First 5 Days Post-Surgery

30 Aug

The first five days seemed like the longest and if you’ve read my first two posts, you’ve probably already figured out that there was no way I was being released from the hospital on Saturday.

It all really seems like a blur and if you’ve been in the hospital for multiple days, you know that the actual days start to get really blurry ~ you sleep whenever, you’re awake at odd hours and someone, be it a doctor, nurse or nurse’s assistant, someone is waking you or checking on you every 2-3 hours to take vitals, get blood, give you more medication.

Mark & the kids came to visit on Saturday morning; it was obvious they were scared.  They both stood back close to Mark, one on each leg.  His visit was short as the kids were not thrilled about being in the hospital and I was definitely not looking so great just 24 hours post-surgery.

I digress for a moment because while the surgery and my recovery has been challenging on me both physically and emotionally, when you have a family, it takes its toll on them too.  My kids, ages 5½ and 7 are not used to seeing their mom immobile and needing help with some of the simplest of tasks.  They are scared to talk to you, come close to you and touch you.  It takes time for them to adjust and a 3-month recovery seems like an eternity when you are that young.  Equally taxed is a spouse.  Even if your spouse is used to sharing the load, it is different when they have to carry the entire load PLUS help me with everything.  Mark packs lunches, does baths, laundry, puts dishes away, reaches for anything I can’t do, runs errands, gets the kids to school in the morning, coaches soccer all while still juggling his full-time job.  I know that parents have all had to take on a heavier load for periods of time, but rarely does that extend out for weeks and weeks.  I suspect that by the time I am able to start taking on some of the load, my entire family will need a well-deserved break.

Saturday was eventful for a few reasons:

  1. I found out that my bladder was temporarily paralyzed from the anesthesia.  What the heck does that mean?  It means that I could not feel any urgency to pee!  At around 11(am) my nurse (awesome, his name was Christopher) came in to ask if I had gotten out of bed yet – NOPE, not yet.  He asked to check the catheter – PROBLEM – it was already out.  He asked if I had been to the bathroom yet – NOPE again.  Concerned, he took and ultrasound of my bladder….low and behold, nearly a liter full.  Out of bed I go and off to the bathroom.  It is very weird to try and go to the bathroom without feeling any urgency.  From then until I was released, the nurses had me on a regular schedule to visit the bathroom every 4 hours.
  2. I did my first hallway cruising…with a walker and a nurse side by side.  Holy crap!  Just 3 days prior, I had been out on a 10½ mile run and now I was struggling to walk the halls of my hospital room floor.  Humbling! Seriously Humbling.  I was asked to cruise the halls several times a day.
  3. I tried to drink a cup of Peets coffee via straw and take sips of water.  I had been challenged ever since the surgery to swallow even my own saliva.  I was given a suction tube to remove saliva from my mouth.  I Imagemanaged 3 sips of coffee and 3 sips of water but gagged every single time.
  4. I developed a low grade fever of 101.5 and was at risk of developing pneumonia…just what I need.  I get this really awesome little lung machine to exercise my lungs and I have to stay upright to sleep so the fluid doesn’t settle in my lungs.

Not so surprising, my doctor decided to keep me in the hospital until Sunday.

Sunday my doctor came in first thing in the morning and took me off the IV drip, so now it was up to me to intake enough fluids and soft foods, plus be able to take medication in pill form up until I went home.  Cool – no more IV, I can get up and move around and FINALLY – take a shower!  I felt so gross and was so happy to get into a shower…until I actually got into the shower.  I have to keep on my lovely hard neck brace while showering and I am not allowed to lift my hands over my head or bend forward.  This makes showering a very interesting balancing act.  The shower was definitely the highpoint of my day. Why?  Well, without the IV, I was struggling to stay hydrated as I could barely swallow sips of water.  Over the next 24 hours I only managed to get down ½ cup of water and no other food or liquid.  I couldn’t get down pain medicine either.  Each time I tried to swallow, I would start gagging and the pill would come back up.  This definitely was not going to be good and I wondered how quickly I would worsen or show signs of dehydration if I am sent home without being able to drink a minimum amount of water or take pain medicine.

