Friday, December 6, 2019

Lightbulb Moment...

I’m still gaining weight, despite eating healthy and my fitness tracker saying I’m walking 2.5 to 3+ miles just at work. When I get home from work, I’m exhausted. My hormones are messed up. My skin is dry. My brain has been getting foggier and foggier. I’ve been getting slight headaches. If I hurt myself, it’s taking a long time to heal. I’ve been worried that either this is getting older, or the autoimmune issues that run in my family are catching up to me.

Then I had a lightbulb moment while looking up something…

MY ANEMIA IS BACK. I haven’t had to take iron in a few years. But everything mentioned above, plus some other related issues, can all be symptoms of iron deficiency. I know I’ve had it before. But because it was causing my brain to not think the clearest, it didn’t even occur to me!

I found what looks like the iron supplement I used to take, which is the only one I tolerate well, and ordered it online. It shipped today, so hopefully it’ll be here soon! In the past, it’s taken a couple weeks to start feeling a real difference, and about a month for it to kick in fully.

This one “small" thing could explain all the health issues I’m having. If it’s what's behind everything, it's a simple fix that could make a huge difference in my day-to-day functioning. And make me more pleasant to be around ;)

Hoping and praying…

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Back to School...

I am two weeks into the school year. I have been in the heat quite a bit. Our building is outside access, so if I am not in a classroom, I am in 100+ degree heat indices. We have had NWS-issued heat advisories a few days. Most of the classrooms are fairly warm also. The teacher's lounge (which is my only option other than outside for breaks and lunch, and has the copy machines which I've been using frequently) is having AC issues and is staying 78-80 degrees all day. I have been on my feet a lot, both in classes and in the halls. I have been doing a good bit of walking while running errands. As everyone settles into the school year, I expect I won't be moving around so much. But I don't know when that'll ease up. I wish I had a pedometer to see how many miles I've been walking each day! All teachers and support staff had dismissal duty, which put me in the heat, and on my feet, even more.

The good:
My blood sugar seems to be staying stable at the lower carb levels, despite being on the go all day.
I've been good about reaching for non-carby snacks at work when I need a little something. Those 1-oz bags of almonds I prepped have come in handy!

The bad:
I have been swelling as a result of being in the heat so much.
The tendonitis in my Achilles is back.
I have gained weight again (could be retaining some fluid for various reasons, but I don't think that's all).
I am physically EXHAUSTED when I get home.

Here's what my eating looks like during the weekdays:
First thing in the morning - coffee with 1 tsp. demarara + heavy cream
Breakfast - low carb protein shake (protein powder + almond milk + coconut milk + heavy cream)
Lunch - leftovers, salad w/tuna and crackers, etc (about 20 g carbs)
Snack at school - string cheese or 1 oz roasted almonds
After school snack (if needed) - a few dark chocolate almonds, granola bar spread w/peanut butter, etc
Supper - meat or salmon (about 4 oz) cooked in olive oil + frozen veggies (8 oz) w/butter or salad
A couple of days, supper was different. One night we treated ourselves to pizza (I found a nearby pizza restaurant that has GF pizza!).
Most days I eat a square of dark chocolate at some point during the day.

I haven't been eating my usual 1 oz PB + 1 oz bittersweet chocolate chips because the store we usually shop at stopped carrying the chocolate chips for a while. I just got some more last night. I was curious if I would lose a few pounds not eating it at night or stay the same, but I certainly did not expect to gain! I am not saying that's the reason I gained, but it's interesting I didn't lose any either...

I was hoping to start a housecleaning routine + working out when the school year started, but I have been so worn out when I get home that it's all I can do to stay awake. Some days I have been too exhausted to cook supper. I'm getting a good amount of sleep. It's not always straight through the night, but if I wake up, I get back to sleep easily.

I am eating when I'm hungry, but part of me worries if I'm eating enough. 

One big positive... After 12 years, I am finally getting new eyeglasses! My current ones are so scratched up, and I'm having trouble driving at night with them. I'm back to making the 4.5+-hour round trip drive to get my boys every other week by myself (half of it after dark), so we took some of the little bit of savings we have left and used it. Thankfully I have vision insurance! Without it, my glasses would've cost around $700 to get what I need, which we could not afford. They should be in before I make the next drive.

