Monday, May 10, 2010

Wee! Wagon Train!

I know I said I can't be on all wagons at the same time, but after taking a month just to get back into stretching, and after taking almost another month to add in strength training exercises, I've suddenly found myself peeking at the other wagons and getting ahead of myself.  (I got antsy about the large list of goals I've made for myself and time ticking away.)

Here's what I'm currently doing and what I've learned from prioritizing my wagons and refocusing on each goal.
  1. Exercise 
    1. Stretching (started on 3/18/10)
      I've been doing mild stretching each morning, focusing key stretches on my newly discovered serratus anterior, to prevent that nasty spot at the bottom of my shoulder blade from coming back. 

    2. Strength Training (started on 4/18/10)
      I've added a few very mild strength-building exercises to help regain some muscle mass. I used to do a few wall push-ups as part of the routine, but I'm noticing that these seem to be aggravating that serratus anterior trigger point under my arms, so I'm trying to mix it up and not too too many of these at a time. 

      I'm also making sure I try different exercises, specifically, exercises that target differing muscles and muscle groups, each day, so I don't overwork any muscles. 

      Fibro or not, I've learned that letting muscle tissue rest for a day is the best way to get results.  When you exercise muscles, the tissue tears a bit.  (They are miniscule tears, but together, they add up).  After a day of rest, the torn muscle tissues can heal and build back up, hopefully with more mass, translating to more strength for the next round of exercises.

    3. Endurance Training (unofficially started on 5/4/10)
      May 4th was a pre-scheduled work-from-home day for me.  It was a lovely, sunny and warm day, so I tried on some of my shorts to break in the season.  Tragically, I could not find a pair that fit me!  Unbelievable!  So I weighed myself and was utterly disgusted.  I was 148 lbs.!  I've never been this heavy in my entire life!  It's dangerously close to 150, which I never want to be able to claim as my weight. 

      This shocking news is what prompted me to act on this and the next wagon sooner than originally planned.  So, when the work day was over, I put on my gym shoes and went outside to walk.  I could no longer wait to trim down.  It was beginning to cause additional problems with self-esteem and conundrums about my current wardrobe.  I pushed myself (risky for a fibromite like me) to walk farther than usual and ended up being out for 45 minutes.  It was exhausting, but I felt much better about myself for having done something positive.

      I hope to do much shorter walks on the nicer days, to try to get my heart muscle working and see if I can extend my activity tolerance a bit.  My last walk on 5/6/10 may have been too much, as I was exhausted and cold when I got back (it was chilly) and felt kind of exhausted for a few days afterward.  I need to make sure I'm not fooled by that happy sun when the temperatures aren't quite as high.

  2. Weight Loss
    The day of that weigh-in and shorts debacle, I revamped my CalorieCount plans and decided to start logging my calories again.  I modified my diet start date to be 5/5/10 and put in my start weight at 148.  I also changed my end goal to be more reasonable and see how things go.  I simply couldn't stand to postpone this wagon any longer!

  3. Reduce Medications (started May, 2010)
    I am trying to get more control of my pains and symptoms, so I won't have to take so many medications.  With the warmer weather coming, I'm also hoping that my pain will be reduced as well. 

    So far, I've been able to reduce my Ritalin dosing from two a day to one or none each day.  I've been experimenting with skipping my second dose, to see if there is any difference in my focus or mental capacities.  So far, I'm not noticing much difference.  Since this drug tends to make my heartbeat irregular a lot, I'm happy to reduce and, eventually, get off of it entirely.

  4. Stop Finger Picking (started April, 2010)
    Don has been my inspiration on this.  Armed with Band-Aids, I've been trying to resist picking at my fingers, especially my thumbs.  I used to feel like it was too wasteful to cover my fingers in Band-Aids every day, but it definitely helps me to not be able to feel those rough spots, so it's worth it.  Sorry, environment, I have to make an exception for my own greater good. 

    Eventually, I hope to wean myself off the Band-Aids, but I'm not quite there yet.  When they get too wet from hand-washing toward the end of the day, I take them off and leave my fingers bare for the remainder of the day, but I notice that those are the times I still pick, so they do make a difference.
I'm feeling much better about all these goals now than when I first realized I was trying to juggle them all without having them concretely written down and prioritized, so being on more than one at a time is not as overwhelming any more.  If I do get overwhelmed again, however, I'll refer to this list order and make sure I choose the top ones over the bottom ones, if I have to sacrifice anything to survive.

I sure am happy to use this public forum to keep me motivated, too.  If you have anything you'd like to add or any comments about any of this stuff, I'd be happy to read them.  Please keep me going on these.  I need to know you're out there, to keep me honest. :)