Fitness|Wellness

My Surprise Trip to the ER

An average Friday in my life recently went like this …

But first … turn back the clock two days prior. My weekly dance fitness workout had me gasping for breath while I clenched my chest. No idea why I was experiencing such pain but it was very out of the ordinary and needless to say that workout pretty much sucked ass. I went home, had dinner and attempted a bit of blogging but the pain was rather intense so I called it a night.

I woke up the next morning in pain, but it was more intense. Off to work I went but scheduled an appointment with my GP. Big mistake on my part because I should have just went straight to the ER. He drew bloods and I returned to work eagerly awaiting my results. Doc was checking for a possible heart attack or blood clots.

I only got the results on Friday morning and everything was clear. So why the hell was I in such excruciating pain. I wasn’t convinced or happy with the diagnosis so I went for a second opinion. Listening to my body and all that. The girl is learning, so lets take a moment to celebrate the small victories.

More blood tests ensued. I was put on a treadmill to try to induce the chest pains. Yeah, you heard right. Like I wasn’t in enough pain, they wanted to trigger the chest pains further.  Wait for it … this is actually called a STRESS ECG. I had arrived in a mini dress and cowboy boots, definitely not dressed for the occasion if you ask me. So dressed in opaque stockings, cowboy boots, bra-less and in a hospital gown I hopped onto the treadmill. Lemme tell you what, the quickest way to lose your dignity is to get sick and have to undergo medical procedures. There I was walking on a treadmill with my saggy boobs exposed and wires attached to me. Thank the good Lord I only survived two minutes on the treadmill before the pain pushed up from my chest into my throat. The thought of my boobs flopping around uncontrollably was just too much to bare.

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Cheers goodbye – it was a hospital admission for me, so a cardiologist could have a bash. He wasted no time and ran more blood tests and an ECG. Doctor arrived with this Rolls Royce of a computer system that checks out your heart. OMG, the sonar of my heart was epic. I never seen my heart beat like that. It was strong, powerful and honestly …… beautiful to watch. I got a bit emo about it. Probably because we take the non-stop functioning of our hearts for granted. Then Doc did a sonar on my neck to check for fatty deposits which is an indication of high cholesterol. Great news, that was all clear.

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Doc mentioned that my symptoms were significant and he was concerned. So he wanted to check for possible clots on my lungs. Quick wheelchair ride to have my lunch lungs looked at (I’m starving as I write this while I wait for the food trolley to arrive).  Upon arrival I had to strip again and hop onto the bed so that they could prep me.  I had to listen to the nurses standing on either side discussing how to get the needle into my arm. At that point I had lost all confidence in them and wished they would just shut the hell up and pretend they knew what they were doing. Surprise, surprise … the needle was in but it was a FUCK UP.  Let’s try your other arm they said. More discussions took place and at that point I asked for the doc. Well, Dr Cool walks in, takes my arm, jabs the needle in and Bob’s your Uncle. It was like a military sneak attack with no warning  but the needle was in. My body didn’t agree with the contrast and I ended up vomiting just as we finished. Not glamorous at all but hey that’s life.

Now before I continue, here’s a serious question for you? What is it about hospitals and medication, that turns a normally calm and poised woman into a bloody fart factory. Lemme just say I was ever so grateful to have a room all to myself.

Anyways, all my results were back and my results were amazing. I’m a healthy, fit woman in a body that refuses to fail me. My lifestyle change has paid off and all these tests confirmed that, but I still had pain and no answers.

So it was time for an angiogram. They basically make an incision in your groin area then work through there to check on your heart. Firstly, the nurse asked if I had shaved my GROIN SIDES. WTF!!! What is a groin side?? I still don’t know. Thank goodness for neatly maintained pubes because that archaic shaver would have been a disaster. I was awake for the procedure and watched the screens as the Cardiologists worked from the tiny opening on my “groin side” all the way up to my heart. It looked like a bloody alien moving in my body. Very freaking weird if you ask me. I could see them inject the dye into my body and how it lit up my arteries. I even felt it touch my heart (like literally). It was truly amazing to watch and experience. The Cardiologists said my heart was beautiful and perfect. I’m gonna take that literally and figuratively. My arteries are fantastic with perfect flow and no signs of blockages.

