Intermittent fasting and keto after 60

powered by baconToday I want to share my experience with intermittent fasting (IF) and the ketogenic diet I’ve been doing for the last six months. My main goal in trying both of these was to lose weight, which I have done and continue to do.

The great thing about this way of eating is that there’s a lot of flexibility. So there’s no “right” way to do it. That’s good but also bad because it can be confusing when you’re just starting out. Hopefully my experiences will clear up some of the confusion.

I’m going to talk about how much I’ve lost, the foods I eat, how much exercise I’ve done, how I’ve felt, and the benefits besides weight loss that keep me motivated to continue. I will also list some resources at the end where you can go to get more extensive info on both IF and keto.

You may find this especially helpful if you’re a mature woman who’s having a hard time maintaining and/or losing weight.

Intermittent fasting

Let me start by saying I’m 62, post menopausal and living without a gallbladder. (That hasn’t been a problem for me on this high fat keto diet although it can be for some.) I’ve lost 18 pounds in the last six months and am still losing about half a pound per week.

Prior to that I had been dieting for a few months and had been on a plateau for about a month when I discovered IF.

I was really resistant to the idea at first because it sounded potentially unhealthy. But when I learned it’s a good way to keep insulin levels down, and therefore lose weight, I decided to give it a try.

Without going into too much detail, IF has been described as an eating window. You only eat during a certain period of the day which can be anything from 12 hours to four hours. Another way to look at it is skipping breakfast or not eating anything after dinner.

I do the 16:8 method which means I fast for 16 hours and eat during the other eight hours. I like to eat soon after getting up in the morning and then eight hours later I stop.

There are days I choose to fast longer or shorter. I’ve gone as long as 21 hours fasting or as little as 12 hours. I intentionally vary the schedule to keep my body guessing and to have a normal social life.

In the beginning I was confused. Do I eat three meals a day or just two? I started with three meals a day but felt too full so I cut back to two.

Then I was worried I wasn’t eating enough. And because some people claim you can eat any type of food you want, I started eating chips and cookies. Well that was a mistake and I put on a couple of pounds.

Around that time (about three weeks in) I discovered the keto diet.

keto after pic

Wearing size 6 jeans Xmas 2017

Keto and keeping it simple

The keto diet is a low carb high fat diet, or LCHF, generally defined as 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbs. This forces your body to use fat (ketones) for fuel rather than sugar (glucose) from a standard high carb diet.

Most people say you need to keep track of your macros and recommend recording your meals in MyFitnessPal.

I did this for maybe one day. I don’t like tracking macros, counting calories, adding up points, etc. I’d rather learn to eat intuitively.

The most important thing to remember is to keep net carbs at or below 20 grams. And if you’re trying to lose weight, eat a little less fat so your body will burn stored fat.

I keep a mental note of my carb count which is pretty easy because my meals are simple and repetitive. If I want a special treat, I work it into my daily carb allowance.

How do you know if you’re in ketosis

Ketosis is when your body has made the switch from burning sugar to burning fat. It can take a few weeks to adapt and it’s different for everyone.

A lot of people will test their ketones and blood sugar and generally obsess over whether or not they’re in ketosis. Once again, this is not for me. I just go by how I feel and since I’m losing weight, I know I’m on the right track.

I did have the “keto flu” for what seemed like forever. In real time it was three or four weeks. How did I know I had the keto flu? Well I just generally felt like crap. I was so lethargic and tired I could do almost nothing but lay around. And my symptoms were exacerbated by a summer heatwave.

Then I learned that keto flu could be remedied by taking electrolytes, specifically sodium. I started sipping on some homemade bone broth and began to feel better within about three days.

Eventually I became quite energetic as is typical on a keto diet. Increased energy and the fact that I can go long hours if need be without food tells me that I’m in ketosis. Another sign is keto breath which I do notice from time to time.

Foods I enjoy and what I eat on a typical day

I like buying high quality food and cooking most of my meals from scratch. I buy grass fed beef, organic free range chicken and organic eggs. This is not mandatory on a keto diet, it’s just my preference.

I try to stay away from artificial sweeteners but every now and then will have a Zevia diet soda.

I also have no interest in keto versions of high carb foods like pancakes, cakes and cookies. The only thing I make once in a while is coconut flour muffins. But it’s perfectly fine to eat keto treats occasionally if it helps keep you on the diet.

The foods I like to eat most often are eggs, bacon, beef, butter, cheese, half and half, peanut butter and sour cream. Sometimes I also eat avocados, almonds, chicken thighs and mayo.

My usual breakfast is one egg and two pieces of bacon. Lately my favorite concoction is what I’m calling a cheesy jalapeno egg with sour cream.

Cheesy jalapeno egg and bacon

Cheesy jalapeno egg and bacon

I don’t usually have lunch but if I’m hungry I may have a bite of peanut butter or pork rinds. And for a tasty treat, I mix half an avocado with a couple of tablespoons of sour cream, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. I either eat it with pork rinds or homemade cheese chips. Yum!

For dinner it’s often ground beef with vegetables. Sometimes I make my own version of “crack slaw” (without sweetener or sugar). Once in a while I’ll have steak or chicken with sauteed vegetables or my homemade sauerkraut. And last week I had taco salad with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, olives, salsa, tomatoes and sour cream.

Taco salad

Taco salad

For dessert I like to have exactly five chocolate covered almonds from Trader Joe’s. I work it into my macros. It keeps me from feeling deprived and doesn’t trigger any carb cravings. Now ice cream or chocolate chip cookies would be another story.

TJ's choc covered almonds

Daily treat: chocolate almonds

As for bulletproof coffee, it’s not for me and maybe not for you if you’re trying to lose weight. I make my own cold brewed coffee that I either drink black or with half and half and no sweetener.

To supplement or not to supplement

I’ve been taking a variety of supplements for the last few years and will keep taking them because I notice a difference. Some people believe you should get all your nutrients from food. That would be ideal but I’m not sure it’s really possible. However, I’ve been able to cut down with no ill effects which is saving me money.

Exercise

For the first four months I did the T-Tapp barefoot basic plus workout five days a week. Then I took a couple of months off and recently started doing T-Tapp three days a week, and a kettlebell express workout two days a week. I still lost weight when I was not exercising.

