Great Article on Turner Syndrome

For those surfing the web for anything and everything they can find on Turner Syndrome, here’s an interesting article:

Women with Turner Syndrome tell their stories

It’s worth keeping in mind that everyone has things that make them unique with or without labels, syndromes, or other diagnoses. Just because someone is labeled with a syndrome or is otherwise slightly different due to genetics, that doesn’t make them a proverbial “leper“. Some of them are pretty fantastic!

Increasing Weight & Obesity Issues

My intent was to find British documentaries to watch this morning, but I stumbled upon something else that intrigued me so much I ended up watching all four parts:

The Weight of the Nation: Consequences
The Weight of the Nation: Choices
The Weight of the Nation: Children in Crisis
The Weight of the Nation: Challenges

My biggest obstacles are portion sizes and a sedentary life. What are yours?

Diet, Nutrition, & Fitness

Anyone who eats is on a diet.

noun
 1. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.

Background Story
When I got married six days shy of my 22nd birthday, I weighed 98 pounds. Don’t hate! I’m only 5’3″ tall with small bones. I had to put on weight to get pregnant. I started doing aerobic workouts and stopped skipping breakfast. Once I hit 109 pounds, I conceived. Carrying twins and developing preeclampsia added nearly 60 pounds (25 of which was water retained in the last 5 weeks). Being young and fairly fit helped shed that weight pretty fast. My new normal became about 113 after that. In my 30s, after having two more babies, my new normal was about 120. As I reached my 40s and began another desk job, normal no longer existed. As I passed 120, I thought it was just an aging and changing hormone thing.

When 123 hit, I was no longer comfortable in several pants in my closet. That started to bother me more; not because I hated the way I looked, but because a new wardrobe wasn’t in the budget. I paid more attention to my eating habits then, and my weight went back and forth for a while.

What I haven’t paid attention to is my activity level. I know I need to exercise, but I’m just not motivated. Thinking about it exhausts me. Thinking about scheduling a time to exercise stresses me out. When I hit 128, I freaked a bit. Only the stretchy pants fit at that point. I think my highest weight during my singleton pregnancies was around 135 so the thought of being so close to 130 hit me kind of hard.

Again, don’t hate! I hear some of your minds saying, “I WISH I only weighed 128!” The average weight for a 5’3″ small-framed woman is 108-115. So yes, I could stand to lose about 10 pounds. I know that I feel better when I weigh closer to 115. I also know that I feel better when I eat better foods – foods lower in fat, sugar, and bad carbohydrates.

Several years ago, I started using a food & activity tracker that also had a smartphone app. It was fatsecret.com. It made it easy to see where my calories and nutrients were coming from and to control my portions. What a terrible name for an app, though. Right??

Cut to this year…
I found a new app: myfitnesspal.com. Much nicer name! However, the nutrients it tracks is minimal. Here’s an example:

MyFitnessPal

Myfitnesspal does sync with a popular fitness tracking app, which is great. If you’re looking for something more than basic calorie counting and weight tracking, this may not be the way to go. Although, it does have a very wide range of foods in its database, including restaurant foods. I haven’t been disappointed there!

Interested more in tracking full nutrition, I started searching for something else. The USDA now has something called SuperTracker that has the detail I’m looking for, but its database is still minimal and there’s no corresponding smartphone app. Here’s an example:

SuperTrackerWhat I finally decided to go with is FitDay.com. Unfortunately, it seems to have been created by Mac users because it only has a smartphone app for iPhones. :P However, it has a large database and tracks the nutrients I want to track. Here’s an example:

FitDayI wish it would also inlcude fat, carbs, and protein on this report. Instead, there’s a separate report for those things:

FitDayIt does not break down “good” and “bad” fats, though. For that information, you have to go to your daily food log and click the individual entries. For instance, 1/2 cup of low fat cottage cheese:

FitdayI still like MyFitnessPal because of the smartphone app, but FitDay will satisfy my curiosity and help me gravitate towards a diet containing more of the nutrients my body needs. These are all useful tools, but I don’t consider any to be the holy grail. :D

My main goal is to feel good and have more energy without relying on caffeine and multi-vitamin supplements. Supplements are OK, but a good portion of each pill is passed right through your body without being fully absorbed. Nutrients are better absorbed straight from food. Comfortably buttoning pants I haven’t worn in some time will just be an added bonus!

