Normally, I am not one for New Year's Resolutions. I really can't remember the last time I made one until this year. In all fairness, I am not sure I truly made any resolutions this year; it just so happened that I decided to make some changes and those changes began to be implemented around the first of the year. Therefore, I consider myself to have four resolutions: 1) eat healthier, 2) become more involved with MS research, funding, advocacy, etc., 3) begin and keep up this blog, and 4) commit to a workout regimen. Numbers one, two, and three have been going pretty well, but number four has gone awry.
Back in November, my husband and I started looking into the way diet can affect MS. I looked into all of the "MS Diets" and eventually read that none of them are scientifically proven to help with MS. Rather, they are just based on personal experiences. I bought one "MS Diet" book that eliminated A LOT of foods. I tried to begin that diet and ended up spending almost 2 hours at the grocery store reading labels and trying to find foods that were permitted. It was a little ridiculous in my opinion, so I did some more research. That is when I found that no diet is proven to help with symptoms. I read a lot about limiting the intake of foods that cause inflammation (nerve damage in MS is caused by inflammation). Also, I found some information on the National MS Society's website about nutrition and diet; it said, "There is some evidence that a diet low in saturated fats and supplemented by Omega 3 (from fatty fishes, cod-liver oil, or flaxseed oil) and Omega 6 (fatty acids from sunflower or safflower seed oil and possibly evening primrose oil) may have some benefit for people with MS." Based on my research (and the fact that I didn't want to give up some of the foods eliminated in the "MS Diets"), I decided to start my own diet. My diet does eliminate some foods due to their inflammation-causing attributes (such as red meat). Furthermore, my diet is low in fat, eliminating saturated fats and trans fats as much as possible, and higher in Omegas 3 & 6. My husband and I started this diet back in early to mid December, but then allowed for some leeway around the Christmas holiday. Our idea was to ease into it, then really make it a priority in 2011. We have done pretty well on this diet, I cannot remember the last time I ate hamburger, I am always reading labels at the grocery store, and have found a website that has some great low-fat recipes (of all that we have tried, we have only disliked one recipe). We especially liked the Cool Tuna Wraps recipe. I have been toying with the idea of the occasional meal with red meat because there are some benefits to red meat, but I cannot decide what to do. Increasing the Omegas has been a little tricky because my husband doesn't like much fish/seafood and we live in Kansas so we don't have really fresh fish/seafood options, but I try to get fish/seafood when we go out to dinner and we have increased our tuna intake. I have already noticed my pants fitting looser, which isn't a bad thing, but was not necessary nor an intended benefit (I was happy with my healthy weight of 120 at 5'4"). Hopefully we can keep the diet up throughout the year and years to come (even if it doesn't help with my symptoms, it is always good to eat healthy).
I began wanting to get more involved with everything MS back in about October. I had gotten over the shock of my diagnosis and began wanting to do something about it. I started coming up with ideas, I emailed my local National MS Society chapter and then found out about the Walk MS Committee. I decided that the Committee would be perfect for me since I had been involved in the Walk before and it provided me with an opportunity to get my foot in the door to getting more involved. We had our first meeting in December and will meet once a month until the walk. I have found some companies to be corporate sponsors and am working on more. Also, I will be asking local businesses to display rack cards (kind of like a mini brochure about the Walk). I am so glad that I got involved in this - I look forward to this opening up many more opportunities for me to be involved.
This "resolution" wasn't actually made until about two weeks ago (the idea came as another way to open doors to be more involved). But, as you can see, I have done pretty well with this "resolution" so far. I have posted something everyday so far. I am guessing that I will probably taper off a little, but I am determined to post, at the very least, once a week. Daily posts may be a little too difficult to keep up for the entire year, but I WILL continue to post throughout the year. And, hopefully, by the end of the year, I will have reached out to someone.
Number Four (the resolution gone bad):
For the past couple of months, I have had visions of getting back into an exercise routine. Last year, my husband and I had a gym membership and were really good about going to work out. Then, I started having symptoms and working out became increasingly difficult. First, when we thought I might have a pinched nerve or some other back ailment, I was told to take it easy. Then when I started having difficulty walking, I had even more difficulty running (which had been a big part of my workout). Then I just kind of gave up on working out altogether (with the exception of taking the dog for a walk which we barely do now since it is cold outside) and we ended our gym membership since we weren't really using it. In all fairness, we were house hunting from September/October until we entered into the contract for the house that we closed on on December 22nd. Then we moved, we were all moved in by the first of the year and since then we have been furnishing and making the house our home (it is our first house). So, I used the house hunting, moving, etc. as excuses for not working out. Now, however, I have no more excuses. I got a free Yoga for MS DVD from this website, but have yet to use it. We have an unfinished basement which I could utilize as a workout area until we start working on finishing it, but I haven't done that either. So, since the first month of 2011 has almost come to a close, I am resolving to begin my new workout routine by February 1st. Working out has always been difficult for me - I hate it. I always played sports so that was my workout. But I know there are a number of benefits to exercise and I intend to start reaping those benefits.
Anyone have any thoughts on what exercises would be good? Keep in mind that I have very limited materials; I have some light dumbbells, a stability ball, and some resistance bands.