I am still not sleeping well as I am having problems swallowing or sleeping with my mouth closed.  What’s worse, with my mouth open when I am sleeping, my mouth is drier than ever, but I still can’t swallow liquids.  To add more fuel to the fire, someone is always waking you or checking on you to take your vitals, give you medication, trying to get you to eat or reminding you to go to the bathroom.  On top of the problem swallowing, my trapezius muscle on the left side feels like it is on fire.  Why?  Well they move this muscle during the surgery; guess that would do it.  Apparently this pain is really common with this surgery.  I know that in the end, it will be worth, but wow wee, my burning traps keep on muscle relaxers around the clock.

Monday morning is here and I am now 4 days from my surgery and wondering if I am going home.  My doctor comes in and announces that I am not going home.  My water intake was too low and my inability to swallow pain medication means I am not going anywhere today and I am back on the IV drip.  Also, he made the decision to start me on 3 rounds of low dose steroids to reduce the inflammation so I will be able to swallow.  I have a genetically narrow opening, so the inflammation from the surgery is enough that it is next to impossible to swallow.  The steroids are meant to reduce the inflammation so I can swallow and hopefully get my voice back.

Tuesday late morning ~ 5 days post surgery and guess what – I HAVE A VOICE!  Wow, swallowing is still sore, but I can swallow water!  Yes, that means I get to go home today!  I am so excited to be able to go home.  My sister and dad come to the hospital to help home and settled.  Now remember, I can’t wash my own hair, so I use this opportunity at the hospital to get some help from my sister.  I am starting to wonder how I am going to manage at home when I am by myself.  My doctor removes the bigger bandages from my incision area, but the remaining bandages need to stay on until I see the nurse to remove the ends of my dissolvable stitches.

Five days in the hospital and pretty much a great experience at Marin General.  I had some really amazing nurses (I had other nurses and assistants that were not very nice or helpful, but that could’ve been my experience at any hospitals).  My two favorite nurses were Christopher and Michelle (but French spelling); both were absolutely amazing senior nurses who were thoughtful, knowledgeable and incredibly helpful.  The physical therapist, occupational therapist and the nutritionist were all also wonderful.  The nutritionist came in to see me daily since I hadn’t eaten any food while in the hospital.  She gave me some really helpful tips on making sure I take in enough liquids to meet all of my nutritional needs during my recovery.

Phase One, which I have labeled as Hospital Recovery is over.  Phase two ~ home recovery is next.

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The Surgery

27 Aug

August 17, 2012 was the surgery date.  I was so exhausted on this date and the days leading up to the surgery were filled with stress and anxiety over trying to wrap things up, worrying about work and worrying about how everything was going to get done at home and with the kids. 

Given that I was only expected to be in the hospital overnight, I hadn’t planned or arranged for help with the kids beyond Friday…MISTAKE #1 – read on to see why.

So the actual procedure was 3 Level Anterior Laminectomy with removal of bone spurs at C5.  I was to be fused from C4-C7.  My surgery was expected to take about 4 hours and was scheduled for 7:15(am).  This is SO lucky for me as the longer I was awake without food, coffee or water, the grumpier I would become.

I had to be at the hospital at 6(am), so our awesome neighbor Michael came and stayed at our place so the kids could keep on sleeping.  I check into the hospital (lucky me, I pre-registered the day before) and am immediately taken upstairs to be prepped for surgery.  Two awesome and surprisingly cheerful nurses at Marin General started taking blood, starting an IV and got me wrapped up in some warm blankets…those flimsy hospital gowns don’t offer much in the way of warmth or comfort.  In came the neurologist who would be monitoring my muscles and nerves throughout the surgery…I would have loved to have been observing my own surgery to see how my body responded throughout the procedure.  Next came the anesthesiologist (whom I had spoken to the night before) and finally my doctor just to say good morning and give a quick recap of the procedure and how he intended to cut the incision (wait until you see the pictures folks.,.holy cow).

I said goodbye to Mark as he wished me luck.  All I could think about was how badly I needed to pee, but they asked me to wait because it is easier to insert a catheter with a full bladder.  Guess what?  The urgency to go to the bathroom is even stronger when you get into a cold surgery room and are transferred to an equally cold and narrow surgery table.  There were a total of 7 doctors/nurses present for my surgery.  All I remember is them putting the oxygen mask on me and out I went.  I don’t remember anything beyond about 30 seconds after the mask was on.

