Week Seven Update

This post features pics of my furry boyfriend.

Today marks the middle of my seventh week of a refocused effort to improve my health and well being on my Journey to Wellness. I think the seventh week is my danger zone. With previous attempts, I would make it through six weeks but then start falling off the wagon in week seven.

I think focusing on the changes I have made can help get through this:

  • Hired a lifestyle coach; my program started March 20.
  • Stopped eating processed foods (refined carbohydrates/sugar).
  • Started cardio exercise and resistance training.
  • Quit my 365 Project.
  • Bought a Fitbit.

I’ve plateaued and have been stuck for four weeks. After the initial 10-pound/inches lost in the first two weeks (water weight), I’m hovering around the same 3 pound/inches range. I’m getting anxious about this, but my coach is still unconcerned. Prior to hiring a coach and starting this program I had been learning about the benefits of intermittent fasting. As an aging woman, it may be what I need to do if I continue seeing zero changes.

While physical changes aren’t happening, mental/psychological changes are! This happens every time I return to eating clean. I start moving away from What Not Well Feels Like and my outlook and demeanor shift toward more positive notes; I’m more outgoing, energized by being around people, willing to take risks and try new things, and happier overall. I also spend less of my spare time in front of screens.

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What Not Well *Looks* Like (hiding in the corners)

Except right now, well, this week actually. I haven’t exercised at all, I’m generally grumpy, and I want Five Guys and a pint of Cherry Garcia. I’m suspecting hormones—I hate them—or some weird biological seven-week timer that’s had it after six weeks.

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I just can’t even.

Today’s Wellness Wednesday Wisdom is perfect for where I’m at right now.

“Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.”

I’ll keep on swimming tomorrow, or the next day, maybe even the day after that.

I WILL keep on swimming.

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Isn’t he so cute?

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Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

I’m in the middle of week five with my lifestyle coach. I’ve lost 10 pounds and about as many inches from chest to thighs. Week one started out great, but cut me down quickly with the beginnings of a sore throat Thursday evening. I was full-blown sick during week two—I attributed it to my body responding to the changes in my diet, something like a “carb flu“—and on Tuesday of week three, I went to the doctor. I had a sinus infection!

I’m doing great with what I’m eating—I’ve been dairy, gluten, and sugar free for 30 days now—not so much with the meal schedule. I’m supposed to eat five meals a day and I haven’t accomplished that yet. My coach isn’t concerned I’m not getting enough food because my body is responding. Right now, this is my favorite meal: roasted sweet potatoes, chicken (seasoned with smoked paprika and lime), spinach, and avocado. So good and yummy!

I’m also not doing great with eating at the same times each day, much less getting up at the same time each day, or even exercising daily.

On Tuesday of week four, I stopped my 365 Project. It occurred to me that I had successfully committed to a daily habit for 132 days—a commitment that does not support my health goals. As I have a bad habit of choosing the easier and more fun things to do, leaving the “should dos” to pile up around me, I thought it best to be happy that I could commit to a daily habit and then redirect my time and energy to activities that will help me achieve my health goals.

On Thursday of week four I ordered my first Fitbit, it arrived on Friday, and I love it! What a great tool to encourage more movement!

Although right now I feel like I’m taking two steps forward, then one step back, I am making progress and it is a thing to acknowledge and be inspired by.

Just keep swimming!

Quest for the Immeasurable

I wonder how much first world disease and sickness is rooted in people living in a way that is “well adjusted” to a profoundly sick society. Probably more than we could ever know. Generations after us will have better insight; hindsight is 20/20. Although, I have started to see more articles about eschewing the “24/7 on” lifestyle and it’s contributions to our rapidly declining health as a society. I think there is a general awareness beginning to develop and swell.

I sometimes fantasize about selling everything and moving to a tiny house. I’m not sure if it would be out in the woods or in the city. Why not both?

So, it’s exactly one month since my last Journey to Wellness update. I’ve been on and off since then, and I was home sick most of last week—not really making any headway. Early this month I decided to hire a lifestyle coach and started the three-month program this Monday, March 20. I am already beginning to feel my energy levels return! In addition to eating well, I’m exercising and drinking way more water. I’m on day 3 and it is painfully clear how a lack of routine easily supports bad habits.

Part of that pain is I work full-time, sometimes overtime, and with the addition of my daily photo project, exercise, and food preparation (vs. picking up prepared/fast food at the store/drive-through) I don’t have time for much else. Last night I watched one 45-minute show and this morning I realized I could have used that time to better prepare for today. So boring and sad!

I understand that once new habits are set (supposedly after 60 days), it will be easier and I may see some of that spare time return. But for now, my playing with pixels time is spent on the photo project. I have time for ESO and WoW maybe once a week and that is to just login for a quick task so I’m not booted from guilds due to inactivity.

No pain. No gain. Since I was diagnosed with MS seven years ago this month, I have not made the permanent lifestyle changes I want to make. I have goals and I have to work for them.

I’m on a quest and the reward for completion will be immeasurable.

