Fitness Quest and Crohn’s Update: July 2016

Wow! I knew I hadn’t been blogging for a while but I didn’t realize it’s been 3 months. I’ve been busy I guess but I haven’t forgotten my fitness goals and efforts. So, here’s the update for those interested:

Crohn’s – doing well. The Humira treatment seems to continue to work. I wouldn’t call what I’m experiencing full remission, but it’s close. I’ve had a few “queasy” days this summer but nothing major to keep me off work or anything. I’m due for another round of testing/scanning/probing this fall and I expect that I’ll here that my condition remains essentially unchanged from last year. Which would be the best news I could expect (the damage can’t be undone, but if further damage is prevented that’s all I need to keep avoiding surgery).

Fitness: I did pretty well again, for me, with the Rose Run 5K that I’ve been participating in. I beat my time from last year thanks in large part to the urging and support of my niece who ran with me. So this is the third straight year of doing better than the year before! My new goal is to get below a 30 minute 5K. I came in 4th in my age group with 5 behind me by the way. My official time was 41:55 and I’m several minutes faster than when I started 5 years ago. Not a huge change, but a positive one. Especially given how little I actually train for it.

I’ve been keeping up with my weight workouts with my brother-in-law. The weight is going up, my body weight is going down (usually), my waist is shrinking and my biceps are growing. Things are on track in this area.

I participated in a “22 Push Ups for 22 Days” to raise awareness of Veteran Suicide. On average, 22 vets in the USA commit suicide each day. This was a pure awareness campaign but I thought an important one. Plus, doing the push ups each day really seemed to up my feeling of well-being each day. I’m continuing to do them even though the challenge is over. I’m planning to work my way to 100 per day (in one set) by the end of the year.

Mountain Climbing: as a benefit of my increased fitness I took on the challenge of climbing the 2nd highest mountain in the contiguous USA (Mt. Elbert) when visiting Colorado this summer. Unfortunately, I only made it to 13,000 feet and was about 1,400 vertical feet short of the summit. It was a fun day nonetheless with a couple cousins who live in Colorado (they made the summit). The thin air was too much for me – or rather not enough for me. Next time, I acclimate at a higher elevation for several days. Next goal though is to fail to summit the highest point in the contiguous USA – Mt. Whitney in California.

Nutrition: as mentioned earlier, my weight has been decreasing. But, in my continuing quest to build muscle while losing fat I’ve been experimenting with my diet. My most recent experiment was to reduce my carbs significantly and increase my protein. There have been some conflicting studies on the effectiveness of this. But, I’ve known a couple people who really dropped the weight while doing this and my limited experience so far is that it does work. I’m still playing with how to add some carbs back in occasionally, since they have a place in the overall healthy diet and maintaining daily “energy,” so more on this later.

Mental Health: overall, I’m still a happy and positive person. Sure, I have my moments like everyone else, but I don’t have much to complain about. My “new” job is going well with supportive co-workers and supervisors, my friends are few but close, my family closer and my faith is strong. The only thing that threatens my well-being right now is the back and forth bickering on Facebook concerning the presidential campaign. Just a few more months…

So, overall things are good. I feel healthy, I look healthier, and I’m more active than I’ve been in a long time. Old age is still creeping up on me (I notice more daily aches and pains) but I’m putting it off as long as I can and hope you will do the same.

Onward!

 

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Crohn’s Update: June 2015

Thought I should update everyone on my Crohn’s and general fitness since it’s been awhile. The good news is that overall I’m doing well. The Humira seems to be keeping the Crohn’s in check, though I have had a few episodes of vomiting (3 since starting the treatment) and a few days of low activity causing me some intermittent pain and lack of appetite. These periods have coincided with me becoming overly tired or bad weather (thunderstorms). However, I haven’t had an episode which has kept me from work or other activities.

Also, I am lucky in one other way – I have doctor’s orders to avoid broccoli! His thought is that because it is a high fiber food it’s possible that it can get caught in the stricture (damaged area) of my intestine and cause the pain. I told him that it would be difficult but somehow I would go on without eating broccoli. I also offered to avoid a variety of other vegetables if it would help. He assured me to just test avoiding the highest fiber foods and he thought I could get by.

In the workout world, my elbow pain has subsided so I can lift again which is good. I still plan on running (walking?) in a 5K, the Rose Run, in mid-July. Not sure if I’ll do as well as hoped since I haven’t been doing my cardio as I should over the past couple months but we’ll see. My weight is not going up but it’s not going down too much either. However, I don’t feel as “fat” as I have and my pants are starting to literally fall off me. I’m hesitant to go down a size though because there are times I need the extra room due to bloating from the Crohn’s.

Time to set a couple new fitness goals I think…I’ll get back to you all on those.

Onward!

January 25, 2015 Update

It’s been awhile since I last posted, mostly because January is one of my busy times at work and between work, working out, and other activities for the past couple of weeks I just haven’t felt like blogging! Things are slowing down now and I can once again start to gather my thoughts and update on my progress or lack thereof.

