The results are in

Earlier in September, I went to a primary care physician for a routine physical.  A little tummy mashing, some stethoscope action, and the typical slew of questions about my smoking and drinking habits.  I also had some blood work done, despite my extreme aversion to seeing my blood outside of my body.  (It simply isn’t natural to watch your blood leave your body.)  The doctor had no major concerns during the visit, supported my idea that it was probably time to start seeing a dermatologist since I rarely use sunblock, and sent me on my merry way.  Then, the blood work came back.

Long story short:  I am pre-diabetic and my fats – particularly the triglycerides – are thru the roof.  At 30 (hell, I’m basically 31), the news hit me like a sucker punch from behind.  I think it also hit me hard because of my recent girls’ trip.  We were all sitting around as everyone talked about upcoming mud runs and expanding families.  You take for granted the fact that you can do those things.  The prospect of having a child is terrifying enough.  And even though we haven’t decided if we will have children or not, my blood work doesn’t make me feel that I am well equipped for the task.  (Being a woman is tough.  I have guilt over being a bad mother before I have even decided to be a mother.  Geesh.)  

So, what did I do?  Honestly, I had a glass of wine.  After feeling sorry for myself and asking how did this happen, I made an appointment to see a nutritionist to figure out how I could rectify the damage I have done.  Thankfully, I am able to see the nutritionist that works at Williamsburg Landing without a fee.  And she is phenomenal.  She reviewed the lab results with me, asked me about my current diet and habits, and helped me to understand how precise I need to be with what I put in my body.  With a grandmother that had a heart attack and is now facing diabetes, a father that is working on better controlling his blood pressure, and a mother that may be riddled with complications we will never know about because she stays away from the doctor, I’m not sure I can afford to take this lightly.  Besides, I work with older adults on a (near) daily basis.  I know firsthand the consequences of the neglect we enforce on our bodies.

I have a deadline of January 16 to get my blood work back within normal range.  My nutritionist believes that is plenty of time to make some changes and see some results.  The other option is to start taking medications to resolve a problem that I could potentially solve myself.  I’m hoping for the former option.  The plan is as follows:

  1. A goal of 10,000 steps a day – which is going to require some conscious effort during the work day to go for short walks.
  2. Working on my portions that the nutritionist and I discussed in a way that is conscious without being neurotic.  Because, to put it frankly, I am always about three steps away from being a full blown mess.  The nutritionist started out giving me exact percentages of how many grams should come from each macronutrient.  She could tell immediately that my personality would not allow me to guess at this.  I would be doing complicated (to me) math during every meal to calculate said percentages.  So, she backed up and we talked more about being aware of my food and using this awareness to develop mindfulness and intent during meal times.  This allows me to put down the calculator while still accomplishing the goal of better eating.
  3. Work on stress management.  I eat when I’m stressed, and I’m not reaching for the celery.  I found a coloring book that Bonnie gifted me a birthday or two ago and I’ve really enjoyed taking and editing pictures.  Might be time to really focus on those for the sake of sanity and my waist line.
  4. Dig deep for the real motivation.  I can find a million reasons why I should do it for my husband and any hypothetical children.  I’ve even written down reasons why I should do it for the dogs.  I’m a decent enough social worker to know that I’ve got to find the reasons why I should do it for myself.  I’ve stumbled upon Lara Casey’s Powersheets – I’m tempted to give them a try.  If you already have, let me know!
  5. Did you know that drinking causes our triglycerides to go up?!  That being said, I’m going to try out a sober life for a bit.  Health issues aside, I think it will be a  good experiment for me.  If I’m out with you, please respect that I’m making changes for the sake of improvement.  If I decline a beer, just shrug it off.  And don’t run around behind my back spreading rumors that I am pregnant.  Aside from the fact that such behavior is obnoxious, it probably won’t be true.  

 

I think those are enough goals.  I am 100% the gal that loads up on new goals and expectations only to find that the regular weight of life is heavy enough without loading up on additional habits.  I will  blog about these changes (as much as can be expected given my track record with consistently blogging) as they happen.  I’m also giving myself an automatic pass until 2018.  With puppies and holidays, our lives have enough going on without me signing up for half-marathons (just kidding – I hate running) or dedicating myself to a month long yoga challenge.  I can focus on the food and the steps without giving myself a hard time for not tossing around weights in the gym.  I’ll go when I can.  I’ll practice grace when I can’t.  

britney bradley-bridals-0021.jpg
You’ve got it, girl.  (Picture by Sharon Elizabeth Photography)

6 thoughts on “The results are in

  1. Katrina Levine

    First of all…<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

    It takes a lot of courage to admit our problems and weaknesses. It can be hard to admit we don't have it all together or figured out. I commend you so much for having the strength to share your struggles with the rest of the world.

