FITNESS AND MENSTRUATION

I hate to admit it but consistency is a hard virtue to achieve. It takes a lot of discipline and self-drive to achieve it. It has been two weeks and the closest thing I have done to fitness is learning the dance routine from Sauti Sol’s new jam, ‘Short and sweet’. I know, I know, but hey, I can move, thanks to Zumba. It works miracles on your waist.
Away from that, I had my monthly visitors, not so long ago. It got me thinking, is there a relationship between working out and menstruation? ; Yes people, it is not mensturation. I delved into it and this, plus what I feel and how my body works, is what I came up with.
There is a relationship between working out and your period and diabetes for diabetics. One thing however, remained constant. It is okay and even very much encouraged, to work out when you are crossing the red sea (I always get a kick out of saying this).
First of all, it is said to reduce the pain that comes with cramps and brighten your foul mood. This is because when you work out, your body releases some body chemicals called endorphins. They are defined as any group of hormone that are secreted within the brain and nervous system to achieve a number of psychological functions. Their main aim is to inhibit the communication of pain and stress signals. It is said to have a ‘morphine-like’ effect. Exercising boosts the production of endorphins hence the reduction of stress and pain.
Two, this is a bad thing that end well, is that you will experience missed or irregular periods. Exercising places some stress on your body which could through off your hormones, hormones which control your flow. Therefore, before your body adjusts, which it should if you keep up, you are bound to experience amenorrhea. However, if you miss your period for like 2-3 months, then seek medical help. In the long run, your cycle become regular, better than it was before. This I can completely attest to.
However, you are advised to avoid exercises that will make you stand on your head. According to studies done, though not well proven, when you are rolling and you stand in an inverted positions like in yoga or when you are doing the reverse crunch. Greg Justice, a certified trainer and exercise physiologist says that, ’It all boils down to vascular congestion in the uterus. Standing on your head engorges your blood vessel, which make you bleed more. Hence more cramps.’ He advices one to keep off the head during this time. However, I would like to add that it is not related to the Pelvic congestion Syndrome per say.
Finally my diabetes community, my loves, if you are on a fitness journey, we have to be twice as careful. 3-5 days before your period arrives, sugars tend to be high. Hormonal fluctuations can cause this. In addition to this, when estrogen production is high, your body tends to create a resistance to injected insulin. The best thing you can to so as to monitor your pattern is charting. Check your sugar levels about 5 times a day, before, during and after your period. This way, you can learn where your sensitivity to insulin is. It will help you to adjust your insulin dosage and your food intake.
We also experience cravings and personally my sweet tooth only worsens during this time. We are advised to opt for sugar free and fat free versions of our cravings. Lord knows how much help I need with this.
Finally, you will tend to experience lower desire levels for exercising. This really helped me understand my lazy feeling. Extra insulin is a good idea to make sure your blood sugar will not rise. It will help counteract the insulin resistance and moreover, it will save you from weight gain.
Like I tell myself, one step at a go. We fall, we pick ourselves up and we keep going. The end game will not disappoint you. It is guaranteed it produces good results. So let’s do this. God has got you, me and the whole world.

