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Archive for February, 2012

I’m still stuffed up with sinus congestion, this is now day #6 (started last Thursday but wasn’t that bad).  It’s annoying that it is taking so long to get better but as I reflect back over the years, this isn’t that unusual.  While the total number of times I have gotten sick has decreased as I have gotten older, I don’t get over the colds any faster.

But the worst cold I ever had was in March 2001 while I was living in England.  There’s no other time that has even come close to that one even though I have had some very rotten colds. 

It was a sickness that was going around and eventually I caught it.  And like I said in my previous post, like clockwork, my symptoms came and went in that order.  Only this time, they were more intense:

  • I had a very bad sore throat that lasted 9 days (I still remember to this day how long it lasted).  That is the longest I have ever had one, and it was very painful.  I could barely swallow at all and the over-the-top discomfort took forever to go away.

  • Next, the sinus congestion was worse than anything I have ever had, before or after.  Normally when I get stuffed up, my entire nose is plugged (as opposed to just one side) for one or two days.  In this case, it was stuffed entirely for 7 days before I got relief. 

  • Then, I had a cough for two weeks.  People were starting to wonder about me because I had it so intensely and for so long.  Yet as time passed, the cough is often the part that hangs around the longest and I’ve now discovered that two weeks isn’t that unusual anymore.

All in all, I was sick for a month (I think it was an infection rather than just a cold).  And the symptoms were more intense than any cold I’ve had since then (other than perhaps in 2006 when I had two colds back-to-back while in Australia and then a throat infection right after).  So, while this one sucks, it’s not the worst.

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I’m still sick.

Blargh.

Whenever I get a cold, it always follows a predictable cycle:

  1. Sore throat, last about 4-7 days with one or two really bad days.
  2. Stuffed nose with runny nose, lasts about 3-5 days with one or two really bad days.

  3. Cough, lasts about 7 days.

The symptoms occur in that order so reliably that I can almost predict what day I will experience what symptom.

I’m always hoping that maybe a sort throat won’t lead to sinus congestion.  I do this because once or twice, it didn’t.  It was a miracle.  But it doesn’t work out that way 90% of the time.

When I get sinus congestion, I used to have one really bad day where my nose would be completely stuffed and I’d go through a ton of Kleenex, leading to a sore nose because I kept wiping it so much.  However, my last couple of colds, this super-bad sinus congestion has lasted two days, and that’s where I am today: the second day of painful sinus congestion.

I really hope that I feel better tomorrow.  I’m sick of being sick.  Unfortunately, I think that if the sinuses clear up, that’ll be followed by a cough.

Curse you, sick guy on plane!  Now I’m going to be the sick guy on the plane!

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I’m currently in San Francisco, and I’m sick.  And I think I know who I caught it from.

The flight down was pretty lousy.  I had to sit in the middle (which isn’t that bad on a 2 hour flight) in an exit row.  That meant that my seat didn’t decline.  Strike one.

Next, the guy next to me invaded my space with his elbow.  You know what I mean, it’s when the guy next to you sits with his arm on the arm rest such that it extends into your personal space.  But it wasn’t an inch or two, it was six inches!  Clear into my own zone, resting up against my arm!  Strike two.

Third, he had a cough.  He was clearly sick and would let out a hack.  I was thinking to myself “Aw, man, I don’t want to get sick” and tried keeping my hands away from my eyes and nose (the entry point for cold viruses).  It didn’t matter; I had a mildly sore throat the next day, and a few days later I had full blown nasal congestion and a runny nose that drains like there’s no tomorrow.  Strike three.

That was my worst flight ever.

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For years, I’ve heard that cooking vegetables makes them less healthier to eat, but I didn’t know why.

Now I do (I theorize).

The longer it takes food to enter your bloodstream, the better it is for you.  Raw vegetables are harder to digest; solid foods require your body to work harder and break them down in order to extract the raw nutrients.

Soft foods break down faster and enter your bloodstream.  Drinks like Coke or Pepsi are liquid with tons of sugar and they enter into your bloodstream really fast.  The same is true of fruit juices.  That’s why I drink mostly water or sometimes tea; the liquid is the stuff that goes into you the fastest.

Cooked vegetables are softer than raw vegetables.  They still have mostly the same nutrients, but they enter your blood stream faster and your metabolism doesn’t have to work as hard to get them into you.  Therefore, they raise your blood sugar levels faster and are digested quicker, making you hungrier earlier than you normally would be if the vegetables were not cooked.

