Tag Archives: Exercise

What Would It Take for Me to Be in Optimal Physical Health?

Yesterday marked one year since the start of my weight loss journey. At the time, I’d set myself a goal of having a BMI under 30 in a year, which would mean I’d lost approximately 10kg. Well, I reached that goal last January, maintained it for a few months and gained weight again this past month. I’m now almost where I was last December. I need to lose 2kg to be at a BMI under 30.

I originally intended to write a post about my weight loss attempts and how I’d been doing. That got rather boring. I didn’t reach my goal, but I got close. As my husband says, I got an 80% on my weight loss exam.

Rather than boring you with my weight loss stats, I want to write about my physical health as a whole. I picked up the 24-day whole health journaling challenge from Mari L. McCarthy again. I started this challenge several years ago, but never finished it. One of the exercises at the beginning of the challenge is to write out what comes to mind when you think of your ideal physical well-being or balance. Here goes.

If I’m in optimal physical health, I’ll wake up rested each morning after sleeping eight to nine hours a night. This means I’ll have a good quality of sleep, which also hopefully means I won’t snore anymore. I won’t sleep during the day and will not sleep more than ten hours on the week-end.

I’ll eat a balanced diet. I am allowed to enjoy salty snacks or sweets once in a while, but mostly will snack on vegetables and fruits. I will drink at least two liters of water each day. If needed, I’ll take my Metamucil for constipation, but I hope to manage that with diet and exercise. I will find out what foods trigger my irritable bowel syndrome. As a result, I’ll not feel bloated or get bowel cramsp anymore. I will also not get acid reflux anymore. I can manage this with medication, but I’ll also practise slower eating.

Once in optimal health, I am able to walk for 5km without getting exhausted. I will reach my Fitbit’s recommended daily step goal (10,000 steps) a few times a week through regular walks and other exercise. I will go on the elliptical for at least 25 minutes five days a week. I’ll also do weight lifting exercises three days a week. I’ll steadily increase my weight bearing ability.

In summary, to reach optimal physical health, I’ll eat healthfully, exercise regularly and practise good sleep habits. This will help me feel energized and fit and lessen my physical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and reflux.

Seven Things to Do More Often

Seriously, I’ve been wanting to write more often. Writing helps me, or it used to. Also, it’s not that I’m uninspired. A dozen ideas to write on float through my mind, but once I sit down to actually blog, it seems all pointless. Today I feel relatively well mood-wise, so I’m just forcing myself to write. I am choosing to write for Mama’s Losin’ It’s Writer’s Workshop on the prompt of seven things to do more often. There is also a prompt to write on seven things to do less often, but I couldn’t think of that many things to do less frequently.

1. Write. This I explained above already. Writing used to be a way of helping me process stuff and at the same time a way of distracting me from my depressive thoughts. Now already for nearly two years, I seem unable to write as often as I used to. Whether depressive symptoms are the cause or the effect, I do not know.

2. Move. Last week, I finally bought myself a Fitbit activity tracker. It’s a cool gadget, but so far, I’ve not been able to get moving nearly enough to meet the recommended targets. For example, I average about 3000 steps a day, while 10000 is recommended.

I don’t think my depressed mood is the reason I’m not moving. I just don’t think I can find the opportunity to. I mean, I shouldn’t go running up and down the stairs for fun, should I? And since I can’t leave the house without assistance, going for a walk is rather hard. The weather lately obviously hasn’t helped, as it’s freezing and feels even coldre. I hope that, once the temperature rises, I can get my support workers to take me on some walks again.

3. Meditate. I have two meditation apps on my iPhone but havent’used them in weeks. I really would like to practise mindfulness more.

4. Do sensory-friendly activities, like melting a wax melt or listening to soothing music.

5. Read. I don’t just mean books, but blogs too. I after all don’t seem to have the attention span to read a book most of the time, but I can usually read blog posts.

6. Show my love to my husband. This has been hard lately because of my depressed moods.

7. Focus on the positive. I really want to seek out emotionally positive experiences more. The above six practices will help me achieve this. If I can appreciate positive experiences for what they are, I’ll hopefully feel even better soon.

Of course, these seven things won’t magically make me feel happy, but they will help me move in that direction. Depressive symptoms and inactivity make each other worse, after all.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Finally Starting My Weight Loss Journey

On the Sunday before yesterday, I finally stepped onto the scale for the first time since leaving the institution. I had resolved for months that I’d be losing weight once home. Though I had done an okay job of not overeating, I made up for this by regular evening snacking.

