Deer in Headlights?

My final full time clinical started last week and it is so far going very well. It was really tough heading from graduation weekend straight in to full time (unpaid) work, so it took a few days to get in to the groove of things. In some ways I think I am still getting used to how they do things there, but overall I felt much more comfortable by the end of the week.

I have two clinical instructors (CIs). This is totally different than what I am used to and really tough in some aspects. One works part-time, so whenever she isn’t there, I am with a different PT. They both are so incredibly knowledgeable and have loads of valuable experience that I know I will learn so much from. One of them in certified in Vestibular Rehab, so she sees a lot of concussion, vertigo, and other vestibular patients. This is something I haven’t seen a lot of, so it’s exciting being able to learn more about it. My other CI worked in the inpatient end of things for a few years before coming to the outpatient side, so it’s fun to talk to her about both experiences and get her feedback on things.

The patient population is awesome! I don’t know what I was expecting because I knew it was mainly Neuro based, but I just got down right giddy seeing the first few patients on the first day. Many of the patients are individuals with chronic neurological disorders coming in to work on walking, strength, or other difficulties that have risen as they age. We’ve seen patients with Parkinson’s, stroke, post-concussion syndrome, cerebral palsy, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, quadriparesis, and multiple sclerosis. It’s an incredible patient population to work with and is so rewarding.

My goal for the second week is just to become more comfortable with the patients. With a patient with an orthopedic injury, I feel okay walking in and doing what I know. With this population, I need to be on my toes the entire time I am with them, thinking on my feet and figuring out what to do if they perform really well with one task or it’s too hard. It’s challenging but I love it.

So while I felt sort of like a deer in headlights walking in to clinic on Monday, I know that with a little time I will ease in to my comfort zone and just do my thing. I’m so excited about this opportunity to be at this clinic with 2 awesome mentors and I’m ready to see what the rest of the summer brings.

Whole 30: Week 1

So, good idea or bad idea starting this reboot to my system on the same day as my final full time clinical starts? I’ll say it was in the middle. A few days I regretted it, and a few days I felt great. So let’s get in to it: (There are a very big lack of pictures… because ain’t no body got time for that when you’re working over 40 hours a week plus researching when you get home… )

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Day 1: “I can do this”

Breakfast: Two eggs with half an avocado; 1/2 a grapefruit; handful of almond; bottle of water.

Lunch: Burger patty with grilled onions and tomato; grapes; handful of cashews.

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with chopped peppers, spinach and shrimp.

Snacks: Apple Pie Larabar on the ride home – because I thought I was going to go run and needed fuel, but then I laid in my bed and didn’t move.

H20: >48 oz

Day 2 “Okay let’s do thi….”

Let’s preface this day with this: I got up at 5:30am, hit the gym, felt great, got in my car to go home. Push my brakes and “ssccccrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeee eeee eeeeee”. My brakes, grinding metal on metal. I freaked out and didn’t want to drive it on the highway so called my sister (like she could help me??). Long story short, my brother in law looked at it and said its drivable but needed to be fixed soon. I reluctantly drove to work. But my morning was a hot mess and super rushed.

Breakfast: Two hard boiled eggs and a banana

Lunch: Leftovers from Day 1 dinner with a burger on top instead of shrimp; 3 mini bell peppers

Dinner: On the ride home: 2 hardboiled eggs and a banana. Then I got to sit through my lacrosse banquet and watch everyone eat pasta and garlic bread while I ate my Larabar and chugged my water. Finished up the spaghetti squash when I got home.

Snacks: Cashews and almonds.

Day 3: “I’m tired.”

B: 1 egg (all we had left :( ) with proscuitto; 1/2 grapefruit; 1 cup black coffee

Snack: Cashews

L: Burger patty with sweet potatoes

D: Turkey, kale, sweet potato patty with prosciutto wrapped asparagus

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Late night snack: 1/2 grapefruit

Day 4 aka Death: “What is happening to me.”

(I woke up feeling like a truck hit me. I was nauseous thinking about all foods, I wanted nothing. My head hurt. My throat hurt. My back hurt. My body ached.)

B: 1 grapefruit; banana with scoop of almond butter (TJs); 1/2 cup black coffee.

L: 1 yellow pepper and an apple.

Snack: I was hungry but also nauseous, I heated up my real lunch and almost vomited at the smell. So I continued working and stepped away from the food. Ate a LaraBar to get something in me because it’s all I had.

D: Knew I needed something: Cilantro Lime Chicken turned in to chicken salad with avocado and lime; hard boiled egg; Yogi brand Cold Season tea for my throat.

