Vestibular Neuritis

I have finally been diagnosed.  I have Vestibular Neuritis which is a “disorder that affects the nerve of the inner ear called the vestibulocochlear nerve. This nerve sends balance and head position information from the inner ear to the brain. When this nerve becomes swollen (inflamed), it disrupts the way the information would normally be interpreted by the brain”.  I got that explanation right off of the internet.

But here is what my doctor told me.  I have a virus that affects the nerve from the inner ear to the brain causing symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, balance difficulties, nausea and fatigue.  Exactly 3 weeks ago I woke up and started to get ready to go to my Friday boot camp with Dave Reddy.    But I was feeling a bit unsteady and not sure if I was coming down with something.  I just didn’t feel right.  So I decided to take a day off from working out.

I went to work and was able to photograph 10 senior basketball players from DeSmet Jesuit High School for their annual coaches gift.  My balance was off but I was able to complete the shoot.  I went home and rested on the couch and started to feel better.  The next day I went to Chicago on Amtrak and was still feeling off.  A bit dizzy.  I got worse in Chicago and could not take the train home, so my wonderful husband drove from St. Louis to pick me up.

Fast forward to today, three weeks later, several doctors visits, doctor’s evaluations and an MRI. Yesterday I had a VNG test.  And I was finally diagnosed with this virus.  I am so relieved that I finally found out what I had.  But the most interesting thing about this illness is that the more active one is and the more exercise one does the sooner the illness goes away.  I was so excited to here that because for three weeks I have done nothing.  I did go out for a walk at Fenton Park two weeks ago but that is the only exercise I have had in three weeks.  So today I will be working out and I am excited to do so.

But the funny thing about these past few weeks is how my imagination played havoc with my mind.  Of course I was sure something was wrong when my symptoms did not go away after 1 week.  And I was sure it was a tumor of some sort in my brain when my symptoms did not go away after two weeks.  When the ENT doctor set me up for the MRI, I really was afraid to ask her what they were looking for.  She was nice and said “we want to rule out anything that may be going on in the brain.”  And that answer was good enough for me. I also was assured I was not showing any neurological signs of anything serious.  But I still had that nagging bad feeling in the back of my mind.

I tried to stay off of the internet to search what I might have.  But my curiosity got the better of me.   And what I found out scared the bejesus out of me.  I was preparing for the worst.

So when preparing for the worst I started to think.  Heck, I should just have an Imo’s Supreme pizza since I am preparing for the worst.  I may not be able to eat Ted Drews because I will be to ill, so I better get some now.  I kept thinking about what I have not eaten in one and a half years and how I might enjoy something crazy fattening indulgences.

But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that whatever illness I had, those foods would only make me feel worse in the long run.  I love how my body feels now.  And I don’t mind looking at my body anymore.  I decided I did not want to sabotage my eating with some crazy indulgences.   So for the past three weeks I have been eating very healthy and sticking to my 26 Weight Watcher points per day.

But last night I was craving – and I mean craving – ice cream.  Like Ben and Jerry’s.  I wanted my husband to go and get it for me.  He said he would go if I went with him.  But I was so cozy sitting by the fireplace I did not want to go into the cold.  So I got my greek yogurt and frozen strawberries and a banana and stirred it all together.  It was delicious and it took care of that ice cream craving.  It was such a healthy dessert.

I am getting better and looking forward to being 100% better.  Every day I can tell, the symptoms are subsiding.  I start physical therapy on Monday and I am excited to learn the exercises that will redirect my brain to compensate for the damage done to that nerve.  And the most amazing thing about this illness is that activity and exercise will make the symptoms go away quicker.  So watch out world, this girl is going to rock the gym.

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New Habits

I decided it was time for me to start some new habits.  And it is not even the start of the new year yet. The next few weeks will be extremely stressful and I want to be prepared.  First off – it is frigging cold outside.  I hate being cold.  My hands and feet are always cold.  So I have not gone outside to walk or run.  But what I have done is work out at home.

I wanted to share my favorite work out app and it is free.  LOLO.  I love the LOLO 7.  It is a seven minute workout and it shows you on the app how to do the exercise.  You plug in equipment that you have on the app settings and it will create a workout for you.  You can do just seven minutes or choose as many different workouts for your time limit.  I like to intersperse it with a run on my treadmill.

