A Quiet Week...

Most of my "wellness initiatives" have been put on hold while I wait for my health insurance to come into effect, to take some of the financial strain off, which made this a slightly quieter week than last week. All I've really had to do was go to the gym. Yay!

I'm becoming a bit of a gym rat, something I never saw myself being. I sit at work and watch the clock, waiting for 4:30 so I can take off and get over for a good workout, and then do feel a little morose when I realize I really should get going. It's become a stress reliever, and between work and trying to make plans to ship my German Pinscher to Regina this week, I've been under a fair amount of stress. Sometimes I wish I could go a few times a day. Or go to the gym instead of work.

Had my second personal training session tonight. It went better than I was expecting, given that I was exhausted and stressed. I had to be up at 4:30 this morning to get Xavier (my dog) to the airport, then spent all day worrying about him, and was fighting to meet an important deadline at work from a project that had been dropped on me at the very last minute. Got introduced to a few more weight machines, which was great. Also got a bit of a lecture on my crappy eating habits lately, which has been prompted a lot by stress. No excuse, I know. I think I'll start keeping a food diary again. I'm more accountable when I write stuff down. I should have done a cardio workout before I left, which I didn't, and I realized only after, but my brain was so exhausted it just couldn't function anymore. Oh well. I'll put in a good cardio workout tomorrow, and I've got step on Sunday.

Personal training 101

Five things I have learned from my first "real" personal training session:

1. If I'm ever in a rowboat on the ocean by myself, I'm screwed. I suck at rowing.

2. I have a powerful butt. (No seriously, I do - I can press like 80 lbs or something with my butt - how awesome is that?)

3. "Core exercises" - two words I'm pretty sure I will always hate hearing, even if I will love the results.

4. There will be a point in our training session, no matter how brief, when I'm pretty sure I hate my trainer. Breathe through it, it'll pass.

5. At the end of every training session, I'll remember why I hired my trainer. This is why you breathe through #4.

So, I'm a little sore, and a lot tired, but very pumped about this whole personal training thing. Shawn has a great sense of humour and is very upbeat and enthusiastic. It's hard not to be enthusiastic when the person you're with is so enthusiastic.

It's fun being introduced to all these new pieces of equipment; a little scary at times, but fun. The assisted chin/dip thing still looks like a device from the Spanish Inquisition, but I managed it. That's one of those things I never would have gone near on my own. Stability balls, too, are one of those things I never would have ventured near, and yet I find I rather like them.

Working with a trainer is also making me a little more comfortable just working in the gym on my own; I'm not so wedded to the classes or scared to venture close the machines, both of which are good, since the classes don't work very well with my work schedule, and looking at the machines wasn't an especially good workout.

So yeah.... I think I can do this.

We'll see how I feel Friday.

Five words I never thought I'd say

I have a personal trainer!

Okay, well, technically, I'm writing them. But I talk to myself as I write, so I did just say them as I typed them out. But I digress (get used to it).

I have a personal trainer.

I was actually supposed to meet with Shawn yesterday to sort out all the details, but ended up storm-stayed, so I rescheduled for this afternoon. Which was just as well, because as it turned out, I wouldn't have been able to afford the downpayment yesterday.

Have I mentioned how expensive the path to wellness is? I keep reminding myself it's an investment. Let's hope my bill collectors agree, because a couple of them may not get paid this month.

But, everything is all set up now, and I have a personal trainer, with my first two sessions set for next Monday and Friday. I'm just realizing thirty minutes was hard - I have no idea how I'm going to survive a full hour. Well, hopefully Shawn realizes if he kills me, he'll be down one client.

Jumping in again

I've decided I will find some way to pay for personal training.

I don't know how yet. But I'll find a way. I have an appointment later this week to work something out with Shawn.

That was my big decision this weekend. After that, I had my appointment with Dr. Mike at Well Within on Monday to discuss the findings from the chiropractic assessment. Part of what had drawn me to chiropractic (especially over physio, which I have tried) was that it seemed a little more... scientific. I'm not a big fan of somebody poking me, nodding knowingly, and declaring that obviously I have a multitude of problems. I want to see quantitative results. Dr. Mike could show me quantitative results, using surface electromyography to determine areas of abnormal muscle tension and imbalance that could be caused by spinal subluxations. Confused? Okay, so I'm not going to claim to entirely understand it, but the logic behind what he was saying was sound, anyway, and convincing, and I do have a fair bit of background in both science and medicine, and can generally sort out bad science from good science. That, and, I already knew there were problems with my back.

