Self-care

Listen to your body, they said. But what if body says “I need donuts!” What if body says “I’ve done 3 tricep dips today, let’s stop now and go get donuts!”

I have learned to ignore body and all it’s whining. Mostly is baseline sensible. Mostly.

But in my newsfeed and email recently the whole “self-care” tagline has been recurring. And of course it has me thinking.

Friend J, one of my very closest friends, is recovering from a serious, unexpected illness. He is a model citizen when it comes to diet (he follows a pretty good model of clean eating) and exercise (gym rat – nuf said). These are habits of a lifetime. When we first met 20-something years ago, he was a runner and a gym rat. Knee injury sidelined him from running, so he became a cyclist and a gym rat. Then he got tired of cycling (after 4 bike wreck injuries) and became a weight lifter and a more casual cyclist. And then he got bored living on celery and water (possibly a mild exaggeration) and went from weight lifting to power lifting.  Then he broke his hand and his burgeoning disillusionment with power lifting cemented and he took up harassing an adopted family member about her tiny little baby steps into the gym and exercise. All the while continuing his own healthy eating and exercise pursuits.

My point here (the he tells me at least once daily) is that he did not get sick for lack of vigilance or trying to stay ahead of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or any other disease of affluence. He refers to it as a fluke illness, and while it is very serious, it did not happen because he failed to listen to his body.

And I completely agree with his assessment. Sometimes bad shit just happens to us.

For me, I have not been nearly so smart, proactive, or motivated about looking out for my own health. But while I am 10 years older and have a chronic illness, I happen to have a chronic illness that has responded favorably to lifestyle changes. That said, I can and must do better. The improvements I have achieved and the ways I feel stronger and more confident in my physical abilities than I did before starting a regular exercise regime, I am not always heeding my body’s cues. When it pleas for donuts and soda routinely, I am obviously still doing something wrong that the pull toward such nom-noms still exist. Or I am not yet detoxed enough from soda and sugar. Maybe I will never be detoxed enough from soda and sugar.

As I type this I am sitting here drinking an orange sparking water and eating a pear baked with cinnamon. Delicious. For the last week or so I have been thinking about what it takes to make changes in lifestyle and make them stick. A lot of the other things in my newsfeed about diet, exercise, lifestyle changes preaches moderation.

Fuck moderation. It doesn’t work for me.

About this time last year trainer J and I had a conversation about working out at least twice between training appointments. He probably doesn’t remember it; J probably has the same or similar conversations with members and clients at least once a week if not once a day. But I do. The kind and gentle approach wasn’t working; time to take the gloves off and get serious.

So … maybe it’s my turn to live on celery and water.

No, not really. Probably more like protein shakes, salads, chicken and broccoli. My calendar is pretty clear for the next 6 weeks and I should be able to get seriously extreme for a week or 6.

I am bright enough to understand eating this way is absolutely not sustainable for the long haul. However, I should be able to muster the discipline to get through this for a week. Or another day tomorrow.

RD and Dr. Spencer have both offered suggestions and thoughts on this idea and have both provided guidelines and meal plans and are cautiously okay with the experiment. Back to MyFitnessPal.

I ordered a long-sleeved business blouse last week and it arrived today. It’s too small. But unexpectedly, it was not too small for the usual reasons. Rather than through the chest or waist, it was the shoulders and upper arms. Seriously. I was Hulking out of this blouse in the shoulders and the upper arms. And I can take comfort in the fact that my arms and shoulders are not freaking huge because of batwing flab. Honest muscle anyone?

Next week I have to go in for my next A1c. I expect nothing horrible to have happened, but I really want to nail down consistent eating practices so I can walk into that lab with absolute confidence. Last year I did it with exercise. I figured being ruthless with myself and going to the gym daily for a month would create a new habit. So goes my thinking with cleaning up my eating.

Bad habits of a lifetime are so difficult to unlearn. But I proved to myself that I can do it, and I just need to force myself to not look away from the prize. Which in this case is sticking to my eating plan.

And again, it’s not like I have been doing terrible things and eating 5 lb. bags of gummy bears and washing it down with sugary sodas. Which, for the record, I can’t stand gummy anything UNLESS they are coated in the sour powder, and even then only certain selections. Otherwise they are wiggly jiggly little pieces of sugary yuck. However, I went on vacation and ate really well while away, only to come home and not eat really well. I did not just fall off the clean eating wagon; I nuked that puppy into oblivion. Lots of carby delights going into my mouth without restraint or guilt.

New week started today. I made it through without incident, but I was extremely busy with self-employment work all day long. Tomorrow is more of the same.

I’m also having agree-to-disagree conversations with a couple of friends about the whole goals, diet, exercise, and my better health quest. I wonder why it matters to them so much and why anymore people feel so compelled to strongly express their opinions. I feel the fatigue of standing up for myself, changing the subject, suggesting we agree to disagree.

Maybe I should lie in the road and let them run over me a few times instead for a nice change f pace.

Another day. When I’ve overdosed on sugar and really WANT to be run over and put out of my misery.

That’s not today, though. Maybe not any other day in my future. Because I know they mean well, and sometimes some distance is required to remember why long friendships evolve and endure.

Hope you are all enjoying an amazing weekend.

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