Hacking health [at a certain age]

Maya-Angelou-quotes-attitude
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Hello regular readers — feel free to skip this one — it’s not a leadership post.  It’s a 45+ female self-care post, summarizing some of the cool products and habits I discovered that helped me feel better.

Since most people don’t have the  blessing of extra time or the interest in comprehensive data tracking, I decided to document and share my findings in case they are helpful to others.

I get no kickback for any of these products, and [of course] your mileage may vary.

Quick Summary 

First let’s talk about what was working and what I was trying to fix.  My diet and sleep habits were healthy.   I don’t mean to brag, but I am an elite sleeper (why doesn’t Fitbit offer sleep challenges?). I had also been exercising about 2-3x a week (weight training and cardio).

In the complaints category there were several.  Migraines, weight gain, joint pain, severe stiff necks, vitiligo, vertigo, and fatigue (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few).  Generally I’d describe my situation as nothing was seriously wrong with me, and yet I began to feel I was aging a bit too rapidly.

Data capture 

I started my journey with several dr. visits and blood tests.  I also began tracking exercise, food and sleep with Charge2, weight Aria 2 and added two additional tracking apps clue and 5 minute journal.

Doctor uncovered Vit D deficiency and confirmed my vertigo, vitiligo and migraines, but offered no real solutions.   I began a series of experiments to try to see what I could improve. After a little more than a year, I’m happy to report I am feeling really good.  Most of my complaints are either gone or reduced.  The one I haven’t had any real progress on is the vertigo.

So far I am tracking three primary categories

Vitamin deficiencies — I found two products I love.  First, Ritual multi-vitamin.  I love everything about this company.  Although I don’t need separate magnesium anymore, I also really loved this product .   Improvements include mood (vit D), joint pain gone (vit D), lip color back (iron) strong nails, reduced neck pain (magnesium), etc.

Peri-menopause – This one is still a work in progress.  I now have comprehensive personal data to support my perspective that reduced estrogen killed my metabolism.  Or as I like to say, I’m well prepared for zombie apocalypse food scarcity.   Most people will lose a pound with each 3,500 calorie deficit, I require a 8,400 calorie deficit to lose a pound.  Not sure if that goes into #overachiever or #winning category, I’ll let you decide.

I have been toying around with a couple supplements that I do think are mildly helpful (this and this)  but, sadly the only thing that I’m sure has worked is pretty hard core calorie reduction.   Increasing exercise has been very helpful for mood and well being, but working out 5-7x/week for 9 months with moderate diet changes did not move the needle on weight.

Auto-Immune challenges – I’m still in discovery on this one as well.  We are still in the early days on therapeutic probiotics and resolving auto-immune issues have no quick fix.  That said, this is my favorite product.  I like these for high quality ingredients, no need for refrigeration and included prebiotics.

Other Stuff

Face – your friends who are selling R+F are not wrong — this is a great investment.

Eyes – I’ve found Felix Gray lenses helpful for migraine prevention.  While the screen time wasn’t the cause, it was a contributing factor.

Neck Pain – I keep Salonpas in my purse for both lower back pain and neck pain.  I am now also very careful to avoid a chill, especially during a workout (I just tuck a workout towel around my neck).   I have learned that neck pain is a migraine byproduct.

Exercise – There is a lot about personal preference to sustaining an exercise habit.  As someone who loved the results of exercise but not exercising, I’ve come to learn that I required structure and community to increase my enthusiasm.  Things that I love include: Training and dancing with Angie,dancing with SWEAThearts, cycling at Revelry, OrangeTheory and regular walks with friends and family.

Workout Foundations –  I’ve also been stress testing workout foundations, here are my [body specific] picks: Socks, Underwear, Bra

Scale – as I mentioned above, I have been using Fitbit scale, but I think this new product Shapa is probably a better strategy since it focuses on motivation in addition to measurement.

Sleepwear – Now that my nighttime body temp has increased I’ve found I can’t live without this nightshirt.

Massage, Chiropractic, Acupuncture — yup did/do all these — I find them generally helpful, but not cures.  I find chiropractic the hardest for me to recover from, so I do it less.  The cupping my acupuncturist did for me helped a lot with my neck recovery and massage is always great, unless I get it too close to my cycle, in which case I can guarantee a migraine will follow.

Meditation and Relaxation – As a chronically “early arrival” person, I’ve been using the Simply Being app to do 5-10 min meditation breaks in my car.  I like it for the extreme simplicity.    I have also grown to love Yin Yoga.

Workout drink – I don’t do these often, but I do really like this – it’s not a meal replacement, but it can help you cut your pre-workout meal in half, and still give you a bit more energy.   I just use a shaker and mix it with milk, tastes a bit like strawberry quick.

So there you have it — all my oversharing and best recommendations in one post.  What else should I try?  What helps you feel your best?

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