Posts Tagged ‘AFib’

The following is the monthly update on my attempt to lose weight and get healthier.  It’s a longer post than my “normal” daily post, so if your not “into” reading about “another person’s” diet (again!), I’ll understand if you stop here and come back another day.  You’ve been warned!!  Here goes…
(As in previous posts:) On September 16, 2019, I switched from my 18 days of “juice / blend” fasting / diet to an Intermittent Time Fasting (ITF) “Diet / Lifestyle”.  My starting weight on 29 August, for the juice / blending fast was: 373lbs.  My starting weight for the ITF was: 356lbs.  My current weight (this morning) was: 329lbs.  Basically, I’ve lost 44lbs from the end of August, 27lbs from the start of the ITF and 11lbs in the last 30 days.

Calories Chart from last 30 days (Nov / Dec) of ITF

The observant among you may (again) notice in the above chart I had three(3) days where my calories-in exceeded my calories-out…  This is one less (per month) than I did in the first two months, so slightly better.  Still, essentially it’s demonstrating that about every other “all-you-can-eat / anything-you-want” day, I blow my caloric allowance.  I’m on a three day cycle, so this means about once a week I lose it.  Interestingly, it’s not necessarily on the OMAD that I blow the calorie balance.  It seems, sometimes “life” just happens and I go with it.
As mentioned in my prior monthly updates, when I switched to the ITF, I also began using my FitBit (FB) to begin tracking my food and gauging my calories-in versus my calories-out.  I’m not sure why, but the FB has set my calories-out “objective” at 3,800.  The on-line BMR calculator I use said my initial BMR was roughly 2,370 calories.  At my current weight (329lbs), my BMR is 2,289 – (again) about 40 fewer calories lower / less than the prior month and 80 from the starting calories.  This means I have to burn an additional measure of 1,510 calories during my waking hours to reach the FB objective.  In any case, FB is showing my daily calories out for the last 30 days at 4,167 (about 200 calories less than prior month).  By this reckoning, I am exceeding the FB calories (3,800) by 367 per day and my BMR by almost 1,800.  Multiply this by 7 days in a week and we get 12,579 – which works out to about 3.5lbs per week of weight loss.  My actual weight loss for the last 30 days is about 11lbs.  Divided by 30 days and multiplied by 7 days is 2.57lbs per week of “actual” loss.  So, the FitBit is either scoring my calories-out to high or I’m not inputting the calories-in correctly.  I am diligent about the input, but I may be underestimating the portions and therefore the difference isn’t as great as the charts suggest.  It is also possible the difference is in both cals-in and cals-out.  Finally, it may just be my body is not burning the calories at the “normal” rate (meaning my calories burned is lower than the heart beat is suggesting it should be because of my AFib).

BMR on 16 Dec 2019 at 329lbs

Anyway, the chart below shows I still have a calorie deficit of about 1,000 calories per day (for the last 2 weeks in Dec.).  That times seven(7) days is 7,000 calories.  Divided by 3,500 calories (1 pound of human body fat) equals to 2 pounds of loss per week.  My actual weight loss over the last eight weeks is 18lbs.  Divided by eight(8) is 2.25lbs per week.  This is roughly the same average weight loss per week as recorded at the end of four weeks.  Over the last 2 weeks I’ve lost 3lbs (1.5lbs per week) and over the last month (as mentioned above) 11lbs (2.75lbs per week).

Calories Chart for Year

The goal of my long-term weight loss is (remains) to drop 1.5 to 2 pounds per week.  In theory, this will prevent the two worst parts of extreme weight loss: a permanent (and excessive) drop in BMR (which makes it easier to regain lost weight) and a large amount of floppy / saggy skin (pure vanity).  It looks like I’m continuing my promising start from the first two months.

Weight Loss Chart (Sept – Dec)

