Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy 4th Bloggerversary to Confessions of a Twirly Girl!

Today, Confessions of a Twirly Girl turns four years old!  You can read my post from last year HERE

There's so much the same as last year (and pretty much every year lately).  Learn to love myself no matter what the scale says and try harder at pole.  One big change is coming up.  I found a job only two blocks from my home, so I'll be able to walk to work in two short weeks.  I will get almost two hours a day of my life back and no more crazy BART stories!  I have been consistently going to yoga and pole for the last few months and I'm finally seeing some changes in my body.  Last night, I took a photo for the PDBA photo challenge and I could actually see some muscles in my legs again!  WOOHOO!

So here are some stats on my blog.

My pole-friendly Facebook profile had 2,300 friends last year.  This year, I'm down to 2,092.  That is partially due to me removing people I NEVER interacted with or thought might be spam profiles.  The Confessions fan page has 1,653 fans. 

Last year, I had about 1,400 Twitter followers.  Now, I'm up to almost 1,600.

Last year, my blog had a little under 165,000 views (now that I'm running Google Analytics, I am learning that the blog most likely counts each page view, and Analytics will just count the first visit to your site, so their numbers are slightly lower than my blog stats report).  This year, my all-time page view count is at 306,324.

What does all of this mean?  Not much.  It just means there are at least a few people who understand my struggles and perhaps enjoy my rants a bit.  You don't come to my page because you want to learn amazing pole tricks.  You come to discuss how we are all on our own journeys and we feel better knowing that we are in good company.  For that, I am very grateful.  Thank you again to each and every one of you who reads my blog.

So, what's new in the last year?  

I have been asked to be a Board Member for the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  We host monthly blog hops and weekly photo challenges.  We would love to get more people involved.  Even if you aren't a blogger, you can still participate in the photo challenges

I am still in the process of planning the Northern California Pole Presentational.  We almost have our location locked down and will be making an official announcement SOON. 

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read my posts and would love to know more about you.  If you'd like to post a comment with your name and where you're from, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, January 27, 2014

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...

No one likes to say they're on a diet.  But restricting calories and increasing exercise with the intention of allowing your body to consume itself to lose weight is still a diet.  "It's a lifestyle change!"  That's just a marketing genuis' new wording for "you're on a diet!" 

I wrote about my slow journey before.  You can read that HERE.  Yes, I'd love to embrace health at every size and love my body at this weight.  But I don't feel healthy at this weight.  I'm in pain and, with my foot injury, my weight has been creeping higher and higher.  I often use sugary,  high calorie foods as a coping mechanism.  And THAT cannot be healthy. 

So I quietly started counting calories in November.  I bounced up and down five pounds -- made it through the holidays without any weight gain (which is actually normal for me since I binge regularly, not just for the holidays).  Then I went on this steroid recently and dropped down to a weight I haven't seen in at least a year. 

My weight has certainly been on a roller coaster -- my graph never has a straight line.  My highest weight before gastric bypass was almost 350 pounds.  My lowest weight was 179.  My weight started climbing a few years after surgery and I got up to 222 pounds.  I started over-exercising (but didn't limit calories) and took about 18 months to get back to 200 pounds in early 2009.  Almost as soon as I got there, I stopped exercising as much and my weight started to creep up again.  215 pounds when I met Rob in August 2009.  225 by the time I started Twirly Girls in December of the same year.  I was offered the "opportunity" to try a friend's diet products and quickly rose to 235.  By the time I started the job in San Francisco in October 2012, I was 252 pounds.  I did go down to 247 for a bit since I was walking more in San Francisco but the foot injury slowed me down (and my dislike of the job had me eating a ton of chocolate at my desk), so I jumped up to my highest post-surgery weight of 263 pounds.  That's a lot of weight to throw on your frame in a few short years.  Especially when you have plastic surgery scars holding things in and making your fat poke out of weird places.  I have been jumping between 257 and 263 for the last couple of months.  Currently, probably thanks to the steroid, I'm at 255.  My ultimate goal is to get to 240 then 225.  I like small goals.  Pole dancing and yoga put a lot more muscle on my frame than I had before so I (tell myself I) would be happy at 225 instead of 200 again. 

I wrote about my search for my Resting Metabolic Rate.  You can find that HERE.  I had determined the number of calories right for my body to maintain its weight was 2,600.  I had cut them to 2,200 to try to lose weight.  I was eating the "right" number of calories and still not really losing (no, I wasn't forgetting to record things or underestimating calories...remember I've been counting calories my entire life).  A couple of weeks ago, I cut that to 2,000.  Suddenly, I was on the verge of a binge.  I watched it happen.  The "crazy" switch got turned on and I just knew my brain was about to flip out.  So I am putting myself back to 2,200.  I really don't want to exercise twice a day, which is how I lost the weight before.  I am trying to focus on working out to be strong and healthy rather than to lose weight. 

It is frustrating.  I know I'm not being a good Health at Every Size advocate by admitting that I am trying to watch my food.  I really am not restricting myself much other than to not allow myself tons of chocolate at work.  And I am trying to make better choices but making food in the crockpot at home instead of picking up fast food or eating at a restaurant (or microwaving frozen crap).  I know I'm not the only one who struggles.  I see so many girls posting in my various groups saying they feel guilty for not wanting to be the weight they are.  And I don't think we should feel guilty.  I almost feel like some fat advocates do to other fatties exactly what they accuse thin people of doing -- making them feel bad about themselves.  And I'm about doing what makes me feel good, not feeling guilty.  So I am ridding myself of that guilt. 

So yeah, if it needs to be said, I'm on a diet.  I'm watching the food that goes into my mouth because I certainly don't need to eat candy all day long.  I'm sure that will disappoint some people but it needs to be said.  I am about to make some really big life changes and I am excited for the future.  But I want my future to include less pain in my feet and I feel like the path that I am currently on will help me get there. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

The fat-free confusion

I wrote about fat-free foods a little bit about two years ago.  I was in a different mindset then and don't really like the post, but I will link it since I did write about it before. 

I wrote:

"It's like the harder I try, the fatter I get.