I keep a file of my exercise schedule with weekly measurements and monthly weigh-ins. It gives me encouragement and perspective on how far I’ve gone.

Strategies for living an IF and keto lifestyle

Everyone has to decide how strict to be with the diet. Are you going to cheat, carb up or bring your own foods to non keto gatherings.

My goal is to have a normal life that includes celebrating holidays, special occasions or going out on Saturday night.

After two months on keto I incorporated “cheating” into my lifestyle. It’s also part of my strategy to avoid a plateau. So far it’s working.

Saturday is my free day from keto and IF because I like going out on Saturday night. I reserve that day for eating things I might be wanting such as bread, pizza or dessert. And I almost always make organic popcorn.

That is not to say I go hog wild because I don’t. I try to keep the net carbs under 75 grams.

Sometimes I’ll switch my cheat day for a night out with friends or celebrating a holiday. I just got through Thanksgiving and Christmas this year by doing that.

For those holidays I ended up having one meal that day. I ate mostly meat and green veg with very small servings of everything else including dessert. I was really stuffed and fasted for 21 hours afterwards.

The key is to enjoy yourself for that one day and go right back to keto the next day. No guilt.

Benefits of IF and keto aside from weight loss

The very first thing I noticed on day two of IF was how much better my foot felt. For those of you who don’t know, two years ago I suffered a severe ankle injury, breaking all the bones in my left ankle. My goal is 100% recovery, currently around 98%.

Anyway, after making this observation I did more research to see if there’s a connection between IF and joint pain relief. Turns out it’s something called autophagy, a process the body uses to rid itself of cellular debris. Autophagy reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system. This alone makes me want to keep doing IF.

Watch this short video for more information:

Some of the other benefits have been curing a persistent toenail fungus, saving money on food and supplements, experiencing sustained energy throughout the day, and generally feeling strong.

Recommended resources for more information on IF and keto

Recipe ideas and general information on keto: Keto Connect on YouTube
A doctor’s perspective on keto and intermittent fasting: Dr Eric Berg on YouTube
IF and keto wonderfully explained in plain terms: Butter Bob Briggs on YouTube

Toning synthetic hair

fake hair tonesWhen I had dark brown hair it was pretty easy to find synthetic hairpieces to match. But that changed after I bleached my hair. It was blonde for a minute, then I let my silver roots grow in and tried out different pastel colors.

It was impossible to find fake hair in the right color. I also didn’t want to buy a different piece every time I changed my hair color.

Through trial and error I discovered I could tone synthetic hair using temporary rinses or certain semipermanent hair dyes. Because the color is temporary I could get by with one or two hairpieces and change the color whenever I wanted.

Buying synthetic hairpieces

The first thing I did was to pick up a couple of hairpieces in a light silver shade (from Vanessa Grey and Christie Brinkley).

I like the versatility of these because if I’m having a bad hair day, I can just make a quick updo. Or I can pull my hair half up and make a cute little poof on the top.

Toning fake hair to match blonde, silver or pastel hair

When you’re toning fake hair, it doesn’t have to be a perfect match. It just needs blend because your own hair will be incorporated into the look.

You can do color all over or just put in a few streaks. Lately I’ve been adding multicolored streaks to my hairpieces because I’m often changing the pastel colors in my hair.

I’ve found that the best temporary or semipermanent dyes to use are the ones that are very thin and runny. Roux Fanci Full rinse (for blonde or silver hair), diluted gentian violet (for lavender hair) and Adore Creative semipermanent dye (for pastel colors) are the best. These work because you have to leave the color on the hair without washing it out.

Thick dye like Arctic Fox, which I love for my own hair, doesn’t work because if you don’t wash it out, the piece ends up sticky and it doesn’t look good. And if you wash it out, the color will go with it.

Using Roux Fanci Full rinse to tone fake hair (for blonde or silver hair)

The colors of Roux Fanci Full rinse I used for my blonde hair were Spun Sand and Hidden Honey. I mixed them together to get the right shade.

The color I used to match my silver hair was True Steel.

Follow these steps to tone your synthetic hair:

  1. Put the Fanci Full rinse in an old plastic container.
  2. Swish the synthetic hair around until it’s completely saturated.
  3. Squeeze out the excess and let it air dry for a couple of days.

Whenever you decide to change colors, simply wash it out with a little soap and water.

Using a gentian violet rinse to tone fake hair (for lavender hair)

Gentian violet is an old-time antiseptic. Its bright purple color is a dupe for Manic Panic Ultraviolet. Unlike Manic Panic it’s very cheap, only around $4 a bottle. And because you only need three or four drops, one little bottle will last forever. I’m still using mine.

Follow these steps for toning with the gentian violet rinse:

  1. Important: Make sure you wear gloves when handling this and cover the working area. Even a tiny little speck of this stuff will stain your sink, your hands, your walls. Most times it can be removed with alcohol though.
  2. Put water in an old plastic container and add a few drops of gentian violet until you get the right shade. A little experimentation is needed here.
  3. Saturate the hairpiece in the solution.
  4. Squeeze it out and let dry for a couple of days.

Note: the color does fade over time, just as it does on human hair.

Using Adore Creative Dye to tone fake hair (for pastel hair)

Adore dye can be used straight out of the bottle. The procedure is a little different though. I found it best to rub a small amount of dye into the hair with your fingers. Wear gloves! You can put in streaks or tone the whole thing.

When finished, let it dry for a couple of days.

As with gentian violet, the color does fade after awhile.

How my synthetic hair looks after toning

It’s easy now to tone my fake hair to go with my ever-changing real hair. Here are some pictures of me wearing my toned hairpieces.

I hope this was helpful for you. Please let me know what you think.

Expect miracles? Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry review

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil and soap

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil and soap

We always hope for miracles from our beauty products but how awesome is it when you find a company that actually promises them.

I’m talking about Swell Skin, manufacturer of sea buckthorn berry oil and soap. And results are guaranteed or your money back.

You are not only guaranteed a miracle, you can expect one overnight. No need to wait weeks or months.

Fantastic, right? That’s what I thought so I decided to put their products to the test.

Promising airbrushed skin in 24 hours

Now what is it we’re supposed to see after just one application? The company claims that 90% of skin’s needs are met within the first 24 hours. As to what it’s really supposed to do, this is what they say:

“Sea buckthorn oil has a reputation for softening lines, plumping skin with moisture, healing skin inflammation including acne, rosacea and many more serious skin conditions.”

