Posts Tagged ‘health’

This blog has remained pretty inactive recently. Due mainly to my continuing struggles with my health, both physical and mental.

Short update on those: Some appointments in my health system finally opened up to see a PA for medication- they have no psychiatrist currently and therapists, nurses, and PAs have all been closed to seeing new patients. I sneaked by to see my therapist months back only because I had seen her years before and therefore was able to get categorized as a returning patient. But since I hadn’t seen someone about medications, I was still a new patient and therefore unable to see anyone who prescribed meds. They have started opening that up and now have some availability for current psychotherapy patients to be seen for medications.

Anyways, so depression has been bad and just finally getting to where I can try to see if it’s helped with medications.

Meanwhile my physical health has been total crap. I have been dealing with near constant nausea, that my anti-nausea meds aren’t helping with, fatigue, feeling weak, and sleep problems.

So I have spent my night sitting on my couch watching videos on youtube, mostly ted talks and tedx talks, because when I stand I start shaking and often end up throwing up.

So that is what I was doing when youtube recommended I watch this:

Obviously nutrition is an important aspect of health. Yet sitting here too sick to stand and dealing with debilitating depression watching this my question is- so how do we make good nutrition accessible to people dealing with serious illness?

I mean, I want that answer for myself!

Getting carry out food is sometimes the healthiest option I have but it’s expensive. I now am able to get groceries delivered so that is a huge improvement, as I at least can get the food without having to sacrifice all my spoons on the process. Of course actual food that is not ready to eat or microwavable meals still requires all the work of prepping it. I actually tried recently one of those food delivery services that delivers just the items needed fora few recipes. All you have to do is cook!

… yeah, turns out that “just the cooking” is the part that is hardest for me.

Hell, right now I have some melons I got delivered that I was going to cut up and eat… except even just standing and cutting is difficult for me right now.

Instead of telling people to think more about the choices of what goes into their mouths, I think we need to consider more what is restricting those choices? What makes us choose certain types of foods over others?

And when you start talking about food as medicine, then that means thinking about the specific restrictions that chronically ill people, who rely on medications, have.

Telling me right now that food can be a better treatment for my depression than medications isn’t super helpful. I would love to eat more healthy, fresh, home cooked meals! Almost always my reason for not is because of barriers to that, which are primarily related to being chronically ill.

I can renew my medications online, and my pharmacy actually has free delivery. I don’t even have to have the ability to get to the pharmacy. Then, for pills all I have to do is open a bottle and swallow a pill. No preparation, no cooking, no standing, required. My biggest illness barrier to taking it is not throwing it up. And pharmaceutical companies actually have planned ahead for that for some medications, with many being available in non-pill formats. Besides my inhaled meds for asthma, I personally also have dissolving tablets that can be taken sublingually, and suppositories (gross, but sometimes necessary). Other meds sometimes come in injection forms.

So if nutrition is potentially as effective, or more effective, in treating certain illnesses, how do we make it something that  is accessible for all people with those illnesses? So that the illness isn’t a barrier to accessing the treatment of that illness? Doctors get that my anti-nausea meds can’t be in pill form because you can’t make “not throwing up” the requirement for taking a medication meant to stop me from throwing up. Yet that is what we do when we treat food as medicine. Often the thing we say it can treat is the very thing that makes eating well difficult!

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inthedarknessallalone

A drawing of mine. White lines show the form of a woman sitting knees to her chest in the corner with a black background all around her.

I recently read an article online 30 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because of Your Depression. It was good and relatable for me. A lot of the things are related to socially withdrawing and trouble keeping up with basic things like cleaning the house and even personal hygiene.

One thing not in there that I think people don’t think about it the financial cost depression can have.

First there is of course the direct financial cost- costs for therapy and medications.

But, at least for me, there are secondary financial costs that I don’t think most people would recognize as being due to depression.

