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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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asthma

The D-Word

Diet.

No, I’m not on one.

About 4-5 years ago my battle with my allergies started. Every year they get worse. This year, I’m on 4 different medications to manage them and my asthma. In fact, they were the reason why I started Plexus in the first place. Unfortunately at this point I am still battling with them. I’ve seen some difference (don’t need allergy pill EVERY day, don’t need daily inhaler 2x a day EVERY day) but wanted to see if there might be a way to jump start a faster recovery, if possible). I still love Plexus products, and I’m going to continue to be an ambassador. I no longer fight sugar cravings or crashes and really like the athletic benefit especially when I’m working out 2 times a day training for the Olympic Distance Triathlon. I don’t know why, but I just feel like this is the path I’m supposed to be taking, and I’ve seen so many others share their benefits that I’m still going to share. The almost 6 pack abs help too.

Still, I added another avenue. Bryan works with a teacher whose wife is an herbalist, so I went to see her to see if she had any additional suggestions. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t entirely surprised to hear that she suggested a gluten and wheat free diet. Oh, and dairy free.

Wheat and dairy are staples of my diet. I’m definitely more an eater of convenience. I don’t like to cook, and I’m often home just in time for dinner so I like things quick, which means a lot of carbs. It turns out, to my dismay, that wheat can cause allergies, and dairy increases the production of mucous. And actually, I’ve started to notice, for example, that if I eat cereal for dinner or lots of carbs that day, I’m bloated (not as much as before, but still some) by the end of the day.

Great.

This kind of change is a whole new ballgame for me, and I feel like I’m going in totally unprepared. I don’t think I’m going to be able to do this all at once, so I’m going for the larger items first: almond milk, rye or ezekiel bread, rice crackers (because I love crackers), hummus instead of ranch dressing, more veggies, etc. I don’t know if it’ll help, but its worth a shot. I don’t honestly know if I’m going to be able to go FREE, but I can at least greatly reduce. (I mean, chick fil a, and cereal)

Any suggestions are welcomed. (HELP)

Plexus Trial: Months 2 and 3

The best laid plans.

First, if you are just reading this series, you can find my intro post here. If you don’t want to read the whole explanation, basically I decided to try Plexus because I had heard stores of it helping those with seasonal allergies and asthma, and since I am reliant on at least 3 different meds, I wanted to give it a shot. I was good about posting updates at first, and you can find my progress in the first two weeks here and the second two weeks here.

The full truth is, I didn’t post further updates after that because the more humid it got, the crappier my allergies got. I also caught a cold. After the second month, I saw very little difference as far as my allergies went and I was frustrated, but because I had seen improvements elsewhere, and had read that true improvements in this area can take time, I decided to keep going and give it 6 months. So, here we go:

Sugar Cravings

Slim is still doing an excellent job of keeping my insulin levels regulated and my sugar cravings down. There are days that I do not eat dessert AT ALL, which is huge for me. Most days I do still have a little something, but in comparison I’m eating half the junk I ate before, most days less. As an added bonus, because my insulin levels aren’t going nuts, I find myself making smarter food choices overall. I’ve started making smoothies with spinach and kale, I’m packing vegetables in my lunch, and I don’t need to keep sugary snacks around. I don’t put a dessert in my lunchbox anymore A big bag of chocolate we bought from SAM’s 4 months ago still has candy left in it. Now, if I could only say the same about Cheezits…..

Allergies/Asthma

I’m honestly still fighting a battle on this one. Summer is the worst time of year for my allergies because of the humidity and I’m still having to take all of my medicine. A few days will go by and I won’t have to use everything, and then I get a random flare up or start to fight a cold and it’ll suck to be me for a few days. I have noticed, though, that I haven’t had ANY random days where I do nothing but sneeze  – something that happened to me last year 4-5x during the spring and summer months (I seriously counted over 100 sneezes once a few years ago).

