In Remembrance!

Today is a tough day for all of us, it’s been a whole year. Yes 1 year ago today you said your final goodbye to us. Whilst that goodbye has been hard and bitterly painful and felt so final it did not mean that you ceased to exist, not by a long shot, it took me a while to realise but you are always there! Often it’s the little things that bring you to my side, someone will comment that they like my handbag (it’s your brown one that I liked) or i’ll hear a song you once sang (of which there are so many), but whatever it is that brings you I have to stop and enjoy that moment with you fresh in my heart and memory, not that you are ever far from my thoughts just that in that moment you are right there in front of me like you never left with fresh lippy on and your big beautiful smile ready to share some wisdom, a memory or just a knowing look. It’s hard not having you here some times more than others but these moments make it easier for me to hold it together be strong and take the load of for someone else that loves you.

I did the race for life on the 3rd July in your name and raised nearly £500 for cancer research. I would never have had the strength and determination to do that before but I had to make you proud and I needed to do something positive in your memory.

So today your flame will light my day, your song will lift my heart and your smile will brighten my thoughts because I will celebrate your life and be strong for all of those who you loved so fiercely as today is a tough day for all of us.

Sandra forever and always in our thoughts and hearts.DSC_1239

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Race Day

First sorry for not posting in a while its been a busy few week.

So tomorrow is race day. I have been walking like crazy and trying to stay on track with my healthy eating. A few little treats have snuck in there now and then but on the whole all has been good and i have lost a total on 1 stone and half a pound since signing up for the race for life (Dad you owe £29 plus the £50 for doing all 5k in sponsorship).

I have had lots of support while getting ready for the race from family and friends, they have encouraged me, sponsored me and checked up on me. I know it’s only 5k and for some that is nothing but for me that is a marathon. I have never done anything like this before and yes I am going to walk a lot of it but I am also going to run some of the way which will be a huge accomplishment for me as I don’t anywhere and am fairly sure i haven’t since I left school which was nearly 20 years ago.

I will make sure I get some photos tomorrow and when I post them I will also share the total raised as I have not had a chance to calculate the amount on the sponsorship form and add it to the just giving total.

There is still plenty of time to donate so please take a look at my just giving page if you would like to make a donation. Just Giving Page

So wish me luck for tomorrow, thanks for reading and thanks for your support.

Metabolism!

Right then I’m going to get a little scientific (with the help of my good friend Google and the Healthy Food Guide).

We all know that metabolism plays a big part in our ability to loose weight well I’ve read that as you loose weight your metabolism actually starts to slow down a little. I already knew that it slowed down as you age but slowing down when you loose weight is new information to me. Apparently as you loose weight through diet your metabolism learns that it doesn’t need to work as hard because it’s not receiving the amount of calories it’s used to. This is why so many dieters hit a brick wall and often struggle to get passed it. I also read that when you gain weight back (which lets face it happens to most of us that are dieting, certainly has to me) your metabolism doesn’t speed back up so it’s even harder to loose the regained weight.

So to continue loosing weight we need to keep our metabolism working hard so we need to find ways to keep our body burning those nasty calories. Here are some helpful tips for you.

Water!

German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day (that’s 48 ounces) can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily enough to shed 5 pounds in a year. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature. It’s also suggested that a large glass of water or cup of fruit tea first thing in the morning can get your metabolism of to a good start.

Breakfast

Make sure you eat breakfast. Eating a nutrient rich morning meal (like porridge with almonds and berries, or a spinach and feta omelet with a slice of wholewheat toast) shortly after getting out of bed literally wakes up your metabolism. “Eating breakfast gets the engine going and keeps it going,” Dr Hyman explains.

Grazing

Grazing throughout the day is a proven strategy to help you curb hunger and eat fewer calories overall. Now, experts are promoting nibbling versus gorging as a way to keep metabolism running by holding blood sugar levels steady and preventing weight gain promoting insulin spikes. Enjoying six small meals a day should help to keep your metabolism ticking over.

You need to cut calories to lose weight. But going too low delivers a double whammy to your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (about 1,200 calories for most women), your body throws the brakes on your metabolism. It also begins to break down precious, calorie burning muscle tissue for energy, if you eat just enough so you’re not hungry, have 3 healthy meals, a 150 calorie snack mid morning and mid afternoon this will keep your metabolism humming.