Founder Kelli Klus goes on to say, “Regardless of my skin’s occasional challenges, age, sun, infections, spots, acne, rashes, redness etc. the products work immediately to heal each and every one of these problems.”

They sum it up by promising airbrushed skin.

swell skin miraculous?

What will Swell Skin do for me? Putting it to the test

Now I’m fairly happy with my skin’s texture, hydration and elasticity. But I do have a few brown spots, hyperpigmentation and sebaceous hyperplasia (SH) bumps that I’d like to see go away. And occasionally I get keratosis pilaris (KP) on my face.

I took before and after photos (something that’s lacking on their website and on 99.9% of outside reviews).

I decided to test these products for either one night or one month. (One month if the overnight miracle did not occur.) And at the risk of becoming lopsided, I used them only on the right side of my face and neck.

Excitement was building as I prepared to use Swell Skin soap and oil for the first time. Would I really see overnight results?

I prayed to the god of skin miracles. Oh magic sea buckthorn berry, please take away my brown spots and bumps!

Using the sea buckthorn berry soap

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry soap

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry soap

The bar weighs 2.25 ounces. The ingredients are sodium palmate, sodium palm kernelate, water, glycerine, cocos nucifera oil (coconut oil), hippophae rhamnoides oil (sea buckthorn oil), aloe barbadensis leaf extract (aloe vera), astragalus membranaceus root extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), palmitic acid, sodium chloride, tetrasodium etidronate, tetrasodium EDTA.

The soap felt cool like mint and has minimal lather. It has a mild, pleasant smell.

Afterwards my skin felt very clean but not dried out. I was surprised to see it removed virtually all of my makeup. None of my other cleansers can do that.

Using the sea buckthorn berry oil

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil

Swell Skin sea buckthorn berry oil

The bottle contains 100% pure sea buckthorn berry oil and is listed as .05 fluid ounces. That’s INCORRECT and I’m surprised nobody’s caught this big boo boo.

The actual measurement is .5 fluid ounces, or one-half ounce, which equals one tablespoon of oil.

And to prove that I poured my brand new bottle into a tablespoon. The picture is below.

Bottle contains 1T oil, or .5 fluid ounces, not .05

Bottle contains 1T oil, or .5 fluid ounces, not .05

Moving on from that.

The oil has a faint smell, like some type of grain. It looks a bit orange and it feels like…well, oil. Yes, it feels like oil, it looks like oil and it does not completely absorb into the skin. It did not, however, turn my skin orange.

Expecting an overnight miracle. Did I get one?

The next morning there was still a little bit of oil on my face and neck. And I had only used a small amount. But it was easily rubbed in to reveal the fact that my skin looked exactly the same as before.

No miracle for me. The experiment continued for 29 more days, only using the products on the right side.

My results after 30 days

So here’s what happened. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

There was no overnight miracle.

There was no miracle after 30 days.

I see no difference whatsoever. My brown spots and SH bumps remain.

During the course of the trial period I did get a couple of pimples and also a couple of KP spots on my cheek. The pimples did not go away any faster. There was, however, faster healing with the KP, drying up in about five days.

My before and after photos

Forehead before (L) and after (R)

Forehead before (L) and after (R)

Eye before (L) and after (R)

Eye before (L) and after (R)

Cheek before (L) and after (R)

Cheek before (L) and after (R)

Airbrushed skin? I think not. 

Conclusion and final evaluation

Sea buckthorn soap

The soap is very good at removing makeup, better than any other cleanser I’ve ever used. But it didn’t make my skin look or feel any better. I would recommend it for being a very gentle, effective cleanser.

The bar will last me for many months.

Sea buckthorn oil

The oil might be soothing if I had irritated skin which I don’t. It left my face a little oily in the morning. The only condition it seemed to help at all was the KP which I mostly get on my body. However, it’s too expensive for me to use on that and I would not repurchase.

After using it for a full month, I still had half a bottle left. If I had used it on my entire face it would have lasted one month.

So is this is a miracle product or hype? My verdict: Hype.

Buy the soap if you want a good cleanser but forget the oil.

If you want to see how well Swell Skin worked on someone with acne, please check out this video. It’s the only review that I could find that actually has before and after photos.

For more information about Swell Skin, visit their website.

Have you used Swell Skin sea buckthorn oil or soap? Please share your experiences below.

Broken ankle recovery: one year later

Unstoppable by Lynda Makara

Unstoppable by Lynda Makara

Exactly one year ago today my doctor told me I was allowed to walk again following trimalleolar surgery. Those were the words I had waited 67 days to hear after breaking my ankle last September. The surgeon had done his work and now it would be up to me to get back on my feet.

This last year has been the most difficult one of my life, physically and emotionally. But I’m happy to report I’m doing very well now. And I wanted to let everyone know that since there are so few success stories to be found out there.

Venturing into the unknown

When I started this “journey” I was given very little information about what was going to happen and how long it would take to recover. The physician’s assistant told me the best outcome would be that I would walk again. The way she said it was anything but encouraging. Yikes! I know they have to prepare you for the worst but at least they could also mention the possibility you could recover fully.

I was fortunate enough to get that reassurance from the wonderful nurses who were prepping me for surgery. One of them told me she had had trimalleolar surgery a few years ago and said she was just fine now. To demonstrate that she jumped up and down, skipped around and stood on her tiptoes. This is a woman who has to spend the whole day on her feet and she looked perfectly normal.

Thinking of her helps me get through the tough times.

persistence and determination

How I’m doing after rehabbing my broken ankle for one year

An update on the physical problems

The physical problems I’ve been dealing with this last year are pain, swelling, numbness and stiffness. Last June I reported being 95 percent recovered and able to do almost all of my normal activities. I think it’s more like 97 percent now. A couple of things I can do now that I wasn’t able to before are running and jumping jacks. I can even walk around in high heels for a very short period of time.

And here’s the breakdown by symptom.

Pain

I have little to no pain walking most of the time and I am limp-free. Sometimes there’s soreness when I relax my foot and discomfort (and random sharp pains) during dorsiflexion. Sometimes my shins hurt too. Standing on tiptoe with the left leg hurts less than it used to. I attribute these pains to tight tendons and ligaments so I’ve been doing some new things in the last month that have made a big difference. I’m really excited about the results and will probably do a separate post on that later.

