This is the standard advice from just about every doctor I have seen in my adult life. Diabetes? Diet and exercise. Feeling blue? Diet and exercise. Female problems? Diet and exercise. Bad cough? Diet and exercise. There are other pearls of wisdom and liberal amounts of drugs prescribed as well, but it seems diet and exercise cures or at least alleviates just about everything.
If only I had listened to them sooner. Yet, not really. I have come to truly believe that until you are ready to take the steps necessary to develop the right mindset and discipline, you are going to basically ignore that line item of advice and just take the pills or whatever else your physician or healthcare professionals offer rather than face the painful adjustments necessary to modifying eating and get up off the couch or out from behind the computer screen.
Now that I finally feel mostly ready, I am glad to be taking the tiny, wobbly little steps forward. Easy? Not hardly. But I am adjusting and mostly enjoying the challenges.
I am about 5 days into my “eat more protein” regimen and doing pretty well, probably 60% successful. In other periods I would be scorched earth for my inability to be significantly closer to perfection on this, consequently giving myself permission to be judged a failure and quit trying. Negative girl, she of the megaphone voice, would be having a field day in her screeching.
Today, I recognize that change is not easy, even when you believe yourself mentally and physically prepared to undertake it. Life happens and interrupts. I was thinking this morning, over my spice cake-flavored oatmeal (oatmeal, vanilla protein powder, applesauce, cinnamon, chopped pecans – no actual cake involved) that if I feel like I make 70% by this time next week it would still be progress, although I do expect to be much more successful with the balance of this week with no lunches or client meetings involving food. M is also carefully monitoring his diet and is typically more a beef eater. However, his beef-fest is temporarily on hiatus since he has discovered the basic cooked chicken I prepare has lots and lots of uses and is getting consumed almost as quickly as I prepared it. The crockpot is my friend, though, and I can always make more.
We are both eating a lot more vegetables, although my picky eating habits have limited me to a narrower range. Spinach is my friend, and has been a big booster in keeping me at the estimated (probably low) 60% success rate.
I feel really good about my efforts, which I am now viewing as an important component of success. There have been some notable misses – pork tenderloin was incredibly dry and tasteless, so I have been doctoring it with sauces and salad dressings to make it palatable and save the neighbor’s pup from my cooking mistakes – and unplanned meals out with clients or friends. Nothing crazy, just takes me out of my trying-to-build-new-habits effort. It will take some time to figure out alternatives for those situations, but I will get there.
At least I will have good things to report back to the RD at our next meeting. Very occasionally I wonder what we will talk about if I fail to even try to follow his suggestions. Gee, terrible client, what kind of crap did you eat the last 3 weeks? Oh boy – that would be a fun conversation to have. Not.
On the exercise component, I am doing well. Actually, I want to happy dance and prance all the way through this post with how well I feel it is going. I passed J on my way out of the gym this morning and he asked how it went – I did cables on my own for the first time this morning – and I sort of hedged and said it went well, while sort of sounding doubtful and like I was not precisely sure. In my defense at the time I was unsure how it went; I was still sort of amazed that I had gotten through it without the angsty voices inside my own head.
Thinking about it when I got home and ate, reviewing in further while taking a shower (because really, what else am I going to think about besides work while washing my hair?), pondering it while blow drying my hair and dressing for work, I could not contain the big, happy smile. M came home from his run as I was getting ready to leave and remarked that things must have gone well at the gym, because I had that self-satisfied smile plastered across my face.
Yes, I am very happy with the exercise this morning.
The biggest blip on my radar was not being tall enough to reach the adjustment knob on the cable machine. I was looking around for something to stand on when another member asked me if I needed help and graciously lowered it for me. After that I moved it up as high as I could on my own and made note for tomorrow, so I could adjust it down with aid of a box if needed before I get started.
At 6 a.m., I did not have to scavenge far to find the attachments I needed, a big giant win for me. Maybe at 6 p.m. when the place is swarming I might have to go farther into the gym find the pieces and parts, but this morning they were lying right next to another cable machine and there was no one else around to ask if they were in use. Score! The actual work itself went smoothly, although I know tomorrow I will try a little different setting on the leg press machine to see if it feels better or different to me. And bring my pen, to write down what I eventually decided was the appropriate weights for each exercise. Most I started too light and added at least 10 lbs. per set until I found my place, and once or twice I realized immediately that I forgot to change/lighten the weight. Learning curves are to be expected, and I did not freak out, get anxious, run screaming from the gym, so I call that a win and count it as great forward progress.
I also went through a set of the lower body stuff that includes the 1-legged Romanian deadlift, because I am on a roll and want to keep up the practice on the balance movements. Definitely more signs of sturdy versus wobble, so I am happy there, too.
In a nutshell, I am not-so-secretly utterly delighted with today’s practice. I am looking forward to tomorrow and trying again, with a few little tweaks to test again, some J put in my mind yesterday and some that just felt a little off (therefore incorrect) today.
Tonight I am meeting K for a yoga class. She wants to try Bikram and I agreed to accompany her, so it will be fun. Sure, nothing like being in a room heated to 105 degrees and trying yoga poses that make lunges and anything 1-legged in the gym feel like a walk in the park. If nothing else, it will expand my appreciation for the gym and the stuff I am exploring right now. I enjoy her company and it it wonderful that we have such a good relationship. Not that I ever anticipate being a terrible mother-in-law; I do not think I am the type. But even the worst monster-in-law probably says that.
Before meeting in the hot box, though, I have my weekly meeting this afternoon with TM to discuss the state of my mental and emotional health. Both are improving, I think, and I am looking forward to our conversation and his insight. Always there is lots on my mind to talk about, because negative girl inside my head is trying her best to gain more of my attention and getting squashed like a bug the last few days. Maybe I have finally found a proper mute button for those voices? Perhaps I am again stable enough, emotionally secure in my footing enough to go back to every other week conversations. Something else to explore.
This Tuesday has begun on a high note. And it gets better; I have decided that for myself for at least the balance of today.