Category Archives: Health

Hypothyroidism: Incurable or Nah?

I have kept a secret from my Get Fit with Fe crew for all of the years since starting my fitness group. I have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, as defined by WebMD:

Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder. With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.

Some quick facts:

  1. The most common type of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. It is an auto immune disease in which your body produces antibodies that attack your thyroid gland.
  2. When your body does not get enough thyroid chemical and bodily processes slow. In short, your metabolism is slow. Really, really slow.
  3. There is no known cure.

When I found out I had hypothyroidism, I was really ambivalent. One the one hand, I finally had an answer to the culprit behind my life-long struggle being overweight. No matter how much I exercised or changed my diet, the weight would not come off. At least, not permanently. And it was not just the weight. I had all of the freaking symptoms – extreme fatigue, memory issues, depression – I had it all.

Being diagnosed gave me relief. On the other, I had to manage a disease that had no known cause and no known cure. I did not like the sound of that – no cure? With God, all things are possible. So, I started searching for the possible.

There is a lot of research regarding gluten-sensitivity and hypothyroidism. The student HERE suggests that people with hypothyroidism and gluten-intolerance absorbed more thyroid chemical when following a Gluten-free diet. There may be some stock to this. I did the Daniel Fast with a friend, who is also hypothyroid, and we both lost at least 10 lbs each. The Daniel Fast eliminates all wheat, as well as, dairy, and sugar – other known causes of inflammation.

Self-Diagnosis –

I read about Pulse Test used to determine if somonesuffer from food allergies/sensitivities. The test, developed by Dr. Arthur Coca, postulates that food allergies produces an immune response in people causing their heart rate to go up. This can be measure by taking the pulse before and after consumption of the allergenl. Dr. Coca’s book, The Pulse Test, goes into greater detail, but the gist of the test is:

  1. Grab food that is the suspected allergen and have it ready.
  2. Take your pulse while in a rested state at least 5 minutes after activity.
  3. Place the food on your tongue. Let it stay in your mouth for at least 30 seconds. DO NOT SWALLOW the food.
  4. Take your pulse from anywhere on your body. It may be easier to take it from the wrist. Count the number of beats for 60 seconds.
  5. If your pulse increases greater than 4 beats between tests, the  food is likely producing an allergic response.

I tried the test. I tested for milk and wheat. Milk produced no response but bread did. It is important to note that this test cannot distinguish between food allergies and food sensitivities. I am going to cut out all wheat based products for 1 week and track my results. It is worth a shot.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Before and Afters

Yesterday, I wore a pair of dark blue jeans that I had purchased years ago. I purchased them based on size alone. I was CERTAIN I could fit that size. I got them home only to realize that they could not go past my thighs.

#howdreadful

I passed by a full length mirror yesterday while wearing those dark blue jeans. Initially, I thought to myself, You look good girl. Next, I started to critique myself. I felt like I was not losing weight fast enough. You know how we women are. Then, I stopped and really looked at my self. My face, my arms, my legs – everything looked tighter. I began to audible thank God for the progress. I clearly remember how before those beautiful jeans hung in my closet month after month. My after, I had to wear a belt to keep them up.

#progress

It is so easy to overlook the great achievement 'progress' is. It means I had a vision, devised a plan, acted on it and I am seeing results.

If you are unhappy about where you are in life, do not fret. You are stationed at the 'before' stop. You have to decide on your destination. Pay the fare and ride it out until the end. If you start and do not give up, there is always the after.

My first visit to Dallas, I took the Amtrak. Please do not ask me why. That was like the bumpiest, longest train ride ever. There were moments when the train raced across wide expanses rocking to and fro. There were moments the locomotive inched along. There was a moment when the train actually stopped and backed up to yield to the freight trains. I knew no matter what the route, if the train stayed the course, I would reach my destination.

I am not where I want to be but I am now in a pair of jeans that I could not fit. I am jogging on trails 3 miles at a time. I am lifting weights. I spend like 2 plus hours in the gym sometimes. Baby, if that ain't progress. . .

The Woman in the Mirror

I was looking in the mirror as I got dressed this morning and a little smile developed. As I stared at my reflection, I noticed the woman looking back at me. I noticed her chin, her smile, the contour of her eyebrows, the light around her eyes.  She looked like Felicia. Where had this woman been all of this time?