More Protein

Your body digests protein more slowly than fat or carbs, so you feel full longer (this is especially true when you have it for breakfast). Plus, it may also give your metabolism a bump. In a process called thermogenesis, your body uses about 10% of its calorie intake for digestion. So, because it takes longer to burn protein than carbs or fat, your body expends more energy absorbing the nutrients in a high-protein diet. Another bonus: One recent study from Purdue University found that diets higher in protein may help preserve lean body mass, which is the best fat-burner of all.

Replace your Iron

This is one for the ladies in particular. Iron is essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat. Until menopause, women lose iron each month through menstruation. Unless you restock your stores, you run the risk of low energy and a sagging metabolism. Shellfish, lean meats, beans, fortified cereals, and spinach are excellent sources.

Build Muscle

The average woman in her 30’s who strength trains 30 to 40 minutes twice a week for four months will increase her resting metabolism by 100 calories a day. That means you’re resetting your thermostat to keep running at that rate even on the days when you don’t work out.

Info Source 1

Info Source 2

Other information from Healthy Food Guide Magazine

 

Progress, Stepping and Birthday Challenge

Its 10pm on the 19th April and I thought it was about time I gave you a progress report.

Weigh in at Slimming World is on a Thursday so last week the 14th April I weighed in and had lost another 2.5lb which means since signing up for Race for Life i have lost half a stone but even more excitingly I have lost an inch from each of the following areas; bust (yes this is a good thing, they need to be smaller), waist, bum and thighs! I am so pleased about this and it has spurred me on to work even harder.

April is a tough month in our house if you are trying to loose weight as there is a significant birthday almost every week; Hubby and Dad in week 1, my youngest in week 2, then me in week 3 (today), there are also several other birthdays we celebrate in April particularly children so lots of kids parties to attend which as you can imagine means there is plenty of cake and eating out so for me to have lost weight and inches throughout April utterly amazes me. I know I have worked hard at the walking and when not celebrating I have stuck to the Slimming World plan but I’ve never had this much success with the weight loss before. I think it has to be largely due to all the walking firstly and then being mostly sensible with my food.

I have walked more than ever before. Today I decided that I would aim to do 38,000 steps in honor of turning 38. I did it by 10pm no last minute panic, I did it comfortably and have time for a few more once this is written. 38,000 steps is roughly the equivilant to doing the 5k race for life 5 times, no I did not do all of that in one go, I did it in big chunks throughout the day but I’m fairly sure I did at least one full continuous 5K today.  I’m doing a team stepping challenge with lots of other Fitbit users this week and cannot let my team down which means I have to “step up” and do much much more moving than i normally do. 2 weeks ago my average step count was just over 14,000 now that average is just over 20,000 that’s a massive jump.

Walking is amazing and when you do it for fitness it really works! I encourage anyone to try it. If you are watching TV every time the adverts are on stand up and march at a nice steady pace. If your watching an hour long program with four 3 minute ad breaks that’s 12 minutes of exercise you would otherwise have not done. Depending on how quickly your able to walk that’s about a mile. Think how much more you could do if you where watching a film! You do that for a week and you will start to feel the benefit and you will want to do more, eventually you’ll find yourself walking during the program. Its addictive especially if you have some kind of fitness tracker so you can see how much you’ve done, you keep saying another 100 which turns into 200 and then before you know it, it’s 1000 then 2000.

Anyway I’m rambling now, time to step some more. Will update again next time i measure myself in a couple of weeks. Thanks for taking to time to read this long winded update! Good night x2016-04-19 21.43.53

Pancreatic Cancer – Signs and Symptoms

Pancreatic cancer doesn’t usually give rise to any symptoms or signs in the early stages. This is the main reason why it can be so difficult to detect and diagnose. As the cancer grows the symptoms it causes will depend on the type of pancreatic cancer and where it is in the pancreas.

Any symptoms people do have can be quite vague and may come and go at first. An example is abdominal pain, which may start off as occasional discomfort before becoming more painful and more frequent. The symptoms can also be a sign of other more common illnesses such as pancreatitis, gastritis, gallstones or hepatitis. This means that people may end up seeing their GP several times or being sent for a number of different tests before pancreatic cancer is even considered.

It is important to remember that any of the symptoms described here are common for lots of illnesses and may not be a sign of pancreatic cancer. But if you have persistent  unexplained symptoms it’s important for your GP to refer you for tests to explore what is causing them. It can help to note down the frequency of your symptoms and mention anything unusual you are experiencing, even if it seems unrelated. If your symptoms get worse or you develop any new symptoms suddenly you should always get in touch with your GP.