Wellness Wednesday Wisdom Day

Did you know today is Wellness Wednesday AND Wednesday Wisdom? That makes it Wellness Wednesday Wisdom Day! A perfect day for me to post Journey to Wellness updates, which I hope to do a little more regularly (my last post was What Not Well Feels Like in November 2016!).

I’m still not feeling well and have managed to make myself feel worse. I missed 4 of 8 work days since last Monday. In addition to not eating well, I have made matters worse by becoming slightly addicted to trying to keep up with what’s going on in Washington D.C. As an INFP, this is the worst thing I could be doing.

Observing people with terrible morals who are constantly making decisions that harms others, will upset the INFP. They hate to see cruelty in the world and will become easily drained from seeing this. They will quickly want to avoid being around others who fit these descriptions, withdrawing to their room or quiet places. Any kind of sadness or injustice is a sure fire way to cause the INFP exhaustion.

Source: The Things That Drain Each Personality Type Most

I have been so very fatigued for more than a week now and am emotionally taxed. It’s time to step back, take a deep breath (do not hyperventilate), stop obsessively reading all the news before I get out of bed each morning, and focus on what I can control.

Heal My Gut

My 2017 Word of the Year is Gut and I’m getting back on track today. No dairy. No gluten. Reduce sugar. Add probiotics. I can control this! Over the next few days, my diet will be:

  • Turmeric “toddy” before work (hot water with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, juice from ½ a lemon, ½ tsp turmeric, a few squeezes of honey)
  • Breakfast: two sausages and ½ cup beet sauerkraut
  • Lunch: salad consisting of spinach, chicken, marinated artichokes, olives, and walnuts
  • Dinner: soup or broth
  • Dessert: fresh pineapple

This next weekend is grocery shopping and on Sunday I’ll food prep so I have things ready to go during the week. My challenge is always making dinner. Having something ready to quickly throw together when I get home from work makes it easier for me to NOT pick up something unhealthy on the way home.

Right now I have to stop the bleeding and will incorporate exercise once I’m stabilized. I’m doing a walk relay at the end of August and I’M NOT PREPARED!

What Not Well Feels Like

The post I had in mind to write today has been written. By me. About five months ago. Go read Entering the TMI Zone now as it lays the foundation for what comes next.

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Welcome back! I hadn’t continued that “ride” because I’ve been doing well and I didn’t have a reason. Right now, I’m not doing well and writing this is cognitively difficult and slow going. My apologies if anything doesn’t make sense. Feel free to request clarification in the comments!

I want to document my journey from not well to well, so we’ll start with describing what “not well” feels like for me. As most, if not all, autoimmune disorders due to chronic inflammation share similar traits, you might recognize some in yourself. Many people are walking around with their bodies attacking their own tissues without knowing until a symptom manifests, usually years after initial damage occurs.

Not Well Feels Like

  • Brain fog slows me way down. I couldn’t remember that I had already written what I intended to write today. Granted, that was 5 months ago so maybe it’s my ripe age of 45. A better example is that as I started writing the first sentence of this paragraph, there was something else in addition to brain fog I wanted to type. But I paused and then couldn’t remember what it was. I still can’t after all these sentences later. It may or may not come to me as I continue writing. That brain fog is thick.
  • I experience a persistent head ache. I wake up with it. I go to bed with it. Four ibuprofen once a day—taken at once—dulls it, but does not make it go away. My head literally feels inflamed. I have three lesions on my brain (cranial nerves) and should be more concerned that I’m causing more.
  • Brain fog + pained head = decision making is difficult, down to the simplest thing such as what to wear to work or even eat for dinner. I’m less productive at work and the energy spent doing my best completely exhausts me. I’m mush by the time I get home. I can handle watching a show or two, but deciding what to do in a virtual world costs energy I don’t have. Doing anything in preparation for the next day is out of the question. I feel like doing nothing. As deciding what to eat for dinner is difficult and having zero energy to contribute to that thought process, I can end up in a mindless cycle of making myself worse by picking up something on the way home. Food is my medicine and what I eat directly affects how I feel. I arrived at this place of not feeling well due to poor food choices when I was feeling well.
  • I’m more sensitive to sound. Not all sound; someone talking on a speaker phone or the car radio type of sound. Not music to my ears.
  • My memory is worse. I can remember the thing that happened that one time. Or I read something somewhere sometime. Details escape me. If I need to remember something, I write it down in all the places. If someone else wants me to remember something, I tell them to text me the thing they want me to not forget. Even so, I may still forget.
  • Word recall is worse. I guess this is like memory, but it’s more specific for me. I can’t think of a word when speaking, or the word that comes out is not the one I intended. Sometimes I make up new words! Don’t worry though, it doesn’t happen every other word. Just a few times throughout the day.
  • Writing is more difficult as well. I can do it, but I find myself writing a loop when I want to write a line. I should probably avoid cursive writing when I’m in this state.
  • I want to hibernate. Ah! Now I remember the something else to go along with brain fog! Fatigue. It was fatigue! Nerves affected by demyelination determine which areas in the body will exhibit symptoms. My affected nerves are responsible for memory and cognitive abilities. Signals cannot pass through the damaged nerves, so they take longer to reroute, if they reroute at all. Thus difficulties with memory, word recall, and writing… sometimes I can feel the delay. Signals rerouting throughout the day is exhausting, causing mental fatigue. If my damaged nerves were responsible for motor skills, I would experience physical fatigue as well.
  • Self-confidence skyrockets down to the depths of my soul. That may sound severe, and it is a tiny bit dramatic for emphasis, but the difference between how I feel about myself when I feel well and when I don’t is like night and day.
  • Hibernating + low self-confidence = a null and void social life. It takes energy I don’t have to carry on conversations, or even just be around people in a public setting like the store. Work isn’t too bad as I’m at my desk most of the time. But my battery is depleted with each email, conversation, and meeting. I suppose avoiding social situations is a subliminal way for me to protect my energy.
  • My emotions are more sensitive and it takes me longer to work through primal/reactive emotions to a sensible and reasonable reaction. Emotional eating will most likely occur and I have most definitely been eating my emotions since Election Day.

