Friday, January 11, 2008

i resolve part 2: health

On Healthy Eating:

"Example A: Eating Healthy

"Okay, so...I'm supposed to be lowering my salt and eating only lean proteins, got it. And saturated fat is the enemy. And so is dairy. And so are carbs. And what was that about wheat? Oh, not wheat, just gluten? So no gluten, carbs, dairy, fat or salt. And organic? Organic is better for me? So I should order only free-range, organic, non-gluten, non-salt, non-dairy, fat-free items? But then...huh? How is it possible that fruit can be bad for me, I thought... What? Glycemic index? No, I don't know -- HEY, CAN I HAVE THIS GRAPE OR NOT?"

And then, frustrated and fed up, I order a cheeseburger."

This quote from Kristy Sammis in her piece, "Announcing the BlogHer 2008 Good Health-a-Thon"made me laugh out loud, it so closely mirrored my own conundrums (conundra?) when it comes to healthy food choices as a cancer patient with lymphedema (and one whose weight has been creeping up in a most unhealthy way since being diagnosed).

My plan (one I had shared with anyone who would listen) was to "radically overhaul" my diet in the New Year.

But I had no idea, really, what I wanted that to mean or how I was going to go about it.

Then, along came Kristy's post and a huge 'aha' moment, in terms of understanding what I needed to do.

I am having fun researching diets and nutritional theories (I'm currently reading the South Beach Diet, and I'll eventually write a review) but I have decided to be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and make gradual changes, based on my naturopath's recommendations and guidelines to control lymphedema.

So, for the first couple of weeks of January, I resolved that every day, I would:

  • Drink one cup of green tea.
  • Add a total of two tablespoons of flax meal to my food (this is usually sprinkled on yogurt or cereal).
  • Take all my vitamins at the prescribed times (I am pleased to say that I have done this successfully for the first time since I started to take them).
  • Eat one servings of fruit and seven servings of vegetables every day (this is by far the toughest challenge for me. I have managed to do it every day this week, though, and it's getting easier. And it's forcing me to cook more, which is a really good thing).

Next week's goal is to eliminate white sugar from my diet (another tough challenge, but doable), in favour of small amounts of sucanat (cane sugar), stevia, maple syrup and honey.

I will also add a second cup of green tea every day. This does mean (gasp!) that I will have to cut back on coffee even more, so I don't overload on caffeine.

On Exercise:

I'd love to start a weight program, do the workout my physio prescribed every day and do hundreds of crunches (OK, so maybe I wouldn't love the crunches).

But I would also love to sit around in my pajamas and surf the internet all day.

I've set a goal for January that will challenge me but not be so overwhelming that I opt for the pajamas.

  • I will walk an average of 60 minutes 5 times per week (doing less on treatment weeks and more on my weeks off). I have been doing pretty close to this for a long time, so this goal should be pretty doable.
  • I will go to yoga 4 times this month. The session started last Monday and I went, so I am on track to meet this goal.

I'll keep you all posted, my internet peeps, so that you can help keep me honest.

And do tell me what, if any, health and fitness resolutions you have made for 2008.


Anonymous said...

eliminate white sugar??? aacckk good luck with that one

laurie said...

Yeah,I'm already thinking I need to clarify that one. White sugar is in freakin' everything. I think I just mean treats or desserts sweetened with white sugar. It really does make me feel like crap. And the more I eat, the more I want.

Rebe said...

Take the exercise easy. Apparently push-ups are out after mastectomy, but no one told me. I did about 100 two weeks ago and I'm still working on getting the swelling in my arm down. Don't doctors know pre-menopausal women are crazy? Why don't they warn us about all this stuff? I heard from a fellow infusion patient that HER2 chemo was the biggest cause of weight gain... I'm confirming her theory. Good luck with the sugar thing. Sugar is everywhere, and

laurie said...

I didn't know that about Herceptin. I'm on it too, although I suspect the reasons for my steady weight gain more obvious (like eating too much).
I have lymphedema in my torso and (milder) in my upper arm, so I am very careful about the weight-bearing stuff.

Anonymous said...

Gawd, I am so lazy :-D I tried the walking every day@ 20 minutes last fall, but after two weeks, it fell by the wayside.

Gradual change is good practice, though.

Anonymous said...

Eh, I would like to recommend Canada's food guide. Sure there are practitioners happy to say that you should impose all kinds of rules and regulations on yourself. And, sure organic is better for you (possibly) and the world (definitely). But a basic and reasonably healthy diet is not futher away then the latest version of the good old pyramid. LR (kill me if you have to)

Babz Rawls Ivy said...

May I suggest:
Walking Meditation, by Nguyen Anh-Huong & Thick Nhat Hamh. Even if you walk your neighborghood and each day add on an extra 5 minutes. Wlaking can clear your head and giv eyou a chance to daydream or fantasize or sort lists. I posted my resolutions--The Year of Love & Happiness and health is up at the top! I say eat what you want just smaller portions. Move your but more and eat less.

laurie said...

OK - so I already walk for at least an hour, an average of five times a week, so getting moving is not a problem for me. And the eating thing isn't only about losing weight but about feeling better. I don't like the way that sugar makes me feel and I have more energy when I eat more vegetables.