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FITNESS FOR BEGINNERS

I am one year into fitness and so far I can only say how much I love it. It is addictive, it is fun and it makes you proud of yourself when you realize that you can do it. As a 23 year old diabetic, ensuring that my sugar levels are stable has become my main priority. Nevertheless, this is not for diabetics only, it is for any person who would like to begin a fitness journey. You eventually become obsessed with your body. All you want to do is make it better with the dawn of each day. However, it is never easy but the results keep you going.
In this article, I have tried to avoid technical terms so as not to scare you away from this journey. In the next articles, I will introduce terms as I know you will be familiar with them.
When I decided to venture into this, the very first thing I did was to ask God to help me get through. To grant me perseverance and endurance. I then did a little research on fitness. I wanted to find out which routines are best for me, as a young woman, as a diabetic and as a beginner. I took to YouTube, to some people who were already into fitness, to blogs and books.
I then did a ten day detox; which I have to say I failed twice before I was finally able to complete on my third attempt. I am Kenyan so I bought a book from Jane Mukami, one of my role models in this journey. The book guides you step by step. In addition to this, she has personalized it in such a way that you feel like she is your personal trainer right there with you. There is also a support group on Facebook. It has an affordable grocery list and her ideas are very realistic. The items on the book are locally available for everyone. It might be a bit expensive but at the back of your head you know it is for the wellness of yourself. The purpose of the detox is to cleanse your body, lose a few pounds and to feel energized. For diabetics, you are advised to avoid fruits that contain too sugar and to first seek your doctor’s consent before doing this.
After my detox, I then downloaded Zumba videos for beginners. I was not sure if my body was ready for intense work out plans so I decided to start with something I love, dancing. I got one instructed by Marie Forleo. It is a 40 minute routine. It might look low key but you can feel the change in your whole body. I added jogging to it, although I have to admit it is not one of my favorite routines of the week. I only do it because it improves cardiovascular fitness and it strengthens all the muscles in my body. It is also a stress reliever. Normally I would have the urge to smoke when I was feeling like I was under pressure but now I channeled it to jogging.
When I realized my body was adapting, I then added Billy Blank to my list of work out routines. I downloaded two routines that I liked. One was ‘Billy,s Favorite Moves’ and the other was ‘Tae Bo Total Body Fat Blaster’. They are a tad bit more intense than the Zumba I had gotten used to. I remember I could barely get through to the end. I however kept pushing myself until I was able to get to the end. I realized it is not as long as my mind had thought it to be. I was now able to interchange the two routines. Three times a week or more worked well for me.
As I wind up, you have to remember to hydrate. This is the most important step in physical fitness journey. Wake up to a glass of water. Sleep to a glass of warm water. The two-liter/ 8 glasses of water rule is for real. You have to force down that water. By doing this, you avoid stressing your organs. It promotes cardiovascular health and helps muscles and joints work better. Water is also a cleanser. After a day or two, your urine becomes clear. For diabetics, hydrating can affect the overall health, blood sugar control and appetite. It is common knowledge that high blood sugars put us at a higher risk of dehydration. If you do not like plain water, try adding a lemon and some honey or flavored water or cucumbers.
All the same, do not strain yourself. There is a huge difference between pushing yourself and straining yourself. Focus on quality and not quantity. You could do 100 push-ups but in the wrong way. You could do 10 of them and do more for your core. Listen to what your body is telling you. If on your first attempt you do not have muscle aches, then you did not do it right. Always remember that it only gets better if you maintain consistency.
You have to know that this is not a journey for the faint hearted. You have to decide for yourself that this is what you want. If it is that bikini body you are working towards, go for it. Do it for you. I am just a beginner too, struggling to beat the lazy voice in my head. After three months of consistency, you will begin to notice the flexibility on your waist, the ability to pop-lock-drop it and the desire to work out. You will begin to notice that the shortness of breath you had after climbing a flight of stairs has reduced. You feel confident when you stand in front of the mirror naked and notice your waist line forming. You will slowly realize that you can walk around the house in your bra or shirtless without feeling the need to cover up. The fears that you had of stepping on a weight scale are slowly fading away. It will be for a better version of you.

AGEING GRACEFULLY

I tend to consider myself very observant. So on this certain occasion, I am leaving town. I board the matatu, more like a Noah and sit by the window. A few minutes later, in comes a woman. She is rather old. She has shades of white and black hair on her head. Some time back, I had a problem with how the old people smell but blame it on ageing; I no longer mind it as much. She sits down and sets her bag on her laps. I am about to put on my ear phones when she stands up again. She turns and pulls her dress then sits down. Let me describe her to you. She is in a long yellow flowered dress flowing to the ground. She has worn a pair of long socks and ankle boots. Her bag is rather old. It’s of white leather. After she seats down again I let out a silent sigh. I get ready to put my earphones again but a certain noise stops me. She had opened her bag and popped open a glass bottle of what looked like a blackcurrant. I am very tempted to laugh out loud but I stifle back my laughter. She struggles to find a straw in her back and out comes a wrinkled straw. I want to give her mine but then I think twice. She peels it with her mouth as she holds on tight to her bottle. When she is done, she pops it inside the bottle. The bottle is hidden inside the bag and all that I can see is the straw peeping out. She takes one long sip, gurgles and swallows it with a loud noise. I am trying not to look at her so I put in to action the art of the side glance. I want to ignore her but she does this one thing that makes me burst out so loudly. She removes a polythene bag that has a piece of ugali inside. She bites it and sips on her soda without a worry in the world. I laugh out so loud that people in the car turn to look at me. I pretend that it was a text that made me laugh. My old woman eats it and finishes with a loud belch. She closes her bag, folds her arms and falls asleep that is after telling me to wake her up when we get to where she is alighting. It hits me that one day we shall l get to that point. We shall be very shameless and very little shall make us embarrassed. Myself, I will age gracefully. My dressing shall be unique. Eating ugali in a car? No thank you. I think people need to take care of their grannies. Make sure that whatever she has in her bag is safe to eat and that it is well packed. Remember that one turn deserves another. You too shall have teens laughing at you.

