Healing: New Year, New Me

I know, the title of this post is as cliched as they come. I don’t care.

For me, it has become a mantra.

I have palindromic rheumatism.  Basically, my white blood cells attack joints and the muscles and tendons connecting them even though they are health.  I don’t have arthritis; I have an autoimmune disease. The joint pain are symptoms.  The joints aren’t the cause. You can read more about my condition here and  here

One of the tings that I have neglected to mention in the previous posts is the depression that comes with this disease.  Pain causes depression.  Chronic fatigue causes depression.  Helplessness causes depression. Now, the medication for me has worked well and my flares are few and far between.  However, the fatigue hasn’t really gone away.

This has led me to not doing much over the last three years.  This in turn has led me to  gaining weight.  Lots of it.  The highest I have been was 242 lbs. At Christmas, I was 239.  I’m on the short side of 5’6″. Most of my weight is around my waist.  If I stay on this path, I’m on the way to having more health problems.

So, I’ve decided new year, new me. I have to clear my mind of can’t.

Step 1:  Diet.  I’m not going to do any weird diet.  Not paleo, low-carb, low-fat diet for me.  I’m going to restrict calories by counting them. I’m going to eat smaller meals and more often.  You can follow my diary on My Fitness Pal. I am making better healthier choices, but not telling myself I can’t have this or that.  I just need to make adjustments for those treats.

Step 2: Yoga.  I’m not one of those people that are very flexible. That’s why I want to do yoga!  Also, it’s not heavy on resistance so It is not hard on the joints.  Any resistance comes from my own advancement into each pose so this allows me to do only those poses that I can. I’m using the yoga programs on Beach Body on Demand, which leads me to…

Step 3: BeachBody on  Demand.  We decided to subscribe to this streaming service.  $99 for the whole year is better than both of us joining a gym from a financial point of view.  Besides the yoga, they have P90X and Insanity as part of it’s lineup. We probably won’t get to them this year.  More our speed is 10 minute workout and T25.  The great thing about it is that they have different aerobic activities for each level.

Step 4: Cycling.  I won a trek hybrid bicycle from our insurance company’s wellness program.  I love it. Living close to the Mississippi River, I’m fortunate that there is a paved path on top the levee next to it.  It’s a tough ride because the winds off the levee can be extremely difficult.  Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple also got a hybrid so hopefully she will join me on a few rides.

Step 5:  Running.  We started doing Jeff Galloway’s run walk program. It’s great on the knees and he has designed it for every speed out there.

Now for the goals:

Main goal:  I’m 229 lbs right now.  I want to be 190 by Christmas.  I want to lose the weight slowly but surely.  If I lose more, that would be fantastic.

Level Up goal:  I do the above and will be able to run a 5K easily. By easily, I mean a sub 40 minute 5k.

+5 experience goal: To do next year’s Star Wars Half-Marathon – Light Side  at Disneyland.

+100 experience goal: To do next year’s Star Wars Half-Marathon – Dark Side at Disney World four months later. This would mean I would have completed the Kessel Run which is a Disney coast to coast challenge.

I’m going to write posts time to time giving updates of how I’m doing, both successes and failures.

Now excuse me while I go work on a new me.





Running: Hopefully Not out of Breath

Lafreniere Park

Due to the heat, it’s a lot darker, when we run. (Image via Wikipedia)

Cristina and I have decided to take on a new adventure: running. Why? Mainly because we are out of shape and need to get fit. Also, it is something that can sometimes be fun that we can do together. When it’s not fun, like when we are huffing and puffing and worrying about can we make it to the end of our route, at least we have each other for support.

We are doing the Couch to 5k program. We have been running at Lafreniere Park. We could run closer to home but being lazy teachers during the summer, going there lets us actually get out of our house once in awhile. I’ve always like Lafreniere Park as a place to go walk or hang out. It’s nice and peaceful towards the eastern end and full of noise and sports on the west end. Plus, it gives us a two mile loop which lets us think both in time and distance. However, with school starting soon, we will probably switch our runs to the levee.

