When I started this blog my intention was three-fold. My first goal was to motivate others. My second was to educate, provide information, and food for thought based off of my personal experiences and what I am learning in my health and wellness classes. Finally, my last goal was to motivate myself by doing so for others. Blogging, talking about my trials and triumphs aided me in the accountability department. This was to be yet another tool in my arsenal to continue down the path of ultimate health and wellness. And it was that and so much more! What I was saying, led others to talk, lines of communication were open and my message was getting out there. This was so empowering.
As with so many things in life we get busy, bogged down in the reactive, fear-based, stress-filled, not enough time in the day, blow and go cray cray world we live in. Then it all comes crashing down…stress, worry, anxiety leaks in despite your best efforts to maintain contemplative practices for the mind and body to fend off these evil fends. The arch villains have breached the sanctity and security of your home-base (your body.) The super-badies have a foot-hold in your lair and they are inviting their friends. It’s a full on strike, invading your defenses (your immune system.) Granted you are fighting the good fight, but it isn’t enough – BOOM. Now you are sick! For me, an asthmatic, it has always been important for me to keep emotions, feelings, that naughty Mr. Stress and his side kick Boy Worry in check. In addition to virus’, bacteria, the weather, all of which I have little or no control over; having an emotional overload leads to asthma attacks. With a very elaborate combo of these issues, in September of 2012, I landed myself in the hospital for 4-5 days.
Now this was the beginning of relapse for me! Let me back up a bit and explain why I use the term “RELAPSE.” I have mentioned stages of change previously in another blog. (see TTM or transtheoretical model of change) This is the most popular stage model in health psychology today.
There are five stages of change in the TTM. The stages of change are:
- Precontemplation (Not yet acknowledging that there is a problem behavior that needs to be changed)
- Contemplation (Acknowledging that there is a problem but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change)
- Preparation/Determination (Getting ready to change)
- Action/Willpower (Changing behavior – less than 6 months)
- Maintenance (Maintaining the behavior change – more than 6 months)
Many of the experts in the subject area add an addendum to the 5 stages by lending focus to an extra stage…Relapse (Returning to older behaviors and abandoning the new changes.)
….So earning myself an admission to the hospital led indirectly to my relapse. So here comes the honesty. When the doctors start talking about admitting me to the hospital my mind goes into Panic mode. The only thing I can think of is…..”IV STEROIDS” UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…..They are talking and all I can hear is the self-defeating negative voice in my head talking about gaining weight from steroids, having to hold off on exercising for a while, and the ravenous cravings that will be coming along with swelling and bloat. (in fact i think my blood pressure is going up just thinking about it now…EEK) I know it will take several weeks for the steroids to be purged from my system, which leads to more negative thoughts. I cannot even think about the important thing, positive thinking and concentrating on healing…NOOOO I am too busy rustling up more stress and worry. When I did finally get well and discharged from the hospital I got sent home with 2 weeks of steroids. After this I had a hard time getting back on track, which is unusual as I am always over-eager to get back to my practices. After-all I had been in the maintenance stage for over a year. For the rest of Sept I worked out once, my eating was sporadic. There were periods of normal healthy eating mixed with binges on sweets. October rolls around and I exercise three times that month, but my eating habits were back on track. Of course at the end of of October I had a really bad asthma attack and ended up at the ER and then sent home with more steroids. Nine days this time. And of course the self-defeating voice was back, its like a vicious cycle. After this I worked out twice in November and once in December.By November I said the hell with it, its the holidays and I am going to enjoy myself. So I ate what I wanted, exercised three times in two months, and had the intention of starting over a few days after Christmas. On the 27th of Dec I started back eating well, no problem. Butttttttttt the exercise just wasn’t taking off yet.