NOW YOU ARE GONE…

She was pretty, polite and very young. A combination of characteristics that is hard to come by in young adults of this century. I am not saying this because she is gone, everyone can attest to this. She was decent and stylish. Come to think of it, she was almost perfect. I never did cross her bad side so I will not say that she was perfect. She had dimples, and long hair. She was wild, I will agree but not even once did I hear of a scandal she was involved in. unlike the famous pretty ladies in campus, she did not mind sitting next to anyone in class. She would not make you wake up from your seat just because you are sitting next to the crowd of her friends. She was the kind to visit you just because she heard you were sick and you are in the same class. She was a model. Her pictures are all over. She had been coming to school when tragedy struck at 4am. She had been seating in the co-driver’s seat when the accident went down. According to the reports, she was badly injured and she was rushed to hospital. She spent the next few days in an induced coma in the ICU. The fellow comrades who went to see her would only come back with sad news. After a few days, we were told that she could now move her limbs. We all waited for the next piece of news we would receive. We were told that she would have to undergo two more surgeries. As I sat in my room going through the whatsapp messages I was relieved that she was doing much better. I only wished we would each take a piece of what she was going through because then she would heal in the snap of fingers. Every day I begged God to spare her life. I kept thinking how young and full of life she was. On that Sunday, I made it to church early enough and got down on my knees giving a special prayer for her. For the first time in that whole period I shed tears. I kept asking God to forgive her and to take away the pain. I prayed that after the surgeries she would be moved to the ward. We began our exams on the following day. As we left the exam room, we were hit by the news that she had passed away. The thing about me, I take some time to load what I am told. It was only after we parted ways with my friend did the thought of this sweet girl come to me. I suddenly realized what I had been told. I did my shopping and made my way to the butchery. As I stood there waiting for the butcher to pack the meat, I saw a woman. I rushed outside to look at her. My heart was racing and my legs shook. I bent and held onto my knees as a dizzy spell took me. I could have sworn I had seen my dead mother. The butcher called out to me and I picked up the meat. I hurriedly walked back to my place. Had I just hallucinated? As I walked, I kept asking God to give me the grace not to question his actions. Sometimes He does things that are beyond us. In my confused state of mind, I found myself feeling mad at this girl. What was her problem? Why couldn’t d she hold on for a while longer. Her parents will never get over this. At her candle lighting, her best friend was hurting. She was crying and you could see that her heart was tearing in to pieces. As I sat there in the night, I debated whether or not to light a candle for her. I have a problem with the dead. I sometimes think they are the most selfish people. They just leave without a warning. We are left unable to figure out how to get past it as they rest in peace. Nevertheless, I lit a candle for her. As I did so, I wished her all the best. I told her to be a good gone soul. I could almost picture her in white garments hovering at us. Sweet girl be at peace. You will be really missed. I can assure you will not be forgotten. In our hearts you shall remain. It will be hard on you family especially but they shall be okay eventually. Do rest in peace now that your work was done according to God. We love you, I love you. Till we meet again.

MAN PERIODS

Have you ever come across a man who, under normal circumstances is always very sweet and understanding but on this day he is in a very foul mood for days? He seems to be in search of an argument, picking up fights in the club, wrinkling his nose at the food you just warmed for him. Another one will even bark at the cat for stepping on him. This man will have a scrunched up face like the statue of Dedan Kimathi. He will keep making the ‘NKT’ sounds over and over again until you want to explode. My man will happen to talk rudely when to me even when I ask an innocent question. There is also that other one who will hit you so unexpectedly that the both of you stand there in stupor until he storms away. This kind of a man likes to break things or throw things around. He is the kind thay cuts his finger away when he is chopping the meat unwillingly. I also discovered that there is the one who will get drunk and cry in your arms as he rants on and on about his troubles or he is probably mourning for his car or how badly he is treated by his boss. This man will beg you not to ever leave him. He will confess of his jealousy when he sees men looking at you or of the many man friends that you have in your phone another one will be stubborn. He will grumble about everything; “oh! The water is not hot enough. Oh! The food is too salty. Oh! The shirt is not well ironed. This man will drive you insane. There is nothing that you do at the moment is good enough. Then there is the one who will be in bliss. He will come and sweep you into his arms and swing you kissing your forehead over and over again. This kind of a man will also dance all the crazy moves you have ever seen. He will look like he is drunk but he does not have even a drop of liquor in his body. He is the man who will buy some funny dress that he thinks will look good on you just because he saw some bimbo looking glamorous in it or some six inch heels that he has always admired on other women but he has always been afraid to ask you to wear the for him. He will even volunteer to cook and to rub your feet. This man will make you smiling all this while. Does this kind of behavior make you wonder I he is having an affair? Worry not my dear; he is just going through his man periods. These come minus the menses. He is having high levels of oestrogen in his system. These tend to counteract his testosterone and hence the insane behavior that you will notice he has. The next time this happens, sit back and abide with him. He too does the same for you when you are in one of your episodes of mood swings.