The best thing about starting this program is that we have been way more conscious of what we are eating. I don’t want to say we are dieting especially since I made almondine sauce for our red snapper yesterday. We are just trying to stick with real food. We are looking at ingredients on the few box things we buy such as cereal. We are keeping track of calories with myfitnesspal.com. This is especially important for me since my recent trip to the doctor showed I improved in all areas except my cholesterol.

The second best thing about running so far was our trip to Varsity Sports  on Magazine Street.  We walked in told them what our goals were and that we were looking for a pair of running shoes.  Instead of asking us what brand we wanted like a big shoe box store would, they examined our current shoes as well as our gait.  They then picked out shoes that would be good for us and brought out every pair that matched those qualifications.  I can’t recommend them enough.

Our first race will be on October 1 in a pretty cool location. More on that later.

Cooking: Troy and Abed in the Morning Present Apple Nut Bars

Cristina and I are trying to lose weight slowly and surely. Partially, because we are superficial and want to look good for our wedding, but mainly because we just want to get healthy. We both are using myfitnesspal.com to help track our weight and our calories consumed and burned. I highly recommend the site especially since it is a social site. It helps to have friends and family support you while you do this.

Yesterday was a good diet day. We both had oatmeal for breakfast. She had a light lunch of mostly fruit, while I had the baked fish and salad from our school cafeteria. For supper I grilled some Mahi Mahi in some homemade garlic butter (thanks to my future mother in law for the grill pan and the garlic press). I made some green beans and heated up the risotto from the other day to go with it. I topped the risotto and fish with some freshly grated parmesan. I’ll never buy that already made parmesan ever again.

Again, it was a good diet day. We were both way under our calories. We wanted something sweet. I told Crisitna to look up apple recipes since we had apples. However, my pantry is still kind of bare when it comes to ingredients for baking. She went through a couple, and I had to say no to a couple due to lack of ingredients. Then she came to this recipe for apple nut bars from her Touch of Home: Guilt Free Cooking cookbook. Only two pantry items were missing: vanilla extract and pecans. I couldn’t really do anything about the vanilla, but I did have almonds.

I took two of the apples I had, cored them, and put them in the food processor. I also chopped the almonds in the food processor. My sister did a great job getting that for us as an early wedding present. I mixed all the ingredients sans vanilla and put them in my brand new baking pan also from my future mother-in-law. (Getting married is a wonderful thing). They take twenty-five minutes to bake which is the perfect amount of time to watch a DVRed episode of the only show on television that makes me either smile or laugh the entire time it’s on: Community. When the episode was over, they were ready. They were very good leaving me to wonder how good they would have been if I did have vanilla.

Now, I’m trying to convince Cristina we need to have a no-box month of food.

Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

Cristina's Kryptonite

I know she will sneak some Velveeta and Shells by me though.

Cooking: Overcooking

After a weekend of eating poorly (at least from a healthy point of view), it was time to get back on the track and eat well. Last night, I pan-fried some tilapia (seasoned with Slap Ya Mama), some fresh green beans with onions and prosciutto, and some out the box risotto. Forgive me the risotto, I wasn’t feeling well and I was already late for our basketball game. Besides, the box version is actually pretty good.

This is a simple and favorite meal of mine to make. Except one time, I started paying attention to the TV while cooking and neglected my green beans causing them to burn. I apologized profusely to Cristina about burning the green beans. However, she loved them more than my regular (and I must say) fantastic presentation. Now, she is genuinely disappointed with them if they aren’t burnt. So, I try to make them edible for me, take out my serving, and then burn the daylights out of hers. Apparently, she is not alone. On a myfitnesspal.com forum the other day, there was actually a recipe for charred green beans. Who knew?

Cristina’s love for charred food (which she of course refers to as blackened) extends to most foods except cookies and steaks. Thank god for those two. I weep when I have to cook a well done steak.