I was rather scared as I went onto the scale. In the institution, I had felt nervous, but I didn’t feel like I had to compare myself to the nurses who were weighing me. My husband is at a healthy weight yet still wants to lose a little, while I am obese. I was very scared that my husband would judge me. I hoped I had lost weight, but I had not been on this particular scale in months. As it turned out, I had unfortunately gained quite a bit of weight. I was at my highest weight ever. Being shocked that I weighed nearly 80kg (176lbs), while I am only 1.53m (5ft) tall, I decided to finally lose weight. I use a journaling workbook by Mari L. McCarthy to guide me through the first month. Today’s post is an adaptation of the first jornaling exercise. It asks me to freewrite for ten minutes. I need more time to write out my thoughts on the start of my weight loss journey.

I started a food journal last Thursday. It was hard, because I really had no clue how to know whether I was consuming too many calories. Not that I meant to be too judgmental of myself. I had kept a food journal once before when I was around fourteen and all it did was depress me. Now at that time I just went on overeating like I’d done before and judged myself without actually using my findings as a starting point for change.

On Saturday, my husband showed me a site where you can see how many calories are in each product. I still don’t plan on keeping full track of my calorie intake, but it does help me become aware of which foods are healthy and which are not. For example, people believe that dried fruit is healthy, but for weight loss it definitely is not. I happened to know this one, but a few other calorie facts are surprising to me. For example, I sincierely believed gingerbread is healthy until I found out that a large slice of gingerbread contains about 150 calories. Now I know why at day activities, we can only have it once a week.

When I went onto the scale again on Saturday, I had lost 2kg. It’s probably more because I had been a bit bloated the week before, but it still gives me hope. I originally resolved to lose 10kg in a year, which would put me in the overweight rather than obese range. I hope that over the next month, I can keep these 2kg off at least and maybe even lose some more. I need to lose about a kilogram a month to reach my goal.

Besides making sure I eat less and healthier, I decided to go get my butt off the chair. On the day I started my journey, I resolved to walk for 36 minutes, which would burn the amount of calories I’d have to consume less each day to reach my goal. After 20 minutes, my right foot hurt so badly that I had to slowly walk back home. I do better on the elliptical. Last Saturday, I managed 25 minutes on it. We also went swimming a few times last week, which I love.

I really hope that this journey is going to be a mostly positive experience. There will be hard times, as I’ll no doubt be tempted to overeat again. I hope I will overcome these without giving in or giving up.

Mummy Times Two

Happy List – May 30 to June 5, 2016

I’ve been feeling extremely unmotivated to blog lately. It’s not that I don’t want to, or that there aren’t enough prompts or other ideas to get me started. I just can’t get my fingers moving and actually type that post. I don’t know whether it’s for that reason or in spite of it, but I’ve wanted to restart my Dutch website, blog or both. Of course, I’m uninpsired on that side of the language fence too. Just to get myself back into the swing of things, I’ll just write a list of things I’m happy about this week.



  • I’ve been doing okay in the exercise department. The physical therapist came to my unit on Monday to do exercise with me and I worked out some with the resistance band. On Tuesday, I went to the institution gym and did well there. I’ve also been lifting weights and working out more with the resistance band in my room. Yesterday, I went on the elliptical at home.

  • On a somewhat related note, the physical therapist measured the strength in my hands, believing my left hand would be weaker. Turned out they’re both equally strong (or weak). I didn’t ask whether my strength is much worse than normal people’s. It probably is, but for now, let’s forget that and focus on the fact that my left hand isn’t weaker than the right one.


  • On Wednesday, two student nurses from the locked ward went to the market and there was still room in their car. Since one guy ended up not wanting to go and another woman had just lost her privileges, I was the only one going. We bought fruit for my unit and the locked unit and I got some fish.

  • On Friday, my husband and I went out to buy fries and snacks. Yesterday, my husband made us tortillas. Both times, the food was great.

  • Yesterday, my husband and I went clothes shopping for me. We didn’t find what we’d hoped for, but we did find some great dresses.

  • The weather is good. We were supposed t get thunderstorms all week, but in the institution town we only got one on Tuesday. My husband did get worse thuderstorms. Over the week-end, however, we had beautiful weather at home.