I wasn't prepared for the sheer amount of visits he's suggesting it'll take to correct everything, but then, when I think about it, I was probably in physio just as often. The only difference is, physio only saw me through the acute portions of my injury, and then released me. He's talking about a longer, more maintenance-based model of care which is not only designed to correct, but also maintain good health, which is ultimately better. A bit daunting, especially when I look at the expense involved, but better in the long run.

But, I'm committed to this. Moreover, I believe in it. So, I agreed to it. I have to push back until March before we start, when my health insurance kicks in, but I'm willing to try. And, at least until money runs out, I'll try.

Here I go again...

Well, I'm not dead...

If I was dead, I'd hurt less.

And yet, I'm seriously considering doing this on a regular basis?

I'm not dead, but I may have taken leave of my senses.

I had my "free" half-hour session with Shawn last night. Oh my goodness. Ten minutes in, I seriously wanted to call it quits. That was hard. Really hard.

And yet, honestly, I have to say I enjoyed myself.

Most of that equipment, I've been looking at from my nice safe perch of the treadmills and bikes with suspicion and just a hint of fear. It's foreign, like the food they used to serve at the university cafeteria. I just sort of want to poke it and see if I can identify it, but I don't want to look stupid. So instead, I just ignore it. Probably not the best way to get the most out of my gym membership. Something tells me that equipment doesn't work through osmotic effect (though that would be several degrees of awesome).

Working with Shawn taught me two things: one, none of that equipment is as hard or as scary as I think it is; and two, I am capable of doing a lot more than I think I am. I felt really good about that last part. It also told me that I am probably never going to push myself hard enough on my own. I'm always going to hang back just a little bit, and I really don't want to do that.

So, sore and tired, I'm sitting down tonight to look at the monthly budget and see what I can work out. I'm committed to getting well, and that means having the right tools and knowledge to get well. I really think a trainer is one of those tools.

I think it's the sound....

If they'd had all that horrid, high-pitched, ultrasonic dental equipment during the Spanish Inquisition, every one of us walking the earth today would be a faithful, Pope-abiding, rosary-toting Catholic.

(Because no one suspects the Spanish Inquisition.... bwahahaha....


Sorry. I had to do it.)

So, I'm back from the dentist. Today was just a new patient assessment, x-rays, and a cleaning. Not that scary, right?

I think my cataract surgery was easier (I think my ophthalmologist told me it was easier than going to the dentist, actually - turns out he was right).

It wasn't bad, really. My gums are a bit sore, from the cleaning and so on, but there wasn't anything terrible about it. It was just... nerve-wracking. Very nerve-wracking. Like hyper "fight or flight" the whole time. The hygienist, Allison, was incredibly nice, and very understanding of the fact that I was so nervous I wanted to cry, which helped a lot. It was really busy there, and so I didn't get much of chance to really meet with the dentist other than when he came in to do an oral exam; he seems pleasant and personable enough. I hope so, because I'm going to be seeing rather a lot of him over the next little while.

I was very impressed with how understanding they were of my need to do this all on a budget. I also don't need nearly as much work as I had thought. I was having nightmares of crowns and bridges and thousands of dollars; it may add up to that in the end, but really, it's just a lot of fillings, extracting wisdom teeth, plus a couple of molars I knew needed to be pulled.

I went ahead and made an appointment for the first couple of fillings (front teeth that have really been bothering me) and one extraction for mid-March, which is thankfully after my new health insurance kicks in. It's crappy health insurance, but it'll help some. I also have to have another appointment to finish out my cleaning, because it couldn't all be done in one appointment. Yay. Don't I sound thrilled.

But I made it through. And I didn't even cry. And... I got a new toothbrush. And toothpaste. And floss. How awesome is that? Maybe if they'd given me more free crap when I was a kid, I wouldn't have waited so long to go back. (Yes, I am amused that easily. It's okay, I know it's sad.)

Personal training session with Shawn tomorrow, dog show on the weekend, and then my chiropractic report with Dr. Mike on Monday. At least my quest for wellness is keeping me busy!

One down, one to go...

I survived the chiropractor....

Deep breath.

Okay, it wasn't that bad. Little nerve-wracking, but okay. Dr. Mike is another one of those people who is just incredibly positive, even if I could clearly read that what he was getting from his assessment of me (for which I won't receive the "official" report until next week) was not so positive. No surprises there, really. I know there are problems with my back and shoulders. Hence why I was seeing a chiropractor.