A big one for me is getting carryout or fast food because it is so hard to get the motivation and energy to prepare food at home. It’s not even comfort eating for me (preferring those foods to homemade ones), if I had someone to cook up some steamed broccoli for me I would be so friggin happy with that. But doing it myself… it’s time, it’s energy, to prepare the food (even relatively easy to prepare foods), and then also to clean up, and this is a problem if I’m too tired to keep up with cleaning the house because if my kitchen is a mess and piled with dishes it can make me feel more depressed and also I then don’t want to contribute more to it.

But eating food from restaurants all the time is expensive! Fast food is cheaper but not as healthy so I tend to get carry out/delivery from other places were I can get some better food options.

There is another aspect to it as well which is just managing to give a damn about financial planning for the future. Because depression tends to make me feel like the future is crap and who even knows if I will make it till whenever so it makes it hard to care about the long term financial aspects of things like getting delivery food all the time. It’s not a lack of knowledge about it, it’s finding the mental energy to care about it and deal with it. For me, with my depression I find mental energy functions very much like spoons when talking about physical energy. Being depressed, I always feel like I have to really prioritize what I can give a damn about. Do I care about not getting fired from work? Do I care about getting through school? Do I care about taking care of my physical health? Do I care about taking out the trash, doing dishes, cleaning the house, and so on? Do I care about the long term financial repercussions of what I spend on dinner tonight? And there are a lot more things I could add here. Pick 2-3 of those tops, but there are not enough mental spoons for all of them.

I don’t know how many other folks struggle with this sort of thing with depression or if it’s just me, but at least for me this is definitely an aspect of depression I don’t think people understand is due to depression.

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A selfie I took before floating. I am in the foreground with the float pod with purple lighting open in the background. This was at the second floating location I visited. 

So now that I’m in a position in life where I have money to do extra things like this, I am becoming a bit bougie and now am obsessed with doing things like floating. Which is where you pay to go float in a dark, quiet pod with about 10 inches of water with lots of epsom salt added to help you float.

Sessions are generally 1 hr though some places have options for 90 minutes or even possibly longer.

I’ve done this twice now and hope I can keep it up as a somewhat regular thing.

It is very relaxing and I feel really deepens meditation. Meditation is important to me both spiritually and for my mental health. I actually recently fell out of the practice of meditating daily and when I started back I remembered “oh yeah, this really helps me with my depression!”

Since meditation helps with my depression and floating is a deep meditative experience I’m hoping that floating will also help with my depression, hopefully in a way beyond non-floating meditation.

So as I said I floated twice so far at two different local places I found through groupon.

The first place had a very nice ambiance to it. They have an “oasis room” with water, tea, chairs and journals where you can write about your float experience and read what others have written if you want. It’s a place you can relax a bit before or after your float if you want. It has low lighting and there are salt lamps around. There is also a zen sand garden. So it has a very new age-y, alternative health feel to the whole place. There is another room with mirrors, hair dryers to do your hair and such after you are done. They also have yoga mats in this room if you want to do some yoga to stretch out after floating.

Then there are the float rooms. Each room has a white float pod in it and an open shower nearby. The room is private and  locks and they provide ear plugs and a towel. You have 60 minutes from when you enter the room to when you leave. So you go in the room, quickly undress and shower. You can wear a swimsuit if you want but it’s private so most people go nude and it’s actually recommended for a better experience. After you’ve rinsed off in the shower, you step into the pod. You can leave the pod open or you pull it closed behind you. The first place I went inside the pod there is a bottle of plain water you can use to rinse your eyes if you get the salt water in your eyes and also a little floaty halo thing that you can use to add more support to your head and neck. I didn’t use the halo so I can’t comment on that. There is a button inside to call to a worker if needed. Another button adjusts the light in the pod. The light can be changed to different colors or turned off. I floated with the light off as the dark is part of the sensory deprivation part of it. But if you aren’t comfortable in the dark there is the option to leave the light on.

At this place music plays for the first 5 minutes you are in the pod and there is a hook up to play your own music if you want. I need to find out if there is an option to play your own music for the whole time or not.