I keep thinking about going to Weight Watchers years and years ago.  They had a fat and fiber plan (before points was so popular...actually, this is what probably lead to the points system being developed).  You were supposed to eat under 10 grams of fat and least 10 grams of fiber per day.  Well, okay...have you seen all the fat-free food options in the stores??  Do you know how they replace fat when they remove it from foods?  They use sugar.  So the calories may be the same or higher than your full-fat option.  And its stock full of sugar.  Yum.  I could eat thousands of calories in a day and never go over 10 grams of fat.  Weight Watchers, of course, had to start telling people, you still need to eat in moderation.  But that program was probably their biggest failure.  I know I failed on it."

Weight Watchers, of course, no matter which program they have rolled out, is just another diet.  The success rate of diets is generally 95%.  That means only 5% of dieters have kept off their weight at two years out.  That means the other 95% have re-gained, often to a weight higher than when they started.  The yo-yo isn't healthy for your body.

I know the statistics and the odds.  But, man, I still keep playing the game.  I'm currently on the verge of a meltdown and binge.  The thoughts....they're creeping into my head already.  "Fuck not eating cookies and cupcakes...just one won't hurt."  Six cookies later, I'm sick from sugar overload and can barely think because my head hurts and I'm exhausted.  I've been counting calories quietly for over two months and am really only down five pounds right now because I took that steroid that made me pee out water weight.  Otherwise, I keep bouncing up and down those same five pounds.  So recently I decided to remove even more calories from my "diet."  Instead of 2,200 (I should be eating around 2,600 to maintain), I'll go down to 2,000.  And here I am, standing at the edge of a binge.  Why do I do this to myself?

Anyway, that is a separate issue.  Today, I want to write about fat-free foods.  I am still always surprised when I see people acting like fat is bad (I learned this lesson years ago and apparently think everyone else should be on the same page).  Clearly, I don't want to be mowing down Ultimate Cheeseburgers and fries, but fat is not the enemy.  I eat real butter, no margarine.  I put coconut oil in my protein shake, even though it adds 14 grams of fat.  I don't really drink milk but we still have 2% in our house.  I generally buy the full fat hamburger at the store (80%-20%?).  It's cheaper and I assume most of the fat is what I just drain out at the end anyway.  When I was discussing fat free foods in my gastric bypass meeting once, someone mentioned that items like dairy have fat removed by a different process than regular foods, so I thought I would research it a little.  (Saved for another day will be the "good fat" versus "bad fat" discussion.)


"The problem is that sometimes 'fat free' is also, well, taste free. And to make up for that lack of taste, food manufacturers tend to pour other ingredients -- especially sugar, flour, thickeners and salt -- into the products. That may boost the calorie content."

This blog makes an interesting point:

"Just think about the difference between a yummy cracker topped with cheese and a low fat cracker all dry and bland. Which one would YOU choose? The tasty one of course! So basically, you’re subjecting yourself to bland, tasteless, dry food that, get this, costs more!
 
.....
 
Statistically speaking, when you eat low fat or fat free foods, typically everyone will end up eating 28% more calories than regular full fat foods!" 
 
For years, I bought the lowest fat content ground beef available (generally the extra lean 4%), but I also paid a premium for that meat.  More recently, I've started purchasing the regular old high fat hamburger and draining the fat.  It saves money and I am no longer afraid of the fat.
 
Here are some tips for lowering the fat content of regular ground beef, if that is something you'd like to do:
 
"Drain & Rinse Regular Hamburger to eliminate as much fat as possible. Fry up a pound of regular, cheap Humble Hamburger in the normal way. Break it up into small pieces, and cook it until all the pink is gone. Drain as much of the accumulated fat as you can into a handy vegetable can, or grease catcher. Then dump the ground beef into a colander or strainer in the sink. Run hot tap water into the greasy skillet. Pour this water over the hamburger in the strainer. Do it again. Allow the beef to drain a few minutes, and then return it to the skillet. Proceed as directed by the recipe.
 
A 4 oz raw portion of regular hamburger that has been cooked, drained and rinsed has approximately 155 calories, 9g fat, 4g saturated fat and 46 mg cholesterol. Compared to the values for super-lean ground beef above, drained and rinsed crumbles have 15 fewer calories, 1 more gram total fat, 1 more gram saturated fat and 15 fewer miligrams of cholesterol. Because of this information I am whole-heartedly willing to eat and recommend regular ground beef that has been cooked, drained and rinsed to anyone who is trying to eat a healthier diet."
 
Type of Ground Beef
1 lb Raw; Weight after cooking
1 lb Raw; Calories after cooking
1/4 lb Raw; Calories after cooking
Super Lean (7% fat)
12-2/3 oz
680
170
Extra Lean (15% fat)
12 oz
859
214
Lean (20% fat)
11-1/2 oz
876
219
Regular (30% fat), Broiled
10-2/3 oz
880
220
Regular (30 % fat) Drained & Rinsed
11 oz
620
155
 
Next up is milk (and I assume this applies to cheese as well).  How do they remove the fat in milk?  (Side note:  I don't really drink milk outright since I had surgery ten years ago.  I am actually now using almond milk in my protein shake and have mostly given up ice cream.  I hadn't really realized it until I stopped regularly buying ice cream six months ago, but I am pretty sure I'm lactose intolerant.  It is a common side effect of gastric bypass.)  If you want a straight across the board comparison of different types of milk, click HERE


"Whole milk is separated in a centrifuge that outputs two streams, one cream and one fat-free milk. The fat-free milk is pasteurized then condensed in a vacuum evaporator to remove water and increase the concentration of solids. It’s then sent to a spray dryer, think industrial, high-pressure milk atomizer. The sprayer shoots a fine spray of milk into a warm, air-filled chamber that removes more moisture, turning the milk into powdery spherical particles, aka milk solids. They pop up in various low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
 
.....
 
Restricting calories, we now know, leads to temporary weight loss as the metabolism adjusts to weight-loss by slowing down. Fat isn’t making us fat.
 
.....
 
Whole milk’s three macronutrients—protein, fat and carbohydrates—are naturally, perfectly balanced. It has complete proteins (i.e. adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids), B vitamins and saturated and unsaturated fats. Its A and D vitamins help digest protein, assimilate calcium and absorb other fat-soluble vitamins. It’s nutritionally complete."
 
And one more interesting read HERE if you're interested.
 
