Tag Archives: Health

Drink to your health.

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A quick browse on the internet yields dozens of articles on how to lose weight – 10 lbs. in 30 days, folks!, how to lead a healthy lifestyle, what super-foods you should be stuffing down your gullet…a total inundation on how to be THIN, THIN, THIN!!!! Pass the ibuprofen, please, my head aches from all this info.

Then I come across some news that makes me wonder if there’s a conspiracy theory behind all this weight-loss crap:  Starbucks is unveiling the 31-ounce Trenta cup size.  So for those extremely thirsty coffee fiends who just need more than 24 ounces of liquid calories, you can now go a size up.  Because a 31-ounce java chip frappuccino with whip  is the perfect way to lead a healthy lifestyle. No wonder everybody is struggling to be a normal weight.

According to the article, “Starbucks…was responding to customer demand for larger cold beverages.” Who needs a 31-ounce drink?  And why are we so gladly embracing the excess?  By comparison, a large cappuccino here in Greece is the same size as a 12-ounce American coffee cup. Now, look at the photo below.  The Trenta cup size is 916 mL, which is just about the average amount of food needed to fill a stomach up.  CRA-ZY.

So, drink away, people.  And of course after you have your Trenta-sized drink, don’t forget to swing by the gym.

Le Crip.

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My lower back flared up with some pain yesterday, which started out as just a nagging soreness and ended up as a groan-inducing, Ben-Gay applying, Ibuprofen-taking sort of pain; the kind that makes you groan if you try to switch position on the couch or try to walk up the stairs to the second floor.  There’s a spot that’s been really sensitive for the last three years (resulting from a month-long bed stay post-surgery), which flares up every once in a while, but has mostly kept its flarings to a dull pain.  This is the first time my spot has exploded like this.  (That’s what SHE said.) Exploded with pain, I should say.  I knew things went downhill after you passed the age of 30, but never expected things to go down so fast. (That’s what SHE said. I love you Michael Scott.)  Sorry about all the cheesy Office jokes, but it’s the only way for me to keep a sense of humor right now.

Things are literally falling apart in my brain.  I was talking to my mom about it this morning and I  started crying because “how the hell am I supposed to iron or clean out my closet with this back pain?  I had plans today!” Yes, I am missing out on important stuff today. Instead I’ll be calling physical therapists to see if they are open today and if they can squeeze me in their schedule.  Anybody want to take a guess which way my luck will swing???  Anybody?

Ok, I think this is all the concentration I can muster up today for my post. Must go make calls. Have a great day everyone!

Stones and sausages.

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I had surgery a little over a month ago.  Apparently my gallbladder was at a breaking point and had grown to the size of a stomach from the sheer amount of gallbladder stones.  The doctor said he had seen stones as big as mine in 80-year-old men, but never in a person as young as me – I had an overachieving gallbladder, apparently. The picture below tells the story of my stones pretty well…up top is an average size stone (I had about 100 of these babies).  Below there are four monster stones that were also partying in my gallbladder.  They are literally these big black rocks, bigger than a two-euro coin. They don’t break, they clink when I tap them against the counter…they are quite unbelievable.

Now, if they could only sing "Satisfaction"...

I contemplated shining them and using them as decoration stones.  I also thought I could turn them into a necklace.  My friend Mike, bless his heart, happily suggested I turn them into anal beads.  For now they are happily sitting in a jar on my kitchen shelf.

I lost 10 lbs. the week before my gallbladder surgery because there was enough inflammation to cause extreme pain whenever I ate or drank anything.  Since I’ve been gallbladder-free my appetite is back.  And it’s back with a vengeance.  I gained back the 10 lbs. I lost and I think I might have gained maybe 4-5 lbs. more.  It’s quite disconcerting.

This afternoon I put on some white shorts (which is completely appropriate to wear in Greece as we do not celebrate Labor Day), and I noticed parts of my body clumsily extruding from the top of my shorts.  It was an extreme muffin top.  It was actually a couple of levels worse than a muffin top.  I basically looked like an overstuffed sausage.

An exact replica of my current self.

Next post will talk about how I sewed my mouth shut.

Feel the burn.

