Sunday, March 22, 2009

Challenge III

I'm happy to say that I survived my week without sugar. There were only 2 nights out of the 7 that I really struggled. The Wednesday when I had been out with colleagues and than again Friday evening - I can't even articulate how badly I wanted some Breyer's Heavenly Hash ice cream! By Saturday morning I was happy that I hadn't given in, I would have been gravely disappointed in myself.

This morning I was discussing with husband how frustrated I've been of late. Since early January I have gained close to 10 lbs, topping myself out on the scale at an all time high (160.2 lbs). I've also been extremely tired. In a recent post I detailed how I've been functioning on 2 cylinders and there are days when even they seem to be crapping out.

So I am in the process of a life review. Obviously I am not happy about gaining 10 lbs but it goes deeper than that. I want to feel good. I want to look good. I want to be proud of the choices I make about my health and what I deserve out of life. Right now I'm limited as to which clothes I am able to wear that are hanging in my closet. I'm also fighting constant fatigue. There are so many things I am happy/content with in general - such as my job, my friends, my husband... yet.... There are days I am just so tired all I do is make it through the day, forget about even contacting friends and having a life beside. This has been going on for months.

The question I am asking this week is - how can this be fixed? What aspects of my life can I identify so as to make changes and improve how I feel and increase the hours of sleep I get on a regular basis?

Perhaps I should first of all explain the sleep situation. I do not suffer insomnia every night. I will have a bought of insomnia and then spend a week sleeping like the dead with a sleep hangover that is equally as exhausting as the insomnia. One week I can't fall asleep, the next I sleep so hard that I can barely get out of bed and on with the day. Right now I am in the later phase.

So, this week the challenge I am setting is to write down everything that I eat and drink for 7 days. I'm going to record them right here on my blog. I'm also going to include daily supplements of an omega 3-6-9 blend and vitamin D3 along with 1/2 cup of acai juice blend from MonaVie. I will record the quality of sleep I had on the previous night and detail stressors I am encountering. I also plan to add commentary on how the day went and affects of particular foods should there be any noticeable cause and effect.

I hope that just the process of writing down what I eat and publicly proclaiming it will help me to make better choices - we'll see. Sometimes I convince myself that I eat so well there is nothing to restrict or cut out, deep down I know this is delusional thinking. My week without sugar showed me all too clearly that there is much to which I should say "no thanks"!

I am not discounting the possibility of medical diagnosis for the fatigue. I very well may have low iron or low thyroid. In May I am scheduled for a medical that will check these along with a variety of other functions. For the time being however, I'm not going to let either of those be factors. I was told recently that thyroid medications are the most over prescribed of all phramacueticals (not sure if this is true but it does sound reasonable), the problem is that once you start such meds your body makes even less. It would not surprise me if the answer for thyroid is in diet - if we all ate like nature intended we probably wouldn't need the medical community at all.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Challenge #2

So you thought I'd given up on the 7 Day Challenge, didn't you!!! Do not fear, in fact I am on one right now. 7 days without refined sugars or honey. I'm already on day 5. And in all honesty, I've shown remarkable restraint if I do say so myself!

Sugar for me is an insidious little thing. It finds me in the form of chocolate and treats that aren't overly sweet, but of which I can eat mass quantities! Like if I bake something I like a lot, good chance that I'll polish it off within a couple of days.

Up until I turned 30 my metabolism was red hot, I could eat anything and just burn it off. I noticed a difference between 30 and 35. Since 35 til now, as best it is luke warm. *cry cry cry* This is not the first time I've gone without sugar. At least once a year I do a cleanse - that is really tough because along with the sugar goes anything white (rice & bread), milk products and red meat. That is a long 2 weeks!

So far, this challenge has been pretty easy. The only cheat was that I used flavored yogurt instead of plain in a smoothie I made today (I forgot to buy plain, which I actually prefer in smoothies). I'm still eating fruit (no juice) in moderation. Last night I was out with colleagues for a diner meeting, most of them had dessert. That was a bit tough. When I got home I had an urge to search the house for the left over peanut M&Ms I made Jeremy hide last week (so I wouldn't eat them all)! I abstained and worked through the craving.

Have you been giving any thoughts to a challenge? I'm thinking my next one will be 7 days of yoga.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In and Out

I think lately I've been forgetting to breathe.

My whole body is uptight, clenched almost. As for sleep, forget it - whirling through my mind at 2 am is an endless reel of nothingness that refuses to stop. I feel like I'm down to two shoddy cylinders at best. Oh to run on four again! Six is too elusive to even imagine.

