Friday, December 1, 2017

Walking

After I pinched my Sciatic nerve in June 2011, again in June 2012 and then severly in July, it took until September where I could walk any distance, so I started walking first along the Ruston Way parkway in Tacoma. It's a beautiful walkway park along the waterfront from Old Town to Ruston in northeast Tacoma.

From there I started walking to and from Gig Harbor where I live. It's 3+ miles direct from my place to the commercial area off highway 16 in Gig Harbor and 4+ miles to downtown Gig Harbor. I've stayed with the former destination for now but have found different routes which varys the walk from 6-7 miles to 8-10 miles round trip depending on the route.

So far the walks each month has had to fit into the schedule of work, life and trips, which is as follows for the months to date.

-- 2012 --
September  -   7 trips for 28.5 miles
October      - 10 trips for 46.5 miles
November  -   4 trips for 20.0 miles
December  -   9 trips for 45.0 miles
-- Total for 2012 - 140 miles --

-- 2013 --
January      - 17 trips for 101  miles (lots of cold rain/snow walks)
February    - 10 trips for 60.4 miles (includes one 7 mile test walk)
March        - 13 trips for 76.0 miles
April          - 19 trips for 132 miles (includes two 8 mile walks)
May           - 16 trips for 122 miles (7.5-8 miles except one)
June           - 17 trips for 136 miles (8 miles with two 7.5 or 9 mile walks)
July            - 16 trips for 130 miles (8 miles with two 9 mile walks)
August       - 20 trips for 162 miles (8 miles with four 8.5 mile walks)
September  - 22 trips for 175 miles (8+ miles except one 6 mile walk)
October      - 26 trips for 201 miles (6-9 mile walks)
November  - 21 trips for 166 miles (8 miles but one 6 miles)
December   - 27 trips for 208 miles (8 miles but four 6 miles)
-- Total for 2013 - 1,669 miles --
-- Total distance - 1,809 miles --

-- 2014 --
January       - 26 trips for 205 miles (8 miles but three 6 or 9 miles)
February     - 12 trips for 90 miles (6 or 8 miles)
March         -  9 trips for 55.5 miles (6-6.5 miles)
April           -  several short walks.
May            - 10 trips for 64.5 miles (6-6.5 mile)
June            - 17 trips for 125 miles (6-8 miles)
July             - 15 trips for 120 miles (8 miles)
August        - 14 trips for 113 miles (8-8.5 miles)
September   - 14 trips for 112 miles (6.5-9 miles)
October       - 14 trips for 112 miles (8 miles)
November   - 11 trips for 64 miles (most 6 miles)
December   - 12 trips for 72 miles (all 6 miles)
-- Total for 2014 - 1,198 miles --
-- Total distance - 3,007 miles --

-- 2015 --
January         -  9 trips for 54.5 miles
Februrary      - 15 trips for 90 miles
March           - 15 trips for 90 miles
April             -  5 trips for 30 miles
May              - 12 trips for 72 miles
June              - 10 trips for 60 miles
July              -  8 trips for 50 miles (two bike trips)
August          - 4 trips for 22 miles
September    - 14 trips for 84 miles
October        - 25 trips for 150 miles
November    - 23 trips for 138 miles
December    - 26 trips for 156 miles
-- Total for 2015 (to date) - 996 miles
-- Total distance - 4,003 miles --

-- 2016 --
January         -  24 trips for 140 miles
Februrary      - 20 trips for 120 miles
March            - 20 trips for 120 miles
April              - 18 trips for 108 miles
May               - 16 trips for 96 miles
June               - 15 trips for 90 miles
July                - 22 trips for 136 miles
August           - 22 trips for 131 miles
September     - 13 trips for 78 miles
October         -  7 trips for 42 miles
November     - 11 trips for 66 miles
December      - 18 trips for 108 miles
-- Total for 2016 (to date) - 1,235 miles
-- Total distance - 5,238 miles --

-- 2017 --
January         -  22 trips for 132 miles
Februrary      -  20 trips for 120 miles
March            - 26 trip for 156 miles
April              - 21 trips for 126 miles
May               - 14 trips for 84 miles
June               - 23 trips for 148 miles (few 7-8 mile walks)
July                - 27 trips for 162 miles
August           - 30 trips for 178 miles
September     - 15 trips for 90 miles
October         - 20 trips for 120 miles
November     - 19 trips for 114 miles
December      -
-- Total for 2017 (to date) - 1,428 miles
-- Total distance - 6,668 miles --

Notes:

November 2017.-- I managed 19 walks this month for 114 miles, all 6 miles b All the walks were in 40 degree weather, some days with sub 40 wind chill. I stayed at 6 miles through the month but increased the pace 13-14 miles per mile some days and 14-15 minutes per mile othter days.

