Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Tips & Tools”

“You Can’t Accomplish Anything Without The Possibility Of Failure”

An Awesome Documentary Got Me Questioning How Hard I’m Willing To Push Myself – Mentally, Physically & Emotionally – To Achieve What I Want.

This weekend I spent some time looking for upcoming local races, both 5 and 10Ks. I’m always way more consistent in training when I have a deadline I’m working towards. That’s when I came across the most amazing race I’ve never heard of – The Barkley Marathon.

I learned about it via a documentary that’s currently on Netflix – The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young. It is an amazing story that spotlights the quirky traditions and oddball personalities surrounding this race.

But what I loved most happened after watching the movie. More on that below. But first, What is the Barkley?

Read more…

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.

 

Want To Get Healthy? Then Give Up Dieting!

I’ve been in need of some motivation lately. Thankfully I found Nerd Fitness’ YouTube Channel. Although I’m a frequent visitor to their site, I wasn’t aware of the videos. This one is great for anyone thinking of “going on a diet.”

 

Feeling The Burn…Literally!

burn

I felt the burn the other night thanks to a very hot pan and no oven mitt. Thankfully I knew what I needed to do to treat the burn and had what I needed at my (crispy) fingertips.

Blogging has been light thanks to a little mishap in the kitchen. For some strange reason I pick up the lid of my VERY hot Dutch oven without oven mitts. Ouch!

It took about half a second for the pain to hit and my brain kicking in to tell me to drop the lid. I immediately turned on the faucet and let the cool water sooth my blazing hot fingers.  My husband leaped into action by pulling out our first aid kit.

After plunging my had in cool water for 30 minutes, the pain subsided long enough for me to move to a damp, cool towel. An hour later I could bear my husband applying the Neosporin ointment and wraping up my swollen finger tips. Read more…

Kissing Insomnia Goodbye!

glasses

Modeling my new blue-light blocking glasses. For just $10 I’m finally getting my 8 hours of sleep a night and bringing my hunger level back under control.

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I made a little purchase. I ordered blue light-blocking glasses and it’s transformed my sleep. When I put them on in the evening, not only am I sleepy within an hour, I’m out like a light within minutes of my head hitting my pillow. Since I started using the glasses I average 8 hours of shut-eye a night. Hot damn!

I’ve noticed a difference in my hunger level too. Pre-glasses, I was lucky to get 5 hours of sleep and I always felt ravenous the next day. Once I started using the glasses, my sleep improved and my hunger levels were normal. Sweet!

My Nightly Routine
At 9:00 pm sharp I slip on the glasses. It doesn’t matter if I’m using my iPad for reading, cleaning my kitchen or brushing my teeth…those glasses are on at 9:00 p.m. They don’t come off until all lights are off and I slip into bed.

Bedtime is 10:00 p.m. I don’t mean getting ready for bed (washing my face, brushing my teeth, getting on my PJs). At 10:00 p.m. the lights are off and I’m in bed.

I still take 5g of melatonin nearly every night. But I’ve noticed that I fall asleep quicker and longer when using the glasses.

It’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a long time.

My 30-Day Keto Challenge

keto cookbook

An amazing keto cookbook that I’m relying on as I start my 30-Day Keto Challenge, eating up to 80% healthy fats a day.

For the last week I’ve played with my diet to see what works in minimizing my menopause symptoms and it’s looking like a strict ketogenic diet is the way to go. When I say strict, I’m talking about reducing both my carbs and protein intake while increasing healthy dietary fat.

However, there are a few other changes I’m making to my diet and lifestyle that will go into my March 30-Day Keto Challenge. I’ve been easing into those changes in February so it isn’t such a shock to my system, but they are significant.

Dot’s New Macros*
As for calculating my macronutrients, there are a lot of good ketogenic macro calculators online (here and here). I’m a fan of nutritionist Maria Emmerich and after listing to a podcast of her answer questions about keto and menopause I decided to go with her calculator.