Approximately 95% of pancreatic cancers are Exocrine Tumours. Their symptoms can be very vague and depend on whether the tumour is in the head, body or tail of the pancreas.

Less than 5% of all pancreatic cancers are Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumours, which develop in the hormone producing cells of the pancreas. They are divided into functioning and non-functioning tumours, depending on whether or not they overproduce hormones and peptides that cause a clinical syndrome.

Most pancreatic Neuroendocrine tumours do not produce a clinical syndrome (non-functioning) so they do not cause specific symptoms. The list of symptoms below for the most common symptoms of Pancreatic cancer are also applicable to non functioning Neuroendocrine tumours.

 

Most Common Symptoms

– Abdominal Pain

– Jaundice

– Weight Loss

– Bowel Problems

– Nausea and Vomiting

– Heartburn/Indigestion

– Fever and Shivering

– Diabetes

– Back pain

– Extreme tiredness/fatigue

– Feeling unusually full after food

– Venous thromboembolism (VTE) (blood clots that form in a vein)

– Unexplained acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

 

 

Abdominal pain
Pain is a symptom in about 70% of pancreatic cancer cases. It often starts as general discomfort or pain in the abdomen (tummy) which can spread to the back. It can be worse after eating or when you are lying down. Sitting forward can sometimes relieve the pain. At first the pain may come and go, but over time it may become more constant. If any of the organs (pancreas, liver or gall bladder) in your abdomen are inflamed or enlarged the area may also be tender to touch.

Pain is caused by the cancer affecting nerves or organs near the pancreas. It can also be a result of a tumour causing a blockage in the stomach or duodenum (top part of the small intestines).

Jaundice
Jaundice occurs in about 50% of pancreatic cancer cases. The most common signs
of jaundice are that the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow. Other signs include dark urine, pale stools (poo) and itchy skin.

Jaundice develops when there is a build-up in the blood of a substance called bilirubin. The substance is a by-product of red blood cells breaking down and is always present in the blood. It usually gets removed from the body in the bile fluid produced by the liver which empties into the small intestines through the bile duct. Cancer growing in the pancreas can block the bile duct so that bile and bilirubin keep building up in the body. This is known as obstructive jaundice.

Jaundice can be caused by other non-cancerous conditions, such as a gallstone blocking the bile duct, so it’s important for all the obvious causes to be explored.

Itching

You might have itching if you have bad jaundice. The increased bile salts in the bloodstream cause itching in the skin.

 

Weight loss
Losing a lot of weight for no particular reason can be a sign that something is wrong. People may also notice a loss of appetite or changes in what they feel like eating.

Pancreatic cancer can affect the ability of the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes that help to digest food, especially high fat food. This means that the body can’t digest food properly or get the nutrients it needs, leading to weight loss.

Other common symptoms of pancreatic cancer

These symptoms are also common, though not everyone will have every symptom. People may have these symptoms before a diagnosis, develop them later on, or perhaps not get them at all.

Bowel problems
A condition called steatorrhoea (stools that are large, pale, oily, floating and smelly) is a common symptom of diseases of the pancreas. It happens because the cancer affects the production of the enzymes needed to digest food, particularly high fat food. Undigested food passing quickly through the body can also cause diarrhoea and subsequent weight loss.

Nausea and vomiting
Nausea (feeling sick) and sickness can occur for several different reasons. A tumour can  block the bile duct or press on the duodenum, which obstructs digestion. It may also cause inflammation around it in the pancreas, or jaundice. Both of these can lead to a chemical imbalance in the body which can make people feel sick.

Indigestion/heartburn
New, unexplained and persistent dyspepsia (indigestion/heartburn) can be a symptom of pancreatic cancer, particularly in older people.

Fever and shivering
If the pancreas is inflamed or the ducts are blocked because of the tumour, this can cause a high temperature and shivering.

Diabetes
Diabetes can develop if a tumour interferes with the pancreas working properly. This is because the pancreas produces the hormone insulin which the body needs to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. People with diabetes often feel extremely thirsty, pass more urine than normal, lose weight and feel weak and lacking in energy.

Diabetes is particularly associated with pancreatic cancer in older people. If someone over 50 has developed type 2 diabetes within the past two years, with no other explanation, their GP should consider the possibility of pancreatic cancer.

Back pain
Pain in the upper back (not the lower lumbar region) can occur if the cancer spreads to the nerves around the pancreas.

