The 3 Things I’m Doing Right Now to Be Healthier

Friday, April 13th, 2012

In January I declared 2012 the year of health. I like to make declarations and resolutions; they are so much more exciting than small changes and daily steps. They are, however, infinitely less useful. It’s been the small changes that are actually making a bit of difference.

Right now, I’m focusing on making three small changes, which is probably two more than I ought to be making at once, but I’m not good at moderation.

I’m doing yoga every day.

A week ago I downloaded the All-in-One YOGA iPhone app. I upgraded to the premium version so that I could get several different yoga routines that are designed for specific goals and narrated. I’ve managed to practice every day since.

What has always intrigued me about yoga is how ineffective it looks. I mean, it looks easy and it certainly doesn’t seem like it could help you improve your health. However, I instantly feel more alert and the next day the muscles that I worked are sore. I might not be burning hundreds of calories, but I am getting more comfortable with how my body works.

I’m not eating wheat.

I followed a low-carb diet for about three years. I successfully lost weight and maintained that loss until I changed my eating habits. Since then, an endocrinologist has suggested that I might be “carb sensitive” and I’ve noticed that loading up on bread and pasta worsens the symptoms of my depression. All that being said, I hated the idea of giving up fruit again. As a compromise, I stopped eating wheat. I seem to be having most of the same benefits – increased energy, a little weight loss – and I still get to enjoy strawberries!

I’m taking my anti-depressants regularly.

I don’t take a time-release anti-depressant because it is really expensive. As a compromise, I am supposed to take a half dose twice a day. I skip at least one does a lot. I tell myself it’s no big deal because I don’t feel bad if I skip an afternoon dose. However, I’ve noticed that a missed dose here and there seems to have the cumulative affect of me having a complete and total melt down.

For the first time in a long time, I had suicidal thoughts this weekend. They were sort of peripheral, and I was healthy enough to recognize that they were very irrational and very dangerous – and a sign that my brain wasn’t working the way it should. I let Jared know what was going on and immediately refilled the plastic pill dispenser that helps me remember to take both doses every day.

Sometimes I think I have this depression thing licked, like maybe I’ve outgrown in the way that children can outgrow allergies. I should know better. Depression for me isn’t a character defect I can evolve beyond. It is, I am certain, a symptom of chemical mishaps in my brain. Treating that consistently is as vital to my health as diet and exercise, more so even.

Good health is a part of my happiness.

So many of the blessings I count each week would not be possible if I weren’t  healthy. It’s important to me to be able to get outside and move, to have the freedom to travel at will. I take these things for granted sometimes, as if it is only mental determination that makes them happen. And then I remember (or get comments from) people whose deteriorated health limits what they can do.

My health, I realize, is a gift. It’s a key that unlocks the whole world for me. I don’t know how long I will be allowed to use this key, so I plan to keep it safe while I can.

Are you working on any new habits to improve your health?

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  1. Yea for yoga! I love how deceptively simply it is & how profound the results are :)
    Amanda @ Click. The Good News’s most recent post: Aconcagua Park

    • Miss Britt says:

      Me, too. It definitely takes consistent practice though, doesn’t it? A few days off and you can tell how much you’ve “lost”!

  2. Nyt says:

    Love the yoga thing. I really believe that it’s the base exercise that everyone should practice. Love it! I have celiac so the wheat thing is a must, but I’ve also noticed a distinct difference in my own health with the “white” thing. White potato, white rice, refined sugar equals achy and stiff joints moving a bloated, crabby Nyt around. Yuck! Keep listening to your body, it will rarely steer you wrong.

    • Miss Britt says:

      It can be tricky to listen to your own body with so much conflicting information out there from other mouths!

  3. Tried yoga for a bit and loved it but my shoulders did not. I need to find another place to go so that I would have a better instructor to help find poses that won’t affect the shoulder. Self motivation is not my thing which is why I need classes and a trainer which I have 3 days a week. I’m trying!
    Jill of All Trades’s most recent post: Neighbors, Part 4, 58th Street House

  4. Jen says:

    Sometimes I think that I will never get rid of depression that it will be a battle I fight forever but if I think that way, then am I doomed? Oh well :)
    Jen’s most recent post: Speaking Up

    • Miss Britt says:

      I will never get rid of my depression. Nothing to be done about it but treat it. I’m pretty sure my brain is just missing some link, some chemical that makes regular connections difficult. I have such an easier time when I’m accepting of that.

      • Jen says:

        Oh, I have been depressed since I was a kid so I doubt mine will ever go away. As long as I take my daily cocktail, I am ok. Just trying to be optimistic once in my life.
        Jen’s most recent post: Speaking Up

  5. Little Miss Sunshine State says:

    I think I will be depressed forever. That thought doesn’t even depress me! I’m fully aware of my family history.
    I could have written your 3 things. I started walking 2-3 miles a day, I’m not touching white sugar and I’m being diligent about taking my meds.
    I addded a 4th thing. I’m going to bed at a reasonable hour, even if I’m not tired.

    We have to always be aware of what we need.

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’m with you on the depression thing – I have a family history of it and that’s just the way it is.

      I SO need to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but I have not been able to practice that consistently.

  6. Megan says:

    I love yoga and am never sorry when I practice regularly. I’ve also asked for a balance ball for Mother’s Day so I can add some different exercises to my routine and sit on it while I fold laundry! And I’m still running, trying to go a bit farther than I have been.

    It’s so interesting to me how different everyone’s bodies are. I find I get depressed if I cut out carbs. I’m absolutely a balance girl – my meals are a carb (fruit or whole grain or some pasta) and protein with veggies. That works best for me.
    Megan’s most recent post: There Is This

    • Miss Britt says:

      It is interesting. I wish the experts would promote listening to our individual bodies more and pushing THE WAY less.

