For the past few weeks, my life has centered around Waldo. Making sure I don’t do anything that might cause inflammation and irritate the kidney that Waldo has decided to make his permanent home. That means no gym, no walks, no yoga, nothing. Well I’m sick of it. My moods have absolutely gone into the toilet, my stress levels are through the roof, I’m not sleeping well at night and I just feel miserable. So I decided that enough was enough and I went to the gym today to talk to my trainer so we could redesign not only my workout schedule but parts of my life that need some structure as well.
Since moving out of my parents house I’ve been a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl. I hate scheduling anything, I’ll just do it when I want to do it and that’s that. Well now that I’m older and I have some medical conditions that require certain care, I can’t just do what I want to do anymore. Meeting with my trainer today helped for me to see that and to understand that scheduling your day out is not a bad thing and allowing your body to get into a routine will be incredibly helpful in the long run as far as health goes. She wrote down my new exercise plan and had me take notes on other things she wanted me to do in order to take care of myself, because let’s face it, I suck at caring for myself because I spend too much time taking care of everyone else.
So my new workout routine is simple. Before I get on a machine or start a class, she wants me to stretch for 5 minutes. Her reason is because with osteoarthritis, inflammation is brought on by your body going into shock over something that you have done. Whether it be cardio, or lifting weights, or just bending down wrong and tweaking your back. It can come on anytime and last for days. So by stretching, I am transitioning my muscles from me sitting at home knitting while I home school my son to being active. It allows the muscles to understand that more motion and movement are likely, so be ready. I am allowed to do 30 minutes of cardio as many times a week as I want to do it, because cardio wasn’t an issue for me. However, I am NOT to get on a treadmill or use the stair machine at all. She wants me on the elliptical, the arc trainer or the recumbent bike for those 30 minutes. It’s not about how many calories the machine tells me I’ve burnt, it’s about how challenged my muscles feel from the work I’m putting in. I am allowed 2 days a week of strength training, and she does not want them to be back to back days. So it’s looking like Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my strength training days starting next week. I will be going in the afternoons around 3pm, so that way I have plenty of time to make sure my son does his school lessons and it’s enough time for me to do my workout and come home to make dinner. I’m also required to stretch for 5 minutes after I workout, in order to signal those muscles to relax and not cramp up.
We also talked about nutrition. She knows my food allergy issues, so she knows that my diet is healthy. However, I’m not eating enough. My body is in constant starvation/store fat mode because I rarely even get the minimum 1200 calories per day. I’m usually around 800-1000 per day and that’s not healthy for anyone, let alone someone who was doing hour long workouts at the gym 5 days a week. So her and I discussed it and she told me that being afraid of my calories is something that I’m going to have to work on. I’m a recovering anorexic, from my late teen years and most of my 20’s I would simply just not eat. Maybe one meal a day. I was obsessed with being super skinny and if I weight more than 110 pounds I freaked out. That mind set is not something that ever goes away. It’s rare to this day for my body to feel hunger because I spent years ignoring that feeling. I say that now I don’t eat because I’m hungry, I eat because I have to. That’s the truth. So I need to learn that just because my breakfast has over 300 calories in it, doesn’t make it bad, it makes it a solid meal and there’s nothing wrong with that. So it’s a matter of retraining myself which is hard, but I know it’s something that can be done over time. I can’t say that I won’t have anxiety over calories, I’m certain I will, but if I start to feel that way I have a support system of folks to talk to that will reassure me that a 150 calorie larabar isn’t going to end my world.
So I downloaded My Fitness Pal again, in order to track my food progress daily. I was shocked when I saw that my total intake for today before adding in my evening snack and my tea that I drank with dinner was only like 974 calories. Holy crap am I really eating that little? Yes, yes I am. So by having to track it, I’ll be more aware of what I’m eating and know the days when I hit the mark compared to the days that I don’t. On the days that I don’t, I’ll ask myself why and hopefully have a valid answer other than “I forgot to eat”. I already know that I eat well, I just need to eat more of that good stuff in order to fuel myself for my activity level.
When I brought up my insomnia and trouble sleeping, she had very valid ideas for me to try. She wants me to start doing my yoga at night before bed. I eat dinner at 5pm, which means that by 8pm I should be able to do the yoga program and not have a full stomach. After I do my yoga, I will have my snack and settle in for an hour or so of downtime before bed. Once I’m ready for sleep, set an alarm for exactly 8 hours and 15 minutes from the time that I commit to going to sleep. I’ve been getting 9-10 hours of sleep a night, I’m not active and I nap in the afternoon as well. I’m sleeping way too much and it’s taking a toll on my body. So she said, 8 hours for someone committing to my new activity level, no less and not more than 8 1/2. That goes for weekends too, sleeping in might seem like a great idea, but unless we are sick or recovering from an injury, we don’t need that much sleep per evening. So I’m going to try this and see how much better I sleep at night and how I feel when I wake up in the mornings.
Self care is something that must be invested in. Healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy foods, women’s workout clothing isn’t cheap, setting aside time to unwind and just reflect is hard when you have a family to take care of. However, these things must be done in order for me to be healthy. I have to start investing in myself. For years I’ve given every ounce of what I have to my son and to my husband leaving me with very little. It’s time to change that. My son is almost a teenager now, so he’s able to do things for himself as is my husband. I’ve just gotten into the habit of doing it all that thinking about scheduling time for myself is a very foreign concept to me. Times in the past when I’ve had me time, I always feel guilty because I should have been home to take care of them, or because I’m spending money on myself instead of them. Well I have a new schedule to structure for myself and that will require me to take the time and spend the money when necessary to make sure I have the things that I need in order to be successful. I’m a work in progress but at least now I have a direction and a starting point, let’s see where I can soar from here.