I’m not one to make New Year resolutions. They are too difficult to stick to, then I fail, and I don’t like failing! I do like to take a look back from time to time, just to see where I’ve been and where I’m going. Let’s call it a reset or re-evaluation. I’m in the mood to do that right now. It happens to be New Year’s Eve, so I guess I will start 2017 re-evaluated!
As a RA (rheumatoid arthritis) patient, my re-evaluation centers around my disease management, what works and what doesn’t. Since my diagnosis nearly 5 years ago, I have made drastic changes in my lifestyle to accommodate the disease. I’m always fine tuning my lifestyle as I learn more about the disease and how it affects me. Here is my personal re-evaluation.
First things first. This is a disease that needs medication therapy to slow down the disease progression. After trying several medication combinations, I am satisfied with where I’m at in this aspect of RA management. It’s not perfect, but definitely better than 5 years ago! I figure this disease can be so random that I will always need to be willing to “switch gears”, if need be. A medication regime can be satisfactory, and then, for no apparent reason, no longer do the trick. RA is unpredictable. For now, I will continue with what I’m doing medication wise.
Next up is diet evaluation. I believe we need to become keenly aware of what our individual bodies react to, both positively and negatively, diet wise. Personally, my body lights up like a pinball machine with too much sugar or multi-syllable preservatives. I seem to have a threshold as to how much is too much sugar and multi-syllable preservatives. I would say I need to limit carbohydrates from breads and pasta, as well. The holiday season has been a challenge to my body. This may be the reason I want to do my re-evaluation! My body is begging me to just stop what I’ve been consuming! In addition to limiting my consumption of sugar, preservatives, processed foods and the carbs from bread and pasta, I want to add more anti-inflammatory foods to my diet. I’m thinking of spices, like ginger, cinnamon and turmeric. Stay tuned for recipes!
Hydration is my next item to evaluate. It is said we should take our weight in pounds, half that number, which tells us how many ounces of water to drink daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day. My water intake has increased, but I fall short of that goal too often! I will remember to have a water bottle to sip from at all times.
Now we are on to exercise! I do a pilates session weekly, which makes a huge difference in how well I move. I feel better and have less stiffness and soreness when I do pilates every week. I walk my dog, Gipper, nearly every day. We usually go 2 to 3 miles. Once again, that helps me stay mobile. What I want to add is a swimming session at least weekly. I’m scheming to pull together a “swim group” with a couple of fellow “autoimmune” friends! Hopefully, we can get a little socialization and joint-friendly exercise, all at the same time.
The last lifestyle item I want to look at is stress management. I have given up so many commitments since my diagnosis. I meditate, and I have purposely paced my days. I want to continue to keep my stress to a minimum. Life still goes on, it happens and we can’t eliminate all stress, but we can make choices and decisions to lessen stress. I want to pick a household project, without a time table for completion, to give myself a positive goal to work toward. Sometimes idle time can allow the mind to over think things and create a problem where one doesn’t exist!
There it is. My personal re-evaluation. Coincidentally, just in time for the New Year! I would love to hear about your re-evaluation! Wishes for good health in 2017 to all my precious friends. XOXO Cathy
photo: Mary Kennedy for Arthritis Wisdom