Category Archives: Health

Running for My Life: There Are No Shortcuts

I am about to disclose some embarrassing, slightly TMI, info to you, because I trust you.

I few weeks ago, I started jogging. I joined Black Girls Run Indianapolis, bought my Hoka shoes and officially geared up.  My trail excursions began as walk/run intervals. I have graduated into a very slow, Cecil Tortoise kind of stride. Saturday, I was feeling pretty ambitious. I decided to challenge myself. I jogged about 30 minutes nonstop, rested, and did intervals back for 30 minutes. My fellow trail-mates saluted me with a thumbs up as I passed them, one by one.  The sun was shining. I am sweating buckets. I have maybe 15 minutes left before I traverse my door’s threshold when I started feeling an uncomfortable pain down yonder.

You see, I had a pair of exercise pants that are a tad too small. I figured I could shimmy them on and make it work. I had not done laundry yet and did not want to wait for a full wash/dry cycle, so I took a shortcut.

I had a admirable goal. To become a runner for health and fitness is what I aspire to do. That is indeed formidable, right. The major problem was that my pants were too tight. During the run, the fabric started to rub my inner thighs. I started chaffing with 15 minutes left in the game.

Those were the 15 most agonizing minutes due to the friction of the fabric incessantly rubbing against my skin. The pants also kept slipping causing skin-to-skin friction as well. I had no choice but to endure it. I could have completed a laundry load and wore my good capris. But no! I was suffering because I took a shortcut.

Reminds me of life. Does not matter how good your intentions are – if your methodology is flawed, your results are going to suffer. It is three days later and I am still suffering. I am thankful for the suggestions made by my runner’s group to prevent and treat the chafing. I am slathered in diaper rash ointment as I type this. I know, TMI.

Lesson of the week: take your time and do it right. Shortcuts catch up, eventually.

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."