Did You Know…Mole Health

Helloooooo eaters!

As I mentioned on Tuesday, it’s time for the latest installment of me telling you to wear sunscreen and measure your moles.

Last time I talked about skin health I think I told you to take nudies. Not for sexting purposes, mind you, but so you can see if new moles are developing.

The faint scar from my first mole removal, when I was about 8.

The faint scar from my first mole removal, when I was about 8.

Did you know … that after you have gone through puberty your moles shouldn’t be changing, nor should you be developing new moles?

Did you know … that the oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate in most sunscreens have been linked to skin cancer? (Source.)

My worst mole scar.

My worst mole scar.

Did you know … that you should wear sunscreens that are between 15-50 SPF and that contain mineral ingredients, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide? (Source.)

Did you know … that you should avoid sunscreen sprays because you can inhale them and it’s really hard to put enough on? (Psst, CVS-brand baby sunscreen fulfills all of these requirements and was about $4.)

My best mole scar.

My best mole scar.

Did you know … that if your dermatologist’s office has more advertisements for wrinkle care and beauty treatments than information about skin health, you should probably find a new dermatologist?

Did you know … that I’ve had seven moles cut out, two of them were cut twice, and five were in the last 14 months, and that I’m due to get a mole removed from my forehead?

mole scars5

One of my latest mole removals.

But the most important “Did you know …” of them all:

Did you know … that I will spend $100s of dollars on sunscreen and get every single mole cut off if I need to, because skin cancer is the most common form of cancer (roughly 3.6 million cases predicted for 2013, which is nearly half of all cancers), but it is also the most preventable. (Source.)

So please, for the love of deities, stop tanning (that definitely includes tanning beds!). Wear a hat. Wear sunscreen. Avoid the sun at its peak hours.

Don’t let yourself become part of that skin cancer statistic.

What do you think, eaters:

How do you protect yourself from the sun?

How do you feel about your doctors?

Later eaters!

My Back Is Back.

Hellooooooo eaters!

I’ve got plans soon, so I’m going to skip the long intro and just get down to business.

Remember that AWESOME news I mentioned yesterday. Well…

I went to the chiropractor yesterday afternoon and he said…drum roll, please…that I was done with treatment!

How awesome is that?!

After a month of expensive, regular visits and butt tape…

This really painful bruise, and smelling like Icy Hot all the time, I am finally done!

Sorry for the awkward photo, but that big red stripe on my back is a bruise from getting scar tissue broken up.

It feels so ah-maze-ing!

I was supposed to have two more visits over the next two weeks, but the good doctor said that as long as I keep up the out of office therapy he gave me then I’ll be golden.

That news has me through the roof because 1) driving all the way out there and paying all those co-pays was annoying, and 2) the out of office therapy is stuff that I do in Crossfit anyway!

What exactly are my out of office therapies, you ask?

Foam rolling my quads.

Rolling out my hip with a lacrosse ball (which, if you’ve never rolled anything with a lacrosse ball, is far less fun than it sounds).

Box jumps and lunges and proper glute-activating squats (which are the kind of wide-kneed squats you do in Crossfit).

Not falling on my ass unevenly.

So like I said, all things that I can easily do a couple of times a week. And all things that, if I actually do a couple of times a week, will likely keep me out of the chiropractor’s office for anything other than routine maintenance.

That brings me to my next point — I am going to go back for regular maintenance. I’m not sure how often, a lot of that will depend on my insurance, but I’m thinking once every other month.

And I’m perfectly okay with that. Some people baulk at the idea of going to a chiropractor regularly. I don’t because 1) my issue is my SI joint, which isn’t controlled my muscles or tendons, so it’s like a tooth in that it will go wherever it’s pushed and needs regular correction to stay in line, and 2) I never baulk at the idea of regular, non-chemical maintenance for my body.

Heck, we don’t baulk at getting an oil change for our cars every 3 or 4 months, but the idea of going to a doctor every year and a chiropractor every 2 months is excessive?