Fitness

I cannot deny the benefit here. I did NOT start using slim to lose weight, but in addition to fewer sugar cravings that have helped me make healthier food choices, I lost 3 pounds and see definition in my abdomen that wasn’t there before. The last two months I’ve actually increased the time I’ve spent exercising (an additional 5 hours per month) but my recovery time has decreased. In fact, in preparation for my LASIK procedure that ended up being rescheduled and ultimately canceled again, I exercised 14 days in a row, many days for over an hour at a time, and felt great. That isn’t to say I didn’t start to feel a little tired or burnt out, however, my 14th day ended with some serious sprinting that I didn’t even know I was capable of, especially after 14 consecutive days of exercise.

Sleep

Aside from allergy flare ups, my sleep has been good. I didn’t have a huge issue here.

Energy

I do still experience what I call the “after lunch sleepies” on some days, but not all, and when I do it is to a much lesser degree. I don’t “crash” in the afternoon and want to eat sugary things to stay awake. I do feel like I’m eating a bit more, but I’m also exercising more, and as I said before, my snacks are better choices in general than they used to be. I find I have more energy at the end of the day than I think I’m going to have after work to do things like group workouts after a full day.

Other

My period cramps are less painful. I experience less bloating both overall and during my cycle. I used to go to bed at least mildly bloated every night, and now I hardly do at all. My nails are growing faster.

Plexus has a 60 day money back guarantee if you do not feel as though the products have made a positive impact on your life. And while the allergy issue is still an issue (though I’m hoping with some more time it won’t be – I’ve been told the more meds you take the longer it can take to have full effect, and I can’t exactly cold turkey quit my medications or else I’ll have breathing issues), I found I’m happy with the other benefits and encouraged enough to keep going. Things that I didn’t think I’d find all that impressive or important in theory have turned out to be better than expected in practice (i.e. decreased sugar cravings and fitness benefits).

In the end (after quite a bit of deliberation and coaxing) I decided to become a Plexus Amabassador. I’m really not a salesperson. In fact, I dislike salespeople. I hate when people try to push products, but I’ve seen enough of a change in myself and others that I want to pass on the benefit. My “mentor” as I call her, is pat of a group of ambassadors hosting an opportunity for anyone interested to try some of the products at wholesale cost if you can commit to 3 months. If you’re looking to get healthy, lose weight, want longer and stronger hair and/or nails, need help managing stress or getting focused, eat cheat meals every now and then, want to get rid of a muffin top,  want to be less anxious , want build your immune system, need  to eat less sugar, love to workout, want to better sleep at night, have aches and pains or need more energy, you could find Plexus helpful. If you’re interested, leave a comment with your goal and I will contact you. (With a 60 day money back guarantee, you really have nothing to lose) If not, ignore this. I/she will also be hosting a giveaway through this blog soon.

Onward through a new journey!

Plexus Trial: Weeks 3-4

if you missed my intro post (explaining why I decided to try this), you can find it here.

If you missed Weeks 1-2, you can find it here.

So these couple of weeks were…..interesting.

First, I spent most of week 3 on my cycle, which increased my sweet tooth, even on the Plexus. Then, in a way that I can only describe as a combination of weather and breathing torture, it did this ridiculous sprinkling rain thing here (with some real rain) for 5 days straight, meaning the humidity was ridiculous. After that finally ended, my sinuses went completely out of whack for 3-4 days, which I had attributed to catching the twins’ head cold they had the week before, but may actually have been a form of detox. When I told my friend about my symptoms she explained that yes, it could be a cold, but she experienced something similar herself. She called it a ‘die-off’ or Herxheimer Reaction. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense.

With that said, here we go:

Sugar Cravings

While on my period, even Plexus can’t completely kill my sweet tooth, so for that week I definitely ate more sweets than I did in weeks 1-2. However, it was still half (or perhaps less) what I would normally consume during that time of the month so I consider it a win. Afterwards it leveled back off. Again, I still eat sweets, I’m just finding I don’t crave them like I used to and generally eat much less. Yesterday I had a cupcake and a mini bag of leftover mini eggs (totaling 12-15 I’d say), and that’s what I would now consider a high junk day. It is nice that I can eat a cupcake and not eyeball a second one – one is enough.

