Posts tagged health
Posts tagged health
Above would be my weight as of this morning…and my ugly bathroom floor, and my progressively right-leaning right big toe due to a running-induced bunion.
Lost 3 lbs since Jan 1st, 2014! ~107 lbs has been my lowest stable weight since Jan 2012. At this rate, I probably won’t be at my goal weight (105 lb) by April 5th when I’m going to Hawaii (and wearing these bikinis from H&M (1) (2))…but still I’m really happy to see progress! The “last 5 lbs” are notoriously hard to lose and to keep off. They always seem to inch back on. However, I’ve been able to lose weight slowly, but more importantly, not gain weight while NOT CALORIE COUNTING (EFFTHATSH*T just can’t live my life tracking everything yo). The following changes really help:
Honestly, by limiting my carbs to mealtimes, I can eat as much almond butter and dark chocolate as I want. I literally eat 4-6 tablespoons of peanut/almond butter every morning.
Other notes: I’m up to 4 unassisted pull-ups in a row!
…and I’m studying for USMLE Step 1 (medical boards exam) with 3 weeks to go…and my scores still have a long way to go (even for non-ambitious standards). I’ll try and keep blogging on my study breaks =).
A personal goal for me is to not sit down until 5pm. Caveats: I usually have a 2 hr session each day when I sit, and I sit down to enjoy my lunch of course! My library has 2 treadmill work-stations that I routinely hit-up. It lets you walk at a max speed of 2mph (safety concerns!). It’s pretty hilarious to see people walk at like 0.5 mph. At first, I felt dizzy doing it, but now I’m pretty productive.
I alternate walking and standing, and end up covering 4-6 miles a day. NOTE: this is not a replacement for exercise, but for sitting and to keep my metabolism above BMR for a while.
Benefits: Better posture, not sitting all day, moving, energized while you work, burning a few extra calories, ability to stretch (quads, calves, back).
Good for: Activities like reading, watching videos and lectures, and typing are pretty easy.
Bad for: Using fine motor skills with writing and using the mouse for highlighting are difficult. Walking would not work well for a graphic designer, for instance. The need for comfortable shoes and clothing.Other things you can do include walking outside while studying, or biking on a recumbent bike. For example, you can do flashcards while walking, or listen to podcast. I read or do quizzes on my iPad while lightly pedalling on a recumbent bike. Talk to you soon! Geraldine
As my 24th birthday grew nearer (Did I not do a birthday post?!! It was Dec 13th) and 2014 came closer, I decided I need to check where I’m at. I went to Student Health and had appointments with a doctor, nutritionist, and psychiatrist.
At this time, I was in a rut of all sorts…I hadn’t lost any weight (goal has been to lose 5 lbs since June 2013), I was having a tough few weeks in school, and negative thoughts about myself were destroying my focus. I wasn’t in the worst of shape, but I felt like everyone around me was achieving their goals and I couldn’t even make any headway with mine. Anyways, I learned very crucial information from my check-ups!
Doctor’s appointment/Physical check-up:
Me: Dr., I’ve been a strict vegan for a couple years, and am concerned about my Vitamin B12 levels.
My Vitamin B12 levels were low! The normal range is 200-1000 pg/ml. Older adults can have symptoms from deficiency at levels 200-500 pg/ml. I was sitting at 250 pg/ml! It’s not a huge surprise because I’ve been vegan for a couple years and don’t take regular supplements. But this was so crucial to know because if I had kept going, I would have become deficient. So now I take a Vitamin B12 pill 4x a week. Vegan-friendly sources of B12 include nutritional yeast and apple cider vinegar. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, and chronic deficiency damages nerves (I was not anemic). So please please, if you are also vegan, request a Vitamin B12 blood test next time you’re at the doctor’s!
Me: I’m vegan, and I haven’t been losing weight.
The student health nutritionist told me that, “Vegan is not her favorite diet,” and “she was vegan for a while and gained a ton of weight.” She looked at my food diary and basically told me I was eating too many carbs. She didn’t emphasize counting calories or anything because fats, carbs, and proteins do entirely different things in your body. Basically, all calories are not created equal. She advised me to focus on proteins and healthy fats. For example, I could give myself a big serving of peanut butter and a piece of toast for breakfast. Or a salad with beans and a whole avocado for lunch.
