Staying Alive and Getting Healthy
My family hasn’t had a great history of health. My uncle, grand pa, and my dad all died of complications: the first two were heart issues I believe, and my dad died of liver cancer (he didn’t even drink). All were either diabetic or non-diagnosed. They had high blood pressure. Dad had depression and Parkinson’s and eventually dementia encephalopathy. I am (at the time of this writing) 29 years old, I have the potential for all the above in my genetics, but so far I’m dealing with diabetes type II, depression, sleep apnea, and relatively high blood pressure.
So here’s the thing – right now, I have a girlfriend and I care about her very much. I enjoy my life, and I want it to last as long as I can. Not just for her, but for me. So I decided to make some life changes to improve my quality of life and take care of myself.
The first thing I did (because I’m a nerd) was to decide that I needed to get organized. I created a Google Site (because they’re easy and I don’t care how it looks or whatever – it was just for me, not a public audience) and I listed out all my major goals. Then I listed out major projects (like my bathroom renovation). I listed out my short-term to-do list (cleaning, chores, things that helped with either major goals or projects). Then I made a shopping list for groceries, household items, and miscellany. They all contribute to my household or personal goals (including getting healthier).
Next, I went grocery shopping, both because we needed some more of “the basics” and because I needed to make healthier decisions about what to eat. I bought a ton of produce for salads, fruit for snacking, and granola cereal and granola bars. It was refreshing just skipping all the nutritional labels of supposed health foods and low-fat delicacies. I decided that I am going to prepare fresher stuff and eat way better.
Day one went pretty well – I ate Kashi GoLean honey almond flax granola cereal, drank raspberry lemonade Crystal Light singles. I ate on that granola for like an hour. It was tasty and filling – the honey and flax really save it from tasting like you’re just eating tree bark. I also drank a diet green tea. I bought gum to chew to get me past the desire to drink a lot of sodas. It works for people trying to quit other things, and I think my main thing is I get thirsty a lot and I’m addicted to caffeine.
I don’t get a good night’s rest most nights, so in the morning I want a diet soda to wake me up. Problem is, after I’m awake I am still thirsty all day (diabetes) so I want another soda, and another… and I end up having too much caffeine or I get a headache. So another of my goals is to quit sodas (and maybe eventually cut most caffeine out). The thing is, there are other diet sodas (orange, Dr. Pepper, etc.), and even a Crystal Light singles flavor with caffeine, but even if it’s “not that bad for you” it’s still processed, still has caffeine, and I don’t want to trade one demon for another. First thing’s first then – a cup of coffee in the morning for the caffeine I need (for now), and then water or non-soda drinks the rest of the day.
I went 38 hours without a soda till I screwed up last night. I went to a mexican restaurant for dinner with friends (per our tradition) and I did research about what would be my healthiest options, and settled that I would either order a few chicken tacos or burritos. I ordered the burritos and what I got in essence were two overgrown chicken enchiladas. They were covered in sauce, a thin layer of some sort of cheese, and then inside the burrito was the chicken. You couldn’t pick it up with your hands, you had to eat it with a fork. This was not the healthy option with chicken, rice, and beans I was hoping for here. I ate it anyway and I didn’t feel gross after; it was satisfying. Late that night after playing dominoes, hanging out with friends smoking molasses shisha from a hookah (certainly not a healthy activity, but not a terrible one either) we decided on a Taco Bell run, and without even thinking I ordered two potato burritos and a diet Pepsi. Why? Because it’s one of two go-to combinations I always order there. I forgot about my new healthy decisions policy until after I had already ordered. Oh well – I messed up, but I ate it anyway because I had paid for it.
I’m not beating myself up, I don’t feel guilty – I am just acknowledging that it was a mistake and that I need to be more aware of my unconscious decisions and mindless eating. Today I’m keeping on where I left off – a cup of coffee, blueberry juice (for anti-oxidants, and to offset the coffee’s warmth), and I added some bananas to my Kashi granola cereal. I finished all that up with a stick of 5 gum (Solstice flavor, kind of a combination spearmint and spicy taste, sugar-free) and will need to get some water in me soon. That is my other healthy eating goal, I need to start drinking my recommended 8 glasses (is that still the recommendation?) and exercise more.
So, hopefully I’ll start updating here a lot more now that I have some new goals. I said initially I wasn’t sure what I’d blog about here, but it will mostly be my life. I don’t know that it’ll be tech-related stuff, but since I like technology that’ll probably come up often too. And healthy stuff. And probably some recipes – the other night I made sashimi tuna steaks with stuffed mushroom caps and my girlfriend used the term “foodgasm.” I am working on a project still in the development stages called “Lazy Ass TV.” More on that as I get it going.