Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Inch by Inch

 Here I am, two months into my project, coming to terms with the idea that my blog writing is suffering greatly. And I'm ok with it. Because, behind the scenes, great changes are happening.

I've been very quietly and consistently downsizing, reading, writing letters to friends, cutting back on social media consumption and paying attention to my eating. And for the first time in a very long time, I can actually say I ALMOST feel good.

 I would be lying if I said "I feel good." But I don't feel like absolute crap. Which is how I've felt for....well, forever it seems. For more than 2 years, I've felt sluggish, exhausted-but-wired, anxious, and angry. I've had headaches, neck aches, back aches, and hip pain with radiation down my leg. I've had heartburn and gassiness. And I've been steadily putting on weight. But now, I would say I feel neutral. I don't feel crappy. I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel where I may actually soon feel GOOD

I think my 21 Day Reset (which finishes today, day 21) made such a big difference! By cutting out processed food and soda, I was able to accomplish my big, scary goal of kicking caffeine (thing #9). I'm making meals in the kitchen more, rather than getting frozen dinners or food from the cafeteria at work. In doing so, I'm slowly starting the work on Thing #10- become more proficient at cooking and compile a list of favorite recipes I can rotate through. Admittedly, some of my try-out meals fall under the category of one-and-done, and I'm still taking a lot more time to meal prep than I want, but I'm making progress on this goal. I can see a light at the end of the tunnel here, too. 

As an added bonus, I'm down 8 pounds. That's even with my little cheats here and there. (I've been pretty good about adherence, but  Valentine's Day and Super Bowl Sunday, warranted some indulgence) Actually, my little cheats have proven to be quite helpful, in a way. For instance, I had thought that caffeine was the biggest obstacle to breaking my Diet Coke habit and was responsible for a lot of the anxiety, headaches,  and heartburn I was having. But about 10 days into the reset, I added a flavor packet to my water bottle and within 15 minutes had a pounding headache and intense heartburn! It was the artificial sweetener all along. One day, I ate some Sun Chips with my salad and shortly thereafter had stomach pains and bloating. And General Tao's chicken gave me all four symptoms. I'm compiling a mental list of things to avoid. With all this new information, I should accomplish Thing # 11- lose 25 pounds - in a pretty timely manner. ( I never thought I'd ever need to lose 25#. And yet here we are)

This week, I've made it back to the gym and back to running. I had put both on the back burner for a couple weeks while I focused on eating and overcoming my fatigue. I finally feel like I have enough energy to start working out again. Running doesn't hurt anymore! No more numbness down my leg and feeling like I've been run over by a truck after workouts. I've missed it so much.

I'm in unfamiliar territory. For somebody who has always been going, going, going with so many things on the to-do list and just no time to rest, taking a step back to rest, recover, and rejuvenate is a struggle. The payoffs have been wonderful, though. Overall, I'm gonna estimate that I feel 25% better than I was at the start of this journey. Light at the end of the tunnel, indeed. 

I can't wait to start tacking sone more THINGS!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

No News is Good News

 Two weeks ago, I started a habit of No social media for a week (thing#6). It went so well, that I followed it up last week with no regular media (no news) for a week (thing# 7) It went splendidly.

I generally get my news online. I get the New York Times in my inbox as well as medical and allied health newsletters. I try to at least skim them, or better yet, read into and do deep dives into specific topics that I am passionate about. However, news has been becoming source of stress to me for a while. Too many COVID updates. Too many depressing political stories. Too many people dying. Too many people acting like morons. Too much doomsday predictions about the future of healthcare, our country, and mankind. Opening newsletters or clicking on a news story opened a floodgate of anxiety.

In a weird way, I couldn't resist reading those depressing news stories. I had become almost addicted to outrage. Even though I felt absolutely horrible after reading these stories, at the same time, I felt absolutely justified in my own point of view. Instead of keeping me informed, news was filling me with self righteous indignation. I was exhausting.

For a week, I just deleted the newsletters and the news links. I changed the radio station when news updates came on. I didn't look at TV news. I didn't do the middle of the night death scroll when I woke up. I just removed it from my life.

You know what? I still knew what was going on. People talk about it. There are updates on the radio at work, where I can't run across the room and change the station. I catch glimpses of things here and there. I just didn't invest myself emotionally into each news story. And the ONE news link I actually DID click on didn't give me any information at all. (Yeah. I couldn't help it. I'm a New England girl and I had to click on the Tom Brady link. Broke my no-news vow just to see "He may be thinking about retiring". So not worth it. And? you know who wouldn't break a week-long challenge? Tom Brady! That's who.) 

I also didn't fall into the trap of checking the news on the phone before getting out of bed and somehow continuing to check the news for 45 minutes. So my mornings were less rushed, I was less stressed and anxious, and I still knew what was going on. 

My big takeaway is that this is very worth it and I'll continue to do this monthly from here on out. 

DAILY LOVE: I love how I'm feeling (healthy, in control) on this cleanse thing