Coldwater Creek Contamination | St. Louis, Missouri

I grew up, for the most part, in north St. Louis county very near Coldwater Creek. News of radioactive waste having made its way into this creek is not new. However, every time this news surfaces, it seems to be swept under a rug and all but forgotten for several years before making headlines again. Perhaps this time, with the popularity of social networking sites and ever growing technology keeping social media alive, it won’t just be swept under a rug again.

Here’s the story about the known radioactive contamination of Coldwater Creek and the high numbers of cancers and auto-immune diseases in the area. You can read about it and watch a video of the news segment. I would have embedded the video, but that option wasn’t available. The statistics are staggering. The numbers may seem small, but these are only the known cases. My dad lived in the house at point A in the photo below far longer than I did. Was the cancer that took his life so early only linked to smoking, or could this have had any impact at all? We’ll never know, but it does make me wonder a little.

Here’s part 2 of the story aired the next night. This segment covers the West Lake Landfill.

Here’s a map of my neck of the woods growing up:

Coldwater Creek in Florissant, Missouri - North County St. Louis

Hazelwood Central is seen briefly in the news segment linked above and is also a short walking distance away from the creek.

Here’s a closer image showing the distance from the house I lived in from age 7 to 14 to part of Coldwater Creek:

Coldwater Creek in Florissant, Missouri - North County St. LouisThe Florissant Valley of Flowers Festival is held on the banks of Coldwater Creek in that open space you see to the right of point B. When I was young and living in the house at point A, I’m pretty sure we went to that festival every year. We shopped in that shopping center that backs up to it. I played outside almost daily. I know! That’s practically a foreign concept to kids in this day and age, huh?

Granted, I didn’t play in the creek and didn’t live closer to the source of the contamination. That was only about four miles away, though. It’s all very bizarre to hear about now.

I would say I’m glad we moved to Colorado when our kids were little, but the Denver area is not without its own dumping grounds. :O Humans are pretty disgusting creatures and make the worst messes of the planet than any other living creature on it. There really is no escaping it.

2013 New Year’s Resolutions Made Simple

Blah, blah, blah … resolutions … yadda, yadda, blah! We all know the top three resolutions made by people everywhere each year:

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Some form of fitness: work out, get in shape, walk, run, weight train, etc.
  3. Get organized.

Right? Good luck if these are your goals. I prefer not to make annual goals because I know I’m only setting myself up for failure. Those three things are HUGE goals. Without breaking them down into baby steps, they are very difficult to achieve.

Let’s take losing weight as an example. Perhaps in January, a goal can be to cut out or drastically limit something unhealthy from our diets. How about sugar? How much sugar do you consume each week? Each day? Probably too much. New Year’s Day is a freebie. It doesn’t count. If you have any cookies or candies hanging around from Christmas, now is the day to eat them. Share with others if you have to. Just get rid of them! By the end of the month, you should be eating healthier snacks in place of the sugary ones. Here’s a page with some quick and helpful sugar facts. Don’t worry! It’s not full of detailed, scientific jargon. A kid could understand it!

If sugar isn’t a huge issue for you, how about portion sizes? Perhaps it’s more an issue of frequent grazing. Do you find yourself looking for something to eat even if you’re not really hungry? This is usually because you aren’t eating well balanced meals to begin with. Take a look at your three main meals each day and be sure you are starting your day with enough protein to help you power through without crashing, which leaves you seeking snacks to perk you back up. Smoothies are great for that, by the way. Try keeping some low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt, orange juice, bananas, and frozen fruit on hand for this yummy treat.

Also in January, if you want to take baby steps towards multiple resolutions, you could start “moving”. Start adding activity to your life, but don’t jump into a full-blown workout routine. You will certainly risk burning out fast. If you currently lead a sedentary lifestyle, start with a walk around the block. Still feeling good after one round? Go around again! Pay attention to how long it takes and make note of that. Next time you won’t have the excuse of not having enough time. By the end of January, maybe you’ll be walking a mile at least two or three times per week.