"People haven’t always bought into the idea that fat is unhealthy. It all started with a flawed theory by a really bad scientist who said that saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease. Which is pretty weird, considering no one had heart attacks around the turn of the century when everyone was still eating pounds of butter and cream every week. 

Somehow, by the time World War II rolled around, we were all convinced that fat was the enemy, anyway. Butter was replaced with cheap margarine made from toxic industrial oils, and creamy, full-fat milk was dumped in favor of skim."

So there you go, fat isn't necessarily bad for you and fat-free isn't your friend.  Do you generally use low-fat/non-fat foods?  Tell me about your experiences in the comments below.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Poletry in Motion: Kinetic Arts Center

In November, I wrote about attending a show at Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland.  I was re-reading the post and realized, I almost come off sounding like Sean Michael didn't deserve his win.  When I said I felt guilty voting for him, it wasn't because he wasn't amazing, it was just because, well how do you vote against CHILDREN?!  I hope no one (meaning my lovely Sean Michael) read that and took offense. 

So, before the show, Kinetic Arts had set out props and fun things for people to use in photos.  The winner would receive a free class.  Of course, I took a ton of photos and bombarded their Facebook page.  I think they only let me win so I'd stop posting pictures!  (In fact, Rita and AJ were invited to come to classes as well.)  I was so excited to win but then came time to choose a class!  They offer so many different type of circus and aerial art classes (in addition to strengthening classes such as pilates, yoga and parkour).  They welcome all ages and fitness levels.  It is easy to choose which class might work for you, as the schedule clearly states the ages and level of experience required for each class. 

I toyed around with trying the beginner trapeze, rope and tissue class on Sundays, but ultimately chose Pole Fit & Play with Luiza on a Thursday night.  What a great class!  The pole room has four poles and there were five girls in class (not including Luiza).  I felt like we all shared the poles really well without interrupting the flow of class.  We started with a really intense but much-needed warm-up, then Luiza taught some simple dance choreography.  If there were moves that I couldn't do, she had alternatives ready.  Luiza is a beautiful dancer and I really enjoyed learning from her.  I also adore her because she is Sean Michael's pole mama!  Everyone was very welcoming and I felt right at home.

There is so much more to do at Kinetic Arts.  Of course there are pole classes, but if you want to try any kind of circus classes or at least be conditioned like a circus performer, this is the place to go!  Please check out their website and let me know if you are going to take a class!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post 666: The evils of...

...writer's block.  

Today is my 666th post.  So devilish!  I saw this was coming up and have been searching for something evil and interesting to write about, but nothing is really tickling my fancy.  I am currently "enjoying" the crash associated with taking a steroid.  Last night, I dreamed about sleeping.  This morning, I fell asleep on the train. 

So maybe I will give you a recap of some of the goings-on in my life.  (Like you didn't already know everything that has been happening if you're on Facebook with me.)

Chunky Girl Comics

Last weekend, we did another Chunky Girl Comics photoshoot.  Unfortunately, we missed a beautiful sunset at the marina but we went to the Bay Street Mall in Emeryville and ran around taking photos and acting silly.  There was a candy store and as we were cleaning up, "someone said, does that say 40% off Giant Candy?"  Indeed it did.  And more silliness ensued.  

Volare Variety

Kate's burlesque show, Volare Variety, happened the first weekend of January.  You can view the full show HERE.  She is also taking submissions for the next show, which will happen in March!  

Dance Lab

I am back in class at Twirly Girls!  I am taking AJ's Dance Lab class on Saturdays.  I really enjoy AJ's classes.  He definitely pushes my limits physically, which I need, but he understands my limitations and never makes me feel stupid for not being able to do a move.  This class focuses more on contemporary choreography rather than pole, which is exactly what I needed.  I can't say I will ever look as graceful as AJ when I do the moves, but I am enjoying the challenge and hope to absorb some ability to dance!

Eating Healthy

I got a crockpot, so I've been trying different recipes.  I don't want to say I'm on a diet, of course, but I am trying to make the effort to eat more food I make at home.  If you have any amazing recipes, please share them!





Cupcakes

Yeah, I won't be giving them up any time soon.  And I'm okay with that.  I find it makes everyone else more uncomfortable than it makes me.  Fat girls aren't supposed to be allowed to eat cupcakes in public.  Well, I do.  Bite me. 

 

Spring Cleaning

I started spring cleaning over the weekend.  I went through boxes and boxes of old stuff: photos, birthday cards, love letters from high school.  You name it, I apparently kept it.  I had a really good time walking down memory lane (as I threw most of it away)!  Someday when I'm motivated, I need to scan in some of these photos!

Homeless Robert

Most days when I leave work, I pass an older man on the street.  He's begging for money, but he never yells at me, or shakes his cup.  He has bright blue eyes and a smile.  So after passing him for months and months, I finally stopped and asked his name.  His name is Robert!  Now every day I say hello to Robert on my way to BART.  Sometimes we talk about the weather.  He usually makes a comment about my outfit.  He'll ask about work (do I use an electric typewriter, because those manual ones really jump!).  He wonders if I write memoirs when I go home (I guess a blog is like a memoir!).  So more recently, I asked him where he was from.  He essentially told me he "occurred" when the ball park was built.  I pushed him a little on it but he insists that's where he came from.  So I'm assuming Robert was "born" when Pac Bell (now AT&T) Park was built in San Francisco approximately 15-16 years ago.  Last week, I was playing on my phone as I happened upon Robert so I showed it to him.  He asked me if it had a picture box.  I said yes, so I took his photo and showed it to him.  He told me, "I look like Hugh Hefner!"  Indeed you do, Robert!  I adore this guy -- he gives me something to smile about each evening as I am headed home. 

*****

I hope you enjoyed the recap of the first few weeks of my 2014.  I guess this post wasn't all that evil after all.  I have been trying to invite more light into my life lately, so maybe it's a good thing the darkness stayed away!  I hope your 2014 is going well...please feel free to share your fun times in the comments below!


I would call this a pole kiss but its more like floor burn

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The importance of feet...

Ode to my feet.

Oh feet.  You pesky little buggers.  You carry me here.  You carry me there.  You carry me...everywhere.  You hurt like a bitch and piss me off and make me want to cut you off!