Another one I love is the Arm Workout and it is also free.  I have 2 eight pound weights at work and I can do a quick arm workout any time of the day.  At work if I am not photographing, I am sitting in front of a computer.  So what helps me when my eyes start to cross from looking at that computer screen is at the top of the hour take just 5 minutes and lift weights.  If I do that a few times a day, I should be buff in no time.

The other site I have been to and like is Chris and Heidi Powell’s Choose To Lose.  I set up my lap top and follow along their work out instructions.  I feel like I have my own personal trainer next to me.  You can sign up for a seven day trial and then there is a monthly fee.  Choose to Lose is a food and exercise program based  on carb cycling.  I love Chris and Heidi Powell.  They seem so real.  I never miss their TV show Extreme Weight Loss.

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So to start my habit, it helps me to have my work out clothes right by my bed.  So I can get up have  my coffee, wake up for a few minutes and then get into my workout clothes.  If those clothes are staring at me, I am much more likely to put them on. Let’s be honest.  It is so much easier to get my coffee, grab my lap top, check out my face book and e-mails and sit.  Mornings are my favorite me time.  I also love sitting in front of my fireplace.  It is sooooo warm.

I am into my third day of my habit.  I think it takes fourteen days to create a habit.  I will let you know how this goes.  My goal is fourteen days.

So now it is time for my weekly roundup.  I lost 3. 6 pounds this week.  So the weight I gained the past two weeks, I lost plus a bit more.  My total weight loss is 40.7 pounds.   I hunkered down this week, stuck to my 26 points, exercised and put a cork on the wine bottle.  I will admit, I had 3 glasses of wine on Saturday.  And on Saturday, I did go into my 49 extra points.  But for the rest of the week, the wine stayed in the bottle.  And that wine story will be continued at a later time.

A Runner’s High

A runners high is a fallacy. There is no truth to it at all. My understanding of a high is a euphoric feeling.  Like when I drink a glass of wine. I feel good. I feel relaxed. I always get a euphoric feeling when I drink wine. That  is one of the reasons I imbibe. Not so with running.

Yesterday, Maria (my daughter and running partner) and I went for our long run – preparing for the Webster/Kirkwood Thanksgiving Day 6 mile run.  We have been doing our long runs at the Meramec Greenway Trail in Valley Park. It is a round trip 6 mile hike along the Meramac river.

I ran twice this week – 3.2 miles and walked the other days. My goal today was that I would run 4 miles without stopping.  Maria thought I should go further and encouraged me to reach 4.5 miles before I started to walk.  Already, before we even started running, she was trying to kill me.  I said “let me go for 4 and see how I do”.  In my mind I am thinking “if I do not die or collapse I will definitely go for 4.5 miles”.  But I did not want to share that with Maria.  Because if I did, she would make me do it.  Maria is RELENTLESS!

And we were off. I kept a decent pace of 5.03 mph. most of the time we were running.  I felt pretty good.  I was not breathing too hard.  Best of all – I WAS BREATHING.  In my mind all I had to achieve was to run to 4.5 miles and then I would walk/run the last 1.5 miles.

Getting back to that runners high. I kept thinking it was going to come.  I kept waiting for it.  1 mile – 2 miles – not so much as a slight happy feeling.  But it was a beautiful day and the view was amazing.  I was listening to my favorite music – Glee.  And that helped me not to think about the abuse I was putting my body through.

At 3 miles, I had a good pace going.  I knew 4 miles was only one mile away.  Euphoria was starting to set in with the thought of not running and start walking.  But then I made it to 4 miles and thought – “You might as well go to 4.5 miles”.  If you can run for 4 miles – you can certainly run for 4.5 miles.  And I new Maria would like that.  She is such a good trainer.  And she slows down her pace so I can run with her.  She could easily leave me in the dust.  But she runs right along side of me.  She really watches over me.

Still no runners high.  And I was getting very tired.

And then at 4.5 miles Maria says “mom you are my hero”.  Crap crap crap!!!  After her saying that, there was no way I was going to stop running.  How can I be her hero and stop running?  I did start to slow down but kept thinking just don’t stop.  And where was that runner’s high?  It had definitely eluded me.

And then I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Not the white light you see when you die.  Just that the 6 mile mark was so near.   And I made it!!!  I ran for 6 whole miles without stopping. I crossed the finish line.

