is cited in that link).  If I understand the big words properly in this study, although it claims, through citing a previous study, that there is no relationship between elevated CRP gene polymorphisms in psoriasis patients, high CRP levels are common in moderate to severe cases of psoriatic arthritis.  So, at some point, CRP must matter in psoriasis patients. 

In THIS study, they discuss various potential new therapies, but also define it as:

"Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory, T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease that affects mainly skin and joints. It is one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases, affecting 2%–3% of the population.

However, psoriasis does not affect skin and joints only. It is a multisystem disease associated with a multitude of comorbidities and thus psoriasis has become increas­ingly important for all medical fields, beyond just dermatology and rheumatology. Psoriasis patients show an increased risk for cardiovascular events. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome – a combination of obesity, dyslipi-demia, impaired glucose regulation, and hypertension – is elevated in psoriasis patients. The prevalence of depression is increased, and psoriasis can have a substantial psycho­logical impact on patients. In addition to this, psoriasis is often associated with other immune-mediated inflammatory disorders. Intriguingly, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and psoriasis have been associated with the same or similar susceptibility genes."

I found a TON of articles talking about psoriasis and various issues: 

Digestive issues, taking probiotics and psoriasis, where CRP was actually lowered in psoriasis patients taking a certain probiotic. 

Adalimumab (known as Humira, a drug I tried but which didn't lessen my plaque psoriasis, so I moved on to Stelara) lowering CRP in psoriasis patients. 

Warnings about watching your blood sugar, which makes sense if sugar adds inflammation on top of inflammation. 

Claims that watching your diet can potentially "heal" your psoriasis, which makes sense if that diet is about reducing or eliminating foods that cause inflammation.  This article doesn't give any clear answers, however, as it seems that people still needed to determine which foods were causing issues in their body.  For some people it was certain vegetables, or meat, for others it was gluten or dairy.  There was no across-the-board food to remove from your diet to be "cured" of psoriasis.  I do know that post-gastric bypass, I enjoyed clear skin for probably six or seven years, and I was essentially eating what I am now, just a lot less of it (and probably a lot less sugar).  The plaques returned a few years ago (as I gained weight) and refused to leave.  As a pole dancer who doesn't use lotion on pole days, I decided to go the route of biologics to clear my skin (which is scary since they are immuno-suppressants). 

Claims that psoriasis increases risk for diabetes and heart disease.  Apparently the longer you have the disease, the higher your risk for collecting these other issues.  Great.  I got psoriasis when I was 5.  And even if the skin is clear, it doesn't mean your psoriasis is in remission.  Your insides can still be inflamed, even if your skin doesn't outwardly show it.  I guess in my case, that would be made clear by the fact that my CRP is so high.  Apparently, taking a drug that blocks TNF-alpha, can also lower the risk for heart attack.  The drug I take doesn't do that.

Explanation of biologics:

"Although they differ in the details of their makeup, Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, and Simponi all target the same piece of the immune system—a molecule called Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Hence, these drugs are sometimes referred to as ‘TNF-inhibitors.’ TNF-alpha is an inflammation-promoting substance that is produced abnormally in psoriasis patients.

Stelara targets interleukin-12 (IL-12) and interleukin-23 (IL-23), immune system molecules found in high amounts at sites of active psoriasis."

Exercise is also supposed to be key to treating psoriasis from the inside out.  "Exercise helps you control your weight, which is important to people with psoriasis. 'People with psoriasis are on average 7% heavier than those without the disease,' Menter tells WebMD.  How the two are related is not clear. But one likely link is inflammation. Obesity can lead to chronic inflammation, which may worsen your psoriasis. Also, the body tends to make more fat cells in response to increased inflammation, making it even harder to control weight, says Paul S. Yamauchi, MD, PhD, spokesman for the National Psoriasis Foundation and medical director of the Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center of Santa Monica, Calif."