Allergies/Asthma

As I mentioned above, a combination of weather and either detox or cold made my allergies and asthma kinda suck these last couple weeks. I had been doing well not needing my albuterol before workouts but did need it more frequently. When my Flonase ran out I tried stopping altogether but that proved to be a premature move because it made my asthma worse. I should note, though that I used it for 2-3 more days and have subsequently forgotten it the last two nights without much issue. I’m still taking my daily Allegra and Singulair. Whether due to a cold or detox my sinuses in general were a mess for a few days which always makes my asthma worse. Even with all of that, typically one puff of the albuterol was enough, and I’ve still been able to avoid the daily inhaler. Today finally my sinuses are feeling like they are less nuts.

Fitness

I am definitely seeing some fitness benefits. For the last two weeks I’ve participated in some track speed work. I’ve always done mine on the treadmill so I used a recommended pace calculator to find what my pace should be for the workout that was planned last Wednesday. The workout was 2×200 with 1 minute rest between, 8×400 with 2 minutes rest between and then 2×200 again with 1 minute rest between. The fastest 400 my most recent 5k time said was 1:39-1:44. My 400 times were between 1:28-1:32.

The following week the workout was a ladder. 400, 600, 800, 1200, 800, 600, 400 (with 1 min 30 seconds rest). It was also 81 degrees and sunny this week, something that typically slows me way down.

Recommended speed times/my times:

400: 1:39-1:44/1:30/1:32

600: 2:32-2:40/2:29/2:32

800: 3:27-3:36/3:27/3:37

1200: 5:19-5:39/5:37

So my second 800 and 1200 were slightly slower or within the recommendation but the rest were faster or right at the cusp. Considering the heat, I’ll take it.

I had hoped to run a 5k yesterday but stayed out too late Friday night, still felt off sinus wise and my back had felt tight all week so the goal is to run one next weekend.

Sleep

About the same

Energy

I feel like I’m recovering from hard workouts faster and they aren’t knocking me down as much as before. Granted, I’ve been doing more bike and short speed sessions lately and what I’m used to as far as “hard” workouts are long distance runs.

Other

Bryan said he has seen a change in me physically. Overall, and particularly during my cycle, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in bloating.

Bring on the next two weeks.

Plexus Trial: Weeks 1-2

As a brief summary for those who might be jumping in and missed my first post, after reading a few testimonies about Plexus helping allergies and asthma, I decided to to try it. I hate relying on allergy and asthma meds and if a chance exists  that I can be through with them, it is worth a shot to me. If you want to read my intro post, here it is.

I had planned to write one post halfway through the two month trial and one at the end. I changed my mind and made it more frequent when I realized I was seeing some changes more quickly.

As a reminder, this is what I am using:

IMG_1458

My friend recommended starting the regimen like adding new medication – start slowly and gradually add. So here is what I did:

Days 1-2 I drank slim only

Days 3-5 I added two bio cleanse

Day 6 I added one Pro Bio 5

By one week in I was up to the recommended number of each. The Bio Cleanse actually does recommend 4 per day (and gives you enough in the bottle to use 4 per day for the month), but I decided to start with two. So at this point I’m a full two weeks into using the Slim, but only one consistent week of the other two supplements.

Changes

First and foremost, I noticed a decrease in sugar cravings after only 2-3 days using the slim. To put things in perspective, I was a dessert after EVERY meal (well, not breakfast, but it usually consisted of something sweet) kind of girl. After only a few days a hostess cupcake sat in my lunchbox, UNTOUCHED, for a week. This, my friends, is BIG. I’ve also noticed that as a result, I’m making some smarter food choices. I’ve started making fruit smoothies 4-5x a week (sweet yes, but much more naturally sweet), snack less, and am eating fewer sweet breakfast foods (fruit loops, pop tarts etc). Now, do I still eat sweets? Absolutely. Do I still sometimes want dessert? Yes. At a birthday party yesterday, I had a cupcake – but only one, and I was completely satisfied, not eyeballing the rest of them when I finished it. This morning I ate cheerios and banana instead of Trix, and can walk by the box of cereal without taking two (or five) handfuls. We bought a giant bag of chocolate at SAMS last week, and I’ve eaten four pieces. FOUR. Usually, I’ll eat that (or more….ok usually more) in one day.