And then the runners high finally kicked in. I was euphoric that I had completed 6 miles. I was so excited that I had accomplished something I had never done before in my entire life   I was so excited to have run 6 miles and live to tell the story.

Now that is pure euphoria.  I did not die. I did not have a heart attack. I finally got my runners high.  And the best part of the day is that I knew my daughter was proud of me.  After all, I am her hero!

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Bites, Licks and Tastes

Bites, Licks and Tastes – better known as BLT’s can bring you down.  The calories and points can be deadly.  One is so unaware when you just take a taste.  Lick’s can add up.  And I have a very big bite.  I made chili on Saturday for our dinner on Sunday.  I know I tasted that huge pot several times.  I am sure I had a full bowl while preparing it.  I also made cupcakes for Sunday and I did lick the batter.   We had all the kids and grandkids over on Sunday for dinner.  And that was after a full day at Eckerts picking delicious – healthy – good for you – apples.

It was a beautiful day on Sunday.  The air was crisp and it was so sunny.  It was a perfect day for apple picking.  And my favorite kind.  Fuji apples.  It was so much fun.  Most of the family went.  After we were done with apple picking, I suggested we get some home made custard ice cream.  Eckerts has wonderful custard – almost as good as Ted Drewes.   I savored every spoonful. I knew the custard would add up several points and calories but I was ok with it. I would just add them into my daily tally.

When we got home my son started making apple pie.  My other son brought some cannolli’s from the best bakery in town.  My husband made the corn bread and I cut up the vegetables.  The chili was simmering on the stove.  And the wine was being poured.  The dinner was served.  I was still fine with my eating.  I was still calculating my calories and points.

And then came the dessert.  There were cupcakes, apple pie and cannollis.  And for some reason my hand kept reaching for the delectable morsels.  Bites, Tastes and Licks.  I never ate a full piece of anything.  I just kept tasting.

The Canolli was delicious.   It had the creamiest filling and the crunchiest, flakiest crust. It was definitely worth the extra calories and extra points.  The apple pie was delicious.  You would think that I was on an eating marathon.  It had been so long since I had any of these delectables to eat that when they were put before me on Sunday I went a little hog wild.   Yes I was a piglet.  I normally have better will power than what I showed on Sunday.  I can usually pass up sweets.  But on Sunday I just could not say no.  It just had been too long since I had any sugary treats.

And it showed up at my weigh in at my weekly Weight Watcher meeting yesterday morning.  I gained one full pound.  But that is ok.  I am on this journey for the rest of my life.  And the BLT’s were very satisfying.  I just will not do that nonsense this week

I did have a very good eating week.  I just fell off the food wagon on Sunday.  What I did do very well this week was my activities.  I got in 6 days of great aerobic exercise.

Tuesday – Calories 1,029 • WW points 27 • Exercise –  Walked 25 minutes

Wednesday – Calories 1,256 • WW points 28 • Exercise –  Ran 3.2 miles (without stopping) and walked 10 minutes

Thursday – Calories 1,223 • WW points 21 • Exercise –  Walked 50 minutes

Friday – Calories 1,522 • WW points 36 •Exercise –  Ran (without stopping) 3.2 miles and Walk/Ran 2.8 miles

Saturday – Calories 1,399 – WW points 28 • Exercise – Ran/walked 4 miles

Sunday – I attempted to count my calories and points but lost track with all the Bites, Licks and Tastes.  Exercise – Day of rest – but picked  a lot of apples at Eckerts

Monday – Calories 1,207- WW points 26 • Exercise – Walked 40 minutes

One thing that I have to remember with my journey is that this is forever.  Do I want to go through my life never being able to eat a delicious high calorie morsel?  No I do not.  But one thing I know I can do better.  I can plan for it.  I did look up the points and calories of the peach custard before eating it.  And I did figure it into my daily tally.  But when my son brought over the cannolli’s and my other son made fresh apple pie.  I knew I was doomed.

So before I go on a Bites, Tastes and Lick’s marathon, I will be more aware.  I will choose one item to enjoy.   And I will take my time eating it and savoring every morsel.  I will not Bite, Taste or Lick it.  I will eat it.  I will enjoy it.

