Weighty Matters

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Hack, Hack, Sniffle, Sneeze, Cough

Sorry that I’ve been MIA but I’ve been sick, out of town for a couple of days, and then sicker.  I swear that even though I now eat far healthier, and am overall in better condition, than I ever did or was at my top weight, I’ve gotten sick more often in the last almost-four years than I ever did before I lost the pounds.

It’s like I used to have an incredible immune system.  Other people at work could cave en masse to germs that passed around the place and I would trundle on unaffected.  If I got a single cold a year, it was remarkable.  I’ve had one lousy stomach virus in the last 15 years.  Since weight loss surgery I have still avoided stomach viruses, but I’ve sure been more susceptible to colds.  (Excuse me for a moment while I now knock wood, toss salt, and employ various other methods to stave off jinxing myself on that stomach virus comment.)

Okay, I’m back.  Anyway, last week I started feeling a scratchiness in my throat for a couple of days with a light, dry cough.  Symptoms did not progress like a regular cold, which was puzzling.  By Thursday, I decided that I was suffering the mutha of all allergy attacks.  The wind had been blowing like crazy for several days and we’d had dry weather, so I was sure that my discomfort was the result of excessive coral dust.  I soldiered through, which is my m.o., even continuing to do my rowing classes.  They weren’t easy, let me tell you.  Difficulty breathing and intense cardio work do not mix well.

I drove up to Miami Friday night for a weekend “off the rock”.  A friend was getting married Saturday afternoon and, in a happy time of coincidence, the Tai Chi Society to which I belong scheduled a half day intensive that morning about five minutes from where I was staying.  Sometime over night my coughs started to get a little deeper and more “productive” and random bouts of sneezing began to creep in.  Since I still didn’t actually feel all that bad, I was still positive these were all due to allergies.

Saturday was a fun, great day.  Sunday, I slept in at my hotel and then did a little shopping before spending some time with friends I haven’t seen in several months.  As the day progressed, so did my sneezing and coughing.

****Gross alert****  When one’s sneezing becomes to strong that it stimulates projectile phlegm from one’s lungs, one must finally concede that one is ill.

I got home around 7 ish and spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching the football game with a box of tissues and lemon-echinacea cough drops as my companions.  The game ended around 11 at which point I popped some Nyquil and rolled into bed.

Thoroughly, or some might say crazily, optimistic, I’d set my alarm for 6:05 so I could get up for rowing class.  The alarm went off, I sat up, coughed up half a lung, said, “No freaking way” and reached for my phone to cancel my appearance in rowing class.  (There’s an app for that!)

Two hours later, I woke up again to text my boss and my assistant that I was taking a sick day.  I managed to go out long enough to pick Natty up from boarding.  I then went back to bed and slept for several hours.  Sleep was pretty much the most productive thing I did all day.  I’d manage an hour or two of consciousness and then curl up back in bed again for more zzzzs.

Clearly my body knew what I needed.  When Tuesday morning rolled around, I felt much better than I had 24 hours previously, so I went into work for a few hours.  However, I decided from the outset that I wasn’t pushing matters.  I just wanted to get a few important tasks done.  Once I did, I left and returned to my comfy bed for some more rest.

Last night, although I knew I had improved a good amount, I had a long conversation with myself about the wisdom of not pushing myself more than I should.  I then cancelled my appointment for this morning’s rowing class and, instead, scheduled myself for one on Saturday.   I already had one class set for Friday and I am confident that by then I will be up to the exertion.  So, at least I will get in two classes this week!

Anyway, this is the long-winded explanation for why I haven’t written any posts in more than a week.  I never even turned on the home computer until tonight.  While I would normally push myself, I knew that I needed to pay attention to my body and take care of myself instead.  So I did, and it helped.  I managed a full, busy day, at work and still had enough energy for Tai Chi class.  An acupuncture session this morning certainly boosted my energy supply, which was very helpful.  Now I’m going to keep listening to what I need and go to bed early.


