Busy Week!

Can hardly believe it’s already Thursday night, and tomorrow is the start to my long weekend trip to Atlanta with The Boy! It’s been a busy week.

Had a terrible dental experience. Found a new dentist in my area that was “in network” for my insurance. He looked fresh out of dental school, acted unprofessional (who says “this won’t taste as bad as poop!” in front of a patient!?) and ended up claiming I needed 7 fillings! Compared to my last few check-ups that found only 1 or 2 watch spots, I have trouble trusting this young guy. And so now I’m trying to get my millions of new x-rays sent to another dentist for a 2nd opinion. This time, I’m finding a dentist that’s been recommended to me :)

Garden Update: Things are growing well – we actually have baby tomatoes and 1 baby yellow squash! Hooray

I should probably write more, but I’m tired, and I haven’t packed yet. Always too much to do. Adios reader.

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Healthy Changes: Self-Monitoring

I know, I know, I’m shocking you all for writing 2 posts back to back. But I’m using the local library’s high speed internet and figure I may as well get the most out of it while I’m here.

I just wanted to throw out a few ‘healthy lifestyle’ things from the past few days. Since I am a dietitian after all…. can’t just have a blog about my obsession with cupcake shops and travelling! haha. After doing all my reading/studying/preparation for my upcoming course on Adult Weight Management, I’ve read over and over the importance of self-monitoring, and how most all people who successfully lose and maintain weight, keep track someway of what their diet, exercise, and weight is doing. So, what do I recommend?

  1. Wear a pedometer
  2. Keep a food journal
  3. Weigh yourself once a week

I dug out my trusty pedometer and have started wearing it all day, everyday, just to see how many steps I’m taking. When I first got my pedometer, it was back in high school, when I first starting eating better, exercising, and losing weight. I swear, I wore it every single day, and was meticulous about recording every day’s steps. In high school, I’d get home with only 2,000-3,000 steps, and then would exercise in the afternoon to boost the number. In college, my steps were obviously much higher, walking around a large campus. And yet the weight crept back. haha. I became complacent, assuming that I was getting in enough walking, and stopped wearing it. Then I lost it during my freshman year, had a breakdown (seriously, I did), and fell in love with the janitorial staff when they found it, broken in the hall bathroom and returned it to me – all put back together!

Since then, I usually only wore it when I was going out for a walk, as a way to measure the distance. But then along came mapmywalk, and I didn’t feel the need to wear the pedometer for even my workouts! So it’s been sad and lonely for the last few years, collecting dust. But this week, it’s back on and will stay on!

Now, before I talk about step details, let me just rant about the cheapo pedometers that are given out with various programs. I cannot tell you how many free pedometers I have collected over the years, from all sorts of places. Regardless of how cool they look, whether they play music or are colored, they’re all crap! Seriously people, don’t even bother wearing one unless it cost $20 or so. Because I promise, standing up does not earn you 20 steps, no matter what that thing says. Test it out – walk 10 steps and see what your pedometer says. More than 12? Throw it out.

There are a few online resources about the top pedometers, but I swear by my Accusplit Eagle that I’ve had for years! Looks just like this, small, black and easy to hide on your waistband.

Most of you have all heard that the goal is 10,000 steps a day… which, depending on the length of your legs, is somewhere in the range of 4-5 miles a day. Don’t freak, it’s not impossibly hard. Just take every opportunity you have during the day to walk more. Take stairs instead of the elevator, park further away, all those fun things :) My mom has been laughing at me during the last few days – she says I’m “cheating my way to more steps”. I walk around the house or yard when I’m on the phone, dancing around the house with the dogs, sometimes just walk/jog in place when I’m watching the TV. OK, so I’m not actively walking 4-5 miles, but hey, if I’m moving my body and taking steps, that’s all that matters!

I also found a new website called Fat Secret (not crazy about the name though!) that’s been great to use as a food/exercise diary. I’ve tried multiple, always liked Spark People the best, but thought I’d give this one a shot. The biggest factor for any of these sites is the size and accuracy of their food database. If they don’t have the foods that I eat, then what good is their website!? But honestly, Fat Secret has been great so far. Now, if you want to, you can set up a whole weight loss profile, give them your height/weight, weight loss goal, and it can work out some stuff for you. But really I think just monitoring yourself for a while, to see what exactly you’re eating, can be a great wake up call. And, as a vegetarian, I like to check up to see what my carb/fat/protein ratio is like, just to control my self from eating a completely carb-based diet! But usually, I find that I’m just fine on my protein. So there, all you flesh—eaters who live to mock me!

