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Posts tagged ‘Wellness’

Day 7: Getting “glutened”

I got “glutened” at the retreat this week.

I don’t know how it happened (I’m assuming it was a cross contamination issue). The retreat organizer told the hotel about my dietary restrictions, and as far as I could tell, they did a great job at accommodating me. During our initial sit-down dinner, they prepared a separate gluten-free menu for me, and at the buffet, allergens were clearly listed on the labels for each dish. There was no moment during the retreat in which I was unsure of, or concerned about, something I ate. And yet, I’ve been sick since yesterday.

I’ve tried really hard to stay positive about my celiac disease diagnosis. It hasn’t always been easy, but for the most part, I’ve tried to make the best of it. I’ve focused on searching for and cooking new recipes. I’ve challenged myself to make gluten and/or dairy-free versions of the foods I really enjoy. And the Instagram account I created to document the gluten-free meals I make, products I try, and restaurants I visit, has been fun to use. But, when shit like this happens, I just can’t help but get upset.

I mean, I feel like I did everything right this week, and the hotel really seemed to have everything under control. How could something as seemingly insignificant as a little cross contamination cause me so much pain? My stomach feels like it’s being stabbed over and over and over again, while someone else simultaneously stomps on it.

I’m at a loss on days like today. I don’t know what to think. I feel discouraged. I don’t want to live in a bubble, but I also don’t want to be in pain. I know my celiac disease developed over time, so I can’t expect my stomach to heal overnight. But, how do I even know it’s healing? On days like these, I find myself falling down the Google rabbit hole, reading everything I can on celiac disease, in hopes that I’ll come across something that will tell me how to fix this or make it go away. So far, I’ve found nothing new.

Fortunately, I do (and will) eventually climb back out again. I’ll start to feel better. I’ll get back up, brush myself off, and refocus on all of my health goals. It’ll be ok. And, most importantly, I’ll continue to hit my step goal. I’ve got a 5-day streak going now. I can’t ruin it already.

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Day 5: The things we do

It’s almost 11pm and I’m walking laps in our hotel room. My family and I are here for a retreat of sorts, and as I was laying in bed, getting ready to go to sleep, I remembered my step goal. Almost reflexively, I checked my watched and there it was: 9,478 steps. I was a bit over 5,000 steps short. So, despite not really wanting to, I sucked it up, got out of bed, and started pacing.

Now, walking around a dark room when I’d rather be sleeping isn’t fun, but it isn’t the end of the world. I’m certain (hoping) the sense of satisfaction I’ll have when I hit my goal will make it all worth it. That being said, on nights like these I can’t help but wonder:

1. Is this crazy? Am I being weirdly obsessive, or am I just really dedicated to hitting this goal?

2. Is walking 15,000 steps worth losing an hour of sleep?

Funny enough, it’s the sleep question that concerns me. The more I read (and listen) about the importance of sleep, the harder I want to try to make sure I get enough of it (and the more conflicted I am when faced with having to choose between hitting my step goal and going to bed).

Granted, there’s an easy fix for this: I just need to get all my steps in earlier in the day. Unfortunately, given my track record, that’s easier said than done. So, to pass the time as I stumble about, I’ve decided to brainstorm ways of hitting my step goal before it gets too late.

  1. Take the dog for a walk in the mornings (this one is iffy since it interferes with my gym time – assuming I stick with the whole going to the gym thing…)
  2. Start doing cardio (definitely an option, but not on a daily basis)
  3. Set an alarm to go off every hour and take a 5-minute walk whenever it rings
  4. Park farther away from wherever I’m going
  5. Take stairs instead of elevators
  6. Pace when waiting, instead of standing or sitting (I already do this one)
  7. Take the dog for a longer afternoon walk (unless it’s really hot out)

I feel like I should be able to come up with more, but since my watch just buzzed (alerting me to the fact that I’ve hit my step goal for the day) I’m going to leave it at 7 and go back to bed. It’s a 3-day step streak!

If you have any suggestions for ways I can get in some extra steps (that you wouldn’t mind sharing), please let me know! I could use all the help I can get!

Day 3: Let’s try this again

I turned 38 yesterday by catching up on work, playing around with my new dermaroller, and going to Korean BBQ for dinner with my husband and our friends. It may not have been the most exciting of days, but it was the sort of day I needed: quiet and relaxing.

My plan was to get all of my steps in before dinner because I knew it’d be hard to get them all in afterwards, but the day flew by. Dinner came and went. At 9 pm, I was still about 6,000 steps short.

I wasn’t worried (although I probably should have been). I’ve walked thousands of steps before by doing laps around my living room, so I figured I’d just suck it up and get pacing. Unfortunately, I messed up. My little guy wanted to lay in bed with me to fall asleep. I wasn’t in the mood for bedtime drama, so I took the easy route and I gave in.

It worked. He fell asleep easily… but, so did I.

