Friday, January 30, 2015

Time to Lose Some Weight

I haven’t gone into too much depth on the blog about it but I know I have glossed over it in discussing running; my weight.

I grew up overweight and it escalated in college and after. It took me a few years post college but eventually I pulled it together and lost a huge chunk of weight ~70 pounds or so (not necessarily by healthy means). Then I moved to Hoboken and eventually put some back on yay drinking #allthenights.

The summer before I was turning 30 (birthday is January 28th, I just turned yet another year older!) I saw some unflattering pictures and knew I wanted to get my shit together once and for all. This time around it wasn't just losing weight it was to stop partying and grow up a bit. I was tired of 2am ridiculous nights multiple times a week. Changing lifestyle completely was necessary to grow. 

Enter weight watchers. With the help of WW I got to a weight and body that I was pretty happy with and eventually transitioned to counting calories. However, since the end of 2012 I have put on about 10 pounds or so that I just cannot seem to get off. Clothes aren’t fitting as well, and just as importantly to me I have not run as well as I did that fall race season since putting on the weight.

It doesn’t make me unhappy per say but it annoys me. So last week I decided to bite the bullet and rejoin weight watchers. I have continued to track calories daily but am thinking maybe I need to go back to the points system and shake things up again. Doesn’t hurt to try right? Also my body has just been a mess with the IBD flare and as the medication is kicking in am hoping it is a good time to work on shedding the weight. 

My goal weight is actually 10 pounds or so below what I was a couple years ago which I don’t think is that crazy. The weight I got to last time around was just below the cut off for an "overweight" BMI - so I think I will possibly always be on the higher side of the "appropriate"weight for my height due to muscle but plan on having my body fat tested as well soon to focus more on that in the long haul. 

I am back to lifting pretty consistently and trying to build muscle so may not get there weight wise but I DEFINITELY have a layer of fat that needs to go. This isn’t me being judgey of myself, this is the truth. I am not comfortable in my skinny jeans! I will admit that I have negative body issue thoughts that creep in -  I don't know if I will ever fully negate those coming from being an overweight child to obese in my early adult hood - I definitely have a skewed image of what I look like at times.

Doesn’t hurt that I have back to back bachelorette weekends in the beginning of June to be bikini ready for either for some motivation.  Nothing like thoughts of lots of beach pictures hanging over your head to work on a goal. I am vain I can readily admit. 

So with my first weigh in I am down -3.8 pounds. Note I was DEFINITELY up on the initial weigh in due to having my period so I know I am less bloated for one but hoping for a consistent weight loss throughout. 

So here we go! And of course I picked the most fun week to begin tracking. Snow days, my Birthday plus the Super Bowl, figured challenge myself as much as possible off the bat, right? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Doctor, Diagnosis & Finally Starting to Feel Better

So after feeling like I have been on an emotional roller coaster of uncertainty for the past few months I finally am feeling a little confident in understanding what is going on with my body and that I am now in good hands to work on treating it. 

Basically I was fed up with the lack of communication on the part of my previous doctor. Prescribing medications without much explanation I felt so in the dark about what my results were showing that I knew I needed a second opinion. 

Enter social media. I shared my last health blog update on my Facebook page with a call for help for GI doc recommendations and got a whole SLEW of answers. I am not one to share much on the FB unless it is running related but it was such a good decision. 

And so it began that I was able to get an appointment within a week at a new doctor. The most challenging part was having my results faxed over - I had to call every day to the office to make sure that they were sending them. 

Friday morning I had my appointment and not only was I seen on time, but they spent about 2 hours with me - from reviewing and writing up my entire history, to explaining the test results from all the blood work and procedures thus far to laying out a new plan of action for me. 

They wanted ME to get it. Heck he started drawing diagrams at one point. 

So basically yes, I definitely have IBD. He is mostly positive it is Crohn's but I also have a couple of symptoms that would point to Ulcerative Colitis - BUT the ulceration that I have is a definitive indicator of Crohn's which the several biopsies taken during my colonoscopy confirmed (seriously my doctor told me it was "inconclusive" and my new doctor read the results to me which said otherwise). 

He wants to do an upper GI test though since that is where most of the damage is to see although he isn't pressing for me to get it immediately. Apparently the next one will be more fun because I get to swallow a capsule camera sounds like way more fun than a colonoscopy ;)

He also explained that my celiac test showed that I have one of the markers for it - I then let him know I had been gluten free for a few weeks when I took the test and asked if that could have skewed results; and he said absolutely so more labs are being done. Again previous doc said I came back totally negative. (I still refuse to believe I have celiac or sensitivity but who knows). 

My first doctor had told me that I had low iron levels. Well apparently that is just the tip of the iceberg - basically I have NO ferritin. My level isn't low, it is non existent. Ferritin is the protein that stores iron, I am anemic but the lack of any in my blood panel is because of the ulcers in my gut as well as right now I am probably not really absorbing many nutrients in general. All ties in with the fatigue, dizziness etc etc that I am experiencing. 

