Archive for tag: health

Stupid Knee

Just after Christmas, Amber and I went to Arizona for a few days to get away from it all.  Unfortunately, we didn’t really manage to get away from everything.  While we were there, the flu got us both.  Amber, who had already gotten a flu shot (and has much better immunity in general than I, it seems) was sick for about a day.  I seemed to get the worse of it, and found myself sick in the middle of the night and unable to take more than three steps without passing out.

On one of my attempts to make it between the bed to the bathroom without losing consciousness, perhaps the first one, I fell and messed up my knee somehow (I really don’t remember the details), which added to my difficulties.  For the first day or so after, I couldn’t really put any weight on it.  But fortunately, it got better and I was able to limp home to Seattle without crutches.  Since then, though, it seems like it’s not really changed.  If I sit for too long at a time, I limp around for a bit when I get up.  I can’t really kneel on it without pain – I’m not a very penitent guy anyway, so that doesn’t bother me too much.

Anyway, I’m tired of waiting to see if it’s going to get better, so this morning I’m off to the doctor to start what I am sure will be the following sequence of events:

  1. Visit the doctor, who will say that they can’t really do anything and send me to an orthopedist
  2. The orthopedist will tell me that they can’t tell what’s wrong without an MRI and send me to get one
  3. Go and get the MRI
  4. Go back to the orthopedist who will look at the MRI and tell me that I’ve strained or pulled (hopefully not torn!) X in my knee and send me to physical therapy
  5. Go for multiple visits of PT, enjoying none of them
  6. Hopefully get back to the nominal level of crappy knee dysfunction that I previously enjoyed

I’m off to start using that shiny new deductible I now have.  (Don’t get me started on my insurance changes.)

This probably comes off like a whiney rant, and maybe it is.  I have a lot of people in my life that have way worse medical issues and not nearly enough insurance to deal with them, so don’t get me wrong; I am very grateful that I can do this and hopefully get better.

End of rant for the day.

Yay, Friday!

It's Friday morning, so one just one more day and I am done with my work week.  Which means I don't have to get up at approximately 6:00 a.m.  Which is a good thing.  For those of you who get up even earlier, feel free to self-righteously comment to yourself about how lazy and/or lucky I am to be getting up at 6:00 instead of X:XX.

The sad thing is that even though I don't have to get up at 6:00 on the weekends, I just can't sleep late like I used to.  So I just never seem to catch up on sleep.  I've always heard and read that exercise is supposed to give you more energy (though this seems a slight violation of the laws of physics) and reduce fatigue.  It's even talked about, albeit briefly in this video recommended at our Weight Watchers meeting this week.

Unfortunately, I've never managed to feel energized by exercise.  Amber has suggested that I'm not doing it consistently or frequently enough, and obviously it is something I need to get better at doing, so I'm working to build more exercise into my life.

Weight Watchers update

I'm a little behind on this post, but I did want to mention that I lost another 1.8 pounds as of last Monday, for a total loss of 10.4 pounds.  This past week may not be so pretty, though.  I've eaten out more this week than I have since I started (not including my business trip), but to the best of my estimation, I've been staying within points.  Despite my best efforts, though, my worry is that I'm not estimating the points accurately enough on these meals.

Another worry I have for my upcoming weigh in is that I didn't manage to keep my exercise efforts going.  I caught a cold, and that was my excuse for that to grind to a halt.  I definitely need to do better this coming week on getting exercise in.

Weight Watchers Update

I'm back from London!  Actually, I got back Friday night.  I'll try to write another post about the trip and post a couple more pictures tonight, but I thought I'd take a few minutes this morning and give you a quick update on my weight watchers progress.

Amazingly, despite eating classic English breakfasts regularly and knocking back a few pints at the pub, I managed to lose weight during the trip.  Actually, I suspect that I met my goal of staying flat during the trip, and because of the timing of my weigh-ins, it just looks like I lost weight.  In any case, I'm down another 1.6 pounds since my last weigh-in which brings my total loss to 8.6 pounds.  I'm averaging 1.7 pounds per week, but I've definitely been tapering off since the first few weeks.