ImageI remember hearing voices, doctor & nurses, lots of voices.  I heard them saying my name, but I couldn’t open my eyes.  I couldn’t move my body.  Apparently this was around Noon and I was in recovery.  My surgery only took 2 hours.  The doctor said that the surgery was easier and cleaner than he expected.  My time in recovery was double the amount of time I actually spent in surgery.  I don’t remember hearing anything after the voices and I apparently was transferred to my room at about 1(pm).

I opened my eyes and saw the clock in front of me for the first time: 3:40(pm).  Holy cow, how long was my surgery, how long had I been asleep?  Where is everyone?  Why isn’t anyone in my room?  My importantly, I can’t talk and I am struggling to breath.  I started to panic and couldn’t find a button to call for the nurse.  There was another patient in my room and she had a lot of guests and they were very loud, so no one could hear me.  I am still struggling to breath and I can hardly move.  Finally, I must have pressed the correct button because a nurse came in?  I can hardly whisper so why the heck isn’t the nurse coming closer to hear me.  Surely there have been other patients in this hospital who have had this surgery!  In fact I am certain of it as my doctor does this procedure several times a week.

Finally she understands – please raise my bed so I can breathe.  Bed is up and I can breathe shallow, quiet breaths.  I ask the nurse if anyone is waiting to see me and she says no.  WTH?  Everyone should be waiting to see me, right?  Right?  Wrong!  Why?  Everyone had been at the hospital for hours and they all came into my room and saw me, but I didn’t wake up.  That still counts, but I am thinking I would like to at least see Mark before the end of the day.

When I looked down, I saw that had my legs wrapped in these plastic wraps connected with tubes that would inflate and deflate regularly.  These were put on my legs to prevent my muscles from atrophying too quickly from being immobile for so long.  Image

 Also, the catheter was still in and I was on an I.V. drip lots of little bags of fluid…pain medicine and muscle relaxers.  The nurse handed me a button that I could press every 10 minutes to dispense pain medication…guess what, you better believe I was pressing that button every 10 minutes.  I spent the rest of the day in bed, in and out of sleep, wondering how the heck I was going to be released the next day.  The surgery was over and now I was on to the recovery.Image

The Diagnosis

27 Aug

For those of you who have known me over the past 4 years, you probably remember me teaching with two wrist braces, no weights and going through the motions.  It wasn’t until July of this year that I learned that I have spent years of one misdiagnosis after another, tracing all the way back to 2000. 

After spending 9 months with nagging shoulder pain and after seeing an SF Orthopedic doctor as well as a physical therapist, I decided to see my husband’s doctor at Tam Orthopedics.  Within 5 minutes, he ordered two MRIs – a new one for my nagging left shoulder and the other of my cervical spine.  He also referred me to the cervical spine specialist in their practice.  I already knew that the doctor won’t go into a diagnosis or treatment without a new MRI, so I didn’t question the spine MRI or the referral, but I walked out thinking to myself, “I don’t have any pain in my neck, all of my pain is in my shoulder and forearm.”  Three days later I had the two MRIs and 5 days later, on July 3rd, I went back to see both doctors to get the results of my MRIs.  I saw the spine doctor first (I now realize that this was likely intentional…hit me with the bad news first and save the good news to soften the blow).

The diagnosis ~ severe spinal cord damage and degeneration.  This was causing the pain running down my arm; causing numbness is my hands and feet.  Holy cow, I don’t have Raynaud’s (misdiagnosis #1 back in 2000), this is all stemming from spinal cord damage.  The knot I kept getting under my scapula and pain in my traps…all my cervical spine.  As I am sitting in the doctor’s office feeling shell-shocked, I am wondering why no other doctor I have seen over the years has caught this until now. 

How did this happen?  Based on the damage, it looks like I took a major blow/hit to the head/neck.   We trace it back to when I was hit by a car back in 1996.  The ER doctors took a lot of x-rays and I eventually had to have knee surgery on both knees based on the impact and how I hit the pavement, but my cervical spine was missed.