A LETTER TO MY MUM

Hi mom, how is it where you are? I keep wondering what form you took. Are you like dressed in white? Do you walk around earth watching over us? I have so many questions for you. If only where you are has as good technology as here. I would call you almost every night urging you to follow my blog and like my pics on instagram. Sometimes I wonder if you are stalking me and keeping tabs on me. Here on earth, life has really changed. I was forced to grow up overnight. I have made very many mistakes as I tried to find my path. I can tell you it hasn’t been easy. Most times I feel like I don’t belong to anyone. I get so lonely that suicidal thoughts overtake my mind. You were always there whenever I needed you. Dad is not the same anymore. Yes he did re-marry but he has this sadness in his eyes that is quite easy to see. I sometimes cry for him because I have not been there for him. Home is not the same either. There is a new woman in town. Thank God she is nothing like you. We have had both good and bad times with her but I try to be nice. I know you would have wanted me to be nice and to respect her. You should see your house, ha-ha, it is nothing like you ever dreamed of I can assure you. My room is the only room that still holds the memories. Sadly, your lovely wardrobe has a new owner too. Your other children are still pushing on with life. They are all doing okay. Did you know you have a grandson? Yes mom, we now have a boy in the family after so long. Young babies are being born and sometimes I tend to ask myself if I will see you in anyone of them. We have grown very close, all of us. My sisters are taking care of me very well even when I stray, especially your eldest. The firs grand child is already in school, another one is a miss diva while another I all naughty and sweet at the same time. I am doing very well in school finally. I finally settled. Aunty has been there whenever I need her. I am working hard to get that degree that we both dreamt of. I am just really mad at you for leaving before you saw me graduate. Now who do you think will stand in your place by my side? All the plans we made for that day? Anyway, we shall have a bone to chew when I see you again. I will tell you more when I write again. Make sure to drop in on my dreams sometime, I miss our chats. You should not worry yourself about me, I am a woman now and I will do you proud. Pass my love to your now soul friends. Oh and BTW, I borrowed you black skirt and your red coat; you know the pretty one that you used to love wearing? I re-sized them and I trend in them now. I miss you so much. I would have my tattoo removed if that old give me a chance to see you again. I love you so much ma.
Sign
Your little bird.

PRETTY HURTS

She taped on the share button on her phone and shared her pic on Instagram. She sat in anxiety waiting to see how many likes she would get. Her best friend was the first to like it followed by her cousin. Those were two likes in an hour. Her heart beat fast as she tried to swallow the tears that were threatening to gush out. She switched off her phone for a minute thinking that on switching it on again, she would find more likes. Well she did but only five more. That gave her a total of seven likes in like two hours. She started going through other photos wondering how people hit about 100 or more likes and that was when it dawned on her. The next day she had her neighbor over and she posed for semi- nude photos of herself and voila! She hit 347 likes in an hour. She sat back smiling with satisfaction. As she kept tabs on others, she spotted someone with 704 likes and she was greedy for more. She then realized this one had a skinny boy with a really flat tummy. She started on her dieting. She ate nothing for three days and when the hunger pangs kicked in, she downed a glass of body powder. She would stuff cotton wool inside her with the intention of lying to her stomach. She did indeed loose a few kilos and her tummy showed signs of reducing but she was not satisfied. She wanted a lighter skin and a bigger ass and a bigger bosom. She hit the internet and got to searching for ways. She found a place where she could afford to get some adjustments. Shots of silicon were filled into her ass and into her boobs and she was all new looking like a blessed ‘Luhya’. She bought a few lighteners and her journey bigger. After three months she was all transformed. She could now get over a thousand likes both virtually and physically. In the year that followed trouble came. Her skin started reacting to the UV rays due to lack of melanin. On her large behind popped and she collapsed. The sirens woke me up and together with the neighbors we rushed to see what had happened. We later visited her in hospital after she went through multiple surgeries. To get the cotton wool out of her stomach, the silicon fillings out her butt and boobs. She was doing well and went to counseling sessions but the depression drove her to suicide. It is true that we all want to look beautiful but natural beauty cannot compare to artificial beauty. Those who cannot love you as you are might as well just drop dead. Every time you look into that mirror, you should be happy about what you are looking at. If you are not, who do you blame for it?