  7. Rachel says:

    Here’s the best part of all of these lifestyle decisions: you made a conscious effort to figure out what works for you and your body. Then you made the decision to commit to your decisions! There is much wisdom in this post.

    • Miss Britt says:

      Aw, thanks. I am struggling with frustration over my inability to keep commitments to myself, so this was encouraging.

  8. Lisa says:

    I’m still having a hard time making it to the gym regularly, this time because I have classes 3 nights a week that I’M SO EXCITED about. I’m working on fitting it in the rest of the evenings. I might also try your yoga app.

    I don’t eat many carbs, and almost no refined carbs anymore. I concentrate on protein. I have started adding fruit back in my diet, and it tastes so good I can tell my body missed it. Concentrating on remembering my supplements is a big one for me. I’m not as consistent as I need to be, so that’s what I’m working on now.

  9. Darla says:

    I don’t eat chocolate or sugar. And I don’t eat very many carbs either (luckily I don’t even like bread or noodles – I know, I’m a FREAK!).

    I have fibromyalgia so I have to manage it or I don’t function at all. When I eat sugar it feels like poison piercing through my system. It’s the weirdest thing.

    Depression is a bitch. Keep in mind it’s perfectly normally to have some depression after the transitioning you are doing. It’s a huge transition. And you are so used to keeping all the balls afloat it’s hard when you have sit still and deal with what you fear most (your own thoughts!!). I’m so glad you are at a point where you notice when the thoughts are not of your sane mind and that you don’t feed into them. That right there is the sign of great growth, Britt.

    • Miss Britt says:

      Yeah, that’s definitely what I was focusing on, the fact that I recognized the signs early on!

  10. Jendi says:

    I want to work on some things! I just finished reading Little Changes by Kristi Marsh and my mind is buzzing. I want to improve our toiletries, food, and cleaning products. Good luck!
    Jendi’s most recent post: Banana Bread Recipe – On Video

    • Miss Britt says:

      I haven’t heard of that book. Sounds like you’re looking to reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals? That can feel like such an overwhelming project!

  11. Rita Arens says:

    I have to really watch myself when I travel, because I only take my meds once a day and if I miss a day it will show up over time as anxiety flares — feels like preparing to run a race and strikes out of nowhere for no apparent reason.
    Rita Arens’s most recent post: Parenting: My Reptile Brain Reaction

    • Miss Britt says:

      I don’t know why I don’t just ALWAYS use the little pill reminder. I’m actually better about it when I travel because I am in the habit of packing it.

      • Rita Arens says:

        I have a rainbow days of the week one that I use every day like I’m 80 years old. I worry if I took my meds twice now (I have two pills now instead of one) I would OD. I think that’s not true, but I don’t want to find out. I am totally paranoid about taking too much medicine.
        Rita Arens’s most recent post: Well, That Explains It

  12. Thank you for sharing. I recently started treatment for mild depression, anxiety and ADHD, after a life long battle of denying it. I have been blogging about it a bit at my site. Know you aren’t alone!
    Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Thank you Camille – Inspiration For Egret the Elephant

    • Miss Britt says:

      Corey – I’m always glad to see when people share their stories about mental health. I think it makes it easier for all of us. I’ll have to check yours out soon!

      • Well I would appreciate the visit and if you don’t want to have to read through all of my Egret the Elephant children’s stories/poems. I have a link on my blog that just pulls up the anxiety/depression/ADHD related posts.
        Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Red’s first show

  13. I’ve started getting my body back so I can get back to something that I love love love to do – dancing. And you’re 100% right: being healthy does allow us to do the things we wanna do. When we are able to do things we want and like to do, it makes us feel more alive. :)
    Andrea | Elimination Communication’s most recent post: How to Know When Your Baby Needs to Pee

    • Miss Britt says:

      Unfortunately, most of the things I have enjoyed throughout my life involved sitting on my butt! :-)

  14. Liz says:

    I really want to try yoga, but I know myself; if I don’t do a class, I won’t do it. I won’t do it at home by myself. I have to be motivated somehow. There are a few classes offered locally, and I’ve been meaning to call the different yoga centers to get quotes and all of that. I’d also really like to drag someone with me… but if I can’t, oh well.

    I’m glad it’s been working really well for you!
    Liz’s most recent post: TV Addictions, Gaining a Momentum, Vacations, and More

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’m with you. I have to have class or a structure. The app helps me because it keeps track of the days you’ve practiced with flowers on a calendar. I like to see the flowers all lined up. :-)

  15. martymankins says:

    I am curious about yoga, but haven’t ventured into being more than just curious. I know there is a lot of zen and meditation that goes along with it. I’m glad to hear it’s working as a health measure for you.

    Since the first week of December, I’ve been a regular at the gym. Mostly just cardio to help improve my stamina, it’s also to help shed a few extra pounds and to shave some inches from my chin and belly. Overall fitness is very healthy on many levels.
    martymankins’s most recent post: Attended NAB 2012

    • Miss Britt says:

      I wish I lived closer to a gym right now. I want to take some classes and explore other fitness options, too.

  16. this post is screaming at me to get in better health. i know it is all about you, but i am totally making it all about me. thanks for letting me do that. xoxo
    hello haha narf’s most recent post: Couldn’t Post This on the First

  17. [...] felt after working out. The conversation quickly turned to all of the benefits of losing weight and being healthier, how it was obviously worth giving up crappy food and time in front of the TV. I almost allowed [...]

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