After a battery of tests, all the dangerous possibilities have been ruled out.   Another stress test will take place in a week.  Let’s just mess with me before another weekend and induce some pain in my life, why don’t we.  The likelihood that its hernia or stress is becoming more and more evident.   In the mean time NO EXERCISE and NO ALCOHOL.

How ironic that I was discharged on World Health Day with a clean bill of health (but no explanantion to my pain).  Fun times ahead I tell you!

Body positive|Fitness

Body positivity does not justify obesity

I was recently attacked and confronted about the supposed claims that I make, which has sparked this blog post.  The gist of the conversation was  ….

“How can you say you are body positive and love your curves if you are trying to lose weight?”

Being body positive is about confidence and even at my heaviest of 108kg I was sexy AF. I believe in dressing for my body shape and I’ve always been a confident person. Don’t get me wrong, of course I had my insecurities. I just found ways to work around them.

At my heaviest, I was also at my unhealthiest. My personal experience has taught me that even though I was confidant and felt amazing about my appearance, being obese had dangerous connotations when it came to my health and well-being. I was hypertensive, pre-diabetic and my cholesterol and insulin resistance counts had spiked. How did this happen overnight? Well it didn’t! Excessive weight gain happens over a period of time. I was too busy living in denial and hiding behind my confidence, that I let my weight skyrocket and my health deteriorate.  As stated by the Times LIVE “Body positive movement is NOT about glorifying obesity.”

Just over a year ago I ate fairly healthily, so I assumed I was doing the right things. I was however overeating, my calorie intake far exceeded my physical activity. I wasn’t getting enough rest and I definitely should have swapped my alcohol intake with my water intake. All in all I wasn’t living a balanced and healthy life.

My weight loss journey isn’t about being skinny, but instead about being healthy and strong. My weight loss journey has taught me to accept my flabby arms, stretch marks and cellulite ridden thighs.

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Now my focus is on improving those areas by eating right and firming up. A year ago I wore a size 44 to 46 and now I wear a size 38. The goal I had set for myself a year ago was to drop to a size 36 but I think a size 34 (which still makes means I am a plus size) would be a reasonable goal when I take into account the visceral fat I still need to lose. Visceral fat is a “deep” fat that’s stored further underneath the skin than belly fat. It’s a form of gel-like fat that’s actually wrapped around major organs, including the liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Body positivity means different things to different people, irrespective of whether you are fat or thin.  “The Body Positive Movement is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being”.

Now let me take a moment to chat about fitness. Firstly, here is a little rant. The misconception that thin equals fit drives me completely insane.  To put it very bluntly, it FUCKS me off.  Your size doesn’t determine your damn fitness level. Let me also point out that my big ass just happens to be fitter than many people who aren’t overweight. Fitness does more for me than just help me drop dress sizes. Fitness keeps me sane, helps me process things, makes me feel good and strong and it even helps me sleep better. Fitness is contagious but I’m not like the super athletes out there who train religiously several times a day. I’m all about getting my body moving and having fun while I do it. Fitness is a lifestyle and a journey of self-love and self-acceptance.

Guys I absolutely love my curves, I love my saggy boobs and my big booty. Let’s be honest, I’ve got thighs for days and they are not going anywhere, anytime soon. I’m not looking to lose that look but merely looking to enhance it while maintaining a great level of health and fitness. I don’t care too much about the size I wear as much as I care about having to live with chronic diseases or being sick all the time. I absolutely refuse to compromise my health just to prove that I am body positive.  I have also never been in the business of proving myself to anyone, and I don’t intend succumbing to the pressures of social media anytime soon. I live my life with conviction and I AM UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME!!!

 

Food

Thai Prawn Stir-fry

Thai Prawn Stir-fry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Ingredients

  • 500g raw, peeled prawns
  • 2 red chillis, cut into rings
  • 3 garlic cloves, 1 crushed and 2 finely sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 1 small purple cabbage, cut into shreds
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 – 3 tbsp coconut flakes ( garnish)
  • lime wedges (garnish)
  • 3cm piece ginger, finely sliced
  • spring onions, finely sliced
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp Thai spice

Directions

  1. Shell the prawns and set aside in a bowl.  Don’t forget to remove the poop shoot.
  2. Blitz chilli, garlic, coriander, coconut sugar and thai spice in a spice grinder.  Add half of the lime juice and the fish sauce, then pour this over the prawns.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok, add the ginger and spring onions and fry for 1 min. Add the cabbage and fry for 1 min, until starts to soften.
  4. Add bean sprouts, and toss together until the bean sprouts start to wilt. Add the soy sauce into a serving dish.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in the wok and add the prawns.  Toss for 1-2 mins until they turn pink, add the marinade and stir.
  6. Combine the veg and prawns
  7. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and coriander
  8. Serve with lime wedges.