She, I, was hidden beneath extra pounds, defeat, insecurity, etc. In this move from Chicago to Dallas, getting settled, finishing my MBA, writing my book – it has been a whirlwind. I have set goals, met goals. Tried some things. Succeeded and failed. Through all of it, I had somehow forgotten this woman in the mirror. This Felicia who believed all things were possible, who had hope insurmountable.

Losing weight is more than a number on a scale. It is more than being a baddie in a red dress. It is remembering of who you are at your core. It is seeing yourself outside as you feel inside – beautiful. You are reshaping your life in your own image.

I am liking my own reflection. Every failure is a lesson. The people in my life – lessons and/or blessings. There is no room for regret, doubt, or what-ifs. For I have seen the woman in me, once forgotten, looking victorious.

You are – I am – victorious!

2014 – I Love Me and If You Knew Me, You Would, Too.

If you have been a reader of this blog, then you know how much of a sucker I am for a sincere compliment. I love to hear great things about myself. I love putting on a flattering dress and walking that I walk. lol

I am unabashed.

I have been told that I am vain. I will not cop to that. I have just learned how to love and appreciate myself. I know I am a godly woman kept by God's grace. If I am in Christ and he is in me, how can I view myself as less than anything.

I was not always so confident. I was teased as a child, sometimes, mercilessly. I was teased for being smart, being chubby (at times), being a 'church-girl', for not being sexually active. I was teased at school by some and teased at home by siblings. It was unrelenting at times. At home, I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry because my siblings would tease me so bad. I sometimes wished I could disappear. When I opened my eyes, I was still present.  Instead of wilting away, I made a decision to be bigger. Bigger than the hateful, negative things that had been said.

God was merciful to that shy, scared girl and put people in my life who WOULD tell me great things about myself. I was told that I was smart, beautiful and that I could be anything that I wanted to be. Those words mattered so much to me then. Kind words matter so much to me now.

What was the truth?

Throughout all of that negativity, I came to know God through Christ. I learned through the bible that I am eternally loved, valued, forgiven and beautiful. I chose to believe the truth about me through the ultimate word – the WORD of God.

I do not simply receive compliments, I am also a giver. I am that friend who will always point out your best qualities. I will lift you up when you are down. I know first hand how sometimes you need to hear a good word. I remember my best friend told me that she waited to tell me that her grandmother had past because she knew I would make her feel better and she just needed to grieve a little. 😦

Some say women are not capable of giving a genuine compliment. It must always be something like, "Ok, well she's pretty but *insert negative comment*. I was in class and heard two girls talking about the girl in front of them. The girl in front had really, long wavy hair.

One girl says, "Her hair is so pretty.'

The other girl says, "Too bad SHE ain't pretty". 

Oh the shade! Porqui, ma petit?

If you want love, give love freely. If you want positivity, be that positive influence. If you want a nice guy to tell you that you are beautiful, then BE BEAUTIFUL – inside and out.

Half-time – Where Do We Go From Here?

The half-way point of anything can be confusing to the unfocused mind. You are not where you started but you are not quite where you would like to be. You ponder:

Is the glass half-empty? Is it half-full? Are we there yet? Are we there yet now?

What do you do?

You keep moving.

I have had many rest stops on this road to fitness. I know full well what the side of giving up looks like. I long to see that place known as the 'Finished Line'.

I look at myself at lot in the mirror. Partly due to vanity. I can cop to that. I am a woman and it comes with the territory. I looked at myself today – full-length. I curled both my arms. I noticed a change. Am I back to stopping traffic with my walk? Not yet, but I am not where I once was. I am stronger, faster, better. I am winning.

I have previously fallen into the trap of complacency. Feeling so high that I have lost a few pounds that I decrease my committment and intensity only to fall by the wayside feeling defeated. Not this time. I have an actual plan of attack.

I encourage myself daily. I have accountability partners. A group of my friends and I do a daily fitness challenge. We check-in with each other on Facebook daily. It is fun and useful.

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the change in yourself – body, attitude, confidence.

There has been some residual effects. I do not accept the poor treatment of others becuase – through fitness - I have learned to make myself the priority. I can say no to food and as an extension no to other things that are not good for me or that are not in my best interest. I have found that people who you love the most can take advantage if allowed. I have found the cure for this. It is the word 'no'.

I am feeling pretty confident about the rest of my journey. I know through it all God is with me. With Him on my side, I cannot, WILL NOT, lose. Except pounds of course. lol

It is like the lyrics to an old song my mom would sing while cleaning the house:

 "I don't feel no ways tired./I've come to far from where I've started from/Nobody told me that the road would be easy/I don't believe you have brought me this far to leave me."

