Monday, March 28, 2011

small changes: two steps forward...

It's high time I reported in on my plan to make small and lasting health-related changes in my life this year. 

It turns out that a small change every week is too much to expect, so I'm going to stop numbering them that way. It makes me feel like less of a slacker.

First change: Weigh in and record my weight every Monday.

My scale is broken and I have yet to have it fixed or replaced.

Second change: Do strength training exercises developed for cancer survivors. Work up to about thirty minutes, three times a week.

I've done these exactly six times in the six weeks since I last updated. It's too easy to talk myself out of doing the exercises. On run days, I tell myself that I'm too tired or don't have time and on non-run days I either don't think about it or don't want to do the exercises in my street clothes. I'm lacking both structure and discipline.
I've been pondering going swimming. I also did something last week that I may live to regret. I bought a twenty class fitness pass from a local gym. It only cost twenty dollars, and I have two years from the first class to use up the pass. It's pretty low risk but I'm worried I'm going to hate it.

At least it addresses the structure question.

Third change: Drink no more than five alcoholic drinks per week.

I seem to be better at breaking old habits than starting new ones. I've had no problem with this goal.

Fourth change: Drink more water.

My original goal was to drink around ninety ounces a day. That was unrealistic and made me feel hungry,jittery and even a little nauseated. Also, I was constantly running to the bathroom. Instead, I am now aiming for the more realistic eight glasses a day. This is no problem for me.

Fifth change: Meditate every day. Start at five minutes and work my way up to twenty.  

I suck at meditating. I just can't seem to still my brain, even if only for a few minutes. I find myself making lists, wondering what to do next, even mentally writing blog posts about how hard it is to meditate.

I suppose I should keep trying, as lots of folks I respect tell me how much they gain from their daily practice. It's a struggle though. I'm comfortable with silence. I don't tend to listen to my ipod when I go for walks or running but I do find sitting still and silencing my thoughts to be hard, hard, hard.

And see above re "structure" or lack thereof.

Sixth change: Always sit down to eat.

It's a very interesting experience to notice how often I pop food into my mouth while standing up. Sometimes, I only think about my plan to change after I'm done. But it's a good habit to break and I'm glad I'm doing it.

And announcing...

Eighth change: Take all my vitamins and supplements.

A while ago, I became so overwhelmed with the amount of vitamins and supplements that had been recommended for me that I just stopped taking any of them. The bottles were taking up way too much room in my kitchen cupboard and I couldn't find a vitamin box big enough to accommodate them all. I everything up in a box and put it in the bathroom in my basement.

Last Thursday, I found a giant pill box and spent half an hour on the week end getting organized. Yesterday, I took most of the vitamins (at different times throughout the day) and had raging heartburn by early afternoon. 

Today, I have yet to take any. 

I have recently re-connected with my nutritionist and we're going to review the supplements I'm taking, at an appointment two weeks from now. I'm also confused about interactions. Some vitamins should be taken with others and some shouldn't. Some taken with food and some not. Is it any wonder I put them all in a box in the basement?

Perhaps I should be setting priorities. What should those be? Calcium? Vitamin D? Fish oil? 

Anyone else out there have the problem of getting heartburn when you take vitamins?

As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback. What changes have you made for your health in the last while? How's it working out?


zoom said...

Wow, that's quite a few changes you're trying to make. I find that when I try to change everything, nothing changes. My most recent changes is walking at least 15,000 steps per day (I wear a pedometer, and I track my steps on an iphone app and an australian website). I've been doing this since December and it's going well. The other one is taking my vitamins and prescription meds faithfully. I've got one of those daily pillbox thingies, which helps a lot. (It also helps that one of my meds gives me side effects if I don't take it, or take it late.)

As for taking just one vitamin - my doc would say Vitamin D, without hesitating.

Bodies can be so high maintenance.

laurie said...

They really, really can!! I love tracking things - I do find it helps to keep me motivated.

Dee said...

I say, Good job! Maybe in terms of exercising, you just need to find an activity that you enjoy - that might keep you motivated more. I've tried pilates, which was okay, and I liked yoga (but I dislike having to GO somewhere to a class). I like walking and incorporate that into my daily life by walking from my parked car to my office. I also like qigong but find I don't keep up with it unless I go to class.

As for meditation - there are a lot of ways to meditate. I happen to like coloring mandalas because sometimes, I just focus on the color and the strokes and the design and my mind turns off. Maybe try meditating (or living in the moment) while you're knitting. And, while you're knitting, take deep breaths. Making mosaics was also kinda fun, too. There's a doctor in town who does meditative calligraphy and he makes Chinese characters for words like peace, etc., and he meditates on those words as he creates the character. My qigong instructor says qigong is a "moving meditation". I figure these kinds of activities are a good stepping stone to sitting meditation - although I haven't been real successful with the sitting meditation, yet!

laurie said...

Hi Deanna! I do run for forty minutes 3-4 times a week and the days I don't run, I walk. And now that the snow is mostly gone I'm back on my bike. So I get lots of exercise, I just worry about strength for my core and upper body.
And those are good ideas re meditation. I don't tend to listen to music when I walk or run and I do find both to be fairly meditative.

Dee said...

Running or biking is meditative, too! I think the trick is - now that I know more about meditation - is to focus on your breath, your stride, the sound of your feet on the sidewalk, etc. I'm not expert, but I think if you stay present and pay attention to your body, you're meditating.

Average Jane said...

I think the key to vitamin-taking is to do it with or right after a meal.

Also, don't worry quite so much about the water. Every food and beverage you have with moisture in it counts toward the total.

Lene Andersen said...

re: vitamins - well, more about the heartburn, really. Did I ever tell you about acidophilus? My naturopath told me to get it for the heartburn and acid that made me feel like my stomach was eating itself. Get the good stuff from the health food store - something called DDS. Green label, capsules, take one once or twice a day with meals.

I recently spoke to a pain specialist and we discussed meditation. He told me that it was not about silencing your thoughts, because it's very difficult to control that, but it's about not engaging with them. Just watch them go by and for whatever time that you're sitting still, don't follow the thoughts. Which made me feel a lot better about not being able to shut up my brain.

laurie said...

i have acidophilus in the fridge. i will remember to take it.
thanks for that reminder about exercise. i need to focus more on what i'm doing right and meditate in a way that works for me.
definitely going to worry less about water.
you are all so cool.