I'm a naturally high strung person. I wish I wasn't, but I am. It just seems to be the way I'm programmed. Probably one of the reasons I have loved yoga so much is that it targets this area with calmness and serenity. Takes me outside of myself and helps to insulate all my frays.

This shoulder situation has taken more of a toll than I would like to admit. Last night I had another physio session and he told me I had to stop being afraid to do the things I did before the injury. It sucks when someone else tells you the fears you have to face. Like there aren't enough that I already know about, now someone else is keeping score too! I think this is where much of the tension is coming from - for a week I held my body rigid so as not to inflict additional pain and now that that is not necessary I still can't quite let it go.

So for the next several days I am going to consciously try and breathe. Just breathe. And let everything else fall away.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mish-Mash Update

I'm tired.

And heavy-hearted, today.

Somehow that seems to be enough said. The last 4 weeks have been gruelling. Although my arms are feeling much improved, I'm now in physio for the next six weeks. The good news is that I have resumed my running and am easily ticking off 300+ calories in a 30 minute session. Our bodies are amazing machines, their resiliency is remarkable.

I always swore I would never run. That I hated it! I've always been a walker so to suddenly find myself running - and enjoying it no less - comes as a surprise I would never have expected. A most pleasant one in deed. And I've found a time of day that really works for me - somewhere between 4 and 5 in the evening.

My mom called this morning to let me know that my dad's eye has been causing him problems again. A few years ago he lost the sight in his left eye due to a stroke that affected his eye only - no other impact on his body or brain. It resulted in months of painful therapy and elevated eye pressure - for which he need laser surgery that actually burned a hole through the eye to allow draining and relieve the pressure. He had to have the procedure done in Halifax where we were living at the time. His recovery took place at our house - I'm not sure who it was harder on. Obviously him, but to see a man so strong rendered so helpless - not to mention the pain (he was awake for the procedure and no pain meds could be administered) that ensued throughout and afterward was heart breaking.

The call this morning was to let me know that the pressure is once again up in the damaged eye and his good eye is also elevated. I am absolutely terrified that my father could lose the vision in his good eye. I can't even go there. There are two solutions being considered. One is to put a stint or permanent drain in the eye or to remove the eye all together. Today he has gone to talk to a couple of people who have had similar surgeries in the recent past. The consensus in my family is that he should have the eye removed. I think they would then be better able to monitor his good eye for changes without wondering if its elevated pressure is linked to the damaged one.

For the most part, my family has suffered very little when it comes to personal tragedy or sickness. For this I am most thankful. I know that there are lessons to be learned - like dependence and pulling together and facing your fears in uncertain times. The most difficult part is that our worlds are these self-made vortexes that don't stop - we somehow get them wound so tight that when we need to break free of them to care for ourselves or the ones we love, their forces are so strong that they keep pulling us back in - dividing our hearts and minds.

May peace abound fully with you today. Namaste.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

what the hell happened?

Ok. So I was trekking along swimmingly on my 7 day challenge. And then. This is almost unbelievable but I partially dislocated my left shoulder. For real. Four days later, the same thing happened to my right shoulder. Truth!

How did this happen? (I know you are dying to know). Honestly I'm not quite sure. After my 400 cal workout on Tuesday I did a few wide stance push-ups. Later on that evening my arm started bothering me, almost as though it was hanging there somewhat dead (ever get a flu shot? cause it felt a lot like that).

Thankfully I have a friend who is a chiropractor (and a very good one). On Wednesday morning I went to his office and sure enough it was out of place and he 'popped' it back in. I returned to school and carried on as I always do. Later that same night I hosted a baby shower for a friend and proceeded to clean up the house. By 8pm I was in pain. By 9pm, shear agony. The pain was actually so bad throughout the night that I cried. No amount of advil would overcome. I spend the next two days on sick leave nursing myself back to health and going for daily adjustments.

Just when I was on the mend and getting the use of my left arm back... my right arm did exactly the same thing. Two more days of anguish and adjustments.

I would have loved to take another day off from school but that gets tricky. I hate being away from my class too long and it is a pain in the ass to plan for someone to do the job that I do without even thinking about it. So I went but I felt quite terrible, almost flu-ish. Yesterday and today were better but my arms feel heavy and moving them about is still somewhat laborious.

For the life of me I don't know what happened. The first arm I can possibly attribute to the push-ups. But the second? No way.

So for whatever reason - perhaps a wrinkle in the cosmic fabric of time - I spent the better part of last week not achieving my goals but rather trying to find comfortable positions to sit and sleep in without screaming out in pain!

Good news - I got back on the beast tonight and logged 330 cals. Life goes on.