All posts by MsThorns

I Love It When They Call Me Big Mama

Things going on with my peepers. Not anything I haven’t seen before, but particularly noticeable and troublesome this go round. I see my doctor who sends me to the ophthalmologist who happens to be located in West Hell, I do what she says though.

The doctor tells me what I already know since I’ve had the condition several times over the years. However, instead of waiting on things to return to normal he decides to treat it more aggressively (my words) and prescribes a little white pill.

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This is prednisone and it is the devil.

I’ve been on it before for asthma and allergies but not for any period longer than two weeks and it always has been beneficial in short courses, bronchial inflammation, gone, eczema gone, etc.  I have experienced those benefits this time as well a few undesirable side effects like bruising easily, thinned skin  and unfortunately the SWOLE look I’m rocking that has nothing to do with pumping iron.  My weight, bless the LAWD, has been up and down the same 4 pounds as long as I’ve been on it, but my cheekbones? Where dey at? My stomach, already hefty, now putting all zipper, buttons and waistbands to the test.

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Now let’s be clear i’m not feeling sorry for myself, this is only a RANT.  I’m feeling better for sure, looking? Not so much and I do CARE.  Prednisone is a highly prescribed drug, used for a NUMBER of health conditions and for some it is good, it’s been good for me, it’s just the extra fluff that I can really do without.

What about you? Have you been prescribed something that didn’t have life threatening side effects, but perhaps impacted your performance, appearance or proved to be an obstacle in parts of you life?  Let me know in the  comments and the regular spots.

Until next time, see you at the gym, where maybe I’ll be back to my usual fluffy self.

Photos: MsThorns
Video: The Notorious B.I.G., Warner Bros
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Yeah I Bit

Being 599 years old now (50) I have turned into one of those “I used to walk 5 miles one way barefoot in the snow to school” people when relating how “hard” we had it back in the day and how soft the yutes of today are. I love saying stuff like, “back in the day we had to look in a phone book for a number or call and get direction or use an actual paper map to get somewhere. These churn know nothing of the hardships we dusties born in the 1960s had to endure. But, let’s be clear, I love my tech. I love saying “ok Google, give me the best chocolate chip cookie recipe while listening to Spotify on my fancy wireless speakers. When it comes to tech and fitness though, I’m decidedly old school. I think the most important tech you need is a good pair of shoes for whatever your activity is. Tech fabric is good too for old hot flashing broads like myself but the wearables? Nah B I’m good. My Timex Ironman tells me how long and how fast I’m going and any course I’m on has mile markers on it. Yet a funny thing happened in March 2015. I had the bright idea to take my old self to the store and get a wearable. I didn’t do any research either. I know my Soror swore by her wearable and if it was good enough for my diva sister it would be good enough for me. So I copped me a Fitbit.

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Being a semi-doubter I wasn’t about to drop any serious coin, so I got the next to the cheapest model, the One. It was cool, easy to set up and use and the app was clean. I stuck it on my strap and headed out the door, every day, that I remembered and logged 35 to 45k steps a week. Clearly short of the standard 10,000 a day “they ” say we’re supposed to get. It didn’t help me do any more than I was already doing. Then one day I forgot I had it clipped to mon brassiere and threw it in the washing machine. It no longer worked but I was not pressed. I was busy anyway, working all those jobs trying to get my life together. 10,000 steps, let alone a Fitbit, was the last thing on my mind. Then it happened.

I blew up!

Being a petite fleur, 5 lbs shows up quickly and I was up about 25. Then my doctor was on my case about it so, I got another ONE. I wore it every day got the steps in when I could and reached that fanatic tipping point where I would turn my car around and go back home and get the blasted Fitbit if I forgot it. Who does that? Me and a bunch of other weirdos who want to track every doggone thing. I was full-fledge addicted and it was nothing nice.

I started adding friends on Fitbit, participating in Challenges, and watched my dad and that same Soror whoop me every week in step totals. Didn’t care though, I was actually moving more, was actually getting those pounds off and winning a challenge every now and then. All that “success” justified a reward, that reward was an upgrade. Amazon had the Charge2 on sale and I had to have it.

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I was in love. So sleek, so fancy, telling me when to get up off my fanny and move, it was the bomb! Until it wasn’t. I missed my watch. My regular big old Ironman. I TOOK it off and put my One back on and watch my steps turn well, weird. I could walk through Wal-Mart and get a thousand steps with the One and get MAYBE a quarter of that with the Charge2. I could do my hair for an hour with the Charge2 and get a thousand steps sitting down. I called bulls***.