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Body Work

It’s Sunday.  I woke up, ate a healthy, tasty breakfast, and then went to the massage therapist.  I think I’ve mentioned before that she puts the “therapy” in massage therapy.  The woman is gifted and even with years of experience, she continues to learn more about the body and how to work on it for healing.  She worked a lot on my legs to accompany the other things I’ve done to promote healing.  When the session was finished, my entire body and mind felt terrific.

I wrote her a check and had to chuckle.  Most of the checks I’ve written in recent weeks have been to pay for sessions and experiences dedicated to my health and well-being.  A facial, manicures, a pedicure, acupuncture, massage therapy.

Clearly, it’s all about me right now.  I have a hair appointment on Tuesday.  I categorize that as something for my well-being, too.

The point is that I am willing to invest in the things that make me feel good and help to take care of my body.  The facial addresses my skin.  The acupuncture is clearly helping me in a variety of ways from pain reduction to cutting down inflammation to staying on track with my food plan.  The massage therapy doesn’t need any more explanation.

The manicure, pedicure and hair appointment?  Yes, I can make a case for health and well-being in those areas, even if the end results that are obvious to the eye are prettier hands, feet and hair.  The nail treatments condition my hands and feet.  The hair treatment, well, I think it really does help my over all hair condition too.

Body work is good for us.  Treating ourselves well, whether externally, internally or a combination of both, goes deeper than just the physical.  The results are so positive for us emotionally, mentally and, ultimately, spiritually.  With my eating disorder, I damage myself physically and emotionally.  This messes me up in my mental process and dulls my spirit.  I can easily begin to believe the crap that my disease says to me and think badly of myself.  So, taking the time and making the effort to restore myself assists my overall program of recovery.

These sessions don’t come cheap, although at $30 I think the acupuncture is darned near a bargain, but I think they deliver high quality return on my investment.   When I’m healthy and in a good, strong place with managing my disorder, I spend a heck of lot less money on food.  I also waste less food.  So, I think it’s fine for me to take those food dollar savings and put them toward a treatment.

I matter.  My health and well-being are important.  I’m worth these efforts to support myself.

So are you.



Self-Care Training

I wish I naturally, automatically practiced good self-care.  Oh, sure, I do it sometimes and probably more often than I did before, but I don’t automatically treat myself well often enough.  Very often, I have to remind myself.  It’s strange because gentle support and encouragement are second nature to me when I’m offering them to a friend or family member.

Thinking it over, I do better with bigger gestures to myself, sort of like self-care rewards, but the day to day little positive reinforcements come harder.  For some many years I abused myself with my overeating and then compounded the horrible self-treatment with the negative, rotten things I thought about myself and that I said to myself.

I need to retrain myself in this area.  I keep going back to the Anne Lamott post on the anti-diet.  In it she talks about paying attention to what makes us feel good, one meal at a time.  I’ve really been focusing on that the last couple of days.  I strive to stay present in the moment as I prepare my food and then while I eat the meals.  I remind myself over and over again that it is important for me to do what is good for me and to do what makes me happy.

Paying attention, I find, is key.  There are so many distractions in our lives.  External distractions are challenging enough, but the negative tapes that sometimes still play in my head are even worse.  It’s the negative thoughts that take me away from my mindfulness so that I can inhale a few cookies before I realize what I’m doing.  So, I’ve ramped up the self-attention when I’m around the food.  Attention leads to mindfulness and so on.

In addition, I also tell myself, often, that I’m treating myself well and I’m worth it.  I’m choosing to eat healthy and not go off of my plan into compulsive eating because I’m taking care of myself.  And I’m worth it.  I looked at the beautiful, fresh, crisp salad that I put together for dinner (fresh, chopped kale, shredded broccoli, carrots, red cabbage, diced sweet onion, a little feta, some walnuts) and acknowledged that making it was a way to treat myself well.  So was the way that I ate it with some roast chicken — slowly, savoring the tastes, appreciating everything about the experience.

A corporate coach tells us that it takes 21 days to adopt a new behavior.  I hope that I can continue building on this self-training for the next three weeks, do it consistently, and continue to really develop a daily naturalness in self-care.

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