The topic for last night's meeting was tracking.  A little unsurprisingly, there were a few people that talked about how it was hard to find the time to track their food, but I have a hard time understanding that when it literally takes only a few minutes per meal. Everyone has their own issues, though. Maybe they really are that busy taking care of the kids (which gives me a little pause as Amber and I are officially trying) or maybe they are doing it on paper, which I'm sure is more time-consuming.

Exercise is my albatross.  I've actually been a little better this week so far at getting in some time on the exercise bike, but I need to expand the activity and especially figure out some time to stretch so my knees don't start to kill me.  (Stupid knees!)

London

I've been a little derelict in blogging this past week, but as of yesterday, I'm in London on business for a week and I'm sure that I will have some time fighting jet lag to rectify this.

First of all, this past week was a little disappointing on the weight watchers front. Despite my best efforts and staying well within program, my weight change was basically flat. Maybe it's because I still haven't really integrated any exercise into my efforts. I'm staying positive, but it's definitely better when you are making good progress. I'm pretty happy when I look at things over the course of the past month, so I'll just try to stay focused on that.

With my travels and eating out, I'm sure the upcoming week will be challenging, but I'm hoping that I'll at least manage to stay flat. Toward this goal, I've brought exercise clothes and I'm going to utilize the gym at the hotel and at least get in some cardio.

We got in yesterday afternoon, but we didn't really do any sight seeing until today.  This place was pretty busy last night with Saturday night revelers, but this morning it was much quieter.

Park Lane 

Dave and I headed to see Churchill War Rooms, cutting across Green and St. James parks to get there.  I got a few more pictures en route.  These guys were clearly on their way somewhere.

Everyone loves a parade! 

This guy kind of stood out amongst the rest of the birds, but didn't want to look up to have his picture taken.

Proud as a swan?

You can see the London Eye from the park.

St. James Park Lake and the London Eye

This guy stood out too.  I think he's a pelican, but like his friend above, he seemed a little camera shy.

Pelican?

The Churchill War Rooms was interesting, but as it is an underground bunker turned into a museum / historical site, with exhibits largely behind glass, it proved pretty hard to get any good pictures.  Here's a blurry Enigma machine.

The Enigma

This is Churchill's actual bedroom.  They've done a great job preserving this place.

Churchill's Bedroom

I'm not much of a history buff, but the museum was definitely interesting and having visited, I do find myself more curious about Churchill.  I might have to do some reading.

After leaving the War Rooms we made our way toward Trafalgar Square to visit the National Portrait Gallery and found that it was packed with folks celebrating Chinese New Year.

Happy Year of the Dragon! 

We fought the crowds and made our way into the gallery, but jet lag and hunger were kicking in, so we didn't stay very long.  Speaking of jet lag, I think I'm going to have to call it a night.  I'll be sure to post more about the travels later.

Biting my tongue, but not chips

It's snowing outside, and as is my normal reaction to this situation, I'm holed up inside the house, staying warm.  We've finished watching all of the available Breaking Bad episodes (through season three) available via NetFlix streaming (a process we started during our holiday vacation), so I'm now turning to more productive pursuits, such as showering, changing out of sweats and writing the blog post I've been planning to do since Tuesday night.

Tuesday was our second Weight Watchers meeting, and things are going pretty well so far.  I've lost 3.8 pounds as of my official weigh-in at that meeting, and unofficially, I'm down roughly 7.  I'm still a little unconvinced about the meetings, though.  Maybe this is like fight club and I'm breaking the first rule by talking about it, but there was a comment made by someone at the meeting that I just have to share.  She was talking about how she prepared snacks in advance, so she has something healthy to munch on when she needs it.  She slices up her carrots and water chestnuts with a mandolin so it's "just like eating chips."

Um… no, it's not.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big supporter of planning ahead.  If I don't have a plan for dinner and have all the stuff on hand when I get home from work, I am much more likely to order a pizza or go out to eat and unfortunately, I can't trust myself to keep those times to a reasonable level.  Having healthy snacks ready to go is very helpful too, but I'm sorry, there's just no way that sliced carrots and water chestnuts, no matter how crispy and perfectly sliced they may be, is just like eating chips. 

