Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Going for Gold

It seems like I have a lot of updating to do. Life brings a new adventure every day!

On the diet front ... I'm definitely losing weight. That is very encouraging. I don't want to hazard a guess on how much I'll have lost when I weigh in tomorrow night, but I would think at least 4 pounds. Maybe? I'd be happy with three. I'd best not get ahead of myself.

I haven't had to make BIG changes in my diet but some shifts require extra effort. So far. I haven't found it hard at all - yet. I'm usually pretty good at resisting the bad stuff anyway but I've had to stop reaching for a snack when I have a hot flash and I think the increase in protein in my diet helps with that. I always feel full and I think that's preventing that sick feeling that sometimes comes with a hot flash. I continue to drink lots of water. I drink a lot less diet coke - I rarely have any during the week.

In addition to giving up snacks, I have to make sure I have enough protein in all three meals. I like having the same breakfast every day and I LOVE breakfast foods so that's been very easy to manage. Usually I have cereal or oatmeal with some skim milk and fruit but now I'm having a bigger serving of oatmeal (the old fashioned kind) with skim milk. At the end of blueberry season when large packages of them were on sale, I bought a couple of those and froze them. I wish I'd bought more. They are perfect for mixing into my oatmeal. Before I add milk, I stir in half a cup or so of frozen blueberries and by the time I sit down to eat, they've cooled the oatmeal and the oatmeal has thawed the blueberries to the point that they're still nicely firm - not mushy - and they are an absolute BURST of flavour and sweetness. It's taken me a few days to figure out how best to conveniently add protein. The first few days I prepared an egg or two. Making oatmeal and THEN making an egg feels inconvenient and I know I won't stick with that regularly so I needed to find another way. Plus, I would like to reserve the eggs for lunches. I saw a suggestion on the internet - stir some protein powder into oatmeal! Brilliant! I had some hormone-free protein powder from when I was on chemo so I stirred some in. But I didn't like it. Then I found what is working for me so far. I had recently read about a journalist's lifestyle changes in her experience with breast cancer and one of her recommendations was "chia seeds" as a better alternative to flax seed because they're higher in omegas and protein as well as many other good things, plus they have a long shelf life and don't need to be ground to reap the benefits. I hadn't heard of chia seeds but amazingly enough, when I was at HomeSense on Sunday, there was a package of chia seeds. So I picked them up. I sprinkle a couple of teaspoons full on my oatmeal and it's just great! Apparently, chia seeds absorb something like 12 times their weight in water so they really make you feel full for a long time. Read about them at the Montreal Gazette and at CTV News.

Lunches are my biggest challenge because I love sandwiches. They're convenient and yummy. I just like them and I hate giving them up. And this is where a bigger effort in planning comes in. So far I'm using eggs, quinoa, garbanzo beans, or leftover chicken for lunches - dumped on a bowl of various greens and vegetables. I miss sandwiches. Sometimes I'll give up the carb I'm allowed for dinner so I can have some at lunch. I find it easier to skip the carb at dinner than at lunch.

Dinners are pretty easy. I eat much the same as I did before, I just have to make sure I keep my carb portions small. Everything else is the same.

So far I never feel hungry. If I get a craving for a taste of sweetness, I've been allowing myself a few dark chocolate covered goji berries (also found at HomeSense - they have some pretty interesting food items).

I started my exercise program last night. A whole 2 minutes on the cross-trainer and some stretches and weights. Then, because I was feeling good to go and curious, I spent about 20 minutes on the Wii. I jogged, hula-hooped, skiied, snow-boarded ... lots of things. It's quite fun! At least it was fun ... until I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with cramps in the calves of my legs. They persisted most of the night and finally subsided around 4:30 or 5:00. I don't know. Finally I fell asleep. I couldn't think of what to do about them ... I drink lots of water, I get lots of calcium ... I was too tired to go downstairs and look it up on the computer. I slept in this morning. The cramping hasn't come back but my calves feel like beat with a baseball bat! They're not stiff from exercise - they're sore from muscle cramping! A work colleague reminded me that Tamoxifen can cause muscle cramping. I haven't experienced that side effect so far. Maybe the combination of it and overdoing the exercise caused the cramps. No exercise tonight. Back at it tomorrow, though.

I'm going for gold.
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