Asleep by 8:45.

Day 5: “So, is the worst over?”

Whoa, it’s like I’m a new woman compared to the previous day.

B: 2 eggs and 1 egg white scrambled; blueberries; applesauce. 1 cup black coffee

L: Leftover chicken salad with avocado on bell peppers

D: Lots of shrimp covered in Old Bay with squash and zucchini, and the last of my prepped sweet potatoes.

S: Cashews

Day 6

B: Nature’s Promise Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage, 2 eggs and grapes.

L: Leftover Chicken, Wholly Guacamole 100 Calorie packet x2 with carrots and peppers.

D: Sat and watched Pitch Perfect 2 at a theater that has waiter service while my sister and mother ordered delicious food and I didn’t want to be nit-picky so I ate grapes and cashews/almonds. After the movie I ate the last of the shrimp and zucchini.

Day 7

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B: 2 eggs, one egg white with chopped bell pepper and zucchini; grapes and strawberries; handful of cashews.

L: Chicken, yellow bell pepper, carrots and a Wholly Guacamole 100 Cal packet.

D: The best meal in a week: London Broil with roasted red potatoes and green beans. Picture taken after I had already eaten half of my meal. I also tried out Tessemae’s Balsalmic to dip the potatoes in and it was pretty good! Can’t wait to use this stuff on more foods.

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So, thoughts on week one? I think I did okay. I didn’t do great, the lack of meal planning and crazy schedules some days didn’t help and left me to eat whatever I had that I could grab and go. But I stuck to it. I didn’t cheat. Despite the donuts in the break room 3/5 work days, the truffle french fries next to me during the movie, the endless free popcorn at the movie, and the multiple mornings I woke up craving a bagel.

Now what do I need to better? Meal prep! It’s no joke, you need to have so many things readily available to you incase certain crazy days do spring up. (Luckily I did have hard-boiled eggs on hand all week for emergencies) I read this before starting and thought I did okay, but I don’t think I did good enough. So this weekend I hit the grocery store and I’m ready to prep some more snacks and meals.

I’m honestly sort of getting bored of it already, mostly because I hate seeing other people eating foods I want to eat. But I’m just reminding myself of why I want to do this and I can seriously already feel a difference. Week one down, 3 more to go.

The Worst

I come to you on this Thursday. Day four of my amazing, but mentally exhausting clinic. And also Day Four of my Whole 30. AKA the worst.

I’m literally popping in to say I’m still going strong – despite my lack of appetite and terrible symptoms today.

And that my clinic is going great but its going to be tough.

I’ll be back this weekend when I’m caught up on sleep, I feel like a normal human being, and my room doesn’t look like a tornado hit it. I’ll catch you all up on my clinical so far and then come at you with week one of Whole 30.

Okay, it’s time for bed. Yes. It’s 7:59.

Allow Me To Introduce Myself…

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I have a Dr. in front of my name, and some fancy letters after my name.

Dr. Samantha (insert last name here), PT, DPT. 

I did it. And I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of all of my amazing family and friends. The only thing standing between me and beginning my career is a little $700 national board exam, 12 weeks of my final clinical placement, and oh yeah, finding a job.

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I was hooded last night by one of my professors and tomorrow I will walk across the stage of DAR Constitution Hall and graduate. HELL YEAH!

Favorite Things Friday

Happy graduation weekend y’all!! It’s finally here. 

1. My number one favorite thing today… I’m going to be walking across the stage and be hooded by a professor as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.  

2. Last night one of my classmates had a class get together as one last hurrah with all of us. It was a ton of fun. Here’s our solo pic we got last night, these two girls have changed my life and I couldn’t have gotten through school without them. They are two of the best people I know, inside and out, and I am so glad they came in to my life through this program. 

3. Sunday I will walk across the stage at DAR Constitution Hall, the same place where I graduated high school. It seems fitting to finish my school at the same place where I began my post-high school life.  

4. Monday I start my final full time clinical at a neuro and orthopedic clinic and I couldn’t be more excited to get started. 

5. I CAN’T BELIEVE I MADE IT! It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m basically done. Minus the 700 dollar board exam and 12 weeks of clinical, I’m done. All the stress, all the sleepless nights, all the panic attacks, all the tears.. They were all so incredibly worth it. We often play “Would you rather” when we are together as a class, and it’s been brought up: “would you rather repeat PT school or eat shards of glass”. Most of us picked the latter. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, I wouldn’t give up the life long friendships I created along the way, but I could do without the constant anxiety levels being through the roof and constant feeling of being defeated by tests and disappointed professors. But I made it. We made it. So let’s take a selfie…

  

Whole30: What is it and Why am I doing it?

