When Cleaning Up Your Eating May Be Worth It for Auto-Immune Issues

It’s been a while. I’ve been thinking about resurfacing but life has been busy! Not that it has changed but apparently I found time!

While I’ve not been posting I have still been encountering a few things worth sharing. I’ll try to share them out as I have time.

First, a bit of background for anyone unfamiliar.

I have rheumatoid arthritis, or what I’ll refer to as RA in this post. I am trying to remember how long I’ve had it but I can’t remember. It’s probably been since 2013 or 2014 but that is just a guess.

At first it was annoying, I had a few flared up fingers, and sometimes it was frustrating that it made me felt limited in my life. Any pains or inconveniences that I experienced I was willing to tolerate them as opposed to letting them change my life.

To complicate things I was hit by a car I believe a year and change ago while biking to work.

While I walked away with any major injuries what did happen was that it sent my RA into cycles of rage. What annoying at first turned into almost unbearable .. and they started to happen more often. Sometimes I’d get hurt and sometimes it would just ‘happen’ .. I’d go through a week work of moving pains. It usually started in an extremity (i.e. ankles, hands, etc) for a day and a half, take a day off then move in closer to the center, and repeat the cycle all the way in. It would last about a week on and off. I’d be up miserable all night screeching in pain and by 4pm the next day I was back to normal until the ‘next cycle.’

So, a few things happened.

#1 I went to my doctor and he bumped my meds up, although I said ‘just a bit’ for now because I don’t want to medicate more than I need to. After xx weeks the flare ups would still surface but they weren’t as bad. They would, however, limit my ability to function and teach classes.

#2 I started taking probiotics consistently. I read an article that mentioned that probiotics may be linked to RA and figured it can’t hurt to see if they help with it or not.

#3 I start cleaning up my eating. I will admit to occasionally being tired or lazy and opting for quick food .. not necessarily fast food but quick and convenient food at home.

One day I looked down and noticed that the swelling in my hand was better.

One day I noticed that it had been months since my last flare up.

One day I noticed that my joint mobility limitations were .. all but gone.

I can’t say for sure that anything in #2 or #3 above helped with this but I have no reason to steer off course. Since noticing this I have also been talking to my mother, who has IBS (another autoimmune disease), about probiotics and cleaning her diet up. I am hopeful that it helps her out in the same way.

If this makes life a bit more normal than before then I have no problem keeping all of this momentum going!

I’ll check back in later!


How to Survive Thanksgiving .. and all of that food ..

How to Survive Thanksgiving … we think about all of that amazing, tasty food and some of us cringe knowing we are about to throw our eating habits OUT THE WINDOW without thinking twice.

Well, for 2 years straight I’ve managed to survive feeling that I both enjoyed it and did not suffer one way or the other. What did I do? Let’s talk …

1.) Plan the day out, eating wise, ahead of timeThis may sound silly but for the most part we know what to expect, food wise, each Thanksgiving … it rarely changes. So, think about how you can eat and get through the meal, or meals, of the day without causing complete chaos to your eating plan. Is it smaller portions, is it picking and choosing? You decide, but it’s good to have a game plan … and then stick with it.

2.) Pre-burn — if you know that you are eating more than normal that day then why not knock out a good workout to burn extra calories ahead of time. Whether it’s outside, at home, or at a gym think about what you can do that day to get a workout in, then you gain those calories on top of your daily allowance to use later on.

3.) Skip the secondsSo you finish your plate and really, really want to go back for more? Try this .. drink a glass of water, maybe walk away from the table, and give it 15 minutes. If you’re still hungry then maybe get a touch more but most likely the cravings will be gone by then 🙂

4.) Don’t feel guilty — I am the WORST at beating myself up any time my eating goes off track. Guess what? If it happened, it happened. The moment has passed. Pick yourself, regroup, refocus, and get back on track.

5.) H2O — think about all of that sodium that we take in over Thanksgiving. Feel bloated? I bet that sodium is not helping. Drink water and start flushing some of that out of your system. It’s a good detox for the system so sip away!

6.) Try and balance those calories out over the long weekend — Things did not go as planned or you ate a bit more than your daily allowance? Well .. maybe you workout a time or three over the weekend and try to balance those numbers back out. Everything helps!

Enjoy the holiday and thanks for reading!


Nutrition – Could Tracking MacroNutrients (Macros) Improve Our Health?

I’ve been reading about macros lately .. macronutrient discussions are *everywhere* and I’m one who is always looking at ways I can eat better and just be healthier. So, I’ve decided that I want to do this. Currently I am stressing out over how to get started.

What’s the problem? Well, there are blogs and more blogs about it and while some are similar most have a bit of wavering on the calculations and what you should, and should not, do.

Here’s what I’ve decided …

I’m going to figure out what works for me, than change my focus to macronutrients.

What is this you are talking about? Instead of watching calories (which is what I usually do) you focus on your daily intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Instead of meeting one calorie goal you are trying to meet three nutrient goals.

The tricky things I have run across so far?

  • Should I have a set goal every day, whether I work out or not, taking my exercise ‘expectations’ and dividing those calories out over the week?
  • Should I adjust my carbs and fats on days I workout differently that rest days?
  • Do I go with the first bullet or do I start with a base calorie goal then add on my exercise every day (which is what I do now)
  • What is the best ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats (this seems to vary widely)

There are probably more but that is a good start.