Equally important: how does it feel?  Today I am almost done with 5 weeks (out of 6) of “slogging” (VERY slow jogging).  My goal is to get to 3.2 miles per day and then begin dropping the time (slowly).  I’ve been “pretty” consistent although I’ve been slipping lately (hence the “5 out of 6”).  I’m mostly sticking to my goal of 3.2 miles per day, but yesterday I jogged 4.12 miles (one “extra” mile) and for the first time my overall pace was under 18 minutes at 17:59.  Yes, just barely, but still under AND with the extra mile – so I’m pleased.  I am planning to keep it to 3.2-ish miles per jog.  This is just over 5K (3.11 miles), and now that I’m good with the distance, I still need to start to drop the times.  When I (finally) get below 300lbs, I intend to add in some body weight exercises to improve my flexibility and strength.
As per my last two monthly reports: I am still working on my secondary goals going forward – smoothing out the “calories-in” numbers and to eat more healthy on my one-meal-a-day / all-you-can-eat day.  I am still “abusing” the OMAD opportunity, but… during the last month, even though I was over my calories limit (“in” vs “out”) three times, I didn’t eat beyond feeling stuffed to the point of feeling sick on any of the three “overs”.  So, I am improving there, too.  Slowly, slowly…
A final observation: although it is theoretically “impossible” to spot lose weight (or spot gain weight), I seem to be losing “size” in areas which correspond to my activity.  My waist is not shrinking much, but my legs, ankles, shoulders and forearms “feel” like they are getting smaller to me.  At least my clothes feel more comfortable in those spots.  As all I am doing for exercise is walking my dog and going for jogs, this makes sense, even though it contradicts all the “theory” of fat loss distribution I’ve ever read about (i.e. fat loss is supposed to be proportional across the entire body).  It’s not that big a deal, except it would be nice to imagine I was losing fat around my internal organs and not just legs and shoulders.  Oh, well, time will tell…
On This Day In:
2018 And Some Never Do
2017 When We Know We Are Loved
2016 Good Acts
2015 Will You Be Leaving Soon?
2014 Just Long Enough
2013 R.I.P. – Tom Laughlin
Seeking Success?
2012 All Aboard
2011 Sail On, Sailor

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The end of day two and the middle of day three…   End of week 1 already looks to be in sight!
Morning weight: 365lbs. (on Day 3)
I am down “6/8”.  As in, 6lbs down from yesterday and 8lbs down from my fasting start weight:  373lbs (morning of Day 1).  Obviously, a 6lbs weight loss in a single day and 8lbs over two days is not sustainable.  It was mostly stomach content (digesting solid foods) and some water weight.  Most adults hold between 7lbs and 15lbs of stomach content, so the first few days of any “cleansing” diet will be mostly the elimination of that content.  Most fruit juice and veggie juice diets tend to be “cleansing” diets by default.  So, the loss was expected and no big deal.  Losses of 1/2lb to 1-1/2 lbs per day tend to be more realistic (from my experience).  Managing the fasting to stay near the bottom end of that range (.5lb / day) is where the “art” of fasting comes into play.  Most of that “art” is listening to your body tell you what it wants / needs.
Yesterday I walked the dog (30 minutes) and went for a swim (60 minutes, Breast Stroke.  44 lengths X 25 yards == 1,100 yards.  18 laps == 1/2 mile. 1 lap == 2 lengths.)  The swim felt much more difficult than normal because I felt like I ran out of energy about 45 minutes through.  After that it (swimming) was just a gut check to finish the time.  Anyway, I got it done.
I was very tired for most of yesterday, but the flip side of that was I felt I got a good night’s sleep.  My FitBit (FB) doesn’t really agree with that assessment, but whatever.
I have a FitBit Blaze.  It’s my second FitBit.  The first was a hand-me-down belt attachment, which I only used for a couple of months.  I didn’t feel it was accurate and it was difficult to remember to keep moving it between clothes.  My latest (the Blaze) is a wrist-watch style and was a present from my daughter (Rebecca) for Christmas 2017.  So, I’m about halfway through my second year of wearing it.  I got it more as a Heart Rate (HR) tracker, but it is only of limited use in that regard.
My Blaze is VERY accurate on providing my current heart rate.  Since I suffer from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), this is important for me to marry up with my sensations of palpitations.  This allows me to exercise cautiously.  The problem I have with the Blaze is it actually doesn’t record your heart rate by the minute.  I downloaded and reviewed my HR for the first couple of months and found the information was recorded at set intervals which have nothing to do with AFib or exercise.  I don’t remember (this was Jan / Feb of 2018) anymore what the interval (5m, 10m or 15m) was, but I remember being dissatisfied enough to stop downloading the tracking.  I don’t expect 60 second per minute tracking, but this seems to me to be periodic “snapshotting”, not tracking.  As a person who also suffers (a bit) from Obsessive / Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and from years of practicing “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, you can kind of guess at my initial level of frustration.  LoL.
My second “issue” with the Blaze is that it doesn’t “stay” on what it’s set to do.  I swim.  The Blaze doesn’t “track” swimming.  This means I have to tell it I’m “working out” to get it to track my HR an calorie effort while swimming.  Fair enough.  The Blaze doesn’t support swimming and it says so in the documentation and on the company web site.  The site says the Blaze is “water resistant”, which means okay for heavy sweat and a quick shower, but not bathing or swimming.  In fact, over this last 20 months I’ve used it while swimming for over 150 hours and never had a single problem.  Well, almost none.  Remember the “staying” mentioned above?  Randomly, when water brushes against the Blaze it turns off or pauses the tracking.  The result is I am forced to pause between pool lengths to check if it is still tracking.  Yeah, that’s annoying.  I guess that’s what you have to live with to enjoy touchscreen activation.
This is my first wrist-based HR monitor and other than the two bits mentioned above I REALLY like my Blaze and I would definitely recommend anyone looking into buying a HR monitor consider FitBit’s line of products.  Having said that, I don’t think I will replace it when it finally dies.  One, the Blaze is no longer offered by FitBit.  Two, I feel their products are inordinately expensive.  The regular cost was $150.  My daughter got it as at a closeout price of $99.  Maybe it’s just the dinosaur in me, but I can’t see paying $100-$150 for a watch with a pedometer and a HR tracker – particularly if the tracker doesn’t really “track”.   In fairness to FitBit, their newer models DO “track” swimming as an exercise, but since I don’t own one of the newer models, I can’t speak to how they do it or how functional it is when doing the tracking.  But, if you are in the market for a good Heart Rate monitor, I guess you’ll get what you pay for.
Well, those are my thoughts about Day 2…  I hope I haven’t bored you all too much and you’ll come back for (and enjoy) some of these longer posts.
On This Day In:
2018 Ryan, McConnell & The Republican Controlled Congress
The Proud Dad
Day 35: Five(5) Weeks Completed!
2017 Serving Is Proving Harder Than Winning For #DumbDonald
2016 Come Again…
2015 At Five
2014 Touching The Past
The Supreme Question
2013 Children Will Judge
2012 Liar, n.
2011 Freedom To Doubt