If you’ve been around the blogging world for longer than a week, follow recent diet trends or really just don’t live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about Whole30. So what is it?

Whole30 is a type of diet that restricts certain food groups for specific reasonings that are highly scientific, backed up by research, and have a significant amount of positive testimonials supporting the idea behind it. I don’t like calling it a diet, because I’m not doing it for a “diet-ing” purpose.. but we’ll get to why I’m doing it in a second.

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From the book “It Starts With Food”, I learned so much about food and the nerd part in me loved the science-y stuff from it too. I also learned that Dallas Hartwig, the mastermind behind the idea, is a licensed physical therapists – sweet! I didn’t want to start this challenge without understanding why I was doing it and what good it could do for me, so I immediately snagged the book at the library and began researching blogs, articles and whatever I could find on it – believe me, there’s a ton out there.

The Whole30 program is very similar to the Paleo diet that is widespread amongst fitness fiends and the like, but it’s slightly different (and more strict). With this program, you remove all grains, legumes, soy, dairy, alcohol, sugars, and any other food groups and additives that the creators determined to have some sort of detrimental effect to our normal processing digestive system and overall body responses.

The Whole30 program focuses on four “Good Food Standards”:

  • Food should promote a healthy psychological response
  • Food should promote a health hormonal reponse
  • Food should support a healthy gut
  • Food should support immune function and minimize inflammation

There is a lot of research that the book uses to support all of the scientific facts throughout the pages, but I don’t want to delve way in to the science of it all. The basics of the program are to “eat foods that make you more healthy” and remove from your diet foods that are less healthy – grains, added sugars, alcohol, legumes and dairy.

The story that led to the creation of this program started with Dallas’ sister, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, a highly inflammatory disease of the joints. Additionally, Dallas was suffering from some shoulder inflammation and pain of an unknown cause. He began doing research on foods and inflammation and began changing the way he ate. Out of curiosity, research and trials, the Whole30 program was born – his shoulder pain disappeared and his sister’s symptoms diminished.

I know what you’re thinking (cause I was thinking it too..), how does food affect the body that much?! But after diving in to the science stuff, it all just made sense and was pretty cool to read about. If you’re interested in the science stuff, I definitely recommend checking out the book It Starts With Food – it’s eye opening and makes you think a little bit about what you’re putting in your body.

So basically: the Whole30 program is a type of diet that focuses on consuming good, whole foods. You have to look at the ingredient list of everything you’re picking up, checking for added sugars. You eat a ton of vegetables, a lot of animal proteins (beef, chicken, pork, bison, bacon, fish and other seafoods, eggs, and a whole bunch of others that I will never eat), a good amount of fruits, nuts and health fats like avocado and olives.

So Why Am I Doing it?

Like I said before, I didn’t want to do this without understanding the program first, so I was sure to do my research. I read so many crazy testimonials. I’m talking, people who took this challenge and no longer required blood pressure medications. People losing inches off their waist line effortlessly. Seasonal allergies being reduced significantly. Asthma sufferers with decreased symptoms. Cholesterol levels improved. Heartburn symptoms decreased. Common outcomes also included “better sleep, consistent energy, improved mood and increased athletic performance.” Additionally, people stated that that following their 30 days, they no longer craved sugar, had no trouble declining dessert, and didn’t feel the need to have something sweet every day.

After seeing all of these testimonials, I thought I would Google something: Whole30 and anxiety. And what did I find? Countless articles on how Whole30 improved symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders. If you’ve been around here for longer than a month, you’ll know that I suffer from anxiety that I generally have under control, but occasionally will have attacks. I immediately was intrigued and excited about the possibility of a simple alteration in my diet affecting my life in such a positive way.

So that’s reason one: hopes that it will even out my anxiety to a level that is manageable through my self-treatments (running, self-talk, etc.)

Reason two is probably the most obvious – I want to be healthier. I’ve been saying for years that I want to stop eating so much processed crap, but it’s so hard being in a demanding graduate program and not having time to plan snacks, meals, etc. Now I have some more time to meal plan and prepare foods, so why not? I’m at my heavier end of my normal weight right now, but I haven’t been feeling comfortable recently. (It could be the massive amount of alcohol I’ve been drinking in celebrations of my graduation – but that’s going to be slowing wayyyy down soon) So, now is the perfect time to make this change. I’m also in a wedding at the end of August that I would like to look my best for!

