I’ve been thinking lately about setting some goals for myself. But sometimes when I decide I need to make some changes, my eyes get too big. I start thinking of all the areas in my life where I could be doing better and I decide to tackle them all at once. That’s a good recipe for failure.
I also set unattainable goals sometimes. For instance, after my big CF health crisis in 2006/2007, I set a goal to get my FEV1 back into the 60s. I had previously spent lots of years in the 60s and low 70s, and I really wanted to get back there. I worked very hard to achieve that goal. I rested and slept, I reduced my stress level, I ate healthy foods and I gained back the weight I lost during the extended illness. I worked up to jogging, I lifted weights, I did all my treatments and therapies, and I took all my medications. But I never made it back into the 60s. It couldn’t be done. Rather than feeling like a failure for not getting there, I should have felt like a success for doing everything in my power.
And so this time I want to set achievable goals. Instead of tackling them all right now, I’ve decided to address one at a time. Once I meet one goal or at least get a good start on it, I’m going to try to add in another. Manageable is the key, right?
I’m going to start with gaining a few pounds. Many CF patients have low body weight because thick mucus obstructs the pancreas and blocks the body’s natural enzymes needed for breaking down food and absorbing nutrients. Taking digestive enzymes helps, but they don’t completely solve the problem. Also, living with reduced lung function and constantly fighting off infections uses lots of energy and burns lots of calories. Because of this, people with cystic fibrosis need 20-50% more calories than the average person.
I recently changed my diet which has helped me to feel better overall. (I’m working on a post about it right now). One of the changes I made was cutting out dairy. Dairy has links to asthma, congestion, and is somewhat difficult to digest. Within a few weeks of eliminating it from my diet I had a less congestion and more energy. But eliminating dairy has contributed to some weight loss. I relied on dairy products for easy calories. It’s time to find a way to gain the weight back and keep it on sans whole milk, cheese, yogurt, and shakes.
Before you start wishing to be me, know that it’s neither fun nor easy for me to gain weight. Because my caloric needs are already higher than average it takes a lot of effort to actually gain weight. I have to think about food all day, remember to eat many snacks, eat beyond when I feel full, and count calories. It’s a pain. Some people dream of being able to eat whatever they want. That usually translates to junk food of some sort. But eating unhealthy foods only complicates other health issues and so I certainly don’t want to gain weight that way. I need to give my body foods that fuel it and enhance its performance, not foods that cause digestive issues, inflammation, and sluggishness.
So why all the focus on weight? Healthy body weight is linked to higher lung function and the ability to fight off infections for CFers. Having a healthy weight also strengthens the immune system. Plus, when I’m at my optimal weight, I feel more energetic.
So on Monday I’m starting Operation Up Scale. I’d like to see the scale go up about five pounds. I’m starting to stock my cupboards.
I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing. I’m hoping that blogging about it will keep me accountable. So here’s to a weightier me!