I'm interested to see how the next month goes as I get back into the routine of working again, and things at work settle in to a fairly normal schedule.

Friday, July 19, 2019


Just an update, and some thoughts about how to move forward...

I have been sticking to my plans for the most part :) Cup of coffee with 1 tsp turbinado and heavy cream first thing. Breakfast/brunch most days is 4 oz nonfat Greek yogurt w/2 oz heavy cream + half a pack of instant oatmeal (GF maple brown sugar) with about an ounce of unsweetened frozen or canned fruit (usually peaches), about 2 Tbsp chopped pecans,  and some cream. It's been holding me up well. Some days I skip breakfast, especially if I sleep late, and don't eat until lunch. At lunch I try to get about 20g of carbs, 10-15g of protein. Supper is usually 3-4 oz of meat + 1/2 lb frozen veggies, occasionally with some carbs added in. I bought some (unsweetened) dried fruit (mango, pineapple, apple, strawberry) today to put in my oatmeal for more variety.

The Good:
I've had more energy lately
My feet and ankles haven't been swelling as much, and they've been going down more quickly
I've been more mindful than usual of what I'm eating
Sugar cravings are down

The Bad:
The scale hasn't changed much (may be up a couple pounds but that's it), but I can feel that my midsection is bigger

I'm concerned about the fat gain. Considering muscle weighs more than fat, and the scale hasn't changed much, I'm wondering if I'm losing muscle. I've been getting about 60g of protein a day, but I'm playing around with the idea of increasing it to .5 times my current weight, which would bring it to 85g. I don't know if I'm eating enough in general this summer. I've been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing, so my activity level isn't super low. Once work starts back in a couple weeks (I work at an elementary school), I'll be eating more consistently.

I shopped for snacks for work today. I got some more of the GF cheese crackers I like, turkey jerky, roasted almonds, and some coconut rolls to try (I've had another brand, but not these). I'm hoping these will make candy less appealing! I don't eat much of it at work, but I usually have a little bit. Sugar has been tasting super sweet to me lately (yay!), so it's easier to stay away from it.

Now that I have a good bit of open floor space in one room, I'd like to try to get back into some weight/resistance training. I've never been consistent about it (except one summer when I was 19 and went to aerobics/training classes) but I'm thinking about how I could work it in at least 2 or 3 times a week. I have a thick exercise mat, an aerobic step, dumbbells (2 sets, each with 1, 2, and 3 lb pairs), and ankle weights (adjustable .5 to 2.5 lb each). I would do best with a video to guide me. The thought of sifting through YouTube videos is overwhelming, but I don't have money to spend on buying any right now. The ones I had are all VHS (yep, they're that old LOL) and I have no way of watching them, even if they still work after being in storage for so long. I think 15-minute segments would be a good place to start - 1 segment/day, 1 day each of arms, abs/midsection, and legs/butt, for a total of 3 days/week.

So that's where things stand as of now...

Friday, June 21, 2019

More Tweaking...

I've lost a few pounds since my last post in January. Not much, around 5, but it's stabilized. Which is good, because I haven't gained any more, but bad, because I haven't lost any more. Some very stressful personal situations have come up in the last 6 months that I know aren't helping! They have caused me to lose sleep, which makes my body less able to function, which causes more stress, which causes me to lose more sleep... It's a vicious cycle...

I had a major gallbladder attack in March, the first in a long time. I was vomiting bile and ended up in the ER. I had a smaller one this week, but I think I know what triggered it (food intolerances + a 1-day exposure to a large amount of environmental allergens).

I also found out that I have arthritis in my lower back. I've known since '09 that I've had it in my left ankle, but it rarely bothers me (that's the one I have a rod and 8 pins in). I suspect I also have it in my left wrist (which I sprained badly twice in high school and get tendonitis in).

My inflammation levels are climbing :( I'm off work for the summer so I'm looking into making a few more dietary changes.

In researching eating plans to lower inflammation, the one thing that kept coming up was the Mediterranean diet. I knew a bit about it but not much. So I spent some time looking up the specifics - what is and isn't allowed, pros and cons, rate of long-term success, how to adapt it to lower carb, etc.

