CF Wellness Boot Camp – Prepare!
A main reason people fail with New Year’s Resolutions and other heartfelt promises to themselves is they don’t prepare! You can’t just wake up one day after never eating properly a day in your life, say, “I will now eat a healthy diet” and expect to succeed. It’s just not that simple, as my favorite pathology professor used to say.
First, you really need to figure out why you want to eat better, and find motivators that will be there for you when your resolve wanes. Then, you need to actually LEARN what is healthy to eat. You also need to get some support with your new resolve. Maybe you’ll find a friend to make this change with you, or at least someone who will support you in your endeavor. You also need to plan ahead what you will do when the usual unhealthy temptations are in front of you, or when you have minimal time to cook. Then you will need to shop for healthy food, right? You’ll make a list, and just do it. It would also be helpful if you got rid of all of the unhealthy food in your house. Why keep it? Lastly, you will want to set some reasonable goals around your eating if you want to succeed. It is much more likely that you will achieve your goal of eating a healthy diet if you start small, with easily achievable steps, and then build on those successes.
ALL of these things need to happen before you take your first bite of fresh organic baby greens.
So let’s begin by gathering what you’ll need for the next three weeks. First, you need a journal, or something to write in. You also need a pair of comfortable walking/jogging shoes, and an exercise mat or towel to do some light stretching exercises (I am assuming that after reading the last post, you will be convinced that some daily exercise should be one of your daily activities). An inexpensive pedometer would be nice (one that just counts steps…it is not necessary that it talk to you or calculate your exact longitude and latitude). And, finally, internet access will be helpful for some of the activities that I will ask you to do.
The following pieces of exercise equipment will be extremely helpful if you plan on following the exercise instructions demonstrated on the YouTube channel as part of your Action Plan:
Stability ball: (usually 65 cm is a good size, if you are 5 ft or less, go with 55 cm; 5’7 (how did you get to be that tall?) or up, go with 75 cm).
Resistance tubing with handles: You can find this at any sporting good store. Try to get at least one tube with very easy resistance and one with medium resistance (they are color coded…just look at the packaging to get the right colors). If you are strong, and money isn’t a huge issue, get the hard resistance, too, or buy some dumbbells.
That’s it! You don’t need the Bean, or Perfect Push-Ups, or an expensive gym membership. You can do all the exercises in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Finally, and probably most importantly, what you will need is an attitude of pure curiosity. Can I feel better? Could this really help? I wonder what would happen if I really did everything she says for the whole three weeks?
Here is what you DON’T need, and what you should put far, far away for the next three weeks:
You know who they are. These are the people in your life who can’t seem to think a positive thought. Sometimes, these are the people who let us get away with feeling like “victims of CF.” Don’t let anyone sway you from taking care of yourself for the next three weeks, and just see what happens.
The idea that “nothing you do can help.”
Sometimes, we are our own worst “naysayer.” There is plenty you can do to feel better. No, this program isn’t likely going to change your pulmonary function test results, but if you take it seriously, you might improve your attitude and enjoyment of the life you do have.
Junk and fast food.
Let’s just put this stuff away for three weeks. I know you need calories. I am not saying, “don’t eat food.” I am saying, try to find and eat healthy food only, for just three weeks. Be curious, and see if you can imagine your body as an infant, and you as the mother/father. You wouldn’t feed an infant french fries…or sugar laden soft drinks…or Twinkies. You would feed him/her what nature intended for the baby to eat. Think hard about this…what do you think is “natural” about KFC? Cheetos? Whoppers? For just three weeks, as an experiment, eat whole foods…as they are found in nature. Max out on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, lean sources of protein, healthy sources of fat (olive oil, avocados, more nuts and nut butters) and fresh water. Just make sure to eat early, eat healthy, eat often, and eat a lot!
Internet boards that are full of pessimists
Why waste the energy?
Negative/violent television and radio
Again, why waste the energy paying attention to negative garbage?
Here comes the pep talk. You only get one body. I know…yours is a bit challenging to take care of, but it’s still all you’ve got. It’s easy (I’ve been there) to believe that this body of yours is defined by the fact that your CFTR protein doesn’t work that well (or at all). One gene out of about 30,000 is messed up. Yes, I know…that one stupid gene can create a lot of havoc. But many, many things still work quite well. While there is much we cannot control about having CF, there is still much we can control in how we respond to our CF. This is what this program is about.
Finally, you need to let your MD know that you are doing this 21-day program, which will (hopefully) include some exercise and healthful dietary changes. I won’t be asking you to change any medications or take any weird herbs or do high colonics. The most radical exercise will likely be a guided meditation or two. My guess is that she/he will be all for it, but it is always smart to be on the same page with your medical team.