Almost a year ago, I started seeing a nutritionist to see if we could fix some chronic issues I’d developed (my digestive system has been problematic since day 1 — sorry, Mom). The changes and such went on for a number of months, I had to radically alter my diet for a while, and it wasn’t cheap. However, at the end of that run I felt a lot better, and had pretty much vanquished my digestive issues.
But, unsurprisingly, I slid back to where I was. Honestly, my workplace doesn’t help. “Don’t eat sugar or caffeine!” Umm… yeah. I work with 20-something caffeine and sweets junkies. We have cake so often we actually NEED a proper cake lifter in the office kitchen. But what goes in my mouth is my responsibility, no one else’s. I managed it once, and I’ll manage it again.
To add to the fun, I had some other intermittent issues checked out recently, and turns out I have gallstones and will likely be enjoying surgery for that later this year. When my Dad had his gallbladder surgery, around the same age I am now, they practically cut you in half across the abdomen. Since then, the Baby Jesus has given us laparoscopic surgery, blessedly. But hey, if they still did the Big Scar Surgery, I’d just get a badass dragon stomach tattoo or something. 🙂
My sluggish thyroid has apparently gotten more sluggified, too, which goes well with the return of my digestive issues. I’m sure it’s guilty (along with winter weather) with my rosacea acting up, as well. (I’ve learned a lot over the past few years about how all our various moving parts work or fail together). I joked that I now have half my Dad’s health issues (the gallstones and thyroid), and if the other two show up (deafness and diabetes), I’m going to start to suspect cloning… Aren’t I just a hot mess of health?
Though let’s face it, I’m in my mid-30s and overweight. Diabetes is entirely plausible, and became increasingly on my mind over the past year after my friend Colin was diagnosed with it at 30. At the same time, I see how far he’s come, and know that I have much less work to do, which helps.
I know what my problems are on the exercise front, and I’m trying to address them before they affect me this time around. The biggest one is, like many academics, is that I live in my head. A lot of the time my body is mostly here to carry my head around. And when I try to get my body into the game, chances are it can’t quite keep up (unsurprisingly), and so I am disappointed and retreat back into my head.
You see, for me, exercise has never really had a strong enough draw on its own. I’ve never felt a runner’s high or needed it to keep my mental state level, or anything that important. And it gets boring. Honestly, if our ancestors could peek into the windows of a gym, could they possibly wonder anything besides “WTF?”
So this time the gym will be but one part of my arsenal. I’ve signed up for a yoga class, since paying for it should help get me out and doing it regularly, plus it’ll be a good thing to learn with proper instruction/correction. I’m also looking into a dance class (bellydance? hip hop? so hard to choose). That way I’ll have fun and learning in my fitness arsenal, and not just grinding repetition. (And when I am at the gym, I have made sure to load up on podcasts and documentaries for my iPhone to keep my brain engaged while my body does its thing.)
So really, all this isn’t a New Year’s Resolution that’s going to go down the drain in two weeks. It’s more of a “I’m not giving up several years of my life to preventable disease” stubbornness, which is infinitely better. And let’s face it, the weight loss effects of improving my diet and getting regular exercise will help my dating game, too. (I won’t stop despising dating, though. I am stuck with my introversion after all.)
Though more importantly, I’m being forced to focus on me for once. I suck at that, always have. (I am very good at looking after other people.) Of course, as obvious as it seems, it’s hard to internalize that unless you take care of yourself sometimes, eventually you won’t be able to take care of other people. It’d just be nice if “taking care of yourself” didn’t require so much hard stuff, but hey, that’s life. And I’m glad to be here.
Neil Gaiman trotted out some old New Year thoughts and put forth some new ones, and I wish them for you and for me this year, so enjoy.