90 day challenge, dietary changes and shorts!

Guess who is finally back for another update? Yep that would be me. Apologies for the massively long absence, but I really wanted to take some time to recover some energy and did not want to push myself into writing regular blog posts when I did not feel up for it.

So I am sure you are all wondering: how have things been going? Pretty good actually. In my previous blogpost I wrote about the 90 day challenge I was doing. I completed it about two weeks ago with pretty nice results.

Chest: -4,5 cm
Waist: -5,5 cm
Hips: -4,8 cm
Thighs: -1,6 cm
Weight: -2,1 kg

So overall that is a -16,4 cm loss and I am back at 68 kg. I am pretty pleased with this, the more because I wasn’t able to work-out a lot due to my chronic fatigue.

Speaking of chronic fatigue, I have to say I am gradually getting more energy back. The mesology treatment (please read an older blog post for more information on this) really seems to be working. I have been taking a ton of different supplements to help with my fatigue, as well as digestive issues. On top of that I have also had to make some massive dietary changes.

crash-dietMy mesologist has put me on diet that only includes foods that are easily digestible. So I cannot have gluten other than spelt, I can only have meager meats (such as chicken or lean beef), non-fermented cheeses (so that excludes mozzerella, brie and the like). Oh and I am not allowed to eat raw vegetables, so salads are out of the question.

As I am also rice intolerant (yes, never heard of that before either) and slightly allergic to nightshade, that has mostly left me with options like quinoa, couscous and sweet potatoes. All in all, a pretty restrictive diet.

And to top it all off, I have also had to give up my morning coffee… *gasp* Yep, because apparently the way your body processes coffee counteracts homeopathic.

Thankfully I can still have my trusty Herbalife shake in the morning, though I have had to switch to the “free from” version, as I am apparently allergic to soy ^__^” .

But is it worth it? Definitely! My body just seems to have a lot less trouble processing food, which leaves me with more energy to spend on fun stuff! Like writing blog posts late at night, after a full day of work! Yeah, I know! I am blown away too.

Don’t worry though: I am not going crazy. I am taking this month to stock up on as much energy as I can. I have learned that if I am high on energy, I should still take it easy and preserve it, rather give in to the inclination to cram in all the things I have been wanting to do for weeks in a short period of time. Honestly, it’s really hard not to do this. Especially with the weather being absolutely lovely!

… And speaking of nice weather. I actually decided to take the plunge this year. I have been considering it for years now, but never actually did. This year, things are going to be different though: cause I bought not one, but TWO pairs of denim shorts! I bought a pair in dark blue and gray.

shorts

For reference, I have not worn shorts since I was in primary school. I have always felt like I need to hide my (not particularly small) very white thighs. But this year, I just thought: screw it! I’m done with wearing long jeans when it’s 28 degrees (Celsius) outside. No mas!

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bonus points if you can name the reference in the comments

So now I just have to get myself a cute pair of sneakers to go with them and I’m 100% ready for summer in both Holland and Florida! 😀 Yep! November in Walt Disney World is going to be HOT: average of 25 degrees Celcius so shorts will definitely be in order ;).

Well that’s all for now guys. I will try not to make you guys wait another 2,5 months before the next post ;).

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90 day challenge: raaawrr!

About a month ago I signed up through my Herbalife coach to start a 90 day challenge. With her help I have been focusing on regaining some more energy and loosing centimeters/ weight by simultaneously building muscle.

Due to the crash in energy levels in August I just let myself go and gained some of the pounds back. When I started the challenge I weighed in at 70 kg, or 154,3 pounds.  Which is technically still a healthy weight, and a normal BMI, but not really where I want to be.

So how has it been going? Well…. Slow. Very, very slow. The first two weeks I really struggled to regain my focus and to get my eating habits under control. This is partially because I have slowly been regaining some of my energy. My body has really been struggling to get a handle on this, as I have been experiencing spikes and drops in energy: one day I was doing great, the next day I felt like I hadn’t slept all night. And as a result, on the lower energy days I kept getting the munchies, because my body was telling me to send in the reinforcements… i.e. food … and honestly, who has ever craved carrots and peas or other healthy things?

On top of that, in the third week I suddenly found myself struggling with something I have hitherto never had a problem with: bloating. The anti-biotics that have been prescribed by my mesiologist have decided to kick in and occasional bloating is a bit of a side effect. The result: when I stood on the scales last week Saturday I was at 70,4 kg (or 155.2 pounds)! Despite the gain, I had still miraculously lost a couple of millimeters around my waist though, so it wasn’t all misery.