Recommended treatment?  Surgery, 3 level anterior fusion with bone grafts from the donor bank.  Listening to the doctor describe the surgery, it sounded scary and intense.  The alternative?  Modifications of everything: no amusement park rides, no outdoor cycling, no driving without a neck brace on, no lifting anything heavier than 25 lbs and no lifting overhead at all.  The risk? If I take a fall, I have an 80-90% chance of permanent paralysis.  If I have the surgery, the recovery is about 3 months and then I can start working out again modified and by 6 months, I should be fully recovered provided the surgery goes well. 

Now for the good news!  Should MRI shows prior slap tear and dislocations, but the rotator cuff is completely intact.  All that is needed is 3 months of shoulder PT, but not until after the cervical spine surgery….should I chose to have the surgery.

My case went before a panel of surgeons, neurologists and physical therapists and the consensus was clear: 3 level fusion was the best course of treatment.  I spoke to another doctor and two prior patients and within a few days I decided that the surgery was what I wanted to do.  I am going to be on this planet too many more years to try and be that careful for the rest of my life.  I want to be able to do what I love, pick up my kids, take them to Disneyland, Legoland and Waterworld.  I want to be in Tahoe with them for ski week next year.  I want to work on my overhead squat again.  I want to be able to do simple tasks like putting dishes away without asking for help.

There is a downside: the damage that has already been done is pretty much irreversible.  I have lost fine motor skills such as being able to open jars, door knobs and button small buttons.  The upside: once the surgery is over, the damage will not get any worse.  If I elect not to do the surgery, the next thing to go would be loss of balance and then loss of control over bowel function.  Within 5 years, I would display the same symptoms as someone with MS.  With all this in mind, I would be completely nuts not to do the surgery.  I know myself too well to know that I would rather do the surgery and shift my focus to the recovery.

Getting back to where I feel most comfortable…

23 Jun

If you read my very first post, you know that after months and months of testing, I had an extreme…I am talking dangerous B12 deficiency requiring 2-3x weekly injections for 6 months and then tapering off to 1x a week for another 6 months.  I was also told that I needed to start eating meat…my naturopath even suggested some buffalo…the thought alone made me want to gag.  As a vegan for more than a decade, the thought of meat in my diet made me cringe…so I started with eggs. 
 
I then started researching the Paleo Diet and starting trying out the recipes.  I was cooking chicken, using coconut oil, even baking bacon (which vegan or otherwise, it smells good even if it doesn’t taste great to me), making Paleo bars, etc…and I tell you, it takes a lot of time.  I did a 21-Day Sugar Detox to see if the conversion to being a meat eater would be easier.   I tried weeks where I would ditch my morning smoothie (which, BTW was awesome back then, but seriously rocks the boat now…more on that soon).

I tried balancing out my meals with eggs or protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables and some fruits.  As a vegan, I was used to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and rice and sometimes gluten free bread.  I will be the first to admit that I love bread and if there is going to be something worth cheating for…it’s going to be a warm french baguette from the Farmer’s Market or from Good Earth.  I digress…it was hard.  I kept telling myself that now that I was CrossFitting, shifting to Paleo would improve my performance, I would get leaner, stronger and but a lean, clean, wrecking machine.