The good news is that I’m making good use of my UP 24 (by Jawbone) band and changing several habits – mostly taking the long way around when walking and trying to add more steps instead of saving them. I need to be purposeful in keeping up with walking and moving on weekends, but during the week I’ve had very little trouble getting in at least 10,000 steps per day. I’m also back to the gym. The first couple workouts left me a bit sore, as expected, and I actually welcomed the tightness which followed – as well as the pump during the workouts. As I’m sure some of you are aware, it’s good to occasionally flex and feel like something is being flexed!

I’m doing very well with my diet, too. I use MyFitnessPal and have logged everything I’ve put in my mouth each day for about a month now. It has become habit and has helped me to make better choices. I have to say that I miss my Little Debbie though…and Krispy Kreme…and…well, you get the drift. However, there are better ways to use all those calories than one or two (or three) fatty treats each day. Oh, and this morning I was told by my Pastor that I looked thinner! I’ll choose to believe that he was talking about my waist and not my chest and shoulders.

Downside, I seem to have reached a fat loss plateau of some sort. My weight is edging down much slower than my exercise level and calorie intake should be creating. I’d like to think it’s because I’m putting muscle on as fast as the fat comes off, but that would be wrong (probably). Nothing to do but to stay consistent and keep upping the cardio.

Emotionally, I’m doing good except for the sadness and depression which followed the death of my cousin John this past week. He was three days older than me and born with Down Syndrome. Despite this he led a good life. He had a strong sense of humor and loved his family deeply. We had much in common including that we both enjoyed Star Trek and Scooby Doo. I will miss him greatly.

Upcoming for me this week a “double balloon colonoscopy” to further investigate my Crohn’s. This treatment will involve a two day prep and I’m on a clear liquid diet starting Tuesday and a full day of bowel “cleansing” on Wednesday. I’ll post more on this afterwards on Thursday (after I wake up that is).

Onward!

2015 Looking Into the New Year

Well, back to work today and back to the normal routine. . At first I was worried I didn’t get done everything I wanted to get done during my holiday, but I did get to spend quality time with family, establish some new healthy habits (another 10,000+ steps today – a six day streak) and cleared my head about a few things. So I guess all in all not a bad holiday break.

Looking forward into the New Year I have quite a bit to keep working on. My diet needs to be cleaner, leaner and more “natural” and by that I mean I need to prepare more of my own food and eat out less. It’s just healthier in general and I think with Crohn’s the closer you can get to natural foods the better anyway. A friend sent me an article on one woman’s experience of going Vegan with Crohn’s and it worked well for her. I don’t see myself going that far, or even vegetarian, but I do see more leafy greens, veggies in general, and raw fruits in my diet.

I’ve started working more on cardio fitness for many reasons. One, I’d like to live well into old age. Two, it’s easier to finish 5Ks when you are not gasping for breath.

I’ll be hitting the weights again. I’m not getting any younger and my body seems to remind me of that each day in new and interesting ways. Plus, I kind of like the feeling of my sleeves being just a little snug…

Creatively, so much to finish. Ditto concerning my professional life as well. All in all, another typical year but this time with an atypical outcome!

Onward!

A Journey of 10,000 Steps

So, I’ve started using an UP 24 (by Jawbone) which like Fitbit and other devices along with the appropriate telephone apps is a device to aid and push a person towards better fitness. In a very basic way though it’s a glorified pedometer that does some other nifty things too (it lets me know how often I wake up at night for example – usually once) and one of the first goals to achieve is taking 10,000 steps through the day.

My first day I did okay and took over 8,000 steps. So 10,000 should have been easy right? Wrong! I got to 8,000 only because we went to see “The Lights Before Christmas” at the Toledo Zoo (yes, yes, we saw the “Lights BEFORE Christmas” AFTER Christmas so sue me). The next day (Saturday) I only got in about 1,800 steps. Granted I was at home and not at work but clearly I needed to step up my game so to speak (“step up” get it?). So today I took a walk around town…and when I say around town I mean around the entire town. I followed a path that roughly estimated the city limits of the small town I live in (actually near) and after about an hour in the cold guess what? I only added about 4,000 more steps to my daily total. This left me without about 2,000 more steps to take.

So, on a whim I came up with a different idea. Instead of walking around town, what if I walked around my yard? I paced the perimeter of my yard off I discovered I could get in about 400 steps by doing this. Then I thought what if I also went around my house? Bingo – another 200 steps. What if I went around every bush and tree? Well, what do you know I could get almost 1,000 steps just by tracing a path in my yard. Then while walking around, counting to myself I had a thought. Gosh, this is almost like a labyrinth.

Now many of you may know that labyrinths, patterns drawn on the floor of a church, were a tool used by many early Christians, and presumably other religions, for meditation and prayer purposes. It’s also my understanding that many of these early Christians used the labyrinth to take the place of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. There’s a nice article on labyrinths at the Washington National Cathedral’s website if you want to know a little more: http://www.cathedral.org/worship/labyrinth.shtml

So all in all, I’m pleased with my day. I got a little healthier by getting my steps in and stumbled on a way to clear my head and meditate and prayer in my own backyard. No the only question is what will the neighbors think when they see me wandering around and muttering to myself. I better get one of those blue tooth headsets so it looks like I’m on the phone.

Onward!