She also said that I was working out too much. I work out 5-6 days a week with a day of yoga. She advised me to take a couple rest days which allows your mind and body to relax. If you’re working out constantly, more cortisol (stress hormone) is released causing you to feel anxious and tense.
Although I found her difficult to talk to, I still took most of her advice. Since December, I’ve been eating A LOT more healthy fats. I feel less bloated, a little weight loss, and feel full for longer. Some easy changes I’ve made include eating nuts for snacks instead of crackers, bread, or crisps. I’ll have nuts twice a day, about 200 calories each serving. I also avoid putting grains in my salad. and instead flavor it generously with avocado, olive oil, and sunflower seeds. I also can eat dark chocolate as a snack too! Try flavors that only have around 5g of sugar per serving. I eat SO much peanut butter and almond butter, it’s great. I literally go through a jar in 7 days.
Psychiatrist/Med Student Well-being counselor:
Me: Dr., I keep comparing myself to other people, have cried 4x in the last month, and need to focus and study for Step 1 better than I’ve been doing.
He basically told me that I needed to indulge in relaxing activities more. But I was like, “No Dr, I can relax fine…I need to FOCUS and WORK more!” Funny concept…relax more, to get more done =). The take home messages for me were:
I’m really glad I took the time to meet with all these professionals who helped me determine my baseline for mind and body health as I move forward. I have more direction and tools handy to deal with stress and to make better decisions.
Have you had your regular check-ups or check-ins this year?
All the best,
Kaiser San Francisco Half Marathon
After fourteen months since my last race, 3 months of training, and one big nudge out the door on a rainy race day, I achieved a PR of 1:47:23 (8:12 per mile). I’m ready to retire these shoes.
The Goal: Run around 8:30/mile and to finish strong.
Post race: Avocado tartine and fruit for breakfast. Then in the library by 12 noon to study for Step 1 (medical board exam). Looking forward to my recovery days and break from structured running.
Thank you for all your support and for being here for me to share my story with! I’d love to hear your’s.
Needed to squeeze in one last post for 2013!!
Happy New Year and cheers to 2014 when I’ll be practicing my new hobby…lacrosse. I’ve wanted to learn for 4-5 years now and decided this is the year!
Dad got me some sticks for christmas; boyfriend (2 years high school lax experience…its been 10 years since he’s payed) is teaching me. We just got done playing and so far… I’ve learned to throw, catch (kind of…dropped it proven by the last picture) in both hands, and cradle slightly.
Any new hobbies, crafts, sports, or type of exercise you’re starting?
No problem! I’m going for a 45 minute tempo run in the morning (10 minutes easy, 25 minutes at 10k speed, and 10 minutes easy), then 100 push-ups, and 2 sets of 3 core exercises. All starts at 6:30am!
What’s your plan? Don’t let the holidays weigh you down!
Try and do something active each day, you’ll feel really proud, have more energy to mingle with your friends and family, and do something great for your body. Let’s keep each other motivated through the holidays. No extra holiday weight for us!
6:00am: rolled out of bed, put on $9 Champion bra from Target (seriously, no need for expensive “hot yoga” wear), woke up boyfriend with pittering pattering feet
6:30am-7:45: bikram yoga class.
8:00am: Shower, put on those Topshop jeans from last post
8:30am: bagel, peanut butter and banana <3
9:00am: Ok, now I’m ready for med school.
Common question I get is: “Do I plan rest days?”
Not really. I plan active rest days. I think of a yoga-only day as a rest day. Some weeks, my schedule is more packed so I’ll skip one work-out day so I can have more time to study. Last weekend, we went out for Ben’s birthday till 3am. After only 5-6 hours of sleep, I was still tired and wanted to read so I skipped my long run.
This is what my ideal exercise routine has been like for the last couple months:
Monday: Bikram yoga, cardio-kickboxing
Tuesday: strength training, core, elliptical (30-45 min.)