This month was a continuation of September and October after I got a flu shot September 8th and have been on/off sick since then. Not sure why but I get colds/flu symptoms easier and more often t his year than past years, often resulting in intestinal bugs.

November was the month the body adapts to colder mornings. It's took a few weeks, and for the most part the body has adjusted to cold, windy, and/or rainy mornings. It's all about layering clothes which is hard with 5-10 degree wind chill when you have to choose the clothes for one but not both because it depends on the heaviness of wool t-shirt, sweater, socks, etc.

That's it for this month.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Two pounds

It's just two pounds. Many people eat that much in one meal. We all gain and lose up to or more than that during a day, and over time from our exercise, eating and activities. And it's weight easily absorbed by the body, often stored as fat, and kept in the digestive system until it processed and expelled.

It's just two pounds. But to my body it's everything. As I finally reached 135 pounds, the weight now varies between 135.0 and 137.0 pounds. I got there over a week about a month ago dropping from 140 pounds to 136 pounds. Not sure why, only that it did.

Since then I don't get to or over 137.0 pounds anymore, but it takes exercising (walking 6-8 miles 5-6 days a week) and watching my diet (what, how much, when I eat). I don't count calories except in estimates to know where I'm at for my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and adding calories from walks.

This is about 1400-1500 calories on non-walking days and 2000-2200 calories on walking days. None of that however is reflected so much in my weight, measured daily first thing in the morning before anything else. The naturopath said it's the time must before you body begins to change from sleep to awake.

I don't worry too much about the number so much, just to know the lowest weight I am for an idea of the floor my body is at when the digestive system is completely empty. The fat level is slowly decreasing, but it's not so much reflected in the weight except over weeks or months.

What I monitor is the change between days as it's indicative of what the body kept or lost from the previous day(s), which is why is varies 0 to 1+ pounds. This relates back to what, how much and when I ate the day(s) before the digestive system is still holds or lost.

What's important these days is that this small difference is in the digestive tract, which in turn enlarges the large colon, which in turn puts pressure on the lower back and Sciatic nerve, causing the lower back and legs to hurt.

I'm not sure why this happens, only it does. There's no pain when I'm 135.0, mild pain at 135.5, moderate at 136.0 and more at 136.5-137.0. And the pain makes the walks harder for every .5 pound, reflected in muscles feeling tired and sore and the pace slows, from 14 minutes per mile to 15+ minutes per mile.

This is where I'm at. Not where I thought or want do be, but am. The back specialist noted two years ago from scan of my lower spine (L3 and lower) from the 2012 and 2015 scans my compression is less but the degeneration is slightly worse. Two years later it's likely a little more worse for wear.

Anyway, this is where I'm at now. I walk 5-6 days a week, and watch my diet, namely what, how much and when I eat. From there it's helping the digestive system with supplements the naturopath recommends after all the tests, to process food through in a timely manner.

So it's the work to balance the exercise, diet and body, specifically the digestive system to work. I've learned the less I eat the better I feel, the more I eat the worse I feel, which is counter to what the body needs for energy.

And the more I stay within my short food list the better I feel, the more foods I try, as naturopath recommends to expand microbiome in digestive tract, the worse I feel as the body takes time generate the bacteria and digest the food(s), usually adding weight for 2-3 days while it processes the food.

That's conundrum between food and digestive system, digestive system and lower back, lower back and walking, walking and fat/weight. Such is life now.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Why

On my walks some mornings, people will stop to say they see me walking a lot (20-24 days a month), and ask why. After an explanation about my Sciatic nerve I pinched in June and July 2012 which left me flat on my back, I realized I continue walks for a few reasons.

This has been a question I've asked myself since reaching my goal weight of 140, and now under 140,  for the last 3-4 months. I haven't lost all the fat yet, still 1-2 lbs left to lose which will take most of the rest of this year at the rate I lose it now. 

The first is about reaching 60 where time and age catches up with the body and it's a slow decline from now on. It's really simple, every morning I get get better or get worse. It's not really that simple because after 60 you're only slowing the decline of time and age of your body and mind.

The second is I've driven the weight and fat below my genetic predisposition, so after not walking for a few days, the body will begin to readjust to add both back. I feel it at the 3-4 day mark where it takes a few walking days to get the body back.

So walking is keeping the weight and fat off, and hopefully losing the remaining fat over the spring and summer. Walks are now for sustaining what I've gained. The third is a followup to the second, the less weight, the less pressure on the lower back and Sciatic nerve.

The last is simply it's good mental and physical exercise. I'm basically lazy, and can be a good couch potato, so forcing myself to get up and ready and then get out the door to walk 6-8 miles helps remind me who's in control.

