Dot to Trot

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Archive for the category “fasting”

Thinking About Eating Before A Workout? Think Again

An interesting article in the New York Times about the potential benefits of fasting before exercising. I know a lot of bodybuilders and athletes play with timing their meals and workouts. And scientists like Jeff Volek have studied ketogenic diets and athletic performance. Well a new study looks at us regular folks and how when we eat may play a role in lowering insulin levels.

Gee, I wonder where I heard that before?

Anyway, it’s nice that science is starting to put to the test the “benefits” of fasting.

Thyroid, Calories Or Vitamins: Which Is Causing My Ice Cold Hands, Feet?

HEALTH

Have cold hands and/or feet? Sometimes doctors overlook these symptoms as frivolous. But ignoring them could lead to bigger problems. Image courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net and Kromkrathog.

The game plan for the week was to start a 7-day fast on Sunday. It started off great but about 12 hours into the fast I started feeling cold all over. The next thing I knew my hands and feet were freezing. Now cold hands and feet are nothing new to me. But this wasn’t normal (not that cold hands and feet are normal). I’m talking ice-cold extremities. No amount of mittens or socks could warm me up.

So I started doing a little digging. Turns out there are a few options as to why this happens

A Sluggish Thyroid?
The butterfly shaped thyroid is a gland that sits above the collarbone in the front of our necks. It pumps out hormones that regulates our metabolic rate. If the thyroid starts slowing down your body temperature can drop, causing hypothyroidism (an over active thyroid is hyperthyroidism and another set of problems).

Too Little Calories?
On non-fasting days I’ve been eating between 1600-1800 calories a day…or at least that’s what My Fitness Pal claims. Of course I’ve railed against this app about inaccurate data before. However, going into a fast I’ve never felt hungry.

Low Red Blood Cell Count?
Too few red blood cells means anemia. I experienced anemia when I was obese and had month-long periods (Yikes!). But with the weight loss my red blood cell count has been normal…or at least that’s my assumption. However, when I had my surgery in June, the only problem I encountered was the very slow recovery of my red blood cells. In fact, I was kept in the hospital because of it. I remember my husband and mother commenting on how pale I looked. While lack iron can be the major cause of anemia, there are a few other micronutrients — vitamins B-12 and D — that can also trigger it.

Other micronutrient deficiencies  that can trigger cold extremities? Niacin (Vitamin B3) and magnesium.

I ended up calling off the fast for now. We ended up going out for dinner and I made sure I ate my full calories for the day. That helped to warm the hands and feet, but they were still a little cold.

I’ve got a month to go before visiting a doctor regarding my menopause symptoms. But the cold concerns me. A lot of thyroid symptoms are identical to menopause. In fact, most doctors mistake thyroid problems for menopause. And frankly, you can have both problems at the same time.

 

Chicken Stuffed Peppers

My dad use to make stuffed peppers when I was a kid. Green peppers, diced onions, cheese, ground beef, hot sauce and “milk.” Actually I think the milk was really cream of mushroom soup, but it’s not like that’s something you can tell 5 food-fussy kids. A man’s gotta do what he’s gotta do, right?

Anyway here’s a version from The Complete Guide To Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung (yes, a fasting book with recipes!). This recipe replaces ground beef with chicken and tosses in some spices and grape tomatoes.

Easy to make and, like other recipes from the book I’ve tried, very yummy.

My Fasting Challenge: Days 4-7

no-food-or-wine

During days 4-7 of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge I experience some subtle changes in my mental and menopausal symptoms. Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net, KENO64 and Simon Howden.

Sorry for the delay in posting on the final days of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge, but I had a sick doggie and husband that needed some attention. Plus while going through the last 4 days of my fast, I thought they were uneventful. The intense hunger I felt on Day 3 was gone. Once in a great while my stomach might grumble a bit, but a sip of water took care of it (Day 3 I was obsessed with food thoughts).

I even stopped opening up the fridge.

But my little notes to myself indicate there was a lot more going on than I realized at the time. Physically, my menopause symptoms were gone. I could easily get 8 hours of sleep each night. The hot flashes and chills disappeared. My anxiety dropped through the floor. Mentally I was crisp.

Worrying that my fast would cause more stress on my body (thus raising cortisol levels and stress me out further) was unfounded. Yes, I lost weight not eating for 7 days, but that really was side benefit.

Below is the highlights of days 4-7 of my fast. Read more…

My Fasting Challenge: Day 3

teas

My Christmas present of assorted, yummy teas helped drive down my hunger on Day 3 of my fast.

Day 3 didn’t start with a bang. Where I was loaded with energy morning, noon and night on Day 2, my third day of fasting transformed me into low energy mouse. Low energy mouse is much different from my lazy mouse days. When I’m a lazy mouse, I have the energy. I just don’t want to use it.

