27 August 2015

A1C down

NSV ... Back in February (last time at doctor) my A1C had jumped up to 7.9. Since then I dropped 17 pounds and on Monday my A1C came back at 6.9. Yea me!

22 August 2015

Increased step goal leads to tough week

This week was a tough week for me. I had been not only reaching my 7k step goal consistently but I had been averaging 8k to 9 k so I upped it last weekend to 10k. Then my lower back and my left butt cheek area really started to hurt. Monday, I was so glad I was off from the nursery because I could barely get out of bed. As the week progressed, I realized once I did actually get up and move around then it did not hurt as bad, tho I still felt it.

I went to my chiropractor yesterday (LOVE those visits) and he said it could be a combination of things. One thing may well have been the sudden increase in steps. I suppose 3k is a big increase so that makes sense. I was pushing too hard too fast in other words.

I decided to keep my goal at 10k a day although I understand that some days I might simply not make it. The goal is to continue until I do make it consistently and then SLOWLY continue to increase my daily goals.

One other thing I noticed is the caloric burn while exercising. Since I still want to loose 89 pounds (that may change after my doctor visit Monday), caloric burn is important to me.

I noticed that my walk (which I went on with one of my girls) burned 238 calories. The walk took about a half hour at a casual talk as we walk pace. Earlier in the day I tended my flower garden and my fairy garden at home. It only took about 15 minutes since I do so nearly every day. Those 15 minutes burned 101 calories.

That just seems off to me. By those figures, I burned almost twice as many calories gardening as I did walking. Am I choosing the wrong exercises? The wrong movements? Is my goal focus off?

Over the course of the day yesterday, I did burn 2,923 calories all total, according to Fitbit, and I registered 64 active minutes. Much of that burn was most likely from work. I noticed, understandably so, that on days when I work at the nursery (plants not babies) that I am more active and burn more calories throughout the day.

That all said ... Should I change my focus not to the number of steps I take but rather to my caloric burn?

21 August 2015

Review: Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts (China Bayles, #14)Bleeding Hearts by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great little murder mystery by Susan Wittig Albert. This time her heroine, herbal shop owner and former lawyer China Bayles, is asked to investigate some sad allegations against the town's bigger than life football coach. What she discovers reveals some dark secrets. Those secrets led to a college girl's death, the coach's death, and two suicides.

While the book was a great read (I do love this series), there really was not many surprises. In fact, the only real surprise (for me at least) had nothing to do with the above mentioned murders and suicides. Instead, it was the side story of China's father and his death.

View all my reviews

10 August 2015

Fitbit challenges push me onward

This is my trophy for getting first place in the Weekend Warrior challenge this past weekend! Saturday I felt like all I did was walk. I got in over 20k steps though and it paid off obviously. Although now, I'm looking at what's around the next bend and I swear I can hear my thighs screaming at me but that's okay because the goal is to get rid of them and the belly! Love my #Fitbit

On top of that, I have joined a Facebook challenge group for Fitbit users as well. The first week I was placed in the Standby team - meaning spaces were full and I had to wait for someone to be eliminated. Think Biggest Loser here by the way. Today, I was moved to a team!

For now however I have to focus on a Daily Showdown competition. I was leading earlier today (great day at the nursery) but now I see I am 4k behind the new leader. Sigh. Guess that means I have to put my sneakers back on and see if I can close the gap!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

09 August 2015

The dangers of aspartame; forgo the diet soda

The August 2015 issue of PreventionMagazine had a short piece on skipping diet soda. They mention – rightly so – that the “fake sugar” increases the risk of headaches and diabetes. The piece points out that aspartame and sucralose overwhelm our taste buds and actually leave us wanting more sweets and more saltier foods, which of course add to more weight.

Aspartame caused me such grief about 15 years ago. There are almost 100 known side effects of this nasty substance. It affects the eyes, ears, chest, skin and allergies.  Other affects include neurological, psychological, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and metabolical systems. It also mimics many other diseases. 

When I had issues with it, I was the overnight waitress at a 24/7 restaurant. My twins were still young but toddling around. I used to drive diet coke by the liter bottle. I started having problems with my eyes but the eye doctor said everything was fine and in fact my prescription had changed much. I had a ringing in my ears. I had migranes that were so intense. I was so tired all the time but I just figured it was because I was working all night and coming home to very active twins. I started forgetting things but thought it was just because I had so much on my mind. I was irritable and depressed. My heart always beat a mile a minute (palapitations) and I was often short of breath, but I thought that was because I had put on a few pounds. I had a pain in the area of my left ovary. My hair was falling out. My teeth even hurt but the dentist said everything was fine although, he pointed out, I might have developed sinus issues. 

No one had any answers. Then one night some rowdy high school kids were jumping around between tables and I was carrying back a coffee pot. Some kid jumped up right in front of me and the hot burning coffee went all over my face and the left side of my chest. I did not feel a thing. I did not even realize it got on me until my manager (who finally came out to kick out the kid) said something. 

My family doctor ran every test you could think of and still had no idea what was wrong. Finally he diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy. Basically that meant he had no clue what was going on or why it happened. The symptoms, assuming it was Bell’s Palsy, would go away on their own but he did warn me that they could come back at any time too. 