Anyway, that's the thoughts on the walk this morning when a couple asked me why I walk so much. It makes my day.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Food Experiments

I've been trying new foods or retrying old foods for years through the problems with my digstive system, almost always ending in an adverse reaction, usually moderate to extreme constipation. Some foods would work normally once but then never again, to be crossed off the list.

Now that my digestive problems have been diagnosed and treated, first to treat the bacterial infections/overgrowth with anti-biotics and probiotics, and second to treat the damage to the digestive system with supplements for the acids, enzymes and proteins to digest food, it's taken time to rebuild it and make it work again.

The other missing part of the treatment was a diversity of foods to rebuild the bacteria in the small and large intestine, mostly the latter, to digest and process a greater variety of foods. The problem is the first time you try a food, the system doesn't have the bacteria for it, so it has to build it.

This means I never know how the system will react with new foods, because you have to eat it a few times to build the bacteria for it. With that the food experiments have taken on a new role, but first I have to want to eat the foods, something I don't have an interest to try a range of foods.

The naturopath recommended starting with plants, mostly vegetables since they have the greater variety of bacteria to add to the system. Before I've reduced the list of them to carrots, celery and occasionally peas. To that I've been trying two vegetables a week.

A few weeks ago it was asparagus and cauliflower, two vegetables I really like, and they worked enough I can eat them again. Last week was tomatoes and lettuce with refried beans. I love tacos with refried beans, some meat, tomatoes and lettuce - the food experiment minus the meat for now.

The beans are high in fiber, which I rarely eat because of its effects on the digestive system, like a tunnel boring machine. Yeah, they and the vegetables were not good reactions, so I have to decide if I want to try them again in the future.

This week is green beans, another one I like. No idea of the other one yet, something to browse the produce market and follow the taste buds. I've only added a few non-vegetables to focus the system on the fewest new foods as possible.

Some foods are old foods I've had a range of reactions to over the years, mostly potatoes, but they have a lot of starch which strains the system. I still try one of my favorite foods, potato chips, every now and then, but stopped when the system has problems digesting it.

Anyway, just some thoughts on foods. There's a long list of foods to try this year, and at one or two a week it will take awhile. The two health supplements to help the digestive system works very well, something I recommend now if your system isn't working.

Don't always assume it's a bacteria balance/imbalance issue and just try probiotics, something most gastroenterologists say because they don't know anymore or any better. There are tests to check for some of the acids, enzymes and proteins needed for digesting and processing foods.

Get them if you haven't had the test. That's how the naturopath discovered my pancreas wasn't working to produce enough enzymes to digest some foods. You can also add the supplements which provide these elements, but I would recommend clinicial standard supplements for their quality and quantity and lack of unnecessary ingredients.

The worst case scenarios is the supplements just add to existing acids, enzymes and proteins you don't need and you can then discontinue them. The other supplement is Butyric acid which feeds the cells in the lining of the large intestine to protect it and help process foods, which has been a great help.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Food Anew

After my naturopath, who specializes in digestive system care, found and treated the problems I’ve been having for 9 years now, after 3 gastroenterologists couldn’t find with a succession of tests which in hindsight were a waste only but they had to follow the diagnostic protocols and then, finding nothing, said there wasn’t anything more they could do for me, I’ve found food again. 
After two ant-biotics to eliminate the bacterial infections, probiotics to rebuild the bacterial balance, and then taking two health supplements to restore the digestive system’s acids, enzymes and proteins, the digestive system is normal again, adding a variety of foods to rebuild the diversity of bacteria in foods in the system for digeting foods.
Yes, I’ve found food again, and going to the supermarket to buy what I can eat and not just go to see what I can’t eat, albeit only a few at at time and in small amounts for now to reorient my digestive system to the variety of foods it won’t revolt but simply taste, digest and process like a normal system should and does. 
Food. Real food again. Simple word but a world of joy. The joy of walking around a good grocery store (Metropolitan Market in Tacoma, any of them are good along with PCC markets in Seattle) seeing all the foods from around the world, seeing and smelling all the food in the deli, browsing all the fresh produce, fish/seafood/meats, just enjoy the privilege many people in the world don’t have, and enjoying the thought of eating again and not worrying about the effects, or worse problems, later, but simply enjoying it.
Food. A basic staple of life. Food again. Lost and found anew. So much exploration ahead to renew my connection with food and life. Simple things the vast majority never think about other than a momentary thought what they wanted to eat without regard should anything go wrong because it won’t. Simple decisions, momentary, to think, “You know what would taste good right now?”, or walk into their kitchen with the whole array of foods to decide what to fix and eat for the sheer joy of food.
Food. We take for granted until we can’t and find we’ve lost the right to that joy. But now I’ve found it again, and on the slow road back to what everyone else accepts as common, food, any food. Time will provide that as I explore food again.