The Vitamin D Dilemma

by Lisa on Thursday: Aug 01, 2013

Around 4 years ago, I got some bloodwork done at the doctor’s office for the first time in a few years and found out that I was seriously deficient in Vitamin D. They told me my levels were so low that I had to go on a Vitamin D prescription of 50,000 IUs (that’s a TON) and that I should sit outside without sunscreen for 10 minutes a day.

All my life I’ve avoided the sun whenever I could. I just don’t like the way it makes me feel to sit outside in the sunlight, not to mention intense sunlight makes my eyes hurt and enough of it will give me a headache. I’m an indoors person, there’s no question about it. At the time, I figured that was all there was to it.

Then, a year later, my brother found out he was also vitamin D deficient. Then, my friend K. After another year, I met D, and a few months into our time dating, his doctor also told him that he needed to take supplements because of low levels. And if that wasn’t enough, around a year ago, his SISTER also got the same news.

What the heck was going on? Some of these people (especially my friend K) were sun lovers and did lots of outdoor activities.

Well, all of these people have something in common: we all grew up in Massachusetts and have lived here pretty much all of our lives. It is a well known fact that in New England, winter weather lasts at least 6 months, and there is little chance of doing anything fun outdoors most of that time.

According to this article:

Vitamin D can be produced in the skin from ultraviolet light. In the northern latitudes (such as New England), the intensity of the UV rays is only strong enough to create vitamin D for us in the summer months. For much of the year (about October through April), then, we need to get vitamin D from other sources. Even in the summer, using sunscreen, covering up with clothing, and spending time indoors can reduce the chance of us getting adequate vitamin D.

Since, that day 4 years ago, I’ve taken vitamin D gummy vitamins every day. They’re tasty and easy to just chew and go every morning. I still don’t spend much time out in the sun because there is a delicate balance here: too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer and other issues while too little leads to a vitamin D deficiency. My skin is pale as can be, so I’m at an even greater risk of skin cancers and will burn easily in the summer.

I think the thing that alarmed me the most about these revelations over the past few years is that there is almost no one I know who’s my own age that also grew up in Mass that doesn’t have this issue. I wonder how widespread it really is!

The bottom line is: I’d highly recommend anyone living in the northeast get their vitamin D levels checked out. It’s worth it!

For more information on Vitamin D and why we need it, check out this link: Vitamin D


Friday blog hops:

Getting to Know You

young and restless

Are you getting enough protein?

by Lisa on Wednesday: Nov 14, 2012

A week or so ago, Jessica from Budget for Health was kind enough to host me as a guest blogger! I can’t believe I’ve neglected to mention it until now, but please check it out if you’re interested in reading about how to get enough protein as a vegetarian:

Vegetarian Myths Debunked: Protein Is Not Just for Meat Eaters

In it, I talk about the many different categories that are protein-rich and one bombshell soy product that is OFF THE CHARTS for protein content. Check it out!

Getting educated

by Lisa on Friday: Mar 23, 2012

For the past several years, I’ve used blog reading to educate myself on topics of health and fitness, and the amount of knowledge I’ve gained doing so has been incredible. There are so many of these kinds of blogs that I read that I almost couldn’t even list them all here, even if I wanted to. In my blog travels, I have also seen a few books mentioned over and over again as must-reads for anyone interested in the subject. Yesterday, on somewhat of a whim, I decided to finally get off my butt and order a few.

Thanks to Amazon Prime, they arrived today! Thanks to the amazing bloggers out there I already feel like I have a good amount of knowledge on the subject, so I’m curious to see how many of my preconceived notions are going to be challenged.

These are the books I purchased:
Thrive Fitness: The Vegan-Based Training Program for Maximum Strength, Health, and Fitness
The China Study
Eat to Live

I’m sure over the next few months as I work through these books, I’ll feel compelled to update here with tidbits I’ve learned and things that surprised me. I’m looking forward to it.

For me, the whole journey of fitness isn’t just about looking good or being “skinny”, it’s about being healthy and living the best life that I can possibly live. Coming from a family with so many health issues, I want to put myself in a position where I can try and combat my genes and avoid the same problems my parents and other relatives faced later in life.

This week’s workout update: I slowed down just a little after last week’s intense 5 workout sessions and have only logged 2 up to this point in the week. I’m hoping to get in at least 2 more before the weekend is over. I’m still working on the 100 pushup challenge, and I made it up to 50 (non-consecutive) pushups yesterday! I never in a million years thought I’d be capable of doing that.

Are there any health/fitness books out there that have inspired you?


young and restless

Long term vs. Short term

by Lisa on Monday: Feb 20, 2012

One of the greatest battles we face with ourselves when it comes to getting healthier and in shape is the never-ending inner debate over which we want more: short term happiness or long term happiness. Logically, when we’re looking at it from a distance, long term happiness seems to be the obvious choice. It will last longer, for one thing, and more than likely it will be more fulfilling. This is why we create goals like losing 10 pounds or exercising more often – because we believe that it will help us achieve this happiness in the long term. If we didn’t think these things would make our lives better, we wouldn’t be trying so hard to achieve them.

However, the trouble comes when our short term happiness becomes more important. It’s so easy to fall into this trap:

I’m having a bad day, and if eat this chocolate, it’ll make me feel better

Or

I would much rather watch this TV show while lounging on the couch than going to work out today because it will make the evening a little more enjoyable

In situations like these, we’re sacrificing our long term goal for a little bit of short term happiness.

This is a constant issue for me. I always start the day with good intentions, but then as life unfolds during that day, I start looking for ways to make myself happy right now, and often that means doing something that isn’t in tune with my health goals.

This past weekend was a great example of this inner conflict. I went into the weekend having already worked out 4 times during the week, but with the intention of working out at least one more time on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, we got takeout for dinner two nights in a row, didn’t go to the gym, and yesterday in particular, I ate pretty much non-stop all day long.

I need to learn to tell myself that working on my long term goals WILL contribute to my happiness, and can even add to the short term happiness from time to time. There are many times when I feel much happier and more energized after a workout. It’s the food issue where the battle really takes place for me.

What do you think about long term vs. short term happiness?

10 Pound Challenge check-in and a Fit Experiment

by Lisa on Wednesday: Feb 15, 2012

This week marks the 1 month point of Newlyweds on a Budget’s 10 Pound Challenge, and it’s time for a check-in.

How am I doing so far?

Well, I’m still struggling with my eats a little bit and splurging more than I should. However, my workouts are improving every week, and I know I’m getting stronger. Because of the food though, I havent’ seen too much change on the scale.

Starting weight: 146.8
Today’s weight: 145.6

Difference: 1.2 pounds
Pounds to go: 8.8

Still a ways to go, but I still have 2 months AND this week, I’ve taken another step in the direction of eating better: I joined My Fitness Pal. I had tried it out in the past, but I had never used the social features and I think this time around, that’s what’s going to keep me motivated. Are any of you using it? If so, add me! My username is msmarvelproject. Or leave your username in the comments and I’ll find you. Let’s help each other get in shape!

I’ve been tracking for 2 days and because I’m forced to track everything I put in my mouth, I’m less likely to have lots of random small snacks throughout the day. Also, one of my favorite features is that at the end of every day when you complete your entry, the program tells you that if every day was like that day, how much you would weigh in 5 weeks. It keeps you motivated!

This will be an experiment for me, and I’m excited to see if it will make a positive change in the way I eat.