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If you’re planning for one year, grow rice.  If you’re planning for 20 years, grow trees.  If you’re planning for centuries, grow leaders.  If you’re planning for eternity, go to confession.
  —  Australian proverb
[One year ago, I had my heart stopped and re-started.  The procedure is called: “electrical cardioversion”.  Basically, the doctors zap you with electricity to “re-set” your heart rhythm from AFib to normal.  I’m still here a year later and Thanksgiving is coming up.  …One more year to be thankful for.  So far, good to go!  I’m hoping to plant a few trees this year.  —  KMAB]
On This Day In:
2017 Small Hands, Small Grasp
2016 Two Murrow’s
Election + 1 Week
2015 Not Mine, Anyway
2015 South By South East
2013 Don’tcha
2012 I Hear A Distant Thunder
2011 A Poison Tree

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The end of day thirty-four and the start of day thirty-five…  End of week 5 in sight!
Morning weight:  313lbs.
I am now down “60/67”.  As in, 60lbs down from my fasting start weight: 373lbs, and 67lbs down from my highest weight ever (two days before I started the fast): 380lbs.  Today’s loss is a 2lbs loss, down from 315lbs yesterday.
Today I had my colonoscopy / endoscopy at the local hospital.  They took my vitals and my weight (on their scale) was: 330lbs.  I asked how accurate the scale was since it is different than my home scale and, at my visit to the urologist on Monday, his office scale put my weight at 309lbs.  The nurse said it is a professional-medical grade scale and is calibrated every quarter by the State hospital inspectors because it is used to calculate the anesthesia for procedures.  He said it should always be within 1 or 2lbs of totally accurate.  This weight is significantly different from my scale, but I don’t have access to their scale on a daily or weekly basis, so I will continue to use the weights from my own scale.  As an experiment, when I got home I tried to duplicate the weight by moving my feet and leaning forwards, backwards and to the sides.  I was not able to get within 5lbs of 330lbs, no matter what I did.  As I said, I’ll just have to stick with the girl I came to the dance with…
Results:  I don’t know.  The doctor said he found a single, small polyp in my colon, which he removed for biopsy.  He also said he found something in my throat / esophagus.  Unfortunately, I was still pretty doped up and didn’t catch what he was saying.  My wife said she didn’t either – except I’m to call next week for a follow-up appointment.  By then the results of the biopsies should be back.  So, time will tell…  My wife also said the doctor said I won’t need the procedures again for five(5) years.  Since I am currently on a three(3) year follow-up, that’s a good thing.
Prep Notes:  Just a quick recommendation to anyone who has to take the “Suprep Bowel Prep Kit” for your own future colonoscopy, it is foul tasting at room temperature with tap water.  The mixture says to keep it non-refrigerated and to mix it with cold water.  I had the first batch (there are two you have to take) at room temperature with “cold” tap water.  EEYYUCCKKK!  It makes you want to retch.  This morning, I mixed the second batch with ice water (sans ice), and it was tolerable.  The flavor is cherry cough syrup with a healthy bit of sea water mixed in.  Still yuck, but not as bad as when warm / room temperature.
A second thing I feel worth mentioning is the main / first ingredient is Sodium Sulfate which is considered a “neutral” salt.  Now, because I’ve been fasting, I’ve had very little salt in my diet over the last month.  (Yes, I know my “veggie-broth” contained salt and pepper.)  The “salt” is considered to be an electrolyte – similar to what you would find in Gatorade.  There is a caution in the attached medication guide that the kit can cause arrhythmia in those persons subject to them.  Well, I have AFib, which is a type of arrhythmia, and guess what?  Last night I woke up with severe palpitations which lasted from 12:30am until just before 4:00am.  They were bad enough I had to get out of bed and sit up to feel comfortable.  Which is why you should ALWAYS read the medication guides before you take the meds and ask your doctor about them.  In my case, didn’t and did.  I didn’t read and I did ask my doctor.  However, I didn’t ask him specifically about this Rx.  I did make sure he was aware of my AFib in advance.  Next time, in three or five years, I will be a little more aggressive about my questions.  A word to the wise…
