Payday Weighday: 201.8

Oh man, I’m getting so close to that next benchmark! So! Close!

I’m continuing with biking three times a week and doing yoga at least three times a week, that’s going well.

I’ve reintroduced several foods back into my diet successfully and I’m so grateful for that.

But I’m experiencing a bit of a mystery: I’ve been feeling lightheaded pretty regularly for about two months. No one knows why; all my labs are perfect. I’m not dehydrated, I’m not anemic. My B12, ferritin, vitamin D, hematocrit, blood pressure and everything else are a thing of beauty. I haven’t had any med changes. It’s a total enigma. And that’s kinda frustrating. I hope this shit stops soon.

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Payday Weighday: 204.8

I’m a week late with this post, but here it is! So no change. And it’s getting frustrating. But several people (people that don’t even know I’ve done a complete health overhaul) have mentioned that I look slimmer recently. Some of my clothes feel a little looser, some of them feel exactly the same. I’m unsure. I know that eating so clean is great for me whether I’m losing weight or not. I know that biking three times a week is so good for my heart health, my lungs, my joints and everything else, so that’s important. Yoga three times a week has dropped my already beautiful blood pressure of 110/74 to 100/70 and helps me leave the day’s bullshit on the mat. So all of that is positive. But I want the fat to come off because it feels so cumbersome and it isn’t doing my arthritic joints any good to carry the extra around! I lost 53 pounds in 2015, so an average of one pound a week. This is not that. I have an appointment with the nutritionist in a few weeks to see if she has any insight into the situation.

In other news, I saw my rheumatologist recently and he agreed that I can try dropping my Methotrexate down another 25%! I’m super excited because MTX is the med that gives me the biggest side effects and seems to contribute the least to my health. So far as I can tell. I’ll find out when I cut it back.

My butt hurts. I’m up to 28 minutes on my bike and I bought a gel pad for my seat to try to make it more comfortable, but it seemed to make me tilt forward which made my back hurt. So now I’m just using a folded bath towel. My butt still hurts.

I went to an incredibly meaningful event over the weekend. It was a yoga kickoff for a fundraiser for Mind Body Solutions. They’re a nonprofit organization that offers adaptive yoga classes for people of all abilities. Matthew Sanford is the founder of this amazing organization and he teaches yoga from his wheelchair. Which is amazing. I’m reading his memoir, Waking, and it is an intense, heartstring-tugging read so far! I’m so grateful that this organization exists and I plan on taking an Ambulatory Adaptive class there soon. I’m excited for that.

Payday Weighday: 204.6

Still moving in the right direction, even if it’s going sloooooooow. In reality half a pound a week is not that slow, it’s healthy. The thing that makes it feel so slow is that I was losing more like a pound a week last time I was real serious about weight loss. Two differences here though:

– I’m building muscle like crazy doing yoga three times a week. I was only doing cardio, mostly in the form of walking, last time.

– The biologic medication I take for psoriatic arthritis definitely makes it harder for me to lose weight. I noticed this as soon as I started taking it a year and a half ago. But if it takes me two years (or more) to lose another 50 pounds rather than one year like last time, so be it.

I just finished my first 22 minute indoor bike ride; that means I’m on week seven of this journey. The biking hasn’t pissed my joints off yet. Grateful. I’m on day 34 of my elimination diet, working on reintroducing foods now. I’ll see my doctor this week and my rheumatologist next week.

I had a bit of a crushing blow last week – my favorite yoga studio suddenly closed permanently. As in I walked in to take a 4:15 class to find a bunch of the instructors standing together, crying. It was such a shock. I had been so comfortable there, especially with my favorite teacher who has rheumatoid arthritis. There’s kind of a misery loves company / safety in numbers vibe there. But no more. In the past, this would’ve totally broken my fitness streak. But I’ve since visited two other studios and will keep checking places out till I find the right fit for me. Cuz I gotta keep this shit going.

Payday Weighday: 205.6

It’s going down, y’all! The best part is that it’s going down even though I’ve been gaining muscle – yoga three times a week will do that! I wish I had taken pictures of my arms three weeks ago because they are noticeably more developed already. I’m on day 18 of my terrible elimination diet, three more days till I start the reintroduction phase. I’m grateful that I haven’t felt deprived at all, it’s just very time consuming. I planned on getting dinner from the Whole Foods salad bar last night after yoga, but didn’t get there till they were already packing it up. So I had to go home and cook after all and this bitch was hangry by the time my dinner was done. But it was healthy and pretty tasty. I’ve been grateful to even find foods to eat at restaurants with my friends twice. Well one food really: fruit. We met for brunch both times and I just had my regular breakfast smoothie beforehand and only ordered a fruit salad when I met up with them. If not for the elimination diet, I could get a green salad, but I’m avoiding tomatoes and peppers and a bunch of other things right now and that’s just too tricky. But I love fruit and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be social with my friends still. To be clear, though, I’m not gonna miss this elimination diet when it’s over!