Organization? You want to go there, too? OK. Schedule 15 minutes (you can even use a timer – it can be fun to race the clock if you’re a competitive type) and tackle a drawer or two in a room of your choice. If you haven’t used or worn something in the past year, get rid of it. You obviously didn’t miss it! Well, there are exceptions. Maybe you have been missing that shirt that somehow made its way to the wrong drawer. Go ahead and keep that one. If you beat the timer and want to keep going, add another 15 minutes and go for it! After 30 minutes, give yourself a break, though. Again, you don’t want to burn out quickly. Reward yourself … but not with a sugary snack! Time on Pinterest would suffice for me. :)

Don’t give much thought to the rest of the year. Take one month, week, even day at a time. Break it down as small as you need to. Whatever works for you … as long as it does work for you! I don’t know about each of you (whoever you may be), but I’m very easily distracted and derailed. Setting smaller goals and tackling smaller tasks works better for me. I see more success rather than failure that way.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a year of not only achieving goals but surpassing them!

PMDD – Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Here I am to keep it real once again. I do not care for certain prescription medications for personal as well as financial reasons, but it may be time to seek medical treatment for whatever I’ve been experiencing. For a long time I thought it was common PMS (premenstrual syndrome) experienced by a vast majority of women exasperated by my ADD (attention deficit disorder) and its tendencies to bring about brief periods of anxiety and depression.

However, after finally realizing definite patterns and the severity of the symptoms experienced, I truly believe I’ve been dealing with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Not only have I been dealing with it, but everyone around me has as well.

Today is day one of my cycle, and I feel a sort of malaise. It’s not really a “blah” feeling, more of a sort of internal buzz if that makes any sense at all. Progesterone is dropping rapidly and over the next several days, the rise in estrogen will have me on top of the world again. This is the time to schedule important projects! If I were to attempt such projects in the second half of my cycle, I would fail … miserably.

Days 14-20 took me slowly on a downward spiral with feelings of failure and worthlessness creeping in here and there more and more as the days progressed.

Day 21-22 had me feeling like giving up and hiding from the world. I attempted to make fudge twice. Both batches failed. I felt like a failure. When this happens, I look for things I can control, like keeping the fridge and pantry organized just so and keeping up with the dishwasher. This can also backfire because I get frustrated when I return in an hour and find something out of place, dishes in the sink, or crumbs on the table. Never mind that I have my own pile of crap on the end of the table. That’s beside the point.

Day 23 came with a little anger. It was Christmas Eve, and I was working a ten-hour day, which didn’t end until 6pm. Ever worried about providing excellent customer experience, the company I work for wouldn’t dream of letting it’s staff off a little early on Christmas Eve; yet, they added the day after Thanksgiving as a paid holiday starting this year. I’d rather be given Christmas Eve off. So yeah, I was feeling a little resentful that day.

Day 24 was Christmas. Christmas is hard enough as it is but combined with PMDD, and it’s an easy recipe for depression. My son was in another state alone, and my other son was sleeping at his apartment because he works nights. It was just the four of us Christmas morning this year with very modest gifts due to a tight budget. Of course I felt sad about that as well and wish we could have given more even though I know that’s not what it’s all about. Thank goodness for our tradition of a new game every Christmas. That was fun! Then our other son came over to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special with us. It was a very laid back (lazy) day, but still, after 12 Christmases here, I miss the family gatherings we used to go to.

Day 25 was a disaster. Wacky Wednesday again, and this was no exception. I even talked to a drunk guy that didn’t want to shut up. I finally talked him off the meat truck, though. Lunch was a welcome break until the end when I heard running water but no one was showering. Read about that busted water pipe fiasco here. That one had me in tears.

Day 26 – Day off. I took the girls to see Les Miserables at the theater. I already cry easily over movies and TV shows, and this was no exception. Since turkey making plans were ruined due to no running water the day before, I cooked that. Disaster. Where I took the temperature was wrong and after resting for several minutes, I realized it wasn’t really done yet. So I stuck the bird in the microwave! Yes I did! Feeling like a failure yet again, I wanted to cry. No, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep until my estrogen returned!

Day 27 was yesterday. I felt resentful and tense at work. My breathing was shallow all morning, and my heart rate was faster than normal. Anxiety at it’s finest. We now have scheduled breaks and lunch times that we are supposed to adhere to. With M being home for winter break, it’s not a big issue yet. I’m very anxious about this new schedule when she goes back to school, though, especially with A not having a car and needing to use mine but only if her work schedule doesn’t conflict with when M gets off school. When that happens, I have to take A to work so I can also pick M up from school and then have to turn around and pick A back up from work. I feel there’s really no point to work from home with all flexibility taken away now. I keep thinking how much I don’t like my job anymore but feel stuck there. Anyway, period came just before bed. Ugh.

