Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Excited About September

How is it September already???!

August is usually sllllooooow for me because of the endless heat, lack of days off/holidays, and I'm usually not traveling anywhere.  Some people get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter, but mine usually hits in the summer.

Still, when you've got this little guy crawling around everywhere, I can see how the days would go by so quickly.  I recently decided to get him a little self-feeder (this one is KidsMe) because he's taken interest in eating stuff that I eat, and he hasn't figured out the hand-to-mouth thing.  It buys me some extra minutes to wash bottles, clean, and prepare food.
As non-anonymous as I'm letting him be for now...

Speaking of preparing food, I can't WAIT until this heat dies down.  Especially because we're part of the air conditioning cycling program that shuts off the AC riiiiight when the heat is the worst.  I am pretty sure this counts as a sauna visit.

I really want to turn on the oven again.  I feel like most of the cooking I do involves an oven.

Recently, I decided to start eating lactation-promoting foods again.  My freezer stash is probably going to be gone soon, I'm only pumping about 75% of what I was during my first few months back at work, and Baby Tuesday is still pretty much drinking 100% of everything in spite of all the food he eats.  He recently had his 9-month checkup, and he's just under 20 pounds (50th percentile), 80th percentile in height (so we had to switch him to a convertible car seat).  He drinks a little formula, and I suspect that will need to go up a bit even though I feel like it's juussst a few months until he can have regular milk.  Hence, these balls.

I basically threw in two cups of oats, a cup of peanut butter, a cup of honey, a cup of ground flax, and half a cup of brewer's yeast, along with a chopped-up chocolate bar, a splash of vanilla, and some toasted coconut that fell to the bottom of a coconut cashew container. 

These are from Costco, but I could have sworn there is a better version of this in San Diego Costcos...

A little coconut oil and almond milk helped get it moist enough to roll into (many) balls.  Unfortunately, I really need to get debittered brewer's yeast, because it's a little rough-tasting using the regular kind.

Now, I can't really say whether these or the tea that I drink are helping, as some days turn out better than others for no known reason.  Since my pumping output is not great anyway, I'm in the process of trying to cut down a pump session at work (by shortening the length and then shifting the times), and just going longer twice a day in addition to the before-bed session.  I definitely want to be down to one session when Baby Tuesday is one and stop pumping during the day shortly afterward, so I'm giving myself plenty of time to adjust but still hoping to give him as much as I can.  Here's hoping my (second) pump doesn't die before then.

Ooops, that was too much breastfeeding talk!  As you can tell, it dominates my life.

In fitness news, I've been pretty good about working out 4-5 times a week, and more recently, I've been able to run 4 miles instead of 3.1 on the days that I run.  I usually finish it in about 37 minutes, though if I'm running around my neighborhood, it's a bit longer due to hills and traffic lights.  I want to work up to longer distances, but at this point, I'm not sure how far.  I registered a 10K in February but don't know if I will drop to the 5k (if I am pushing the stroller) or what.

I originally wanted to run my 30th half-marathon while I am still 30 years old, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen.  A lack of local races and the unpredictability of things makes it hard to commit to something.  It won't be the end of the world if I have to wait until 31 or something...

Also, my knees have started to give me a little trouble again, and I don't know if it's just because I'm "new" again or because I haven't taken my glucosamine supplements since I got pregnant.  Running + plyo (Insanity and Insanity Max 30... review is coming soon) is not a good combo.

On September 25th, I am doing the YMCA Stair Climb again.  I've been using the stair machine at the gym once a week for about 20 minutes at a time, so that the machine registers 100+ floors (the climb is 75 floors).  It will be interesting to see how I do since I didn't really train at all last time and was just more fit to begin with, and at least it's a low-impact activity. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Omron Alvita Wireless Activity Tracker

As you know, fitness trackers are all the rage lately.  I haven't been able to commit to one for very long, mostly because I don't like wearing things on my wrist.

A while back, I reviewed the Omron Alvita Pedometer, which was a great pedometer because it was no-fuss, automatically resetting itself each day and only counting legitimate steps instead of just shakes.

I was given the chance to review a next generation of this device, the Omron Alvita Wireless Activity Tracker.  It uses similar technology but now interacts with your phone!

  • Tracks steps, aerobic steps, distance and calories burned
  • Wirelessly syncs your data to our free Omron Fitness app
  • Tap on screen for easy access to current day’s data
  • Calculates stride automatically based on height and weight input for easy set up
  • Battery saving mode turns screen off after 20 seconds of inactivity; continues tracking all activity
  • Displays current day’s activity and stores up to 14 days in memory

  • The app worked pretty well and synced easily, which is important to me because that was a deal-breaker for other stuff I've tried.  They also improved on the physical design of this device.  The older model was annoying to keep clipped on, but this one holds on much better!  It's also smaller and more... attractive?... than the older model.

    Some screenshots:

    The above was only for part of the day (I didn't wear it to the gym due to me being forgetful)!  I know I still gotta work on moving more, though!

    FTC Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of this product to review but was not otherwise compensated for a positive review.

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015


    It has taken me over a year to finally discuss this topic. 

    I debated posting something but then figured that someone might benefit from reading it at some point, as I tried to find similar posts when I was in need to them, only to find there weren't many.

    Yes, diabetes. 