Through all this my coach Kim has been so sweet and such a support. It’s been really nice to have someone who doesn’t only keep me accountable, but also cheers me up when I have been dissatisfied with my losses. I really couldn’t hope for a better coach.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor hamster eatingThis week somehow everything has made a 180 degree turn… Honestly, it has been pretty fab. Although my energy levels are currently not that great, I have been able to get a bit of exercise in and have been able to get my eating under control. Which is a miracle considering hell week is coming up, and I have the tendency to munch on anything and everything the week before. It’s like my body is preparing for a monthly week of hibernation and thinks it needs to stock up on supplies or something haha.

When I stepped on the scales this morning I had lost a whopping -0,8 kg (or roughly 1,8 pounds) in a week! I am not going to lie, I am pretty chuffed with that.

So, just to give you an overview of how much I have lost in total since I started roughly 30 days ago:

Weight:  – 0.5 kg
Chest:     – 1,8 cm
Waist:    – 2,7 cm
Hips:      – 1,3 cm
Thighs:  – 0,3 cm
Total cm lost all together: 6,1 cm.

Granted, it’s not spectacular and it could have been better. But you know what, as a wise man once told me (you know who you are), a loss, is a loss, is a loss. So I’ll take it.

Now I just have to sink my teeth in my current mindset, persevere… become a lion!

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Raaawwwr!!!!

Round 3: Battling the fatigue with… Mesology

Well it is almost the end of the first month of the new year, so it is high time for a blogpost and an update. I am writing this as I am still battling it out with the flu that has been going around, so apologies for any typo’s.

As my trusty readers will now, chronic fatigue syndrome has really been kicking my but lately. I therefore made it one of my new year’s resolutions to actually learn how to pace myself and to improve my energy levels in 2018.

So the first thing I did was taking a vacation. We rented a little cottage in a holiday park, where I walked a bit, drew a bit in my new bullet journal and did a whole lot of nothing. Now I am the type of person who usually wants to do anything and everything when they go on holiday, so this was pretty new to me… But gosh it was wonderful. And I am planning to at least have one such vacation per year from now on.

Apart from my holiday, I also decided to try-out two other things: 1). mesology and 2) the Heralife 90 day challenge. Now, because I have quite a lot to say about both topics, I am going to be focusing on mesology in this blogpost and will write another one about my Herbalife challenge. It’s going to have some full lenght before pictures, so stay tuned for that!

So, Mesology…. I am pretty sure the majority of you will have never heard of the term. Well, I honestly hadn’t come across it either until my boss brought it up. Apparently a friend of hers and a co-worker have made great progress with it. So she urged me to give it a try. As I currently have nothing to loose and everything to gain, I decided to give it a shot!

So what the heck is mesology? Well it basically uses clinical medicine and combines it with homeopathic treatments from all over the world, including China (acupuncture) and Indian (Ayurveda). Basically, they have just taken all the good stuff from the different treatments and combined them.

During my first appointment about 1,5 weeks ago my mesologist checked a number of things. She first asked me to fill out a form so she could know a bit more about my medical background, then she did a stomach examination, felt my wrists (not quite sure why), examined my tongue and then turned to electro-acupuncture. Yep… electro-accupuncture. Nope, you do not get electrocuted nor do they put needles in you (thank god for that). Instead, they do something that is a whole lot more complicated to explain. So bare with me.

Below I have included a picture of device used for electro-acupuncture.

My mesologist asked me to hold the shiny cylinder in my one hand whilst she used the pen (at the fore of the picture) to press the meridian points in my body (hence acupuncture). She examined the meridians on my hands and feet. Whenever she pressed the pen against my body, the little meter would tell her how well the organs worked that were connected to the meridian points she was pressing with the pen.

My mesiologist used the round metal device in the picture (on the left), to center the meter in between. However, by placing little test tubes with supplements, vitamins or minerals in one of the metal circles in the device, she was able to measure how the supplements would affect my body.

So what did I learn?

1. Apparently I am allergic to soy products. ^__^” Which would explain why the anti-inflamatory diet was such a big failure (that diet is super high in soy). So no soybeans, tofu or anything of the sort.