    Also know that you are not alone. Although I don't know my lab values, I do know that I struggle (as I'm sure many others out there do too) with some very similar problems and weaknesses. But know that there are SOOOO many people in this world that love and care about you, and surrounding yourself with those people who can help and support you will make it so much easier. (I'm happy to be one of those people – let's talk more often!)

    I also commend you for not trying to be someone you aren't. Goals are a lot better to reach a little bit at a time and when they're actually realistic for who you are. Be active in ways that make you feel good. Don't take away all the foods you love and replace them with foods you dislike. Still enjoy some of those foods less often, and savor them like hell when you do enjoy them.

    And every little bit counts, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, when reaching your goals. One less handful of Halloween candy, a dozen more steps to the car or one more fitness class this week, an hour more sleep at night…they add up over time, and help you re-define your new "normal" (less sweets, more activity, more sleep, etc). Think about it in the sense that YOU are the one who has control over what you do. YOU make choices every day, and although we like to blame it on habit or being tired or "just not feeling like being 'good' today", really it all boils down to a simple "yes" or "no" question – and you are the one that controls the answer. You are POWERFUL.

    Some argue that we "fall off the wagon" because of lack of willpower, but I'm of the belief that it's not willpower, but how we make choices and form habits that really affects our behavior. So many people have the will to change, but never do, and it's because they let habits and patterns take over their choices, which create their behavior. By focusing on each decision and taking a moment to pause or think before we do something – like grab the bag of chips from the cabinet to snack on while watching TV or go or usual route back home instead of heading to the gym – that moment while we're mentally making a decision is what matters. If it helps, even answer your question out loud to yourself like it's a commitment. Are you going to open the bag of chips? "NO." Are you going to head to the gym even though you're a little tired? "YES."

    And finally, I like how you go back to your reasons and motivations. We can make our life choices for others, but in the end we're still making them for ourselves. To be the best people we can be – wives or husbands, fathers or mothers, daughters or sons, employees, etc, we first have to take care of ourselves. My mom reminds me of this often, and I'm fortunate that my employer is also very understanding of this. It benefits neither ourselves nor those we interact with if we're not well.

    Life is a balance, and the struggle is real. Being sober is tough, but I promise it gets better after the first month (I've been sober for about 2 and a half months now). It gets easier to say no to the things that aren't good for us and yes to the things that are good for us (food, drink, stressful situations, not getting enough sleep, etc.) the more you practice. And I KNOW you can do it, because we've all seen you reach so many of your goals and I'm completely confident that you can do anything you set your mind to.

    Clearly this topic impacted me so much that I wrote this giant post, but I'm going to stop now before I get too out of hand. But know that I love you and am always here if you want to talk (I'm happy to just listen, or share thoughts if you want more haha). I'm also considering the lost art of letter writing as well (thanks to inspiration from you and Rachel Outlaw).

    Your friend always,
    "The healthiest sick person you've ever met"

    Like

    1. wigginsbritney

      Aw, thank you Kit Kat! The support is much needed and much appreciated! I’m feeling pretty confident right now about things. I have had TWO instances in the past 24 hours in which I was encouraged to approach life from the perspective of growth and patience. One woman suggested that we envision our lives like a garden – the results are not immediate and require patience, love, work, and focus. Some of the plants in the garden will die and that is okay. The real reward comes when everything begins to bloom and produce flowers or food. And when winter comes, the flowers will go away and you have to put in the same work and love all over again. Life is basically a series of seasons. You can’t rush through life expecting immediate gratification (something our generation struggles with). I don’t expect that I will be a pro at accomplishing all of my goals at once. And I don’t expect miracle results for my blood work. I only expect improvement, even amidst the moments of failure. Some weeks the improvement will be small and other weeks it will be great. And some weeks I might not take a single step forward. It is all okay. I’m going to work to embrace whatever “season” I am in. Today, I’m in the season of hope and recovery – maybe a bit of winter and a bit of spring. Going to give myself some love the next few months as I start making some small changes.

      and I would love a piece of snail mail from you 🙂

      Like

  2. Opal

    Britney , I know you can beat this! It sounds terrible now but with just a few lifestyle changes you will be fine! My daughter has same problem and has found out she feels so much better leaving off “sweets”. That is about only thing she changed to keep her sugar level normal. Thank goodness I just had my physical and everything was well in normal range. Thinking of you and love you!!!! Tell Brad hello!

    Like

    1. wigginsbritney

      Thank you, Opal! I am pretty optimistic that some simple changes will make a BIG difference. Doesn’t hurt that I have an incredibly supportive husband 🙂 I will make sure to tell Bradley that you send your love!

      Like

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