Here's what I like about it:
Emphasis on whole foods
Easily modified/customized
Not very restrictive
Relatively easy to stick with long-term
Dairy isn't the devil ;)
Nothing to count
Not very different from what I'm doing now (so only minor tweaking vs major changes)

The things I don't like about it are the same as any other healthy way of eating:
More planning
More meal prep
More cooking

Any plan I do has to be flexible. I'm already limited by the foods I react to, and at least 4 times a month I'm on the road for 6+ hours at a time. I have to eat on the road those days, and between the amount of money I have to spend on those meals, what I react to, and what's available on the route, I have very few options, none of which really fit in any healthy eating plan. But if I can do well the rest of the week, that one meal off-plan shouldn't be a big deal. And I have to allow for celebration days, like my birthday and anniversary, along with occasional meals out with family and friends.

Which leads me to another thing I like about the Mediterranean plan... The emphasis on the social aspects of eating. You don't see "cheats" mentioned. The native Mediterranean culture sees "cheats" as an occasional treat to enjoy with friends and family, in moderation. No guilt, no shame.

So here goes...

(and if you're reading this, drop me a comment so I know I'm not just talking to myself ;) )

Friday, January 11, 2019


I've gained more weight :(

I'm trying to tweak things a bit with my eating. I considered some other options, but I think this is what I'll go with. I briefly thought about trying to go full keto, but it's just not realistic for me at this point, and on days when I don't get enough carbs, my blood sugar drops and I get lightheaded etc. So I'm trying to find that sweet spot.

1. Lowering my carbs at work (lunch/snacks) by 10-15g
2. Increasing fats more at lunch and the rest of the day

I'd like to do 1-2 higher carb (under 100g) days a week also. When I have the boys for the weekend, staying at my weekday carb level isn't realistic. Especially when at least once a month, they want a pasta meal! So my goal is to "allow" myself to eat a bit more carbs when they're with me, but still keep it around 100. I don't want to spend the limited time I have with them stressing about food, but I also don't want to blow off eating how I feel best. Under 150g is considered low carb from what I've read, so I am still under that.

I've been under a lot of stress and haven't been sleeping enough, and I know that doesn't help! Along with eating more carbs over the holidays.

One positive thing... I'm smaller at this weight than I was last time I was here (9 years ago). I think it's partially from eliminating gluten, partially that I have more muscle tone. But I'm not close to a healthy weight. I carry it fairly well (I don't look like I weigh 175 lbs at 5'2"), but most of the gain has been in my stomach, which is definitely not healthy!

On another note... My Achilles still hasn't healed completely :( And it's been joined by tennis elbow (where did that come from???).

So that's my update...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


The school year started a couple of weeks ago so I've been back at work. I'm still playing around with amount and timing of carbs.

Drinking a protein shake for breakfast is working really well! I don't get hungry before lunch, even with having cafeteria duty right before my lunchtime. When I did duty two years ago, I was having to eat a snack beforehand.

For lunch, I've been eating about 20g of carbs + protein + fats. When I get home (3:45-4), sometimes I eat a snack, but not always. It's usually a small carb snack as up to this point, I've averaged about 35-40g (net) for the day.

Yesterday I brought Greek yogurt for lunch, and ate a carb snack (15 g) during my afternoon break. My body didn't do as well. I ate the snack because I could feel my blood sugar was a bit low. I don't think it ever really balanced though. I was very sluggish the rest of the day. I ended up drinking a little coffee for an energy boost to get some stuff done that needed to be taken care of, but once it wore off, I went back to having no energy.  I was also a bit emotional last night. I know there are other reasons, but I wonder how much what I had eaten was a factor.

Today I am a bit achy too. It could be because I'm taking less antihistamine, but I suspect it's from yesterday.

I'm going to start paying more attention to when I eat carbs, what I eat with them, etc, and see if I notice any patterns.


It's been a month and a half since my accidental gluten ingestion. I am *finally* feeling like it's (mostly) cleared my body. The number on the scale has just dropped a few pounds this week, after gaining 5+ with the reaction.

Last week I was sick with a bad cold. I still haven't fully recovered. I know gluten messes with my immune system. I think that's part of the reason I was so sick. I took Quercetin and vitamin C a few times a day. It helped!

One weird thing when I was sick... I ran a fever Tuesday night. Not high, around 100. Wednesday morning, my temp was only 95.9 :o It went up to 98.x later in the day, and has seemed fairly normal since.