Tomorrow at noon will be the end of week five(5).  With the news from the hospital scale, I’m now a bit disappointed.  I know I shouldn’t be, but facts are facts even when they are ugly.  If I am really 30lbs away from 300lbs, I won’t get there in a week or two.  If I choose to go with my home scale, I’m within a couple of weeks of breaking 300lbs and being able to think: “I lost 80lbs!”  This is where ego and vanity and a sense of accomplishment intersect and get twisted.  What started out as a seven(7) day juice fast to jump start a change in behavior is becoming (between my ears) something else.  The question I have for myself is:  “Okay…  Then when is enough, enough? 50 days?  100 days?  80lbs?  100lbs?”  Perhaps I’m just tired from last night’s lack of sleep, but I don’t have a good answer.  At the moment, it’s still Saturday at noon…
On This Day In:
2017 And The Future Is Now
2016 I Am
2015 Positively Aiming Higher
2014 Suspicious Minds
2013 We Are Not Alone
2012 Lawyer, n.
2011 Each Day Remember…
2010 Impossible Dreams of Camelot

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The end of day six and the start of day seven…
The last 24 hours was a bad day which may have had nothing to do with the fast.
Yesterday felt like a real good day.  I felt good getting up.  I walked the dog and even went for a late morning jog to end day 5.  After noon, I started day six still feeling pretty good.  I even went for an evening swim (tread water for 60min).  Except while in the pool, my heart started palpitating.  This happened multiple times during the time in the water.  When I got home, I took my blood pressure (BP&HR) and pulse and found I was in active AFib.  Generally, this means my heart is beating erratically.  In my case, too rapidly (accelerated) and not with regular timing (sinus rhythm).
This is all quite “normal” for me.  I tend to go into and out of AFib often if not regularly.  Most times I feel the palpitations for a minute or two and then they go away.  This time they didn’t…  Go away.  In my particular form of AFib, my heart doesn’t accomplish a full beat.  It flutters.  This means I have “stale” blood in my heart and / or in my cardiovascular system.  When blood doesn’t circulate, it tends to clot after a bit of time –  usually about 4 to 7 minutes.  If the clot stays in your heart it may block other blood and then you have a heart attack.  If the clot moves or a chunk of it breaks off and runs around your body, then lodges, you have a stroke.   Depending on where the clot lodges, that’s how serious the stroke is.
What does one do about this?  Well, I mostly wait.  I wait to see if I will get additional or continuing symptoms.  I wait to see if I drop back into normal heart rhythm on my own.  If I get more symptoms or I’m in AFib for too long, I go to the Emergency Room (ER).  This is what happened to me in the last go round.  The rhythm never reverted back to normal and it lasted almost three days.  When I finally went in, the doctors ended up giving me an electro-cardio inversion treatment.  Basically, they electrocuted me to stop and restart my heart with the hope that: 1)  it will restart; and, 2)  that the heart with come back with a normal pulse rhythm.  Mine did.
Day 6’s palpitations (the AFib) lasted all through the night and finally ended about 4:30 pm this afternoon (into Day 7).  The good news is I have been checking my BP&HR almost every hour since then and it’s now after 9:30pm and I’m still in normal sinus rhythm.  So, it looks like I’ve dodged the bullet another time…
Tomorrow at noon is the end of day 7 of my juice fast.  This is the goal I set myself when I started this (juice fast) last week.  This morning’s weight:  363lbs.  That’s down 2lbs from yesterday where I stalled and didn’t lose any weight from the prior day.  As of this morning, that’s 17lbs down from the starting weight of 380lbs.  And, again, subtracting out the “assumption” weight (10lbs), I’ve now lost 7lbs in six days.  I am feeling good and have enough veggie juice to last me at least until Monday which would make it a round 10 days of juice fasting.  I think from here on I will take it one day at a time and just see how far I can go.  At the minute, I feel like I can make the 10 day mark with no problem…
On This Day In:
2017 The Soul Of Victory
2016 Getting Furrowed?
2015 Pretty Good So Far
2014 Still Learning?
There Ain’t No Thing Like Me, ‘Cept Me!
2013 Little Lives
2012 Evolution
2011 Excellence At Performance = 10,000 Hours
2009 A Brief Poem…
Crater Lake Trip with James

