Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Invisible disabilities are frustrating, y'know. I have three of them. The pain issue is what I can hide, what even a few of my docs don't really understand. One of these, unfortunately, is my very nice General Practice doctor; I started seeing her about a month before my cancer surgery in 2006. So she's never known the active and thinner me, just the fibro me. Four or six times a year I see her: she checks bloodwork to be sure my kidney's working well, the iron's up, the sodium's high enough etc.
Yesterday I went to my GP. What was different in this office visit yesterday was talking about weight. Apparently my doctor has seen the light, had an awakening, whatever: she suddenly seems to 'get' that even though I'm eating properly and well (it shows in the bloodwork too, y'know), my weight problem is all about my pain levels and limitations. That part is good. Nice to have people 'understand' instead of tell you to start doing things you've already been doing for years, and also tell you to do other things that you cannot do at all.
However, she suddenly went from a 7-year-long attitude of "eat less, move more" to UNDERSTANDING. Where did Doctor Tough-Gal go?!? Who is this person that looks like my doctor, anyway? Where is her usual off-case advice?!
For over a month I've been working HARD at pool exercise to decrease pain levels and increase ability to move. I've been determined to get back to where I was 1.5 years ago when my first physical therapist died. Finally finding another local hot water pool is a turning around point and because of it: I'm ready to push even harder than ever through my roadblocks. So here I am working toward a goal to push and ! suddenly.... my "eat less, move more" tough doc is telling me to just do a LITTLE more IF I'm up to it!? Maybe she feels guilty that she never understood? Maybe she reviewed all the recent reports of tests and such from the other doctors? I don't know; it's nice to have her get it, but... Right now is when I need toughness she's usually got down to a 't'. It would work nicely WITH this new understanding that seems to have entered her spirit! Sigh.
Well, I came back from this dubiously wonderful experience of finally having my own gp realize I have serious issues due to limitations...and...I... just... felt... angry. Not at her. Well. Maybe a little: couldn't she have figured this out earlier? No. What really angers me is that I'm frustrated with the fact I want to move better, feel better!! And this weight is in my way and doesn't want to leave me. I want results and keep staring at roadblocks.
Frankly, don't care about the 'looks' part of weight loss. But what I do care about is feeling good. I don't want Type II, don't want diabetes, don't want more cancer. Think heart disease is a real possibility if I don't find solutions. This weight is inviting them in my direction and I want them to not find me. Last night I couldn't stop thinking about the doctor visit and went through so many emotions. It was a tri-polar evening, emotionally speaking. Anger. Fear. Pain. Determination. Oh. Quatra-polar? Since there surely is no such thing in the DSM, let's not quibble about the accuracy of spelling, ok?
I am angry that I am being so diligent without seeing much hope of getting beyond this point. All the professionals, even my once-tough-doc, now agree: my solution is in movement and my pain levels are my enemy.
I KNOW that in order to create change, I must change something I do.
I am afriad of the physical pain that I know is in front of me.
I am determined to make a huge push.
Change usually puts me into flare. Then ...
Notice the cycle?
At the end of all this, the big question is:
CAN I move enough to increase my basal metabolic rate up to a point where I use up a normal range of calories every day? I can try. Real hard. And frankly it scares me.
Thanks for 'listening'.
Friday, April 04, 2014
To stay on top of specific tracking and planning, we have several tools. The planner will send us email reminders if we want reminders of appointments or perhaps challenge reminders; the nutrition and fitness trackers help us look at exactly how much activity we are doing, how many calories we burn. The reports generated by tracking are absolutely wonderful. Yup, you know of several ways to keep an eye on your progress. At midnight every night your SparkPoints Page switches to the next day. And it's a fantastic place for checking to see what we do each day, what we have not yet done that day. With all these tools, do you need to know about another? Yes. Will you find it useful? Maybe!
Many people don't know this too exists even though it is a great month-at-a-glance summation of various things you want to see on it! This is The Stay-on-Track (aka My SparkSummary) Calendar.
This online month-at-a-glance type SP calendar can quickly show you your progress, so it's a neat tool!
You can go to the calendar, www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/stay-on-
track-calendar.asp , check and save your preferences for which of the following you want to have shown on your summary calendar:
When you track foods, fitness, etc: the SP system automatically inserts numbers from that tracking into your "My SparkSummary Calendar". If you track exercise on the start page instead of on your fitness tracker, even that is included. So....When you track "squats/plank/pushups", the calendar will show the fitness minutes; you can click the fitness minutes on the calendar box for a specific date's box and you'll be linked to see specifics.
Ever go to the computer after a busy day and wonder whether you tracked on your mobile or at all that day or some day last week? If you aren't sure you tracked exercise or foods, a quick look at your calendar will give you your answer. Even if you are checking some day last month or before that!
If you haven't checked out this calendar, I hope you'll take a few minutes to see whether it might be useful to you.
Monday, March 31, 2014
April 2nd is the day the American Heart Association declared "National Walking Day".
Hey, it's for your health.
No glitz. No glammor. Just... for... you.
Go for it.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
I've been on SP actively since joining seven years ago... today. Never a 'pointaholic', my SparkPoints don't reflect all I do here. I do only those things that help me and don't always bother getting points. Yet those points add up even when we ignore them. Maybe if I'd clicked for points each time I did something, or if I'd tracked online instead of on paper for a few years the numbers would be higher. Frankly,I don't care: every point I have had (until we got that 'give bonus points' thing) means something to me as measurable progess in my journey.
