Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sometimes, no matter what...

Do you ever feel that no matter what you do, you just can't succeed?

I have been feeling that way lately, and not with weight loss. I just assumed that because I am living a healthier lifestyle that I am healthier. That is what this is all about for me, after all. I don't care about being skinny--I care about living a long, happy, healthy, and fit life.

I'm struggling with some of that right now.

I had a physical in November, at which they performed a lipid panel. I had elevated triglycerides before, but I was so excited to get tested again and prove to them that a vegan diet could beat anything. Well, it didn't. The results came back and my levels were quite high. The doctor told me to start taking fish oil immediately and try to lose some weight.

What on Earth does she think I have been doing here for the past 3 months?

I told her that I would NOT be taking fish oil (as I am vegan and studying fish conservation, oh my goodness) and that I AM losing weight. She seemed frustrated with me, which I reciprocated. I asked her to let me try the vegan diet a little longer, since I'd only been on it for two and a half months at the time and had already seen so many improvements. She gave me three months. I have until mid-February to lower my triglyceride levels, "or else".

So I've been trying not to eat high glycemic index foods or foods with more than 3g of fat per serving. I've been cooking everything from scratch or eating out at Chipotle, since I know they use only fresh, unprocessed ingredients. What else can I do on top of what I am already doing?

Apparently it hasn't been enough.

I had been "sick" for the past six weeks. My throat was sore and my tonsils looked like they were molding, but strangely I otherwise felt fine. I went to two different doctors and both of them prescribed antibiotics. They didn't work. Also, my blood pressure had been high both visits, which can happen when your body is fighting infection.

I started getting headaches lately, and my vision was a little off, which I contributed to the raised blood pressure. Because of that, I decided it was time to go in a third time and finally nip this cold in the butt.

The doctor took one look at my tonsils, and let out a cry of triumph. As she suspected, no bacterial infection at all--it wasn't a cold. It was allergy related inflammation, and the white stuff was dead white blood cells. She proceeded to pop out a tonsil stone and said, "See, there you have it!"

I was amazed. I constantly struggle with dust mite allergies and have had issues with tonsil stones in the past, but I didn't know that it could possibly affect me so severely. Even this morning after taking some advil and gargling with salt water and listerine, my throat feels so much better.

Which left the matter of my high blood pressure. I realized then that I had only assumed that my blood pressure had been elevated for the past six weeks during the time of my "cold", but I actually hadn't been for an entire year before these visits. I had no way of knowing that my blood pressure had been high any time before--I had never suspected.

The doctor talked to me about type 1 hypertension and gave me some educational packets about it. She said that it sounds like I am eating right, so I need to add 1 mile of power walking on top of my daily 1 mile of meanderings between classes. I then told her about my triglyceride issues, and she gravely informed me that if my primary care physician hadn't put me on heart medication already, then she surely would at my February check-in--unless a miracle happens and I can reign everything in basically overnight.

I am feeling frustrated and a little betrayed right now.

I feel like I am doing everything that I can, but that nothing I do makes any difference. Whether I have the body I want or not, what does it matter if there is a high likelihood that I'll have at least one heart attack before 50? The doctor warned me that I should do everything in my power (as though I am not already) to avoid the heart medications because it is a slippery slope downhill from there.

I am going to add in that extra mile, I am going to watch my sodium, and I am going to continue to restrict myself to low-fat and low-GI rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables. I am going to work my hardest to try and make that February check-in a celebratory one. But in the back of my head I can still hear what my primary care physician said to me back in November: "I just want you to be prepared that no matter what you do, it may not help. Because it runs in the family, sometimes you just can't do it by yourself."

Please, please, please don't let that be me...

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Hey everybody, it has certainly been a while.
We are in the midst of finals here at Virginia Tech, so I have basically been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the past month. Not to mention that it in nine days it will be Christmas, which brings on stresses of its own. All of this equating to me not having had time to blog lately. My apologies--believe me, I'd rather be doing this!
Now don't think that I've just been fiddling around in the mean time. Oh no, I have a stock pile of photos and recipes that are ripe for posting. Seeing as my month-long vacation begins this upcoming Thursday at exactly 3:05pm, prepare to be bombarded by deliciousness.
Woven in between exams are of course a few end-of-the-semester celebrations.
My good friends, Jessica, Christina, Thomas, and me.
If you've been wondering how my healthful habits have been going lately, the answer is amazing. Sticking to vegan foods hasn't been a challenge and I've continued to get smaller and smaller. Remember that back in June I was tipping the scales at 261 pounds? Here's where I am today:
  • I am 231 pounds. That is a 29 lb weight loss! And the most amazing thing is that every single day that number continues to plummet.
  • I have lost a total of 4 inches from my bust.
  • Three inches are gone from my waist.
  • I've lost 3 inches on the hips.
  • And I am minus two inches  from each thigh.
I have to admit, I am pretty proud of that. All of the wonderful people in my life have noticed the difference, and comment on a daily basis how much I've changed. I can even see it myself when I look in the mirror.
I had to go shopping for dress clothes the other day for a presentation, and I had such a hard time. Not because nothing fit, but because I kept grabbing the size that I used to be, and everything was too big! It took about two hours at Walmart in the middle of the night, but I left with a button down shirt and a skirt--this is the first time I've worn either of those things in my adult life. Things like that just never fit before now.

Dress clothes that actually fit and look nice!

I know that I've got a ways to go still, but I am just so happy that something is finally working for me and that my goals actually seem achievable. I've got another 80 pounds to go before I reach my target weight, but realistically I haven't been at this for very long and I'm already over a quarter of the way there. I am happier with myself right now than I have been in a long time.
My friend and room mate, Carla, has to write a feature story as an end-of-the-semester project. I'm not sure what possessed her, but she decided to do a human interest story about me and my journey toward a healthy life. She is in the process of getting it published now, so I will post a link whenever it is ready. As with all good articles, it was accompanied by several lovely photographs.

Courtesy of Carla Craft.

That wraps up my progress report for now. I'll be back soon!