Sometimes admitting that something isn’t working is just as difficult as changing it.
I’ve been pretending to myself that my eating habits are really healthy. They aren’t horrible, but when I look at them honestly, they aren’t what they should be.
I don’t eat enough.
I don’t eat regularly or frequently enough.
What I do eat often isn’t substantial.
It doesn’t take much for me to lose my appetite. Pain, fatigue and stress (and probably my meds) all make me nauseous. When I’m tired after work, I'd rather just curl up on the couch than make myself something healthy to eat. If I’m queasy, I might have a few crackers, drink a cup of tea and feel so full all I want to do is sleep. And with HCM, eating often makes me tachycardic and breathless. Last night I was exhausted and in pain. I ate a few whole-grain tortilla chips (still full of sodium, I know), made a tiny bit of guacamole that I didn’t finish because I felt sick, and called it dinner. My Mom would have flipped out.
Two years ago my rheumatologist told me to gain ten pounds, so I did. I thought I’d feel stronger, but I don’t. I’ve been patting myself on the back for eating a healthy diet, but the improvements I’ve made haven’t been far-reaching or consistent enough to make a difference to the way I feel.
Changing this isn’t going to be easy or comfortable. I have to dismantle the way I shop, the way I work, the amount of rest I get, the way I structure my evenings. I have to do all these things EVEN WHEN I’d prefer to collapse on the couch. And I know it's a cycle. Not eating because I don't have any energy isn't going to give me more energy.
Sometimes, for me at least, RA is a very tempting excuse. A part of me thinks about all of this effort and wants to say, “I can’t do that! I’m too tired and sore. Not my fault.” But if that’s what I’m going to do, I could come up with a million excuses. None of them are good enough to justify not feeding myself properly.
I don't expect this to magically get better when I'm in law school. I need to make some big changes before then, and it’s going to take a lot of thinking. What do you do when you want to overhaul an area of your life?
I need to:
Get a handle on my nausea. Somehow.
Do a better job of planning my shopping.
Get better at cooking for one by cutting down recipes or by planning portions to last throughout the week.
Eat at regular intervals throughout the day.
Eat food that is nutrient-rich.
Eat more protein!
This is going to be a lot of work.