When I began this blog months back, I settled upon the name Defiant Wellness for a very specific reason.
My experience with “healthcare” over the past two decades has been one of “symptom suppression”, not health. I know I have vented about this before, so I won’t play that one string banjo. By pursuing my own defiant wellness I have been taking responsibility for my health and fitness, often defying conventional “medical wisdom”.
This skepticism is what brought me to seek true nutrition from real food through my Paleo/Primal lifestyle. This has paid remarkable dividends regarding my health. Thirty-five pounds of fat are gone and by God’s grace I have sustained that for over a year. This skepticism forced me to reject advice to “walk my way to health”, and to seek the rigor of high intensity interval training through CrossFit.
A year and a half later I have seen tremendous health benefits as a result of my diet and exercise regimen. However, there is room for improvement. I have been frustrated that all my work on fat loss, and fitness have not manifested all the benefits I had hoped for. I know something is still amiss, so just like I did twenty months ago, once again I am throwing down the gauntlet, challenging myself to take my wellness to the next level.
Among the issues that plague me, is that my strength and muscle gain have plateaued. I suspect several factors.
One is my medications, which were prescribed back when I was eating poorly, over-stressed from corporate slavery and living a sedentary existence. These are designed to suppress my heart rate. You know, the same heart that I need to pump a little blood to my muscles!!
Part of my plan is to defiantly wean myself off that poison. After far surpassing the recommended lifestyle changes of my physician and cardiologist, I am still consuming meds for maladies that are either ancient history or are well under control through nutrition and exercise. Imagine walking with crutches, decades after a broken leg has healed. What a ridiculous thought.
Another factor is inadequate rest. Rising at 4:00 a.m. I find it impossible to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. I’m sorry, I cannot go to bed at 8:00 p.m., it just seems too early. Especially since I just finished cleaning the kitchen after dinner. And who wants to go to bed on a full stomach?
A third factor is tweaking my diet. I have enlisted the help of an expert, to perform a Clinical Nutritional Analysis on me. After 90 minutes of interviews and observations he suspected I am dealing with gut inflammation. Based upon what he observed, and knowing my own health history, I suspect I have been dealing with this for years.
So the stress upon my gut is producing chronic inflammation, and chronic inflammation is producing…, other things. I agreed to immediately begin a 4-6 week Anti-Inflammation Diet. (at the time of this post, I am two-thirds through the period) While I had eliminated most offending foods by switching to Paleo, there are still many foods that have the potential for causing inflammation, such as nightshades, shellfish, dairy, eggs, pork and the list goes on.
Though I have been on a very clean diet for the past year, it is worth noting that even real food can be disruptive to some people’s physiology. An elimination diet is a simple, no-cost way to experiment with your body to test it’s tolerance for certain foods.
This process is like any other quest for personal growth. It requires a definable goal and distinct measurements for success. And it requires self-discipline. Fortunately I hang around determined people every day who encourage me and motivate me to persevere.
So there you have it, my present “Challenge To Self” is to increase my sleep from 6 to 7 hours, to reduce my meds by another 50%, and to tweak my diet to reduce gut inflammation. Stay tuned for progress reports in the upcoming weeks.
What health and fitness goals are you working towards at this time? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.