At the beginning of the year, I discussed a few changes I’d made in December and the positive results of said changes. It’s been three more weeks since then, and I have some updates, and another couple small changes that led to big results (though not a good one, in one instance).
I mentioned in my previous post how well I felt – how stable my body felt – after a week without eating much in the way of sugar. I was hoping to build on those results. However, in January I’ve made a further small change that is a typical downfall for me: I began to hyper-focus on sugar grams rather than look at the whole nutritional picture. When I first started the experiment, I was careful to keep my sugar down to a small amount of honey in my morning yogurt and one small candy in the evening. The rest of my sugar grams came from condiments and whatever might show up in recipes. In January, I began to manipulate the numbers. If I didn’t have any sugar grams between that morning yogurt-honey and the evening Dove Promise, then I could have two Promises. If I made breakfast taco filling, I’d put it on a flour tortilla instead of a slice of whole wheat bread because the tortilla had no sugar grams (even though it had vastly inferior carbs). That sort of thing. It’s led to 1) not feeling at all stable or like my blood sugar is under control, 2) disordered eating patterns, and 3) more days of saying sure, I can just eat sugar today, whatever. So it’s time to go back to the drawing board, and figure out how I can approach this thing more sustainably, to work on my insulin resistance without hyper-focusing while also paying more attention to the health of my overall diet.
Last summer, I mentioned that I developed plantar fasciitis. In the fall, I went to my Airrosti provider (physical therapists that manipulate soft tissue), who said he didn’t think the issue was plantar fasciitis. He worked on my whole leg and up to my hip and lower back, and gave me a lot of exercises to do to strengthen and loosen ligaments. These helped in the short-term and I began to try running again, but soon even the icing and exercises didn’t help with the foot pain. I gave up any high-impact sports and focused on walking and yoga again. In the past, yoga has worked miracles on my ligament tension, but it wasn’t helping my aching right foot. However, once I was getting on the mat daily – my small change from December – I noticed that no matter how much yoga I did, my lower back on the right hip area was always painfully tight. It never seemed to get any better! And I thought about it, trying to figure out what might be causing this tension. An idea occurred to me.
About nine months ago, I stopped using a pillow between my knees at night to stack my hips (I’m a side-sleeper). The story behind why I stopped is irrelevant. Point is, without my hips stacked, my top leg – often my right leg – would hang off-kilter and pull on that part of my back all night long. My hip/lower back area was always tight because I re-stressed it every night. So I started using a pillow again, and that made an immediate difference to my back. The tension I worked out in yoga stayed worked out. I didn’t know if this would translate all the way to my right foot, so I did some experiments. After indoor jogging and some rough-terrain hikes, none of that foot pain returned. The exercises that my Airrosti provider gave me became a lot easier to do. I’ve yet to try outdoor running – trying to ease into things – but I have a feeling that I’ve solved this problem. Yay!
On Small Changes
I’ve discovered something in the last two months: small specific changes can be very powerful. They aren’t too overwhelming, and I can take some time with each one to try to really determine if they’re doing anything. That’s easier for me than making wholesale change all at once, then not knowing what results come from which change. I’ve begun looking at the small blocks in my life and trying to figure out where they’re coming from. If a simple change like repositioning a yoga mat to face a different direction can make me love daily yoga again, then other little changes surely can help. For me, this is part of this year’s one-word, Cultivation – cultivating a life I want to live, cultivating habits I love and enjoy, cultivating ease and happiness in place of forced adherence. There might be more of these posts in future!