In years past I would oftentimes put together a lengthy blog of things I planned on changing or doing in the new year. I would fail miserably at 98% of the line items I created for myself. If I accomplished one of them, I was happy. This year I am taking a different approach. In the past three years I have had some considerable health issues that resulted in multiple hospital stays, two massive surgeries and a diagnosis of diverticulosis. I have decided that I don’t want a flash in the pan set of new years resolutions that are impossible to keep and easy to forget weeks later. I want lifestyle changes that are manageable and doable for the long haul, that make sense for me.
Item One: After a hysterectomy that went from the “here is the less invasive way to do it” to “these two ways aren’t going to work, holy shit we have to cut her from hip to hip”… and then the following year “that ovary we left behind for hormone management has bent over with a tumor and your bowel has wrapped around it and yes, we are again cutting you from hip to hip” – I have a midsection that is foreign to me and not what I want it to be. I am a completely different “shape” (not just the out of shape, but an entirely different build so to speak). Compound that with stress eating and a bit of depression that leaves me listless and void of motivation.
Areas Needing Improvement:
- I need to work on my flexibility and balance.
- I need to tone this new shape that I am not familiar with. I hope to gain insight on what I can expect and dash unrealistic expectations.
- I need to work on my nutrition in a way that I am not on a “diet” but finding foods that are healthier options (which I enjoy) that will become staples in my routine.
- Body Image Issues
- Time Management
- Lack Of Resources Close To Home
- Each month I will chose one nutritional task and one physical well being task to incorporate into my daily/weekly routine. At the end of the month I will reflect on what went right, what went wrong and whether I will continue or improve upon what I have achieved. At the end of this blog I will detail January’s findings so I can record my progress and the set backs I had and what I have learned. I will not add onto the month in the middle of the month. I will strive to complete the tasks for the whole month.
Item Two: Mental Health is a topic that is widely discussed and something I mull over repeatedly. It is awkward to talk about it but something needing to be discussed. Winter has historically been horrible for me. Cold weather blues. I suffer from anxiety which manifests in my ability to worry about everything and everyone even when it is not necessary. On the other side of hysterectomy/hormones/tumors I find that my mind is a different shape, just like my body. I want to reduce my stress, speak to someone about my anxiety and make sure that I am taking time to reflect on the “inner me”.
Areas Needing Improvement:
- Anxiety / Depression
- Follow Through
- Sparking Joy
- Body Image Issues
- Time Management
- Lack Of Resources Close To Home
(funny how that works, right?)
- I have the contact information of someone who I am interested in speaking with and will do that in February as my schedule starts to calm down. I will reinforce the hobbies I love that allow me to immerse myself into positive thinking and problem solving (genealogy, camping, reading, etc).
- For body image, in addition to things like “getting fit”, I want to add tasks like: haircuts every six weeks, regular manicures, go somewhere once a month that requires actual makeup, moisturize, etc (they may seem trivial or silly but those small things offer rewards not only to physicality but also to the sense of “self”).
So those are the two big ticket items for 2019 with numerous smaller monthly components. I have accomplished some things.
Let me tell you about my January…
For my nutritional goal I decided to work on BREAKFAST. Previously, I would pack my lunch box to include tons of snacks (healthy and not-so-healthy) and would nosh throughout the morning/afternoon. I would then walk back into the storeroom and grab a peppermint patty when I was stressed. I would then maybe grab some chips or some snack out of the galley. My thought is: if I make myself a large, healthy breakfast it would stave off my hunger pains (both real and not real). My doctor previously noted she wanted me to make my first meal of the day the largest caloric intake. I am borderline diabetic and she felt that would be helpful in managing my blood sugar levels. I thought it would also give me energy. Accomplishment: For the past 30 days I have made sure to eat a healthy breakfast. It took some effort to re-navigate myself in the mornings. I can feel the positive effects of that change. I have not felt the need to “uselessly snack” at work. I have cut out my intake of candies and chips. I actually do have more energy. I attribute that in (or in part) to my decision to have an actual breakfast every morning. Things to think about: I need to work on prepping veggies for both time management and ease of task. I want to start a Whole30 process in mid February and (with a few slight modifications) adhere to it for the whole 30 days (whole foods for thirty days). I have, for the most part, cut out dairy and the majority of processed sugars (I had a cheesecake weakness on Husband’s birthday and a cookie issue when I was with Pam). There is the occasional cheese but I do not use butter when making breakfast. I don’t drink milk. The dairy-free route should be achievable. Although I want to work on the Whole30 process, I believe my actual February nutritional goal will be fluid intake and blood glucose monitoring. Water is life and I need to improve my consumption. I am going to shoot for 92-110 ounces per day. I am a borderline diabetic and it is irresponsible of me not to monitor it. I will add actual reminders in the morning and the evening to check my levels to ensure I am on a healthy track. Need to read more re: diverticulosis and doctors now saying that you can eat nuts and corn. Am I willing to risk the pain?