The good news in all of this is that the severity as to which I experience during my current flares is probably as bad as it will get. That was a great source of comfort. While it is definitely not a walk in the park to go through, I am hoping that we can get it into remission and under control quickly if it does flare up again. 

I felt guilty going to another doctor for a second opinion because the first one was so NICE. But, at the end of the day if your gut (no pun intended) is telling you something is wrong, then trust it.  I was kind of sitting there in shock as he went through my results and told me that basically I should have been diagnosed during the colonoscopy. 

So continuing on anti inflammatories, which, have been starting to work so he didn't feel the need to switch, although he did take me off the second unnecessary medication. And besides that wait on the new lab results for now. I didn't want to be diagnosed with a chronic condition but I wish it had happened sooner versus a few years of uncertainty and hell just dealing with it. But, now I know and hopefully will feel normal (whatever that is because it has been so long since I have felt it) soon. 

And feel brave enough to venture from the treadmill to the streets without being scared of what will happen. That, will be a victory. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIAW - Being Prepared for a Busy Work Day

It has been a while since I have linked up for WIAW so I thought today was as good a day as any! Yesterday was a super long day in the news world with SOTU so I had packed meals and snacks to make sure I didn't get hangry ;) 

Totally not a food blogger, will never be a food blogger so forgive the crappy pictures, it is what it is. And without further ado here we go! 

I vacillate between wanting to eat a big breakfast and just eating because I know I should. Lately it is the latter so my breakfasts aren't anything great. Quest bars and fruit + #allthecoffee have been a staple.

I had a meeting around noon so I had this new to me green juice to tide be me over until I could scarf some lunch. It was delicious. Then again anything green to me is - but the name had me laughing like a school girl.

Did plenty of meal prep over the weekend so had a lovely satisfying but simple salad. Baby spinach, grape tomatoes, dill pickles and grilled chicken seasoned with TJ's 21 salute seasoning because, obsessed. 

And a side of quest chips - they have protein so they're healthy basically, right?

I managed to hold off dinner until I got home and the past couple nights have had this delish combo - spiralized zucchini (the WHOLE THING) sauteed with scallions, grape tomatoes and 90% lean ground beef and a little garlic and herb sauce (cheated and used Hunt's I feel like a bad Italian). Fantastic. And with the ground beef prepped it takes all of 10 minutes between the spiralizing and cooking. While it was cooking I noshed on some more tomatoes and dill pickles. Never too many pickles. Sodium much?

To end the night I was feeling something sweet so had a few of these cookie chips - they are divine! I love the crunch. And looking back I ate a LOT of veggies so they were deserved :)

And basically there you have it! A day in the life of my eats :)

Happy Wednesday! 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Embracing the Suck

This was a tough week running wise. 

My goal was to have 4 running days NOT all bunched together (I ran 5 in a row last week because of poor planning). 

Problem was earlier in the week I was really struggling with energy and stomach issues with the new meds so it took until Thursday for me to finally run. I just stuck to easier cross training workouts in the beginning of the week. 

The good news is I still hit 17.3 miles in 3 runs! Last week I hit a mile more in 5 so that's a positive. 

And on the bad news front again today's 9 miler was not without walking breaks. 

I had slacked on weights most of the week and missed my body pump class yesterday morning because yet again my stomach was a mess for an hour or so and could not get out of the house - so decided to do my own circuit. And apparently I kick my ass more than a class does because when I started running this morning I was FEELING it. 

I also wore my wave riders which for me just feel clunky on the treadmill (it was sheet of ice and sleeting when I wanted to run at 7:45am so no way in hell I was attempting the roads) and that didn't help the dead sore legs. 

I am just trying to be patient. I am really only 3 weeks back to "running". I am eager to get back to the roads but a) I am a cold weather wuss and readily admit it and b) I moved to a new town and am anxious about finding a route with bathrooms in an emergency situation.

I always tell people new to running that it is imperative in the beginning to pace yourself, go slow build the endurance etc etc and I find myself constantly needing to remind myself of the same. I may be a "seasoned" runner but I still am starting back at it and it is not easy.

I am waiting until running is more effortless to begin the spring race sign up. I feel like yes I could struggle through a half at the point but I don't want a strugglefest race. I obviously could also get through 5K and 10K's but really want to be more competitive so am still holding off on the registration.

Minus the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile - I keep forgetting about that one! 

Still feeling slow and clunky and just blah but just waiting for it all to click. I feel like each time I "come back" after some time off, however short, I get slower and slower. I took a break at the end of 2013 and pretty much the same thing happened I was slower and never really regained the speed. I am hoping if I continue to focus on shorter distance that it will be easier to regain versus if I was to try and dive head first into training for a full. 