Reason three is that I want to challenge myself. It’s going to really hard, like really hard, for me to give up carbs. As a runner, I live on carbs – but I also know that I don’t NEED them like I eat them. I want to say that I pushed myself, challenged myself mentally and physically, and succeeded. I know there are so many other things that I could do to be healthy, and honestly I don’t eat terribly to begin with. But why not use this challenge as a way to kick start something new and just see what happens?

And that brings me to reason four: Why not? I’m interested to see how my body reacts when I reintroduce certain foods when I am finished with the Whole30. And seriously, it’s only 30 days. And the worst that can happen is that I see no changes in anything and I go back to my normal 80-20 (okay, 70-30), lifestyle. So why not?

So there ya go. I haven’t picked a definitive date of when I am starting – mainly because I’ve heard the first few days are rough with withdrawal symptoms and I don’t want to be in the middle of my first week of clinic with massive headaches, stomach issues and other unknown symptoms I may have. But no doubt, I’ll be keeping a log on here about my meals, my symptoms, how I’m feeling, etc. It will be within the next two weeks that I start, for sure!

Plan for the next few days: make a shopping list, make a food plan, and food prep a lot of crockpot and freezer meals that will be easy to access after long days at clinic. Let’s do it!

Thinking Out Loud

I’ve had lots of exciting things going on lately, and not a lot of time to post – so let’s make this Thinking Out Loud post in to a “Catching you up on my entire life” post, since it’s going to be random and all over the place! Be sure to head over to check out what other bloggers are thinking about today…

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1. Last week, a few classmates and I headed out in the cold and rain to support one of our classmates at his game. He plays professional ultimate frisbee (I know, that sounds weird, but its pretty awesome) for the DC Current. It also works out because one of my best friends from home plays on the team as well, win-win situation and I get to cheer on two friends!

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Friends, 3rd and 5th from the right

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2. This past Saturday was my graduation party! It turned out to be such a perfect day. While not all of my friends were able to make it, I was so happy to celebrate with those that could come!

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3. The morning after our party, 5 of us packed up a car and hit the road for the Shenandoah! Eleven of us headed up to the mountains for a get-away camping trip that I was on the fence about going, but I am so glad I did! It just had seemed we were squeezing the trip in to a very packed time period and that gives me anxiety – but I just rolled with it and it turned out to be an awesome trip!

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We did a four mile hike to a 360-view of the National Park that was brutal on my knees, but such a good workout and the view was completely worth the hills and rocks. The next morning me and two classmates went for a quick easy run on the Appalachian Trail.

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We were cruising during the first half of the run, then the way back was straight up hill. I’m not even kidding, it was rough. I was the leader and felt bad but I had to stop to walk a few times because my calves and quads were on fire. Despite my slowing down the group, itwas still a great workout. (I seriously need to get back in to shape, for real.)

4. I’m currently reading “It Starts With Food” By Dallas and Melissa Hartwig – the creators of the Whole30. I am loving this book and the things that I’m learning by reading it. I plan on doing a full post soon about what exactly Whole30 is and why I’m challenging myself to do it. I’m excited (and nervous) to get started soon!

4b. P.S. Did you know that Dallas Hartwig is a Physical Therapist!?! Well I think that’s pretty awesome.

5. The next two days, we have a class to help us prepare for the board exam. Hopefully they give us some good tips and I can finally decide if I want to take it in July or October – still on the fence for multiple reasons.

6. Following our class on Friday, our professors are throwing us a kegger at my professor’s house. Yep, a kegger. Grad school is fun sometimes. Aka when it’s over. And my professor has a pool in her backyard, and its currently in the 80’s around here. Can’t wait!

7. However, this bod is not bikini ready, unfortunately. I’m not feeling super comfortable in my body right now, which is another reason I’m excited to start Whole30.

8. I did another NTC work out yesterday at the gym – I was DRENCHED in sweat. It was awesome. I think I probably did 60 burpees during it, that part sucked… no one likes burpees… No one.

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9. Last night we had our first playoff game against a good team. Last night our playoff game got postponed due to a storm (that blew over in 30 minutes and shouldn’t have been cancelled), and so now we play today at 4:30. And I have class until 4:30. Maybe I can sneak out a bit early???? I’ve loved helping coach this team again this year.. I feel like I know the girls better and I’m sad to see the seniors go. Unfortunately, this is probably my last time helping out, because what clinic is going to let me get off of work by 2:30 to get to practice? Not many. But it’s been so worth it and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to help out for the second year in a row.

10. One last thing…

I GRADUATE IN ONE WEEK, Y’ALL.