Sunday, October 16, 2011

changes

Do you ever decide to do something but you don't want to tell anyone until you know you will follow through with it?
That's been me the past few months.

Since August...I have been making some big changes and although I'm not always 100% perfect, I have had a change in my mindset enough to know I'm never going back to how things were.

January 2011 marked four years since I got a pacemaker and four years that I have been in chronic pain.
During all of that time, I knew that many of my own bad choices were contributing to how I felt on a daily basis.
Something about turning 40 makes you take inventory of your life and realize how short it is.

Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual - all those work together to create a life - good or bad.
I was in a good place mentally and emotionally and had a bout of sickness in May and June that caused me to rethink the physical side.
I was so nauseous every day that I was convinced I was pregnant or diabetic and I wasn't sleeping AT ALL.
I had a lot of bloodwork and the tests said no to pregnancy/diabetes (thank God!).
I have been hypoglycemic all my life but my blood sugar tests as normal.
Strangely enough...after getting blood drawn, I became more sick for weeks!
My whole body just felt like it was shutting down. It drained me.
I was so sick, something had to change.

I asked myself this, "WHAT AM I DOING TO CONTRIBUTE TO HOW I FEEL EVERY DAY?"
I made a set of goals for myself, daily goals, that would hopefully change how I feel.
They are:

- Cut out MOST sugar from my life. That includes less white flour (bad carbs).
- Always eat a good breakfast as soon as I get up - don't get too hungry during the day.
- Exercise every day for 30 minutes.
- NO INTERNET after 6 pm.
- In bed by midnight.
- Take whole food vitamins every day + supplements and pro-biotics.
- Drink more water.
- No McDonalds. Very limited fast food.
- Say NO. Don't overschedule my life. Learn to balance work/school/home.
- Keep a clean mind. Don't let anything interfere with my connection to God.
- Keep my house "company clean" by cleaning a little each day.

So here's how it's going:

- I am down to 90% less sugar. Fridays are our "fun days" and I try to only eat it then. I still get queasy and nauseous some days and eating more whole grain bread seems to really help balance my blood sugar. If I eat sugar one day a week, sometimes two, I still feel good. Anymore than that, I feel like crap until I have gotten it out of my system for at least 4 days. I've been keeping up with how long it takes and that's it. Strange but true.

- I am walking 1.5 miles *almost* every day. At LEAST 5 days a week. This has been the biggest blessing in my life. I feel more limber, more energetic, just happier all-around and I sleep better. I was way too sedentary before. It was contributing to my pain. Now most days, I feel 75% better. Also, I have learned to manage my pain mentally and tell myself it will pass soon. I am still so blessed to be alive.

- Some days the internet issue is easy...some days like today...I just want to relax so I give myself a little longer. But I am doing so much better. I know for sure that my brain feeds off the light and the stimulation from the internet. I can trace my sleep issues to the time when we got the internet at home. That's when I started staying up late and started not sleeping deeply. I read at night now and just relax. I scrapbook more. I really want to limit my internet time to just a couple of hours a day.

- I'm getting in bed earlier overall. It's a daily struggle but one I WILL WIN. I have gotten up early on my own a lot lately. That is huge!

- The vitamins make me feel so much better. I still don't drink enough water. Working on that. I need some right this minute.

- I have done so well about fast food. I really rarely eat junky food like I used to. I'm just more AWARE that I shouldn't, instead of letting myself have it. I eat a LOT of extra-crunchy, all natural peanut butter and naturally sweet jam (Smuckers Simply Fruit) on WHOLE GRAIN Oatmeal bread by Pepperidge Farm. It's my meal of choice. I eat it daily. I also eat eggs and whole grain toast every morning. I force myself to. I still need to eat more veggies. I had gotten into a horrible habit of going all day without eating. I think that's what brought all of this on. I would just eat dinner. Maybe something sweet early in the day and then a crappy dinner. Now I force myself to eat protein even if I feel nauseous and later, I feel better.