The lights outside the pod are on a motion activated timer so about 5 minutes or so after you get in the pod and there is no movement outside they shut off. The pod isn’t a complete sealed place so while the outside lights are on you can see them shining in from the edges.

My first time I floating I focused on my breathing and kind of let me mind wonder when it did. I didn’t want to be too anxious about having the right experience. One of the things in the pre-float video they show you there the first time says that it may take a few float sessions to really get the most of the experience. So I tried to just relax and not force anything. I didn’t hallucinate or anything, which can happen. I was a bit disappointed by that. Some folks have reported deeply religious hallucinations, talking to god even, while floating. I had nothing like that.

I just floated.

I was a bit disappointed in the size of the pod. I’m only 5ft so I would have expected the pod to be fairly large to me in order to accommodate tall people. Yet I frequently floated into the edge of the pod which really bugged me because it throws off the feeling of losing a sense of where you are that the dark, quiet, and floating provide. This was especially true when I floated with my arms over my head. I started with my arms at my side but about halfway through ended up putting them up over my head instead. I found that my arms over my head was more comfortable- my shoulders felt better, and didn’t feel like they were pushing up against my head like the floating made them feel with my arms to my sides.

The time went really fast and before I new it the music came back on and the light came back on, this indicates 5 more minutes left in the 60. I wished I could have floated another couple hours honestly, it was so restful. You are supposed to be out by the end of the 60 minutes so you could float during the last 5 minutes but not if you want to shower off (remember it’s salt water you were in, so you probably want to rinse the salt off at the least), so really you probably want to get out and shower and dress then.

One thing to note that surprised me was they had a rule that women cannot float while menstruating. I guess I get this, the water is sanitized between users, but not emptied and refilled, so you don’t want blood getting in the water. Still a little annoying to me because if I have my cup in there would be no blood getting into the water.

You also can’t float if you’ve recently dyed your hair. This is going to be an issue for me if I keep up the floating since I dye my hair a lot. But again, makes sense that they don’t want color getting into the water.

The second place I went didn’t have quite the new age-y feel to it. It was normal overhead office lighting in front, a waiting room with a tv and some detox drinks you could buy, but no tea, no salt lamps, no journals. There was also a room with a mirror and hair dryers, but no yoga mats. The float room was also a bit more clinical looking that new age looking. Their was a shower in the room but an alcove shower with a curtain, not an open one next to the pod. The pod was mostly the same except that the music was not automatic. The owner gave the option of music the first 5 and last 5 minutes, the whole time, or not at all. No option given for your own music. I choose no music.

The halos were $5 per session if you wanted one. I opted for not using one again. Again, a towel and ear plus were provided.

The float sessions were for 60 minutes but he had an offer for an extra 30 minutes for an additional $20. I opted for the extra 30 minutes this time since my last float felt so short. This place he does not start the time from when you get in the room. The owner told me how he doesn’t like other places where you pay for 60 minutes but you don’t really float for 60 minutes, because that time includes undressing, showering, then showering again and redressing. For him, the 60 or 90 minutes is the actual float time. So after you are in the room you undress, shower, put in ear plugs, get in the pod. The pod has two buttons. As soon as you get in, you hit the red button and this indicates you are starting to float. The timer is then set from this time. The green button adjust the light, you can choose different colors, or turn it off.

My second float was not as relaxing. I tried to focus on my breathing and relax, but I kept getting antsy and restless. I moved around a fair bit in the pod while floating. The pod was about the same size and so I often bumped into the edges again.

With me feeling restless it did not go by so fast. Choosing no music, you are notified at the end of the float by a woman’s voice recording saying the float is over. I didn’t notice the exact phrase because being in the dark, in the quiet, trying to meditate, even though I knew at the end there would be a voice, it was still incredibly startling when it came on. Shortly after this the jets in the pods turn on (I think this is part of the cleaning process between users?) which the owner told me are really loud if you are still in the pod so if you don’t hear the voice, those will definitely notify you the time is up. Then shower and dress and leave.

I plan to float again at both places, and don’t have a preferred one yet, I think each has points in it’s favor.