Not in my book, baby.

So there you have it, eaters. My back is back to normal again. My back is back. Tell your friends.

Your turn, eaters:

Please parody a song about one of your body parts.

How do you “maintain” your body?

G’night eaters!

My Bad Back

Howdy eaters!

Today I left the house at 8:45am and worked, went to class, and got mashed up by the chiropractor until 8:30pm.

Yup, just shy of a 12 hour day.

Somehow, though, I’m not overly exhausted or stressed, which is an absolutely wonderful feeling.

Anywhoo, I think it’s high time that I give you all the low down on my back pain.

It all started last Tuesday when I noticed some lower back/pelvis pain. It was persistent and stabbing and not relieved by foam rolling or rolling it with a lacrosse ball.

So when the pain was still around on Friday, my Crossfit coach gave me the information for his chiropractor, Dr. Ed Boudreau, and I made an appointment for Monday.

During Monday’s appointment I got some x rays taken and had an exam, the results of which I got when I went back Tuesday.

And the verdict is…

I’m all kinds of messed up.

No, but really.

This isn't my x ray. I have a disc of my x rays, but my computer can't read it. So this is a very similar one that I found online.

Source.

I have a twisted pelvis, which has left one side 13.5mm higher than the other. This may not seem like a lot, but apparently the average for this sort of thing is 6mm. My 4th and 5thvertebrates are also a little rotated, which can cause pain and nerve damage down the road.

The SI joint is where my pain is coming from.

Source.

So knowing all of that, Dr. Boudreau gave me a 6 week treatment plan — twice a week for three weeks and then once a week for three weeks with a mixture of adjustments, icing, electric stimulation, active release therapy.

This is where the magic happens.

Oh, and I have to drastically scale back my Crossfit workouts.

Yeah…about that.

Dr. Boudreau made the mistake of not explicitly telling me just how much (or at all, really) I needed to scale back. So I scaled back by about half. And apparently that wasn’t enough.

So after a stern talking to today I know that I need to scale back to a quarter of what I normally do, at least for the time being.

Oh, and I have to keep this oh so attractive tape on my back until Sunday.

Mmm......that's hot.

Your turn, eaters:

Have you ever been to a chiropractor?

Are you good at taking it easy when you’re sick or injured?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: Lots of Candy

Hiya eaters!

I hope last night wasn’t too heavy for you. Sometimes I just get in a mood.

But right now, I’m in the mood to celebrate. I just finished making the hat for my costume. I’ve eaten a lot of candy. I’m about to go out and drink free beer from a bar. (How this bar is making money having a free keg of beer almost every week is beyond me, but that’s irrelevant.)

So let’s go.


Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats
Breakfast #1:

365 creamy pb and an apple.

I skipped Crossfit on Monday to further recover from Saturday’s WOD, so I was ready and raring to go yesterday.

Also, someone once told me that if you store oil separating nut butter upside down after the initial stir you won’t have to stir it again. So far it’s worked for me.

Crossfit:

Strength WOD.

Yesterday’s WOD was good and bad.

Good, because I reached a new deadlift PR of 133#.

Bad, because my right lower back started hurting really bad (and it is definitely still hurting now). my coach thinks it might be my sacrum. Any stretching/healing recommendations?

Breakfast #2:

Savory oats with swiss chard and black bean dip topped with two fried eggs and avocado.

You can’t tell, but under those eggs are a 1/3 c serving of savory oats made with lots of swiss chard and a spoonful of Trader Joe’s black bean dip.

Walk:

Later I took Charlie, my dog, on his long walk for the day. During this walk he sniffed and lunged after almost every leaf we passed.

I love fall leaves and ivy hills.

Which was a lot.

And then he proceed to freak the eff out over this rabbit statue. We’ve passed it plenty of times before, but this time he just did not like it.

The object of my dog's fear.

He had his butt hair up and everything, which is how you know when he’s really upset.

Notice the raised neck AND butt hair.

