Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's Time For A Change, Part 2 - The Problem Areas

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm soon to be 37 and I've never paid close attention to my health, fitness, or nutrition. For many years I worked in very sedentary jobs. And then in my mid-30s I had two babies in 15 months. Good thing my babies (now toddlers) are cute because I have a lot of daily aches and pains now that I never had before I carried them in my belly.

My goal over the next several months is to identify any health issues I have and make manageable changes to help fix them. More on my ideas for solutions next time, but today, here is what I'm hoping to address:

* Joint and muscle aches, specifically in my back, legs, and knees. My upper back has started hurting recently, I suspect due to the very non-ergonomic ways I pick up my kids and hold my youngest while she is nursing (shoulders hunched, lots of stress at the base of my neck). My knees have hurt ever since being pregnant. I had to do a lot of stairs at home and work and I was carrying a lot of extra weight. My knees have never been the same. My lower back has suffered from years of bad posture, bad office chairs, and a bad mattress.

* Occasional migraines. This is one area that has actually improved since having kids. Before, I would get a migraine almost every month at the beginning of my cycle and I seemed to be more prone to them due to other factors as well. They are much improved but I'd be delighted never to have another one.

* Funky little growth on my knee. A dermatologist told me it was harmless but it is ugly and sometimes hurts (like, a lot) when I bump it.

* Lack of energy and focus. I haven't had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in over 3 years so this isn't a surprise, but I'm sure some positive nutrition and lifestyle changes might help.

* Baby weight. I'm still carrying about 10 pounds of baby weight. And I'm okay with the fact that my body has changed. Again, back-to-back pregnancies have left their mark. My hips and rib cage widened and my feet grew a size. That's okay. But I don't feel healthy. That's the problem. I walk with a heavy step. I'm 5'8" and weigh 159 (with winter clothes and heavy shoes). I know I'm not fat but I'm not healthy and I'm not strong.

* Weakened stomach muscles from pregnancy. I actually had very easy and enjoyable pregnancies both times. I'm one of those annoying people that LOVE being pregnant. Even the stuff that's not fun is okay because it is such a special, unique time and I know I'm growing a human. But early in my first pregnancy I had an incident in which I suspect I strained a round ligament and it gave me grief ever after. My stomach muscles also split and I don't think they have ever fully healed.

* Minor digestive issues. Over the last month or so I feel like I've had some subtle digestive issues. I haven't felt terrible and I suspect this has a great deal to do with all of the holiday junk food I ate, but it is a little unusual for me.

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