The Charge2 is arm sensitive/driven. Do a lot of arm moving and waving and those steps go up. Walk with little arm movement or if it isn’t loose enough on the arm the steps are woefully under counted. There’s some user forums and documents and such that tell you to measure your steps and calibrate to address those issues. Then I remembered why I didn’t get a wearable for such a long time. I ain’t trying to do ALL THAT.

Now it’s May 2017. I still wear them both but use the Charge2 mostly for cardio and strength training and the One for walking. As of the day of this writing I haven’t worn either for a few days and it’s been GREAT! You see sometimes too much of a good thing is exactly that, too much. Fitbit had me stressing over how much sleep I wasn’t getting (which was also dead wrong), how I can smoke my friends step count and going into full scale panic when I didn’t have it on. Do I think wearables are useful? Absolutely, they can be a motivator and provide instant feedback on what you’re doing. However they can’t be wholly relied upon to starting or maintaining a healthy body/healthy life. In my experience, how my body and mind feel continues to be the best gauge of stamina, strength, flexibility and how rested and mentally well I am. Might be the same for you too.

Tell me about your experience. Do you use a wearable to measure your exercise, steps, heart rate and such? How’s it working out for you? Let me know in the comments or in the usual spots and until next time, see you on the trail where I’ll be rocking my trusty Ironman and maybe a Fitbit hidden somewhere.

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P.S. add me on Fitbit 😃

Photos: MsThorns

Check In and Check Up

This is the 2nd week of January and I’m sure you’ve read, listened to and watched all things regarding health and fitness goals. You have set some goals for yourself and allow me to be the first or fifth person to say YAY YOU for setting those goals!!!! I’m wishing you much success and give you a gentle reminder that you’ve got to the put in the work.  While you’re working toward those goals though, I need to add just a few more things to your clean and healthy plate.  I mean you didn’t think that was all did you?

Ye olde broad is no stranger to the “doctor’s office.” I’ve been a regular since my arrival on planet earth 50 years ago.  However, some of you may not be.  In fact, some of you avoid the doctor’s office like the plague, or you consider doctors to be the plague. Whatever the case maybe, if you are insured/have means/have access get over yourself (jokingly) and don’t be afraid (seriously) to get some of the recommended screenings for your age and sex.  So what types of things are on the table?

WOMEN: we need to test ALL the things. If you want to stick around for a while, suck it up buttercup and get these recommended screenings:

Screening tests Ages 18–39 Ages 40–49 Ages 50–64 Ages 65 and older
Blood pressure test Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Bone mineral density test
(osteoporosis screening)
Discuss with your doctor or nurse if you are at risk of osteoporosis. Get this test at least once at age 65 or older.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about repeat testing.

Breast cancer screening
(mammogram)
Discuss with your doctor or nurse. Starting at age 50, get screened every 2 years. Get screened every 2 years through age 74.

Age 75 and older, ask your doctor or nurse if you need to be screened.

Cervical cancer screening
(Pap test)
Get a Pap test every 3 years if you are 21 or older and have a cervix.

If you are 30 or older, you can get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years.

Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix. Get a Pap test and HPV test together every 5 years if you have a cervix. Ask your doctor or nurse if you need to get a Pap test.
Chlamydia test Get tested for chlamydia yearly through age 24 if you are sexually active or pregnant.

Age 25 and older, get tested for chlamydia if you are at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant.

Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for chlamydia if you are sexually active and at increased risk.
Cholesterol test Starting at age 20, get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Colorectal cancer screening
(using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)
Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Diabetes screening Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.
Gonorrhea test Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk, pregnant or not pregnant. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk. Get tested for gonorrhea if you are sexually active and at increased risk.
HIV test Get tested for HIV at least once.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.

All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.

Get tested for HIV at least once.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.

All pregnant women need to be tested for HIV.

Get tested for HIV at least once.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse because you may need more frequent tests.

Get tested for HIV at least once if you are age 65 and have never been tested.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Syphilis test Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk or pregnant. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.

Source: womenshealth.gov

Again these are recommendations and your doctor may recommend more or fewer screenings.  When you do see your provider,  (and you will see one, right?) have a thorough and truthful discussion about your health and your family history.  They are doctors, you can tell them ALL OF IT, that’s what they are there for.

MEN: you are not all of the hook.  There’s a honey do list of screenings for you as well:

Screening tests Ages 18–39 Ages 40–49 Ages 50–64 Ages 65 and older
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening Get this one-time screening if you are age 65 to 75 and have ever smoked.
Blood pressure test Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.