Swelling

There’s still a bit of swelling depending on how much standing I do during the day. Swelling is limited to right around the ankle and not the rest of the foot as before. I’ve only felt the need to use the ice pack once in the last few months.

Numbness

The numbness is virtually gone. I used to feel it when I barely touched the top of my foot. Now the only time I feel anything like that is when I’m massaging my foot. And even then it’s very, very faint.

Stiffness

My ankle moves pretty normally in all directions except for dorsiflexion. But that has improved recently as a result of the new things I’ve been doing with my therapy. I’ll just keep plugging away at it until I get to 100 percent recovery. My toes also used to be quite stiff but now are normal.

Photos of my ankle one year later

The left ankle is the one that had surgery. They look the most alike in the morning when there’s no swelling. The left one will always be a little bigger now with all the hardware installed. I don’t plan to have it removed because it’s not causing me any problems and I really don’t want another surgery.

An update on the emotional problems

I didn’t talk about it much before but the emotional challenges are almost as difficult as the physical ones. I’ve experienced fear, depression, helplessness, flashbacks and frustration.

These feelings are very much intertwined with my physical condition. And as it improves, they also improve. I still have frustration with not being fully recovered. And I still occasionally have flashbacks. Overall I feel better now knowing I can take care of myself in any situation I could handle before.

There’s one more thing I’ve been dealing with. The accident changed my identity. I became the girl with the broken ankle and that thought has been with me every moment of every day. Technically it’s not broken anymore and hasn’t been for some time. But every pain, every limitation, even the lack of pain when I’m used to feeling pain, is a reminder that I’m the girl with the broken ankle. I’m not going to be that girl anymore.

From now on, I’m the girl who is UNSTOPPABLE.

Related posts

Broken ankle recovery: learning to walk again

Rehabbing my broken ankle

My magic shoes for broken ankle recovery

Olaplex fixed my fried bleached hair

My bleached, damaged hair

My bleached, damaged hair

What looks like cotton candy but feels like straw? My hair after being bleached from brunette to platinum.

My silky hair was so damaged that no amount of conditioners, oils and serums could tame it. Every time I brushed my hair, my lap was covered in little broken bits. I wished I could rewind the clock to go back in time to when my hair was soft and smooth. Well guess what. I discovered with Olaplex, you can go back.

Yes, Olaplex really does work. It’s a three-part system. Parts 1 and 2 are meant to be used in the salon during chemical processes but can also be used as a standalone treatment. Part 3 is to be used at home for ongoing maintenance.

I got the three-piece kit and did the standalone treatment myself at home which is as easy as putting conditioner on your hair. Anyone can do it, and you should do it yourself because you’ll save a lot of money. I’ll get into the details later and show you my before and after photos.

Before I went ahead and plunked down $100+ for a kit, I had a few questions that you may have as well. Here’s what my research uncovered, in brief and simple terms, to answer the most commonly asked questions about Olaplex.

The most asked questions about Olaplex

What is Olaplex?

Olaplex is a compound called Bis-Aminopropyl Diglycol Dimaleate. Its purpose is to repair bonds in the hair that are broken during chemical processes. It was invented by chemists and patented.

It comes as a three-part system, labeled as #1, #2 and #3. The same ingredient is used in each part, with #1 having the highest concentration of the active ingredient and #3 having the lowest. Number 1 is called a bond multiplier, #2 is called a bond perfector and #3 is called a hair perfector.

Olaplex is free of silicone, sulfates, phthalates, DEA, aldehydes, and is never tested on animals.

Why should I use it?

Because it mitigates the damage done during a chemical process. While the bonds are being broken during bleaching, Olaplex #1 is repairing them at the same time. Not all of the bonds are repaired during this step so #2 is used right after the chemical process.

How can you use it to repair hair?

Besides using it in a chemical service, you can also use it to repair damaged hair as a standalone treatment. If the hair is really damaged, you can do a treatment using #1 and #2. After that you can use #3 once a week for maintenance and to repair ongoing damage done to the hair.

What’s the difference between Olaplex and knock off brands?

All the knock off brands only coat the outside of the hair and mask the damage. They don’t mitigate or repair the damage. Olaplex is the only product on the market that can actually reconnect broken bonds in the hair shaft.

Will I get any benefit from using #3 even if I don’t get my hair colored?

Yes, it’s good for everyone. When Olaplex was tested on virgin hair, the hair sample that was treated had more shine and felt softer to the touch than the original untreated sample. It had an overall healthier appearance than the control sample.

Are the effects of Olaplex permanent?

According to the manufacturer, the reconnected bonds will not break again unless compromised by additional thermal, mechanical or chemical services.

My experience with the Olaplex standalone treatment

Olaplex traveling stylist kit

Olaplex traveling stylist kit

I ordered the Traveling Stylist Kit which contains one bottle of #1, two bottles of #2, one bottle of #3, along with an instruction card for standalone treatments and for use with chemical processes.

I did the standalone treatment following the instructions on this card:

Olaplex standalone treatment instructions

Olaplex standalone treatment instructions

Here are some pictures taken during the first treatment.

It’s important to note that, contrary to what Kim K has said, sleeping with the product in your hair is not necessary nor more effective. After the product dries out it stops working, therefore the maximum time to leave it in your hair is 30 minutes. No further benefit will be gained by leaving it in longer.

Step by step Olaplex video tutorial

This brief video shows how to do the standalone treatment. When you do this at home by yourself, you should put a towel around your shoulders because the first part is very drippy.

My hair before and after Olaplex

My before and after photos are a little different from most people’s. The before photo shows my hair after flat ironing and with serum, and it still looks like a hot mess.

The after photo is my hair without any heat styling, oils, serums or conditioners. With flat ironing it looks even smoother but I wanted you to see it in its raw state.

After the treatment my hair was so soft, I couldn’t stop touching it! And the breakage—gone.

My evaluation of the claims made by Olaplex

I did the standalone treatment twice the first week, followed by weekly maintenance treatments of #3 for the next two weeks. Then I didn’t do any more treatments for six weeks.

During that time I only washed my hair once a week and used the flat iron once a week on the lowest setting. I let my hair air dry, something I was unable to do before using Olaplex because my hair would turn into a puffball.