Of course, I didn't say anything at the meeting and I'm even somewhat impressed that this person is able to feel satisfied by that, but it just isn't ever going to work for me.  I can't convince myself that one thing is just like another if it isn't.  Fortunately, this isn't about removing such things from your life, it's more about intention and trying to stay within a reasonable limit.  So for the most part, I haven't felt too deprived.  Amber and I even were able to splurge last night and celebrate the third anniversary of our first date at Eva in Seattle.  I burned through a lot of points, but I planned ahead for it and had the points.  I am craving a cheeseburger, but I'm willing to try to satisfy that sometime next week at home.

We also tried a new recipe this week: Asian Lettuce Wraps (via Kalyn's Kitchen).  It was quite tasty.  We used romaine lettuce so it was more like eating tacos than lettuce cups or wraps, but not just like tacos, of course.

This week's goal: start exercising.

Weight Watchers

One of the things I've done (along with Amber) to try to do better on my weight goals this year is join Weight Watchers.  We both started using their tracking tools Monday and attended our first meeting Tuesday.

I'm definitely a huge believer in tracking what I eat - it is the single most effective way I've found to lose weight.  I've done it in the past and lost more than 55 pounds on my own using Excel to count calories.  Unfortunately, lately that doesn't seem to be working as well.  I'm not sure why, but I tried to start that back up in 2010 a number of times as I saw my weight creeping back up and I just didn't keep up with the tracking.  It's not as if it was really difficult, I just didn't keep it up.  Maybe it's some sort of unconscious mental thing I haven't been able to figure out.  The really depressing thing I've discovered now though is that over the last six months, I've gained 25 pounds!

Anyway, I'm hoping that the weight watchers tools and doing it with Amber will help me keep the tracking going and get down to my goal weight this year.  The apps aren't as good on windows phone as the iPhone, but at least the mobile website lets me track stuff on my phone okay.  As I mentioned, we attended a meeting earlier this week.  I'm not convinced whether the meetings will be helpful, but I'm committed to attending weekly meetings all month so I'm reserving judgment.

I get a significantly larger number of Weight Watchers points for my daily point target than Amber gets, so one thing that we need to figure out is how to deal with the delta when we eat together.  It's obvious that she shouldn't just starve herself the rest of the day so we can eat exactly the same thing for dinner, so I guess we have to just accept we are going to be eating different sized portions at least.  She's earning more activity points (something I need to work on), so that helps a little.

Amber’s three day

My sweetie Amber has been training like crazy to get ready for the three day in November.  She is a rock star, but she needs your support.  Here's more information from her on what she is doing and how you can help.

I'm taking an amazing journey and I'd like you to support me. Thousands of women and men are going to walk 60 miles over the course of three days at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research and community programs-and I've signed up!

I have formed a team, with 2 of the wildest friends a girl can have. Our team, "Another Crazy Adventure", is participating in the San Diego 3-Day Walk for the Cure happening November 18-20, 2011. Together Lindsay Fong, Angela DeRose and I are going to each walk 60 miles in support of breast cancer research and all the women who have battled, and are battling the disease. Our team hopes to raise at least $6900 for the cause (we have each committed to raise $2300).

I know you understand why this is so important to me and understand why I'm asking for your financial support. I've been spending my weekends wandering the streets of Redmond walking and thinking about how far we have to go before we get the answers we need. The walking is relatively easy for me (well, there are some sore ankles and feet and many blisters). Asking for dollars is not. But if we are ever going to find answers to incredibly difficult problems like breast cancer, I know I have to ask. Please take a moment to go online to The3Day.org and select Donate to search for my personal fundraising webpage (you can follow this link or type in "Amber Paschal" or "Another Crazy Adventure").

Thank you for supporting my journey, our team and the research that will put an end this devastating disease.