I was diagnosed around the age of 12 with psoriasis.  While I may just not remember exactly what we were told to do, I vaguely remember it being described as a liver issue that could be controlled with diet.  I shouldn't eat bread, drink alcohol, etc.  It was also treated with disgusting tar/Vaseline type medications that caused my mom to have to wrap me in saran wrap so I wouldn't get it everywhere.  Now there seems to be a deeper understanding of what the disease is, even if they don't know how to cure it.  In this article, called Psoriasis is More Than Skin Deep, it discusses how psoriasis is not just a cosmetic issue:

"Over the years, multiple studies have found that psoriasis is associated with a number of potentially serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and lymphoma, obesity and metabolic syndrome (also known as 'Syndrome X'), autoimmune diseases (Crohn's disease and diabetes mellitus I and II, for example), psychiatric diseases (such as depression and sexual dysfunction), psoriatic arthritis, sleep apnea, personal behavior issues, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even increased mortality. Dr. Menter explained that the majority of these diseases can have a significant impact on a patient's overall health and affect psoriasis patients in different degrees of severity.

'It is important to note that while we are unsure whether psoriasis causes other diseases or that these other diseases cause psoriasis, the fact that an association exists at all is critically important in treating psoriasis patients,' said Dr. Menter.

One recent observational study of 3,236 patients with psoriasis and 2,500 patients without psoriasis who served as the controls concluded that patients with psoriasis experienced an increased incidence of ischemic heart disease (where the blood vessels are blocked leading to the heart), cerebrovascular disease (where the blood vessels are blocked leading to the brain), and peripheral vascular disease (the obstruction of arteries in the arms and legs), and mortality."

In one final article, there is a discussion regarding the immune system and psoriasis:

"A normal immune system protects the body against 'invaders' by destroying bacteria, viruses and other foreign proteins. In the person who has psoriasis, the immune system 'misfires' and inappropriately causes inflammation and an accelerated growth of skin cells.

The skin cells reproduce too quickly and the skin (and the joints in some people) becomes inflamed. Many steps in this misfired immune response are targeted by specific treatments such as systemic and biologic drugs. One goal of treatment is to block or modify the response by focusing on very specific immune cells, thus avoiding widespread effects on the rest of the body."

This has always been interesting to me because I really don't get sick that often.  My body may be falling apart on the inside but I rarely get colds.  I have always thought that my over-active immune system was the reason for that.  Who knows if I'm right but that's what I tell myself.

So there you go, another Google wormhole on a health subject I should know more about.  It is all so interesting to me to figure out how many of my issues are already related.  And that one related item is inflammation. 

I still really hope that after spending the next year eating well, that my numbers show it!  I'm excited for the future!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Myofascial Release and the Old Lady Hip

I recently wrote about how eventful my latest doctor's appointment had been.  You can read that post HERE.  One of my issues is what I call my "old lady hip."  My doctor had just moved my leg and immediately knew there was a problem.  I hurt it almost five years ago.  I wasn't an injury per se.  It just started feeling very sore. 

Most likely it coincided with me pole dancing, as it started just a couple of months after I started dancing.  I figured it was probably the pivoting barefoot on the floor that may have made me sore.  I now use dance paws.  Anyway, I went to a specialist years ago and they sent me for an MRI or whatever they do when they want to look at your tissue.  The idiot tech placed me in a way that left a good portion of my legs hanging off the tray.  Then he told me to hold my legs up and stay still.  For 25 minutes.  Shockingly, even with abs of steel, I shook a little and the MRI was unreadable.  The doctor didn't seem to think it was worth sending me for another one or digging further (other than offering pointless cortisone shots), so I just kind of learned to deal with the pain.

I was introduced to Keith Ortiz who does amazing bodywork.  You can read about him HERE.  He definitely helped relieve my pain and kept me walking.  There were certainly days when I thought I was donezo.  However, even when he used to offer a great discount to me, visits to Keith are expensive (worth every penny but still...if you don't have money, you don't have it).  So I wasn't visiting him as often as I should. 

Fast forward to now and my new primary care physician says that since the x-ray showed no arthritis in the hip, we needed to act quickly to make sure it didn't develop.  He says it is curable now, but won't be once arthritis sets in.  He tells me he can perform myofascial release on me.  He says it is veeeeeeeeeeery painful but will eventually cure me.  Oh, and I have to come to his office twice a week.  Well, since his co-pay is much lower than Keith's fee, his office is a mile away from me, and I can actually get my co-pay reimbursed through my health savings account, I kind of can't say no.  I mean, unless I want to let myself develop arthritis.  So, I say yes. 