I, of course, thought it was hilarious.

Lunch:

Pork roast with baked apples.

Oh, I love leftovers. I heated the pork and apples up with some of their juices plus a little butter and it was delicious. Then I let Charlie lick the plate, because it would have been impolite if I’d licked the plate.

Snack:

Reese's and Almond Joy.

I made the mistake of, a couple of days BEFORE Halloween, buying a 125-piece assorted bag with Almond Joy, Cookies & Crème, Whoppers, Reese’s, and plain Hershey’s.

And now, since my ferocious guard dog has scared off the two sets of trick-or-treaters we’ve gotten all night, I’m probably going to end up eating it all.

Wish me luck.

Dinner:

Baked potato soup with all the fixins'.

Kath’s post yesterday really got me craving potato soup, so that was dinner last night.

Dessert:

4 mini packages of Whoppers, totaling 12 Whoppers.

These were eaten in an attempt to procrastinate cleaning the kitchen. It didn’t work.

And that’s all she wrote, folks.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you buy trick-or-treater candy that you like or the things you don’t like so you won’t eat it all?

How do you like your eggs?

G’night eaters!

A Healthy Week And Beyond

Hiya eaters!

It’s Sunday night once again. And I’ve got a feeling that at least of few of you are making grand plans for a super healthy week because your weekend was less than stellar, health-wise.

Am I right?

Yeah, I thought so. And I knew this because…I’m doing the same damn thing.

Ya see eaters, it all started at Crossfit on Thursday morning. We were working on what we call “toe ring passes,” but what others might know as “skin the cats.” (Here’s a link to a really long and kind of annoying video demo. The move starts around minute 3.)

Since I’m still learning them I’m doing them with my feet on the floor and kicking off instead of using my arms and core to get me around. And in the process of flailing around on and getting frustrated with myself, I didn’t control a flip enough and landed on my right foot weird.

It hurt like a bitch, but I was pissed and only 6 minutes into a 20 minute AMRAP (which stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible”) so there was no stopping.

By the time I got home my second toe was a nice shade of purple and most of my toes and surrounding foot area was swollen.

Please excuse the Toms tan while I draw your attention to my still swollen foot as of Sunday at 9pm.

Verdict: I had jammed the hell out of it.

And because this boneheaded injury made walking, running, and sometimes standing uncomfortable (not to mention that it is still a little swollen, which isn’t a good sign), I’ve done my best to stay off it.

For me, though, staying off of my feet and not exercising leads to bad choices. Exercising is the key to me making healthy choices throughout the day. Without my daily doses of exercise to push me towards good decisions, I made some pretty lousy ones.

Yeah, sometimes I keep a bag of Twizzlers on my nightstand. Don't judge.

Like eating a pound of Twizzlers in just over 24 hours.

Like eating ¾ of a 10” pizza with a beer for lunch.

Like not eating proper meals.

Like not getting my bare minimum of 2 liters of water a day.

You get the picture, right?

Luckily, though, I know I’m not the only imperfect person around. I know I’m not the only person who throws caution to the wind on the weekends. And I know I’m not the only person vowing to make tomorrow the start of a much healthier week.

So in honor of making healthier choices this week and beyond, I did a little shopping.

First, I bought a lunch box; a real lunchbox with freezer packs.

Why be age appropriate when you can have a smiling bug?

For weeks I’ve been carrying my food around in an insulated shopping bag without freezer packs. This has been counterproductive in the health department because warm, raw vegetables make me gaggy. And there was no hope of vegetables being anything but warm in a set up like that.

That problem is now solved.

And to go in my lunchbox, I bought a whole bunch of plastic containers.

These containers can hold everything from yogurt to fruit to dips and dressings to hard boiled eggs to salads and/or sandwiches. In other words, I have no excuses not to pack healthy lunches and snacks.

Yup, I’m pretty set.

And while I’m at school tomorrow (with plenty of healthy choices packed up in m’snail pail) Leon is going to do the grocery shopping so I’ll have even less of an excuse for making bad choices.