You may have heard once or twice that I'm having issues with my feet.  Despite my little poem above, I actually am trying to be kinder to my feet and to my body, and trying not to be hard on myself over issues outside of my control.  If you aren't caught up...I have a bone spur in my right heel that caused me to have plantar fascial release surgery last August.  Just a week ago, I went back to the doctor because the pain in my left foot suddenly became excruciating.  I was worried I had another bone spur.  Although I DO have two tiny bone spurs in my left foot, they are not causing my pain.  It turns out this issue is related to a peroneal tendon strain (this is the tendon that runs up the side of your leg, from the bottom of your foot, over your ankle then up the side of your calf, for lack of a better explanation).  Last April, while practicing for the Lovely Rita Fundraiser, I had stomped down hard and it hurt.  I missed two days of work and couldn't put any weight on that foot.  It was scary.  I did not need TWO feet with issues.  Then it kind of cleared up.  But when the weather turned super cold about six to eight weeks ago, suddenly I was in pain again (I got it...30 degree temperatures in California does not compare to negative temps in the mid-West...but I'm a California girl so yeah, that IS cold for me!!).  Yes, I am THAT person.  The weather changes and my body lets me know by punishing me with extreme amounts of pain.

Ghosty left foot...tiny bone spurs at back and bottom of heel
Anyway...  Since I had gastric bypass, I am technically not supposed to take NSAIDs.  Don't tell anyone but I take a baby aspirin and Aleve almost every day.  I was so good for almost six years...then four years ago, I got a hip injury (now believed to be a psoas strain, thanks for nothing, doctors-who-couldn't-figure-it-out!), and Tylenol just wasn't cutting it.  I started the aspirin more recently when my C-reactive protein was found to be high (that is an indication that inflammation is high in my body).  I don't need ulcers but I do need to live, so I guess I had to make some hard choices.  

So, anyway back to this story.  My doctor thought I need to battle some of the inflammation that appears to be in my body (that right surgery foot is still swollen on the bottom and the now-old injury on my left foot was clearly having new issues), so he prescribed methylprednisolone, which is a steroid.  I picked it up on a Tuesday night.  The medication is set up in kind of a pyramid.  Six pills on day one, down to one pill at day six.  The first day is very clearly laid out.  One or two pills before breakfast, more at lunch, more at dinner, more at bedtime.  But at the bottom, the instructions say, if you receive the medication late in the day, it is safe to take all six pills at once.  Well, okay then, bottoms up!  I took all six pills before bedtime and went to sleep.  Before I had even fallen asleep, I had to get up to pee.  I got up three more times that night.  I had a glass of water before bed (which I do often), but I could not figure out why I was having to pee so much!  Finally in the morning, it occurred to me that the way you get rid of inflammation is to pee it out!  And I certainly did for the next six days.  A couple of nights I was spared (I have no idea why some nights were okay and others weren't), but for the most part, I was otherwise getting up four times each night.  I also had issues sleeping in general, twice waking up for no reason and just laying there for an hour.  My face and chest also got red and I would sweat easier.  But for the most part, I had manageable side effects. 

It certainly seemed worth it.  By day two, I was completely pain free in both feet.  And the swelling in my surgery foot was gone.  I lost five pounds in six days (water weight, I know).  I took my last pill on Sunday and the pain is still gone for the most part (today I returned to work after a three day weekend and my feet feel a tiny bit sore from the commute but I'm not in real pain).  It's crazy.  I really don't know how long the effects will last, but I hope it's for awhile. 

The downside so far has been extreme dehydration.  Thank God I've been making more efforts to drink water, because if I was at my previous level of water-intake and took these pills, I may have injured myself.  (I'm worried I gave myself a hernia recently, and am still debating whether I want to go to the doctor to find out...I have some weird pain when I eat lately.  I just feel like such a hypochondriac sometimes, even though each time I go to the doctor, I do have a legit issue.)  I don't want to be graphic but dehydration causes painful issues I'd rather not discuss here.  And I'm tired of them.

Anyway, I am two days out from finishing the steroid and I am still mostly pain free.  I don't know how long I will get to enjoy this but I am going to appreciate the time I do get!

Have you ever had to use a steroid for something like this?  I'd love to hear how long it worked for you!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Copper Toxicity

While I was bitching and whining about how I didn't like to drink water (it's the "phase" I've been going through for the last year or so -- after I took this job in San Francisco), someone said, hey I've heard that disliking water can mean you have some issues with copper! 

So another blog topic was born!  (Thanks, Angela!!)

Let's talk about copper toxicity, because I had never heard of this before!

"Copper Toxicity is a condition that is increasingly common in this day and age, due to the widespread occurrence of copper in our food, our hot water pipes, along with the common nutritional deficiencies in Zinc, Manganese and other trace minerals that keep levels of Copper from getting too high.

The use of birth control pills increases a woman's risk of having a Copper toxicity condition due to estrogen's effect of increasing copper retention in the kidneys. Estrogen overstimulates Aldosterone receptors in the kidneys, increasing Sodium, Copper and water retention. Both estrogen and Copper tend to raise the blood pressure by increasing water retention, raising the blood volume.

Copper builds up first in the liver and disrupts the liver's ability to detoxify the blood in general. This Copper toxicity in the liver therefore disrupts the Liver's ability to detoxify excess estrogen and other toxic heavy metals from the body by blocking Zinc in the binding sites of metallothionein and other Zinc dependent Liver enzymes needed to make Glutathione."

Ummm....I have been on birth control for about 22 years. My liver panels are also often "off" when I have my annual blood tests (post-gastric bypass; although there is no proof that these issues are related). Recently, unrelated to this copper discovery, I had started taking more zinc and magnesium, so hopefully that is helping keep the levels of copper down. Suggested treatment from the same article:

"The main thing to do is to increase Zinc and Magnesium levels to calm the mind and nervous system. However, just taking Zinc alone can cause serious side effects as Zinc will cause a Copper detox as the body dumps this excess copper and Mercury and other heavy metals from the tissues. This can cause rashes and flu-like symptoms. Zinc will also lower Sodium levels which may make you feel extremely tired."  