Other symptoms can include

  • Extreme tiredness/fatigue
  • Feeling unusually full after food
  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE) (blood clots that form in a vein)
  • Unexplained acute pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

 

Information Source

Pancreatic Cancer ~ Risk Factors

About 8,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK each year.
It is not known exactly what causes it to develop, and research into this is ongoing. Like all cancers, pancreatic cancer isn’t infectious and can’t be passed on to other people.

Things that can increase your risk of developing a disease are called risk factors.
Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:

  • – Age ~ most common in people over 65 but generally beyond middle age your risks of getting pancreatic cancer increase.
  • – Smoking ~ 30% of the suffers of pancreatic cancer smoke so this may also be a risk factor.
  • – Diet ~ A diet high in red meat, processed meat, fat and or sugar and low in fruit and vegetables may also be a risk factor.
  • – Alcohol ~ Large amounts of alcohol regularly may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer especially in those that smoke.
  • – Diabetes & Chronic Pancreatitis ~ People with these conditions have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

Family History ~ Most people who develop pancreatic cancer have no history of pancreatic cancer in their family. But about 5–10 out of every 100 cases of pancreatic cancer (5–10%) may be linked to faulty genes that can run in families. If two or more people on the same side of a family have pancreatic cancer, this may be a sign that other people in the family are at an increased risk too. People who have the faulty breast cancer gene BRCA2 or the condition Lynch syndrome/HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) may have a higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Members of families with a tendency to have large numbers of unusual moles (FAMMM – Familial Atypical Multiple Mole Melanoma) also have an increased risk of cancer of the pancreas. People with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) have an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. PJS is a condition that causes multiple growths (polyps) in the digestive tract and dark spots on the skin of the face and hands. If you may be at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer because of your family history, you can be referred to a specialist clinic for advice. At the clinic your risk will be carefully assessed. People who are at a significantly increased risk may be offered regular screening tests to try to detect cancer of the pancreas early if it does occur.
The best way to screen for pancreatic cancer hasn’t yet been established, so screening may be offered as part of a research trial.

Information Source

The Pancreas ~ What it’s for

The pancreas is probably an organ you’ve never really thought about. It is located in the upper part of your tummy (abdomen) behind your stomach, and is protected by your ribs in the back. The pancreas can be described as having a head, body and a tail. The head is located more toward your liver on the right, while the tail runs to your left, under your stomach, a nearly to your spleen. The pancreas has two general jobs which are very important = it releases digestive juices (enzymes) and that process is called an exocrine function. The other general job it does is putting different chemical messengers called hormones into your blood, which help with a wide variety of functions in your body. This job is called an endocrine process.

The pancreas releases hormones into the blood these help control your blood sugars (glucose). These two important chemicals are called insulin and glucagons.

The pancreas also makes several chemicals called digestive enzymes. These are released into your intestines when you eat to help digest your food.

The pancreas also releases a fluid that contains bicarbonate – basically, baking soda. This helps to balance, or neutralize, the acids coming into the intestine from the stomach.

Information Source

Chocolate Cravings & Walking

I did it, I made it through Easter without pigging out on chocolate. I had a tiny portion of chocolate mousse after lunch and a bite of my sons chocolate cereal nest and that’s it. I even turned down chocolate offered to me, that’s unheard of for me!

I’ve not walked as much as I’d have liked to this weekend, I did just over 25,000 steps over Saturday and Sunday. I did a little experiment this morning. I walked laps of the ground floor of my house. I wanted to see how quickly I could do 1,000 steps, answer 9:01 minutes. So if 5k is 6-7,000 steps at my current speed I should complete the course in around 63 minutes. My mission over the next few weeks is to bring down how long it takes me to do 1,000 steps then I’ll start working on upping how many steps I do in one go. Hopefully by the end of April I will be able to do a full 5k in one go without killing myself.

Here are my stats from the Fitbit this weekend.

Generosity

Wow, I’ve just checking my just giving page to see that my very kind cousin and her partner have sponsored me £100, this is amazing and has really pushed me forward I set my target to £200 knowing times are very hard but hoping to raise a lot more. My Dad has kindly said that he will sponsor me for every lb lost plus every kilometer I complete of the course. If I hit my target weigh loss and complete the course which I will that’s another £92 that’s amazing. Then there’s the lovely donations and kind encouragement I had on my page the day it went live it is so kind of people to look and donate and your donations really drive me forward and will make me work harder than ever. Please if you can donate do, every penny really does count. Thanks all

Just Giving Page