One minute, I’m laying in bed, thinking about how many laps I’ll need to walk to get 15,000 steps before midnight. The next minute, I’m waking up, it’s 6 am, and I’m still wearing my contact lenses. Obviously, I didn’t hit my step goal. Talk about a great start to this challenge!

Its ok though. I’m not discouraged. I’m not throwing in the towel. I’m just going to start over again today. No biggie. That’s the great thing about getting up in the morning (even for us non-morning people): a new day brings new beginnings and new opportunities for change.

Speaking of change, I listened to Dr. Rangan Chatterjee’s latest podcast episode on sleep today. Dr. Chatterjee is the author of the book, “How to Make Disease Disappear,” which I’m obsessed with inspired my goals for this latest attempt at my 15,000 steps challenge. I’ve known for a while that sleep is important, but it wasn’t until I read Dr. Chatterjee’s book that I really understood just how much sleep affects my overall health.

Sleep impacts everything. For example, there was a study done in 2011 to measure how sleep deprivation affects muscle mass growth and recovery. They took a group of people, put them on a diet, and then split them into two smaller groups: one that was supposed to sleep 5.5 hours a night and another that slept 8.5 hours a night. At the end of the study, the people who slept less had 60% less muscle mass than when they started. The other group had actually gained 40% more muscle mass. Back when I did my Experiments 1 and 2, I didn’t even consider how sleep might impact my efforts in the gym. I focused solely on my workouts and the number of calories I ate. I was certain my experiments failed because I didn’t eat enough protein or work out hard enough, but it’s entirely possible my poor sleep habits were to blame.

This is the main takeaway I got from Dr. Chatterjee’s book: the body is interconnected. There isn’t just one thing that will cause you to gain weight, get ill, or feel bad. It’s everything. It’s all the different choices you make and how they interact with each other in your body. It’s genetics, environment, what you eat, what you think, how you feel, what you do, and what you don’t do.

That’s why there’s no magic pill and there likely won’t ever be.

After listening to this podcast episode, I’m convinced that my sleep goal is the first one I need to tackle after getting my step goal back on track. Not because I think it’ll help me lose weight or gain muscle, but because I know it will impact my ability to meet all the other goals I’ve set. I need to set myself up for success and getting enough sleep is the first step.

Day 1: I’m back at it

The little kid and I were on our own this weekend. It’s been raining non-stop for days, so we didn’t do much of anything yesterday – it was a much-needed lazy day after a very busy work week.

That being said, as great as cuddling up on the couch to watch movies on a rainy day can be, doing it for a full weekend can be a bit much. Especially when your cuddle partner is a very energetic toddler. He barely made it through yesterday. Little kid needed to get out of the house today.

I am not a fan of going out in the rain. Gloomy, rainy days put me in a mood, so trying to find a place to go to that little kid would enjoy (and I wouldn’t hate), was a challenge. I really didn’t want to drive into Tokyo, but when push came to shove, I bit the bullet and off we went.

Our first stop: Where is a Dog, a gluten-free restaurant in Shinjuku. I’d read they have gluten-free bagels that are actually good, so it was at the top of my list of places to try. I didn’t have a bagel for lunch, but I did enjoy this delicious green curry with rice.

The little kid had the pizza toast, but mostly he just ate both of our desserts.

We had a great lunch. The food was delicious, and the staff was awesome. They were so nice! The menu is in both Japanese and English, and dairy-free and vegan dishes are clearly labeled, so that was super convenient. They also have a pretty big selection (compared to other places in Japan) of gluten-free adult beverages and gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan desserts. I’m definitely going back to try their gluten-free and dairy-free waffles.

As far as the bagels I’d read so much about, I bought a couple of frozen ones to take home and reheat for breakfast tomorrow. I’m pretty excited about it.

After lunch, we stopped at the Korean grocery store to pick up some bones for broth, then made our way to the aquarium to see fish. There are quite a few aquariums to choose from in Tokyo, but we decided to check out the Maxell Aqua Park.

If you’ve lived in Japan or spent enough time in Tokyo, you may already know that heading to a nice aquarium in a large shopping mall (that houses other entertainment options like an IMAX theater and bowling alley) on a rainy holiday weekend, is a terrible decision. It was so unbelievably crowded. But, it really is a cool place and little kid had a great time. We will definitely be going back in the future with the rest of the family (on a non-holiday weekday).

I’d hoped to get most of the day’s steps knocked out at the aquarium, but that didn’t happen. It felt like I walked a lot, but it seems my Garmin disagrees. So yeah, just in case you were wondering, I had to resort to pacing around my house to get all of my steps in. And me being me, I waited until the last possible hour to do it. It’s like subconsciously I’m purposely setting myself up for an adrenaline-fueled race against the clock to get my steps in. Then I wonder why I can fall asleep afterwards.

Oh, I almost forgot: I decided on those other goals. Most of them are already on my goal tracking spreadsheet that I printed after my last Bod Pod in June, so I’m thinking it would be ok to try and hit all of them. But, I’m only going to prioritize one at a time. This week, it’ll be all about getting these steps in every day – preferably before dinner.

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