2. Like my mom, I apparently don’t respond too well to foods belonging to the nightshade family (such as tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber or potatoes). Although it is less of a problem when they are pealed and cooked through, she nevertheless advised me to limit the amount of potatoes I eat.

no rice3. My body does not like rice. According to my mesologist my body cannot process rice very well so she has forbidden me from eating rice for the time beaing… Yeah… So hardly any potatoes and no rice. *Insert sad teary eyed face here*. This is basically what I eat with every meal, so that is going to be interesting. Thankfully I can have quinoa, bulgur. couscous, red lentils and sweet potatoes. So I have been looking up recipes with those ingredients. I have already tried a really nice broccoli, quinoa and cheese casserole by Cookie and Kate (side note: I did adjust the amount of cheese in there, chose almond milk instead of regular and added in some onions and an extra clove of garlic for a bit more flavour). So I am sure I can manage. But my cooking is definitely going to be a heck of a lot more adventurous. ^__^”

4. My immune system is a hot mess (oh the irony as I write this whilst having the flu). Now this is definitely part of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as the fatigue is partly caused by your immune system going hay wire. Usually this can be traced back to a viral decease in the past. In my case this is probably pfeifer’s decease which I had when I was 15 years old, as my mesologist was able to determine that I respond really well to supplements which aid people with pfeifer.

unhappy stomach5. My digestive system isn’t in a much better state than my immune system. In fact, it might be worse (yeay!). When I went to the hospital because of my intense fatigue about 4 (?) years ago, I complained to them about being nauseous all the time. Since stomach pills alleviated the nausea, they concluded that I had too much stomach acid and prescribed stomach protectors. At that point in time they were unable to pinpoint the fatigue, because my bloodtests were good. During later hospital visits in which they focused on my fatigue, I suggested multipletimes that there might be a correlation between the nausea and my fatigue, but they dismissed this. These were clearly separate complains (which just happened to surface at the same time… right).

Well, fast forward to my mesology appointment. Turns out I do not have too much stomach acid, but too little. So, what happens when you have to little stomach acid? Whatever you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner does not get digested properly. As a result, it will continue to sit in your stomach, where it will slowly begin to fester and yeast, causing you to become incredibly nauseous. Lovely image, isn’t it? I would say that’s a whole different issue than too much stomach acid.

intestineNow if only my digestive issues would have ended there. But oh no, there’s more! Apparently my small intestine is not working properly. To put it into perspective: if my intestine was working properly, my electro-acupuncture meter should have indicated at least 40, or preferably 60 and above… instead it read 12! So what does this mean? It means that my small intestine often fails to tell the rest of my body which fluids it needs to produce to get all the nutrients out of my food. Now, I have no problem absorbing the nutrients once they have been extracted, but because my food is not processed properly I simply do not get enough of them. As a result, I get increasingly more  tired, as I am pretty much constantly undernourished. My mesologist even suggested that this might even be the cause of my intense nightmares.

Whilst my mesologist was summing up all of the above, I couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I am still standing up straight and managing to function at least somewhat properly. My body is an absolute mess.

I did think it made an awful lot of sense what she said though. She was able to connected the dots and the different symptoms in a way no (other) doctor has yet been able to do. And what’s more: sShe said that if we address all the issues above, we might solve 80% of the problem…. Yes you read that right:

80 flipping percent!

Hope GIFMeaning I might be able to get rid of the majority of this mind boggling, draining, annoying fatigue yet! *insert Haleluja chorus here*. I swear, if she can help me get rid of this fatigue, I am buying her one massive bouquet of flowers (I would buy whine, but I have no idea if she likes alchohol).

But now I am sure you are all wondering: how are we going to address this massive list of issues? Well, by not eating the things I am allergic to and taking a whole bunch of supplements (including probiotics). And oh my god those supplements are expensive. Like seriously… But the good thing is that my mesologist does not sell them herself, so she isn’t prescribing things to make a profit.

So fingers-crossed that we can tackle that 80 (?!) percent people. Until that point, I’ll…

Tip: check out all of Chibird’s awesomely cute motivational gifs 😉

To invinity and beyond!

Ehm, hey there! I am sure you are all wondering where I have been and what caused the loonnnggg silence on my blog. Well get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, because this is going to be another looonnngg post.

As I wrote in my previous post, I wasn’t really doing all that great. At the time my CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) was kicking my but, which caused me to try the anti-inflammatory diet.

