Want to commit to exercise? Set a goal!

Yesterday I was reading about setting goals, and it hit me. I haven’t made any goals of what I’d like to achieve by adding exercise into my life. I’m wishy-washy. No wonder I excel at making excuses and procrastination.

Why do I want to exercise? What am I hoping to achieve? Gain strength? Improve flexibility? Lose weight? Fit into the 100+ dresses in my closet? Yes, I know that’s a crazy amount of dresses. It made life easy when I worked in an office, grab a dress, sweater, shoes and go!

I want to achieve all of the above.  I’m tired of being squishy and not fitting into many of my clothes. The option does exist to buy new clothes. However, buying new clothes isn’t the answer.

My goal is to be down 10 lbs, strong and fit in 8 weeks. December 9!

I’ve been hard on myself about exercise lately. Yet when I write down what I’ve done each week, I’m doing something each day. I’m just not pushing my limits. Recognizing that I hold myself back is helpful. I have noticed that doing the YNY warm-up exercises daily makes a big difference. When I do them regularly, I feel relaxed and can move without stiffness and pain. I get the feeling I’ve said this to myself before. Time to start listening to myself.

I worked full-time for the last two weeks and was appreciative of the meal portions in my freezer, both for lunch and dinner. Keep it going and freeze more meals. Note to self: eat more fresh veggies and remember to be aware of portion control.

Fewer hours of daylight continue to challenge me. It’s dark by 6pm, and I run out of steam, ready to go to sleep. I’ve come up with an idea to focus my attention and work on some of the hobbies I enjoy. I’m going to write the hobbies on pieces of paper and place them in a jar. Each evening I will pick one or two and work on those hobbies. It’s been a while since I’ve focused on studying Italian, German, or done any drawing and painting.

The job search continues. Much more efficient with online searching that’s for sure. This helps keep me from getting wound up about the whole process. Definitely, a good thing since this is a topic that can get under my skin.

Been a good few weeks, spend time with family and friends. A little more winter prep in the yard since snow keeps taunting us. Have significantly reduced the amount of time I’m spending online. My iPad informed me yesterday that screen time is down 57% from last week. Interesting to know that it’s tracking my screen time. 😳 Freaks me out a little that it’s suddenly monitoring something that I’ve been talking about doing. Hmmm…I’ll chalk it up to coincidence and leave it at that.

Still working on it!

Ciao!

Is making excuses a form of exercise?

I’ve been journaling my efforts based on the five building blocks. I catch myself wanting to embellish what I record. Seriously!? What’s the point of that? Who do I think I’m fooling? I know when I’m looking for a distraction and consider climbing the stairs as cardio. I’m very creative when it comes to passing anything off as cardio.

Recording my efforts have resulted in some realizations. I feel awkward sitting here and typing this; I am outing myself in writing, no more denial. The overarching theme; I make excuses. There it is, the truth, staring at me.

My life is not routine at the moment. Excuse #1. Would it make a difference if I scheduled exercise into my calendar? Would I see the reminder on my phone and follow through?

Every day is different. Excuse #2. Yet there are still 24 hours in the day, and surely I could find the time for a workout that usually can be done in under 60 minutes. I’m aware of how much time I spend online and am working to reduce time spent surfing online and chatting. When watching TV, I try to do stretching rather than just sitting and staring mindlessly at the screen.

Is awareness the first step to changing habits?

Mornings would be a great time to exercise. True, but, Vodka goes outside (which means in and out a hundred times) for the first hour of the morning, and I have to tend to him. Excuse #3. Yes, my cat runs my life at times. Not a complete waste of time though, I spend this time having breakfast and making a to-do list for the day.

Whenever I catch myself using the word ‘but’ I know I’m making excuses.

The gym. The people at the gym are great, and I feel great when I go. Why don’t I go more often? It’s not far. I have a car. I think I’m just weird and can always find something to do at home that takes priority. Excuse #4.

Searching for employment takes time and must be done a little every day. Excuse #5. Also true, yet only needs about an hour per day. Unless I find multiple roles I’m interested in and spend time researching companies before applying.

Masterful at creative excuses is what I am. Now that I’ve called myself out on this creativity, will it change?

I did manage to go for walks, do my arm routine, some squats and stretching a few times this week. So all in all, I did some exercises. Although I notice I’m selective and do the things that I like or feel comfortable for me. There is progress; I am getting stronger. I’ve increased the weight that I’m using. I’ve not given up completely; I just make things more challenging than they need to be.

I seem to have expectations of myself that I feel I’m not meeting. I’m the person who always says; expectations lead to disappointment. Time to reframe my thinking and give myself credit for what I am doing.

Hoping that this self-awareness helps me to bypass the excuse generator.

Managing stress, living mindfully and having balanced nutrition have been intertwined and less of my focus this week. Feeling more confident about my resume and cover letters helps.

Tailbone issues are ongoing. Still feeling tight and stiff. Reading the YNY exercise program book, the warm-ups each have a why bother section. These address issues I relate to all too well. Tight hips, muscle imbalance, shoulder issues. That’s me in a nutshell. Here’s a thought, do the warm-ups daily. Ideally in the mornings while Vodka does his outdoor routine.

This week it’s time to prepare the yard for winter and cook. Knowing that I’ll be working the next two weeks, I’ve got to focus on having meals ready, so I have no reason to make excuses. Going to make time for the gym this week too.

Ciao!

~ the quest takes a new path…

Wow! It is exactly three months since my last post and I am still unwell. Since then I continued to cough endlessly and therefore have had a variety of tests. Most valuable seemed to be the CT scan which identified a 7x8cm mass in my left lung. This explains the chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. In summary I have now had 5 chest x-rays, multiple blood tests, 2 ECG’s, been tested for TB (the result was negative), 2 CT scans and the latest a fine needle lung biopsy while in a CT scanning machine. 