The first place offers memberships for floating 1, 2, or 3 times a month at reduced rates, on the membership you can purchase addition floats at a reduced rate too. Or if you aren’t a member you can just buy each float each time but it’s a bit more expensive that with the membership. There is no contract for the membership, you can end at any time.

The second place the groupon I bought was for 5 sessions so I haven’t gotten all the details on his memberships except that he mentioned for $119/month he has an unlimited membership where you could float up to 60 minutes everyday if you wanted. Which had me like “woah!!!! floating everyday!!!!” I think I would need to win the lottery and quit my job to have the time for that though, lol.

 

I’ll probably post more about my experiences again later when I’ve done it more and have more of a feel for how it impacts my mental health.

Last night I finally got back to Krav Maga. I was cleared in November to slowly transition back into normal activity after many months of not being allowed to do anything that put weight on my feet. I had expected to get Krav Maga back in the mix of things much sooner, but, shockingly things have not gone how I expected since November!

Not only in terms of taking so long to get back to Krav Maga but in terms of fitness in general I have been relatively inactive. I was dealing with depression before the election and it has just been a lot worse since then.

In addition to the depression there is also a sense of these things not mattering anymore, things in my personal life. It feels sometimes like I need to be focused constantly and fighting back against the hatred and fear pushed by Trump and his administration, and fighting against the harm they are doing. (Only a week an already so much harm!)

I’m working on this mentality though. Working to remind myself that taking care of myself is an act of resistance itself and that to fight back I have to take care of myself.

Saturday I was able to go to the Women’s March in Washington DC. This especially brought it home for me how important it is to take care of myself. I couldn’t believe how sore and tired I was from the walking and standing. We were standing basically all day, and I walked around 9 miles I think. Still, I did not expect 9 miles to hurt so much and to be so hard. I know part of this is that I was already tired at the start of it from a long bus ride to DC with no sleep that was not very comfortable. But I’m sure another part of it was that I hadn’t been very active for a few weeks before the march and was not doing a great job at taking care of myself.

So I’m working on changing that. I’m working on getting myself back into better shape, so I have the strength and endurance for this fight.

grwulub

Photo of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa that says “A Woman’s Place is in the Resistance”

 

 

 

 

I’m working back to normal workouts now with my broken foot healed.

One things I’ve gotten to discover first hand is the real benefit of compound movements. I know, this is something you hear a lot about in the lifting world on why free weights are better than machines, and it’s something I was aware of on a theoretical basis before but I understand it in terms of experience now.

While my foot was still healing and I needed to stay off it I discovered that while the gym I go to closest to me didn’t have any seated leg machines, one (in the same chain) a bit further away did. So I would sometimes go further away to that gym so I could do a seated hamstring curl and leg extension. Even staying off my foot I could work my legs some.

And surely this would help make it easier to transition back to lifts using my legs, like squats, after my foot was healed, right?

NOPE!

I still can barely manage squatting, even a few weeks back at it now. Trying to squat after so long without, my body completely forgot how to do that movement. Sure, the leg extension and hamstring curl helped build back some muscle on my legs, but muscle from those isolation movements did not translate well over to the functional movement of squatting- my muscles (all of them in conjunction) were not used to this movement.

 

Last night at the gym I for the first time since my break from lifting threw in a metabolic complex and it kicked my ass! I hate these. My comfort zone for workouts are heavy lifts with long rests between. The kind of stuff that builds muscle and leaves me sweating, but doesn’t really get my heart rate up for any sustained period of time. I also like swimming and HIIT cardio style workouts (sprints and such). But cardio HIIT workouts do not kick my ass as much as a barbell complex. I absolutely hate these when doing them, they feel miserable. And I realize I need to make more of an effort to do them more often. Because if I only stick with the stuff I find easiest or most enjoyable, I will be missing out. Sure, even if I only do a low intensity swimming several times a week I would have health benefits from that. But lifting and adding in some stuff that is a struggle and gets my heart rate going a lot more provides other forms of health benefits that are missed by sticking with just one style of workout. Aside from health benefits, it provides a different type of training benefit that other stuff doesn’t, and I’m missing out on performance if i skip it.