After two weeks of the diet, I decided to drastically adjust it. My body was not responding well to the no-gluten side of it. So rather than going gluten-free, I decided to reduce the amount of gluten I ate, but still allow myself to eat the occasional sandwich if my body indicated it needed it. Same for diary and meat products. I have been eating less meat (firmly sticking to lean meats such as chicken) and more fish and have tried to eat 1-2 vegetarian dishes each day. I occasinally eat a slice of cheese or coffee creamer, but oterwise firmly stick to non-dairy products such as almond milk.

tired2Unfortunately, the diet has still left me struggling with fatigue big time. I have had a number of weeks when going to work three days a week was pretty much all I could manage. I actually had to drop everything else, because I was physically incapable of doing it or because I was so tired that the thought of it simply stressed me out.

As such, I had to give up yoga, decorative planning and blogging for a while. I even had to skip a couple of my tap dance classes… Now that’s not to say I have not done anything fun at all though. I have allowed myself to go to Movie Park Germany and gone out to dinner with my aunt and uncle who I had not seen in a long while. So all has not been pure missery :). But I have had to pay a price for those outings: I have needed at least a day if not more to recover from them.

As a result of the fatigue I have not been making much progress with my dissertation either. Most days I have just been too tired, so my brain has been unable to translate my ideas into coherent, gramatically correct English sentences >.>.

So what has all of this meant for my weight? Well, I have to confess that it has caused me to fall of the wagon. When I feel this extremely tired my eating tends to get a bit out of control. My will power goes down the drain and I just eat anything I can get my hands on. It’s like my body goes into survival mode. Food means energy, and energy is what we need. So eating it is! The result: I put on 1,5 kilo’s… Go me *sigh*.

everytime-ithinkihave-allmy-ducks-in-a-row-one-of-the-23692428Last Saturday I decided it was time to get my ducks back in a row. I did some Yoga, planned the upcoming week and was frankly ready to get back on track… And then I got hit by some kind of virus or bacteria. Which has resulted in me leaving work early on Monday and just sitting on the couch with a body that was just a trembling heap of missery for the rest of the week. My legs felt shaky and I got out of breath just walking from the couch to the kitchen and back: and that’s 30 freaking steps (I have counted them)…

But I refuse to let this get me down. I am going to use the weekend to get better and then slowly pick-up the pieces the coming week. My goal is to get back on track with my food intake and to do what I can without over excerting myself.

Needless to say I have had to give up running for a while as well. And as much as I hate it (I actually mis running) it doesn’t look like I will be getting back into that for at least another month. I have also figured out that it is probably going to take me much longer to train for a 5k than a healthy person. So with that in mind, it is probably a good thing that my best friend and I have decided to postpone our goal to run the RunDisney race by another year.

However, this decision to postpone our first 5k wasn’t made because of my fatigue though. On the contrary, I decided to do so, because of something really, really exciting!

Are you guys ready for it?

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I have booked a trip to Walt Disney World Florida!

I am so excited. My fiancé and I are going to go next year at the end of November. Yep, so we will be there during the Christmas season! This trip will be to celebrate the completion of my PhD (so I’d better finish the bloody thing!). And I am so, so, so excited!

My mother-in-law is also coming with us as she has never been to Disney World, but always wanted to go. Some of my collegues were quite surprised about this decision, as they couldn’t imagine taking one of their in-laws with them on vacation. But I am actually really excited for her to join us on this trip. I believe this is the first vaction where my fiancé will have his mom all to himself, as he has always had to share her with his two other siblings, so it will be nice for them to spend some quality time together. Moreover, I really get along with her (she’s a lovely person) and she’s just as much into Christmas and amusement parks as I am. And bonus: it will be nice to have someone who also likes to visit every single souvenir shop hahaha ;).

So in honor of our trip ti Disney I have decided to make y motto for the upcoming week:

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I’m gonna kick this week’s but!

 

Anti-inflammatory diet: 2 weeks in

Well it sure has been an interesting two weeks. Being on this anti-inflammatory diet has forced me out of my comfort zone and to try new dishes and to cook with ingredients and spices that I have never used before myself (including tofu, almond flour and turmeric). Unfortunately, it also forced me to deal with some withdrawal symptoms.

70106a5c90dfb4c97ff20d9c0d712b9cWhen I decided to cut gluten, dairy and meat from my diet, I was not really prepared for the withdrawal symptoms that go with it. Last weekend I had a significant drop in energy levels. On Sunday I was particularly drained and had to deal with dizziness on top of one of my morning colds.

I got through Monday alright, but felt less energetic on Tuesday. You may or may not have heard of Vegan detox or paleo flu, but what basically happens is that you get full blow flu symptoms whilst your body is trying to cope with your new eating pattern. Well I was coping with this flu on Tuesday. It did not stop me from opening my home to my lovely niece and her daughter and husband though. I had not seen them for about 2 years so it was really nice to see them and chat with them, despite not feeling too great.