What is myofascial release?  I will let the Mayo Clinic define it:

"Myofascial (mi-oh-FASH-al) release is a manual therapy technique often used in massage. The technique focuses on pain believed to arise from myofascial tissues — the tough membranes that wrap, connect and support your muscles. Theoretically, myofascial pain differs from other types of pain because it originates in 'trigger points,' which are related to stiff, anchored areas within the myofascia. The pain that a trigger point causes is often difficult to localize, though.

During myofascial release therapy, the therapist locates myofascial areas that feel stiff and fixed instead of elastic and movable under light manual pressure. These areas, though not always near what feels like the source of pain, are thought to restrict muscle and joint movements, contributing to widespread muscle pain. The focused manual pressure and stretching used in myofascial release therapy loosen up restricted movement, leading indirectly to reduced pain."

What does that mean in real life?  Think of an area of your body where you feel pain.  Doesn't have to be right this second.  Maybe you injured your knee once, or broke your arm once.  You remember how much it hurt, though, right?  Now think of pinching that area as hard as you can.  On and off for about 20 minutes.  That's myofascial release. 

Stretching alone isn't enough...
At my first appointment this week, my doctor warned me again that it would be painful.  I told him I had experienced it through my bodyworker so I knew what to expect.  And I dealt with the pain through loud yoga breathing and occasional exclamations about how this "wasn't my favorite!"  The whole time, in my head, I'm begging for it to stop.  I felt like I dealt with it pretty well though.  And at the end of the appointment, my doctor remarked that most of his patients scream during the procedure.  The receptionist said the same thing on my way out.  It was kinda funny.  I go back for Round 2 tomorrow.  Yay?
I have always wondered if all the scar tissue from my lower body lift has contributed to this issue.  The left side of my hip is "thicker" than the right side so I feel like it makes sense that there might be more scar tissue and those little scar fingers have been reaching out and grabbing at my hip socket.  I actually spoke to someone about this issue recently and have an upcoming blog about scar tissue and muscles.  But it makes sense to me. 

Anyway, I am willing to put up with the pain if it fixes the long term problem.  Since seeing Keith, I have certainly been in less pain, but have never been able to go to him often enough to be truly pain-free.  The stretches my doctor gave me to do every night alone have taken my pain down a couple of notches already.  Has anyone ever tried myofascial release?  I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Building A New Me

Warning...this is a long one...and could be triggering for those who don't want to hear about "diet" talk.  This is also the last time I will post a trigger warning.  If you know me, you know I talk about food and exercise.  If you aren't okay with that, this isn't the blog for you. 

I recently left a few fat acceptance/fat friendly type groups on Facebook.  I noticed that so much effort is spent on making sure certain groups aren't offended while others are completely ignored.  You can't post how happy you are that you're getting married because the singles get upset.  You can't post about how excited you are to be pregnant because those who can't have babies will be devastated.  And you certainly, most definitely cannot speak about "dieting" because that will trigger overweight people to apparently go binge eat themselves into oblivion.  Having an eating disorder myself, I kind of get it but I also feel like we all need to be in charge of our own underpants (Thanks, Ragen!) and stop spending so much time telling everyone else how to act.  There's a ton of shit that triggers me.  Other people talking about dieting and weight loss on Facebook isn't it.  (But I get that (A) not everyone feels the same way I do and (B) if someone has a group on Facebook, they are allowed to have their own rules, which is why I just left quietly.)  The word "diet" in my world plainly means the type of food I place in my face hole.  My "diet" consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, etc.  Diet doesn't have to be a bad word. 

I do admit I have been talking a lot about health and diet lately.  You can catch up on some of those below:

Sugar is the Devil

Sugar and Cirrhosis of the Liver

Lowering C-Reactive Protein

CRP and Cholesterol

Calories in versus Calories out

General update on my vitamin issue

Anyway, yesterday in one of these groups, someone posted about how they wanted to be Health At Every Size friendly but felt that they personally needed to lose weight (or at least not gain weight) so that they could continue to ride horses comfortably (horses DO have a weight limit so this isn't just about fat people being able to do pretty much everything thinner people do).  I get where this girl is coming from (hellooooooo, I just had the same experience recently and was terrified the horse was going to fall over dead the minute I got into the saddle).  I see it posted every day though -- someone saying they support HAES, just not for themselves (and Ragen explaining that supporting HAES doesn't mean that you can't ever need or want to lose weight, but that it IS about listening to your body and giving it the nourishment and movement it needs).  And if I privately message most of these people, they tell me how terrified they are to state that publicly because they don't want to be burned at the stake.  We do want to believe that there are things we can do regardless of what we weigh to make ourselves healthier and happier.  Eat right.  Exercise.  Whatever.  But what I recently discovered was that when I TRULY started feeding my body properly, I lost weight.  I didn't change the number of calories I was taking in (and, in fact, if I don't eat all of "my" calories, I am really exhausted the next day, so I truly need that fuel now), I really just changed the quality and type of food. 

My highest weight post-surgery was 263 pounds last November (highest pre-surgery weight was 350, lowest post-surgery weight was 180).  I was 258.6 when I stared nutrition counseling with Ellen in May.  And I am 250 pounds today.  Anyway, I didn't mention all those numbers in my post in that Facebook group but wanted to give you a reference point.  It's not like I'm trying to say I lost 50 pounds in a month or anything.  I commented that I had changed the types of food I ate, but not my caloric intake and had lost weight.  Suddenly, people are pissed that weight loss was brought up (wasn't the point of the original post that this girl didn't want to gain anymore weight??).  Two of the girls in that thread actually privately messaged me and I sent them my calories in/calories out blog because I told them I wouldn't post it in that group and be attacked.  I believe there are way more people out there like me and those other two girls.  Sure the concept of HAES is great but I personally don't have a body that wants to weigh 350 pounds.  I don't have health at that size.  Hell, I don't have health at THIS size (as my doctor likes to remind me at almost every visit...I have the most health problems of any patient my age at his clinic), and I am working on that.  So, I left that group.  The moderator of that group has a right to police the topics of her group but if I am going to be picked on because I even mentioned the words "lost weight," then I don't need to be part of that group.  I wasn't bragging.  I wasn't posting before and after photos.  I just simply mentioned, hey I made some nutritional changes and noticed my body was ready to let go of some weight. 

My blog, my rules
I have noticed this happens a lot on Facebook (or the internet in general), and not just in fat acceptance groups.  Someone mentions they are at the gym, or they post photos of healthy foods, and other people take offense.  Maybe that post somehow makes them feel guilty because they aren't doing the same thing so they lash out.  But hey, my experiences, my posts, my life don't cheapen yours.  I can go to the gym (or not) and eat healthy (or not) and it has nothing to do with anyone else.  I don't post things like that to make people feel bad about themselves.  It's not a guilt trip or a judgment.  In case you haven't noticed, I like to chronicle my life on Facebook, and the gym and food I eat are included in that life.  People shouldn't feel so compelled to comment on any post trying to make others feel bad for wanting to do those healthy things.  My Facebook.  My rules.  Right?
Anyway, the point of this post was actually going to be more about the calories in, calories out thing.  But yesterday's experience just kind of annoyed me so I apparently felt the need to write about it.  I saw this article about "demolishing" the calories in, calories out model and wanted to share it.  You can read the whole article HERE.

Adele Hite:

“Fortunately, there’s an easy way to keep track of your calories even though you can’t see, taste, or smell them.

Marion Nestle says that the best way to measure calories is to step on a scale. So, lessee. I stepped on the scale and I weigh 160 pounds. If I’m 55% water (hooray, no calories there!), and 4% minerals (wait, does calcium have calories?), and then 13% protein (4 calories), 24% fat (9 calories) and 4% carbohydrate (4 calories), well then, hmm multiply by and convert and carry the one and—got it!—
I’m exactly 194766.884I’m exactly 206112.371 calories.

That means if I decrease my calorie intake by 500 calories a day (this where all that helpful calorie information on the side of the box of low-fat, high-fiber, individually calorie-control portion food comes in handy) and increase my activity by 500 calories a day (which I understand I can do simply through insanity, which—according to my children—should not be much of a stretch), that means that on November 10, 2012, sometime around noon, I will disappear altogether because all my calories will be gone. See how easy that is.”

^ That's some funny shit. 