Now if only my toe would stop looking so funky.

Your turn, eaters:

What have you done to set yourself up for a healthy week?

And beyond?

G’night eaters!

Crossfit Shoes!

‘Ello eaters!

Thanks for putting up with my angry/frustrated post last night. Today was a much better day. (Of course it was, I only had one class and no work!)

One thing that made the day pretty darn great was that I finally bought new shoes!

I have wanted to get more Crossfit-specific shoes since I started, but I’m cheap and had perfectly good (running-specific) shoes so I held off. For the last couple of weeks, though, my legs have been feeling more beat up than usual, so I figured it might be time to get new shoes.

I also had a coupon for $15 off a $50 purchase from Dick’s that was about to expire, so it was definitely time to use that.

Before I went a-shopping I did my research, though.

Based on reviews and suggestions from my #Fitfluential peers I had my eyes on New Balance Minimus and Reebok Nanos.

The top middle and the bottom middle.

Luckily, Dick’s had both models in stock so I grabbed a pair of Nanos and two different types of Minimus.

The blue and yellow, but in a different color.

Then I got down to the business of looking like an idiot.

I jumped up and down.

I ran forwards and backwards.

I did box jumps onto the benches. (I’d say it was about a 15” box.)

I did bodyweight cleans.

And then I eliminated the Nanos.

Can you tell how wide the toe box is compared to the rest of the shoe?

Between the extremely large toe box and thick sole, I wasn’t crazy about them.

The large toe box encouraged me to jump more from my toes, which is an issue I already need to correct in my Olympic lifts (where you’re supposed to give a hard jump from the heel). I could see how it would be helpful to encourage more front striking (hitting the ground with your toes/the ball of your feet instead of your heel) in running, but that’s not an issue I have.

And the thick sole felt like it would have the same power-dampening effect in my jumps as my running shoes.

So then it was down to the two Minimus — the 3090 and one that didn’t have a number, but had Vibram soles.

This is where things got tricky.

Both shoes were great, but for different reasons. Both had drawbacks, too.

The 3090s (the green ones) felt snug and secure, but also felt a little squishier than I would have liked. The Vibram Minimus (the pink ones) were very minimal and had a nice hard sole, but the toe box was big and they came up too high on the ankle.

The 3090s felt like a more minimal version of what I’m used to. The Vibram Minimus felt very minimal and more like what I think I should use.

Ya see my dilemma?

Then I realized that all the squishiness of the 3090s was in the insole, which could very easily come out.

I've never had pretty sneakers before.

Sold!

I wore them out of the store and haven’t taken them off since. I am so freaking jazzed for Crossfit tomorrow.

I’ll give you all an update in a couple of weeks to let you know how they’re treating me. But for now, I am very happy with my newest gear purchase.

Your turn, eaters:

Do you like sport-specific gear?

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done to test out shoes?

G’night eaters!

PSA: Moles

Hiya eaters!

How are you doing today?

I’m in a little pain and pretty doped up.

Why, you ask?

Because today I got a couple of big moles hacked off.

See this giant and slightly unappealing one on my hip?

My undies have bikes on them.

Well, thanks to a very capable plastic surgeon and plenty of lidocaine, it’s gone now.

There are stitches under there.

As is the scar and surrounding tissue from a mole I had removed earlier this summer that came back with a funky pathology report.

There are stitches under there, too.

And I wish I could say these were purely vanity-driven removals, but they’re not.

Skin cancer runs in my family, so I regularly visit a very thorough and wonderful, though slightly scary dermatologist to get moles measured and removed. It’s not a fun process, but it’s important. It’s extra important because my pathology reports keep coming back atypical (which means it’s not cancerous, but it’s not all clear, either).

So my first PSA of the day to you is this:

Check your moles and check them often.

The best way to determine if a mole is potentially problematic is by applying the ABCDE of good mole health:

Is your mole Asymmetrical?