There is one thing I have consistently commented about since I began to feel unwell in January and that was the spot of pain in my chest. This pain was stronger in the beginning and over the Easter weekend it had released its grip, a little. When the mass was identified it explained why I have this spot of pain as it is pressing on the chest wall. 

Flying home was a little nerve-racking, especially since there is no direct way to get to Saskatoon. I have to say the staff at Air Canada were kind and attentive to make sure I was okay while flying. I returned home with all my Italian medical documents and scans on disk ready to see my doctor. More x-rays and blood tests, it feels strange not taking a friend along to interpret/translate. 

Last week I had an appointment with a respiratory specialist. She reviewed the CT scan with contrast and the various x-rays and consulted with another specialist. Then we sat down to chat. The usual questions, family history, work history, and previous health issues, then onto describing the current health issue. I found it interesting that she asked me three times in this line of questioning if my family lived nearby. Nearly 2 hours had passed when we arrived at the time to discuss what she believes is the issue. I knew I was present in the room as words such as biopsy, lymphoma, lung cancer and treatment plan hung in the air and didn’t seem to penetrate my mind. This was so surreal. I felt like a character in a book or movie being in this room hearing this news, thinking is this really happening? it’s just a cough. The doctor could tell that I was a little too calm  for just having had this particular conversation. She asked if there was someone I could spend the rest of the day with, I looked at her quizzically. She continued to say that this was a lot of information we discussed and it would be good for me to be with someone. Then reality hit. I became a puddle. After I left the doctor’s office I stopped for the blood tests she requested and then slowly walked to my car in a zombie like state. 

Once I reached the car, I sent a few text messages then drove to the pharmacy. The pharmacist said something about the prescription, I remember looking at him and saying I don’t have a cold, call the doctor if you have questions. I arrived at my house still stunned, did my best to collect myself and called my parents, my mom took the news well as she was expecting something since I had been coughing for so long. A few friends came to my house that day. It was a day of shock and emotion. 

As I continued to share this news with friends and family, the response has been wonderful, kind words and offers of help. When people see me they are surprised and often comment that I look good. I laugh and say what did you expect? They expect me to be frail and thin. Nope, I am my usually smiley and jolly self. It is interesting that people seem to believe that you have to look poorly to be unwell. Not so at all. I move a little slower and speak a little softer since I struggle to get enough air to talk as much as I would really like to, but that’s about all that is different. haha

I have made a promise to myself, and I ask my friends and family to do the same…No internet searches for any information regarding my illness and treatment. Promise!  I have doctors to ask questions of and I will ask as things progress. Currently I don’t really know what lymphoma is and that is ok. When a diagnosis is confirmed I will ask questions. For now my energy is better focused on eating well and resting. 

Friends are great. A group did the spring yard cleaning and planted flowers, shrubs and my vegetable garden last Saturday. It was nice to see everyone. An afternoon of activity like that wears me out, even though I was just walking around and talking. I fell asleep that evening at 6pm and stayed in bed all day Sunday. This is my pattern, one day of activity will mean two days of rest to recover. This is something that is difficult for others to understand.

Being unwell is strange. Every day people ask the question, How are you feeling?… I feel good, with the exception of pressure/pain in my chest and the challenges I have with breathing. This is how I have felt for months. I have learned to respect my physical limits. I am happy and do what I can within my physical limits. If I feel tired, I rest. Thankfully I now have medicine to quell the cough. This is a blessing. My body has been so tired from coughing daily for months. This helps me sleep and being rested helps me to maintain a positive attitude. 

Two days ago I had a biopsy. The doctor chose the least invasive method, a fine needle lung biopsy performed by an interventional radiologist while the patient is in a CT scan machine. This procedure is pretty cool. I was not sedated which I was a little unsure about. The worst part was the needle for the freezing into basically the centre of my chest. Ouch!!!! I asked if I could swear because it was wildly painful. After the freezing set in no problem. The doctor asked how squeamish I was and I said don’t tell me anything you are doing, talk to me about something else. So we talked about my time in Italy. Before I knew it the procedure was done and I had 4 hours to relax, since I was not allowed to move for that period of time. Nurses were checking on me regularly as I read a book and had a few naps. 

Recovery has been a little painful after this biopsy. Every way I move I can feel a pull in my chest. I think this mass did not appreciate being disturbed. It will heal. 

Now the waiting for results, apparently these take 5-10 business days. So two weeks. After being ill for months now, two weeks will pass quickly. Hopefully then we know what we are dealing with and can make a treatment plan. 

My new physical limitations are a little frustrating, it is the little things around the house that I can’t do that irritate me. Such as taking out the garbage and recycling, the bins are too heavy for me to take to the curb. At 4:30 this morning I remembered it is garbage collection day, so as I sit here typing I am listening for my neighbour to take his bin out so I can ask him to take mine out as well. Mowing the lawn, making a bed, even laundry is more physical than I had realized before. I have taken up ironing, the linens in the guest bedroom look fantastic. haha  This is where I cannot get stuck on being proud or stubborn and must ask for help.  

Food is another interesting aspect. One of the first things people offer is to make food. Interesting since food is associated with comfort. While wanting to eat healthy I realize there is no single plan that appeals to me, so I am going to take the parts I believe are beneficial and create a hybrid eating plan for myself. I’ll share my eating plan as things progress as well. 

The challenges of communication. I am very fortunate to have so many people who care about me and send me well wishes.  I want to keep friends and family informed yet I do not want to be sending and responding to messages all day long. While talking in general tires me. Please have patience since I may not respond quickly or forget to respond at all.  

I sparkle on…one day at a time.         🙂