Haven’t quit yet!

Ok, so it’s only my first day of being back on track. But so far, so grateful! I did 10 minutes on my bike before work, easing in:

Biking is maybe the only cardio exercise that doesn’t make my joints too angry. When I was so successful with my weight loss in 2015, walking was my exercise. But walking upsets my feet way too much now. Since the winters are horrible here, I bought a fluid trainer for my bike so I can use it indoors in the winters. Bonus: I don’t have to break my butt in again in the spring!

After my 10 mins of biking, I prepped a few days’ worth of smoothies and supplements.

My breakfast smoothie typically consists of cannellini beans, banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, hemp hearts, pea protein, baby kale and almond milk – all unsweetened and organic. My current supplements are Ovega-3 (algae oil), probiotics, vitamin D3, methylfolate and zinc. The first three supplements are self-explanatory, the other two I take to manage methotrexate side effects.

I had a homemade veggie patty, green beans and grapes for lunch. Unfortunately, dinner consisted of an Amy’s frozen black bean enchilada meal. I had a lot of back pain today, then developed a headache and didn’t feel up to cooking. But this frozen meal is vegan and has no added sugar, so I coulda done worse. Now I’m on the couch with my TENS unit. Like all the cool kids.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Nothing feels better on my aching joints than moist heat. Therefore, hot springs are seriously my jam. I discovered this about a year ago when my best friend and I met up for a hot springs vacation as part of my frenzied search for the one thing that would surely cure my arthritis. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t exist. But escape, relaxation, mindfulness, gratitude – those are the things that make arthritis tolerable for me. And I’ve found all those things in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Twice. I loved it so much when I went with my bestie that I went back with my husband recently. We stayed at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort which really isn’t that resort-y, but is clean and pleasant and, oh, owns the world’s largest hot spring pool!

Bam! There’s something kind of special about being outside when it’s 17°F but being almost too hot in the water. Delicious.

Both times I visited Glenwood Springs I was lucky enough to be half of a couples massage at Providence Apothecary.

This place could not be any cuter. Have you seen Practical Magic? Think Sally’s shop with a massage practice and yoga studio. Navigating airports and sitting scrunched up on an airplane for several hours always does a number on my arthritic body, so I always plan on getting a massage when I travel. This place is wonderful. Fun fact: if you buy a candle from this shop (or any shop) and bring it through airport security in your carry on, it’ll get you a bag search. I guess candles are real bad news in the x-ray eyes of TSA agents.

So the world’s largest hot spring pool is definitely something to check out, but the thing can house a ton of people all at once. For something cozier, I love Iron Mountain Hot Springs about a mile down the road.

They have multiple smaller pools made up of different mineral compositions which vary in temperature. All of which have a killer view of the mountains.

I thought it’d be a great idea to get a better view of the mountains. I have a long track record with my husband of coming up with ideas that seem great at the time, but later induce panic in me. (Skydiving, ziplining, etc.) That’s what happened when we took a tram ride up and down the mountain.

Not pictured: me losing my shit. All in all it was a great experience that I’m glad I had. Cuz I didn’t die.

So now for the real reason we go to Colorado…same reason as anyone else. Legal marijuana! I never used weed in any form till I got psoriatic arthritis; I was almost 36 years old. It just never appealed to me in my teens or twenties. But my arthritis pain was out of control the first time I went to Colorado and I needed help. I tried a bunch of CBD-dominant products to try to calm inflammation and had a few edibles. A whole lotta not much happened. Until this: This lotion dropped the pain in my right middle finger (my worst pain area at the time) from 7/10 to 1/10 in 10 minutes. It was a game changer. It completely made me a believer in marijuana for pain management. I’m lucky enough to live in a state that has medical cannabis and I got my card right after that first Colorado trip. (See what I did there?) Since then, I’ve tried different formulations of weed vape, oil and topicals and have found a few options that help immensely when I flare. Grateful. The nice thing about weed in a rec state is endless options. I tried a different edible on our second trip that kept my pain (also in my left foot, both hips and both knees) hovering at 1-2/10 for hours at a time. Now I couldn’t live my everyday life under the constant influence of pot, but I’m so grateful for a weekend where I can all but forget about pain and just relax. Sign in the women’s locker room at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. And the gospel truth.