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Earlier in the week (Tuesday & Wednesday), I went in to the doctor’s office for a “nuclear” (Adenosine / Thallium Study) stress test on my heart.  I suffer from AFib.  Anyway, yesterday I met with my cardiologist for the results.  I am all clear with no blockages and at all.  Yippie!!
This was my second nuclear test in five years.  (I’ve also taken the standard treadmill test twice in the last 10 years.)  The last one was the same results.  I was having (again) radiant pain in my left chest / shoulder / arm / elbow / wrist / hand, so the test was just to be on the safe side and make sure nothing had changed since the last test.  Same results as last time, so that’s even better.
I told the doctor I’ve started going to the pool as he advised and I’m feeling a lot better for it.  He said terrific.  He added, he would like me to eat a little healthier and try to get my weight down.  We discussed it and I (of course) agreed to try.  I see him again in six months – unless something changes…
The not so good news is that while boiling water for dinner (ravioli) last night, my wife spilled a pot of boiling water on her lap.  So, after a visit to Urgent Care, she got some pain killers and instructions for taking care of the 2nd degree burns.  Fortunately, instead of rising, the blisters all but went away during the night, so we got away very lucky.  I had a terrible night (lack of sleep) worrying about accidentally touching hurting her.  My Fitbit, said I got a little over two hours of interrupted sleep.  It needs a minimum of three hours to identify the types of sleep (deep / light / REM / awake).  Hil, on the other hand, got over eight hours and slept like a log.  LOL!!!  How do you spell relief?  (SLEEPING wife = happy husband!)
On This Day In:
2017 Forms Of Conservation
2016 Oh, So Lacking
2015 e pluribus unum
2014 Nothing So Far Removed
2013 Positions
2012 Two Errors
2011 Long Live The King!

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Last Friday (10 November 2017), I entered continuous AFib (Atrial Fibrillation).  This is a condition where your heart has a kind of loose electrical connection, and the top part of your heart (the atria) fails to pump smoothly – essentially it flutters (fibrillates).  If left unattended, the flutter can cause your blood to pool in your heart and eventually the pool coagulates and forms a clot.  Then, since your heart is still beating,  your heart can push the clot to other parts of your body and you can end up with a heart attack (if the clot lodges in your heart) or stroke (if it lodges in your brain).  The clot can cause various other issues depending on where it finally settles.  (Obviously, the is a VERY simplified explanation).
Anyway, I hoped it (my heart) would revert to a normal rhythm on its own.  It did not, so Tuesday (14 Nov 2017) I went to see my cardiologist, who in turn, admitted me to the hospital for electrical cardioversion.  Basically, they hit your heart with an electric charge which “in effect” re-boots the electrical system of the heart.  Yes, it stops your heart, but only for a fraction of a second (everyone hopes).
The procedure (yesterday – 15 Nov 2017) was successful (big shout-out to all the staff, nurses and doctors at John Muir Hospital in Concord, CA) and I was sent home with my heart in normal rhythm.  I’ll be chilling out for the next few days / week to make sure I don’t slip back into AFib and then I have to concentrate on dieting and exercise to lose weight and strengthen my heart.
Knock on wood…  That’s the plan, anyway.  In the meantime, it’s no added salt, adjusting to lots of new pills and it’s back to being a “blood-thinned” hemophiliac.  Still, it is much better than the alternative…  Please keep me in your prayers (if you are that way inclined).
On This Day In:
2016 And Bloggers?
2015 Ethical Energy
2014 Are You Likely To Defend It?
2013 Might As Well
2012 The Long And Short Of It
2011 Bravery

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