The good news is that by Monday, I’ll probably feel better about work again and be a powerhouse with tasks. The fog will be gone, and it won’t seem so bad anymore. I’ll feel like I can handle it and stick it out as long as I need to … for the next two weeks anyway. Then it will all start over. I can see how this can be confused with a rapid cycling bipolar disorder, but it most definitely has ties to the hormone fluctuations of a menstrual cycle.

I think talking to my doctor about this is probably the right thing to do with the rise in demands and stress level at work. I’ve tried coping skills, and they aren’t working. Of course, there’s also a fear that I will blame my job for pushing me to this point. If things hadn’t changed so much and become so stressful, maybe coping skills alone would work. I really did used to love my job a lot. At the risk of going far off topic, I’ll stop there.

The Garden of Your Mind

I shared this last on Facebook last night, but I’m sure it fell so far down the news feed that no one will see it today – especially since such a small percentage of people stray from the Home page to visit Timelines (Walls) directly. I found a link to it on a photographer’s blog post. It’s catchy because it’s auto-tuned, but something else about it resonated with me so much that I felt it deserved its own blog post!

Here’s a version that isn’t remixed.

“Did you ever think of the many things that you’ve learned to do since you were a tiny baby?” Think about that! Why do we now go through our days doing the same thing over and over and balk about learning new things?

“You have wonderful ideas. All you have to do is think about them, and they’ll grow.” They really will! The trouble is, as most people would argue, we don’t have TIME to think about them. I’m going to play the BS card on that one. We don’t MAKE time to think about them. If you make time to do things that make you truly happy, bring you joy, then the rough things are easier to endure as well.

Tummy Control Undergarments be Damned!

I would rather suffer through an hour of crunches every day and cut out refined sugars and  saturated fat than wear anything resembling Spanx® all day long! I quite enjoy comfort and the ability to breathe freely! Do women realize what all they are smooshing around inside? “Spanx Syndrome” anyone?. 8O

NOTE: Photo – not Spanx brand and not me!

Childhood Cancer Awareness

Pink ribbons. Race for the cure. Breast cancer gets so much attention. That’s great! However, other cancers are pushed to the back of the bus – like childhood cancers. Watch this video. Share this video! Make this a VIRAL VIDEO! If Kony 2012 can do it, so can we!

You may think childhood cancers get plenty of awareness through St. Jude’s, but the funds they raise directly are distributed for research for other catastrophic childhood illnesses as well as cancer. Invisible children can be found in more places than just Uganda. Cancer continues to kill so many children because of inadequate funding to support adequate and timely research.

There are so many things that deserve more awareness – deserve to go viral. Lung cancer is another! Kudos to those with the enthusiasm to take up a cause and run with it far enough to get that much attention (good or bad).

This wasn’t meant to be a thoroughly researched post. It’s simply something that came to my mind and I let spill onto a post. It’s not meant to cause a debate, and I’m not diminishing the importance of any one cause in favor of another. Equal awareness opportunity to everyone! :D

Vive le Weekend!

Albeit a short weekend, it’s still a day off! As of this moment, I have 37.5 hours left before I have to clock in again. About 14 of those hours will be spent sleeping. How much can I do in 23 hours? For starters: this blog post!

There are so many things I need to get done. One might think that just because you have time off work, you must spend all of that time doing personal things that need to get done. I protest! I think it’s important to spend at least half of your time off doing things you enjoy doing as well. I enjoy being lazy resting. I just worked 11 days in a row, including 50 hours in the past six days. I think some rest is not only well-deserved but downright necessary!

I have a couple of movies I bought for $1.99 each at a nearby Blockbuster that’s closing. I plan on watching at least one of those. I also must give my seriously neglected camera a workout. I long to create a new piece of jewelry, too. However, you can’t force creativity to happen in a small window of time. So that may not happen … unless I watch movies at the same time. I do enjoy multitasking!

The main things I need to do are office related (including taxes). After working so much, personal office work is the last thing I want to do, though. :roll:

Nope! Twenty-three hours is just not enough time! Once a new manager is in place and the new staff is put on the weekend schedule, I think I might press for a full 4×10 work schedule so I can have my Sundays back. Having a full two days off in a row is more important to one’s mental well-being than I realized.

Vive le weekend!