  • Our cat Barry celebrated his third birthday today. My in-laws came and brought an apple pie. Barry himself got some of his favorite food.


What are you happy about this week?

A Letter to My Body

Dear body,

I am sorry. I have not been taking good care of you lately. I have not been exercising regularly, have been binge eating a lot and have slept at all the wrong moments and been awake at night.

Of course, I could blame my eating disorder and see it as something entirely separate from myself. I could blame the holiday season. I could blame the winter blues (or general blues, since I’m not sure if it’s seasonal at all) for my laziness regarding exercise, my increase in binge eating and my poor sleeping habits. Then again, that’d be avoiding my responsibility.

Sometimes, I feel as though you don’t deserve to be taken care of. I feel you’re ugly, fat and unheathy anyway. You’re fat, but at least my husband doesn’t consider you ugly and you could be a lot less healthy than you are.

Besides, right now I don’t have as poor an image of you as I had before. I like my skin feeling softer when I apply shower cream, then scrub it, then apply body butter. I particularly even like my belly, which is the part you seem to be storing most of your fat.

I want you to know there’s nothing you did to deserve me stuffing you with binge food and depriving you of the exercise and sleep you need. I’m stressed, but you didn’t cause me to be stressed. I’m slightly depressed, but you didn’t cause me to be depressed.

So I want to thank you for being relatively healthy while I don’t take as good care of you as I should. All your major functions (except for vision of course) are intact. You keep your vitamin and mineral levels okay. You haven’t developed diseases like diabetes or heart disease in spite of your obesity, caused by my lack of proper care. You are okay.

As I said, I could look at your negative attributes: your not being as fit as I’d like you to be, your causing me acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and random pains and aches. Then again, whether it’s you causing me these problems or me causing you these problems, could be debated. The thing is, I can’t change your functions without taking better care of you first.

As dialectical behavior therapy also teaches, I can’t change you witout accepting you as you are first. You are okay as you are. Now I can work on improving you.

Yours,
Astrid

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Mom's Small Victories

Mondays #BEDN

Phew, it’s November. Did I just say that? Wow! I normally hate november, but today I am just so glad that the #Write31Days challenge is over. The challenge of having to write on one topic for an entire month is huge. That being said, I loved the commitment of writing everyday. Just today, a day late, I discovered Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN). Like Blog Every Day in May (#BEDIM), this is a prompt-based challenge, but you can write on a different topic too. Today’s topic is “love Mondays”. I was unable to read the full prompt because somehow Google calendar wouldn’t let me, so I am just going to write what comes to mind.

Most people love the week-end and feel a little down on Monday, especially Monday morning. Indeed, I sometimes have a hard time transitioning from a Sunday lie-in to a Monday, at which I need to get up at whooping 8:30 AM. I know, my husband might need to get up at 5:00 AM and many more working people get up at seven, but well, for me 8:30 is early. Today, I lay in bed till I truly had to get up at 9:30 because I literally had to start physical therapy that minute. Physical therapy fr me means exercise, because my goal for it is to get into a better physical condition. Consequently, today I was up and lifting weights literally minutes after I’d been lying in bed. This is supposed to exemplify my laziness, not my stamina, FYI.

In general though, I’m not one of those people who looks forward to the week-end. Not having a day job means I don’t need to unwind from a 40-or-so-hour work week over the week-end. I find that, during the week, at least there’s some reason to get out of bed, such as day activities. In this sense, I actually like starting my week with some exercise.

Monday also means the ward is normally-staffed again, so I can usually go for walks in the afternoon. On week-ends, if I’m lucky, I can squeeze in a walk right before handover. Now yesterday and on Saturday I was able to get some nice walks with the staff, but that is very unusual.

Mondays also mean a fresh start to a new week. Of course you can make a fresh start at any moment, but a Monday (like the beginning of the month or year) feels particularly good for it. It is a good time to set weekly goals. Therefore, to finish off this post, I am going to share some goals for this week.


  • Go to the gym tomorrow. Exercise on the elliptical trainer or stationary bike at least two more times this week.

  • Write down my concerns re moving to the tiny village and discharge from the institution for my psychologist. Be well-prepared for my appointment on Wednesday.

  • Finish off my polymer clay necklace at art therapy on Thursday.

  • Decide for myself whether I want to continue my Open University course.

  • Continue to write a blog post each day.


I will also be baking apple pie tomorrow at day activities to “celebrate” the eight-year anniversary of my institutionalization. Maybe I’ll share about that tomorrow.