Here's why we DO need some copper in our bodies, though:

     1. Bones and connective tissue. Copper is required to fix calcium in the bones and to build and repair all connective tissue. This includes the tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, nails, arteries, veins and a few other tissues. Imbalances can contribute to osteoporosis, bone spurs, and almost all conditions of the skin, hair and nails. Others symptoms related to connective tissue include most cardiovascular problems, tendon and ligament conditions, scoliosis, and other skeletal and structural imbalances as well.

      2. Energy production in the cells. Copper is needed in the final steps of the Krebs energy cycle called the electron transport system. This is where most of our cellular energy is produced. Any problem here causes fatigue, depression and other imbalances related to low energy.

      3. Immune Response. Copper must remain in balance with zinc. When imbalances occur, one is more prone to all infections, in particular fungal and yeast infections that are so common today. For example, most people have some intestinal yeast if they eat sugars and most people have chronic sinus infections if they have common symptoms such as post-nasal drip and others.

      4. The glandular system, particularly the thyroid and adrenal glands. The thyroid gland is extremely sensitive to copper. In part this is due to its nature and how easily it is influenced by the sympathetic nervous system. Common conditions seen with copper imbalance include hypothyroidism and even hyperthyroidism of a particular type that is very common that I all secondary hyperthyroidism. Grave’s disease usually due to stress, copper imbalance and often mercury as well. Anyone with a diagnosis of Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism should have a hair analysis performed at a lab that does not wash the hair and properly interpreted. Most often, the problem goes away with a properly designed nutritional balancing program. Reducing all stress and balancing the body chemistry are both required to resolve the condition naturally in my experience. Drugs may be needed temporarily to control the symptoms. Surgery or radioactive iodine treatment and too drastic and not needed, in my experience so far.

      5. Reproductive system. Copper is closely related to estrogen metabolism, and is required for women's fertility and to maintain pregnancy. Imbalance can cause every conceivable female organ-related difficulty such as premenstrual syndrome, ovarian cysts, infertility, miscarriages, sexual dysfunctions and more. It affects men less than women in this area, but it may affect men’s potency and sexual drive as well as that of women.

      6. Nervous system. Copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production. As a result, copper is involved deeply with all aspects of the central nervous system. Copper imbalances are highly associated with most psychological, emotional and often neurological conditions. These include memory loss, especially in young people, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others discussed below.

"One of the most common symptoms of biounavailabe copper or a frank copper deficiency is an anemia that appears identical to iron deficiency anemia. Those most affected are young adult women, and sometimes children. Vegetarians also tend to have too much and biounavailable copper and may be affected. ... Few doctors are aware of this cause for anemia. As a result, most physicians make the mistake of giving supplemental iron for this condition, which may work a little, but makes the patient much worse in terms of overall health."  

I also have mild anemia, which I have always attributed to the gastric bypass. Perhaps it is connected to copper. So, how do we fix it? From the same article: 

The key is to use a number of methods simultaneously. This does not mean taking piles of pills or strange diets, however. It can be done easily and rather inexpensively and without a lot of fuss. The methods used in nutritional balancing to balance copper include:

      1. Reduce exposure to sources of copper. Common sources include copper intra-uterine devices or IUDs, swimming in pools, vegetarian diets and high copper foods such as nuts, seeds, and avocado.

      2. Diet is critical. The diet must contain seventy to eighty percent cooked vegetables, not raw ones. Also needed is healthful animal protein daily, and some whole grain rice and corn, if these can be tolerated well.  ...  Equally important, the diet must be as low as possible in sweets, fruits and sugars as possible. These foods, along with all stimulants, stress the adrenal glands and tend to make copper imbalance worse. Stimulants include sugars, caffeine and food additives such as MSG, aspartame and other excitotoxins in the diet. ... Vegetarian diets tend to aggravate copper imbalance badly. Wheat and refined flour products are also not helpful at all. ...

     3. Lifestyle modification. Most people with copper imbalance are very sensitive emotionally. Many also need to slow down, relax more and let go of anger and resentments. Some also need to make changes in their relationships, location, work and other important aspects of their lives so that they “live their truth” to a greater degree. Living a lie can be an important problem, in fact, with copper imbalance. Reducing fear and stress. This is often very helpful and necessary to balance copper. Methods range from a change in location or work to meditation, more rest, counseling and other changes. ...

      4. Carefully chosen nutritional supplements are extremely important for adrenal gland restoration and to balance copper.  ...  They must always include a powerful digestive aid, a multiple nutrient product for one’s oxidation type, supplementary vitamins and minerals as indicated by the test, kelp and perhaps a few other simple supplements to support the body properly. ...

      5. Detoxification procedures. These are not always needed, but can be most helpful. Copper imbalance responds beautifully to the use of coffee enemas and the use of a near infrared lamp sauna. These may be absolutely essential for those with emotional problems connected to their copper imbalance. Other methods of detoxification are less effective, in our experience. These include cleansing diets, foot baths, clay packs and other methods which can make the copper problem worse. 

***** 

Another suggested way to deal with this was through Neuro-Emotional Therapy. You can read up on that HERE: "NET is not a "talk-it-out" therapy. It is a mind-body technique that addresses a physiological dysfunction. Before the discovery of neuropeptides (chemicals now known to carry emotion throughout the body), emotions were considered to be largely in the domain of psychology. Now emotions are also considered within the domain of acupuncturists, chiropractors, medical doctors and other practitioners of the healing arts."

Have you had experience with copper toxicity and/or neuro-emotional therapy? I'd love to hear about your experiences and I continue to try to heal my own body and make myself whole again.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why I Love Coconut Oil

I love coconut oil.  I use it on my face and in my hair.  I put it on my elbows.  I put it in my protein shake.  I use it every single day.  So I thought I should write about why coconut oil might be something you want to add to your daily routine.

According to Dr. Oz (whom I normally hate but will allow with this article), coconut oil is good for so many reasons.  Apparently it can help us fight off infections (makes sense...I haven't been sick for a long while and most of my office has been dying around me with the plague).  It also supposedly helps control the thyroid and blood sugar.  It can also help your cholesterol score by increasing the "good" cholesterol.  It can help our liver burn fats more efficiently.  And, it is a great moisturizer.  The recommended amount is one to two tablespoons.  