-Amber

As of right now, she is one-third of the way to her fundraising goal.  Please help if you can.

Catching up

Obviously I've not been blogging much again lately.  Things have been busy at work and I was distracted by a hard drive crash for a few days, so the blog is the first thing that gets pushed aside.

The drive crash wasn't tragic, but it was annoying.  I had my computer apart for a couple of days trying to figure out if it was actually the drive, or something else going on.  It was the drive.  Fortunately, it was my media drive and my backup for it was relatively up-to-date.  When I get a replacement, I should only have about 20 CDs to re-rip and I should be good.  I have the crashed drive and it spins up occasionally, so I may put it in an external enclosure and see if I can get it to run long enough to pull an inventory off of it.

Our Valentine's Day was fun.  (Anne, you have  a dirty mind…)  Amber got us a really cool present: a new buffet!  We spent about an hour assembling it and managed to use all the pieces.  Here's the finished product, complete with our meager wine inventory:

Buffet!

It's a cool gift because it now means we have more storage for dishes so we can start to expand beyond our everyday dishes and have some cool options for when friends come over.

I've also been meaning to write a report on the health goals for 2011.  In short, I've made some progress, but I've been backsliding a little the past two weeks.  When things get busy and I get stressed, I am definitely not as good about eating right and exercising.  Despite this, I'm still optimistic that I will make good progress this year.

One of the things that has clearly helped is not eating out as much.  Amber and I have done a couple "month's of home cooking" now, and I think they have been very successful.  Fortunately we don't seem to have the problem illustrated in this XKCD:

The only downside is that we have a hard time being social when we do this plan, so we are thinking about compromising and eating in except for the occasional Friday and Saturday.

Health goals for 2011

I've had some friends ask me about my New Year's Resolutions, but honestly, I've not actually codified them yet.  There are a lot of things that I would like to do and achieve this year, but as always, I suffer from angst about how to fit everything into a day along with work and getting to bed at a decent hour.  Admittedly, I do spend at least some time in front of the TV that could be channeled into other efforts, but I also think that down time is necessary.  So I continue to struggle with with this.  I can't imagine how people with kids manage their time.

One of the things that I am resolute about is improving my health this year.  For me, this primarily means eating better and exercising more.  Over the last month or two of 2010, these efforts went pretty far off the rails, but I'm determined to get back on track this year.  For the eating side of things, here are some of my goals:

  • Eat at home more often.  Toward this end, Amber and I are doing another month of home cooking to kick this off.  I've been taking my lunch everyday (with the exception of a team lunch out).  We also went out for dinner Sunday with Heather and Jason (their Christmas gift to us) and we are going out this weekend for another special occasion.  Even with these exceptions, I'm still happy with our progress so far.
  • Keep track of what I eat.  I've done this before and it is the single biggest factor in my success.  I have an Excel spreadsheet where I itemize everything I eat and estimate of how many calories I've consumed.  My daily goal is 2000 calories for now.

The exercise goals need some more work.  I need to come up with a plan for gradually increasing the amount and variety of exercise I'm doing each week.  Right now, I'm focusing on the exercise bike and stretching.  Here's my goal for this week:

  • Ride at least 30 minutes four times this week
  • Stretch every day
  • Always take the stairs.  This is something that I usually do, but I will admit that sometimes I get lazy at work even though I have a maximum of four flights to do.  I'm not expecting much of a benefit from this, but every little bit helps, right?

The stretching is pretty important I think since I have bad knees.  The exercise bike doesn't seem to aggravate this too much, but I want to be working back up to running and that seems to lead to serious knee pain if I'm not careful.

Over the next few weeks and months, I want to add:

  • Elliptical
  • Some sort of weight training
  • Swimming (my nemesis)
  • Real biking
  • Running

It seems daunting when I write it all down like that, which is why I'm taking it slow.

So far this year, I've managed to lose eight pounds, which is a little more than I would want to lose this quickly, but I'm assuming that it is going to taper off to between 1.5-2 pounds a week soon.  If it doesn't, I'll adjust things. 

37.4 pounds to my goal.