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Three days ago (on a Tuesday actually, because who really starts things on Mondays?  Mondays equal failure,) I decided to get into some sort of exercise regimen – or at least something resembling exercise.  I state it as such because it’s been literally six months since I’ve exercised on a regular basis and my body — rightfully so — is rebelling against any form of movement that causes stretching, burning, or general pain.

The routine is off to a slow start and after three days of attempted fitness I realize what I really need is an oil can so I can lubricate my once flexible but now oh-so-creaky joints.

Lube me up and call me fit...

I’m starting off slow by doing 15 minute sessions of yoga in the morning before work (look Ma!  I feel refreshed and stretched!), and by power walking with my dog for an hour in the evenings, during which said workout my vocal cords are also getting a workout of their own (No, Mary Jane! No! NO! SIT! Slow down!).

Nothing beats a workout buddy...

I attempted a little kettle bell workout and it was more than adequate in getting me sore enough to feel productive with my body.  I also attempted a session on one of my mother’s most awkward impulse purchases, the Ab Circle Pro; a noisy assemblage of plastic, steel, wheels. That’s pretty much all there is to the Ab Circle Pro.  You place your knees on the cushy knee pads, grab onto the handle bars and swing your body from left to right and vice versa – kind of like a pendulum.  Oh the swinging fun those abs are having!

Also known as a modern torture machine.

I call it the Circle of Burned Vision, because once you see your mother attempt to do the inner thigh exercise on this piece of “machinery”, well, there’s no going back to the person you used to be.  Picture your mother “in position” on the machine.  Got it?  Good…good…Now, imagine she’s spreading her legs wide apart as if each knee is trying to reach its corresponding handlebar.  And you’re watching this from the back.  Don’t turn away!  Be strong.  You can survive this.  So yeah, I think the Ab Circle Pro has earned that nickname, fair and square.

I’m going to stay optimistic that this little bit of exercise that I do every day will help me regain my strength and muscle tone, and hopefully I’ll look better in a bikini come next summer.  My ultimate goal is to be able get through five breaths of this yoga position:

What has two thumbs and is muy loco for wanting to master this? Me!

Right now I can’t even get my toes off the ground.  But damn it, I will get there. I can do it! I will do it!  Who wants to hold me accountable?

Stitch away…

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What is it about getting older that makes you more squeamish?  I remember when I was younger I would have to give blood and I would boldly stare at the needle as the nurse poked it into my vain and drew blood.  It was almost satisfying to watch that process.  Now when I give blood and I squeeze my eyes shut and look away.  You know when you squeeze your eyes really hard you see black and white spots?  Yeah, that’s how I roll now.

So imagine how squeamish I got when I had to remove the stitches from my recent gallbladder surgery.  Ever had stitches removed from your bellybutton?  It’s really not that fun.  Let’s just say you can feel your skin being pulled and you can feel that thread moving around.   I dreaded the stitch removal more than I dreaded the surgery pain.

To my surprise when I looked down on my bellybutton yesterday I noticed threads still popping out of the partially healed incision.  GAH!  The doctor had left stitches in.  I almost contemplated sniping the protruding ends and leaving it be but thought better of it.  Off to the doctor I go again.  Really, it wasn’t fun.  It was 100 degrees at six in the afternoon, I’m lying on a plastic covered bed in the doctor’s office and I’m literally sweating bullets.  At this point I don’t know if the sweat was from the heat of from my nervousness – I like to think it was a little bit of both.  All I wanted to do was scream “BE DONE WITH IT!  STOP POKING MY BELLYBUTTON!”  A cranky baby was trapped inside my head and I literally had to gnash my teeth together to get myself under control.  I’m telling you, the older I get, the more I turn into a baby.  It was just a couple of stitches after all.

Of course, here’s the beauty of Greek medicine.

“How much do I owe for the visit, doctor?”

“Ok well I’ll tell you 30 euros, yes?  It’s not 50 euros like normal, I’ll only take 30 from you, and I’ll have two beers in your health. That’s not too much is it?”

Two stitches = a night of alcohol consumption.  Excellent.  Next time I’ll fund his dinner too and make it a complete meal.