On site. Protea Hotel Lusaka rooftop. I'm not dropping guys. Just starting a week behind with approval from our esteemed trainer. Feeling good after defeating the dreaded malaria!!
I've finally isolated my problem. Malaria. Although it is a self-diagnosis with a rapid test, I am 100% confident in my appraisal. After two great asymptomatic days, I was bull-dozed with the worst headache of my life, fever and chills last night. It was horrendous. Even my ibuprofen didn't take away the headache completely. I did a quick search on malaria symptoms and found that in some people it can cause back pain. Also, symptoms run in 48-72 hours cycles because of the life cycle of the malaria parasite. While I thought I was getting better, the malaria was redoubling their efforts to make my life hell.
The doctor here in Lusaka diagnosed me with constipation and trapped gas. I literally looked him direct in the eye and said, "No, sir." That was Monday night. According to him, my malaria test was negative, but maybe since I was asymptomatic at the time, they weren't able to detect it. He wanted to admit me to the hospital and treat me with an enema. I discharged myself against medical advice and told the medical evacuation folks that I'd rather wait and see over the next few day. Glad I made that decision. My insurance company would have paid $1000 for my digestive system to be fully cleaned out, and I would still be carrying malaria.
Treatment is with Coartem for three days. I've decided to post-pone to the February Reboot to be certain that I clean my body of the malaria and have time for a full recovery. Then, I can devote myself to a more effective Reboot. This is my first experience with malaria. I pray that it is my last.
Sadly, looks like I won't get to start my Reboot tomorrow. My night was rough. The pain in my abdomen spread up into my back, chest and shoulders. When I went to bed, I could almost not breathe normally. I was trying to avoid taking pain meds to monitor myself better, but I caved last night. I also called the emergency medical evacuation insurance people. Their medical team took information about my condition and decided that I need to fly to the capital city, Lusaka, for more diagnostic testing. There are nicer hospitals in Lusaka with better equipment. I should be able to get a more definitive diagnosis.
I'm traveling tomorrow. This means, no workouts and very little control over my diet. I'm not sure if I should try to postpone my Reboot or just wait and see the diagnosis. I feel much better today, but I don't know what they'll find, and I may still need surgery. Life is so inconvenient sometimes!!
Last night, I developed a low-grade fever and cramping on the right side of my body. Felt a bit like the side stitches one can get when exercising. Thought not much of it, went to bed. After a rough night, I woke with the same pain. Standing up straight and breathing are even difficult. I decided to go to the clinic. After much painful poking and prodding, a clean blood test, an unenlightening ultrasound and more painful poking and prodding, the doctor diagnosed me with cholecystitis, a blocking and subsequent swelling of the gall bladder. Since ultrasound technology and technicians are sub-par in Chipata, Zambia, it is a more of a guess based on the location and severity of my pain. Doc put me on low fat, high fiber diet. Good timing for that kind of a diet as long as the pain clears up over the weekend with the meds he prescibed. Reboot is just the type of diet my body needs...but if the pain doesn't clear, it could mean surgery. Not so good for rebooting.
I'm surprised because my only risk factor is that I'm female. I eat a fairly good diet. Maybe more oil than I should, which is why I'm rebooting, but certainly not insane amounts. I guess it's all relative, though. Anyway, I'll take my bed rest, eat good food and take my meds. No fish masala for me tonight!! Let's hope I'm in shape to start Reboot on Monday!
The holidays are officially over, and I may be one of the few people who lost kgs in the month of December. I attribute this to a more mindful adherence to a Kenzai diet and working out everyday. I did indulge in things like homemade peanut butter cookies and weekly Indian food out. Lots of fish masala and butter naan. But, I still lost two kgs. I stepped on the scale this morning and found that I had reached my goal of 50 kgs. I weighed 70 kgs when I gave birth 8 months ago. I’m now back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I actually weighed about 49 kgs but considering that I’m probably carrying about a kg of extra boob, I count 50 as my pre-pregnancy weight. However, that said, my body shape is different. Still more fat, less muscle.
With this knowledge, I decided that it’s time to Reboot myself. I was planning to wait until March to Reboot, but since I’ve reached my weight goal, I need a new goal and want to work on reaching it with a January Reboot. So, as of this morning, I’m in! My goal is to fit less snugly into the new black jean leggings that I received in a package from my family yesterday. They are the same size as my current jean leggings but somehow fit a little bit tighter (refer to photo for a visual of said jeans). Probably because my old jeans are stretched out a bit. Fitting into these new jeans will show some real body changes that weight does not show. Reboot will help me spend four serious weeks adhering to diet and getting back into the Kenzai exercises. I’ve actually been doing some post-natal exercise routines, not Kenzai. It’s time to transition back in.