I wonder if this sounds like depression. I have never been diagnosed with depression, I have never thought I might be depressed, nor have I ever entertained thoughts of ending my life. At my six month checkup (had one last week) with my neurologist I have to complete a questionnaire that basically ranks my feelings of despair, so there are checks and balances made available via the care I do receive. I’m not concerned about depression. I know how I am and how I feel when I am well. For me, my diet is the difference between feeling well or not. So why the heck don’t I stick with the diet that maintains my wellness?johnny5alive_zps3dbfeb831

  • It’s hard.
  • But cookies taste so good!
  • I’m busy.
  • But convenience!
  • I’m weak.
  • Yada, yada, yada.

I love how I feel when I’m well. I get a lot done. I like being around people. I have energy. I have ideas! I’m alive!

For my Journey to Wellness—once and for all—I have a two-year goal to work toward. My last MRI brain scan was in 2013. In October 2018, when I have my next MRI brain scan, I want my lesions to be smaller (at least) or gone (at most). This means no more yo-yo-ing the healthy food diet. It shouldn’t be something I do to feel well for a specific event or time period. It should be a permanent lifestyle change. The yo-yo-ing has not given my body the time it needs to fully cleanse and repair. I want to give my body this chance.

I was going to have a super awesome closing, but I was distracted and can’t remember it now! I’ll close wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate. I’ll be gathering with family for dinner and spending some time with them, instead of happily staying home alone.

Entering the TMI Zone

Beginning with this post, I’m going to start expanding the content beyond the scope of gaming. It’s something I need to do for myself and you are more than welcome to come along for the ride.

A Little History First, Mostly for Me

When I blogged as Mama Druid in 2008, I wanted to use blogging as a tool to enhance my writing and to participate in the WoW blogging community. I also wanted to stand out as a voice for the casual player, which wasn’t heard much back then. My blog lasted eight months before real life commitments—full-time job, two active teenagers, etc.—won the battle for my time.222ec3962f0dcf35c92586c58950ef7883a5a28e9e101c39778db4924eeaaaae

In 2010, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease—Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I started a new blog to document my experience. Once again, I wanted to stand out as a voice for a lesser known/vocal group—those who are treating their disease naturally. If you are curious, read about why I said no to pharmaceuticals.

Blogging = Better Health?

I found that when I was actively blogging, my health improved and I felt better. Here, an excerpt from the last post on MS Newb:

Actively posting seems to help me manage myself better. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but [it] just seems strange to me that my accountability is enhanced by writing stuff about myself in a virtual space that anyone can access. I suppose it’s like journaling… except for the lack of privacy aspect. It’s weird. Blogging to the world is like standing on a street corner reading your journal entries out loud.

Source: Howdy Doody!

At the beginning of this year, 2016, I spent some time coming up with my word of the year—instead of a list of resolutions—and through it learned why blogging personal stuff in a public space works for me. I’m an INFP and Explorer archetype (and player type too!), which means I have an inner desire to live authentically and share my journey, in whatever form that may be; virtual or real. Publicly sharing my goals reinforces my Explorer (sharing my journey) and social accountability helps me achieve my objectives.

One Blog to Rule Them All

As I don’t want to manage two blogs, I’m continuing the types of posts I published on MS Newb here. I have to. While my MS is mild, and I feel quite lucky it isn’t worse and hasn’t worsened since I was diagnosed, the inconsistency in my diet will eventually catch up to me. I must make a permanent change this year.

My word for 2016 is HEALTHY. I truly believe the social accountability aspect of blogging, whether real or imagined, will help me achieve my goals.

Join Me

I’m not sure where we are headed, but I can guarantee you’ll learn something along the way.

Shall we?

I can’t promise this won’t happen.

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Ok, maybe not that. I don’t go to bars. But you’ve been warned!