It helps though that I love how I feel AFTER it’s over though. And it doesn’t last very long. Not sure something like running a marathon is ever in my future. Much as I hate steady state cardio, not sure I could put up with it for such a long period of time.

Still trying to get into a groove of workouts though. It feels like a lot to fit into a schedule.

My goal is 3-4 days of lifting per week (each session taking 30-60 minutes usually), Krav Maga at least 1 day per week (fitting class times into my schedule is difficult or I’d aim for more often. Classes are 1 hr long if I remember correctly.), 1-2 complexes per week (so that adds 15-30 minutes, usually do these at the end of a lifting workout), and swimming 5 times a week, usually short distances at the end of my other workouts, but trying once a week to work in a mile swim (about 70 minutes). That all plus stretching and maybe working in some yoga classes. …. Kind of adds up to a lot of time. Everytime I go to the gym time seems to just melt away and it’s several hours later by the time I leave. Though it’s one benefit of going to the gym during my lunch break at work is it forces me to keep my workout time down, but that’s why I never try doing lifting workouts during lunch.

So I was reading something online that mentioned a book Beat the Gym by Tom Holland. I bought this book but was very unimpressed with it myself, though I can see how some of it might be useful to people who are brand new to fitness and gyms.

 

He begins early in the book talking about how gyms make their money primarily on people who sign up and pay but do not use, or rarely use, the gym. He gives some tips to be the kind of person who uses the gym all the time instead. I disagree with some of his points though and in writing a review of the book I thought I would write my own, very non-professional, list of ways to get the most out of your gym membership.

 

  1. Know Yourself, know what you want, know what you will do

One piece of advice he gives that doesn’t hold true to me is that you don’t need to love your gym just like it well enough and the most important factor is distance. Well, this really is not true for me. I joined the gym I did because it has a pool with very flexible hours (only closed 2hrs/day for cleaning). He actually writes off pools as rather unimportant features of gyms that get too much attention. Well… that depends on if you will use it or not. If you know you aren’t going to swim or go in the pool much, who cares if your gym has a pool? But if that’s important to you, then obviously it is an important feature! Swimming is what keeps me coming back to the gym. I joined for swimming and from going in for swimming almost every day I’ve started utilizing other things the gym offers, like weights and stationary bikes. I would not have joined just for those though.

 

  1. Do something and go somewhere you ENJOY

If I took his advice to go based on location only, I would have joined the planet fitness right by my house. And I probably wouldn’t ever go to it. Instead I drive past the planet fitness and 20 minutes out of my way, and 20 minutes back, to go to the gym I do. But it doesn’t feel like too much of a hassle because I enjoy my time there so much. Despite being further away I go almost daily, because going to the gym is something I look forward to. The same could be said of the place I go for Krav Maga.

 

I’m not telling you to join my gym, to take up swimming, or take up Krav Maga. But doing something you ENJOY, I think, is going to make a bigger difference in your consistency than convenience. If it’s close and convenient to get to, but the workout itself still feels like a chore, it’s going to be harder to be consistent than if it’s something you enjoy and want to fit into your schedule. Though certainly knowing your schedule (see #1 for knowing yourself) and if it works is also important. Despite loving Krav Maga even before I was on my medical restriction from it I was not doing it very often simply because very often my work and school schedule prevented me from making the class times. It doesn’t matter how much I enjoy it, work and school are requirements that I can’t forgo in favor of taking a krav maga class.

 

  1. Don’t Worry About Other People

I think the best advice he gives in the book is that most people are focused on themselves at the gym and not to worry about people paying attention to or judging you. Though he bugged me when he then goes on to give fashion advice including saying spandex is a “privilege not a right” and then cautioning against outlandish 80’s workout clothes. I say fuck his fashion advice. If spandex is comfortable or makes you feel good working out, rock your spandex. If you feel good in your 80’s fitness fashions, rock those. If you want to wear garishly bright Lisa Frank leggings (and really, who wouldn’t want to?) then do it! And don’t worry about what other people might think of what you are wearing. You’re there for you, let them worry about their own fashions.