Unfortunately for me that didn’t happen.  I was having serious digestive issues all the time (even after a year of taking digestive enzymes), I was finding that I was having sensitivities to foods that are big in the Paleo Diet.  I was gaining weight…not of the lean muscle mass kind, but the kind where I couldn’t fit into half the clothes in my closet – WTF, that is NO BUENO.  I didn’t feel better and I didn’t think that I was performing better ~ runs were sluggish and I felt thirsty all the time.  I decided to start toying with my diet again to see what changes might make me feel better. 
A friend turned me onto Shakeology ~ a chocolate shake that included all of the ingredients I wanted and needed without needing to add anything extra?  I crunched the numbers and this was a better choice than my old smoothie, so I decided to give it a try for one month and see what happened.  Well, it’s not Paleo, because it contains Whey – but guess what, it takes me about 6 minutes to make and freeze 3 breakfast smoothies!  After a month, I felt better, digestion was getting better and I had more energy…so, decision made ~ shakes a staying.  I love these so much, that I stand behind them and offer them as part of my fitness and nutrition coaching.  I have done the 3-Day Cleanse with these with great success.  I am super excited that they are coming out with a Vegan Chocolate Shake using Peaberry and Rice based proteins…the current berry one is a little too sweet for me.  Check out the ingredients for yourself.  http://myshakeology.com/esuite/home/basefitmarin 
I wanted to keep moving in a positive direction and see how I could feel completely better again.  Was there a way where I could get back to where I was a year or so again, moving back closer to being Vegan without ending up with that B12 deficiency again?  If I were going to move back in the other direction, I needed to make sure that the protein choices I made were smart choices and that my diet was rich in B12 sources that would not lead to deficiencies.  Well, with Shakeology, the B vitamins and protein are there and with eggs keeping one yolk, I am getting the fat and the B12 I need.  Now, I don’t need gluten…that just tears up my stomach, but I like brown rice…in fact I really like it.  Not necessarily every day, but I like to make a big pot of it and have the option of the entire family having this over the week.  So brown rice is also back in.  Also, my kids love homemade baked cookies and I love toying with healthier recipes, so back come the cookies using Rice and Quinoa flour, grass-fed Irish butter and vegan (dark chocolate) chocolate chips.  These come out light and almost cake light tasting…these are a hit and a great treat.  As for fruits and vegetables – there are lots and lots of them…and I don’t have to count calories or measure these foods…folks don’t get fat from eating lots and lots of vegetables…especially not all of the greens I love to eat. 
 
I am now about 3 weeks into moving back to being quasi-vegan keeping eggs and Shakeology and I feel a world better.  I feel stronger.  I have lost weight and am leaner (only 5 more pounds to go to get back to where I was).  I don’t feel sluggish.  I am sleeping better.  I am not counting calories or measuring food.  I feel satisfied.  My runs are stronger and faster.  And guess what, some exercises I was really struggling with in CrossFit I can now do.  Is it because of all of these changes?  Who the heck knows for sure, but what I do know is that I feel so much better…so I am sticking with these changes for now.  I will do blood work in about 3 months to see where my levels are, but I think that I have found a winning balance here. 
 
I know that Paleo loving CrossFitters may not agree, but ultimately, I support and follow clean eating and finding a balance with good healthy food choices that help you feel and perform well every single day.  For me, I have found that balance.  So for now, I am going to be a quasi-vegan, running mom, CrossFitter, fitness instructor, enjoying a thick chocolate shake every day and eating omelets packed with spinach, salsa, olives, broccoli and lots of spicy seasonings…YUM YUM.
 
Hope you all can see that finding that balance for yourself is really important…listen to your body!
 
Enjoy the weekend folks.
Amy

Ode to sleep…how I dream of sleep…it’s time to wake up Amy!

14 Jun

I am so amazed at how quickly time passes and how my commitment to being a regular blogger has begun to wane.  This was meant to be my avenue, my channel, my medium to share and sometimes vent about how crazy life is and how crazy it sometimes makes me trying to balance it all.  This was my forum to share with other moms that it is really difficult to find balance and for me, it is a constant struggle.  This is my forum where I get honest about how it really is and what I am doing each day to make it a better world for my kids…for me. 

I am a mom.  I am a wife.  I am a lawyer (but not in the traditional, highly paid sense…I won’t digress).  I am a fitness “pro” (I still feel that I need to put that it quotations as I am not sure that I am a pro at anything).  I am a sister.  I am a daughter.  I am a friend.  But more than anything. I am tired.  So tired.  Sometimes physically tired.   Sometimes emotionally tired.  Sometimes mentally tired. 

Life is hectic….but that is my own doing and it must be my own undoing if things are ever to change.  I stand on my soapbox preaching balance all the while seemingly be the role model of the gal who can balance it all….it’s all a facade.  Just like every other busy mom who sometimes feels like she wants to pull her hair out and is pulled in a million different directions, I forget appointments, am late to meetings, often show up at work with something spilt on my clothes, I yell, I sometimes use my husband as a verbal kicking bag and I sometimes forget that my kids are…well, just kids.