Having 'met' many remarkable, nice people in this time here in our corner of Cyberville, I've found more support here between the people and the site's many tools than have been accessible in any other group scenario available to me. Coordinating what I learn and do here with my own 'real life' docs, dieticians and physical therapists, I transformed how I live... my lifestyle... into a healthier one. Kind of significant to be healthier at 64 than I was at 57 or even 43.... and yet that's true. Without SP I would not have pulled together resources for the results I've gotten that show improved health and even contentment!!
In my book, my seven years of 'little' accomplishments have added up wonderfully!
And it just keeps getting better.
Thank you to all my friends who have supported me with comments, with cheers, with shared chuckles and wonderful inspiration!
Sunday, March 23, 2014
The relatively new feature on our Spark Pages - the Goal Board Check-In - seemed rather trite to me at first. Couldn't see collecting 'points' that had no meaning. (I'm truly not a pointaholic; use that button for points just as a checkmark that tells me 'done' on my to-do site list!) One day I decided to turn this goal board into a sort of daily re-affirmation of goals. I tweaked it a bit and now really zoom in and think about the items selected/personalized on it! It helps.
My items? Ok:
"I'M DOING THIS FOR ME"
Health issues and malnutrition brough me here to SP when my dietician recommended I use the nutrition tracker and tailor it to track various nutrients that labwork showed deficient. So my main goal was not and has not been the mirror-obvious one of working/needing to lose weight. True, I was and am in need of it, but hurdles need to be knocked down before significant loss will be visible on the scale or to others who see me. My goals have been and are like a pyramid, with lots at the bottom so that I can lay a foundation that is solid. I'm proud that as of about 2 or 3 years ago I'm now able to state that losing weight is among my priorities! Many people cannot understand that, so in fact: I most certainly am doing this for me. And the reminder on my goal board helps me feel better about all those unseen hurdles that I've crushed and left behind.
"TRY NEW THINGS"
My grandmother used to say that reaching out to meet new people and do new activities, to try new ideas... was crucial to being happy, to feeling alive.
My Goal Board reflects my grandmother's wisdom!
This is BIG for me!
Since disability struck, many of the things I loved doing outdoors fell out of my possibilities. I can't go for LONG walks, let alone hikes, because if I get a half-mile or mile from home or car I might not be able to get back. I never know when pain will hit. And so my tendency is to stay where I feel 'safe'. And that is not only boring, but pretty darned depressing for someone who absolutely craves being outdoors. I now live in an apartment building that has walkways circling it; my key works in any exterior door. So my goal board reminds me that as long as weather allows, I should walk out the door and start walking... because I can always rest on a bench and get in one or another door.
When you no longer can do activities that were once your joy, you must shove aside wishes for the past and grab onto the goodness that is close at hand. You must also expand your concept of what you can do, can find pleasurable. Which means of course that the goal to "enjoy life" is closely related to the goal to "try new things"!! VERY IMPORTANT IN LIFE and HEALTHY LIFESTYLE! What is change for the better and more healthy if it is work and feels oppressive!? Indeed, I am making changes and they are changes I LIKE... so that my goal to 'enjoy life' is always right there with me!
"PLAN AHEAD MORE"
Going with the flow is a real Flower Girl sort of attitude, and while I was never a Hippie, I've always had a go-with-the-flow approach to life. In recent years, I have with my Spark Goals discovered that I accomplish more by planning to do it instead of thinking "someday...", so my goal to "plan ahead more" emphasizes the word MORE. I am planning. But I want to include more into my plans. "Make my plans go further to include more activities and challenges" is what the words mean to me! Hmm and doesn't this link nicely to trying new thing and enjoying life and getting outside?! How about THAT, huh?
"WALK IT OFF -- 5,000 STEPS A DAY!"
All the rest lead to this specific action plan. It's huge on the plan because walking is truly the one exercise that can assist in many of my goals... including walking off pounds. Before developing knee and foot arthritis issues, I was averaging 9,000 to 12,000 steps a day over a week period. So I'm sort of back where I was in 2008 on the walking goal. That could get me down, but it doesn't. You see, I know I can do it! I CAN and will get back to previous levels and go beyond them. My current mid-range goal is to be certain the pedometer measures at least 4,000 steps EVERY day. OK, some days I go beyond the Ultimate Goal of a 10,000 minimum, but on a bad day I can sink to 400 steps. Fact is that if the pains are bad, I NEED to do 3,000.. which s still a 'sedantary' level. 5,000 is rated 'average activity level'. I want it. And more. I easily do the 5,000 steps 3 times a week in my pool exercise because I walk laps for 20-30 minutes... but those minutes are NOT counted since my pedometer is not waterproof let along able to count low-impact water-walking. (I hope you chuckled there?)
All in all, my Goal Board Check-In items 'speak' to me.
I've personalized the goals so that this SP tool truly IS a useful tool.
When I go to my Start Page each day,
I READ and think about those items I've listed above.
When I click 'for points', every point means something to me.
Do you look at your Goal Board?
Did you personalize it... or ...?
If your answers are "no" to either/both, why not go to your SparkPage and turn your Goal Board into a tool that truly helps you maintain focus!
And remember... you can do this weekly or periodically to concur with any challenges facing you or goals you are working to achieve!
GO FOR IT!!
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