Family Pics from Eckerts

photo-3 Kevin and Hadley and Paul and Timothy

photo-5 The family minus me

photo-6Timothy photographing Paul and Sarah

Maria Did it Again

Yep she did it again.  My fitter than fit daughter loves to get me into things.  Earlier this year she challenged me to a 30 day wine fast.  We went over to her house for dinner and I had a bottle of wine in tow and she was drinking a tall glass of water with lemon.  She said “Mom – I am doing a 30 day wine fast.  What do you think?  Are you going to join me?”  My first thought was “Are you crazy?  I can not nor want to give up my wine.”  But then my next thought was if I don’t say yes, I better head on over to an AA meeting.  So I said “Sign me up – I’m in.”  And  along with my daughter, I  accomplished the 30 long day wine fast.

Then in February she said. ” Mom let’s run in the St. Patrick’s Day Run.”  I was a bit more skeptical of this challenge because I had only been walking for exercise at this time.  But I really thought I could do it.  And I said “Count me in.”  I did try and started to run/walk.  But my schedule got busy and I came up with a million excuses.  And St. Patrick’s Day came and went and I decided I really did not like running after all.

She also got me doing the Paleo Diet.  She is a very healthy eater and she enjoys eating like a caveman.  My weight loss with Weight Watchers had hit a plateau last January and I was ready to shake things up a bit.  I tried it for one month and it worked.  I think I lost 6 pounds that month.  But I went back to my steadfast Weight Watcher way of eating.

And then on my birthday Maria e-mailed me with a birthday wish and a present.  It was a sign up for the Webster/Kirkwood Thanksgiving run.  My first thought was how sweet.  I thought no big deal.  I can run/walk a 5K.   I do that almost every day.  But then I looked a bit closer to the e-mail.  She signed me up for a 6 MILE RUN!!!!  How can I possibly run 6 miles?  I was not sure I could even walk 6 miles.  Couldn’t she have just given me a card for my birthday?

But then I started to think about it.  I thought maybe I could do this 6 mile run/walk.  I had been walking 3-4 miles for 4-5 days a week and also had been incorporating a bit of running.  So we went to this beautiful trail on Sunday along the Meremac River and started to run.   We trekked for 6 miles.  And actually, I did not think I was going to die.  Maria was giving me tips on how to keep a constant pace.  She was very encouraging.  And guess what?  Along with my daughter, I walk/ran 6 miles.  I was so excited when I hit the 6 mile mark and lived to tell the story.

So on Thanksgiving, my daughter Maria and I will be running in the Webster/Kirkwood 6 mile run together.  I will not make any excuses not to do this.  I have 5 weeks to train for this feat.  I thank my wonderful daughter for her amazing birthday gift to me.  It was not just a tangible gift.  It was a gift of encouragement and believing in me.  And it was a gift of friendship and spending time together.  Thank you my darling daughter, my best friend and running partner.

Weekly Update

I have declared Wednesday’s as my day to confess all.  This is the day that I will tell all who want to listen to my week’s weight loss journey.  I will tell you the highs and lows.  The good and the bad (or ugly).  According to Jillian Michaels I should be eating 1200 per day and according to Weight Watchers I am allowed 26 points.

Tuesday Oct. 8 – Calories – 1203  • 32 Points – Exercise walked 2.8 miles

Wednesday October 9 (my birthday) – Calories – 1499 • 43 Points (mostly because of wine) Exercise – walk/ run 2 miles, cycled 5.58 miles

Thursday October 10 – Calories-1463 • 28 Points Exercise – Walk/Run 3 miles

Friday October 11 – Calories – 1080 • 21 Points • Exercise – Walk/Run 4.14 miles

Saturday October 12 – Calories – 1248 • 29 Points • Exercise (Day of rest)

Sunday October 13 – Calories – 1423 • 26 Points • Exercise – Walk/Run 6 Miles

Monday October 14 – Calories 1244 • 26 Points • Exercise – Walk 3.12 Miles

Tuesday October 15 – Calories 1029 • 26 Points • Exercise – Walk 1.93 Miles – Weights 20 minutes

I felt my week was very good eating wise and exercise wise.  But I did eat things I normally don’t eat.  Like movie popcorn.  I figured in that I ate 4 cups worth – which probably was a bit underestimated.  Do you know how many calories is in one of those big popcorn tubs?  Over 1,000.  I also had a lot of wine this week.  I already broke my wine resolution from last week.  But it was my birthday and my birthday week.  I had to celebrate.