OK, that’s all for now! Wait, actually one more thing. I’ve had some votes in for the new blog. Since RD2B has to change… we’ve had some votes in for RDBME, RD2DAY, or RDisME. Any thoughts?

Being proactive about one’s health

One of my good friends and I went to the ‘All About Women’s Health’ convention today in downtown Nashville – a free all day event that catered to the physical, emotional, spiritual and financial health of us ladies. We got there in time to witness the hour-long show put on by the Divabetics, which proved to be an entertaining show on living with diabetes. Who knew you could plan a workout based on your feather boa? 

Of course, Vanderbilt Medical Center was well-represented, providing free health screenings. There were 3 routes of age-appropriate health screenings/tests. “Route 20” for us youngsters was mostly information on HPV, pregnancy, and STDs. “Route 30” added eye/vision tests, smoking cessation and mammogram information, and “Route 40” had information on colon cancer, grip strength tests and bone density screenings. After getting through the initial round of blood pressure, BMI, and bloodwork (glucose and cholesterol), we quickly ran to Route 40 to get our bone density measured. I’ve always said I was old at heart, and it guess this just proved it. Am I concerned with anything related to sexual-health, like other 20-somethings? Heck no. Just tell me about my bones please! haha. We were actually insulted when the women running the bone density screening told us that this was a “waste of our time” and that the results “won’t tell us anything” since we apparently aren’t finished building bone mass until the age 32. Whatever. I don’t believe her anyway. 25 is the latest I’ve heard for bone mass accrual. And even if we haven’t reached our peak now – how on earth is it not helpful to see where you are? Because my friends, the US healthcare system is screwed up in being a completely reactive system that treats sick people, rather than a proactive system that keeps people healthy. But yes, my bone health is apparently good, as is my cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure. Unfortunately, there were no RDs anywhere to be seen in the convention, even though nutrition information was being discussed all over the place. A definite ‘RD Gap’ as my director would say – our profession really needs to work on making sure that our presence is seen much better throughout the community. 

So, all this to say that we should all be proactive about our health. Take action when there are health fairs / screenings in your community. Learn about what you tests you should be having at your age, and how often. And when you have a question, go to the correct healthcare professional. Do not believe everything your doctor says, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doctors are not gods, they make many mistakes, and yet Americans seem to believe anything they say. Please don’t even get me started on this topic….

The motivation behind the miles

A lot of you know about my participation in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program and how I’m working with them for a second season and will finish the Country Music Half-Marathon on behalf of those who have struggled with blood cancers.

It’s amazing to me how many people I have met along the journey that have been affected by blood cancers in some way. Every story I hear is an added motivation for me to keep up with my fundraising or training. They sure do help give meaning to the early Saturday mornings too!

Just today I was reminded again of why I’m in this. One of my patients, a previously healthy 18 year old who just moved back to Nashville to be near family, has been a difficult case to diagnose. We joked that he was the “House” patient on the floor – as the medical team seemed to be testing him for all kinds of strange viruses and asking if he’d traveled to foreign countries or had any exposure to nontraditional animals/pets. As his dietitian, I worked with him to see what he felt he could eat – his illness had completely zapped his appetite. This morning, when I walked into the hospital at 7:15am, I went straight to the computer to look him up and check to see if the team had come up with a diagnosis. They were looking for Parvo virus, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus, among others. I was happy to see he was out of the intensive care unit, but when I saw he’d been transferred to the oncology floor of the childrens’ hospital, my heart sank. I remembered a bone marrow biopsy had been scheduled;  apparently leukemia is now the diagnosis. 

At lunch, I talked to one of my friends who’s covering the pediatric oncology floor. She had already talked to him – he wanted me to know that he did not enjoy the Strawberry-flavored Boost I sent (I told him it would be like a smoothie…), but he said he feels better than he did in the ICU. I believe chemo has already been scheduled. 

It comforts me to know that he’s in a top-notch academic medical center, and that survival rates of childhood leukemias have drastically improved in the past decades, with much thanks to the money that LLS has provided for ongoing research. And where has a lot of that money come from? The crazy people like us who train for marathons, triathlons and other endurance events and raise money while doing it. 

If you are at all interested in donating to this wonderful cause, please visit my website and make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 75% of your donation (an impressive amount) goes straight to research and patient services.