Better Health

I have been away from regular blogging for so many months it feels like a brand new experience to be here and writing again. There is the voice of unreason in my head (aka negative girl) who is rattling her saber and demanding that I get busy creating quality content that people will read. I laugh out loud at the thought. My content is written from the selfish perspective that this is for me. The very second I start thinking about my audience of readers is the very second my planner-fascist-itis spawns and replicates and is soon like a thick coating of pepto bismol shaded slime covering my laptop and yours. It’s insidious and toxic to me (possibly to you as well) and therefore to be avoided at all costs.

And since today I wanted to jot a few thoughts about my better health quest, avoiding toxic, PB-colored slime seems appropriate.

My “better health quest” is the broad term I use for pursuit of a healthier life and lifestyle and encompasses the usual suspects – diet and exercise – as well as the nouveau suspects – work/life balance, mindfulness, positivity, etc. When I originally began blogging, it was kind of a day-to-day documenting of my life and times. Then I started working with the fab trainer J (circa summer 2015) and it evolved into more a journal documenting the steps I was taking to exercise safely and sanely as well as modify my diet to gain better control of my type 2 diabetes. 

I blogged regularly through those years, so much so that I got some minor attention. It was hugely flattering. But again, not an audience blogger. I would try to adjust my writing and scope to embrace a larger audience and feel like I failed miserably. It was not good enough. I was not good enough. I lost my authenticity and my sincerity. The blogging and writing that was once fun and cathartic was now another chore on my to-do list and the finished product: crap. The expectation and pressure I put upon myself to be creative and produce something was too much.

This blog I stepped away from all that. Or I was supposed to be stepping away from all that. Then life happened and I simply lacked the time or mental energy to write here. That chapter has closed, though, and with its sunset comes dawn of a new era, one that finds me seeking equilibrium and sea legs.

Better health has suffered some setbacks this year, and I have zero regrets about it. I did not abandon anything completely, but I did ease up on the gas pedal of consistency. Food and eating, always a huge emotional and mental struggle, has taken the biggest hit. Where I typically eat the same things day after day after day to keep my blood sugar under control, I have sunk back into old habits off and on and then on and on throughout 2018. In this I don’t mean I am mainlining soda (so addictively bad for me) or other simple sugars so much as falling back into my love of breads and starchy, carby foods. I need more fruits and vegetables, more protein, and instead I am eating bowls of cheerios and nonfat milk. For the average person without type 2 diabetes, this is probably not a terrible thing. For me, it is not healthy at all. For one, my blood sugar spikes and stays higher. Because I don’t stick to the recommended serving sizes; with cereal, I am a go big or go home, all or nothing mindset. Same with most bread and crackers if I let my discipline lapse. 

In this case, it’s more of a “discipline? What’s that?” situation. 

So I am having to regroup and work my mental discipline muscles. It’s not so much willpower – I actually do not believe in that as far as food and food choices go – so much as practicing my better habits consistently enough that they again become my go-to method of eating my way through life. I am an emotional eater, and food is my drug of choice. I am not so far gone that I’m surfing the candy aisle in search of mass quantities of chocolate daily – I have worked far too hard to sacrifice myself on the alter of slow suicide – but my tortoise slow yet steady progress has faltered even further. My tortoise was mostly in and only sometimes out of hibernation the last 8 months.

Food and eating: working on it. I am recognizing my emotional triggers and striving to address them head-on rather than medicating by either skipping food (and then massively binging on less desirable food choices later) or just consuming things that I know do nothing for my overall health and well being benefit. And not caring.

There is a ray of sunshine in this story, though. Throughout 2018, I exercised the majority of the days week after week. My longest break was probably Thanksgiving week, when I was simply too down and out to do much of anything for a 5 day stretch. The rest of the time, I have been in the gym at least 5 or 6 days ever week. Granted my practices and training sessions are not work until I’m dying, but frankly, I’m never going to be that client that works until I’m dying. I do my best to be present and do the work and make no apologies for being absent, moving slowly, or just not at all into it. Again, my tortoise of progress was feeling my lack of enthusiasm and focus and went into slo-mo herself.

But last weekend, this week I have seen signs of progress in the rest of my life that inspire me to keep going. Last weekend I went with fab trainer to select and purchase a bed and shelving unit for his new digs. While J is very strong, there is no way he could have manhandled the boxes and mattress alone. In this, I was able to hold up my end of the heavy boxes and the mattress including carrying them up a twisty flight of stairs. I suffered no ill effects from the expenditure of effort either, although in the moments I could feel my hamstrings and lats working. 

This week I was helping a client box and move cases of wine. While picking up 40, 50, 60 lb. boxes was not effortless, it was comfortable enough that I continued throughout the day. This morning, after boxing and moving 456 bottles of wine, my back and body feel fine, and I was in the gym going through a quick weight training List without any tweak pain for my efforts.

As for the List, it was an older one that I have not touched in months. Last time I practiced this (barbell in landmine with squats, rows, overhead presses, single leg Romanian dead lifts, reverse lunges, etc.), I remember using the light bar and no or 5 or 10 lb. plates on it. Today, I was using the heavier bar and a 10 lb. plate on all exercises, and there were a few where I felt like I could have gone with another 10. Maybe. 

Despite my negative girl impulse that I have lost so much ground in the last year, truth is I am fine right now and will improve as my mindset and my heart heal. There is little I can actively do to change or modify those aspects of me, but my eating, my exercise, my better physical health is an area well within my direct control.

“Control your variables” fab trainer says to me, and to himself. I am taking that to heart while carefully avoiding any tendency toward planner-fascist-itis. I got this. Or so I tell myself some multiple of 10 ever single day. 

I am starting over in believing it.

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