Did you happen to notice my workouts for the week in this morning’s post? They’re a lot less intense than usual, right? Well, it’s because I’m taking it easy to give my body a little rest and also because I think the intensity of some of my workouts is preventing me from fully healing. Even after 11 days of steroids, I’m still not 100%, so I’m hoping that giving my body a break will do the trick. (I talked to my doctor on Friday, and she said it sometimes takes time for steroids to work their magic, so I just need to be patient.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about why it’s taken me so long to kick this flare, which, frankly, is child’s play compared to my previous two, but never-ending and scary none the less. This whole time I’ve been looking for a nutritional solution to my colitis issues, but I now realize it’s not just one thing that is making me flare. It’s a whole bunch of things—a lifestyle problem—that I need to address, so I’m taking it down a notch with my workouts and trying to manage the other stresses in my life.
I’m really glad I’ve made changes to my diet (I have so much ENERGY nowadays!) because nutrition is an important piece of good health, but it’s not the only piece. In the Balanced Bites podcast that I listened to last week, Chris Kresser said the number one reason his patients don’t heal is because they’re not managing their stress. It’s not because they aren’t eating or exercising properly. Stress management is hard. It’s so much easier to take drugs or supplements or switch up your diet than it is to change your relationship with life and deal with those feelings. Most people (myself included) tend to ignore stress because it’s so difficult to manage, but, of course, it’s essential to one’s health.
Here’s an explanation from the Whole9 website:
We think of each individual’s health status like a “bank account”, to and from which you make deposits and withdrawals. Like a bank account, your Health Balance is a product of Credits minus Debits. If you make more frequent (or larger) deposits than withdrawals, you accumulate “Health Wealth”. And, hopefully not to take this analogy too far, that Wealth pays dividends down the road. Conversely, if you overextend your resources (withdrawing more than you’re depositing), you’ll find yourself in the red – “Health Debt”. Think about overdrafting your bank account – you can continue spending for a while, but at some point, you simply can’t spend any more, because there’s nothing left in the bank. (Needless to say, that scenario stinks.)
Basically, you want to keep your “bank account” in the black with more “credits” of good healthy things than “debits” of things that stress you out and don’t allow your body to fully heal and recover.
Examples of credits:
- Proper nutrition
- Mobility work
Examples of debits:
- High-intensity training
- Job-related stress
- Family/marital stress
- Anxiety and phobias
- Low self-esteem
Melissa and Dallas go into great detail and give a number of examples (<— very helpful) on the Whole9 website to further explain their “Health Equation,” but how much you can withdraw from your bank account depends on the size and frequency of your credits. So, for me, this means I can still partake in high-intensity workouts, but not as frequently as I used to and, when I do, I’ll need to incorporate proper recovery, sleep, nutrition, and, of course, manage the other stresses in my life to keep myself happy and healthy.
I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy for me to get to this point. Obviously, I want to get better, so I was all about making changes to improve my health, but I completely overlooked and undervalued a number of stresses in my life (intense exercise included). And, honestly, it was easier to make changes to my diet as a solution than consider the whole picture and deal with the tough stuff. The Whole9 Health Equation has really prompted some honest introspection and a good, hard look at my current lifestyle, so, hopefully, I’m in a better place now and on my way to good health soon.
Yesterday’s lunch was one of my favorite new combos: chicken + avocado.
It’s pretty much chicken salad, but instead of mayo, I use mashed avocado (+ salt and pepper), and it’s so delicious. I actually like this combo a lot more than regular chicken salad.
On the side, I had some red grapes.
Under the chicken salad is steamed spinach.
Health News & Views
After a workout, I know it’s important to eat something within 30 minutes to jump-start the recovery process, so I often bring along a snack to consume immediately after my sweat session. Protein helps to build and repair muscles and potassium balances electrolytes and fluids. I often stock my kitchen with a variety of healthy foods, so I always have a grab-and-go option when it comes to post-workout snacks. Here are some of my favorites!
Question of the Day
Has stress (mental or physical) ever negatively affected your health? How did/do you deal?