I actually only add about a tablespoon to my protein shake each day (which adds about 120 calories and 14 grams of fat), but I will use a small amount on my face (more if I am putting it on before the shower like a mask, or less if I am using it as a moisturizer under my make-up).  I will also take a big scoop for my hair as a treatment once a week or so.   

If you want to read more on the health benefits of organic coconut oil, click HERE:

"Coconut oil is used extensively in tropical countries especially India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Philippines etc., which have a good production of coconut oil. At one time, the oil was also popular in western countries like the United States and Canada, but there was a strong propaganda campaign in the 1970s spread by the corn oil and soy oil industry against coconut oil. Coconut oil was considered harmful for the human body due to its high saturated fat content until the last decade (2000s) when people began to question the claims of the propaganda. Next, let’s look into some more details of how coconut oil works in our body."

In the same article tagged above, they discuss organic coconut oil in particular:

"Organic Coconut Oil: The coconut oil that has been extracted from coconuts obtained from coconut palms raised only on organic manure and no synthetic fertilizers or insecticides. The production of organic coconut oil is also completed without involving any chemical in its extraction or processing. This is another well-respected variety of coconut oil. Organic coconut oil forms an integral part of a number of organic cosmetic products such as organic soaps, organic skin creams and lotions, organic snacks and thousands of other similar products."

A lot of the articles I'm finding are more concerned with refined versus non-refined, rather than whether it is organic or not.  Read on...

If you want help choosing the right type of coconut oil, click HERE

If you want help choosing your brand, click HERE.  Damn, the brand I use, Spectrum, is on the "not recommended" list.  It's the only one at Safeway I've seen!  Guess I should do some looking around!  It sounds like I need to look for unrefined, virgin, organic...  

Do you have a coconut oil that you love?  Let me know which one it is! 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Workshops with Tracee Kafer

Ginger, Jade, Tracee, Terri and me
So during Air Show weekend, OVER A MONTH AGO (yes, I'm behind), I got to take two workshops with the beautiful and talented Tracee Kafer of Body & Pole.

Friday night was Finding Your Freestyle.  Luckily, I was near the beautiful ladies of Venus Pole Fitness of Turlock, so there were plenty of giggles and fun to be had during class.  This class focused a lot on becoming comfortable with yourself and aware of all of your parts.  So we danced and emphasized "odd" body parts, such as elbows.  I prayed for "boobs" but got elbows (which somehow turned into "penis" in our group...sorry, Tracee, can't take us anywhere!).  It was a really fun reminder that I need to get out of my head and just let myself dance but also be aware of what my body is doing.  I also need to start turning down the lights and just letting my body move sometimes.  Lately, I have felt so self-conscious because I don't feel comfortable in my own skin and I feel like I have lost a lot of strength and fluidity in my dance.  I often feel like I get left behind in workshops (which is not anyone's fault but my own) since I am not advanced but this was a workshop in which I could keep up.  I can't promise I looked good!  But I didn't feel left out.  Allison Wardwell was also in class with us.  She is a really amazing dancer and it was sometimes difficult to concentrate because I just wanted to watch her dance rather than muddle through my own moves.  


Venus Pole Fitness letting me jump in on their photo
At the end of the workshop, we had to dance for a partner (ooooh I was so lucky...my partner was so beautiful!!!  Thanks for putting up with me Rhiannon!!).  We had to choose an emotion and dance.  I couldn't really pinpoint my emotion as I danced.  I was kind of frustrated with my foot for being injured and I was blaming it for holding me back.  But I had hope for the future.  How do you dance that?  Rhiannon guesses my emotion...I feel like you're trying to find your voice.  I said, naw, that's not it...wait a second...YES THAT IS EXACTLY IT!  It was kind of a cool moment.  I also felt like I nailed her emotion.  I believe I guessed hopeful or longing and I believe she was going for longing (guess it would have helped to bring my notes today!!).  Anyway, I thought it was a really awesome experience.  I took videos throughout but am kind of glad they were too dark to post.  It was one of those intimate experiences that might be good to keep to yourself. 


Saturday was Grounded Spins on Static.  Tracee came with a seven or eight spin combo.  I could remember all the parts but there were definitely a few pieces that I didn't perform well due to strength issues.  I have it on video and need to grab the clip and remind myself so I can continue to practice it (I am currently getting comfortable in letting myself one arm spin into Juliette).  I really had a fun time (and was happy to see the ladies from Kitty Kats' Korner there).  I also got to share a pole with Ann, who takes classes at Poletential.  She was really sweet and we had fun chatting during class (and hopefully kept ourselves on track and moving forward when we both felt slightly frustrated with a couple of the moves).

Tracee also performed at Air Show that evening.  She is always such a beautiful and expressive dancer.  I tried to guess her emotion that evening and I felt like it was difficult to pinpoint, but after discussing how she felt that day about the direction in which her life is going, I felt like I was pretty close!  

I want to thank Tracee for putting up with me and am looking forward to our next meeting!  Have you ever taken a workshop with Tracee?  Tell me about your experience!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Air Show, Flight 5

Terri, Lori, Rita and Sean Michael The Great!
So I have been lost in a pile of other stuff and haven't yet had a chance to blog about Poletential's Air Show, Flight 5!  They had a brand new venue with REAL poles all the way to the ceiling.  Aerial acrobats galore!!  It was an amazing show!  

Some of the awesome instructors from Body & Pole in New York came out for workshops and to perform (Tracee Kafer, Allison Wardwell and Elaina Royter).  I took two workshops with Tracee (and will blog about that soon).  

You can watch most of the show on Poletential's YouTube account.  Check out the playlist below.



One of my favorites didn't make it into the playlist, so don't miss the straps Fever routine!



One of the videos was damaged, so here's my footage of Allison Wardwell from Body & Pole. 



Poletential will be hosting Air Shows twice a year at their new Fox venue in Redwood City.  Keep an eye on their website, I'm sure an announcement will be coming soon regarding Flight 6 in May!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why Fake Sugar Doesn't Work For Me

So I wrote about sugar last week.  Too much sugar is supposed to be bad for us, so sugar substitutes were invented.  I have never been a fan of sugar substitutes.  Even when I was young, I always thought diet soda tasted disgusting.  I would rather eat/drink a smaller amount of the "real deal" than fill myself full of the fake stuff.  Apparently I was on the right track because now there are all kinds of reports on some substitutes causing cancer or causing you to crave more sweets.  