I went to my weekly weigh in at Weight Watchers yesterday and had a one pound weight loss.  I was happy with that.  I am currently down 38 pounds.  My weight at Weight Watchers was 163. I am so ready to not see a 160 or above ever again on a scale.  I am looking forward to the 150’s.  They are going to be my new friends.

At my Weight Watcher’s meeting last week they talked about adding more exercise into our daily routine.  We have heard them all.  Park at the farthest parking spot.  Take stairs not the elevator.  Blah blah blah.  But I had never heard getting up and doing a 5 minute workout after working for 1 hour. Which I did try to do.  But I found myself just meandering around my studio. Someone also suggested while watching TV, do an activity during the commercials. I thought that was a great idea.  And what better show to do it than the first night of The Biggest Loser.  And I rocked those commercials.   I did crunches, planks and lifted weights.  I was envisioning Jillian, Bob and Dulvette yelling at me.  “You can do it Lisa!”  And I did do it.

So this week my goal is to get up and do something physical every hour and during just one TV show work out during the commercials.  This is going to be a great week!

To be continued……

Happy Birthday to Me

Today I am 62 years old.  I feel great.  I have lost almost 40 pounds this past year and physically I am getting fitter and fitter every day.  I feel the best I have felt in a very, very long time.  And it is going to be a great day.  It started out perfect with a beautiful Vera Bradley bag that my husband, John,  gave me.  I have wanted a Vera Bradley carry all bag for a very long time.  And when I came downstairs to have my coffee, a gift bag and card were waiting for me.  What a great day to start my day.  Now I have a beautiful bag to carry my work out clothes to work in.

He also said something that I loved hearing.  He said “you have given yourself the best birthday present of all.  You have lost a lot of weight”.   Yes I have.  Happy Birthday to me.  And I do like my gift the best.  I have given myself a new outlook on life and a healthier lifestyle.

I had my weigh in at Weight Watchers yesterday.  I lost 3.4 pounds.  I was very happy with that loss.  I decided that I was going to count calories and count my Weight Watcher points and see how calories and points compared.  My daughter, Maria, has been telling me for a long time that I have been eating too much fruit.  But Weight Watchers told my that 5 fruits per day is worked into the plan.  CONFUSION.  Jillian Michaels says that I should be eating 1200 calories a day.  My Fitness Pal says the same thing.   So I tried not eating so much fruit this week.  If I added 5 fruits to my Weight Watchers daily plan I would have been well over 2,000 calories.  And I know that 2,000 calories is too many for me.

So this past week, I limited my intake of fruits to one to three a day.

Here is the breakdown – and I am being completely honest.

Tuesday – is my starting day of the week.  Because that is my Weight Watcher weigh in day.  1153 Calories – 17 points – Exercise Run/Walk 36 minutes

Wednesday – 1071 Calories – 22 points – Exercise –  Jillian Michaels 20 Minute workout

Thursday – 1464 Calories – 23 points – Exercise – Walk/Run 52 minutes

Friday – 1636 Calories – 30 points – Exercise (Day of rest – Jillian says you need one day of rest)

Saturday – 1183 Calories – 26 points – Exercise – Walk/Run 34 minutes

Sunday – 1362 Calories – 32 points – Exercise – Walk/Run 48 minutes

Monday – 1,472 Calories – 28 points – Exercise Jillian Michaels 20 minute workout and a 5 minute Tabata 5.5 run.

I am not sure of the correlation here of points to calories.  But I am noticing that calories and points seem to be close.  On my lower caloric days I was eating one cup of berries.  And on the higher caloric days I was eating 1-2 cups of berries and 2-3 apples a day.  I am going to try this again this week and see how the points/calories compare.

So today I am going to have a great rest of the day.  I am playing hooky from work (the beauty of owning your own business).  John is cooking up some bacon (3 slices is 120 calories and 4 WW points).  I am going to go for my walk/run and a bike ride on the Katy Trail.  And then off to the wineries in Augusta, MO and will be enjoying this most beautiful fall day.

And for todayI know I will be well over my 1200 calories and my 26 points – but after all IT IS MY BIRTHDAY!