Happy Post Christmas Pre-New Year’s Eve Day

I have not been posting. I have been living. Took a week off from work and visited home.

Every time I visit Chicago in the winter I am reminded of a few things:

  1. It’s flipping cold! I walked my happy self out of the airport to wait for my sister to pick me up. It was not even five minutes before frost and regret forced me back into the airport terminal.
  2. Radiator heat is for smoking hams or salmon. If you have ever lived up north in one of those ancient apartments, you will understand the type of volcanic heat generated by radiator systems. It’s flipping hot!
  3. When kids miss you, they like to cuddle, touch and squirm against you. Generally, getting on your nerves but it is kind of sweet.
  4. It is nice to be missed.

I get home (Dallas) and I am feeling a little blue. Chicago is filled with family, kids, a dog, and laughs. My home is filled with space. . . and me. I was feeling a tad bit lonely until I realized how awesome I am. lol

Me. It is time to get back to me.

As a new year approaches, I am focusing on me. Nothing is real until you write it down, so I am putting it out there – 2014 I am running a ½ marathon.

*cue streamers*

You see, running has always presented itself as a unique challenge. I have been doing a lot of fitness challenges. I have amped my workouts up quite a bit. So, Saturday, I decided to test it out. I went to my usual train and did 3 miles walk/jogging. I have (since last year) shaved 15 minutes off of my total time. I can run for longer periods of time AND my hip did not start hurting.

I say that is a good start. My goal is to do the 3 miles every other day until I reach full running mode. I will progress into 5k runs, 10k runs and then the half-marathon. One year my friends and catch me if you can.

I found a couch potato to 5k plan here.

A Girl, an Egg and a Brush

I was all excited to write about my meal planning for this week, this new cactus bristle brush I had purchased and sticking to my workout plan over Thanksgiving. Truly excited until a friend told me about her weekend and I realized how incredibly mundane and boring my life is. lol

A co-worker used to jokingkly call me Sister Mary Francis, you know Whoopi Goldberg's character from Sister Act. I am always the good church girl –  and black – so she thought the name was fitting. That is cool and all but I am no longer a girl. I am a woman in her thirties who needs a little excitement in her life.

Except, I do not know the first thing about excitement. lol I like museums, good books, plays and Nova on PBS.

SOOOOOO BORINNNG!!!!!

Anyway, I decided to try this 'omelet in a muffin' pan idea.

 

12 eggs

1/2 scallions

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

You spary the muffin pan with oil spray. Use a 1/3 cup measuring tool to scoop the mixture into the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a fork can be inserted into the center and pulled out clean.

131201_0000 131201_0001

I placed them and baggies and froze them for the week. I think I will cook the egg whole next time instead of whipping them into an omelet.

 

Click for enlarged view

I bought this brush and started dry-brushing in the morning.  You start from your ankles stroking upward until you have brushed your entire body. It did wake me up this morning.  It is supposed to improve circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system. That is about all the stimulation my weeked brought.

I am Sister Mary-Freaking-Francis!

*sigh*

 

Dealing with the Death of a Friend

“Friend, there will never be a friend
As dear to me as You
There will be another closer than a brother
Friend, always worth the wait
Faithful as the day You say we are friend” Israel Houghton

 I am writing this missing a dear friend of mine. She was actually my very best friend in high school. We were one of the few African Americans in the International Baccalaureate program at my high school. She was a sanctified church girl like me. She was very smart and funny. We got along great.

We made different decisions for college and are paths diverged. We kept in touch for a few years but like most high school buddies we lost contact.

A few years ago, we found each other again thanks to social media. She was finishing her Master’s in publishing and I was finishing my first novel. We sent each other our projects and exchanged insight.

I am speaking of my friend in past tense because she passed away. Actually, she committed suicide a few years back.

I thought I had dealt with this until recently. A family member was distraught because she was afraid her friend had committed suicide. Her friend posted a cryptic message on a social media website. I was able to talk to her, calmly instruct her to call the police and give them as much detail as possible. The next day when I called to check on the situation, I was informed the police got to her in time and she was taken for treatment.

It would have been easy to ignore the little girl’s cry for help as an attention-seeking move but something in me could not let it rest. I am glad I was there for my family member and I was glad that my family member was there for her friend. I am glad that the police responded with urgency and care. I am glad she does not have to feel what I felt.