I will be the first to admit that I struggled with my identity when I had kids.  Before kids I was pretty certain of who I was…I was a frickin’ rock star!  But then again, why the hell wouldn’t I be ~ I had all the time in the world just for me…can I hear a WOO HOO…especially from those moms who know what I am talking about.  Sure, I was a lawyer working in a big law firm, with the big billable hours and sure, I was still teaching fitness classes…but it feels like I had SO much time!  I did yoga, read lots and lots of books, saw friends, went on trips…I was spontaneous, fun-loving and even a little attractive.  Fast forward and in a life that sometimes feels like a daze, I have lost sight of who that person was…the person I am.  I must admit, I am a little jealous of who she was sometimes ~ come on moms, it’s okay for us to admit that sometimes we would like to spend a few days being that former self.  I would never want to camp out there permanently because even though things are crazy and hectic and I am tired, I have the best gift in the entire world ~ two super awesome kids.

Today I am on my soapbox not to share healthy recipes, not to share workouts, my teaching schedule or talk about how I balance it all…I am on my soapbox to admit that life sometimes feels like TOTAL mayhem, not just for me, but for all moms out there.  For as crazy as life is and for as scattered and tired as I feel, I know that I am lucky – seriously, really lucky.  Two fantastic kids and a husband who is an amazing father who works every day to make this life a better, more fun-loving for all of us.  He knows he is a rock star…yep, imagine that!  He used to be a rock star and little has changed since we met and our life together has changed.  I could take a cue from him now couldn’t I.

It’s time to throw some caution to the wind and give myself a break and let myself live…exist…be…play…explore…breathe…allow life to happen and embrace what comes next.  My kids aren’t going to be malnutritioned if all their meals are not cooked from scratch.  No one is going to judge me if the clothes aren’t perfectly folded (hell, they rarely are anyway).  Instead of trying so hard to make things perfect…I am going to spend a little more time just letting things happen.

Tonight the kids will have grilled cheese instead of baked chicken and rice…why?  Because I have a date at the playground with my son for an extended tetherball match.  I will play until he has had enough…or until the sun goes down. 

If life is about balance…and balance and being balanced is why I started this blog in the first place, then I had best get out there and start living.  I don’t want to look back years from now when my kids are grown and realize that I spent so much time trying to make a perfect life and I completely neglected just simply living…my kids deserve better, I deserve better.

Carpe Diem Mommies!
~ Amy

Chocolate Cravings, Switching Up Workouts & Tackling Sleep Deficit

17 Feb

This is a challenging week with some added work and personal responsibilities that are taxing me.  This is the week of crazy chocolate cravings.  This is the week where I am adding in some endurance drills to improve my running speed and explosive power.  This is the week where I am going to be challenged to stay focused and catch extra sleep wherever I can.


Chocolate Cravings!
Yep, I get them too!  Big problem, I can’t do soy and just look at the ingredients list on even the darkest organic chocolate bar and you will find soy lethican as one of the ingredients.  Sure, the traces are meant to be small, but even small, it is soy and highly processed ~ genetically processed soy.  So what is a girl to do to tackle these chocolate cravings…especially during the 6-Week Paleo Challenge?


The Answer:  The Paleo Candy Bar!!!  This recipe comes from http://www.paleoplan.com/2009/12-03/paleo-candybars/ – they have some really amazing recipes! 



Makes about 4 (2″x2″) bars.
Approximate cooking time: 15 minutes, with 2 hours of refrigeration=

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • parchment paper

Instructions

  1. Melt the honey and coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once combined, add the cocoa, ground nuts and coconut and mix together.
  3. Pour mixture onto a small baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  Form into a square when cool enough to touch.
  4. Refrigerate until hardened. Cut into 4 servings.

I cut them into squares instead of bars, so you get 8 servings.  It is that perfect square of chocolate heaven with the coconut that I love.  You have got to try these out.  I am working on modifying this for my kids who don’t like coconut…so hopefully there will be a follow up recipe soon.

Switching Up the Workouts!
Like so many people who either workout or teach within the fitness industry, boredom sometimes settles in ~ the routine sometimes feels mundane…which is probably why I like Crossfit so much.  Crossfit breathes new life into my workouts and also gives me an opportunity to just focus on my own workouts.  The workouts are fast, intense and are allowing me to develop the skill and strength that I want and can’t obtain while teaching others. 

Switching it up also means that I am changing around my runs and how I train.  I am starting to work on endurance training and utilizing the explosive power I am gaining from all of those 20″ box jumps.

