Saturday, October 26, 2013

More Progress With Physical Therapy

Hello everyone!~

I have gone to physical therapy 3 times now and it's really changing my perspective on it.  I thought it was going to be EASY.

Yeah, no.

Okay, so the first couple of sessions are SOMEWHAT easy.  Now that I've gone a few times, it's getting harder.

My first time going, I thought it was sort of easy, all I was able to do was bend to my side. 

My fourth time going: Now I am doing all kinds of pelvic tilts, with bent knees, with straight legs, lifting my legs and knees, some work on my hips with a theraband...

Now it's feeling more and more like a real actual workout. I get tired from doing my therapy now, haha.  The goal right now with all these exercises is to strengthen my core and get me walking longer. I have been able to walk in 15 minute bursts and that hasn't improved yet. After 15 minutes, my foot on my left side starts numbing a little, meaning time to stop. 

While it sounds great that I am getting better, (he even said my herniation is starting to reset itself and heal) I asked about returning to my old workouts- I am still very much NOT clear to do anything except walk and my therapy right now. Bummer. 

Oh well, backs take a lot of patience. I just have to keep up my diet and therapy as told.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Second Physical Therapy Visit~

Hello everyone!

I went to my second physical therapy session on Thursday and I have some good news- I am steadily improving!  I am walking a lot better (even though my left foot still goes numb after 15 minutes of walking, but it used to be 5-10 minutes that it would happen) and less things aggravate my sciatica.  Now, my therapist added some more exercises to my regime- all core work to do on my back.  I have pelvic tilts, pelvic tilts with straight/bent knees, and some hip strengthening movements to do while having a resistance band tied around my knees.  These are not for pain  management (the side bends do that job just fine) but to help strengthen up my core and hips (which he said were weak).

Also more progress: I am losing weight!  I am eating mindfully (meaning listening to my body for fullness) and staying away from fast food for the most part and despite not moving around much, have lost 5.6 pounds/2.5  kilograms. I'm keeping it up! No real restrictions aside from calories. 

Happiness is seeing the scale go down and finally seeing something work for you.

Not only is the scale headed downward but I feel like my body is slowly getting smaller, especially in the belly.  Go on body, keep shrinking!

Lastly, I have been trying to add more activity in my day, a few times this past week I took walks until I started numbing up.  I stop when I start feeling tingly in my left leg (doctor's orders!) but am doing my best to keep moving. I really want to lose this weight, and perhaps it's helping my back heal better by lightening up on it. 

I hope all of you are having a nice weekend! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Crazy Day Today- And New Food!

Hello everyone!

Today was a really crazy day~  Ended up taking a surprise road trip, driving 3 hours each way to help someone with a flat tire.  Who knew even just being a passenger could be so tiring? 

Even though I was on the road for most of the day, I kept my naughty eating to a minimum.  


1 egg with 1 cup of rice
Green tea

This kept me full for a long longer than I expected.


Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher from Starbucks
1 small fry from McDonald's.

And that is the start and end of my bad eating for today.


1/2 cup of the carrot kinpira I made a couple of days ago
1/2 cup of rice
1 tofu burger (1/4 of a block of tofu mixed with a tofu burger mix I bought at the Asian grocery store and tried for the first time- it was actually quite good.) 

Mix with a block of firm drained mashed up tofu, shape into patties, fry. (Requires VERY little oil and I made 4 baby patties (each one 1/2 of a normal patty) to take to work and school tomorrow.)

It looks like not a lot of food but I did feel content, I am training myself to learn when I am actually hungry, and training myself to eat until I am 80% full.  (One of the Japanese secrets to staying thin- they even have a saying about it: Hara hachi bu /腹八分 which literally means "belly 80 percent full")

I also took my initial weight today, but I will keep that to myself until I see a significant change. 

For more info on the whole 80% full concept, wikipedia has some pretty interesting facts about it:

I hope everyone had a restful weekend, tomorrow is everyone's favorite Monday~

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 1 of Physical Therapy

Hello everyone!