On Day 3 I had absolutely no energy for a little more than half the day. I also had a slight headache and a whole lot of hunger pangs going on. Read more…

My Fasting Challenge: Day 2

home-gym-set-up

After cleaning my basement I started setting up our little workout area. It’s not much, but I’ve got plans!

Yesterday I felt a surge of energy coursing through me. I’ve read that you feel more energetic during a fast. I have to say this is the first time it’s happened to me. Hoping to go for a walk, I was thwarted by the rainy weather. So I turned my attention to my house. Mounds of laundry, dirty floors, clutter and dust – none of it stood a chance against me.

Energy Level Goes To 11
I spent a chunk of the day cleaning the basement, where the husband and I are setting up a very small home gym. We’re not buying machines. We’re using resistance bands with the possibility of buying dumbbells and kettle bells. I planned to do some work with the bands yesterday, but it turns out I got a different type of workout. Read more…

7-Day Fasting Challenge: Day 1

fork-plate

So far just one little hiccup on the first day of my 7-Day Fasting Challenge. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and aopsan.

My last meal was 5:00 pm dinner on New Year’s Eve at a local steakhouse. That means I’m not eating again until 5:00 pm Saturday, January 7. As I’ve written before, the primary goal for the fast is to help my body shed wonky cells before they go rogue on me. Its just one little tool I have to prevent my cancer from coming back.

However, if the fast knocks me into ketosis (fat burning mode), I’m not gonna complain.

First Weigh In Of 2017
The morning of January 1 I decided to hit the scale, something I haven’t done since my surgery (6 months + 2 days ago). I gave myself time off from the scale since I was juggling with a few things:

  1. Endometrial (uterine) cancer discovered during fertility treatments
  2. Surgery to remove it
  3. Recovery from a radical hysterectomy
  4. Surgically induced menopause
  5. Radiation therapy
  6. A leaky bladder thanks to the radiation

The last thing I needed to do was step on a scale. Read more…

Jump Starting My Diet: New Year, 2 Challenges

no-food-or-wine

I’m kicking off 2017 with two new challenges: a 7-day fast and going all of January without alcohol. Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net, KENO64 and Simon Howden.

This is how you bring in a New Year. Not one, but two challenges. I’m doing both to improve my health. Following my cancer diagnosis back in June, I’ve been on a six-month pity party, and that resulted in a lot of unhealthy behaviors creeping back into my life.

It’s time for a reset.

Challenge #1: 7 Days, No Food
Yesterday I started a 7-Day Fasting Challenge. That’s right, no food for a week. I’m allowed water, tea, and coffee. Period. Read more…

Healing My Body With A Week Long Fast

empty-plate

I’m kicking off the new year with a 7-Day Fasting Challenge as a way to heal my body. Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net and phasinphoto.

I’m ringing in the New Year with a week-long fast. Crazy? Not really. I’m a believer in fasting and it’s many benefits like: lipolysis, boosting mental capacity, reducing insulin resistance, and resetting your set weight point.

Intermittent fasting helped me rediscover what it feels like to be satiated by stablizing the hormone leptin (the hormone signals the brain that you’re full).

However, the big driver behind this 7-day fast is autophagy – the cellular cleansing process. According to Dr. Jason Fung, autophagy is the “body’s mechanism of getting rid of all the broken down old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes).”

Now all cells in our body are programmed to die after a certain number of divisions. That’s apoptosis. Autophagy takes place at the sub-cellular level. Basically only parts of a cell need to be purged and replaced. Dr. Fung compares this to replacing car parts rather than the whole care.

Fasting not only stimulates autophagy (clearing out the bad), but it increases growth hormone so our body can produce new cell parts. Double bonus! Read more…

Feeling Sorry For Yourself & Fasting Don’t Mix

water 1

My cucumber water was no match for my stomach. There just wasn’t enough water to keep hunger at bay.

Well my scheduled 3-day fast went up in smoke. Once again I was super tired after my radiation treatment. I planned to take an hour nap then start on my chores (you know, keep busy so I don’t think about my rumbling stomach). Turns out I couldn’t nap. And when I tried to get up, I had no energy. So I lay in bed for a couple of hours  listening to my stomach get louder and louder.

There wasn’t enough water, bone broth or tea in my house to quell my hunger.

I broke down and ate a hard-boiled egg.

Yes I technically broke the fast with that egg, but the amount of food was so small compared to a normal day. I thought if I could hold out until the next morning I can kick my fast into high gear.

I chased the egg with 24 ounces of water. But my tummy persisted. Rather than spend the rest of the day staying close to the bathroom, I admitted defeat and ate dinner.  Read more…

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