- I need to work on the over-scheduling. I think I might just have to accept that I live a very full life but I have been telling myself things like this: "Yes, I feel pressured but it's pressured to create cards for a class I chose to teach or it's pressure to write a book that I'm excited about writing (for work) or it's ministry that I'm excited to be involved in, etc. At least I don't work at McDonald's or somewhere that I don't enjoy. I schedule my own time. I just have to schedule it the right way." I am too blessed to be stressed!

- I have been keeping my house company clean until this week. Even my Mom commented about how clean it was. I have found that my mood is greatly affected by my surroundings. I have worked hard to make my home a beautiful, clutter-free, peaceful environment and keeping it clean just makes me happy every day. It's hard to explain why but I need outer order to feel at peace with the world. Maybe I feel that way because I grew up in a really clean house. I want it to smell clean, be clean and look clean.

I must say I feel better than I have in YEARS. I am just more optimistic about life because I know that small changes add up to big improvements in my daily life. I also have finally recognized that most good things come from being disciplined.

Life is all about choices. Each choice has a consequence. I finally get that!

6 comments:

Chelle said...

That's really awesome! There are so many areas of my life in which I would like to change. I've been slowly working on it. I got my house (most rooms) clean. Not as clean as I would like, but enough so that I'm not embarrassed if someone comes up to my door. You are doing a lot all at once. I was thinking about this the other day and I seem to be only able to really focus on one thing at a time. My eating has gone to pot during this cleaning phase. I wonder why I can't do two or more things successfully? You are really inspiring me though!

Kellie said...

Good for you! What an inspiring post. I hope things continue to go well for you and that you continue to be blessed by the great changes that you have made. Thank you for inspiring me to make some changes in my life.

jawebbtn said...

Tracie, I am so proud of you and inspired! I have the worst will power in the world and I know how hard it is to make changes. Even when you know those changes are good ones. At the top of my goals list is always 'get in shape' and I just can't make it happen. I'm too impatient! I'm going to keep trying. So glad you are feeling better and I totally agree with all you posted. I'll be praying that you keep going forward and continue to feel better. Love ya!

TracieClaiborne said...

Thanks guys! Chelle - I did not make all the changes at once. That's why it's October and I'm just now sharing. I started off with .5 mile a day. I felt goofy but that's all I could do and not die. I also had to go several weeks before I could do most of the things on my list and now I still am only at 80% most days. But I love having goals!

Barbara Eads said...

Good for you Tracie!!! I know exactly how you feel! I have been active all my life---walking, working out, eating right most of the time, drink water (and wine now and then). But I've been on prednisone for chronic hives since 1999. It is so depressing to have gained 80 lbs. despite all I do. I feel okay, so that's not it. I just wonder what I'd be like if I wasn't working out. Still, I count my blessings every day---I'm dealing with a nuisance---not a death sentence. For that I am grateful. And you are "right on" about mood being directly related to your surroundings. I'm kind of fanatical about order and my house is company perfect ALL the time. Of course, I do not have little children anymore either. But there's nothing that sets me off than coming home to a mess---daughters, granddaughters or even hubby. I don't "wig" out too badly because I'd rather deal with the mess and have them around! I just get edgy if there's a mess. Now my scrapbook room---that's another story! I try to re-organize after each project, but it doesn't always happen. Continued success on your healthy journey. I'll keep you in my prayers too.

tammy said...

Wow! That's awesome Tracie! But knowing you, it's really not surprising...since I have known you, you always seem to make a goal then go after it...wish I had that kind of tenacitiy...sometimes I fail before I even get very far...or started! But you have inspired me to try some things again! My scraproom could use some 'goals'...and other areas of life as well...going to be pondering them...and like Chelle said, it's amazing that you took all these on at once and are at 80% most days...? ...incredible! Keep rockin' on! I'll be cheering you on!
Blessings!