May 2, 2019

Posted by in Life & Musings | 0 Comments

Health & Wellness: Taking control of my own well-being

Every year I try to do one thing to improve who I am as a person: either mind, body, or spirit. In the past I have worked on not being so quick to say no to a new experience, or trying not to wish away time, etc. Things that generally take a lot of mindfulness. This year though I’m aiming more for body, because a lot has been changing as I approach my 30th birthday in less than 2 weeks.

Biggest one being the Hashimoto’s diagnosis. I have to accept that I can no longer skate by on a fast metabolism, I actually have to do something. Which, as many can probably sympathize with, is not an easy change to make. Much like any bad habit you’re trying to change, it takes will power and effort. Luckily, I have the motivation of having seen first hand in my own family what happens if you don’t take care of yourself (sorry Dad, but I’m looking at you lol).

Step one of any issue is recognizing it’s an issue. So I can check that off my list. ☑️

Step two in my case was deciding what to do about it. Now, I know the basic premise of diet and exercise being used for losing weight safely. I know I definitely need to do both, too. The trick is doing it right, and that’s the part I need: education. It should be a simple matter to just eat right, but guys when you have IBS and your diet is restricted and you aren’t 100% sure about portion sizes… you need help. More help than Dr. Google will give you. So today I saw a dietitian.

You might be thinking this is overkill, but when I get serious about anything I seek expert advice. I cannot tell you how many have suggested weird diets to me over the years for one thing or another, and while all of them come from a place of caring I know my body well enough to know that what I need isn’t a special diet, it’s balance. Therefore when I met with the dietitian we discussed what true portion sizes look like; how to safely count calories; calculated what my rough caloric intake needs to be to not starve myself, but also burn more calories than I consume; set goals to work to achieve; discussed proper meal portioning (amount of veggies, fruits, proteins etc); and how to keep a good food diary to track all this. It was a lot to take in, but it’s going to be worth it. Of course I knew all of this in principal, but I never would have figured out what my personal needs were on my own. I also was not aware on what many portion sizes really are when it comes to just straight up food products (you know, the stuff that doesn’t come in a package lol). So now I journal daily (needed to start that three days before meeting with the dietitian), will be more mindful of what I’m doing, and I go back in a month because that keeps me accountable (something else I need).

Unlike some of the diets out there that restrict certain food groups, we’re aiming for balance and portion size control. That, and trying to stay between 1200 and 1500 calories in a day, and keep an eye on my weight. If I’m not losing weight, we need to look at things again, perhaps drop the calories a bit. If I am losing weight but too rapidly (which is also dangerous), then we raise the calories up.

Many who look at me would say that I am not overweight, and they are not wrong. I definitely do not fall into the chronic obesity epidemic that plagues the United States right now, but I am on the heavier-end of a healthy weight for my height. Pair that with a predisposition in my family for diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol issues, and a myriad of other health issues that are affected by weight… Well, you get the idea. My goal isn’t because I’m obsessing over my image, it’s because I do not want to increase the likelihood of developing these issues. It’s probably also partially an existential crisis because I’m turning 30… lol

Step two to tackling my health though is checked off, I’ve started the process to relearn how to eat mindfully. ☑️

Of course, diet is only half of this equation, the other half is exercise. There was a point in my life that I was doing intense cardio and body weight exercises 5-6 days a week, for most of the day. Martial arts, jiu-jitsu, belly dance, cardio kickboxing, yoga… I was doing a lot. I was in amazing shape too. This was about ten years ago now though, and it tied in closely with my ex. Aside from that, I lost everything I had gained when I got the Swine Flu (H1N1) that went around, and that setback was very hard for me to face and so I didn’t.

Fast forward to now, and I am going to struggle to regain what I had even just four years ago. The difference between me of ten years ago and now though, is that I am ready to take the first step and start towards the goal again. I don’t need to be the exercise goblin that I was before, but I do want to regain a level of physical fitness. My mind made up, I signed up for a month of intro to pole dancing classes. Once a week, for an hour at a time, I am going to a class to start learning pole dance. You may be saying “woah, pole dancing, isn’t that for strippers“? Well… yes. Strippers do use pole dancing as part of their gigs. You know who else pole dancing is for though? Anyone who wants to enjoy it. Just because you learn pole dancing doesn’t mean that you’re getting up on stage to take your clothes off in front of an audience, and to be honest it’s a ridiculously hard-core workout.

The first time I tried it as a one-off class at a beginner level (back in the winter), I couldn’t move for two days. I was so touch sensitive as well that I just wanted to lay in bed and be fed. It’s not nearly that bad this time, but I am really sore. Sore in a way that tells me I used and worked muscles that needed it. I feel it in my shoulders (pecs), neck (SCM), abs (anteriolateral for you science geeks), thighs (adductors), hamstrings, and calves (especially gastroc). That’s head-to-toe muscles hit. In addition, I sweat and my heart rate was definitely raised during the hour-long class. Most importantly though, I enjoyed it.

I’m also taking a new style of belly dance as I’m able to (unlike the pole dance, belly dance can get interrupted by massage clients at times), and while it is fun it’s not the same kind of workout. There’s cardio involved, and muscles do get worked, but my body is used to belly dance. I’ve been belly dancing for ten years now, it’s really just minute differences at this point in the basic way moves are performed. I also don’t think belly dance was ever the workout that pole dance is simply because there is no body-weight resistance in belly dance. Belly dance is a lot of core work and intricate muscle control, but that’s very different from the level of physical exertion needed to do pole dance. For me this means pole dance will take priority because of the exercise factor. I need to increase that.

Eventually I also want to add in home-workout stuff, but one step at a time. Even the dietitian said that if changing my habits for the better is done just one day of the week at a time (so trying to cook one meal a week, for example), that’s better than nothing at all. If I can do more, great, if not don’t sweat it too much. Just keep trying.

Lucky for me, my requests for Shiatsu are also on the rise, and giving a Shiatsu massage is a very physical activity too (it’s a lot of body weight work again, and core work), so that helps.

Overall, I’m basically trying to do three things:
• Eat healthier and more mindfully
• Get more exercise into my life
• Establish a routine that works for me to facilitate the aforementioned items

My overall goals?

Aside from just being healthier in general, I want to bring my weight down to 125lbs maximum, but ideally I’d like to be between 110lbs and 115lbs. I’m 132lbs for reference, right now. It’s not a huge amount of weight loss, but it’s still going to be work and effort to make it happen. I’m looking to do so in a way that it’s while I change my habits so that once I lose the weight, I keep it off. That’s something a crash diet and “boot camp” style exercise regiment cannot give me. So onwards and upwards to a happier, healthier 2019 for me. ♥


  1. Health & Wellness: Restarting a Fitness Routine | A Sip of Sakki - […] start with, I saw the dietitian. She’s going to hold me accountable for what I’m putting in my body,…

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