Thankfully, on Wednesday evening things started to look up and I have been slowly but surely regaining some of my energy. Continue reading

Diet overhaul: the anti-inflammatory diet

Some of you might have seen it pop by on their facebook feed or have come across it on the news, but Stanford university recently published an article announcing that they have likely found the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or CFS).

According to the article CFS is an autoimmune disease. According to the research the body of someone suffering from CFS is itself constantly causing inflammations (i.e. inflections), which the immune system then has to battle. As such, the immune system is constantly at work and often in total overdrive. No wonder that we suffer from such things as muscle ache, throat ache and what I have come to call morning colds.

After reading up on the research and the study, I started to do some digging online to see if there was anything I could do to reduce the inflammation my body is causing. And that is how I came across the anti-inflammatory diet.

This diet, which is not very well-known in Holland or the rest of the EU, was developed by an American doctor called Andrew Weil. This diet is basically a tweaked version of the Mediterranean diet, with the focus on anti-inflammatory foods and what they call clean-eating  – food that has not been tempered with. You have to drastically reduce your sugar intake from non-fruit sources, though you are allowed to use honey or maple syrup with moderation, load up onfish.jpg the anti-inflammatory fruitsies, veggies (think berries, broccoli etc.) and Asian mushrooms. The diet also requires you to eat lots of fish, beans, tofu  and other biological soy based products. Your food has to be both dairy and gluten free. So, basically all animal products are out with the exception of fish (which makes it nearly vegan). Dr. Weil has published a really nifty food pyramid on his website which really explains the diet well, for those of you who are interested.

broccoliAs the diet has helped a number of people with auto-immune deceases, I thought: nothing ventured nothing gained. Let’s give it a try!

This does mean that I will (temporarily) be quitting the Herbalife program. Although it definitely enhanced my energy levels (and I highly recommend it to those looking for more energy!), it did not address the core issue. And honestly, I never expected it would, as my wonderful coach Kim had been open and honest with me about this from the start. I am, however, hoping that the anti-inflammatory diet will be able to eventually help me get better.

1454643019-6e09a6a82322ab09d2d5588c8b87be3eI had initially decided to start the diet after my birthday. I really wanted to have cake before saying goodbye to gluten. Moreover, quite frankly I did not really look forward to having giving up bread or meat: I love both with a passion haha.

However, my plummeting energy-levels spurred me on to start the diet this Saturday. Honestly, the past few days have been pretty darn bad. I wasn’t able to go for my run on Wednesday and looked like a freaking zombie on Thursday (one of my colleagues feared I would fall over: that’s how bad I looked). And the past two workdays really took their toll. I am currently writing this blogpost sitting on the couch with another morning cold, swollen glands and a bit of a head ache.

So to kick off of my diet overhaul, I had a chia pudding for breakfast this morning. It’s not really sweet so I wouldn’t really call it a pudding, but it really works well for breakfast. I found the recipe on a Youtube channel called Clean Eating:

CHOCOLATE CHIA PUDDING
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite milk)
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. maple syrup (or your favorite sweetener)
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
dash of cinnamon

As my concoction looks far less appealing than the Youtube video I shall spare you the picture :P.

Now for my honest opinion of this morning’s breakfast. Personally, I would have liked it to be a bit sweeter. So I added bits of banana to it whilst eating, which worked really well. Tomorrow I am going to try it with honey rather than maple syrup just to see if that adds a bit more sweetness to it.

The rest of today I will be spending on food prep. I will, amongst other things, be making almond flour based pancakes. I am freezing those so I can defrost them on the days when I go to work. So I can have some Pancakes with fruits and a bit of maple syrup in the morning.

200_sI will also be making my lunches, which will consist mostly of baked seasoned tofu, beans and brown rice. I might switch it up a little once I have found more recipes (and have the energy to cook more elaborate stuff). The tofu is going to be interesting though, as I have neither eaten nor cooked it before. ^__^” But here’s for trying new stuff!

Tonight’s dish will most likely be a simple, but nutritious bean dish with brown rice. And I will have some fruits and cucumber for snacks… This diet is definitely going to take some getting used to. So wish me luck.

Also, I am considering renaming this blog: “How my CFS turned me into a yoga doing, jogging, tap dancing and super-food eating health freak” hahaha. What do you guys think?

Also, ideas for delicious vegetarian, gluten free recipes are welcome! 😀

(Again apologies for typo’s and such… My brain’s a bit foggy today).