Does you mole have undefined Boarders?

Does your mole have more than one Color or has it changed in Color?

Is the Diameter bigger than that of a pencil eraser?

And has your mole Evolved, or grown, in size?

If you said “yes” to any of these, then it’s best to have your mole checked by a dermatologist.

Also, by the time you’re about 20 years old your moles should be the way they’ll be for the rest of your life. So any changes or new moles that occur after about the age of 20 could be cause for concern.

I scheduled my last full body mole check after I consulted a couple of not too old Facebook photos and realized that these two moles on my stomach weren’t there a year and a half ago, and that the bottom mole wasn’t around even a year ago.

My belly button is massive.

My dermatologist is mildly concerned about those (and 7 on my calves!), so I have a follow up appointment at the end of the summer to get them all remeasured. Any signs of growth and they’re gone.

This brings my to my second PSA of the day:

Take nude (or bathing suit) pictures of yourself every year or so.

Now I’m not saying that you should post these on the interwebs or send them to everyone in your phone, but they’re handy to have around. You won’t remember what each and every mole looks like and how long some of your moles have been around. Having this very easy reference tool will help you identify any new moles that may have appeared or if any existing moles have violated the ABCDEs.

I’m not trying to scare you. But skin cancer is one of the most, if not the most, easily prevented and treated (if caught early enough) forms of cancer, so it’s stupid not to take the time to take a few pictures, check a few moles, and make an appointment with a dermatologist if need be.

Oh, and where sunscreen. Actually sunscreen. That SPF 12 Panama Jack crap doesn’t count.

Okay, PSAs over.

Your turn, eaters:

When was the last time you had your moles checked?

When’s the next time you’re going to check your moles?

G’night eaters!

WIAW: Wine Hangover

Hi eaters!

The night is quickly getting away from me and I am determined to go to bed early to make up for last night.

Yeah…last night.

It was my friend’s 21st birthday yesterday and while that’s not really a big deal here, we decided to get a little American with it and go out drinking.

Since most of us had work today, we decided to drink civilly by going to a wine bar. I bought a half bottle of red and nursed that for a while.

And despite not drinking much and having eaten and drank plenty of water, I was still pretty hungover this morning.

Why, oh why does red wine kill me like this?

Oh well, it was a lovely night and it gave me a theme for WIAW so it was worth it.

Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs with kale and seedy bread. 1 veg serving.

My stomach didn’t feel queasy until I started eating this. I choked it all down, though, because my appetite has been ravenous in the morning lately.

Snack:

Coffee and Hale & Hearty Salt & Vinegar Rice & Corn Snacks.

We were out of coffee filters and today was definitely a coffee day.

Lunch:

Red leaf lettuce, purple cabbage, carrots, yellow bell pepper, steamed purple sprouting broccoli, smoke tofu. 3 veg servings.

This got topped with some diluted BBQ sauce and I was quite happy. Though I’m quickly realizing that I need to cut my cabbage smaller in the future.

Snack:

The shells of 2 clementines.

By this point I was falling asleep at my desk, so I devoured these little cuties hoping the smell of citrus would wake me up. (I read somewhere a long time ago that citrus scents are energizing.)

I didn’t work so I resorted to Plan B.

Coffee and Hale & Hearty's Choco Jungle and Honey Bee Pops mixed together.

I don’t like how much caffeine I’m drinking, but I’m pretty sure my boss wouldn’t like me sleeping on my keyboard even more.

Gym fuel:

FAGE, muesli, and Linwood ground goodness.

I was probably more thirsty than hungry, but I didn’t want to risk getting hungry at the gym.

Sweat:

20 minutes of treadmill intervals (does anyone know was a speed of 10 on a kilometer treadmill equates to for a miles treadmill?) plus 10 minutes on the stair master plus 10 minutes of stretching.

I just realized today that my gym has foam rollers, so if you have any links to how to use those things, pleasepleasePLEASE post them in the comments. I want to understand the hype.

