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Getting Healthy


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#141 Christian

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 07:23 PM

I finished the race! The times still haven't been posted online, although I was told they would be. Maybe in an hour?

I'm signing off to eat home-cooked steaks with Sarah, drink Prosecco and watch "Carnage."

Here's to a healthy 2012.

Over and out.

EDIT: Time was 36:56. Not a great per-mile time, but that's OK. The crowd of people early in the race, on the relatively narrow course, forced most of us to go slow. I had planned to go slow, just not that slow.

Edited by Christian, 31 December 2011 - 08:31 PM.


#142 Greg P

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 11:21 AM

Congrats, Christian! And amen to a healthy 2012, for all of us!

#143 Christian

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:45 PM

After laying off the running for the most part for four weeks, I ran at my older pace for 2.5 miles this morning. It felt great to run again. I would've liked to go a bit farther, but the kids were home and hovering near the treadmill, waiting for daddy to get off, etc.

I'm glad I stopped when I did. I had some slight pain and took a couple of ibuprofen. Over the course of the day, the familiar, dull ache I was experiencing before I bought new shoes returned. I just took a couple more ibuprofen and made an appointment for Friday to see the sports medicine doctor at my family practice. Time to get someone who knows about these things to tell me if I've aggravated a nagging injury or if this is something normal. I doubt it's the latter.

Edited by Christian, 20 February 2012 - 04:45 PM.


#144 Christian

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:10 PM

Official diagnosis: Stress fracture.

I'll always remember my "year of running."

#145 Greg P

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 02:52 PM

Official diagnosis: Stress fracture.

I'll always remember my "year of running."


Dang... sorry, man. I've had two in the past two years-- as documented here . Is it your fibula?

#146 Christian

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:14 PM


Official diagnosis: Stress fracture.

I'll always remember my "year of running."


Dang... sorry, man. I've had two in the past two years-- as documented here . Is it your fibula?

Oh, I'd forgotten that you'd posted about stress fractures, Greg. I'll go back and read those posts.

They didn't tell me where, exactly, the fracture is, but I saw it on the bone scan -- represented by a bright light right where I'd been feeling pain. (Inside right ankle; I can't be more precise than that). The doctor called and said the scan was consistent with a stress fracture, but without naming the bone that was fractured.

#147 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 02:10 PM

Hi all,

I can't say I've made any *major* lifestyle changes yet, but after recent events, I'm beginning to chip away at a few things.

Last week (i.e. the week beginning Sunday July 1), I woke up twice (on Tuesday and Thursday) at 4 in the morning with a splitting headache, and I couldn't get back to sleep at all. On Tuesday, in particular, the headache stayed with me all day, and it was so debilitating I actually called my mother to ask if she could take over looking after the kids that evening (alas, she couldn't). Wednesday, apparently, wasn't so bad, but when the second wake-up call (so to speak) happened on Thursday morning, I realized I had to see a doctor.

So I went to the local walk-in clinic and was informed that I have hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure). There's an upper number and a lower number, and I keep forgetting what the lower numbers are, but as far as the upper numbers go? The doctor there said normal blood pressure is around 120, give or take, and they normally recommend treatment if it reaches 140 -- and I was at 174.

I went back on Friday and I was still at 170. So he gave me some pills and told me to get some tests. And then, on Tuesday of *this* week, he called me in and told me that the results of my ECG were consistent with those of someone who has had a mild heart attack -- so have I ever had one? Uh, no, I have no recollection of ever having one (though I have since been told that it's *possible* to have them in your sleep...). But apparently that's the shape I'm in, so... (Oh, and when he measured my blood pressure on Tuesday, it was down to 160.)

I'm happy to say that yesterday (i.e. Thursday) was the first day in maybe a week that I managed to get through without taking any headache medicine. And I'm happy to say that I left home last night and the night before to spend time with old friends of mine -- one of whom has apparently been taking meds for his own hypertension since he was 19, and I had somehow never picked up on this fact even though I've *known* him since we were both 19.

In any case, being able to leave home and go back to a normal-ish life was kind of important to me this week, and maybe in the next day or two I'll even darken the door of a movie theatre again... but oh, I'm going to have to avoid the snack bar -- like, really really avoid it -- aren't I?

I will say I did have my last drink of Coke eight nights ago, between my initial visits to the walk-in clinic. It was sort of a "farewell". And while that might not sound like a terribly big lifestyle change, it's kind of a biggie for me. I have never smoked and I have never developed a taste for coffee or alcohol, but I always used to joke that cola was my one "vice". Well, maybe not any more...