It has to all click eventually though, right? 

Fingers crossed it does. And soon. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm Running Again!

I’m baaaaack.

To running that is.

A week before Thanksgiving I found out my foot pain was not only a stress fracture but tendinitis. Yay!

Insert running ban and boot and backing out of marathon number 3 for the fall Space Coast. While I was bummed I was also okay (plus biked it as my sisters personal cheerleader that was an amazing experience to be on the other side). 

Ever since Chicago my stomach had been miserable (minus NYCM I somehow was pretty much okay for that race the God’s blessed me and figured battling the wind and cold was torture enough). Mentally I was really not up for racing anymore. And, Florida running is always a struggle fest for me in general (yet I sign up for races year after year down there).

Anyways enough with getting off topic.

What I actually am getting at is I am officially back on the running bandwagon!

This past week’s mileage was 18.36

The week prior was 17.35

I am sloooowly but steadily bringing the mileage up. I would like to get to a comfortable 20 -25 miles per week and sustain that as my base for a while adding in more true speed work and such.

One thing that I will say is that coming back from time off sucks. Holy lack of running fitness and I wasn't even off that long just shy of a month. And I cross trained and strength trained my way through injury. But I am slow and sucking wind when I speed up. I know it will come but I find it amazing how much deteriorated. As I slowly make my way through sucktasticly awful runs I remember this is what it was like being a newbie and take my own advice that I always give: slow, go slow and stick with it the endurance and speed will come in time.

I want to continue through January with this base and then will debate plans as far as races. I do not see being in any ideal race shape but there are a few that would be fun that I have my eye on. I enjoy races and am okay going in with no expectations. But more on my 2015 goals another day.

For now I can confidently say that running and I are officially back in a pain free relationship and that makes me happy. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Health Update: Still Searching for Answers

It’s been a while since I began yet again on the journey to figure out what the hell is wrong with me so figured I would update! Skip this post if you don’t have any desire to read about my troubles :)

So here we are 5 weeks since I started with my new GI doctor and basically – there is nothing conclusive.

I had the colonoscopy which showed inflammation, ulcers, and a polyp but finally received the biopsy result and he is unwilling to say it is IBD (Crohn’s or UC). On the other hand, the symptoms are too severe to be in line with IBS.

My state of mind right now is frustrated. On Friday when we spoke on the results I had a minor breakdown. After the colonoscopy and seeing just how bad the inflammation was he put me one anti-inflammatory. That worked wonders for a week and a half and then miraculously stopped and all my symptoms returned with a vengeance. I am still taking that but he is ordering another high dose medication to take in conjunction to see if that helps. Both medications are IBD specific since my symptoms are pretty much in line with that. But as he put it, I may be in the infancy of developing it. (Side note: if this is the infancy of IBD I do not want to know what full blown is like because I am miserable already)

I know people are thinking they are helpful – throwing out I should do this “diet” or that, that I am too stressed (but seriously do you know me? I am like the least stressed person ever). The things is, I have been documenting what I eat daily since 2011 (with some missed here and there but it’s a habit now) and my body will respond fine one day to something and then next flare up. Case and point I literally ate the same meals for week’s straight recently and I went from awful to a lot better to awful on the same diet.

I know it is my right to be emotional. It is my health that I am talking about, but sometimes I feel like it could be so much worse and I am overreacting. It is not as if this will kill me. It just makes my life miserable. But I have also learned how to cope. And know where ALL THE BATHROOMS are, life is sexy right now let me tell you. Want to know how fun it is to have to have a side bar with your bosses about why you might HAVE to run out of meetings? Yeah, that is life right now.

I think that was what got to me. I have been coping. Living life around the symptoms. Just got used to "this is how life will be". Then I decided to use the medical route again to find some answers. I scared myself with how not normal it was and thought I would have an answer. The why. And yet as of now, there is no "why". Just a plan to keep things under control. I despise taking medicine. So that is part of what has me upset now; being prescribed various medications, praying they will help but not knowing the absolute cause of all this.

On the upside – I have been back to running and while I feel like hell during the runs I have been making it through them all! It’s like my body knows how much I need it. But I am sticking to the treadmill for now, just in case, definitely too scared to take it outside.

Total downer of a post but kind of bummed out in general. Between not sleeping through a night for weeks and the anemia plus other deficiencies I am tired. I am hopeful this next medication will work and work permanently but it is wait and see for now. After being really upset Friday I am back at a little peace with it all at the moment. Obviously wish there was an answer but for now I will just take some symptom improvement. 

I'm also not sure if I should get a second opinion or not? So new to the whole doctor thing - so if anyone has a stellar GI doctor in the city they would recommend to review my results and history I am open to it to see if I get a different opinion! 

And with that, the end. Happy post to come next!