Health, Life

Vices….You Know I Love ‘Em…

BeetlejuiceBeetlejuice is one of my vices. Hence the title for anyone in the know on the cartoon and the several sayings the fun-loving poltergeist has.

But that vice pales in comparison to the few that I face on a daily basis. There’s nothing harmful about indulging in childhood nostalgia through your favorite cartoons. The other vices, however…on the level of one to ten, one being no fun and ten being a world of good times…I’m going to rank them a big fat zero.

Such vices prompted a discussion with my sister two weeks ago. Since losing my job, my health has steadily declined. I recognize what happened and I’m not ashamed that it did. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. I’m a little ashamed that it did. But, the mild depression I faced is entirely normal and expected when one’s world is turned entirely upside down in a matter of minutes.

Be that as it may, with my weight pushing higher than it ever has before and my arrhythmia out of control to the point that I feared not waking up some mornings, I decided that something had to be done. And not in the way I normally do, where I make a big public show of my decision, then cheat because no one knows I’m doing it.

I realize that the arrhythmia I’m dealing with has a lot to do with stress and anxiety. I’m prone to stress and anxiety – two very debilitating things. But I know that, paired with unhealthy eating habits, smoking and indulging in a whiskey diet more than once over the weekend as I normally do has made the situation so much worse. And so much more terrifying.

So, I stopped to see my sister and hash out some of the issues that I was having. She works for a chiropractor and in one of the back rooms, there is a wall lined with shelves, all housing bottles and boxes filled with natural remedies. I was looking for Magnesium because I dug a bit and found that sometimes arrhythmia is caused by a lack of Magnesium. Instead, my sister hands me the most vile, wretched tasting filth she can get her hands on. Liquid Saint John’s Wort Kava. If you haven’t tried this at all but are thinking about it, be prepared to know what acid dirt tastes like. I’m not exaggerating…it’s that bad.

But my moods needed balancing and after conducting this bizarre muscle test to determine what would work best with my situation, she handed me the St. John’s and said, “start with this.”

That was one of many drastic changes I’ve chosen to make with my life.

Every bit of candy now officially rests at the bottom of a garbage bag in a dumpster. The kiddos are unaware of this and I intend to keep it that way. One visit to the dentists resulting in both girls having cavities and this was the obvious route to take.

Grapes, oranges, bananas and fresh vegetables have taken their place. Though I have no intention of preaching on the importance of eating well and living a healthy lifestyle, I am going to give it an honest effort, not just for myself but for my children. They need me here as much as I need them here.

The other vices – stress and anxiety – I’m going to face head on, starting by acknowledging them. These are two very crippling disorders that I’ve allowed to manipulate my life a little too much. Granted, the level of both that go toe to toe with are not near the level of some who suffer daily in ways I can’t even imagine, but anyone who has faced down these diseases knows they are no fun to deal with in any form.

The one thing they have kept me from doing is accomplishing my dream of becoming a writer. Too many “what if’s” enter the scenario when it comes to sitting down in front of a document and staring at the blank pages before me and eventually, instead of writing from my heart, I start trying to twist my writing to what I feel the world wants to see. I start attempting to make things too flowery, to push my writing to the standards of some that I’ve seen along my journey who make poetry effortlessly with their words, who paint scenes that you can step into and feel as if you’re right there with the protagonist of the story. I’m not that person though. My writing style is not their writing style and allowing myself to feel anxiety over this is allowing myself to fail.

I was instructed, quite adamantly, by my mother that I just needed to sit down and write one page a day. Good or bad…one page. I’ve been instructed by others. A good friend of mine has probably been close to wanting to strangle me once or a million times over the fact that I consistently stall out in making serious advances towards my writing career. Sorry Mary. I love you!

So it’s a one step process, I’ve decided – this healthier, less anxiety-ridden me. One blog post a week, one page a day, one workout a day, one day-long battle with the temptation to drown myself in carbs and sugar….one foot in front of the other.

Two weeks in and it’s been difficult at times. I try not to give into the temptation to eat what the girls are eating and stick to my meal replacement shakes to get my weight under control. I make serious attempts at accountability with Myfitnesspal by logging everything…and honestly. That’s the tricky part, isn’t it? Being 100% honest about the nutrition choices you’re making and entering them in for your daily calorie intake?

The past couple of days have been particularly hard and I’ve given up on shakes and opted for things like scrambled eggs with mozzarella, chives and spinach. Yesterday it was a margarita pizza for lunch. The smoking…ugh, that’s a struggle that seems to get me every time. You’d think that with that healthy dose of fear lingering in the back of my mind, I’d be more mindful of that one. I think that goes at the top of my “hard vices to kick” list.

But even with the difficulty staying on course with my diet, I’ve cut way back on alcoholic beverages having only indulged in a cold beer with the in-laws after a hard day of yard work and I’ve given up on a majority of the sweets I continually gravitated towards. I’ve been taking my acid dirt in the mornings and finishing my evenings with multi-vitamins, Fish Oil and Magnesium and the arrhythmia at least has nearly disappeared.

I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a long road and the results won’t be immediate. I won’t be cured of anxiety and stress overnight. I wont drop 20 pounds in a week. But I won’t get close to doing that either if I don’t make the changes I need to make so that it will.

So here’s to pulling my head out of my you-know-where and making this work for once. I’ll let you guys know how it goes. Hopefully well. And now…I have a page to write. That novel won’t write itself!

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