 

  1. Pamper Yourself/Do Things That Make You Feel Good

This is similar to #2 except whereas 2 was about doing exercise you enjoy, this is about other factors. This is something I’ve been thinking about mentioning, which is how much I’m enjoying amenities I didn’t care about when I signed up. Not only do I enjoy swimming, but after swimming I relax in the hot tub, and I also have been making use of the steam room at the gym I go to. Does sitting in a hot tub or steam room do much for my fitness? Not really (though I do stretch in the hot tub). But I find it relaxing and I look forward to it. And it’s certainly good for my health because it helps me destress.

 

I’ve actually started a bit of a pampering ritual for myself after workouts. So far I end every workout with swimming (either I just swim, or I do some strength training and then swim). After swimming I stretch and then relax in the hot tub. After a bit of that I go back to the locker room and grab my little baggie with my shampoo and so on in it, which also has a charcoal face mask/scrub in it. I take a quick shower to cool down and use the face mask/scrub. Then I go relax or meditate in the steam room. After that I take a full shower, get dressed, and head home.

 

In addition the gym I go to has a spa in it, which I didn’t care about when I joined but I am definitely making use of it now, planning to get massages as regularly as I can afford to. The spa services cost money, not included in the gym membership, but still it’s something in the gym that isn’t a workout but still has benefits for me and I enjoy. Make going to the gym something you enjoy- both the exercise and anything else about it. You deserve it!

 

  1. Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin and Don’t Shame Others For Being Comfortable in Theirs

I’ve been thinking in my head how I know I’m getting old now because it doesn’t bother me to strip down naked in the locker room. When I was younger I never understood how adults could be comfortable changing in such a public place. Even when I joined the gym last month I wasn’t very comfortable with it. Part of my comfort comes not just from age but also because working out makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

And so here is another point where I disagree with Tom Holland. He complains about too much nudity in the locker rooms.

Me- I think feeling comfortable enough in your own skin to be naked is a wonderful thing! The more you feel that the better. And when other people are comfortable with their bodies be happy for them being comfortable in them. If you don’t want to see someone naked, then just don’t look. Even if you do want to see someone naked, you still should keep your eyes to yourself and not be creepy.

But most importantly, don’t shame other folks for daring to be naked in a place designed for nakedness. Focus on yourself.

 

This isn’t all necessary of course, just my own little anecdotes turned advice about enjoying going to the gym.

I’d been meaning for a while to write about my experiences with motivational interviewing, and specifically the aspect of non-judgment in it, at my job but I guess I haven’t done that yet.

I was reminded of this recently though when I had some personal training sessions at my new gym. Which left me thinking that boy, personal training certifications should also come with motivational interviewing training!

Of course, I always think everyone in the world would benefit from a little social work training, so I’m a bit bias of course.

Let me back up first though and talk a bit about my experiences with this at work. Motivational interviewing is a method of brief intervention that is meant to help motivate people to change, but it does so in ways that are not pushy and never judgmental. Many of the underlying principles of motivational interviewing come out of person centered therapy as developed by Carl Rogers. I, myself, am a huge Rogers fan. His theory for psychotherapy is that change for people comes through unconditional acceptance and positive relationships, and so that is the primary purpose of a psychotherapist- to provide that unconditional positive regard and warm relationship.

Motivational interviewing comes primarily from the substance abuse field. It is a method of working with someone who maybe is starting to see the problems with their substance use but often are not ready to make changes yet. We call this the contemplation stage. And the idea is first off, that you go with what they say and accept it without judgment. There is not judgment about their use, their reasons for use, or their reasons for not wanting to become sober. Of course the motivational interviewing part comes in with emphasizes the change statements they themselves make in order to help them move toward wanting to make changes. But it is NEVER directive. A therapist using motivational interviewing will never direct a client that they need to abstain from substances, or tell them that they are wrong for their reasons for using or the things they like about it or why they don’t see it as a problem. (ie “I don’t want to stop using because I will lose my friends”, “well those people aren’t really your friends then”- this is not motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing would explore what this means for the client and accept without judgment that they fear losing meaningful relationships to them if they quit using).