Wednesday: strength training, swim technique class
Thursday: Running (4-5 miles), strength training
Friday: Bikram yoga
Saturday: 4x1 mile intervals, strength
Sunday: 6-10 mile run
I spend about 1-2 hours exercising 6-7x week. Strength training includes alternates between back, arms, and lower body.
Goals: unassisted pull-ups, get in more long runs, weight loss (I’m at 109 lbs right now and aiming for 104lbs-will discuss more in another post)
Achievements: consistent yoga, push-ups, more lifting, swimming!
Don’t know what to do for exercise today? Not that much time? Try this handy 7-minute workout from NY Times and the American College of Sports Medicine!
"The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.”
Heather Lake, Sequoia National Park, CA
Gingerbread and Pear Pancakes…vegan and fluffy
Ben and I have been making breakfasts together lately. Variations of pancakes are easy vegan recipes! So far, we’ve made banana walnut, gingerbread with pear compote, and chocolate chip pancakes.
What inspired this creation: Zazie’s gingerbread pancakes…pretty magnificent right?
Ben made “compote” from microwaving frozen fruit…so classy. Overall, these pancakes are excellent! Wholesome Chow is a convenient, low sugar mix. They are filling, made from whole grains, and warms your morning tummy with cinnamon spice. The cooked pears make the disk more delectable and special =). Basically, add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice generously to your usual pancake mix.
Do you have any other vegan breakfast ideas that omnivores like too?
P.S. I’m going camping in Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon tomorrow!
I drink carrot juice every morning! It’s especially refreshing after a hot session of Bikram yoga. Carrot juice is great for your skin (but not too much like 3 glasses a day will make your skin orange). After indulging in Jamba Juice’s fresh pressed orange-carrot juice for a couple months, I decided to be more frugal. I buy big cartons of Odwalla’s carrot juice and orange juice. I mix 8 ounces of carrot juice with 4 ounces of orange juice. I like Odwalla because both juices are fresh squeezed and not from concentrate. For some ideas, I’ve tasted Odwalla’s organic blends of carrot and fruit. All are really good and the beet-carrot-ginger is especially healthy and hardcore veggie.
My professor asked, “What do we want more of, but never get?…It’s not sex, it’s SLEEP!”
We had a lecture on Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Sleep Disorders from which I pulled all this information!
I didn’t sleep enough from April-June. I was sleeping 6-6.5 hours a night which made concentrating in class (when I had to go to class) and studying in the mid-afternoon difficult. With this amount of sleep, I’m still able to be pretty productive and exercise vigorously for 45-1 hr a day. How do I feel when I’m sleep deprived? I feel more jittery, socially awkward, and more stressed. This makes sense because lack of sleep makes normal people more disinhibited. For example, you’re more likely to binge eating and lose control of your appetite when you’re sleep-deprived. You have less control of your emotions and reactions when you’re sleep deprived. I learned that lack of sleep causes normal people to become a little hypomanic (a little crazy), but our professor emphasized that it’s more “disinhibited” behavior. And lack of sleep isn’t good for your brain either!
The amount of sleep is different for everyone. About 2% of the population functions optimally with less than 6 hours of sleep…but for the majority of us…(including successful, smart, talented people) need around 7-8 hours per night.
Lack of sleep builds up as “sleep debt.” If you naturally need 8 hours of sleep, and you only sleep 7 hours tonight, you’ll have 1 hour of sleep debt. This adds up overtime making you more tired. However, you can get back on track by sleeping more the next couple nights!
A good way to tell if you’ve had enough sleep is to take a morning yoga class and see how coordinated and balanced you are. The other day I went to Bikram after only 5 hours of sleep and I was falling out of tree stand. That’s more affirmation that I’m not only of the 2%.
Getting enough sleep is so important! Adequate rest is good for your body and mind. It keeps you on your A-game and is part of self-care and love.
Here’s to a start of a fun, restful, and healthy-habit forming summer!
P.S. Do you like my graphic? Any feedback about my blog and posts would be much appreciated! Thanks everyone =)