I am super bummed, though. SparkPeople apparently made another app called Pep, which is kind of like Instagram for fitness/weight loss. I thought it would be fun to try, and I noticed that all of my SparkPeople "friends" were automatically added to my "following" list on the Pep app. I had over 6,000 "friends" on Spark (I always just added everyone who added me), which is way too many people to actually follow (I like to keep my social media lists manageable, so I don't miss things).
I spent FOREVER going through and clicking "unfollow" to all 6,000-something people, leaving just the 40 or so that I know in real life or through my blog. (They don't have a "check all" button, unfortunately). I noticed when I signed into SparkPeople on my computer, all those people were deleted as my friends on Spark as well! I didn't want to do that--I just didn't want to see 6,000 people on my Pep newsfeed.
I didn't care for the Pep app, so now I have to go back and manually re-add all of the people I accidentally deleted. (If someone from SparkPeople is reading this, PLEASE add a "select all" button to the friend feed... thanks).
I went for my MRI today. On Monday, I had the x-rays done of my back. The results of the x-rays were already uploaded to my chart that same night--again, I love being able to see my chart online! They said exactly what I expected: I have mild scoliosis and degeneration in the middle of the thoracic section of my spine. That's exactly where my pain is (right where my bra strap is on my back).
I was really nervous for the MRI. I wasn't sure if I'd ever had one (the memories of my night in the ER from when I broke my jaw are fuzzy... I think I had a CT scan, but not an MRI). Anyway, I'm a little claustrophobic, but not enough to where I thought I'd need anti-anxiety meds or anything. They had me change out of all of my clothes and into a hospital gown.
When I got in the room, I was relieved to see that they had an "open MRI" machine--instead of being very tubular, the sides are more open so it's not as claustrophobic.
When they slid the table under the machine, I was taken aback at how low the ceiling of it was. I was surprised my eyelashes weren't brushing against it, because it was so close to my face. Suddenly, it didn't seem so "open" anymore (everywhere I looked, all I could see was the ceiling of the machine). I decided to just close my eyes through the whole thing, and hopefully I would forget that it was such a tight space.
When I read about MRI's recently, it kind of freaked me out--somehow, the magnets make all the protons in your body line up in the same direction. Then radio waves knock the protons out of alignment. When the protons realign, they send out some sort of radio waves, which eventually produces images of the body. I read that you don't feel anything, but I kept expecting to feel something crazy as the protons did their aligning and realigning. Haha! It sounds kind of crazy, though, right? I kind of wished I hadn't read about it.
Anyway, there was an intercom where the technologist performing the scan could talk to me and hear me if I talked. I was also given a button to press in case I panicked or something. Before each photo scan, the tech told me how long it would take. The first was three minutes, and then they kept getting longer until the last one was six minutes. I didn't feel anything--I just had to lie extremely still, and there was a loud noise that sounded like a jackhammer during each scan (I was given earplugs to wear).
After several scans, the tech pulled me out and then injected the contrast into my arm. Again, I expected to feel something with the contrast, but I didn't feel anything at all. He slid me back under the machine, and did round two. By the end, my head, neck, and back were sore from being in the same position for so long. It felt awesome to sit up after it was over.
I was given a disc with the scans on it... I wish I had a disc drive on my computer so I could see them! (Not that I would know what I was really looking at). The results should be uploaded in a couple of days. I'm really curious to see what's been going on and why my back pain has gotten so bad lately. My next step is to see a orthopedist who specializes in back pain. The earliest I can get in is September 16th. I'm not sure what they can do, because my scoliosis is mild (I don't need surgery for it or anything). But I'm getting ahead of myself... we'll see what my doctor says.
When I left my appointment, I was starving. The appointment was at 11:15, and by the time I got out of there, it was 12:45 (I usually eat lunch at 11:00 or 12:00). I should have brought something to eat when I was done, but I didn't think of it when I left the house. Anyway, with a half-hour drive home, I decided to swing through McDonald's and get something quickly (yes, even though I'm trying to avoid eating out this month).
It's interesting how counting calories instead of PointsPlus affects my decisions. I don't eat at McDonald's often, but if I do, my favorite sandwiches are either a Big Mac or a Filet O Fish. The Big Mac is pretty much out of the question, unless I did a long run or something that day, because it's 14 PointsPlus. The Filet O Fish is 10 PointsPlus, which is still generally much more than I would spend on lunch.
While counting calories, though, I saw that the Filet O Fish was 380--that's not too bad for a lunch. (I'm not saying it's a healthy lunch--just saying that spending 380 calories for lunch sounded like a good number). So, I ordered it--and it was delicious! I can't remember the last time I ate one. I counted the calories for it, and it fit nicely into my day.
One of the other things I've already noticed is that a lot of restaurants these days list the calories in their items right on the menu, which makes it so much easier to decide what to order--I always hated having to look up PointsPlus on anything I was interested in before deciding. It was very time consuming. Seeing the calories right there on the menu is nice.
I think the most time-consuming part about counting calories is probably calculating the calories in a recipe. Thankfully, I already have most of my favorite recipes saved in SparkPeople, so I won't have to do that again. I remember spending a lot of time entering them, though! One of the features on My Fitness Pal that I discovered and I think is awesome is that you don't have to type in all the ingredients from a recipe that's online--you can just plug in the webpage of the recipe, and MFP will automatically detect the ingredients. I was amazed! One of the biggest drawbacks to SparkPeople is that you can't log a recipe that you have entered (you can do it on the website, but not on the app). I'm enjoying comparing the two apps, so I'll write my findings once I do it for a week or so.
Anyway, the first day of counting calories was successful, and I'm feeling motivated and excited about doing it--which is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much for the kind comments and suggestions on yesterday's post. I love that I can write such personal things on my blog and not feel judged. Good luck to those of you who are going to take on this six-week challenge with me! Make sure you keep me updated on how it's going for you as well :)