Dot to Trot

My world is expanding as my butt is shrinking!

Archive for the category “Tips & Tools”

Learning To Say “No” Again

This morning I find myself sitting down with a cup of coffee and a book I read more than a year ago – Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I find myself in need of remastering one simple yet special word.

In a world where nearly everything is at your fingertips, it’s a word you don’t hear very often — “No.”

“No” was my essential tool in losing 150 pounds over 4 years.  But if you don’t use it you lose it. And I haven’t used it for a long time.

The Vacation Is Over
I just got back from a weeklong visit with family in Texas. It was fun but I discovered I lost the ability to tell myself “no” when it came to snacks, desserts and alcohol. I told myself, “Your on vacation. Enjoy it.”

The problem is my vacation has lasted 373 days. Read more…

Kicking Caffeine To The Curb…Seriously This Time!

morning turkeyJPG

My Saturday morning project .

While most people like to sleep in a little Sunday mornings I’m up at 5:00 am. Why? Turkey. Yep, I’m roasting a 22-pound bird this morning. Tomorrow I start on the real cooking: LCHF versions of curry turkey, turkey pot pies and a turkey & bacon casserole.

While I enjoyed some coffee this morning, I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed without the black nectar of the gods.  It’s looking like my new-found energy isn’t a fluke.

Part of this new energy is a serious effort at cutting back on my caffeine intake. I tried giving coffee up cold turkey, but the headache that hit me was insane.

Giving Up Coffee…For Real This Time
Okay, I’ve written about attempts to give up coffee before, but this time I’m seeing tangible benefits. As my coffee intake goes down so does my anxiety and stress levels.  Read more…

New Boost Of Energy

vitamins

Changing up my supplements has helped to boost my energy level and greatly reduce my menopause symptoms.

Besides mixing up my workout routine, over the last month I started changing up my supplements. Between mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia and fatigue something had to give. For now I gave up the generic multivitamin. I just wasn’t sure what a one-size-fits-all approach was doing for me.

That doesn’t mean the multivitamin is gone forever. I’m just waiting until I go in for some hormone testing next month. At that point, the doctor I’m seeing for menopause will make some suggestions on my supplements and exercise routine based on actual data. What a concept! Read more…

Meditation Explained

Ugh! I never knew it was so stressful trying to destress.  I downloaded an app to help me with practicing mindfulness (a.k.a. meditation). The app – Insight Timer — is good, but I’m spending a lot of time searching for “guided” sessions to help me release anxiety and with sleep.

I think the skeptic in me has a hard time buying into the concept of fighting stress by just “being in the moment” and focusing on my “breath.”  So I’m not giving the recordings a fair shot.

With all my frustration with mindfulness, I turned to the only source I could think of to help me let go of my resistance to meditation: Ultra Spiritualist JP Sears.

I met with a new doctor last week (I’ll post about that meeting tomorrow) and she suggested a few recordings to check out. Of course I didn’t…until now. With my insomnia, I just don’t have the energy to be overly critical anymore. So this morning I’m checking out the doc’s recommendations. Hopefully the search ends soon and I can start relaxing and sleeping again.

“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…

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