I do still really like cheez-its though. Dang cheez-its.

Allergies/Asthma

This is the big one, of course. I am still taking all of my allergy medications at night at this point. What I have noticed though, is that I’ve needed my inhalers less. I haven’t needed the pre workout albuterol for the last several workouts, though I still always carry it with me. I also haven’t been using the daily inhaler every day. I have still needed it, or the albuterol some nights, but not every night, and usually one puff is enough.

Is this a result of the Pleuxs? Maybe. My asthma can be inconsistent and always has been, so I don’t forget that, but we are in middle of major allergy season and I haven’t needed the same amount of help I have needed before. So it seemed worth noting.

Fitness

One of the more “hidden” benefits, that I’m told, is improved athletic ability. Bio cleanse in and of itself is supposed to “oxygenize and energize” your body, and it combined with slim is supposed to help with energy levels and aid in recovery.

Sounds crazy?

Yeah, I was skeptical too.

A week ago I ran my fastest mile (post twins) during a training run. Then Thursday I ran a mile at 7:37 and 7:53 AFTER a 16 mile interval and hill bike workout (with warm up and cool down, of course) in humid nearly 80 degree weather. The next day my legs were a little tired, but not sore. I remember thinking during a treadmill workout yesterday that I felt like I could breathe better through a hard workout. Placebo effect? The result of training in groups (which always makes me faster)? Maybe. But again, I find it worth noting.

Sleep

About the same.

Energy

About the same, though when I drink Slim between breakfast and lunch, as opposed to first thing in the morning, I notice less of that post lunch need a nap feeling.

Stay tuned….

An Ode to Prednisone

And this one is NOT sarcastic.

I wrote in a recent post about my coughing issues. To provide a history (its kinda boring so I promise to keep it brief), I caught a cold once about a year ago and something about that cold triggered a cough that would.not.go.away. Bryan SWORE up and down I had asthma but I refused to believe it, despite the fact that I’d come in from runs sometimes with a coughing fit so bad it was difficult to catch my breath. After this cold and cough though I finally went to the doc who delivered the news I already was in denial about – I had asthma.

The good news was that its mostly seasonal, meaning it flares up in the springtime and summertime when its humid. In SC, though, its humid 8 months out of the year. Still I consider myself fortunate in that I can control it by taking a daily allergy med and using my albuterol inhaler before I run. Unfortunately any time I get a cough it tends to last for at least a couple weeks.

So lets backtrack to about a month ago.My congestion flared up considerably, which, predictably, caused me to start coughing. Because I’m partly an idiot and because I was afraid to take anything, I hoped (like an idiot) that it would run its course and go away. (it didn’t, thus proving my idiocy)

2 weeks later I was still coughing. And as I explained in my last post, I tried a couple of other things before finally going to the doctor. At this point I’d been coughing for 3 weeks or more, often accompanied by wheezing when I took a deep breath. It is funny how you kind of get used to something. As annoying as hell as the cough was, I actually thought it might be stuck with for the duration and sort of resigned myself to this fact, finally going to the doc only because I was worried about the wheezing and asthma.

3 days of prednisone and I was still coughing, further proving to me that I was quite possibly stuck with this. And then, this morning, an amazing thing happened. I realized I had slept the whole night (well, minus the pee break) without coughing. I could take deep breaths, and not cough. I could laugh and not cough. I could go for a walk and not cough. I spent the entire day taking deep breaths just because I could.

I realized I kinda forgot what breathing normally felt like.

Sheesh. How dumb is that?

So to you, happy help me breathe steroids, An Ode:

I’m just back from my walk (cough)

Geez all I did was talk (cough)

I sit down on the chair(cough)

I go to brush my hair (cough)

I try to breathe in deep (cough)

I wake up from my sleep (cough)

But with a helpful little script

My lungs can get a freaking grip

Woo hoo I can breathe!

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