Right now I am working in integrated healthcare. So I work with folks with physical health, mental health, and/or substance abuse disorders. A lot of what I do with this is actually applying the concepts of motivational interviewing to physical health disorders. A big one I work with is diabetes. And boy, have I noticed what a huge difference it makes in folks that they are not being judged! If I talk to someone with diabetes that is not well controlled about their diet, often they first thing they say is “I know, I know, I need to stop eating/drinking X” or something like that. They know. They have gotten the lecture many times from doctors and nurses. And those lectures don’t work. The tone completely changes though when I don’t respond by telling them what they have to do, or warning them of all the dangers of not doing what I tell them (the most common approach taken by doctors). From there, they often start talking about their own ideas for how they can make changes that make sense for them.

“I know, I shouldn’t put sugar in my coffee because of my blood sugar. I just can’t stand black coffee and I can’t get going in the morning without my coffee.”

“That makes sense, you need that boost of energy from coffee in the morning but you don’t like the taste of black coffee. And that would be a huge change to go from that much sugar to just black coffee.”

“Yeah, exactly. Though I think I could maybe cut down on the sugar a little bit”

“Yeah, cutting down a little bit would help and it would probably be less harsh of a difference than just trying to drink coffee black when you aren’t used to that.”

And then we explore more about how they feel about this and what their thoughts and plans are. They are used to being told though that they just shouldn’t put sugar in their coffee and that’s not a change that they are ready or willing to make. So they sit through the lectures and don’t do anything differently after.

 

I was reminded of this when I went through personal training at the gym because the trainer I worked with was very directive. And that did not work with me either. I like working out, but personal training made me feel like I was taking a class, with directions I had to follow whether they were what I wanted or not, and with homework and scolding if I didn’t follow directions or didn’t do the homework. (ok, so “scolding” might be a drastic way of phrasing it, but still, it was that feeling of having to do what you are told and if not you are “in trouble” in some sense.)

There were of course a few specific issues I had too. I told her early one what my goal in joining the gym was- about my current limitations, but how I want to regain the former activity and strength I had.

She accepted my comment that I was not trying to focus on weight loss, only to turn around and tell me how I needed to focus on fat loss. As though rephrasing it that way made it different.

Even though my focus was activity she also made nutrition the focus, telling me how I had to stop intermittent fasting. She also claimed this was both the reason I am fatigued all the time (not my illnesses!) and also why I’m fat. I do not react well to people who do not have the same health issues trying to explain to me the right way to deal with fatigue or the magic cure for it. Even someone who also struggles with chronic illness and fatigue, doesn’t mean their experiences are the same as mine.

The thing is, these topics probably could have been covered a lot better using a more motivational interviewing method. First off, motivational interviewing, if I say I am focused on activity more than nutrition we would focus there, not try to keep redirecting me back to nutrition. Advice would never be directive or one size fits all. She could have asked me how to I feel about intermittent fasting, how it works for me, if I want to change it (the answers would be that I feel better eating this way and no I do not want to change that). She could have asked if there were things I wanted to change, what they were, what my barriers to change are, how things might be different without those barriers, how to address those barriers, whatever. I’m not saying my diet is perfect all the time or that I couldn’t eat in a way that is healthier for me sometimes, including eating in ways that help me manage my illness better. I’ve written here before about the struggles of my illness making eating well more difficult, and yet when I don’t it can make my illness worse. It’s a bit of a catch 22 at times, because if I don’t have the spoons to cook, I don’t have the soons to cook. That’s how spoons work.

