Tuesday, September 03, 2013

My Body and Physical Health

I woke up from a short nap a little while ago.  I'd been reading, and started to drift, and rather than fighting that feeling, decided to go with it today, within limits.  I slept for about an hour, not super deeply, but it was lovely.

When I woke up, I was feeling a little foggy and lethargic (that's what napping often does to me), so I decided I'd finish off my planned exercise for the day by doing one six minute circuit from Jillian Michael's Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVD.  That's done and now I'm sitting down to write.

Wait!  Before I lose you (because a blog post where the first two paragraphs read like that would probably lose me), let me explain.  I've spent the last week and a half thinking, reading, researching, pondering and praying about the idea of health. I've read voices that range from an auyervedic yogi to Dr. Oz.  From diet books to women's health.  I even did a two-day cleanse last week with the unfortunate name of "Look Better Naked Two-Day Cleanse".  (Full confession - I totally picked this cleanse because it was the easiest one I came across, where I didn't have to eat anything really gross!  I could care less at this point what I look like naked!)

Health and I, at least physical health and my body, have not exactly got the best relationship track record.  In fact, we kind of ignore if not downright dislike each other.  And yet, as I settled in last week to do some of that reading and research, I was pretty aware of the need for that to start changing.

I weigh more than I ever have (a number that is creeping scarily close to the "obese" range on the BMI charts for my height). I'm also in a position to start changing some things.  I start my final practicum next week, the second last hurdle for me to cross before I'm officially a registered nurse.  I'm within six-eight weeks of being fully weaned off of the medication that I've been on for the last two years to manage moods and anxiety.  It's been a great medication, but I don't feel like I need the support at this point in my life, and it has contributed significantly to the weight gain challenges I've had in those two years. My schedule is about to be more consistent, and I'm removing a major obstacle.  I'm very aware that with coming off medication, I need to have a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle in place to hopefully stay off the pills.  And plus, in terms of a lot of other things in my life, I'm in a healthier place than I've been in a long time, so it's time to make some changes with my body and physical health.

So I did a lot of reading and research, because half the battle for me is convincing myself this is actually worth it.  I historically hate almost all forms of exercise, and when I get hungry I crave sweets.  You can see the problem.  I watched shows on neflix and on veria living to motivate and inform me.  I began to accumulate viewpoints and opinions that would work for me, and discard others.  For example, I watched a whole series with an auyervedic practitioner and discovered that I can definitely get on board with the holistic idea that all parts of my lifestyle (even how much stuff I own) impacts my health.  But I hated his method of talking about food, which treated food as utilitarian, not something to be done really for enjoyment or to be done in a social setting, but just as energy.  I can't get on board with that - it contradicts deeply held beliefs rooted in my faith that say that sharing a meal with people is a sacred and connecting practice - a form of communion that is beyond the body.

And all that reading and research ultimately led me to a few doable ideas to start making changes.  I can't get on board with spending twenty minutes a day focused on exercises for my abs, but I can use Dr. Oz's 7 Day Belly Workout Cheat Sheet, where I need to spend 2-5 minutes doing a different exercise each day.  I can't at this point commit to doing a whole 45 minute Jillian Michael's video, but I can commit to doing one (or sometimes two) six minute circuits 4-5 times a week.  I can't (and won't) go on a major diet, but I can use tools like the My Fitness Pal website to track what I'm eating, and set a doable calorie goal (usually the 0.5lb weight loss a week range). I can drink a glass of water with lime (I hate lemon in water and most other things) every day to help my body detox.  I can stick to a basic regimen of vitamins and probiotics. I can't always make it to the reccomended 10000 steps a day using my Fitbit tracker, but I can shoot realistically for greater that 6000 a day, and go from there. I can eat lots of fruits and veggies and limit gluten and starch in my diet.

And the reason that I think I can make these changes is that most of them are already somewhat in place in my life, while the others fit into a window of time and activity that doesn't feel like it will overwhelm me. For me, that's the key - to figure out what is doable for me, what I won't hate and immediately quit - and then build from there.  I'm working on that figuring out what's doable thing in the whole of my life right now, and it seems to be helping.

Here's hoping that figuring out doable in the realm of my body and physical health is going to improve for it!

(and p.s. also in the realm of doable - I'm going to look at an elliptical machine off of Kijiji with my dad tonight! I'm thinking my neflix sessions are going to require a bit more physical activity in the near future if all goes as planned!)