Monday, June 8, 2015

Itchy Skin? Maybe It's What You're Eating

Last year, I started developing itchy skin on my shins. There wasn't a rash, the skin didn't seem excessively dry, it was just really, really itchy. Sometimes I would scratch until I felt like it would bleed if I scratched more.

Changing detergents didn't help. Using anti-itch creams, like calendula or others, helped, but it didn't stop the itch from coming back. Pretty much every single day.

Then I started eating almost entirely wheat-free after Easter when my daughter realized she needed to go gluten-free. And lo and behold, I started realizing I would have several days of no itching. When I'd eat wheat again, the itch came back. If I'd eaten a lot of wheat, it was a ferocious itch.

I had no itching yesterday, then ate regular wheat bread as part of supper last night. And my shins itch again this morning.

People tend to think of hives or perhaps even eczema when they think of food allergy/sensitivity symptoms. Itchy skin--and it doesn't have to be everywhere as my case shows--is another symptom. If you, too, suffer from itchy skin that doesn't seem to have any understandable cause, have a look at what you are eating. It's probably not the only symptom from a questionable-for-you food.

Friday, June 5, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health--Week 2 Day 6

Yes, yes, nearly the end of the second week and I'm only now just posting.

It's been one of those weeks where life reminds you that you can have plans--and life may just laugh at you.

My plan had been to eat a salad each day AND do cardio at least 3 times this week.

In reality, I've started coming down with something--so my food desires and even my ability to remember that I was going to eat salad are hampered--and my knees have been acting up, which makes the cardio very hard; and I can't swim because of my shoulders (even if I actually had the time to go swimming).

So, I thought about what to do with this plan of mine and here is how it has worked out:

*I've had salad a few times this week. I consider this a lead-up to next week where I can make sure to eat a salad every day.

*I've been reminded that they typically say 3 weeks (at least) to a new habit. If my shoulder care and fruit first rules from the first week are the only thing I stick to this week and next, they are still new habits being created. If I only added in something new every 3 weeks, I'd be adding 17 new habits a year! Wow! And right now, I've got 2 habits going on, so if adding 2 things every 3 weeks becomes a habit, then that's 34 new health habits in a year.

Are you creating your own habits? Doing your own 12 weeks of something? Set yourself some rules, but at the same time, be gentle with yourself and be flexible when needed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health -- Day 5

How have you been doing with your week 1? Those first small changes can be really hard to make. I know that, already, I've been struggling to make sure to have a serving of fruit before I eat anything else in the morning. And really struggling to remember to do my rotator cuff physio exercises. The first while is the hardest, absolutely. It's the reason people last 2 days with things like New Year's resolutions: it can be hard to change our habits. It pushes us out of a comfort zone. Our comfort zone doesn't care about how healthy or better things are outside of it, so we have to sometimes deliberately challenge it so that it changes its size or its content.

I've been thinking ahead to my Week 2. I want to be exercising at least 3 times a week--Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So, I already started. Why? Well, because by the time I get to next week, it won't be as hard to stick to. My comfort zone will have been stretched a bit already.

The last post, I said I would share about my using "rules" rather than "goals." I do have a goal in mind--80% healthy eating, for example--but I know that the way to reach that goal is to break things down to develop habits bit-by-bit. But there's something that goes on in me that if I say my goal this week is to have fruit first thing every day, I might not actually achieve the goal. The goal is not the action itself, but the ending. So, what action do I need to take? I need to actually eat the fruit every morning. How do I make sure that I will stick with it? For me, setting it as a rule works. With a rule in place, I'm far more likely to actually follow through on the planned action because I don't want to break my rule. And the rule is reasonable and doable, so I'm not setting myself up for failure and actually helping myself be successful with the change to fruit first by setting it.

What about you? Would setting yourself a rule work for you? Or do you resist rules and tend to want to break them? What would be your "thing" to encourage you to actually stick with your planned action? For some people, it might be charting--and keeping the chart in a spot where others will see it to help with accountability. For others, it might actually be having a buddy to be accountable to and you don't want to have to admit you've messed up that day, so you're more likely to actually do it. There are all kinds of possibilities, it's just a matter of connecting with what would work best for you.

Monday, May 25, 2015

12 Weeks to Better Health--Day 2

I have a confession to make:

It is only Day 2 and I almost forgot my first rule for myself this week: Fruit first!

But I did remember, so that's all good. But let's say I had forgotten. What would you do if you'd forgotten? Would you say to yourself, "Ugh, I messed it up. I'll try again tomorrow." Or maybe, "If I can't even remember to do today, how am I going to do make it through 12 weeks?" If these are the kinds of things you'd say, I'm going to suggest something else, what I would have done had I eaten something else first:

"Oops. Let me eat some fruit right now." I could follow it by, "What can I do so that tomorrow morning I'll remember?"

It's really that simple.

It's exactly what I did for my rotator cuff care this morning. I had the fruit, got on with my day and realized I hadn't done my exercises. So, I did my exercises pretty much right then. They're done.

There's no need to beat yourself up or get down on yourself if you forget. Don't throw it all away if you have a goal you're working toward and you really goof on it one day. It's okay. The rest of the day can be in line with your goal. Or your rules. I'll write more about my "rules" for myself rather than my "goals" for this tomorrow.