What is my plan?

Well, I track on myfitnesspal currently but it’s really not going to work well for this. The benefit though is that I have a nice eating ‘history’ on the app … including since I’ve gone mostly gluten free.

I’m going to look at the last 3 weeks and see what my trends are in regards to carbs, proteins, and fats. I’ll start there and try and figure out what is recommended, then maybe tweak my goals a bit if need be. In the meanwhile I have to decide whether I go with a consistent daily calorie goal or a dynamic one, based on my workouts. I have always gone with dynamic but I actually see the value in consistency, to be honest.

So … I’ll report back later and let you know how this is going!  I am hopeful that I’ll see good things from this tweak!

Happy day and thanks for reading!

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How Can Technology Help Us With Our Daily Lives?

It’s 2015. Technology is everywhere. You see people constantly on their phones, wasting their day away checking email, social sites, playing games, and everything in between. Technology occupies us but how can it help us?

For this post I’m going to stick with talking about fitness devices and activity trackers, specifically the Polar A300 Heart Rate Monitor Watch.

Before we get started, if you’d like to see all of the blog posts that I’ve written for the Polar A300 I’ve made an easy link for you.

For transparency purposes, I will mention that I am a Polar Ambassador however the opinions and discussions in this article (and this blog) are my own. I write about these watches only because I think they are *amazing* and would love to help educate people on how to use them! 🙂

Ok .. let’s go!

I am one of those people .. I have to wear a watch. With the evolvement of technology I also like to know what my activity level is for the day… what I have, or have not, been doing. That is where the Polar A300 comes in handy.

Polar A300 has a watch alarm
On the Polar A300 there is a handy alarm feature that, yes, even includes a Snooze button!

In a typical day I wake up to my watch alarm buzzing me that it’s time to get on with another work day. I like having an alarm so convenient .. and I will admit to using it for anything I need a reminder for. Why not?!

The Polar A300 tracks daily activity, i.e. steps, and even gives you an estimate on about how many calories you’ve burned during the day.

What is nice is that one of the watch face views has a progress bar under it, showing you how far you are along in your steps for the day. If you want to know what it will take to get to one hundred percent for the day you can quickly take a look at your status and it will show you a few options! Many times I’ve seen that I just need 10 minutes of walking and it’s been encouraging enough that I’ve gotten up and knocked that walk out just to finish the day off right!

Polar A300 Inactivity Alert
The Polar A300 not only monitors your activity but it can also tell you when you’ve been inactive for too long. It always manages to let me know at the perfect moment!

I will admit that I’m almost yin and yang with my daily activity.

Being a group fitness instructor I am very active when I teach, keeping the watch very happy with all my movements. When I’m at home, it’s a different story. I’ll be enjoying my down time at home and all of a sudden I have been sitting on my butt for way too long…. next thing you know the watch will buzz me letting me know that it’s time to move!

I’ve had it both happen to me at home and work (a bunch of times!) and I’ve noticed that it’s always at the perfect time, when I’m in some sort of relaxing, awful, zoned out funk. It will buzz me and I’ll instantly get up and do something, whether it be walk, do a few jumping jacks, or just something to get the blood flowing again. You can turn them off if you want but I personally enjoy the nudge, reminding me that it’s not good to be so idle for so long!

Polar A300 with training targets
When you set up your training targets on Polar Flow it makes it quick and easy to start your workouts when it’s time to hit the gym!

I like to set up training targets on my Polar A300 for the workouts I expect to do during the week, so I can hold myself accountable for making my weekly goals.

On this day I was scheduled to teach Bodypump. What great is that when the watch is synced, I’ll click on the start button and it asks me if I want to start my Bodypump workout. That’s so nice!

Since the watch can talk to the mobile app (Android or iOS) through Bluetooth, getting the data off the watch is easy!

For me, I simply start the sync process as I’m changing to leave the gym. The data is automatically sent from my watch to my android and it will even beep when it’s finished.

Then, when I’m walking out of the gym I like to pull up the Polar Flow mobile app to see a fancy breakdown of the workout! It’s one thing to track your heart rate but I use heart rate tracking as a tool to see how I’m working out, in which zones, and if I’m training smart with every workout.

Polar A300 - changing out the watch band
Within seconds you can switch your watch band out for a different color that you have!

Later on this night I had plans to head out .. and decided that maybe the watch color would not look great with what I was wearing… but I don’t want to miss out on a complete picture of my day in activity.

The Polar A300 is great because you can quickly and easily change out the band.



About 30 seconds later my watch was now a color that looked much better with my outfit!

The good news is that by the end of that day I could call it a success! Using technology to help me in my daily life the Polar A300 kept me healthy and motivated!

The watch made sure I did not oversleep, it buzzed me twice to make sure that I was not sitting for too long, it was ready to go when I needed to teach Bodypump, it motivated me to take that extra walk in order to get to 100% of my daily goal, and it even changed colors in order to match with my evening outfit! 🙂

I love this watch and it’s definitely a case where technology helps us to live smarter, healthier lives. If we can use this to our advantage and make good choices one day at a time I feel much better about our chance for better health today, tomorrow, and in years to come.

Thanks for reading!

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