That brings us to the New Year. As a side note I am not one for making New Years Resolutions, I feel like they just set me up for failure…maybe that’s the wrong mindset to have, I dunno. So I continued on with my healthy eating habits and said its a new year dammit, “I need to exercise.” Finally I got up off my ass and did something on Jan 7th. Granted that has been it. (as embarrassingly sad as that is to have to admit..but true nonetheless…) Of course I was plagued with yet another illness last week which lead to a 24 hour stay in the hospital, yes asthma again, and yes more IV and then oral steroids to follow. I got out Friday the 18th. Just seems like its been an endless spiral health-wise for last four months.
And now here I sit, drenched in the guilt and disappointment, covered in the shame of allowing myself to have gotten so off track for 4 months. Disgusted with myself for allowing the negativity to permeate my being so much so that I stop doing the things that I know my body, mind, and spirit so desperately need to live an intentional, purpose driven, heart-centered life. I am mostly just angry at me. I am angry because I accepted the excuses I handed myself, I self-sabotaged my health and wellness path with mines and traps. And instead of persevering and being the fighter that I know that I am, I just plopped on the ground said the hell with it all and watched the last 4 months slide by.
I guess it’s not all for nothing, I did gain a few things from this Relapse… 1- 25 lbs. and 2 – the knowledge that I am human, imperfect and fallible.
So the question is WHAT NOW? What do I do? and How do I get back on track? The expert and technical answer is…
- Evaluate trigger for relapse
- Reassess motivation and barriers
- Plan stronger coping strategies
What this means is I need to do several things….
- Self-reevaluation – I feel as though I accomplished this step this morning. Writing this particular blog ended up being very therapeutic! Being truly honest with myself for the first time in months has lifted a heavy weight off my shoulders. I feel purged, refreshed, and ready to begin again. (For real this time..NO….REALLY!!!)
- Control External Stimuli – this involves surrounding myself with positive images that motivate and inspire me. This also means controlling the external things that trigger my unhealthy eating. Not buying sweets, or if they are here keeping them out of sight. This also includes curbing and controlling those stimuli that keeping me from getting up and moving or exercising, such as usage of the cell phone, laptop, nook, and other things that keep me sedentary. There is a time and place for these things as long as it is not all-consuming.
- Re-Involve My Support Structure - This entails involving my friends and family back into my motivation,inspiration, and accountability process. I have always been very lucky to have a strong support structure. My family and friends, when asked and involved have always been more than willingly to help me on my path to getting healthy. They support me, compliment me, motivate and inspire me, the are also very well adept in the art of kicking my ass when I need it. FOLKS….I think it may be time for that swift kick in the ass!!! JUST SAYIN….
- Make a New Plan - Making a plan, well..it takes planning! lol This one I will give a great deal of thought to and come up with a comprehensive plan by the end of the day. (I will update my blog on that later..)
- Make New Realistic Specific Goals - I have a knack for goal setting. The really great thing is when I am motivated NOTHING stops me from achieving my goals. I guess I am stubborn that way! (ask my friends and family…) My first goal for today is to get up and move, more specifically I am going to grab my fur-babies, and a family member that wants to tag along and we are going to take a Sunday afternoon stroll! I am GOING to log and watch what I eat starting now…(as I have been eating all morning…I am ravenous…(in fact had a frozen bean and beef chimichanga with cheese and FF sour cream and taco sauce before I started this blog!) because the steroids make me want to eat everything in sight, if I must eat or snack it will be healthy and appropriate portions.
- BE POSITIVE - Out of all of these, this step is really the most important! But I am already ahead of the game…on Jan 1 I started a gratitude blog, a 365 days of good project, and the January Moments that Matter Instagram picture journal Event. All of these are great projects that forces you to see the good and positive things in your life. Its only been 20 days since I began these projects but I am already better for it. Participating in these activities makes me appreciate life and all the wonderful, positive things it has to offer. I think my favorite is the gratitude blog. Gratitude is so powerful, it is diagnostic, curative, and humbling.
Now that I have written a book here, I should wrap up.I think the moral to this story is everyone is human, including myself! We are wonderfully imperfect and fallible. No matter how imperfect we are or how many times we fall…with intention, determination, and motivation we can get up…dust ourselves off…get back on that proverbial horse and ride again!