    It is no secret that I (like many people) have a sweet tooth, and I've had my fair share of meals and treats with my friends and my husband that probably warrant a welcome sign for blood sugar issues.  However, I never really worried about it because,

    a) I've generally been pretty active and am of a normal weight
    b) I know of nobody in my family with blood sugar issues, and
    c) I attend health screenings like a good corporate worker and had great results each time.

    So about a year ago, I was gaping at the screen when I saw my gestational diabetes screening come back wayyyyy off the charts.  This is that test that all the "healthy living bloggers" whine about where you have to drink some sweet drink at the end of the second trimester, but I came into it just knowing I'd pass and move along, no big deal.  But I'm glad I wasn't being a know-it-all and tried to ditch it. 

    I got a call from my doctor the following business day, who was pretty much like, "Yeahhhhh... it is pointless to do a longer test."  My first reaction was, unsurprisingly, "WHY me?!"  Unlike many pregnant people, I actually ate a lot better than normal because I had a very nauseous first trimester and never quite got my usual cravings after that.  I was also still pretty active at that point.  So I kept trying to rationalize as I was sitting in a class where they played cheezy videos of pregnant women measuring out tortillas, rice, and pasta in little cups.

    This brings me to one of my first hurdles in all of this, which was getting over the stigma of diabetes.  Most folks I knew who were diabetics were Type 2 and overweight, and while I know the gestational kind is different, I couldn't help but notice there was only one other woman that was my size in the class, and the rest, well, appeared to be overweight.  Out in the world, I tried to keep quiet about my diagnosis, but inevitably there was that awkward moment when someone would push food on the pregnant lady and finally I'd have to explain that it wouldn't be a good idea.  When they'd find out, I'd get comments like, "Maybe you ate a lot of carbs in your first trimester," or "Oh, but you're always so healthy" as if something I did caused this scary condition.

    Maybe "scary" is a strong word to use, but when you're a first-time mom-to-be armed with Google, everything is scary.  My "research" told me that while I was in good company, only around 8-10% of pregnant women get this.  I should also add that only 10% of pregnancies end up with your water breaking before labor, so I guess I just hit some weird bulls-eyes. 

    A throwback! I think this was about 4-5 weeks pre-baby.

    Anyway, as I started following the food plan and testing my blood sugar four (yes, four, some days more) times a day, I started seeing that something did indeed happen when I "messed up."  My blood sugar would spike on completely random stuff like beans, but I could eat Chicago style pizza with no problems.  I ended up eating a lot of protein, and I often ate the same breakfast, lunch and dinner in controlled portions.  For a pregnant person, let me tell you, that sucked, especially when "pumpkin" season came, and I couldn't really have anything.  I also had to walk after meals when I could, which was rough sometimes, but I was lucky that I never needed to go on insulin because my doctors were okay with my logs. 

    Things I ate a lot of: nuts, nut butters, meat, cheese, Greek yogurt (only ones with a certain carb/protein ratio), low-carb bread (I could only have 1 slice, at breakfast), controlled portions of rice at dinner, vegetables, Nature Valley Protein Bars, full-fat ice cream or Cool Whip in controlled portions and paired with cheese, basically anything had to be paired with protein
    Things I avoided: desserts (duh) besides small bites, most Asian food (sad!), juice or any sweetened beverage (I also avoided artificial sweeteners, but that was my choice), beans (including hummus), corn, breads/wraps, fruit for the most part (and I really could have used more prunes...), potatoes over a certain portion, oatmeal, cereal, basically anything that was a normal part of my diet beforehand

    When Baby Tuesday was born, his blood sugar was perfect!  He was heavier than other babies born in my family, but I think that had more to do with all the fluid I received during my long hospital stay, since by the time we left, he was barely 7 lb.  They never bothered testing me after I was first admitted, they fed me all sorts of carb-y goodness in the hospital, and I ate 75% of an entire cake in the days that followed (mostly during the night when I was up nursing a lot).  A couple of months later, I passed all the follow-up tests and more recently, passed my corporate wellness screening with no problem. 

    I will need to do parts of the tests again once a year, so the story isn't over.  In fact, I was told that my risk of eventually becoming diabetic is something like 50% greater than the general population.  That... is scary.  Thus, I've been trying to avoid overdoing it on the sugar (working on it! -- tough when you're sleepless, though!) and staying active.  I'm not sure how this will all play into whether I cut meat out of my diet again, whether I will run long distances again, or even whether I will ever swallow a running gel again.  So more to come, for sure.

    If you are in this same boat and found this post on Google or something, here's my advice to you:

    • don't freak out
    • it's the overall numbers that matter, not one meal or even a couple
    • don't feel bad if you need medication; having too-high blood sugar is way worse
    • target blood sugar guidelines are so varied between practices, so it seems like not a lot is known about this condition
    • all those needle stick marks did eventually disappear from my fingers (use the sides to test) -- also, the first few tests suck, but then you get used to it
    • Babycenter, for all the weirdos on there, was a good portal of information
    • people will say a lot of dumb things, but as far as I was able to research, this is caused by a poor interaction between the pancreas and the placenta blocking stuff, so in other words, not your fault at all
    • if you're a first-time mom-to-be, consider this the first of many things that will be out of your control in your motherhood journey -- a co-worker who had to do lovenox injections during her pregnancy shared this with me when I confided in her, and it really helped me cope