My point here is that I did not do a lot to damage my hair, but after six weeks with no treatments it started to break off a little bit more. So I started doing weekly maintenance treatments again.

While my hair’s strength improved dramatically following treatments, it was never quite the same as before being damaged by bleach. And the restorative effects were long lasting, but not permanent.

Olaplex is the most remarkable product and I don’t want to be without it. It’s allowing me to keep my hair long while the bleached part grows out. The kit I got will last many months and I will definitely repurchase once it’s gone.

Update after using Olaplex for a year

It’s been nearly a year since I started using Olaplex and I wanted to show you how great my hair is looking now. It doesn’t break off in little pieces any more when I brush it and it’s gotten longer. So let’s take a look at some pictures.

one year using olaplex

Ten months of using Olaplex. Styled with flat iron.

I only do a treatment every month or two and I still have quite a bit left from the kit I purchased. I’ts definitely been worth the money!

Additional information

To find answers to more questions about Olaplex, please visit their education center.

To buy maintenance treatment #3 directly from the manufacturer, please click here.

For a more technical evaluation of the product, please read this report.

Please add your comments

Have you used Olaplex? What do you think of it?

 

DIY hair appliance holder

diy hair dryer flat iron holderWhen I was setting up my new makeup vanity, I wanted my hair dryer and flat iron handy. I had ordered a desktop appliance holder but it took up a lot of room and the cords looked really messy so I sent it back.

Then I decided it would be much neater to hang my hair appliances on the wall next to the vanity. The holders I found online were flimsy and poorly rated so I decided to use something else as my holder.

Wrought iron bar rack holder

Wrought iron bar rack holder

I just happen to have a small star wrought iron towel holder in one of the bathrooms so I checked it to see if my blow dryer and flat iron would fit on it and, guess what, they did! The holder sticks out 4 inches from the wall which is perfect. But instead of ordering that same design, I got this bar rack holder without the star because I also happened to have a pretty birthday card I wanted to use as a plaque behind it. (The star holder is longer though and would also hold a curling iron.)

These Amish wrought iron holders are very sturdy. (I also own star curtain tiebacks in addition to the towel holder.) They’ll last forever! The only drawback is the shipping but they do combine shipping if you get more than one item. However, even with the shipping the total was about the same as one of those cheap holders.

To install, the first thing I did was mark holes from the holder onto the card.

Birthday card with punched holes as backing for hair appliance holder

Birthday card with punched holes

Using the holder as a guide again, I transferred the markings onto the wall and made sure they were straight using a level. Then I put holes in the wall, inserted plastic anchors, laid the card on top and screwed the holder in place.

Holes drilled in the wall with plastic anchors inserted

Holes drilled in the wall with plastic anchors inserted

After that I got four little nails and hammered the corners of the card down.

Small nails to attach greeting card to wall

Small nails to attach greeting card to wall

And that’s all there is to it.

Hair appliance holder with greeting card backing tacked onto wall

Hair appliance holder with greeting card backing tacked onto wall

Except for one thing…there was a messy situation going on with the cords plugged into a power strip on the floor.

Hair appliances plugged into power strip cluttering up the floor

Hair appliances plugged into power strip cluttering up the floor

So I mounted it on the wall just under the vanity tabletop. I coiled up the mirror’s cord and tucked it in between the wall and the vanity. I also coiled up the power strip cord.

Power strip mounted to wall underneath vanity

Power strip mounted to wall underneath vanity

I’m going to be painting my room pretty soon and I’ll also paint those cords to make them blend in.

Now everything’s looking neat and tidy and I can sit there and fix my hair in front of my Hollywood Starlet mirror!

Makeup vanity with wall-mounted DIY blow dryer/flat iron holder

Makeup vanity with wall-mounted DIY blow dryer/flat iron holder

Do you have a clever solution for organizing your hot hair tools? Please share them in the comments below.

Bleaching damaged hair the natural way

herbs rosemaryThere’s a fairly new natural way to go blonde and so far it’s been a well kept secret. So secret, in fact, that even after I learned the name of the product I had a hard time finding any information on it. Now I’m going to expose this “secret” as I share my experience getting my overprocessed hair bleached the O-way (Organic Way professional salon products).

If you want to learn how my hair got so damaged, please read how I went from brunette to platinum.

Discovering Oway

I was at a crossroads with my hair color. After four bleachings I was left with yellow hair which is not at all what I wanted. My choices were to cut it and bleach it again or leave it long but yellow. I didn’t want to do either of those and went looking for another solution.

I started reading about how Olaplex can restore damaged hair and allow it to be safely bleached further. My plan was to keep it long and try to bleach it to the right color using Olaplex.

Turns out there’s just one salon in my area using it, but the stylist I asked for was the only person in the salon not using it. Instead she had just switched to all organic, nontoxic, plant-based hair color products—Oway. She convinced me to give it a try.

Oway is the world’s first ammonia-free, cruelty-free line of hair products with certified biodynamic, organic and fair trade ingredients. It’s great for people with sensitive skin. Sounds good, right?

Watch this video to see where the products begin—on biodynamic farms.

Bleaching my damaged hair with Oway organic bleach

Here are before pictures of my level 9 yellow hair.

First I went down to the salon and got a strand test on my hair to make sure the bleach would work. It did. My hair didn’t break off and it got lighter. So I came back in a few days for the full treatment.

My stylist did heavy foils using Oway organic bleach. She did the roots with 20 volume and the ends with 9 volume. On the second batch of bleach she used 30 volume to catch up with the first part. Unfoiled hair got balayage with 9 volume on the ends to bleach the yellow.

The processing time was about the same as for regular bleach. There was no burning or unpleasant smell.

After she washed the bleach out, she used a permanent dye as toner, level 11, shade 17. She had to rinse as we went along because the ends grabbed the color fast.

Here’s a video showing how to color hair with Oway products.

After bleaching and toning with Oway organic hair products

And this is the wonderful result—lighter, brighter hair without having to cut it.

The entire experience and the price were comparable to services I had done before with harsh chemicals.

Afterwards, my hair felt pretty silky. If I’d only known about Oway before, my hair wouldn’t have gotten damaged in the first place.

So if you’re thinking about going blonde, I urge you to check out these products. Ask your stylist to give them a try. Why bathe your scalp in toxic chemicals if you don’t have to?