Food|Healthy eating

Do you feel it in your gut?

One of the trending topics in terms of health and wellness at the moment is “Gut Health” but what exactly does this mean. Well basically it’s the balance of good and bad bacteria living in the digestive tract.

To find this achievable state you need to feed your good bacteria and starve the less desirable bacteria.  In other words you would need to swap processed foods, breads and pastas for more plants, fruit, seeds and nuts.  You would also have to add fermented foods like yoghurt, kombucha, kimchi and kefir to your diet.  These items naturally contain probiotics and/or healthy bacteria.

There are 100 trillion bacteria in your body, and most of them are in your intestines. What you eat determines what kind of bacteria enters your gut, this is why its crucial to realize that what you put in there has long-term effects. According to Nava, a Health and Vitality Center, the stomach is like a second brain which can affect your mood, energy levels, libido, creative output and etc.  – The Huffington Post

Possible Signs of an Unhealthy Gut

  • Anxiety
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhoea & gas
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Frequent Infections
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Poor memory and concentration, ADD or ADHD
  • Skin problems like eczema

What to Eat to Improve Your Gut  Health

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – helps your body create hydrochloric acid, which is a beneficial belly acid that helps digest fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
  • Kombucha – the most natural way to get a buzz, it’s probiotic-packed meaning it’s good for your gut.
  • Dairy or Lactose-free yoghurts – made from almond, soy, or rice milk are much easier for people to digest than their dairy counterparts.
  • Fermented Coffee – Drinking coffee can improve athletic performance, particularly for endurance sports so you should drink it before your workouts for energy.
  • Sauerkraut – is a naturally fermented food that has micro-organisms which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish.
  • Kefir – is great for your gut as it usually contains at least 10 live and active strains of bacteria, compared to most yoghurts which usually have three.
  • Sprouted Grains – The process involved in making sprouted grain bread products makes it easier for some people to digest rather than other traditional wheat products, which in turn makes it easier for nutrients to be absorbed into the body
  • Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid that is an antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-fungal.
  • Wild Salmon –  has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes.
  • Garlic – is a wonderful prebiotic and even better when eaten raw.
  • Miso – aside from being a good source of protein and fibre, it’s rich in probiotics meaning it can help treat intestinal disorders.
  • Chocolate -raw and certified organic, prebiotic and probiotic enhanced chocolate bars the most delicious way to get your prebiotic and probiotic fix.
  • Collagen – is one of the largest proteins in our bodies—in fact, it’s what basically keeps our body together.
  • Bone broth –  is a stock made from the bones and marrow of a chicken or cow and it’s slow cooked for 24-72 hours.
  • Onions – as well as Jerusalem artichokes and chicory are high in prebiotics, which will help promote the growth of good bacteria. To make the most of these nutrient-rich foods you’ll want to avoid as many refined foods (think white flour and white sugar-based anything), which feed the bacteria in our gut that we don’t want.
  • Kvass – beverage commonly made from rye bread, meaning it’s filled with digestive health benefits.
  • High Fibre Foods – like artichokes, green peas, lentils, black and lima beans, almonds raspberries, and apples are a great addition to your diet.
  • Kimchi – is rich in probiotics and excellent at keeping things moving in your digestive tract.
  • Yoghurt – Grass-fed, full-fat and plain (no sugar added) yoghurt has a very high amount of beneficial probiotics.

Improved Gut Health Can Aid:

  • Allergies
  • Brain function
  • Immune function (80% of our immune system is located in the gut!)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Symptoms of anger, sadness and depression
  • Toxin levels in the body
  • Weight loss

In the past I never gave my gut a second thought, but with time and research I’ve come to learn otherwise.  It is important for us to acknowledge and understand the effects of gut health on our bodies both mentally and physically, in doing so we will need to optimise our gut health in more innovative ways.