Dear Dr. —–,

I’m afraid I’m going to have to quit you. You came highly recommended. And I like you a lot. But it’s just too goddamned hard to get in touch with you. Considering what you charge, I expected a greater level of contact.  I realize I’m in the big city now, and doctors of your caliber are in high demand. However, I am accustomed to a doctor who is attentive to my needs, and if I have to return to Huntsville to receive that, then that’s what I’ll do. I’m a well-informed educated patient, and I know this is a serious situation. Waiting nearly three weeks for an appointment is simply out of the question. I’m accustomed to having a doctor who is available, and nurses who return phone calls in a timely manner. Again, you come highly recommended, and I’m sure this will mean nothing to you, but goodbye, it’s been real.

Sincerely,

Your former patient

Underarm Discoloration

Dove Ultimate go sleeveless Pearl Finish Deodorant

Update: So, during my pregnancy I notice that Tom’s wasn’t cutting the funk anymore. With some trepidation I decided to try the Dove’s Go Sleeveless antiperspirant. It worked and didn’t darken my armpits. I’d show pictures, but that’s kind of gross. I like the light scent, and it has more staying power than the Tom’s even in this ridiculous summer heat we’re having in Georgia. When Kell was a new baby I didn’t get a chance to shower as often as I’d like and I never got offensive. For me that’s the true test of a deodorant’s power.

Yeah, I’m going there. Underarm discoloration is, well, it’s the pits. I’ve struggled with it forever until I…wait for it…stopped using antiperspirant. I know, it’s blasphemy to even suggest such a thing. Especially for someone like me who is extremely sensitive to smell. But I found out that the aluminum in antiperspirant was causing the discoloration. Of course, that’s just an aesthetic issue, though to me it always looked as though my underarms were dirty and I hate that, but it was hardly the end of the world. Then I started to wonder, if it turns my skin black what exactly is it doing to my body? That was it, no more antiperspirant.  Within weeks the discoloration was GONE. I love Tom’s of Maine, which fortunately is now available at Wal-Mart (Though not in the lemongrass scent which is my fave.)

Tom’s of Maine Natural Long-Lasting Deodorant Stick Lemongrass — 2.25 oz – Vitacost.

Organic Milk

Last year I started to notice that my little guy occasionally suffered from body odor. Now, I’m not talking about that puppy smell kids get after they’ve run and played outside. No, my baby had and odor that smelled like he’d been working on the railroad all the live-long day. Of course I freaked. I just couldn’t imagine having to start using deodorant on a five year old, but I couldn’t have him going around stinking either. As always I checked with Google and what would you know. Other parents were noticing the same thing, and some of them noticed that it stopped when they started using organic milk. I gave them the side-eye on this one. I buy organic yogurt primarily because Stonyfield Farms is the only brand Whit will eat, but with organic milk costing approximately twice as much as regular…Then again, it was cheaper than Right Guard. So I started buying it. It’s been six months and I haven’t smelled him again, and believe me, I have bloodhound DNA I smell everything. What I want to know is, what the hell are they putting in milk that was making my baby funky? We can’t afford to go totally organic, so I’ve simply started having “meatless” days. I buy organic produce, or at least the Dirty Dozen, but damn, you shouldn’t have to pay twice as much to get food that won’t turn your child into a funky mutant. And what about the people who can’t afford organic at all, or who don’t even know it could be a problem? There shouldn’t be anything in our food that hurts our children, period.

Bad News/Good News

The bad news that apparently my piriformis muscle is inflamed and pressing on my sciatic nerve. The good news is it hurts so badly I don’t even notice my hip flexor anymore. Nerve pain BURNS. It literally feels like someone is shoving a flaming sword into my left buttock. The piriformis reaches horizontally from your coccyx to your hip bone. So yes, after being told for years that I’m a pain in the ass, I now have a pain in my ass. Stretching really helps, as does pressure point release with a tennis ball. Tonight the hubster is giving me a deep tissue massage.

Unlike the hip flexor this is not a running injury. I think I set this off on the drive to and from New Hampshire. I’ve mentioned before that I have tiny little T-Rex arms. When I drive I have to pull the seat fairly close to reach the steering wheel, this leaves my left leg in an awkward position as I really can’t stretch it out. Normally this is no biggee as I rarely drive for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. On the NH trip I drove for a total of nine hours and was in the car for 23. I stretched, but didn’t know to stretch my piriformis (or even that I have a piriformis). Fortunately I don’t have to stop working out, only back off a bit. Obviously I won’t be starting my spinning class this week, and I’ll walk/run three days a week instead of five. This is a setback and I am bummed, but this weight loss gig is a marathon, not a sprint. I didn’t console myself with cheese straws and brownies, though I did have a tiny cocktail last night.

How to Get Rid of That Pain in Your Butt

Hip Stretches

Areas of Pain

I mentioned before that my hip hurt. I’ve been stretching, icing and taking Advil, but it’s still quite painful. (Spending a week in the car on our road trip probably didn’t help either.) I’ve had good doctors and physical therapists before so I know what to do, but I’m a bit frustrated that I have to do it. I’ll have to back off the running a bit, I’ll continue walking and weight training. I need to hit Pilates hard to strengthen my core and stretch my hips like crazy.