Switching it up also means taking on new challenges and teaching @ new locations.  Sometimes a simple change in scenery is enough to change your attitude about your workouts.  There is nothing worse than dreading your workouts…that is a big signal that it is time to make a change.

Tackling Sleep Deficit!
Wow – now this has really got to be the worst one of all.  The lack of sleep that I get becomes so blatantly obvious as I am doing the 6 Week Paleo Challenge.  You earn points for getting 8.5 hours of sleep each night….I am wondering how I carve out 8.5 hours with my crazy schedule?  On the nights when I am able to get to bed by 9(pm), I sometimes lay in bed unable to quiet my thoughts so I can fall asleep.  AND, even with a 9(pm) bedtime, that still only gets me 7 hours of sleep.  I would have to be in bed @ 7:45(pm) to get a full 8.5 hours….my kids are just brushing their teeth to go to bed at that time.  I realize that my only hope is to get at least 2 days where I can get 8.5 hours of sleep.

Why is lack of sleep not good?  First off, it makes it really difficult to get through the day.  Even the strongest cup of Peets coffee can’t make up for lack of sleep.  Workouts suck and decreased performance, strength & endurance are so obvious.  The other problems?  The longer you are awake in the evening, the more you tend to eat = weight gain…holy smokes, who wants that?  No thank you.  Lack of sleep also throws your cortisol levels into overdrive, throws off your hormones and taxes your adrenal glands.  Guess what, if your hormones are out of whack, it doesn’t matter how often you workout and how great your diet is, you can end up holding onto the weight you want to lose, or even worse, packing on additional pounds.

So, knowing how important sleep is, why the heck don’t I get more of it?  Crazy schedule – YES…but I need to do a better job.  A well-rested mom is a happier mom.  A happier mom = happier kids and a happier home.  This alone should be a greater incentive.  The Paleo Challenge is showing me that I need to cut corners where I need to and try to plan a little better so that I can get more sleep….so that my entire family can get more sleep. 

Eating Green..Getting Lean…Sometimes a Little Mean

11 Feb

My big goals for 2012 were to drop the 7 lbs I put on as a result of all my injuries the second half of 2011, to clean up my diet and keep moving towards a more Paleo inspired diet and well and to train mean (but not be so mean) :o).

I am coming to the end of week 1 of the Paleo challenge and I feel pretty good.  I didn’t get enough sleep this week, which is defnitely hindering my performance, but I know that I am going to have to commit and get focused on the sleep for the coming week.

This week also revealed some training changes that I will need to make to be successful.  I am only able to get in 2 WODs a week @ RVC, which means that I need to earmark some times during the week to conquer two additional WODs on my own.  Because I also like the idea of training for endurance, I am starting to look @ SFCF as their trainers are incredibly knowledgeable in Crossfit Endurance training. 

12 Weeks to Change!

My hope is that I can reduce the number of classes I teach and increase my own training over the next 12 weeks.  While the RVC Paleo Challenge is 6 weeks, I am adding another 6 weeks for my own personal challenges and to hit my goals.  I want to be leaner, stronger, faster and have markedly improved endurance for my runs.

Changes/Realizations @ the end of Week One of the Paleo Challenge?

  • my digestion has improved.  I had the worst time transitioning over to the Paleo diet and experimenting with lots of foods.
  • the food diary not only keeps me accountable, but is helping me to determine which foods are good for me/make me feel good & which foods make me feel like crap.
  • I am a little less grumpy…no really, it’s true.  I am sure that more sleep will only help this.
  • that there are days when I don’t sleep enough or drink enough water and my performance and overall mood is greatly affected on those days.  My Tuesday run was slow and sloppy as a result of both of these.
  • how I eat.  I pretty much knew that I was a grazer, but by tracking all of my food/drink intake, I realized that I basically eat about every 2 hours.
  • some of the inflammation is gone and my sinuses are improving.
  • the point and prize system & knowing that I am going on the Fat Truck in 5 weeks is a strong incentive to stay on target.

Because I prep all of my food for an entire week, there wasn’t a lot of variation in my diet this week, but I made sure that I had lots of foods available to me.  I also realized which foods I like most and the times of day in which I enjoy them.

This week I will experiment with a few of the recipes and will post them later in the week.

Off to RVC now – fully fueled and hydrated and ready to go!

~ Amy

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