I was really very impressed with the assessment - extremely thorough, but unlike a lot of medical assessments I've been through regarding my back/shoulders/whatever, I was never really uncomfortable, and never got the feeling that I was being blamed for my current state. I do distinctly remember often leaving physio feeling like I was somehow to blame, and was a little worried this would be the same. I'm very much looking forward to meeting with Dr. Mike again to review his findings and hear his recommendations.

Also received the report of my findings from the Wellness Consultation we did last week. Okay, I'm not so sold on this. I mean, the report was great and all, but I have a hard time believing that I'm above average in handling stress, it only measures my cardiovascular health based on one set of readings, which can be affected by just about anything (and I was anxious about the body composition readings, so I know my resting heart rate was measuring at higher than normal) and.... yeah. I just wasn't convinced. It's also very expensive to sign onto the "personal wellness coaching", and I think that much money would be much better put towards sessions with a personal trainer. So yeah, interesting, and maybe useful for someone else, but ultimately not for me.

Tomorrow is the dentist....

More deep breaths....

Fenced-in zones....

I need to build a fence around my comfort zone.

A big one. Chain link. With barbed wire at the top.

Not to keep people out, but to stop me from doing stupid stuff like carelessly leaping out of it. There's a reason I have a comfort zone after all. Shouldn't I be using it?

My comfort zone doesn't generally include medical professionals. Or at least, not many of them. And it includes them in small, controlled doses, where I know exactly what is going to happen. And preferably where they won't have to really touch me (I want a medical world like Star Trek).

Sorry for the disconnected ramblings. In the next two days, I have both a chiropractor's appointment, and a dentist appointment. As I've discussed, on the scary scale, dentists rank pretty near the top of the list. I've actually been reading articles as to why this is, but they aren't helping. Dentists are still scary in my irrational little world. So far, the only thing that tops them is OB-GYNs. (No, I don't know why. If I knew why, it wouldn't be an irrational fear.) So, yes, every time I look at that appointment, I'm filled with dread. I'm also brushing my teeth five times a day, like that will make up for sixteen years of not seeing a dentist. Gotta love that skewed logic.

Chiropractors.... not sure where they land on that scary list. I can't find out a lot of information about what to expect, which nudges them up the scale. On the other hand, what I do find out is very positive, which helps. So they're definitely higher than my ophthalmologist (who gets the honour of bottom ranking - he's a nice doctor with a great voice, and gave me the eyesight I have, so what can I say). I just feel very blind (metaphorically) which I never like.

Medicine has an inherent power imbalance. You see a medical professional when you're sick, for knowledge they have that you don't have. The relationship requires a great deal of implicit trust and confidence, etc., etc. While I find power relationships fascinating from an academic standpoint, I hate being involved in them when I'm on the imbalanced side of the equation. I try to balance that equation by learning everything I can prior to ever walking into an office, so I'm never blindsided by information; it probably sounds stupid, but I need to feel like I'm intellectually able to handle anything I'm told. I'm also a question hound, for the same reason.

Either way, right now, the fence around my comfort zone is laying in a tattered, crumbled mess, and I get to just deal with it. Ultimately, I keep telling myself it's for the best. After all, no good was really ever served by hemming yourself in with fences.

I don't know how much personal trainers get paid....

.... but it isn't enough.

Oh my goodness, I feel so sorry for the poor guy who got stuck dealing with me tonight.

First things first, I think I'm going to have to find a new job. I cannot possibly hope to achieve any level of wellness while under this much stress all the time. Today it was like a pressure valve that had just been pushed a little too far, and while I can't go into details, suffice it to say, by the time I left work, I was not in a particularly good frame of mind. But, I had committed to this assessment, and I was going, come hell or high water.

I think maybe I've also been shoving myself down this path just a little too enthusiastically, and it all kind of caught up with me. I've been shoved out of a lot of comfort zones lately. One, I'm a control freak, and I keep willingly handing control over to other people. Two, I keep doing things that are new to me, and I don't like new things. Three, I keep putting myself in situations where I'm dealing with strangers. I don't really like strangers.

But, what doesn't kill ya, right?

Well, I'm not dead (obviously - if I were, this post would be a lot more remarkable and a lot less boring). Almost died of humiliation, but that's not actually possible.