Cholesterol test Starting at age 20 until age 35, get a cholesterol test if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Starting at age 35 and older, get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.

Colorectal cancer screening
(using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)
Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.

Diabetes screening Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.
HIV test Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.

Syphilis screening Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.
Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.

Source: womenshealth.gov

ERRRRBODY: Get a dental and an eye exam. Your healthcare provider can give you recommendations on how often and your insurance provider (if you are insured) will tell you how often you can go and what’s covered.

Now I likely should have prefaced this entire post with a recommendation for you to see your healthcare provider before starting any diet and/or exercise program, but you already know that, right?  That said, I challenge you to take a holistic approach to your health.  Treat yourself the best way possible by shooting for a healthy lifestyle that includes preventive medical care.

Until next time, see you at the doctor’s office where I will be getting prodded, poked and weighed, like the human I am.

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Photo: MsThorns

Note: For the uninsured, there are still options.  The board of health in your county/parish/township generally provides low and no-cost healthcare services as well as free clinics in larger metropolitan areas.  Local charitable/non-profit organizations are also resources for free community health events that provide a variety of medical and dental services and referrals.  

Soul Revival

I hadn’t been there in over five years, July 2011.  I actually wrote about it here.  I only made it there a few times, not to return because as far as I was concerned it had nothing on my fave.  I really had no intention of returning there but I moved this summer and there’s some renovations going on at the park that I now frequent.  I decided last Saturday to give it whirl again.  It was a fairly cool morning considering the heatwave we’ve been in since like March???? It was cloudy, which was even better at least until I started walking.

It had been so long that I didn’t remember what the trail was like, was it hilly, covered in trees.  I didn’t know until I got out there.  I saw some things that rang a bell.  The big red barn, the disc golf stuff, which I still didn’t have a clue about, and then something I couldn’t put my finger on.  I started feeling cross, a little bit sad and heavy, I started to remember what landed me at this park those years ago.  I was looking for something, I was looking for me.

The last time I was there I had just been through a year of hell.  Those who know me well know that I have a flair for the dramatic, but what I went through wasn’t drama, the struggle was very real.  I had been in a depression like I had never experienced in my life.  I was trying to piece myself back together and 2011 was what I call the between.  I was leery, weary and white knuckling through.  I was at this point carrying the heaviness with a smile on my face, I wasn’t on the verge of tears all the time, but I was still tired.  Being out on the trail last Saturday brought all of that back.  I FELT IT. It was uncomfortable.

As I did five years ago, I powered through, this time briskly walking.  As I kept moving I remembered the pain, I remembered the year after when I nose-dived again, and the year after slow recovery.  As I moved faster, my mind moved faster, right out of the pit.  I thought about all of the good things that happened since then. I thought about how hard I fought to get it together, I thought about all the support I had, the soft gentle kind and the girl get your s**t together kind both of which worked for my good.  I thought about all the BLESSINGS that have come into my life since then and felt overwhelmed again.  Then I was finished.

I went to go stretch on some stairs.  There was a hawk sitting on the fence near me.  I snapped a few pics of him with my phone, stretched some more and then the sun came out.  I felt complete and whole and absolutely happy.  I thought that it was the distance that kept me away all these years, it wasn’t, it was my head.  As has been the case many, many times I had to work through some stuff out on the trail and I’m so glad I did.  In fact so glad that I went back a couple of days after and guess what? The day was perfect, seasonable and sunny, just like my disposition.

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Want more information on Lenora Park? Check this and all the other fine parks Gwinnett has to offer on their website.

Until next time, see you on the trail, where I’m always working out something 🙂

Back In Love Again

You may recall the love I have for the sporting goods store and the fretting done over the loss of Sports Authority. Well, while missing a turn I landed in the parking lot of a gigantic white box. I tuned up my nose and sucked my teeth. I knew that it was TOO BIG and could never replace my beloved SA or my back home fave Dunham’s Sports but I made note.

After a dryer situation over the weekend, I said I needed more essentials since my machine faileth me. You know what I mean, draws and socks, namely athletic socks. So I moseyed over to Big White Box, muttering I bet they don’t have what I need, I bet they’re high, I bet they suck.

I roll up and they have some sort of industrial size feeders and grills outside and I prayed, please Lord Jesus don’t let this be a giant “Huntin/Fishin/Campin” store. Well folks the Lord heard my cry because Academy Sports and Outdoors has errrrrrrrrthang.