For best results, eat vegetables raw.  If you’re like me and this isn’t feasible, cook them but don’t overcook them.  Make sure they still have a crunch and you’ll be okay.

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I’m at a conference in San Francisco.  As usual, whenever I go to conferences, I eat too much.

However, I argue that I am not eating unhealthier.  I’ve had 8 meals so far and here’s what I consume:

Breakfast – fruit, little bit of scrambled eggs, eggs or sausage

Lunch – Vegetables, some salad dressing, meat (chicken, beef or fish)

Dinner – More or less the same

In other words, I’ve cut out all of the refined carbohydrates I normally eat: bread, rice and pasta in addition to the ones I don’t normally eat (fruit juice, sugary drinks, potatoes).

My only relapse yesterday was at our night out gathering and there was sourdough bread.  I couldn’t help myself!  There was also some other stuff with refined carbohydrates (little burgers and chicken curry) and I did help myself to that.  I also had a bit of pasta on Tuesday lunch.  And my BBQ beef salad on Tuesday evening had some broken up tacos that I couldn’t avoid eating (but I didn’t eat the dinner roll).

So will I be fatter when I get back because I’ve been eating more?  Or will I weigh less?  I’ve eaten fewer carbs these past three days than I do when I eat at home, but have had more calories.

I guess the scale on Monday morning will be the judge.

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I’ve noticed over the past year and a half that my metabolism is slowing down.  I used to eat whatever I want and wouldn’t gain weight.  I never measured this, I figured that if my clothes fit year after year after year, then I wasn’t putting any weight on.

Well, that changed after I hit 31 1/2.

I started noticing on the scale that the numbers were higher.  I finally got one (well, used the wife’s) and I would say “Wasn’t that number lower a few months ago?”  The problem is that I had to rely on my memory.  My memory is pretty good most of the time but it also is capable of planting false ones.  I didn’t know if I was getting paranoid or if there really was something going on.

I do know that I have bought slightly bigger pants.  On the other hand, I’ve been hiking a lot more so that builds lower leg muscles.  So which is it?  Am I getting naturally fatter as I age (despite the wife taking me out on multi-mile hikes on most weekends) or is it all in my head?

I had to find out.  In November, I started weighing myself every morning and writing it down.  There are some gaps in the numbers when I was out of town (New Zealand for three weeks, and then this past weekend) and it’s really not enough data points.  But the numbers still show a trend:

image

The red lines on the chart are when I was gone and I filled them in using a formula.

You can see that I was definitely lighter in 2011 than I am in 2012.  My weight also fluctuates during the week.  But the fact remains that being more inactive this year has not been good for me.

The huge spike in December is after my surgery when I gained 7 lbs.  But it came off very fast.  Since then, I’m trying to get back to my target weight of 134 or even 133 (I was 132.6 for 1 day after I came back from Spain in October) but it’s tough.  I have to watch what I eat, and more importantly, when I eat it.

If I eat a big meal in the evening, I make little progress towards my weight goal.  Those dinner meals are the biggest obstacle to weight loss.  I estimate that by the time I go to bed to the time I get up and after I go to the bathroom in the morning, I lose 1.2 lbs.  That means that if I weigh myself before I go to bed, I know approximately what I will weigh in the morning.

Next up, I decided to take a look at what day of the week was my worst day.  Below are the results:

image

My surgery skews the results of the average, so I have also included the median.  I was very surprised to see that Tuesday is my heaviest morning, but not that surprised to see Saturday is my skinniest morning.

This means that Thursday and Friday I am watching what I eat, but Sunday and Monday I am going all out.

Not only have I recorded my weight, I have recorded what I have been eating.  Eventually, I will do an analysis that measures the approximate number of calories and carbohydrates and then correlates it with my weight.

That’ll be interesting.

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My daily goal

Every day, I have a goal.

Before I tell you what it is, let me explain the circumstances.  I go to work earlier than the wife, which means I get up earlier.  I also (usually) go to bed earlier.  But the point is, I get up earlier.

The wife likes to sleep in, I frequently refer to her as “Sleepy Cat.”  My goal every day is to get up and go to the bathroom to take a shower without her hearing it.  About 30 minutes later when she gets up and I am brushing my teeth or having breakfast, she sometimes asks “Did you take a shower?”  When I respond in the affirmative, she replies “I didn’t hear you.”

When I get that response, I smile to myself and give myself a victory point.

Why do I do this?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s me being sneaky or something.  It also doesn’t always work, maybe 1/4 of the time (if that).  I haven’t figured out a good technique for doing it yet.

But I keep trying.

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