The trainer I met with tonight, Shawn, is very nice, and obviously very competent -- and I feel so bad for him. Because like every good fitness assessment, tonight's started with a basic body composition measurement - including weight. Remember last week at Well Within? I don't really do scales. And last week was a reasonably okay week. Today was.... hell. I did warn Shawn that I was not good about the whole scale thing, that I had some serious body image issues, but he assured me that was just fine. Yeah, not so certain he was thinking that when I wrote the number down (the only scales are in the locker rooms) and then burst into tears.

Yes, I actually started crying. I have mentioned how stressful my day at work was, right? I'm really not nuts. Shawn, if you're reading this, I considered quitting my job at 11:30 this morning, so really, I'm not nuts. I've just been really pushed lately, and that was a little more than I could take, apparently.

To his credit, Shawn handled it really well (especially considering most men I know would have immediately gone into "OMG she's crying how do I make her stop!!?!?!" panic mode), and I actually really enjoyed the fitness assessment, even if I did manage to defy the laws of physics, and both suck and blow all at the same time. It was really educational; among other things, I discovered the goal weight I've been aiming for is ten pounds below what's realistic for me.

The challenge now is what to do with that information. I would *love* to hire Shawn as a personal trainer, but it sounds really expensive. At the same time, it would be well worth the investment. I don't know quite what to do at this point. I don't even know if I'll have a job next week at this point. He's given me a free half-hour session for Friday, just to try it out, see what it's like to work with a trainer. It doesn't cost anything to try. And maybe between now and Friday, I'll find a money tree.

Stepping it up

I'm all about impulsive lately.

Okay, not so much, but in the last week, I've gone from meandering down my path to wellness to briskly striding down it. Well, walking a little faster anyway. And today, I decided to pick up a gym membership to take with me.

Nubodys called and invited me to come in and look around, and since I've been considering a membership for while (just was lacking the funds to make it happen), I decided, why not. So, yesterday, I went in, met Amy, had a chance to chat with her for a few minutes and see the club, and decided to jump into the deep end. No think about it, no considering, just signed up on the spot. I'm generally a cheap person, so hopefully the $50-odd per month will be motivation enough to keep me going. That, and it's been really cold lately; my usual walking routine is much less enjoyable in -28 deg wind chill.

I really am a "jump in" sort of person, so I immediately signed up for a "fitness assessment" with one of the personal trainers (God help me) on Monday, and then tonight decided to go try out a step class. Now, step class requires energy, cardiovascular fitness, and coordination. I figured I wasn't too bad in any of those areas, so I'd be okay.

Shows what I know.

I had a blast. I kept moving. I didn't pass out. The instructor is a riot, and I loved every minute, but my God I'm going to be sore and tired tomorrow. And as soon as I walked out, I found a schedule and started looking for the next class.

I think I can get into this gym thing. Tomorrow is my fitness assessment, so we'll really find out then.

"Creating Wellness"

Tonight was my "wellness" assessment at Well Within Chiropractic. This is the first part of this promotional deal I was offered from the health fair, and as I've said, the wellness assessment part of this was less appealing to me than the chiropractic assessment. That being said, I make a point of never going into anything with a closed mind, so I was interested to see what it was all about. And it was an eye-opening experience, though I'm not sure in the way that Well Within intends it to be.

First things first, the woman I was working with (I'm really not sure what her title is), Celeste, has to be one of the nicest, most positive people I've ever met. You know the sort of person that you just meet and think, "I would feel better for spending more time around this person"? That's Celeste. She radiates positive energy. I want to learn how to do that.

Second, the eye-opening part. I have some issues I really need to work on. Not so much in terms of my wellness; I already know that, and obviously knew that coming into this. No, I mean some more deep-seated issues that maybe had never really thought about. One of the first elements of this "wellness assessment" was, of course, basic weight and measurements.

I don't own a scale. I can't have one. Something about those numbers just completely monopolizes my mind and my thinking and I end up beating myself up over what that scale says. But I've never really considered it that much of an issue. I know I've lost weight (a lot of weight), I tell people I'm proud of it.... and yet when Celeste asked me to step on that scale tonight, I had to take a moment, because I thought I was going to cry. I actually could not look at the numbers. The stress pulled my heart rate and blood pressure into much higher than normal (for me) ranges. It actually surprised me how upset I was. This is something I need to work on.

For the most part, though, the assessment was pretty straightforward. For any of you considering it, might I suggest if you're planning to attend after work, wear pants that day. Some of those exercises aren't quite so ladylike in a skirt. I won't receive my report until next week, so I won't know how "well" I am until then. Let's hope I'm not so unwell I drop dead in the meantime (I'm sure there'd be warning signs if that was the case). I'll let you all know when I find out.



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