A little while later my mom called saying she was watching some health report on the news about the dangers of aspartame. She said I had a lot of those symptoms. I read up on and promptly threw out the just opened two-liter bottle of Diet Coke in the fridge. ALL my symptoms went away. 

To confirm that it really was the Diet Coke and not Bell’s Palsy (remember it goes away and comes back with no rhyme or reason), I had a glass one day and the headache came on so fast. My eyes even hurt. That was with just a couple sips. 

Today anything that says “diet” is a no-no for me. It does not matter if it is soda or gum or anything else, I simply cannot have aspartame without some of the side effects returning. 

My advice: read the labels first and avoid aspartame.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

08 August 2015

Steppin' Out

I DID IT! I'm not sure what possessed me this morning when I stated my goal was to reach 20k steps today since I generally average 7k, but whatever it was moved me through the day. I finally finished my goals at 11:17 p.m. Nothing like cutting it close!

Since I did 20k steps, that pretty much ensured me attaining the 3 mile goal and the 30 active minute goal.

I hate the mall but today I went over there before going to pickup the girls at work and I walked around the mall. I went in a few store but not many moved me. Well, there were a few that moved me ... to keep going!

In addition the awesome all green goals here at the right, I also got two new badges! I got one for 20k steps in a day and another for 25 stairs in a day!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

Peppermint oil tames mosquitoes

The mosquitoes found me this summer. My hand itched so bad that I thought I at first I found poison ivy while weeding. Upon a closer look though I could clearly see these were bites not a rash. I grabbed my lavender essential oil and dabbed some on the affected areas. It still burned and itched so I Googled (because isn't that what everyone does for health solutions anymore?) "essential oils + mosquito bites" and found this video by "My Life With(out) Corn.".

For me personally, relief was not as fast as she implied it would be but it took the itching away soon enough to be sold on this one!

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

07 August 2015

Fitness Friday inspiration

A friend posted this on her Facebook page today and I thought I would share this piece of Fitness Friday inspiration!

What is YOUR Fitness Friday inspiration?

05 August 2015

Morning walk

I walked a similar route today as Monday although I did change it a tad. I added an extra block but in doing so I did not go up the little incline on Roseville Road that I did on Monday. The results were almost identical.

Like Monday, the walk was just over one mile. It took me about two minutes longer today. The only difference in my pace was at the beginning. My girls walked the first little bit with me because they wanted to check out something at the basketball courts nearby. My pace was 21’52”, a little slower than Monday.

I did notice that about a quarter mile into my walk, my shins started to feel the walk. By three quarters of a mile, they were fine. Hence, I am assuming that is fine. 

Unfortunately, I did not feel I could go any further than that one lap around. However I have noticed too that if I am working at the nursery (plants not babies!), I can easily meet my 7k goal and often surpass it without hurting. My goal therefore is to build up my morning walk over time.  

I also need to find some music to listen to while I walk. I think that may help as well. I am open to suggestions for music to walk to! Please leave your suggestions in the comments field below.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

04 August 2015

Playing peek-a-boo in my fairy garden

Went out to water the plants this morning and found a little fairy playing peek a boo!
I just caught her on the left, sitting in among a Silver Mound.

Two more were hiding on the side of another Silver Mound. 
© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

03 August 2015

Morning workout creates some questions

I didn't do so well yesterday as far as reaching my goals so this morning I decided to get out early and take a walk around our complex. I also wanted to map it and see exactly how many steps/miles it really was around once. The workout however left me with some questions.

First, I knew it would not be 7K steps - my daily goal at the moment - around. I realized it would be well shy and that I will still need to move around a bit today. I walked the perimeter of the complex plus I added a little on the top side there because I knew it was enough of an incline to count as a stair but not enough to kill me.

It turns out that a walk around was just over one mile. It took me almost 24 minutes walking a constant walk. I could have walked faster but that really wasn't the point this morning. I wanted to map it out (since I finally figured out how to do that using my Fitbit app) and see what my "normal" walk would be like.

The Fitbit app told me my walking pace was 21'0". What does this mean? Is that good? Is that horrible? Is there hope for me or should I just go retreat now?

The walkingsite.com site states, "An average fitness walking pace is close to a 15 minute mile." If that is the average then I suppose that means I have a new goal to meet. I need to almost double my pace.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

01 August 2015

Time to refocus on simple goals

I was hoping to increase my step goal this month. It is currently at 7K steps a day and 10 stairs a day. However after looking at my overall performance for July, I think my August goal will be to get back on tract and meet my daily goals consistently.

In addition my weight hasn't gone down much at all (tho it did not increase either!). So, I think that - in conjunction with getting back on track - I will aim to eat better and record my intake better.

Exercise is another area I need to start being more consistent with as well. I work at a nursery so some days (if it is really busy) I may be behind the register practically all day. No steps or exercise. However on slower days, I may redesign a display or help the guys out in the yard or water under the roof. Lots of steps and exercise. On days I am off from the nursery I am usually working on genealogy which again could be sitting all day or a lot of walking.

So my August goals:
  • Consistently make 7K steps a day.
  • Consistently make 10 stairs.
  • Eat better and record what I eat.
  • Make time to exercise regardless of work schedule.
  • Be more active in various Fitbit challenges and goals.
  • Take part in the FCG Biggest Loser Challenge. (I'm on a standby team currently).
One other goal this month is to really learn more about essential oils and natural health. Have a great month!