2011: How did I do?

There were really only three things on my list last year, and I’m surprised to say I achieved all of them.

The best known was to get my book finished. While it’s not finished, it’s on contract, which was much farther than I expected to be by now. While I am progressing at a consciously slow pace, I AM progressing.

The other two were integrated/related:

From 2007 – 2010 I have been plagued by illness. A cold would give way to a flu, which would give way to a persistent cough. The week before my father died in 2009, one illness actually rendered me temporarily deaf.  Related to that, I wanted to spend more time using my gym membership, and Mike and I moved around finances so I could have one in lieu of relying on the seasonal nature of Minneapolis community ed. (I still highly recommend community ed as an affordable way to enhance your life and achieve your goals.) I was part of the cycle where I would get started on a fitness program, and then get struck ill and struck hard enough I had to stop. I could rarely make it through a six week course of water aerobics and make all six weeks.

What I stated at the beginning of 2011 was that I wanted to spend “as much time as humanly possible at the Y” and to “do something about my constant health problems.”

I did not have a specific plan for either, but it ended up working out for the better.

Mike changed his work schedule so that he comes home in time for me to go to group classes at the Y at 5 pm.  In the summer, after reading that Pilates and Yoga had the best long-term results for fitness, I took the evening Pilates course on Tuesdays. Right now my gym schedule is M-W water aerobics, Th pilates, and F on the treadmill. I try to leave weekends open for my own sake.

While I’ve never suffered joint pain outside of areas where I’ve broken bones, and I actually don’t have the back pain common to most North Americans, I have noticed a greater sense of ease in my body after taking Pilates. I’m also no longer collapsing and thinking “I’m gonna die!!!!!” during class. (All bets may be off for that should someone introduce me to this Reformer I keep hearing so much about.)

I also read up a bit on how colds persist, and talked to another writer who swears by Airborne and raising the core body temperature. I’m raising my core temp at least 4 days a week, now, so that’s covered. The reading about how viruses live mostly in your nose and throat led to two new things, one of which I had previously resisted:

1)I now use a neti pot 1 – 2x a day. Salt is cheap and easy to obtain, and while I worry a little bit about damaging my olfactory nerves,  there’s relatively little evidence of people experiencing damage after long term, proper use.

2)I have a “health cocktail” that I’m especially quick to use when I’m having a hives breakout: 1 tsp of baking soda in an 8 ounce glass of water, with a bit of lime juice and stevia tincture added to ease it going down. This has also turned out to be a great stomach-settler, and tastes way better than Alka-Seltzer.

I still take a zinc supplement, and when a cold does sneak up on me, now that I’m resistant to using sage, I often use coltsfoot and lemon verbena. I take very small doses of kava kava when I’m anxious. I also discovered, thanks to Mike’s ketogenic diet adventure last summer, that if I eat the “full fat” version of foods, from dairy to meat to chips, I eat LESS of them and ultimately consume less calories than I do if I eat the “reduced fat” versions. Since I am still following intuitive eating ((contrary to popular belief it is NOT eating whatever the hell you want – there is behavior change attached))  it seems to make sense. The “full fat” is actually more natural than the “no fat” approach, and I still think that using eating as a way to feel morally superior is fucked up.

The end result? I have brushed by colds in the last half of the year, but nothing has taken me out of the running for more than a day, and most days I was still able to get up and go to the gym. I also seem to have very reduced allergic reactions. I’ve also invested in a cool air humidifier, which when used in concert with my air filter, has more or less ended the nightly asthma attack that would wake me up coughing.

So all around, it’s been a big improvement.