Also, along with my black jeans, I received brand new resistance bands! Another great reason to do Reboot now. I’m looking forward to meeting my team and training with a group again.
Very interesting podcast on a new movement in medicine. Fits in with the Kenzai philosophy of a balanced life for health.
Seasonal flying termites, inswa in local language, are a delicacy here in Zambia. I'm learning to eat them, but I still have difficulty getting over their creepy, crawly appearance. The first rains blessed Eastern Province this past weekend and as a result, the flying termites emerged in vast numbers. All insect eating animals feasted...I spent a good ten minutes watching the song birds outside my house indulge in gluttonous ecstasy. On Tuesday morning, I woke up to find a bucket full of writhing inswa in my kitchen. Apparently, my brother-in-law and the guard stayed up late the night before harvesting them from the security lights.
Insects are a super cheap, healthy alternative protein source. There are lots of articles out there about this but here's one from the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141014-time-to-put-bugs-on-the-menu
In Mawa, the project I manage M&E for here in Zambia, we promote insects such as inswa as a free way to add protein to a baby's diet. Approximately 50% of the children in Eastern Province suffer from a subtle form of malnutrition called stunting. One of our goals is to reduce stunting and boost the development of children under two living in vulnerable, rural households. We encourage caregivers to grind up insects to add to porridge, especially if they do not have access to other types of animal proteins. Today, I figured that it was time for me to walk the talk and make some inswa baby food. The result...Ari ate it all! I also figured that if I was going to feed it to Ari, then I should take some as a snack. So, today, I'm snacking on a bag of termites instead of a bag of potato chips! Cheers to healthy alternatives!
I've committed to KB2 in May 2016. I will finally be back in training mode after six years off! If my memory serves me right (and I'm not sure it does nowadays), I started the PCP in May 2010. It seems appropriate to kick it off on this anniversary and my daughter's one year birthday. Puts me one year post-partum and ready to get my body back in good condition before I commit to the next pregnancy. A bonus for my baby is all the super clean breast milk she'll receive while I'm on the Kenzai diet. I've decided to keep nursing at least to her second birthday, unless she weans herself. Just so many health benefits to continued breastfeeding.
I'll still be on the Kenzai Life program building up my strength until that time, but I'm really looking forward to some serious food, workout and team action in the future!
The pelvic floor muscles are apparently these super important muscles that provide support for your pelvic organs and help maintain the continence of your bladder and bowel. They can be strained or injured by the following: not keeping them active or over working them, being pregnant and having babies, a history of back pain, ongoing constipation and straining to empty the bowels, being overweight, obese or having a body mass index (BMI) over 25, heavy lifting (e.g. at work or the gym), a chronic cough or sneeze, including those linked to asthma, smoking or hayfever, previous injury to the pelvic region (e.g. a fall, surgery or pelvic radiotherapy) and
What happens when your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, over-stretched or too tight? A whole host of unpleasantness including accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze, needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time, constantly needing to go to the toilet, finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel, accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel, accidentally passing wind, a prolapse or painful sex .
Why aren't these muscles talked about more? I'd venture to say that most of us take them for granted until one day, they fail us. At six months post-partum, I'm still suffering from a few of the embarrassing symptoms above. To add to those symptoms, I decided to try my first post-partum Kenzai workout this morning and found that the Ring of Fire was near impossible for me...and likely a really bad idea for me to be doing if my pelvic floor is not yet fully recovered. That sent me on a quest to figure out how to rehabilitate my pelvic floor faster and to determine what types of exercises I should avoid until that time.
Apparently, the kegel is still the basic way to go to get that pelvic floor back in shape, but the first step is to identify the muscles involved in a proper kegel. You can do this by visualizing the need to urinate or pass gas and pull up on the muscles to stop these actions. Nothing above the belly button should be activated, and you should be able to breath easily. Holding 10 kegels as long as possible a few times a day is the recommended way to get that pelvic floor back into shape. The only problem is remembering to actually do them!! Any recommendations for how I can do that?