In the meantime, I'm waiting to get an appointment-making phone call from the cardiologist, and I have been told I shouldn't start any exercise until *that* guy has taken a look at me and had his say...

Oh, and those of you who follow me on Facebook will have heard about this bit already, but for what it's worth: Two or three days ago, as I was mulling over the lifestyle and diet changes I may have to make, and as I was mulling over the fact that I kind of hate being in my 40s now, I saw a headline about a local celebrity chef who just died, of an undiagnosed medical condition, at the age of 29. So, I'm trying to keep things in perspective.

#148 Darren H

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 02:44 PM

Sorry to hear about these developments, Peter. Obviously, I wish you'd been spared the scare, but as far as wake-up calls go, you've had a relatively good one.

I might have mentioned this on another page of this thread, but two years ago I decided I needed to lose 20 pounds, so I downloaded the Lose It! app, which is essentially just a calorie calculator (I'm sure there are others like it). You input what you eat (drawing from a deep database of common foods and restaurant menus) and how much you exercise, and Lose It! tells you at the end of the day if you consumed fewer or more calories than you burned.

I mention this now because using Lose It! for two weeks illustrated the effects of empty calories, portion sizes, and my sedentary lifestyle in ways that no articles or books ever had. Giving up sodas is a huge first step. (A friend who's a trainer makes this priority 1 with every client.) I quickly learned that the difference between gaining and losing weight was as simple as not going back for seconds, going for a walk at lunch, eating one cookie for desert instead of three, and so on. Very small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference, which is important because keeping off weight long-term demands lifestyle changes. I'd recommend something like Lose It! for you, specifically, because I'm guessing it might appeal to the number-cruncher in you.

I turned 40 two months ago and am still bitter about it.

#149 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 03:19 PM

Thanks for the tip, Darren. I'm downloading the app as we speak. (It comes in Android, yay!)

FWIW, I wouldn't say I've given up pop *entirely*. But I'm definitely insisting on caffeine-free. And I'm phasing into sugar-free too. (The first non-cola my wife got for me was a 12-pack of regular 7-Ups, so I've been working my way through that. But after this I may go for the Diet 7-Ups. I'd actually been avoiding diet drinks partly because I'd heard some concerns about aspartame being a carcinogen, but it turns out that was b.s., at least as far as the American Cancer Society is concerned.)

And yes, smaller portions. The number-cruncher in me has always gravitated to larger sizes partly because you get more food or drink per buck. But lately, I've been going for medium-sized cups where I used to go for larges, or I've been getting six-inch sandwiches where I used to get foot-longs, etc.

And yeah, I've even started picking up the "nutritional information" brochures at places like Subway and Starbucks. Gadzooks, I couldn't believe how much sodium was in some of the items that I used to get quite regularly...

#150 Darren H

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 03:31 PM

Yeah, if you're trying to reduce sodium, eating out is tough. Sit-down chain restaurants are the worst offenders.

I grew up in a house where everyone drank soda. As a fairly young kid, I'd get home from school and drink a bottle of Coke. My before-bed "snack" usually included another big glass of Coke, as did every meal we ate out. I drank gallons and gallons of it over the years. And then, in our poor grad-school years, Joanna and I stopped buying soda at the grocery store as a cost-cutter. And then I soon stopped ordering it at restaurants. And soon after that I realized I'd stopped drinking Coke entirely. Now, the taste of soda kinda grosses me out. I hope I can say that without sounding self-righteous (I'm a coffee addict, so I have no room to judge), but sodas really are chemical confections, and if you can break the habit of drinking them, you'll enjoy countless health benefits.

#151 kenmorefield

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 10:32 AM

I've never salted my food (just never was taught to do it) so, fortunately, that's not been a major issue.

Just wanted to say, in general, I've always had more success changing eating/drinking habits than I have simply withdrawing. That is to say, I find it easier to resolve (and stick to), "I"m going to drink more water..." than "I'm going to drink less soda." The one usually leads to the other, but how you get there sometimes makes it easier...

#152 Doug C

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:13 PM

So sorry to hear about your health crisis, Peter, I hope you're feeling better. And thanks for the app suggestion, Darren, I just downloaded it to my Kindle Fire.