Blog Every Day in November badge 

Those First Five Pounds

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am quite overweight. In fact, I need to lose about 30lbs to be at a healthy BMI. Thankfully, I haven’t gained any weight in the past eighteen months, but I haven’t lost any either.

One of this week’s prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It asks me what is sabotaging my plans of losing five pounds. Though five pounds isn’t even enough to get my BMI under 30, every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. So what’s keeping me from losing those first few pounds?

Let me for once not go into the details of my disordered eating habits. I have written many times abut my tendency towards emotional eating and bingeing, but this does not seem to be the only factor keeping me from dropping those first five pounds. Of course, weihgt loss requires self-control, and this is exactly what I lack during a bingeing episode. However, doesn’t everyone have times when they lose control over themselves? Also, I’ve not binged in a few weeks and yet haven’t lost any weight. Could it not be the simple habit of eating too much over an extended period of time and not getting my butt off the chair that is truly keeping me from losing any weight?

I don’t check food labels when I get something to eat. I don’t count calories. Now I’m not advocating obsessing over calories, but some awareness is essential for weight loss. I habitually think that foods are less calorie-rich than they actually are. This doesn’t just go for binge foods like candy, where I can easily exceed 2000 calories in one binge. I was shocked one day when my husband and I went to McDonald’s for lunch and I had downed 1000 calories with what I considered a small meal. Like, a burger, small serving of fries and a small milkshake. Yes, I do know milkshakes are not healthy, but I seriously didn’t know they were that high on calories. My husband warned me that I shouldn’t eat 1000 extra calories everyday or I’d gain over 100lbs in a year. The truth is, I probably exceed the number of calories I burn by at least 500 almost everyday.

I also don’t exercise nearly enough. I get fitness-focused physical therapy once a week and go to the gym once a week for 45 minutes. That’s not enough. In addition, I should be going on the elliptical or stationary bike at least twice during the week. I did this faithfully for a while, but have been too lazy to do this lately. I do go for walks, but not as often as most people do.

Now that I review this post, it’s a miracle I am not over 200lbs already. I went to the gym this morning, so I’m not sure it’s healthy to go on the elliptical now. Then again, I didn’t disclose how much I ate today and am not going to go into detail on it either (hint: 720 calories for lunch). It’s too bad writing about weight loss won’t get me to drop those extra pounds.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Goal-Setting: July 2015

It’s July 1, so let me look back on the month of June and the goals I had for it. I will also create new goals for this month.

My first goal was to start my health psychology course and study for at least a few hours each week. Didn’t reach that goal as I am a terrible procrastinator and didn’t get to go to the educational department until mid-June. Then on my first time going there, my digital talking book player wouldn’t work, so I had to go back to the ward. I’ve been studying some last week but am not progressing nearly as fast as I’d like to.

Then I had some health goals. I did an okay job on these. I didn’t do yoga as often as I’d planned but did work out on the elliptical trainer. My husband didn’t give me weights for my birthday as he thought I wasn’t going to use them anyway. Need to buy some this month, because I did get some exercises which I can do with weights. I started physical therapy for getting fitter and have been practising quite a bit inbetween sessions.

As for my weight, I did lose almost 2kg, but it wasn’t in a healthy way. I’ve started to slip back into disordered eating behaviors, mostly purging. I did write a pro/con list on my eating disorder, but found way more pros than cons. Like, I know purging isn’t good for your health in the long run, but well, who cares? Well, yeah, I do, kind of. I don’t know for sure that the purging caused my weight loss, as I’ve paradoxically been bingeing less too. That’s kind of a blessing in disguise.

Lastly, my goals were to read more inspiring writing and to nurture my creativity. I’ve accomplished both of these goals. I didn’t nurture my writing spirit, but I did craft a lot, mostly jewelry-making. I got a lot of beads for my birthday and am loving creating with them.

Now, let me set some July goals.


  1. Lose 1kg in a healthy way.

  2. Stop purging.

  3. Work out three times each week.

  4. Buy weights and learn to use them.

  5. Study for at least three hours each week.

  6. Nurture my writing spirit.

  7. Read a lot.


Overall, I hope July will be a better month in the goal-reaching department than June was. Have a great month!

Gratitude List (Birthday Edition)

It’s been over a week since I posted. This past week has been pretty rough, but there have also been good moments. Time for a gratitude list once again! I am going to cheat a little and include some items from the previous week.