For my mental health goal: READING or something that resembles it. I am an avid reader as it is. However, I have allowed the political climate to navigate my daily reading and I want to pull back from that some. The obstacle to reading is the issue I have been having with blurry vision. Being a recent subscriber to Amazon’s audibles, I can now listen to the books and not strain my eyes. Accomplishment: For January I listened to Wicked and it’s sequel Son Of A Witch. I am currently set to wrap up the third installment A Lion Among Men by Thursday. I will be flying to Boston this weekend and in the process will hopefully wrap up the entire series with Out of Oz. I hope that by the time I am flying home on Monday I can begin to listen to Hamilton. Things to think about: Audibles is just great. I am thankful my friend mentioned it to me for use. It not only saves my eyes but it is also not a huge time constraint. I listen while at my work desk if I am doing something that does not require a ton of brain power. I listen every time I get in the car. One evening I listened as I was cooking dinner. Once I start working out at the gym in Huntington this spring/summer, I will be interested to see if listening to a book works for me as well as music. February goal will be meditation. I now have an app that I can use which will help track the length and style of meditations and ensure I am on my goals. I will also reach out to the referred professional regarding meeting with him to inquire about the range of his services.
For my physical well being goal: YOGA! I always loved yoga. The issue I have, living where I do, is the inaccessibility. I live in a food and health dessert. Previously I traveled to Athens for a couple yoga classes and a Thai yoga massage. I enjoyed Jen as an instructor then so she was the first person I thought of when deciding on yoga. I reached out to her to ask if we could meet and talk about my goals. We spoke for an hour regarding my concerns, my trouble spots and a course of action (we talked about areas of body AND mind). I had a lot of traveling planned for January but she kindly worked around that to make sure I received 1-2 training sessions per week. She utilizes a mixture of Pilates, yoga and rehab therapy. After the first weekend in February, all of that calms down and I will be able to get into a more set routine. I appreciate her patience in the interim. She is working to strengthen my knees, hips and shoulders while also working to tighten my core. These are my primary targets to start out the year. As I progress, so does the training. Our next session (which hits in Feb) will include weighted yoga. Accomplishments: I was able to get in five sessions. Weather and one set of stomach pains nixed two additional sessions. I can feel my hip breaking free and my shoulder is not pained. Things to think about: I chose to not do a “before” photo. I look at that choice in this moment and feel that it would be detrimental. I have enough photos from regular events that have given me pause. If I feel the need to do a before/after shot, I will use one of those. I had to get it out of my head that Athens is that far away. The drive time is 45-55 minutes depending on weather/traffic. Once warmer weather rolls around I will be able to incorporate kayaking and biking in that area (she lives close to Strouds Run) with my yoga sessions. While driving I have been listening to my books. It is my “me time” and I love it. February goal will be home workouts and regular chiropractic appointments. I will be doing regular resistance training at home, in between yoga sessions. I will be working on number of reps, not heaviness of weights. Jen will advise me if I need to change things to coincide with the yoga sessions. I have a Thai yoga massage on the books and I will also order a book of the yoga moves and what they are called and study up.
I happened to see an article today about breathing and realized it is the same technique that Jen has taught me. I thought I would share it here: Scientific American
January thoughts: I am pleased with myself and the progress I have made. The drives to Athens are actually great. Once we make it to spring it will be nice to remove weather as a concern. I was able to pick up groceries somewhere other than The Walmart which tickled the shit out of me. I have been eating the things that old school doctors warn you to avoid with diverticulosis. I am hoping the new studies are right. I still cringe when my stomach aches a certain way. I have dropped about eight pounds total since Jan 1. I feel a difference from the first yoga session until now. I am ending January on a high note. I am a realist, I know that not every month will be rainbows and butterflies. But I will definitely celebrate it when it is!
Last January thought: as I was leaving one night for Yoga, Husband called out to me “Yoga Hard Honey!” I am not sure he understands the processes of yoga. However, today I feel as if my calves will slide off the back of my legs and I can feel that I have abs… Maybe I listened to him?
In the last days of February I will update you about my progress again!