Dr. David Ludwig and Mark Freedman:

"The more calories we lock away in fat tissue, the fewer there are circulating in the bloodstream to satisfy the body’s requirements. If we look at it this way, it’s a distribution problem: We have an abundance of calories, but they’re in the wrong place. As a result, the body needs to increase its intake. We get hungrier because we’re getting fatter."

Gary Taubes:

"Francis Benedict reported this in 1936, when he fasted a strain of obese mice. They lost 60 percent of their body fat before they died of starvation, but still had five times as much body fat as lean mice (!!!!!!)* that were allowed to eat as much as they desired.
*[bolded font and exclamation points are mine!!!!!]"
Dr. Mark Hyman:
"The vast majority of conventional nutritionists and doctors have it mostly wrong when it comes to weight loss. Let’s face it: If their advice were good and doable, we would all be thin and healthy by now. But as a general rule, it’s not. And the mainstream media messages often confuse things even more. It is based on many 'food lies'.
And the biggest lie of them all is this: All calories are created equal."
Tom Naughton:
"[An] official from the U.K. health system floated the idea that doctors need to stop pussyfooting around with the language and just tell fat patients that they’re too fat. A professor of ethics in the U.S. stepped it up a notch and insisted we need to start shaming fat people.
Riiiiiiiight. Because fat people don’t know they’re fat and aren’t properly ashamed of themselves. If we just shame them enough, they’ll develop some character and stop eating too much. It’s not as if appetite and energy balance at the cellular level figure into this or anything.
I’ve got news for both of these dunces: fat people know they’re fat, and most of them hate it. Most of them have tried over and over to lose weight, but failed because they were given bad advice on how to do it. To put it in terms of my last post, they expended plenty of effort, but the effort wasn’t effective.
If we start shaming them, we won’t end up with fewer fat people … but we will end up with more fat people who are depressed or neurotic. Fewer of them will visit doctors for checkups or to find out what that funny-looking lump is. They’ll avoid doctors to avoid the lectures and the shaming. That already happens, in fact. And by the way, raising their cortisol levels by shaming them won’t help the weight-loss efforts one bit."
Sam Feltham:
"The only way to to stop accumulating biochemical ‘limescale’ is to not eat fake foods, whether that be refined and sugary carbs or hydrogenated fat. Plus the only way to get rid of the biochemical ‘limescale’ that’s stopping your body from using your body fat stores for energy is to EAT REAL FOOD, and the ‘limescale’ will wash away."
Richard Feinman and Eugene Fine:
"The idea that 'a calorie is a calorie' comes from a misunderstanding of the laws of thermodynamics. There are two laws of thermodynamics…The second law is a dissipation law [which] says that variation of efficiency for different metabolic pathways is to be expected. Thus, ironically the dictum that a 'calorie is a calorie' violates the second law of thermodynamics, as a matter of principle….Attacking the obesity epidemic will involve giving up many old ideas that have not been productive. 'A calorie is a calorie' might be a good place to start."
J. Stanton:
"The concept of the 'calorie', as applied to nutrition, is an oversimplification so extreme as to be untrue in practice… the problem with 'calories in, calories out' should be obvious:
The fate of a 'calorie' of food depends completely on its specific molecular composition, the composition of the foods accompanying it, and how those molecules interact with our current metabolic and nutritional state."

Bill Lagakos:

"Counting calories to lose weight does not work for the majority of dieters. This happens, in part, because the calories in food are not the same as those expended by the body."
Jonathan Bailor:
"We value science. We celebrate innovation & progress. We seek to be in the know. So why are we following fat loss, eating, & exercise advice from the 50s?"
So there you go.  More "evidence" that a calorie isn't just a calorie.  It certainly seems that more people are getting the memo.  Of course, talking about calories and "dieting" isn't the same as talking about being overweight and Health At Every Size (this was kind of a two-faced blog).  All people deserve to be treated as humans.  I don't think that bullies have the right to talk down to fat people or throw eggs and milkshakes out the car window at them.  That isn't ok to do to anyone, no matter their size.  But I am also tired that many people take the HAES message and almost end up turning it around to do their own shaming.  It is unfortunate but I guess that is kind of the nature of the beast when dealing with other humans.  My journey is my journey.  I won't apologize for it and won't let anyone else tell me what I should say or how I should feel.  And neither should you.