Saturday, February 25, 2012

Redefining Health

Over the past few months, my meaning of health and fitness has come into question a great deal.  In my opinion, I was healthy.  I ran, I ate "right," and was a suitable weight.  I did not restrict my food, ate a sizable amount, and exercised to "optimal" fitness.  I ate a good combination of foods and gave my body what it needed.  To me, healthy meant balance- ice-cream when I wanted it, Chobani other times.  Fruits and veggies and proteins too came into play.  I just did not worry much about it.   I was happy & healthy, or so I thought...

 Vegas Half Marathon December 2011

Ever since that first doctor told me to sit on the couch and eat french fries, my definition of health has come into question.  The more I read and the more people I talk to, I realize that this doctor might have been getting at something.  Interpreted a different way he could have said (and probably did but I was not listening) you need to eat more fats, gain a bit more weight and body fat, and let your body rest more.   From that vantage point, it does not sound too bad, but what it could mean for me and for many other women struggling with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA) is drastic changes to life as we know it.  Put simply it seems to mean...

Instead of running for hours on end, restrict your workouts to 30 minutes a day, 5 days max and that does not mean 30 minutes of speed work.  Instead do pilates, yoga, take a stroll in the park, go on a Slllloooowwww jog.  

Flying while running, no go. Take it down a notch..

You may be at a healthy weight, but what is another few pounds - Eat more and not just anything, include the F word, FAT (and proteins too)!  Don't forget more cholesterol.  Hormones need them to grow.  You can eat healthy fats & proteins- peanut butter, almonds, salmon, olive oil, avocado.  Also you might want to try some whole milk products - real ice-cream, fat-filled yogurts - you know the drill.  Don't be shy about eating a hamburger and french fries or some pizza.  It is good for you.

Yup, there is an Oreo in my Chocolate Chip cookie, because why the hell not!

Relax!!! Stop trying to DO, DO, DO.  Don't control everything.  Just relax and things will happen.

Who me, a control freak? No, I am just running for fun...

And maybe my personal favorite, 48 hours before ultra-sounds make sure you cut out anything you remotely used to think was healthy - nothing with fiber including fruits, veggies, whole grains, cereals, nuts, you name it. 

Poptart for snack because the only other non-Whole Grain thing we seem to own involve previously mentioned cookies and because Poptarts are good people, really. 

So reading this over, I know the above sounds a bit cynical but I think it also displays my feelings and mood and  I try to keep it pretty real here so  I decided to just leave it as is.

I have been struggling over the past few days to find my happy medium and to redefine health.  I am determined to take HA by storm and to beat this thing.  I am, at this point, prepared to sit on my butt and eat French Fries because french fries rock people and you know it.  Right now, that is what I am doing until my next ultrasound on Monday.  No working out. At All.

However, my nutritionist has told me that it is ok for me to do the light 30 minute workouts and that if I am not hungry, that I can eat less and not gain weight as that is for women who are underweight while I am not.  I have been doing a lot of researching, talking with others, and thinking and I am just not sure.  I always want to do the right thing and make the right decision.  I always want control.  People have given me their opinions and have mentioned that even at a healthy weight and BMI, that I may and they too have needed to gain.  It just seems so...up in the air.  Everyone is pretty much in favor of the light workouts but I am still not 100%.  I know I need to not over think this and RELAX, but alas I find myself ruminating about what the correct path is for me only to once again realize there is not one correct path.

In the meantime,  I am contemplating the idea of these 30 minute workouts.  Gone are the days of speed workouts and hills, of training plans, and long runs.  This is very hard for me and it is very sad.  But it is only temporary and I - Will - Be - Back!  Instead, I spent sometime today on Netflix finding some good workout videos to try...

I am setting the mood

I am also thinking about some walking or running at a slow pace with Aaron.  I am not going to make a schedule.  I am just going to go day by day and do what my body wants.  This is scary for me.  I like my schedule, I like having a plan and checking it off, but I have got to work on this re-liquishing control thing anyway, why not start here.  I am also going to try and trust my body on this whole food thing.  Intuitive eating has never been something I am very good at.  I have a plan, I stick to it.  I add calories for running and that is that.  We do not truly know if I really need to gain or not, but more fats and proteins will not hurt.  So I am going to stick on my normal plan and not shy away from that carton of ice-cream or extra cookie.  I am going to try and eat intuitively and honor my hunger.  Again, this is scary for me.  But it is well worth it.

Or I will just keep eating at Robin's house and she will take care of this for me

Is all of this what many would consider healthy?  Not in the world I am used to.  This is very much counter to all I know, but in some ways maybe it is not so different.   This is just what is healthy for me right now and that is O.K.  So I will try to stay true to myself, honor my body, and remember my goals as we march forward.
Aaron is running his 4th race ever tomorrow. I am determined to be the best cheerleader possible!

Have you ever had to redefine your meaning of health or slow down your training?  How did you do it?

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