My experience with Oway was a success because it allowed me to go one shade blonder without cutting my hair. I’m very happy about that. However, I’m still left with damaged hair from prior treatments. I gotta say, Olaplex is still on my mind. Stay tuned…

For more information about the entire line of Oway professional salon products, and to find an organic salon near you, please visit this link.

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Review of Redken platinum ice for toning yellow hair

Olaplex fixed my fried bleached hair

Review of Redken platinum ice for toning yellow hair

redken shades eq platinum ice 09vSee what happened when I used Redken Shades EQ platinum ice 09V to tone my stubborn yellow hair. Here’s a hint: it was a disaster.

But first I’m going to answer the most asked questions about this product, and then I will go on to the review along with my before and after photos.

Most asked questions about Redken Shades EQ demi permanent color

What does demi permanent mean

Demi permanent means that it will only deposit color on the hair. It will not lighten hair, just change the tone of hair that’s already been lightened.

How do you mix it

You have to use a Redken Shades EQ processing solution along with Redken Shades EQ demi permanent color. You mix them at a 1:1 ratio. Using 2 oz of each would be enough to cover most hair.

How to use Redken Shades EQ

Apply the solution to clean, damp hair using a hair color brush or applicator bottle.

How long do I leave Shades EQ on my hair

Leave it on the hair from 5 to 20 minutes. Watch the color develop and rinse out as soon as it turns the right color.

How long does the color last

Supposed to last up to 24 shampoos.

My experience toning yellow hair with Redken platinum ice

Starting out my hair was level nine yellow blonde and I wanted a silvery blonde color. Salon toning looks good for about a week and then my hair goes back to yellow. And purple shampoo, the holy grail of many, doesn’t do anything because my hair is too damaged from bleaching to hold color.

My yellow hair before toning with Redken platinum ice

My yellow hair before toning with Redken platinum ice

I started searching for a more permanent solution and that’s how I found Redken Shades EQ platinum ice 09V. You can see from the swatch what a pretty color it is, icy but not too gray. To me it looks like it has taupe undertones.

redken shades eq platinum ice 09v

Redken Shades EQ 09V platinum ice

I put 2 oz of platinum ice and 2 oz of processing solution into an applicator bottle and shook it up. The mixture starts out watery and then turns into a slightly purple gel.

I put it all over my hair and massaged it in as if I were shampooing my hair. I piled all my hair on top of my head and watched and waited. Ten or 15 minutes in, it turned into this purple color. I should have washed it off then but didn’t since my hair is resistant to color.

Redken platinum ice after processing for 20 minutes

Redken platinum ice after processing for 20 minutes

So I bravely waited the full 20 minutes. I was going to get rid of that yellow no matter what.

As I was rinsing the mixture out of my hair in the shower, I could see it was no longer yellow. Mission accomplished!

I dried my hair and discovered it had turned a strange purple brown color—not even close to the platinum ice swatch.

after redken platinum ice

After toning my hair with Redken platinum ice

Now I desperately hoped that it would wash out fast. And here’s the good news for people who like the color they got, it stays in a very long time. Of course that was bad news for me.

The next washing I brought out my harshest shampoo and scrubbed and scrubbed my hair. About half the color came out. The next time, a little more came out. Finally by the fourth washing it was pretty much all gone. It lasted a month through four vigorous washings with my cheap Suave shampoo. I only shampoo once a week.

Oddly enough, as the color was fading it retained that purple brown hue. It never did fade to silver, or platinum or anything resembling ice.

And I’m back to drab yellow hair.

Redken platinum ice pros and cons

The pros

It’s easy to use
The color is long lasting
It made my hair feel soft

The cons

Well, don’t do what I did and leave it on too long. And make sure you pick the right color in the first place. I think I would have gotten a better color by mixing 09V platinum ice with 09T chrome

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My magic shoes for broken ankle recovery

vionicWhen I became full weight bearing after broken ankle surgery, my physical therapist told me to get some orthopedic shoes with laces for good support. Not having anything like that I went online and found these amazing Vionic venture women’s mesh athletic shoes.

My left foot and ankle were in constant pain, especially the heel, and I felt I needed extra cushioning there so I paired them with Tuli’s heavy duty heel cups that I already owned from a prior bout with plantar fasciitis.

Together, these are my magic shoes which help me walk without limping and make it easier to do my ankle rehabilitation exercises.

Here are more details on what to look for in an orthopedic shoe and why these Vionic shoes work well for me, as well as cleaning instructions to keep them looking like new.

My magic Vionic shoes

My magic Vionic shoes for my “bionic” ankle

What to look for in an orthopedic shoe after an ankle fracture

  • Proper fit
  • Flexibility
  • Arch support
  • Cushioned comfort
  • Good traction on the sole
  • Lightweight

Why I love my magic Vionic shoes

  • These shoes are made true to size with a little extra room in the toes. I ordered my correct size and there was still plenty of room for orthotics which I highly recommend to anyone with foot pain.
  • The sole is flexible, allowing the foot to bend properly while walking.
  • The footbed holds the foot in proper alignment and is removable for cleaning. Good support is crucial when learning to walk without limping because the foot is weak during the rehabilitation process. The footbed comes up higher on the side where the arch is and that’s where I feel it stabilizes my foot to keep me balanced through each step.
  • The shoe is cushioned lightly in the footbed and more heavily padded around the opening. It feels like a little pillow around my sore ankle.
  • The stretchy mesh fabric keeps feet cooler and more comfortable. I also like that the tongue is sewn in place, making it a little easier to get on.
  • The rubber soles have little ridges on the bottom for good traction.
  • With the shoe being so lightweight and properly padded, I can wear them all day and practically forget I have them on.
  • Finally, they’re just cute and the bright pink color I chose makes me happy!

Cleaning my magic shoes

Getting ready to clean my magic shoes

Getting ready to clean my magic shoes

Instructions for this are lacking so I had to do some digging and learned that they can’t be washed in the washing machine or soaked in water. That presents a challenge when you end up with mud all over your shoes like I did one time. So what I did was to let the mud dry and then brush off as much as I could.

Then I used an enzyme cleaner solution that I mixed from powder and placed in a spray bottle.

Biokleen enzyme cleaner

Biokleen enzyme cleaner

I saturated the shoes with the solution and let them sit in the sink for about 20 minutes.