  • Daily Calories – 1706 kcal
  • Daily Macros (calories/grams/ounces)
    • Fat – 80% (1346.4 kcal/151.6g)
    • Protein – 17% (290 kcal/72.5g/10 ounces)
    • Carbohydrates – 3% (51.2 kcal/12.8g)

Read more…

Want To Change Behavior? Try A 30-Day Challenge

Screenshot 2014-09-02 11.11.07

30-Day Challenges are a great way to create new habits, change how you do things and build confidence. And they are available online for free. Just make sure you pick one that’s realistic.

I love this article from Business Insider on the importance of 30-Day Challenges in changing behavior. I’ve become a big believer in these challenges. I’ve used them to:

  • Drink more water
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Build strength
  • Run a 5k
  • Improve my sleep habits

I always try to pick something that:

  1. Isn’t part of my wheelhouse;
  2. Provides opportunity for self-improvement;
  3. Realistic and measurable.

It’s important to pick a challenge where you not only want to make a change, but decided that you must change. Big difference.

Making a meaningful, lasting change means committing to it. Read more…

Combating Bloat By Working The Abs, Avoiding Veggies

veggies

Some of my favorite veggies are awesome on the health scale, but are not helping my abdominal bloat.

One of the side effects of surgical menopause is my body has absolutely no time to adjust to the drop in estrogen. This means dealing painful stomach bloating. How bad is the bloat? Some times my belly swells so large I look pregnant. Yikes!

It gets especially painful around my belly button – that’s where the camera was inserted for my surgery. It’s the one incision area that is the slowest to heal as it takes the brunt of the bloating.

There are a few things I can do with my diet and exercise to minimize the bloating while my body finds its footing.

  1. Bidding Adieu to My Favorite Veggies – For the time being certain vegetables no longer welcomed in my kitchen. While I don’t use a lot of garlic and onions, they are a staple when it comes to adding flavor. Unfortunately they contain fructans, soluble fibers that cause bloating. I’m also giving up all cruciferous vegetablesbroccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, all cabbage, collard greens… Oh the list seems to go on! At least spinach, avocados and tomatoes are safe.
  1. Kicking Out Carbonated Water – The carbon dioxide in carbonated water can get trapped in the digestive system, causing bloat. I started drinking carbonated water as a way to drink more water. Now I drink about 80-90 ounces of tap water a day, so kicking fizzy water to the curb shouldn’t be difficult.
  1. Building Up My Core – On days where I do yoga or walk the bloat is pretty much non-existent. Not so much when I do weight training.  Thankfully there are some other exercises that can safely incorporate into my strength training: crunches, sit ups, seated twist and energy push. The first three are perfect for strength training as they use body weight. The energy push can be used as part of my warm up routine.

These three steps are my starting point. Now there is a chance that I may have to give up my beloved dairy. I certainly don’t have any signs of lactose intolerance.  Nonetheless I started cutting back on dairy (creams and cheese) to get my total daily carbs under 20g.

I plan to see how well these 3 steps help with the bloat. Maybe by the end of the month I’ll see if dairy needs to get added to the list.

A Calorie Is Just A Calorie, Right?

No, it isn’t true: A calorie isn’t just a calorie. The quality of the calories is far more important. Need proof?  Here’s your tweet of the day courtesy of Dr. Ted Naiman (if you don’t follow Dr. Ted’s tweets you really should).

tweet-of-the-day

 

 

Can’t Sleep? Try Sleeping Under the Stars

camping-in-dolly-sods

Besides being fun, camping can reset your circadian rhythm. I always sleep better in a forest.

Having issues falling asleep at night? Just not getting in your full 8 hours of shut-eye?  Try a weekend in the woods…seriously.

I’ve written before about how a good night’s sleep is critical for weight loss. Unfortunately modern technology is disrupting our sleep patterns.  Thankfully there is a possible solution:

Go camping. Read more…

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