Full disclosure: they did not have the super thick Thorlo walking socks, but they did have the regular ones and every other type of Thorlo so I was stoked. I got some socks that I’ll be doing stuff besides walking in so they got a pass. My next test was yoga mats.

The big box sports and other retailers are notorious for having one brand and one type of mat, the 3mm which is too thin for ye olde broad. Guess what? The heavens opened up and sent me a 6 mm antimicrobial yoga mat. I was ready to shout, but held on to it. There was one more test…

Tights.

Since I wrote about it a while ago I stepped my gear game up. I now actually match somewhat and have a lot more color. I still buy the majority of it at Walmart.  Other stores and the online retailers have nice stuff, but those jawns are HIGH. I didn’t expect Academy to be at Walmart pricing but, they need to be way under $75 for me to be fully sold. I found some from 17.99!

I was sold.img_0832

As much as I like a package in the mail sometimes I want/need those socks, bag etc TODAY. Fortunately now my hard earned fitness dollars have found a new home at Academy Sports and Outdoors. The wait is a 10 minute drive and checkout counter away. If you have one in your town, check em out and if you don’t give some love to your local sporting goods store, they might just have exactly what you’re looking for.

Photos: MsThorns

Lamenting Authority

I’d heard a few months ago what was about to go down. I thought to myself haven’t they been there before? I didn’t Google it, didn’t want to know, didn’t want to confirm, didn’t want to believe but alas, ’tis true. I went by the spot and saw for my own eyes, Sports Authority is going out of business. I’m undone.

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My love for the sporting goods store goes back over 30 years. My dad took me to our local spot, Dunham’s to buy my first pair of running shoes. I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve shopped specialty stores and even worked in one back in the late 80s but the all purpose sporting good store has always been best for me especially as my needs changed. I got hooked on Sports Authority  specifically because they:

  • Always had specials
  • Always had what I need
  • Weren’t so gigantic that you couldn’t get help
  • Staff was always cool
  • Locations were always convenient

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I tried that huge chain that starts with D and found success all of three times. When I was looking for the super thick Thorlos, Sports Authority had them. Different thicknesses of yoga mats? Sports Authority. Reasonably priced gym bags, yeah they have those in spades. Stuff I didn’t even need but thought was cool, SA sold it to me.

Many of been shut down already, those that are not closed as yet? I won’t be going by for the “Going Out of Business Sale“, it’s just too much to bear. I have no plans of trying a big box substitute. If I need to go into a store, I’ll get that fix the next time go home. Going forward though, looks like that Prime membership is really going to get a workout.

How about you? Is there a spot in your town that you use to frequent, park, court, gym, store etc that broke your heart when it closed? Come let us grieve together in the comments, or here or here.

Until next time, see you online where I’ll be checking out my virtual cart of stuff I can’t touch until it’s delivered.

Photos: MsThorns

Skip the Gym with Ya Boy

I think it was the beginning of the year. Knee deep in work (already) and feeling a truckload of guilt and actual sluggishness in general I decided to get back on track, again. Though I was ready physically my mind was playing tricks on me when it came to going to the gym. I was NOT ready to do that, because it required me to get up too early. I checked out my favorites on YouTube but wasn’t really feeling them either when I stumbled on this young fireball Millionaire Hoy @yaboymillhoy.

He came up in search all the time but I ignored it because so many of the titles included HIIT which given my back and joint situations I figured they would be out of reach. I was wrong. Just so happens that at the time I finally took the leap he was running a monthly challenge was for beginners so I dove in and loved it!

What I dig about ya boy:
Intensity – the workouts are challenging for all fitness levels. There are mods and previews of the next exercise in the mini box. Your heart will be pumping and you will sweat.
Variety – Millhoy is prolific he has close to 800 videos on his channel with new videos published every Sunday thru Friday. With a new challenge every month. So if you only wanted to workout with him you will not run out of things to do. He is also contributor to Sweat Stream Collab on YouTube.
Personality – y’all know how it goes. You pull up a YouTube workout that looks promising only to find the instructor to be gross i.e. voice irritating, too loud, obnoxious or just appear to be STANK in general. Well, he’s none of those. Now he talks non-stop, but never induces any side eye. He’s quite upbeat, lively and bearable even in the early morning, which is essential for grumpy old broads.
What he is not – a hulk smashing, weight dropping, cussing dude. If that’s your thing, cool, but he ain’t that dude.

So, if you feel like skipping the gym but still want to get it in, I highly recommend Millionaire Hoy. Check him out and subscribe if you dig him.