Dinner:

Baked potato, bean mixture, and smoked gouda. 1.5 veg servings.

Yes eaters, that is a purple baked potato. What can I say, I really like purple.

The end.

Your turn, eaters:

Is there one drink that always gives you a hangover even when you don’t have that much?

Do you use a foam roller? Do you like it?

G’night eaters!

I Quit!

G’day eaters!

It’s a glorious day in jolly old London. The days here are just getting nicer and nicer, while my days here are drawing to a close.

It’s a cruel joke, if you ask me.

So I’m trying to make the most of my time here, starting tonight with dinner.

I’m going out to dinner with some friends at what should be a really fun restaurant. I’ll talk more about it later.

For now, I’m going to cut to the chase. And get to real talk.

Real talk topic of the night: I quit the February BodyRock challenge.

What it all came down to was that my knees were hurting and I wasn’t having fun.

Sure, I was still seeing some results (I look pretty freaking awesome right now) and pyramid workouts are fun, but those two things don’t outweigh the screams I kept hearing from my Not Good Knees.

And that’s what it all breaks down to.

I loveloveLOVE what I’ve learned from BodyRock. I love this whole new idea of training that I’ve experienced. And I will abso-freaking-lutely be incorporating what I’ve learned into my fit life.

But I’m going rouge now.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you ever quit something to maintain your own happiness?

When was the last time you really listened to your body and changed what you were doing?

Later eaters!

Good News Only

Hiya eaters!

How in the heck is it already November?

I’m in denial. So in the spirit of denial, let’s talk about yesterday when two great things happened.

First, it was Halloween.

I have known what I was going to be for Halloween since last year. I started assembling my costume on St. Patrick’s Day.

Yes, I am intense about costumes.

So finally, after a year of working and waiting I debuted as…

Broccoli!

Apparently Chipotle was on the same produce-loving page as me because last night if you came dressed as something farm-related you got an entrée for $2.

The Chipotle employees (burrito artists?) were pretty lenient with what they considered farm-related. Ninja turtles became farm turtles. Flintstones became pumpkins.

One scoop of rice, black beans, fajita vegetables, all the salsas, guacamole, and lettuce.

But that didn’t affect the awesomeness of my burrito bowl one single bit.

See that giant mound? It's all guacamole.

And once my belly was fully of cilanto-line rice and orgasmically creamy guacamole, I headed off to my friend’s Halloween party.

There were slutty freshman. There were a few freshman. And there was a giraffe and an ostrich racer.

It was a hoot and a half.

But before I donned my broccoli suit, I had an appointment with my orthopedist.

This appointment was one that I was crazy excited for. Because I was pretty sure I would be graduating from PT.

After he read my PT progress report, felt me bend and straighten my knee a couple of times, compared the size of both my quads, and evaluated my pain using a super sophisticated pain assessment system (“On a scale of 1 to 10…”), he said I was clear to stop formal PT and continue the exercises on my own at home.

I was ecstatic!

I got even more ecstatic when he granted my other wish:

A prescription for a gym membership.

I don’t know if my insurance will actually honor this prescription, but it’s a shot. And the more active I am (to a degree and in certain ways) the better my knee feels. And a (free) gym membership would make that considerably easier.

And then my doctor told me I should spend my co-pay money on something fun, like a night out or good beer.

Yes, my doctor suggested I go buy beer instead of going to PT.

He’s pretty awesome. And so is this news!

I’m really thrilled to death about graduating, and not just because I get the roughly three hours and $40 a week that I was spending on PT appointments back.

I’m thrilled because it means I’m improving. Because it means that a problem, hopefully the problem, has been identified. And because with that knowledge I can continue to improve.

I’m not cured. My not good knee isn’t suddenly good. I’m not able to go brace-less for workouts. But I’m getting there.

And that’s still pretty damn exciting to me.

What about you:

Have you gotten any really good news lately?

Or are you expecting any soon?

I surely hope you are.

G’night eaters!