Hip problems are common for women who’ve had children, sometimes our hips don’t realign properly which sets us up for all manner of issues. In my particular case my right leg is now measurably shorter than my left. I was expecting either bursitis in the hip joint, which I’ve had before, or for my sacro-iliac which is a smaller joint in the back of the hip bones to get aggravated. I’ve had intense problems with them before and spent weeks in physical therapy. This hip flexor thing is new, though related to the sacro-iliac problem, apparently when I run I overcompensate for my other issues and aggravated the hip flexor.

Anyway, enough kvetching, I found this great site that’s full of the type exercises my physical therapist had me do. I expect that within a month or so I’ll be out of pain. Wish me luck.

Learn About Hip Stretches – Sports Injury Info.

Increasing Intensity

I’ve been working out consistently now for a little over four weeks. Today I decided that I’ve gotten too comfortable and ratcheted up my intensity level. Instead running/walking, I switched to jogging/sprinting. Also, I increased the amount of weight I lift. I went from 5 pounds for upper body to ten. That wasn’t too bad, but the 20 pounds for my lower body was a real killer. I’m so sore now I can barely move, but I can tell it was the right move to make. I don’t know how scientific this is, but to me, once you stop getting sore it’s time to kick it up a bit. Comfort and complacency leads to boredom, at least it does for me. I need a challenge and doing three sets of deadlifts plus a super set was one helluva challenge. I’ve never felt more like hurling in my life, I seriously didn’t think I could do it. The “meatheads” on the other side of the gym who are constantly giving me tips watched in amazement. I do intend to mix it up. I’ll go hard two days a week lifting heavy with light reps. The rest of the week I’ll go light with lots of reps. I think it’s good to keep your body guessing what you’ll do next. I still don’t think I’m ready for a spin class–maybe next week.

Down 21 Pounds! Yay Me!

I’m back at my pre-pregnancy weight, even more importantly I’ve lost five inches off my waist. Hips haven’t budged all that much, but then I don’t carry much weight there. I’ve been gradually working up to this, but officially started June 10, 2010. This is essentially my routine:

  • No Booze. No Sugar. No Grazing. I do occasionally have a Laughing Cow ice cream bar, and I do mean occasionally. I’ve had three in the past two months. Sugar makes me crave sugar. If I don’t eat it, I don’t miss it.
  • I exercise five days a week. No excuses. I run on the indoor track at the Y. Somedays I run intervals, some days I just run full out, either way I run for a minimum of one hour. I then do a 20-30 minute weight training set. I focus primarily on my lower body, glutes, quads and hamstrings. These are the biggest muscles and working them burns the most fat. For me this the key to trimming my waist and getting rid of my gut. Two days a week I run for 30 minutes and weight train for a full hour. It’s important to lift as heavy as you can. If the first few reps are too easy, you need to lift heavier. You should not be able to do more than eight or so reps, if you can they’re too light. Do reps until you cannot lift it again. I don’t count reps, I just do them until I can’t maintain form. If you don’t like weight training and want to get by with the minimum, focus on deadlifts, squats and lunges. Deadlifts will give you the ass of a goddess. I mainly do upper body for aesthetics. I like for my arms to look cut.
  • And here’s a big one. I don’t eat more than 1200 calories a day. I go on My Fitness Pal and log in what I eat every day. Each morning I eat two boiled eggs and a cup of greek yogurt. For lunch I have a big salad with turkey or whatever protein we had for dinner. And for dinner I eat whatever I cook for the family, minus the carbs. I’m extremely carb sensitive. Even good carbs like brown rice will put weight on me and/or trigger cravings. I try to avoid them. Fortunately fruit doesn’t have this effect, but I stay away from the sugary ones like bananas and grapes and focus on apples and berries.

Looking back I think I’ve always had a metabolic disorder. For years I could eat whatever I wanted and stay slim as long as I worked out. Well, eventually that caught up with me. I’ve never counted calories before and man was it an eye opener. I’ve always had a good diet. No fast food. No soft drinks. So I thought I was doing okay. Not so much. I was eating way too much. Even good stuff will put weight on you, especially as you get older.

Sugar is my nemesis. I’m amazed that I don’t miss it all that much. I do miss alcohol. I had my first drink in months Fourth of July weekend. I’ll probably have another when we go to New Hampshire this weekend. That’s a far cry from the several cocktails or glasses of wine I used to have every week. I could probably tolerate the extra calories, but not the way it brings my already sluggish metabolism to a screeching halt. It’s simply not worth it.

Surprisingly this hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I would’ve imagined. It’s certainly a helluva lot easier than being tired all the time.  Tired of looking like crap and feeling worse. Tired of the fear of developing diabetes. Tired of taking medicine and still feeling nauseated. Tired of not being able to wear cute clothes.

I’m still angry and frustrated with the diet and fitness industry. They tell us that we only need “thirty minutes a day” of exercise to lose weight when all current research says we need an hour or more of cardio PLUS weight training. And don’t even get me started on the diet choices.

I finally had to learn some hard truths on my own. Hunger is not an emergency. Some nights I do go to bed hungry. Anytime my stomach growls I drink water to make sure I’m not just thirsty. As we age our metabolism slows down. We either have to exercise more, or eat less. It’s really that simple. Food is not a pacifier. It’s not an emotional crutch. It’s not entertainment. It’s fuel, just like for your car. That’s all it’s designed to do. Exercise is not entertainment. It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant. It just has to be done. Just like you change the oil in your car. Once I wrapped my mind around those hard truths, losing weight has actually been downright easy.

I’ve still got a ways to go on this journey. Goddess willing I will attain my goal my Christmas.