Friday, April 23, 2010

Food for thought

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to learn more about nutrition. What I should eat. What I should avoid. Sounds easy, right? It turns out learning about nutrition is no simple task. You have to wade through a ton of marketing, gimmicks, and tag lines to find out what should actually end up on your plate.

Thanks to Michael Pollan, Dr. Oz, and a variety of bloggers, I have a much better sense of what’s healthy. Now I need to know what works specifically for my body. I met with a nutritionist this week to review my eating habits. I’m an octo-lavo vegetarian who relies heavily on soy and carbs. Oh, and my diet is chock-full of sugar.

The nutritionist issued a challenge: eliminate soy, dairy, gluten, and sugar (fruit is fine) for the next three weeks. Then I’ll add each food group back in one at a time to see if I have any intolerance. I’m also supposed to add protein smoothies into my life and start eating whole eggs instead of just whites.

The challenge starts tomorrow. I’ve stocked my cupboards. I’m working on a meal plan (well, I will be as soon as I’m done this post). Despite being outwardly prepared, I’m scared. I love yogurt and muesli and tofu and SUGAR! I can’t believe I’m going to give them up. I haven’t tried a challenge like this before, but I realize that if I want to understand my body (and I do) I need to give this a shot. Plus, I’d like to prove to myself that I can make choices based on my body’s needs: not my emotional wants. I’m curious to see the results.

I need to make myself accountable, so I'll be posting updates on SOTS. Deep breath, and here we go!

SOTS wonders… have you done an elimination diet? What did you learn about yourself?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wanted: Role Model

I have a friend… whoa, I must be channeling Jen. This friend is one of the healthiest people I know. He eats well, exercises, has a good life/work balance, and indulges in occasional treats. A few months ago, I mentioned I wanted to adopt a healthier lifestyle and he offered two pieces of advice. They’ve really helped me, so I’m going to share them with you.

1. Do one active thing at the start of each day that doesn’t count as a workout. This activity can be anything you’d like: push-ups; jumping jacks; or a walk. I like this because it keeps you active even on your rest days and it starts the day off right. His morning activity sounded like so much fun that I stole it. Each morning, I crank up my favourite tunes and dance around the apartment for 15 minutes. Talk about a great way to start the day!

2. Choose a healthy living role model. Someone who embodies the health ideals you’re aiming for. Someone who inspires you. Someone you can emulate on your tough days. His role model is Madonna, because she’s hella in shape and has been for years. I don’t have one healthy living role model: I have a couple. First of all, I like Kate Winslet because she curvy, healthy, and hasn’t given in to Hollywood pressures to be size 0. I also like Ellen Degeneres’ take on fitness and healthy living (check out her SHAPE cover this month). Jess inspires me through her blog and every week at my WW meeting. Angela’s moving journey and thoughtful posts get me thinking about my food/life choices and challenge me to face my eating demons. Those are just a few of the people currently inspiring me.

There you have it. I hope my friend’s wise words are as helpful for you as they’ve been for me.

SOTS wonders… who’s your role model?

Friday, April 16, 2010

What if

First of all, my apologies to those who weren’t able to comment yesterday. Blogger was acting up, but I’ve made some changes to SOTS’s layout and hopefully the problem is fixed.

Lately I’ve had a serious case of the what ifs.

-What if I hadn’t been hit by the softball?
-What if my sense of humour doesn’t come back?
-What if I can’t return to my previous career?
-What if I put the weight back on?
-What if I lose my newfound perspective once I return to the workforce?

Yeesh. Talk about a pity party and worry fest. In general, I’m a glass half full type of person, but lately I’ve been getting stuck in cycles of negative thinking. Frankly, I don’t like this new habit of mine. It’s time to turn these negative what ifs around and see the positive side of things.

-What if I hadn’t taken the time to heal properly?
-What if I hadn’t chosen to eat healthier?
-What if I didn’t have this time to evaluate my life?
-What if I treated my mind and body with respect every day?

Oh, hey. I think I just found my missing mantra. Today I will treat my mind and body with respect.

SOTS wonders… what’s your positive what if?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Food bloggers make it look so easy

I arrived home from my me time yesterday to find a package waiting on my doorstep. I LOVE getting mail: especially packages that contain goodies! I wish I could say I took a photo, but I didn’t. I tore right into the box as soon as I realized it was from Whit at Whit's Getting Fit.

Check out the amazing treats Whit sent my way!

Okay, food bloggers make food photos look so easy. First, I couldn’t figure out how to properly display the treats. Then I spent 30-minutes trying to take decent photos and all I got was blurry shots. I definitely didn’t do this fantastic swag justice.

This is my first taste of Archer Farms and Trader Joe’s since I’m a Canadian girl and neither are available here. I can’t wait to crack into the Mango Peach salsa. Sounds dee-lish! Plus, I’ve never had edamame. I can’t think of a better way to taste it than dipped in dark chocolate. AND there’s a Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna bar I’ve been drooling over. Check out that cool cup (which I’m drinking from as I type this).

Boyfriend was also excited about the goodies. He called dibs on a few things right away as we both began sampling. It’s possible the dill pickle cashews, caramel cashews, and two crème eggs didn’t make it through the night.

Big thank you, Whit!

SOTS wonders… what are your favourite Archer Farms or TJ treats?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tick, tick, tick

“It must be so nice to have all that time.”

That’s a common response when people find out I’m on sick leave. I have to tell you, this time off is a mixed blessing.