  1. I spent the week-end at my parents’ for an early birthday celebration for me. It’s a tradition that my parents give me redcurrants and strawberries for my birthday. However, the redcurrants had not ripened yet and the strawberries had been eaten by my parents’ chickens. My mother bought some on the market though, which were much better than the ones I had bought at the supermarket a week or so before.

  2. My husband helped me figure out how to copy music from CDs onto my computer. I copied some of my parents’ music. Also, one of my parents’ acquaintances, who is a singer/songwriter, invited me to her album presentation this coming September. I’ve not yet made up my mind whether I’m going, but it was cool to get an invite.

  3. I got some lovely beads from my parents. They were plastic beads, whic I don’t normally use. I usually use glass beads. However, I was able to create a nice bracelet with some of these beads.

  4. Getting these beads from my parents inspired me to look for acrylic beads in funny shapes and colors to make a memory wire bracelet of. Memory wire bracelets get quite heavy if you use glass beads, so I was happy to find acrylic beads in heart, square, disc, round and even butterfly shapes. I just finished the memory wire bracelet a few hours ago, but don’t have a picture yet.

  5. I have been able to get into a nice exercise routine with the help of my husband’s MP3 player (which he gave to me). It helps me get an idea of how long I spend on the elleptical trainer or stationary bike.

  6. I have discovered a new kind of candy at the institution town’s store. I know, not exactly healthy, but so yummy! I managed to keep from bingeing this week even though I did buy the candy.

  7. Institution meals are notorious for lacking taste. Furthermore, because of a new meal-providing company, we no longer get to choose our meals from a menu each for ourselves. Instead, the nurses choose and we just have to go with whatever is being served. This makes me extra grateful that tomorrow is my birthday and I got to select a birthday meal. It’s still provided by the same company, but the meal I selected (noodles with beef and some kind of peas) is quite good. I got to eat it today as I’m at my husband’s tomorrow.

  8. The weather has been quite good yesterday and today. Today, I wore one of the skirts I bought a few weeks ago again.

  9. My husband took me out to lunch at the restaurant near the institution town railroad station today. I ate a delicious tuna salad roll.

  10. My sister and her boyfriend will be coming over tomorrow and my in-laws will be visiting on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it!


What are you grateful for this week?

Linking up with Reasons to Be Cheerful.

ZZZ: Sleep Problems in Autistic People #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to the last day in the A to Z Challenge on autism. In all honesty, I’m glad the challenge is over because it’s been exhausting to try to write each post and comment on other bloggers and all. Today’s post is themed appropriately for this sentiment: titled “ZZZ”, it’s all about sleep and sleep problems in autistic people.

Sleep problems are common in autistic people. Some studies estimate that as many as 80% of children with autism spectrum disorders have sleep problems. The most common problems in autistic children are difficulty falling asleep and awakening often.

There are many possible causes for sleep probls in children and adults with autism. Some early research shows that autistics show abnormalities in brain structures related to sleep. Research is also underway on autistic people’s levels of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and other chemicals released by the brain that are known for their function in regulating sleep.

Behavioral issues which contribute to sleep problems in autistics include poor sleep hygiene and problems with limit-setting. For exampe, a person may have difficulty stopping engagement in day activities. This could be because these acitivites are the person’s special interest, but it could also be that the person has trouble shifting from one type of activity (eg. gaming) to a very different activity (preparing for and going to bed). Of course, just like neurotypical people, autistic people suffer increased sleep difficulties when they’ve been engaging with electronic devices shortly before going to bed.

Some medical issues that are more common in autistic people can also cause sleep problems. These conditions include epilepsy and gastroesophageal reflux. Lastly, medications that are used for treating behavioral problems in autism, such as stimulants, can cause sleep problems too.

There are many ways in which an autistic person can improve their sleep or a parent can help their autistic child do so. For example, establishing a good bedtime routine and a healthy sleep environment can help. To be a good sleep environment, a bedroom needs to be quiet, cool and dark. For children and adults with sensory issues, this may be especially important. On the other hand, some people may actually benefit from listening to calming music while falling asleep.

Daytime behavior can also help establish healthy sleep. Exercise is good, but not too close before bedtime. Obviously, caffeine causes sleep problems. Lastly, naps are good for preschoolers but not older children. Avoid allowing your preschool child to nap late in the afternoon.