 

And I don’t mean to sound that mean toward her or anything because I could go through a lot of things I think she also did well working with me! And the reason I didn’t continue with the personal training was mostly financial (and in a related sense spiritual). My point was more so that being on the receiving end of that really had me thinking how much better (in my opinion) things like personal training could be if they utilized more motivational interviewing skills.

I skipped swimming  last night due to a migraine. But I was back tonight!

Was similarly quite tonight. There was a guy standing in the lap pool but no one else swimming. Several folks in and out of the leisure pool and hot tub though.

I feel like being able to go swimming like this is the best thing in my life right now!

Love or temporary infatuation? I guess only time will tell 🙂

That said, I am not great at swimming at all! I tried 5 laps of breast stroke tonight and it was absolutely awful. I was more just flailing around than actually doing a breast stroke. My front crawl/freestyle is only marginally better really.

I love not having to share a lane though, especially tonight as I had difficulty swimming straight and was zig zagging back and forth across the lane!

Day 1 New Gym Membership

Posted: August 16, 2016 in My workouts
Tags: , , , ,

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So I found a gym near me that has a pool, and it’s open 22 hrs/day. Membership is quite a bit more expensive than the YMCA would be, but the hours are much better compared to limited lap swim hours in the morning at the Y.

I sent a request online for price information and they got me to come in after work to tour the facility and I decided to go ahead and sign up right away.

Then I went  back at midnight for my first time swimming.

I was very happy that at midnight there was only one person in the lap pool who was getting out just as I got there, so no worries about having to share a lane and getting in anybody’s way.

I took a swim class my senior year of high school  (as required at my school) and then swam laps once in college at the pool there (which had limited hours and was always filled).

So needless to say I haven’t done much swimming in awhile.

And I forgot how much of a workout it is! I always think of swimming as relaxing, but a lap in and I was breathing so heavily. I spent a lot of time resting between laps, both to catch my breath and because I was having trouble getting my goggles fitted well.

Also my swimsuit is obviously not great for lap swimming because I had to keep stopping to pull the bottom piece back up over my ass (uh-oh!). Getting a new one soon so hopefully that ends up being better.

At one point while I was catching my breath and adjusting my goggles a guy walked by and said “slow down, speedy! you’re going to get a speeding ticket!” Obviously I wasn’t actually swimming fast. But I laughed. I’m not really sure what the intent of the comment was?

After about 15 minutes of laps (and resting) I decided to call it quits for the night as I was feeling a bit sick. I headed over to relax and stretch in the “spa” (hot tub). In there was I think the same guy as before and another man. One of them greeted me with “how you doing, speedy?” then the other made the same joke that “you’re going to get a speeding ticket, speeding up and down those lanes like that!”.

I laughed and mentioned that I’ve barely down any swimming before today since high school.

 

All in all though, I am very happy! I have missed exercise, I love swimming even if I’m awful at it, and I have really, really, really missed the endorphins that come with exercise! After the swim I felt like my brain was just being showered in happy chemicals!

Hopefully my experiences remain as positive.

I haven’t been posting here much recently but it’s hard to have much to say on a fitness blog when I’m not able to do much in the way of exercise!

I finished up my PT this week.

The good:

I seem to have recovered a fair bit of strength in my left leg (at the start I had apparently lost a lot of strength in my left leg due to favoring my pain free right leg).

Primarily from the rest my pain did go down from around a 7/10 to about a 5/10 (averages). I hardly ever limp anymore, but there is still pain when walking.

The bad:

I am still not cleared for any exercise that involves putting weight on my foot. No walking more than necessary, no running, no krav maga, no heavy lifting.

According to the physical therapist I saw last (I saw 3 different therapists over the time I went), it just takes awhile to heal and I have to wait for it to heal and can’t start doing any of these things until I’m fully pain free.

 

Which is really frustrating. I’m getting very frustrated at the lack of exercise.

I should be able to bike or swim though since that puts no pressure on my heal, so now I need to investigate a way to afford membership somewhere I can swim and/or a bicycle. Looking on amazon it might actually be cheaper to get an indoor exercise bike before buying a new bicycle.

Until then though… more rest!