I had my first physical therapy session yesterday and it went... Okay, I guess. The therapist did clarify for me exactly what my problem was (he got the xrays and such to look at too) and what's plaguing me is a good ol' herniated disc.

What is a herniated disc? It's also called a slipped disc. Between your vertebrae (back bones) there are little cushioning discs. Sometimes they rupture, bulge, or even break into pieces.  The result? the lack of cushioning causes the spine to press on nerves, most commonly causing sciatica- which is what I have.

When I went, the therapist had me lay in all kinds of positions to see what would happen painwise.  ALL but one of the positions he had me go into caused shooting pain down my leg, which is NOT what we want.  Last, but finally not least, we found something that helped:  standing up and doing side bends to the right. (Doing them to the left caused the shooting pain)  After doing a few sets of ten, my walking improved quite a bit.  When I got to the office, I was limping a bit and walking weird.  After doing some of the side bends, I walked with a much more normal gait. My back still hurt but there was no shooting pain down my leg.  

My homework from PT: do a set of 10 every hour, minimum 100 reps a day.  More is okay if I feel good.

My diet is also changing.  I discovered a new vegetable: Burdock root.  I am shifting my diet in more of an Asian direction.  Tried gobo kinpira (the Japanese word for burdock is gobo and kinpira is a cooking style) and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. Here's the recipe!

Very simple and easy- and inexpensive- Gobo is not an expensive veggie if you can find it.

1 gobo root (they grow to be about 3 feet long)
1 medium carrot
Dashi stock (I use kombu dashi which is vegetarian but most dashi has fish in it too)
1 Tbsp Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1 Tbsp Sake
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds

1. Peel the gobo and cut into 2-2.5 inch matchsticks- the thinner the better.  Put the freshly cut gobo in a bowl of water until you use it because it turns brown. 

2. Do the same with the carrot, but you do not need to put it in water.

3. Heat a pan or wok with sesame oil and add gobo (no water, just the veggie) and cook for a few minutes stirring frequently.

4. After a few minutes, add carrot and cook all together stirring frequently for about 5 more minutes.

5. Add enough dashi stock to cover the vegetables and add mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar.  Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is gone. 

6. When the liquid is almost all gone, add a little drizzle of sesame oil to taste and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

This recipe can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for 3 days if you make a lot.  It can also be made with just carrots (I made that today actually) but with the same seasonings. Also, try using potato or Japanese sweet potato (Satsumaimo).

The end result with the gobo should look something... like this!

Burdock is also very good for you: low in calories, high in fiber, and it's tasty!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Injured- Now What?

Hello everyone!

Over the past couple of weeks, I had been suffering from pretty bad sciatica, to the point where it would even numb my leg while I stood on it for too long (about 5-10 minutes).  After stretching and walking on it, I went to the doctor and they did an X ray.  I have a pars interarticularis defect (something in the spaces of the vertebrae I think) on my very bottom vertebrae and I need physical therapy (which I will go to this Thursday).

So, Tracy Anderson or any workout like that is out for now. Even walking irritates it (hell, even sitting does) so working out in general aside from what the physical therapists tell me to do is somewhat out.  I do not have access to an indoor pool now (it's autumn and all the outdoor pools are closed for the year) but that would have been a nice alternative. 

I still want to lose weight. Now what do I do?

Diet, diet, diet. Did I mention diet?

What I need to do now is be extremely careful with what I put in my mouth.  Sounds easy, but for me, it really ISN'T.  I am someone who eats mostly, well, crap and it's ADDICTIVE.  It seems the easier it is to make, the worse it is for you. 

So, I am now forcing myself to eat more fresh foods.  Not claiming to become a full on vegan but I want to be mostly vegan and preferably less grain.  I won't be able to make the changes overnight, every time I have tried doing that I failed.  

I have to get used to cooking more again, it's a bit hard with  my back hurting but I have to do this for myself. Maybe in some way this is life's way of smacking myself upside the head to get my health and life back. 

So, in future updates I will be talking more about healthy food I made and how and what I did in physical therapy.

Hopefully you guys are doing a bit better than I am but they say I should make a full recovery. Let's hope so.