Let's take a Google walk down Sugar Substitute Lane. 

Splenda (click HERE to read more -- keeping in mind this is a very one-sided article):

"While some industry experts claim the molecule is similar to table salt or sugar, other independent researchers say it has more in common with pesticides. That’s because the bonds holding the carbon and chlorine atoms together are more characteristic of a chlorocarbon than a salt — and most pesticides are chlorocarbons. The premise offered next is that just because something contains chlorine doesn’t guarantee that it’s toxic. And that is also true, but you and your family may prefer not to serve as test subjects for the latest post-market artificial sweetener experiment — however “unique”.  See our articles on endocrine disruptors for more information on toxins and persistent organic pollutants."

Aspartame (click above for the whole article):

"Aspartame, the main ingredient in Equal and NutraSweet, is responsible for the most serious cases of poisoning, because the body actually digests it. Aspartame should be avoided by most women, but particularly in those with neuropsychiatric concerns. Recent studies in Europe show that aspartame use can result in an accumulation of formaldehyde in the brain, which can damage your central nervous system and immune system and cause genetic trauma. The FDA admits this is true, but claims the amount is low enough in most that it shouldn’t raise concern. I think any amount of formaldehyde in your brain is too much."

Saccharin (quoted from the same article above):

"Saccharin, the first widely available chemical sweetener, is hardly mentioned any more. Better-tasting NutraSweet took its place in almost every diet soda, but saccharin is still an ingredient in some prepared foods, gum, and over-the-counter medicines. Remember those carcinogen warnings on the side of products that contained saccharin? They no longer appear because industry testing showed that saccharin only caused bladder cancer in rats. Most researchers agree that in sufficient doses, saccharin is carcinogenic in humans. The question is, how do you know how much artificial sweeteners your individual body can tolerate?"

Stevia and sorbitol (again quoted from the same article):


"Other countries and diabetics have both taught us a lot about controlling insulin naturally. For many years, diabetics have used products sweetened with polyalcohol sugars like sorbitol, xylitol, malitol, and mannitol. These are natural sweeteners that do not trigger an insulin reaction. (Xylitol can be derived from birch tree pulp). They have half the calories of sugar and are not digested by the small intestine.

While most polyalcohol sugars have no side effects, sorbitol is a natural laxative and can cause diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and flatulence.

For this reason, we recommend the herb stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) over sorbitol as a natural sweetener to our patients. Known in South America as the “sweet herb”, stevia has been used for over 400 years without ill effect. Stevia has been enormously popular in Japan, where it has been in use for more than 20 years, now rivaling Equal and Sweet’N Low. It’s 200–300 times sweeter than sugar, so just a small portion of stevia will sweeten even a strong cup of tea."

What about Agave sweeteners?

"Although it's fast becoming the preferred sweetener for health-conscious consumers and natural cooks, the truth is that agave is processed just like other sugars -- and is no better for you than other sugars."

Check out THIS blog which discusses sugar versus sugar alternatives, and links to other blogs discussing the same subject:

"Well, that’s easy to answer…the best option is c) none of the above. Your best bet is always going to be to ditch the sweet stuff, whether real or artificial and stick to Real Food. Turning the sweet tooth off is a good idea; fooling it with fake sugar is not a viable long-term solution. We are primed to gorge on sugar at every opportunity."

Okay, well that's not gonna happen...so let's continue our journey.

THIS article does list some sugar alternatives that aren't supposed to be sooooo bad.  

 If you believe THIS article, eating sugar substitutes can make you...gasp...FAT!

"...you may be surprised to learn that research has repeatedly shown that artificial no- or low-calorie sweeteners are anything but good news for weight loss... Contrary to popular belief, studies have found that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can:
  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain"
So, for me, real sugar works best in small doses.  I do love my jellybeans and cupcakes but they often make me sick if I'm not careful (dumping syndrome from the gastric bypass).  And, if I could eat watermelon all day, I'd be a happy girl.  Unfortunately, winter has ruined my watermelon consumption.  I will wait patiently for summer and deliciousness to return! 

Tell me about your experiences with sugar and sugar substitutes.  What works best for you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Give Me Sugar or Give Me Death!

I love sugar.  I love fruit.  I love jelly beans.  Chocolate.  Candy.  Vitamin Water.  I love carbs.  Bread.  Pasta.  Yum yum yum.  I love it all.  

Carbohydrates.  Let's start here.

"Carbohydrates come from nearly all foods in your diet and eventually break down into glucose. You need glucose, the simplest form of carbohydrates, to provide energy to every cell in your body. Because glucose is your body's main energy source, most of your calories need to come from carbohydrates. Animal meat and some types of seafood are the few foods that lack carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are either simple or complex. Simple carbs include fructose, or fruit sugar; lactose, which is milk sugar; and sucrose, more commonly known as refined white sugar. Complex carbohydrates, which are starches in bread and potatoes, are long complex branches that take longer to digest. Your diet should include 45 to 65 percent calories from carbohydrates, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. All carbs offer 4 calories per gram. Following a 2,000-calorie diet means that you need 225 to 325 total grams of carbohydrates each day. Both simple and complex carbohydrates end up as glucose, but digestion of each of these carbs is slightly different."

So we need carbs to live but too many carbs can be bad for us, especially when we are eating straight sugar (let's look at the "bad" sugar for this post).  

"In most cases, fructose is bad for you because of how it's processed by the body. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver, which is not a good thing. This means a greater number of calories—about three times more than glucose—are going through liver processes and that results in a much higher production of VLDL (the bad cholesterol mentioned earlier) and fat. It also results in a higher production of uric acid and a lot of other things you don't want, which is believed to lead to fun stuff like hypertension and high blood pressure."

(My liver panels are always slightly off when I go for my blood tests!  Although my cholesterol is good, so who knows...)

I feel we should mention the "good" sugar, which was already covered above:

"Glucose is a simple sugar that your body likes. Your cells use it as a primary source of energy, so when you consume glucose, it's actually helpful. When it's transported into the body, it stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin."

What happens if you are "sugar sensitive?"

