Bit into a Healthy Lifestyle March 2015

March is a perfect month for celebrating living a healthy lifestyle. 

It's 2 months post new year resolutions and gives you a chance to re-evaluate 
how successful you've been.

For the month I decided to chronicle 
some of the food items I have been eating or 
purchasing at the grocery store.

I have cheat days when a piece of chocolate is 
to my happiness. 
As always, moderation is the key.

I also checked out some movies about nutrition from my local library. I recommend every one of these for anyone interested in learning more about what's really in the foods we eat here in the US. ***Disclaimer**** Can be pretty gross
  • Forks Over Knives
  • Food Inc
  • A Place at the Table (About poverty & hunger in the US)
  • Fed Up (not shown in the picture)

For more information about healthy eating habits check out

Running on the treadmill during Winter Season

For Valentine's day I completed the Black Girls Run virtual 2 mile race on the treadmill at my local YMCA.I wasnt looking forward to this challenge because I hate running indoors. Its mentally decapitating for me. I am an avid outdoor runner.

So, to endure the task, I decided to set the treadmill on a sprint interval training mode. This is better than running at zero percent incline because it doesn't accurately reflect outdoor terrain for completing races. Since my body requires 1 mile of running to "warm" up, the first 30 mins where just running at a 2% incline.

After warm up, my 45 minutes workout consisted of 2 minutes speed work at a speed of 5mph at 5% incline followed by a 2 mins slow pace at 3.5 mph with 3 % incline. Interval incline training not only takes the boredom out of running indoors but can greatly improve your speed. The next time you run a treadmill, resist the urge to leave it at a zero incline and challenge yourself to a higher level. 
Here is a picture of the bling I will be receiving. 

Health Screening : Essential Blood Tests

The past couple of months, my health equilibrium has been very unbalanced. I wasn't presenting with any symptoms BUT as someone who is very in tune with her body, I knew something wasn't right. A doctor's visit confirmed that I had somehow managed to gain 30 pounds. #UNACCEPTABLE

My initial thought was pregnancy but that didn't seem to be the case as the results came back negative. I decided to follow up the screening with a blood test. Most health insurance cover standard blood tests in the same manner health screening for preventive  medicine are covered.

For the blood tests, I did everything that my insurance will allow without any additional payments on my part. You can also speak with your health care provider to see  if they can frame a test as a "preventive medicine" so that you don't get billed for it. I did so for my thyroid blood test which was not medically necessary but I requested it for my own personal knowledge.

Here are the blood ( + urine) tests I requested;

1. Full HIV +  STD Screening. 
I don't care if you're married or not. Start the year with a clean slate in every sense of the word. And if you don't think your partner is unfaithful, then you shouldn't be worried about the results right?

2. Fasting Blood Sugar Test to rule out diabetes and make sure you're body is breaking down carbs = sugars = glucose appropriately. Especially since I was concerned about my weight gain

3. Cholesterol Test to role out heat disease NOT Obesity etc. [note:There are conflicting studies about being overweight with good cholesterol aka Fat &Fit ]

4. Thyroid Test because healthy functioning thyroids = healthy metabolism....unless something else is slowing you down.

5. Blood Cell Counts to make sure your levels are normal for clotting, immune defense and transporting oxygen especially during exercise. If your cardiopulmonary fitness is not adapting over time even as you keep exercising, it may be due to a low blood count (anemic) 

6. Liver and Kidney Functions especially if you're a social drinker and enjoy an occasional rum and coke with lime as I do :)

I recommend everyone get a physical at  least once a year and make use of ALL your health insurance benefits. I will typically do a physical at the beginning of the year and my blood tests half way through the year. This time, I decided to do them all right now because of the weight gain. A yearly physical will document any significant changes in weight, blood pressure and other general body parts functions such as lungs, ears, breast, prostrates and eyes. Even with many home devices that can be used to self monitor. I still recommend going to the doctor at least once for those examinations to get the most accurate values.

Although my results came out excellent, I'm still not satisfied. Keep in mind, I was already on a journey towards reducing my frequency of exercising and focusing more on healthy eating habits. The weight gain results felt like that was bad choice to make. But the excellent test results make it even more mind boggling. Perhaps its time to research on the FAT & FIT & HEALTHY concepts floating around in exercise science research journals.

I am not saying that cutting back on exercising in the reason for the weight gain. Perhaps am over eating? Perhaps I still haven't mastered the art of eating a balanced meal. Perhaps I can finally see the by product of not completely letting go of bread +rice + pasta?

I'm still not running as much as before but am trying to incorporate spinning, barre, yoga and trx classes at the gym while I weather Boston's weekly snow storms.