I've always been a pretty active person, hiking and biking on weekends, biking to work. But when I was hired by UCLA last year, that required a 70-mile daily commute, and I wouldn't be biking that. And the commute meant I would have less time at home, effectively no time before dinner, and I wanted to focus on spending time with my daughter every night rather than going to the gym.

So my workout vanished, and I soon found myself sitting at my desk and the vanpool virtually all day, and the lack of exercise was (literally) killing me.

Fortunately for me, UCLA started a free strength and flexibility program (but attendance required) for faculty/staff--a three-month class in stretching and weight training 3-4 times a week--so I signed up for it during my lunch hour (and eat at my desk). Happy to say that today marks the final workout for the class (I can't believe 12 weeks have gone by!) and that I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I always hated gym classes. But the next class begins next week, and I'm definitely signing up.

#153 Christian

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:29 PM

That's great, Doug. You didn't mention weight, but I took "killing me" as a reference, in large part, to putting on some pounds.

Weight is on my mind this week. After a final "blowout week" while our kids were away, during which Sarah and I went out to eat four nights in a row, we're both now watching out food intake again. I wish I could report that I'm supplementing the diet with exercise, but a somewhat brisk 20-minute morning walk, three times a week, is all I've been doing for the past several weeks. My left ankle still flairs (flares?) up from time to time, although I'm reluctant to get the same test done on it that I had done on my right ankle several months ago. I keep hoping the pain, which isn't too severe unless I do some serious exercise, will go away. We all know it's not going to, right?

#154 Doug C

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:36 PM

Not weight so much, actually, but a pinched nerve in my shoulder and the first signs of carpal tunnel, headaches and dizziness, eye strain (from focusing on the computer all day long) and general psychological claustrophobia. I couldn't read on the van, either--for the first time in my life, I got car sick any time I tried. But audiobooks have helped with that as well.

Be kind to your ankle!

Edited by Doug C, 03 August 2012 - 12:36 PM.


#155 Darren H

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 12:41 PM

Doug, your day sounds a lot like mine. I leave the house at 7:15, get home a little before 6:00, and spend as much of the next three hours as possible with Rory. In the spring and fall, we spend most of every evening playing outside, but this summer has been so oppressively hot, we usually end up reading, drawing, doing puzzles -- all relatively positive types of entertainment, but also sedentary. Once Rory's in bed (she's always been a late-to-bed, late-to-rise kid), I'm either too tired or it's too late to exercise. I've gained 5 or 6 pounds this summer and it's all from laziness.

#156 Doug C

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 03:18 PM

Yep, the only way I'm managing is to do my workout at UCLA during my lunch break. And actually, having a class with instructors helps me a lot, too. I'm not a structured person in general, and if left to my own devices, I'd probably do the same exercise everyday or only show up half the time.

Alex was 2-3 when I was freelancing from home and spending lots of time with her, and it was really hard for both of us when I started my full-time job. Now I get home exhausted, and she's just up from her nap and wants to play the second I walk through the door. She's so adorable--actually sits with her stuffed animals on our doorstep beginning around 5:30 just waiting for me to come home despite anything Katie might say to her to dissuade her.

Final workout today: ran a mile, 100 ring pulls, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and ran another mile. It's hard to type.

#157 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 01:20 PM

Doug C wrote:
: So sorry to hear about your health crisis, Peter, I hope you're feeling better.

Thanks, Doug. I'm getting there, I think.

I hear ya about commutes. When I lived in downtown Vancouver, I got to walk pretty much everywhere, so walking wasn't something I had to go out of my way for. (I also didn't have kids until shortly before I moved out of there, so that helped, too.) But now that we live in Surrey? It's pretty much impossible to go anywhere -- even without the kids -- without driving or taking the bus. So if I'm going to do more walking, I have to go out of my way and make an effort to do it. (And I've got to do it when the kids are in school, or with their mother, or something.)

#158 Doug C

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 04:11 PM

Peter, I was just reminded today that a little fruit juice mixed with seltzer water is a great substitute for soda when you really have the craving.

#159 Darren H

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:07 PM

Peter, seeing your posts in another thread reminded me of this one. If you don't mind my asking, how're you doing?

#160 Ryan H.

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:21 PM

I better throw my hat into this ring.

I recently signed up for Weight Watchers. I need the sense of obligation. It's been doing well by me so far; I seem to be losing weight at a steady rate. I need to add exercise to my routine, but I'm generally just a bit too exhausted for it. (Maybe if I can be disciplined enough to get it out of the way in the AM before work.)