Spraying Biokleen on my shoes

Spraying Biokleen on my shoes

After that I scrubbed gently with a scrub brush, rinsed with water and put them in the sun to dry for a while.

And voila, they look like new again.

Related posts

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Broken ankle recovery: one year later

Brunette to platinum to ?

 

platinum after brunetteFor as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a blonde. And not your average, everyday blonde but a platinum blonde, the fairest of them all. So six months ago after celebrating my 60th birthday I thought, what am I waiting for. Follow along on my journey from brunette to platinum to…who knows?

What I learned before going platinum blonde

I’ve done a lot of research on bleaching your hair platinum and these are the main points I learned:

  • Going from brunette to platinum is a long process
  • It’s very expensive to go from brunette to platinum
  • Your hair will get damaged from the bleach
  • You will have to lose some or a lot of length
  • Blonde hair is high maintenance

This was the best article I found on the subject: Here is everything you need to know about going platinum blonde

Going blonde in a photo first

Picture photoshopped with blonde hair

Picture photoshopped with blonde hair

Before taking the plunge I also wanted to see how I’d look as a blonde so I went on one of those sites where you can upload your picture and try on celebrity hairstyles. Here’s one of the photos. Not quite the right color but it looked pretty good.

Talking to the stylist

I’ve never had my hair bleached or dyed at a salon. Up to this point I’d been dyeing it myself using Wella Color Charm demi permanent dye in dark natural brown. But going blonde, especially platinum, is a job best left to a professional so I found a good stylist.

I went into the salon with about three inches of gray roots hanging out. My stylist, a young lady about half my age, thought my brunette locks were aging (thank you very much) and she was all for bleaching it to the silvery blonde color I’ve been dreaming about. I also told her I wanted to incorporate my natural gray hair into it. She said as it grew out she would weave the roots into the blonde.

my gray roots

My gray roots

The progression from brunette to platinum

First bleaching

The first step to going blonde was to use a color remover. Since I’d only been using demi permanent color, I thought that dark brown would come right out. It didn’t.

On the first visit, I started off looking like this…

Lynda as a brunette

Just before getting my hair bleached for the first time

And came out looking like that.

After my first hair bleaching

After my first hair bleaching

I think she used 10 volume developer and bleached it twice after the color remover which turned it brunette with red highlights.

Second bleaching

One week later, the second round of bleach left me looking like this. Not sure if she used 10 or 20 vol. this time.

After my second hair bleaching

After my second hair bleaching

The color doesn’t look so bad in the picture, but in person the red tones looked awful. My dog was happy because we looked like twinsies.

me and Koda with matching hair

Koda and I are twinsies

That color is perfect on him, not so great on me.

Third bleaching

Another week later, I got the mother of all bleach jobs with 40 vol. developer. I hated this brassy, yucky yellow color.

After my third hair bleaching

After my third hair bleaching

Not only that, my hair felt like straw and looked like cheap synthetic hair from a doll whose hair has been used as a scrub brush. I was horrified. So was my stylist and she performed a deep conditioning treatment one week later.

Fourth bleaching

One month after that, a fourth round of gentler bleaching occurred to try and eliminate the yellow and brassiness. She used an ash blonde toner and it looked like this.

newly platinum hair

After my fourth hair bleaching–platinum at last!

I loved this color! I thought it was so pretty but the lovely silvery tone washed right out, leaving me once again with the awful yellow.

I now know that “toner” is a word for color that washes out in one shampoo. I like that silvery shade and I still don’t know why I can’t get it permanently.

Adding lowlights

Two months of feeling washed out by the paleness of my hair and also tired of looking at the yellow and brass tones, I asked my stylist to make it a light ash blonde. She foiled half of my hair with an ash blonde/gray color and no bleach on the rest of it, finishing with the same ash blonde toner used before.

And this is what happened.

Holy moly! It’s straight up gray! This time I prayed the color would wash out fast, and it did.

Root touchup

Another two months passed and I got my roots bleached and woven into the blonde, followed by the ash blonde toner. My gray roots blend in nicely.

Once again, I thought this was a nice color but it didn’t last.

The aftermath of going platinum blonde

After all the bleaching, my hair is coarse and evidently does not hold color very well, except for that persistent dreadful yellow. My stylist says I’m going to have to cut a lot off and bleach it again to get the color I want. Still thinking about that one as I’ve already cut about 12 inches off my hair since this whole thing started because the ends keep breaking off and looking ragged.

This is what happens when I brush my hair.

Hair breakage after all that bleaching

Hair breakage after all that bleaching

The journey to platinum is still a work in progress. More updates to follow.

What do you think, do you like my brunette or blonde hair better? Please let me know in the comments below.

Rehabbing my broken ankle

walking up stepsWhen I broke my ankle two months before my 60th birthday in 2015, my number one priority was getting back on my feet as soon as possible. I was going to do everything in my power to make that happen. I believe healing is very much a proactive thing that involves the body, mind and spirit.

The details of my ankle rehabilitation continue below.

For the backstory, click here.

The medical evaluation

Following my trimalleolar fracture, I was told some dire things such as: the best outcome would be that I could walk again, it would take three to five months to be able to walk, I would be at risk for arthritis.

To all this I replied no, I’m going to get back on my feet fast, I’m going to get all my function back and I’m not going to get arthritis. And that left them speechless.

I did not, and still do not, accept any of that as my fate. This was merely information to use in designing my healing protocol.

Healing a broken ankle with nutrition

All good health begins with good nutrition (food and supplements) which is even more important when healing from an injury. The body is designed to heal itself but it needs the raw materials to do so.

My normal diet consists of whole food that I cook myself, but after my accident I made sure to keep it super clean, eliminating sugar and and alcohol because that inhibits healing. I mostly ate high-quality meat along with green vegetables, similar to a paleo diet.

I already take a well-rounded array of supplements, but some new ones were added immediately following the accident. These are all the supplements I feel were the most necessary for healing bones, joints, veins and nerves (purchased from ProCapsLabs.com): ultimate calcium intensive care, glucosamine 1500 and chondroitin 1200, vitamin K2, B-12, marine collagen peptides, circulation and vein support.

Six months after the accident I discovered NOW Foods hyaluronic acid which lubricates the joints (purchased from LuckyVitamin.com). This one made a noticeable difference in the pain and swelling. I wish I’d known about it from the beginning.

