I first noticed it at the age of 34. I started to see the effects of not taking care of myself. Up until that point I had eaten whatever I wanted and maintained my weight. I slept very little and you would never know by looking at me. I still felt like I had my crap together. Ahhh, those were the days! My mid thirties (okay … late thirties) have been a major wake up call. I can no longer eat whatever I want without consequences. If I miss sleep I am cranky and my eyes are puffy. Even with those clues, I didn’t really do much to change.
Recently, I started having what I thought were panic attacks. As an introvert with social anxiety, panic attacks and I are not strangers. My heart would race and often breathing was difficult. I would get dizzy when I stood too long and I felt weak most of the time. These “panic attacks” were longer than they should be and eventually started to last all day. I knew it had to be something else. To make a long story short, I discovered I was severely anemic. Which now, looking back, makes sense. Ever since the kids have gone back to school and my youngest is there all day, I don’t have a little person begging for food all day. This in turn reminded me to eat. I know that sounds so dumb, having to be reminded to eat. My personality is that when I get going on something, I am fully immersed in it and can lose sense of time. I will get going on emails and other computer work and all of a sudden my kids are home from school. Or I will be working on a project and suddenly hear the door open and the kids greeting me. It happened pretty much every day. I was skipping breakfast and lunch on a regular basis. I also had stopped taking my daily vitamins. I was not getting the nutrition I needed. If only KitKats had a huge dose of iron…
I have tried setting timers on my phone to help remind me to stop what I am doing and take the time to eat something healthy. My meal planning has changed a little bit to include more iron rich foods and I have started taking a supplement. I honestly had no idea that being anemic could affect a person like this. I thought it just made you feel dizzy. After talking to another friend who had a very similar experience as I did, I decided to write about it in case someone else out there is suffering, too. It can be scary if you don’t know what it is.
I am not sure why we as women forget to take care of ourselves. I get so caught up in trying to help the family out financially through blogging, doing homework, cleaning, fulfilling church callings, yard work, and helping at the school that I just forget about ME. I have gained a ton of weight over the past couple of years too. I can see the effect of not getting enough sleep in my face. I feel like I have aged 10 years in only 2.
So here is my plan so far:
Go to Bed Earlier
This is actually really hard for me for several reasons. First, my personality is driven by progress. I always want to get just one more thing done before going to sleep. I also like to read and have a hard time putting a book down before it is done. Also, Shane works long hours and commutes over an hour each way so after the kids go to bed is our only time to spend together. It is hard to cut that short even if it is just us watching TV together.
Don’t Skip Any Meals
The only thing I can think of would be to put a reminder on my phone. I am hoping that if I do it long enough, it will become a habit. Fingers crossed!
I have been doing an hour on the treadmill daily for the last couple of months and mid day I take our dog out to play. Spring and Summer I am pretty active because we hike as a family. We also do lots of yard work and outdoor projects. In the Fall, things tend to slow down and by wintertime I morph into a sloth. I hope I can keep the treadmill up!
No More Candy at Night
Being totally honest here, this is going to be the hardest for me to crack. I have done it in the past, but never maintained it for longer than a few months. Some days the only way I make it is knowing I can snuggle on the couch and consume large quantities of chocolate. To give up my “reward” is going to be HARD. I read once that some celebrity (I think Mandy Moore) ate frozen grapes at night instead of treats. You guys, frozen grapes are gross. Maybe I should stop looking for an alternative and just suck it up and not eat anything. If I have a treat, it will have to be in the afternoon (right before the kids come home from school) so I don’t have to share ;)
So what do you think? What do you guys do to keep on top of yourself? How do you not “let yourself go”? I honestly could use all the suggestions I can get!
I am looking forward to feeling better and hopefully even looking better.
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