Yes, it’s great to have time to evaluate my life. I certainly needed to take a break from my high-stress career-driven world and re-visit my priorities. To be honest, nothing short of a softball to the head could’ve slowed me down so this accident may have been a blessing in disguise. I’m lucky to have a chance to pause and reflect on how my goals and priorities have changed over the last few years.

The flip side of this time off is that it isn’t a vacation. That list of things I’d do if “I only had the time” isn’t getting shorter. Cars, trains, and planes aggravate my symptoms so travelling is out. My computer time is limited so writing a book isn’t an option (although I do love writing blog posts). That’s not to say I’m doing nothing. I’ve cleaned out the kitchen cupboards. I’ve reorganized my closet. I’ve tried new recipes. But most importantly, I’m healing.

Before the accident I used time as an excuse. I skipped the gym because I didn’t have enough time for a good work out. I grabbed unhealthy food on the go because I didn’t have time to grocery shop and prepare my own meals. Heck, I even skipped annual physicals because I didn’t have time for a doctor’s appointment.

I didn’t take the time to treat myself with respect. I filled my days with excuses and put other people’s priorities before my mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I fooled myself into thinking I didn’t have time for me, but I know I wasted at least 30 minutes each day. Was it absolutely necessary for me to give up my lunch hour to get in that extra bit of work? Was it imperative I beat that next level of Lego Indiana Jones on my DS? Did I really need to re-watch that episode of The Simpsons for the eighth time?

I’m giving myself 30 minutes of guilt-free “me time” every day. This isn’t a huge challenge while on sick leave, but it’s something that I need to start now so that it’s a habit when I re-enter the workforce. I will make myself and my health a priority.

Today my “me time” will be a 30-minute walk to my favourite tea shop.

SOTS wonders… how will you find 30 minutes today and what will you use your “me time” for?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Celebrate good times

I received excellent news from the doctors this week. First of all, I was misdiagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms of PTSD I’m suffering from also occur in cases of Post Concussion Syndrome. One thing to deal with is much better than two. That’s celebration number one!

Secondly, the docs say I can do more physical activity. As of late, my exercise has been limited to a daily 30-minute walk and yoga. Well, the docs have doubled it. I can go for two 30-minute walks, but I have to make sure to rest between them. This works out perfectly because David’s Tea (which I am obsessed with) is exactly a 30-minute walk from my apartment. More exercise? That’s celebration number two!

I’m feeling better each and every day. That’s celebration number three!

SOTS wonders… what are you celebrating today?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm two-timing

Yesterday I had my first date with a new physiotherapist, but I haven’t broken up with my other physiotherapist. It turns out I’m just not a one-therapist kind of girl. From now on I’ll be seeing both of them. Never on the same day, of course.

All kidding aside, they’re actually working together to help alleviate my headaches and dizzy spells. The new physiotherapist explained to me what’s physically happening with my head. I will now recap that info for you. Please keep in mind that this info has been processed through my damaged brain and may come out slightly garbled.

You know that soft squishy stuff that surrounds your skull? Well, when you get hit in the head with a softball that stuff shifts. I think of it as memory foam. The softball pushed the memory foam to the right side of my skull and it hasn’t returned to where it belongs. So, I have a lopsided head.

Since there’s more memory foam on one side of my skull that means there’s more blood flowing through it. This is part of the reason why I get dizzy and have headaches. Too much blood on one side, not enough on the other.

My lopsided head also means that I’m holding my body off-centre. I’ve been joking that I have Bobble-head syndrome (which is something I made up, but I imagine you know what I mean) because my head feels like it’s bobbing all over the place. My head never feels like it’s sitting comfortably on my neck. Well, turns out it isn’t sitting comfortably because of the lopsided memory foam. My body doesn’t know how to account for the extra weight and overcompensates.

At this point in the explanation I began to wonder how they’d fix this. Am I destined to be lopsided forever? No, not to worry. The physiotherapists can straighten me out. Physiotherapy for Post Concussion Syndrome consists of the most painful head massage ever. The physiotherapist very gently massages my head and shifts the memory foam back into position. This alleviates pressure in my head, and allows nerves and veins to function normally. Oh yeah, it also causes mind-numbing headaches that knock me out for a solid 24 hours. Once that initial headache subsides the rest of my week is better. Yay for improvement!

SOTS wonders… are you loyal to one physiotherapist?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Missing Mantra

When I was trying to lose weight I had a mantra: be as strong physically as you are mentally. I kept this little saying on a cue card in my wallet. If I considered ordering a dessert or skipping a workout, I’d whip out the card, read the mantra, and remember my goal.

This was all fine and dandy until my accident. I’m not so mentally strong any more. Plus, the mantra focuses on getting fit and I need to focus on getting healthy (similar, but different goals).

My doctors suggested I write a mantra about “active healing.” They’ve correctly determined that I consider healing passive and inactive. Essentially I feel lazy. Whenever I feel guilty about the hours spent in front of the television, I’m supposed to heal actively by visualizing the repairs my brain is making to itself. They charged me with the task of writing a new mantra about putting my physical and mental health first.

Hmmm, this is the type of task I love and yet… no mantra. No ideas. No drafts. No works in progress. Just an empty word document.

My fitness mantra came naturally. It just kept popping into my head. This new mantra feels forced. The creative juices haven’t been flowing and I wonder if it’s because I’m trying too hard.

SOTS wonders… do you have a mantra? Did you sit down and write it or did it come naturally to you?