A note about vitamins: not all vitamins are created equal. I recommend staying away from tablets and the stuff you find at big box stores and drug stores.

Using the mind for healing

This is going to sound a little woo-woo, but what you believe you manifest. Your brain pays attention to what you tell it. So you don’t want to say to yourself, I’m never going to walk, even though it may feel that way. When those negative thoughts creep in, it’s important to kick them out immediately.

I repeated these affirmations throughout the day:

I’m healthy,
I’m strong,
I’m well-abled,
I’m restored

When I was still non weight bearing (NWB) and had to stand up using one leg, my leg got really tired from all the extra work. But when I would say “I’m strong,” it actually helped my leg to perform.

And when I was full weight bearing (FWB) but still dependent on the walker, saying to myself “I’m well-abled” was prophesying my full restoration. I would also visualize walking on my own. I believe that helped me to walk just 20 days after becoming FWB.

Another woo-woo thing to some is acupuncture. I decided to get five treatments when I was still struggling to walk, having had great success with it in the past.

Even though I know it works, the way it works is a bit of a mystery. My general understanding is that it helps energy (chi) flow properly through the body. My energy flow was blocked from surgery and the subsequent scar tissue and swelling. Following each treatment I noticed a reduction in pain.

Maintaining positive spirits during broken ankle recovery

It’s uplifting and a nice diversion during recovery to make plans for the future. These are some of the things I thought about:

• Going blonde

• Planning my 60th birthday party

• Giving back to the people who helped me

• Planning my triumphant return to the dance floor

Making myself more comfortable during recovery helped keep my spirits up (getting a knee scooter and a ramp).

Finally, noticing and celebrating the small improvements every day gave me hope.

walking on stairs

Broken ankle exercises

Exercise is an important part of rehabilitating a broken ankle and I think it’s a good idea to start exercising as soon as possible. Here’s a breakdown of what I did from NWB to FWB.

The first two weeks after surgery, I didn’t do anything other than wiggle my toes in the cast. When the cast came off, I noticed that my calf was starting to shrink so I decided to do some exercises on my own.

For the next six weeks I wore a boot and was still NWB. While wearing the boot, which weighed three pounds, I did leg lifts very slowly, 20 reps three times a day. I also did isometric exercises, tensing up the calf and thigh muscles a few times during the day. As a result, there was very little wasting of the calf when the boot came off. My leg still ended up getting weaker and I wish I had done more sessions throughout the day.

Two weeks before being released by the doctor, I started physical therapy. Being NWB I was only allowed to do a few things which I did with the boot removed.

Take advantage of physical therapy if it’s offered to you. I was allowed 21 sessions which I completed over the course of five months.

Ankle exercises for NWB

Ankle pumps: while lying down with the leg elevated, slowly and gently bend foot forward, then straighten it out, stretching as much as possible without causing too much pain (20 reps, 4 sets, 5 times per day).

Toe curls: while still lying down curl toes down then flex them upwards (20 reps, 4 sets, 5 times per day).

Toe flexion/extension: stabilize the heel with one hand, then with the other hand curl toes under and hold for 30 seconds. Then pull the toes up and hold for 30 seconds (2 reps, 1 set, twice per day).

Marble pickup: place a bag of marbles on top of a towel, pick them up with the toes and put them in a bowl or move them from one side to the other (2 to 3 minutes, twice a day).

Toe curls on towel: With a towel on the floor and the foot resting on top, curl the toes to gather up the towel (10 reps, 2 sets, twice per day).

Ankle alphabet: while sitting or lying down, trace the letters of the alphabet using the foot and ankle only (1 rep, 2 sets, twice per day).

Toe tapping: while sitting, tap foot gently on the floor (2 minutes, twice a day).

Foot rocking: while sitting, very gently rock the foot backwards and forwards—toes down, then heel down (2 minutes, twice a day).

Check out this video for a demonstration of some of these broken ankle exercises:

Ankle exercises for FWB

I continued with the NWB exercises plus the following exercises that were phased in as time went on:

Recumbent exercise bike (up to 10 minutes a day)

Weight shifting: while standing on foam mat, shift weight from side to side (2 minutes, once a day)

Calf stretches: stand about three feet away from a wall with the injured leg behind and the other leg in front, keeping heels on the floor, lean against the wall and hold (30 seconds, twice a day)

Standing dorsiflexion: with the injured foot on a step, lean forward until a stretch is felt (30 seconds, twice a day)

Standing dorsiflexion

Standing dorsiflexion

Single leg balance: while standing on a foam mat or just the floor, balance on the injured leg (30 seconds, twice a day)

Theraband stretches: while sitting with the leg straight, put the foot in the center of the band and hold onto the ends with both hands, bend the foot slowly upwards and downwards (20 reps, 2 sets, twice a day)

Theraband stretches

Theraband stretches

Ankle lifts: while lying on the side with the foot hanging off the edge of the couch or table, and with a 1 to 5 pound weight wrapped around the foot, slowly raise and lower injured foot. Roll over to the other side and repeat (10 reps, 2 sets, twice a day)

Ankle lifts

Ankle lifts

Heel raises: while standing and holding onto something, stand on toes and slowly lower yourself down (20 reps, once a day)

Walking (10 to 15 minutes, once a day)

My physical therapist told me it can take a year or longer to regain full range of motion. When I started going there, my dorsiflexion was -5 degrees. On my last session it was 13 degrees. There’s still a ways to go before the left foot catches up with the right one.

Rest

Too little value is given to the power of rest, which goes beyond getting enough sleep. Exercise needs to be balanced with rest because that’s when the body heals itself. Exercise tears down muscle and rest builds it back up again.

There have been times when I’ve pushed myself too hard with exercise and activity which only caused me injury, so now I’ve learned to pace myself. For example, I try not to be on my feet for more than an hour at a time which is then followed up with resting on the couch with my legs up for a while.

As the day goes on, if I find my foot starting to feel more pain to the point that I want to start limping, that’s my cue to stop for the rest of the day and take it easy.

Icing my ankle

Icing my ankle

Nobody can tell you how much you should or should not be doing. You’ll just have to figure that out by listening to your body.

I wish you all well with your healing journey. And remember this: 

You’re healthy,
You’re strong,
You’re well-abled,
You’re restored

Related posts

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Broken ankle recovery: one year later