Pelvic exercises to avoid include sit ups, curl ups, crunches, abdominal exercises with medicine ball, V-sit, hundreds, double leg lowers, and plank position on hands and feet (eg ‘hovers’, full push ups). Great! All the best stuff! However, there's modified versions of these that I can do....so, I'll continue my research and sub those in for the hard-core abdominal exercises until I can actually hold my pee while I jump rope. Also, any leads on effective, fun pelvic floor exercises is highly appreciated.
Ballerinas amaze me. Their elegant strength always makes it seem like what they are doing isn't IMPOSSIBLE. But, Kenzai peeps, what this ballerina can do on a stripper pole is most definitely impossible for normal human beings. Just wow.
My skinny jeans officially fit over my ass again. They are a little tighter than they were before, but in Zambia, it's okay for jeans to be a little too tight. Much better than wearing too big jeans that show my crack when I bend over. So, I consider that a big WIN! I'm now down to 117, that's about a 10 pound fat loss in 3 months. Not bad, not bad. I'm still struggling to keep my exercise regimen consistent with the unpredictability of my little girl's sleep schedule, but I'm fitting it in at least a few times a week. Also, this past weekend was a huge indulgence weekend as I traveled to South Luangwa National Wildlife Park for wining and dining and lots of game viewing. We got the rare treat of spending an hour watching a pack of wild dogs and their 10 puppies lounging and frolicking in the dry grass around a water hole. Wild dogs are few and far between. I felt blessed.
As a side note, when I googled "skinny jeans win" to find a fun picture to go with this blog, I discovered this one on a page advertising the skinny jeans telesummit. Who knew?!
Yes, that is me nine weeks into the Peak Condition Project in 2010. I LOVE this picture of myself. I exude confidence and ease with my body. I miss those days. Before I took on the PCP, my body/self image was at an all-time low. I decided to make changes and found that eating well and taking care of my body translated into a positive body image, or so I thought. Looking back, I know that even in that body, I suffered from self-doubt and the need to constantly improve my body in order to boost my self-esteem. Five years down the road as I struggle once again with a negative body image, I wonder if I actually learned anything. Why do I feel the need to rely on the state of my body as an affirmation that I am indeed a worthy human being? Ummmm…I’m not going to attempt to answer that question other than to say, it’s complicated and I don’t know. I’m sure it’s a mixture of past karma, upbringing, societal pressures, etc.
What I do know is that I’m tired of it! Buddhism tells us that there is no fixed self. The self we think we are is constantly in flux, ever-changing. The person/body/mind I was in that picture was only in that moment, and I will never be there again. It’s not worth it to suffer because I am attached to the person I was in that picture. My body now, with its extra wrinkles, scars and sags, is as perfect as it was then and communicates all that I’ve accomplished in the last five years. This is not to say that eating healthy and staying fit aren’t necessary and important, but I want to stop using them as tools to perpetuate a cycle of positive/negative self-image. I know this won’t happen just because I’ve said that I want it to happen, but at least, now, I can see the cycle clearly and endeavor to stop clinging to my physical appearance as an ego-booster.
Side-note: I think my husband would particularly enjoy if I made progress in this area so that he no longer has to suffer confusion when my mood takes a turn for the worse after trying on my old skinny jeans and not being able to fit them over my ass, after which I'm forced to replace them with jeans that make me feel dumpy and unattractive.
My 5AM workout this morning was interrupted by my mother-in-law knocking on the door and asking for my husband. She was dressed, ready to go back to the village and wanted me to wake up Andsen so that he could take her into town. I almost let the interruption derail my workout, but I moved myself into my room to listen for the little one and continued huffing on. And, it allowed me to spend a nice morning pause on the porch with my daughter after the workout. No one else home. Just me and my baby, a cup o'joe, the cool breeze and a peaceful view our little valley. A nice substitute for my formal meditation.
Did I get your attention? Yes, that's what I said, I love rape! Instead of whining about the things in my life that make it difficult to stay Kenzai, I wanted to write a quick post about the ways in which Zambia makes Kenzai Life easy.
Rape (pictured here) is one of the most common greens available in the local vegetable markets. Other interesting greens include Chinese cabbage, pumpkin leaves and sweet potato leaves, just to name a few. Greens are cheap. A bundle to serve three costs about ten cents, and tomato to flavor them with costs about five cents. Zambians eat some kind of green daily with their staple, nsima. Therefore, I eat greens daily now, and I love them. Tasty, affordable and awesome. What's not to love???