BLC 32 begins - Why am I doing this???
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
I participate in the SparkPeople 'Biggest Loser Challenge' - I'm delighted to be part of the Resolute Renegades team this round. This is a great bunch of people who are really motivated to make positive changes, and I'm excited to be a part of that. Things are starting up for BLC round 32 tomorrow and I'm taking some time to plan and reflect on what this journey means for me.
I will be really kicking up my exercise plan as I re-focus not just on a healthy lifestyle, but on reaching my goal weight. I'm not trying to be 'thin' - but I do want to be strong. In order to reach this state, I need to shed a little extra fat and build stronger muscles!
I've always wanted to be at my best health so I can manage my pain, enjoy life, spend time with my kids and not be too tired all the time - and it's great to be able to do what they can do, like fit in a swing, or ride a bike! But this round, my goals center a little more around ME and my personal comfort, well-being and my long-term health.
I'm a nurse and I work in a hospital. I work with people who are, very often, paying the price for poor lifestyle choices. Many of my patients are obese, abuse drugs or alcohol, smoke, eat poorly and don't exercise. There are many other factors involved in health and illness, so please don't think I'm blaming the victims here. Genetics, environmental factors, injuries and bad luck can all play a part. However, in a unit like mine, it's easy to draw straight lines between bad choices and some very, very, very unpleasant and life-changing health problems. I don't want to be a patient in my unit. Not ever! I will do whatever it takes to avoid that, and if I ever DO end up there, I want to be in the best possible health so I can achieve a meaningful recovery!
So, health, disease prevention, wellness, longevity - these are key reasons for my fitness goals. But worrying about the future isn't all there is to it.
As for how I live and enjoy my life from day to day: I noticed that since I started working out more regularly and adding in more strength training, I recover from tough work shifts much more quickly. I also have found that I'm less sore AT work and that I have more energy through the shift. I work on a very busy mixed nursing unit with acute care stroke, rehab and medical patients. For an RN like me this means a lot of responsibility as well as a lot of 'heavy' patients, meaning, patients who need lots of help with personal care because they can't move on their own, or have lots of lines and wires, or have frequent medications and complex treatments... and many are literally heavy, so helping them is very hard on my body. At times, I've been so sore after work that I couldn't really enjoy my time off and have relied on medication to allow me to just get out of bed. But, since I started the ST routines, that discomfort is MUCH improved, and I have a lot more energy at and after work.
Mentally, my job is extremely challenging, so I need to be sharp. ALL. THE. TIME. And, I need to be mentally balanced - especially important to me is avoiding depression - so my mind is clear and so I don't take the stress home with me and upset the balance of my home and family life. Regular exercise is KEY to these needs. Regular, reasonably strenuous exercise helps to keep the mind clear and sharp, balance mood, manage stress.
Part two of this blog...
That being said, I had a ROUGH weekend! With three scheduled, I ended up doing 5x12-hour shifts in a row. Mostly nights, mostly "charge" shifts. Since it was the weekend, this means being in charge of the unit assignments/staffing, liaising with the physicians, admissions and critical care team as well as carrying a full load of 1/2 acute and 1/2 rehab patients. Night shifts are not always as 'busy' as days, but at night we have twice the paperwork and twice as many patients per nurse. Again, new nurse = challenging to juggle all that!
These particular shifts were uncommonly busy/dramatic/taxing.... challenging. Physically, mentally, emotionally; in every possible way. it's very hard to put into words (that are appropriate to share publicly) how challenging this job can be at times. This was five shifts of constant one thing after another; like little and large fires popping up unexpectedly all over the unit; sometimes multiple issues at the same time. I was stretched to every limit I have. Going in and leaving felt like going in to battle and retreating, sometimes in near defeat, when reinforcements arrived - and then doing it all again the next day. I'll always remember the shift changes; the looks of relief on the faces of the day shift when they saw the night shift walking in; the growing tiredness in the faces of oncoming shifts each day; the worry, the tension, the relief and, thank goodness, triumphant smiles.
Something that really struck me has been the incredible mental toughness that it takes to be a nurse sometimes. It's astounding to witness - and experience - the burst of energy that just 'kicks in' when we are well and truly exhausted but something happens and we have to spring into action. I had the privilege of experiencing the magnificent feeling of working on a true team during a crisis, in which everyone seems to instinctively know just what to do and just when to do it, and DOES it, without concern for their workload or how late they will be getting home at the end of the shift!
In order to do this job, I know that I need to be at my best - again: mentally, emotionally and physically. So, that's why I'm taking on this BLC32 challenge, and why I'm taking it on in a serious way. No excuses. No quitting.
The plan this week is:
Tuesday (today) - kickboxing and yoga
Wednesday - I may try out water-running;failing that, I'll go to Boot camp.
Thursday - weights class before work
Friday - swim and run after my night shift. After that I'll be giving blood (a special memorial clinic for a beloved physician who passed away recently), so I'll sleep some on Friday and take it easy on Saturday. In order to keep the streak alive, I will have to do something, so I will either walk or ride a bike with my kids. Whichever I can force, er, convince them to do with me.
Sunday the fitness centre is closed, so I will try an outdoor run - maybe I will be able to get my son to join me! Normally, this would be a ST day (3 sessions a week).
Monday I work a day shift, so there are no classes late enough for me to go to. Normally I would go for a swim, but the pool is closed next week. I'll have to think about that one... this may need to be a day off.
Tuesday next: LCW - working a night shift, so it will have to be a stretch & strength class - it's the only thing that fits in to my schedule.
Here we go!!