Move Over RA: Spring Makeover Time

Vanessa Collins Health Guide
  • As I write about my hopes for a Spring Makeover, there is snow covering the ground, and the wind is howling. It is cold. I am tired of the cold, so I am turning my thoughts to the promise of Spring.


    The hope of Spring is inspiring me to start a makeover program for myself. I have trouble staying on course for too long, so I am hoping for some noticeable improvements by March 17th. I will be 58 years old that day. Oh, where did all those years go?!?


    My main concern at this point is the extra weight I packed on this winter thanks to inactivity and prednisone. Ah, prednisone. It gives us such welcome relief, but the bad things it can do to our bodies is so amazing, and...............depressing.

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    Who would have thought a little pill could actually redistribute one's weight and dump it on the midsection of our bodies? My midsection doesn't need any additional padding, but there it is, making it hard for me to buckle my jeans. I stare at it in disbelief!


    I now have three sizes of jeans in my closet: 10, 12 & 14! Ugh. At the moment I am wearing the size 14 pants I just purchased because I was tired of trying to push my too ample belly into my size twelve pants.


    We have all heard of the “muffin top”. I don't have a “muffin top”, I have a muffin that has run over and over and over. I have a “muffin hangover”, and it isn't the kind you get from having a good time with friends. It is a prednisone hangover, and I do not like it one bit!


    Enough whining. Time for action. I have a problem with diets. I need a “diet” I can stick that makes sense in the real world. Here is my plan: 1. Control portion size 2. Eat plenty of fresh fruit & fresh veggies every day 3. Do not obsess over calorie counts, but generally keep it between 1200 and 1400 calories a day 4. I resolve to eat lean meat and fish, and to stay away from red meat altogether 5. Do something that counts as exercise every day, even if it is just stretching exercises or walking up and down the stairs with a load of laundry. Now that is hard on the creaky knees and hips, but it is exercise, right...???


    I used to go on 1000 calorie a day diets, and I ALWAYS ended up sick with a cold or a sinus infection. That plan just doesn't work for me. This current plan may take longer to give me the results I desire, but at least I shouldn't get sick.


    I intend to stick to this plan until my birthday, when I will take stock and decide my course of action going forward. So far, so good. I am not having too much trouble following my new lifestyle change. I just have to learn to not grab whatever is available to eat when I don't feel well, and don't feel like cooking.


    Preparing healthy food ahead of time and keeping it in the fridge helps a lot. In addition to that, I have fresh fruit EVERYWHERE. There are apples, grapes and oranges in my refrigerator, and apples in a bowl on my kitchen table. I have “healthy” water crackers and protein bars sitting on my “snack” counter in the kitchen.


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    I would love to be a size ten again, or even an eight, but I have to get real here. I am getting close to 60. My metabolism has slowed down, and I cannot work out three times a week like I used to. Still, I am not ready to let myself go and throw caution to the wind. I will be satisfied with a size twelve that fits comfortably.


    Since Spring is just around the corner, I am looking forward to being outside. Perhaps I will be able to do more walking this year, even if it is with my cane. I am not too proud to use my cane anymore, ya know? At this point, I will do whatever works to get out there and live my life. I am currently looking into purchasing a “travel” scooter that breaks down into parts and is easy to assemble. I can only walk for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. If I had a scooter I could go to the mall and the park again, and really enjoy my outing.


    Last summer, when I could barely hold my arms up to wash my hair, I cut it all off. That was a good idea at the time. A lot of people liked my hair short, but my husband really likes it longer.


    I have a wonderful husband, whom I love dearly, so I am going to let my hair grow a bit. Maybe by March it will be long enough to be styled some way or the other that doesn't look like I am “growing it out”, which is exactly what I am doing!


    I need a bit of a “Makeover” for my mindset, also. I have found myself in a cold-weather “rut” of sorts. I go to work, the grocery store, and church. That's it! Not much of a social life there, so that is going to change.


    I know my limitations, but I know that I could include at least one social event in my life once a week. I enjoy visiting people who are homebound or in nursing homes, so that is where I am going to start. I know that will not sound like “fun” to many of you, but each of us is different. Visiting these folks energizes me. We talk, we laugh, we have a genuinely good time.


    I have not been able to travel at all since my diagnosis. Riding in a car is torture if it is for more than an hour. I have seen some improvement in this area recently, probably thanks to Humira. I am going to plan a short trip somewhere this summer. It will be a good test of the waters, so to speak. Perhaps I will take a new bright blue scooter along for the trip!


    As I think of Spring being just around the corner, I am feeling hopeful. I hope all of us have a good Spring filled with laughter, good things, and thoughts of better things to come.


    Remember that snow on the ground I mentioned at the beginning of this post...??? I just looked at the window and saw a few daffodils pushing up through the earth in one of my flower gardens. A sign of spring. A sign of hope. What are your plans, hopes, or dreams for the coming Spring?

Published On: February 10, 2012