Death is hard. It is unfathomable that someone can be present, full of promise and dreams and with one desperate action be gone forever.

My friend did not cry for help. She left a note, according to her sister who contacted me months after it happened. I remember our last conversation. I asked to pray with her and we prayed. She was so distant. She did not even sound like her true self.

I write all of this to say that the pain, discouragement, and mental health issues that people deal with are real and not trivial. If you are placed in the path of someone suffering, please do not discount their pain. Reach out. Make the effort. Do not let Satan win. Fight for the life God has given them. Fight for the friend God has given you.

If you know of someone in crisis, here are some numbers to give them:

 

Need help? Text “CTL” to 741741.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

Fitness 2013 – Rhythm-less Nation

You must forgive me for my behavior and this post. I am usually very uplifting and positive. I like to see the cloud's silvery lining. Yesterday? Not so much.

My trainer is out of town. Not wishing to fall behind on my workouts, I decided I would check out the classes at my gym. Yesterday, I realized there was a Body Pump (weight-lifting) class followed by Zumba (cardio-dance) scheduled. My training is usually pretty intense so I decide to take both classes. Body Pump went as I expected. Life weights to music and we are good to go. I was super pumped for Zumba because this is where you get to GET DOWN!

Chile!

The fact that Zumba (which is a pretty popular class) had all of ten people present should have been a warning. This Zumba class was taught by the most rhythmically challenged African-American woman that I have ever seen in my life. This includes me! lol

OMG.

The music started and I noticed that the moves were pretty basic. No worries, I told myself, we are just getting started. How can you teach Latin dance with a complete inability to move your hips and snake your back? It was like Geppetto was controlling her limbs with invisible strings.

Bless her heart she tried. I mean, she was energetic and engaging. I even gave her a high-five in the middle of a routine. I was thinking, I can get through this. I can get through this UNTIL she busted out the Macarena!

I left after about 40 minutes.

The funny thing is – I have always wanted to be a dance aerobics instructor but I know I am #team rhythm-less nation. I wondered what my class experience would look like. Last night, I peeked into my future and it was not pretty. I still would like to teach the course but TRUST I am going to take dance lessons first!

Fitness 2013 – Control

When I was 17, I did what people told me. Did what my father said and let me mother mold me. But that was long ago. I'm in CONTROL! Janet Jackson

My weight has fluctuated since I was a young girl. My mother explained to us that she though we were unhealthy because we were so thin. She decided to give us multi vitamins and feed us to fatten us up and boy did she lol. You are taught your first lessons about diet, cooking, and shopping from home. You see obesity and its related illnesses as a family trait.

I know you have heard it. I'm a big girl all the women in my family are big girl. Big arms/butts run in the family.  I remember as a little girl going to visit my great-grand mother. She was in a wheelchair because one of her feet had been amputated.  Why?  I asked my mother. My mother told me that it was because of 'sugar'. Why did she have this 'sugar'?  "Keep living, child. Keep living." My mother would say.

I was so terrified.  Is this what happened to everyone who got old? It seemed to be happening to a lot of women in my family. I looked at my little feet and prayed to God that He would let me keep them. As I grew up, I started to look like all of the other women in my family – overweight. Was 'sugar' (diabetes) and a missing foot in my future?

The devil is a liar.

The truth is my family did not follow a healthy diet. We generally ate soul food regularly. This packs on the pounds, the sodium and all of its related ailments.  Feeling tired, sick and old – I knew something had to change. I had to take control. I am an adult. Mommy does not cook my meals for me. I had to become educated about eating a healthy, natural diet. I had to learn how to shop the perimeter of the store and avoid processed foods. I had to learn to structure my meals to feel full while eating less bad stuff.

I am officially down 35 lbs from my highest weight. I still have a long way to go but I am trending downward lol. I was always okay with exercising but my diet was still out of control. I follow a few weight loss blogs and Facebook pages. I love seeing the before and after pictures. Real women who have lost weight successfully through hard work and CONTROLLING their diets. This is the next phase of my challenge. Eating right all of the time. No cheat days.

The truth is I am in control. I determine if I will exercise, eat right, be motivated – OR NOT. I need a little help sometimes. I kid you not, during my training session I stopped and prayed to God for strength to finish that stairmaster! Chile that thing is a monster – BUT I did finish.

Control!