"Sugar Sensitivity is an inherited biochemical condition that has predictable and specific effects on the brain and on a person’s behavior. What foods a sugar-sensitive person eats and when they eat them will affect them profoundly. Sugar sensitivity describes three core issues:
  • Volatile blood sugar that overreacts to refined carbohydrates
  • Low natural levels of the brain chemical Serotonin that affects mood and the ability to say no.
  • Low natural levels of the brain chemical Beta Endorphin that modulates both physical and emotional pain."
And what if your blood sugar is bouncing all over the place, does that mean you're going to get diabetes??  

"What is clear is that people who have prediabetes aren't quite processing sugar (glucose) properly anymore. This causes sugar to build up in the bloodstream instead of doing its normal job of fueling the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. 

. . .

During digestion, sugar enters your bloodstream and with the help of insulin is then absorbed into the body's cells to give them energy. 

Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas, a gland located just behind the stomach. When you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key that unlocks microscopic doors that allow sugar to enter your cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas."

And how about those of us who have had gastric bypass and get dumping syndrome?  

"Dumping syndrome can occur after any operation on the stomach as well as after removal of the esophagus (esophagectomy). Gastric bypass surgery for weight loss is the most common cause today. It develops most commonly within weeks after surgery, or as soon as you return to your normal diet. The more stomach removed or bypassed, the more likely that the condition will be severe. It sometimes becomes a chronic disorder."

The best way to avoid dumping syndrome?

"Avoid eating sugar and other sweets..."

Want to completely cut sugar out of your life because you've heard rumors that it feeds diseases such as cancer?

"There is no conclusive research on human subjects to prove that sugar makes cancerous cells grow and metastasize. Avoiding foods with processed sugar is a good idea in general, but eliminating foods with natural sugar won’t stop cancer cells from dividing.

In fact, every cell in the human body – including cancer cells – need blood sugar in the form of glucose for energy. Most people associate the term 'sugar' with the white sugar we put in coffee. When talking about biological processes, sugar is a general term for dozens of vital chemical structures in our bodies."

I definitely need to cut down on the refined sugars.  If I eat too much, I quickly get sweaty and tired, which indicates I'm experiencing dumping syndrome.  And, although my blood sugar doesn't indicate that I'm pre-diabetic (my fasting blood sugar is always around 90 -- right after surgery, I actually had quite a few episodes of low blood sugar that caused me to pass out), I do worry that there may only be a finite amount of insulin available in my body and if I keep using it up by eating tons of sugar, my pancreas may run out.  I do love fruit.  I could eat watermelon and grapes all day (although grapes can make me dump too).  But winter doesn't leave as many yummy fruit options available.  

Are you a sugar-a-holic?  How do you keep yourself from eating up all the good stuff when it's around?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Why My Dumbass Should Drink More Water

If you are Facebook friends with me, you may have watched me bitch about drinking water.  I am not a fan of water these days (for the last year and three months, in fact -- since I started this "new" job).  I don't know why.  My poison of choice is Vitamin Water (energy -- the yellow one -- because it has the tiniest bit of caffeine and it's the only yummy flavor).  I try to limit those to one per day though (and actually feel sick if I drink more than two).  I don't drink sodas very often.  No coffee.  Rarely tea.  Never iced tea.  Very rarely alcohol.  I should be drinking water.  And a lot of it.  If the rumors are true, and you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water, I should be drinking well over 100 ounces a day. 

But I don't like it.  I don't want to drink water.  It's has become a full time job making myself choke down even half of what I should be getting on a daily basis.  So I am DEHYDRATED.  It's painful and no fun and yet still, I fight myself on this every single day.  

I sometimes add Mio flavoring to my water, but I wonder what all those chemicals are doing to me.  I do love adding cucumbers.  But my store was completely sold out of cucumbers this week!  They didn't even have the expensive organic ones!!  

So I thought I would remind myself why water is so important.

Let's first start with some symptoms of dehydration:
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
Oh wow, that sounds pleasant.  I should totally continue depriving myself of water!

Now here are some fun facts:

~ To function properly, a human body requires between 1-7 liters of water per day.

~ In 2004, the Food and Nutrition Board recommended that women should consume 2.7 liters of water and men should consumer 3.7 liters of water per day. 

~ Area fitness experts recommend that 17-20 ounces of water should be consumed 2-3 hours before exercising.

But really, how much water should YOU drink every day?

Here's that calculation I mentioned above:

"The first thing you need to do is calculate how much water your body needs at rest. That's working at a desk, puttering around the house, reading and doing all of the other things you do throughout the day. This is your bare minimum water requirement – what your body needs to function.

The basic equation for determining this is by dividing your body weight in half. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need 100 ounces of water per day if you're not doing anything strenuous. If you're working out, hiking, at a high altitude or outdoors a great deal, you're going to need to add to those 100 ounces."
 
 "When you don't get enough water, every cell of your body is affected. When you sweat, you lose a lot of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium and chloride, which are essential to your body's functions. Pretty much all of your cellular communications revolve around sodium and potassium, including muscle contractions and action potentials. This is why you'll often get a cramp when you work out without proper hydration."

And how do you know if you're getting enough water?

"The easiest way to know if you’re drinking enough fluid is to look at the color of your urine. If you’re drinking enough water, your urine will be clear or pale yellow. A darker yellow means you aren’t drinking enough water.

People who drink enough water also usually have soft bowel movements. Hard bowel movements or constipation can be signs that you aren’t getting enough water."

I personally also notice I'm not drinking enough water if I put a hair rubberband around my wrist and the indent stays there for hours after I've removed it.

I have always wondered if electrolyte-infused water like Smart Water would help me.  I don't really like Gatorade.  Maybe it's the sodium but it makes me sick (Vitamin Water has similar calories and it doesn't make me sick, so I don't think it's the sugar).  I am a pretty sweaty person but I haven't been beastly sweating lately.  It has been pretty cold, so unless I'm in a crazy spin class, I'm only moderately sweating.  So maybe if I were to drink electrolytes when I don't need them, I would just throw off my body more.

Anyway, I am curious about how you "force" yourself to drink water if you aren't excited about drinking it.  Do you like adding fruit?  Tell me your tricks!   I have to stop doing this to myself!