Post-cancer survivor . . . That’s one of my newest labels.
Like I shared last week, I’m doing as well as one might expect–fabulously and also struggling–all at the same time.
From what I’ve learned (and agree with), sleep, food, and exercise are the three main pathways to optimal health. And since my diagnosis, I continue to be dedicated to my health.
I want to live.
I want to see my kids off to college and feel sad when they go. I want to publish more books. I want to keep snuggling with my three kitties. I want to keep participating in the Kings Drive Art Walk (this will my eighth straight year)!
I want to live!
So . . . I’ve worked super hard to find the sweet spot of still maintaining the life I love (cookies and ice cream) with feeling healthy (1 cup of dark leafy greens every single day–not combined with the cookies and ice cream, of course) and safe from recurring cancer each day.
As my nutritionist suggests, the 80/20 rule will help me maintain my health goals. You do what’s best for you 80 percent of the time, and you’ll be able to maintain healthy habits because trying to go for perfection typically ends with hugely poor choices later on.
Here’s what my health plan currently looks like . . . I think you’ll absolutely benefit if you want to feel healthier–and you don’t even need to have had cancer! Double-win for YOU!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. I don’t profess to be a doctor. I definitely don’t want to be a doctor. The following information is a collection of what I’ve heard and believe to be the best life practices for me. Take it. Leave it. Love it. Disagree with it. Do some of it, all of it, or none of it. I’m sharing all of this because it’s really working for me. I feel healthy, and I think we all want a little of that.
Sleep – My Main Priority
Sleep is my #1 focus right now. I hope that sleep will remain my priority throughout my life because I really neglected my sleep for previous five years. When I am properly rested, it seems I have much more access to my higher-thinking brain. It’s like I’m able to clearly think and function!
I have an alarm set for 8 p.m., and at that time I clean up my space downstairs and head to my bedroom. I put on my jammies and do my night-time procedures, which includes my teeth and face hygiene. My kids gather in my room for the Question of the night, and then it’s off to bed we go!
My three main sleep aids include the following, but are not necessarily taken every night:
- CBD oil – 2 drops under my tongue
- 20-minute hot bath with at least 1 cup of Epsom salts (this is once about every two weeks, but I absolutely sleep better on bath nights)
How to recover when your sleep goes awry
Just a few nights ago I woke up unexpectedly at 2:30 a.m. No
I tried to go back to sleep, but by 4:30 when I still wasn’t able to sleep, I got up and decided to paint. And that’s what you do when sleep will not come and it’s the middle of the night–you create something.
The next day though, I made “right” the lost sleep the best way that I could. I made double-decker sure that I hydrated all day long, I finally went to the store to get more melatonin, and I limited my caffeine after my first morning chai.
When life happens, and gracious knows that it will, there are always choices to accommodate and keep your life healthy. You just get back to your focused positive 80 percent and keep going!
Each moment brings a new opportunity to make a choice you feel proud of.
Food – My Second Priority
Food is my second most important focus. Even though I will often start eating things that I believe are not optimal (I love peppermint ice cream, cookies, and thick Italian food), I can get back into the groove and start eating cleanly pretty quickly.
I’m a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and love the freedom it brings to my eating choices. I’m not tracking everything that I eat right now, but I do check in at my local WW office every month to maintain my lifetime status (for free). You can learn more about WW here. Feel free to reply with any questions you might have about that program, and I’ll help how I can.
What motivates you to eat healthy foods? I often think of the possible consequences of not eating healthy foods, which could easily include a new bout of cancer, leading to more discomfort, including surgery, less money, and way too much fear.
Why I try to do a 12-hour fast each day
My main food shift has been daily fasting. That does not mean that I never eat anymore–
I have a “no more
I told one of my friends about they daily fasting and she tried it . . . and now she loves how she feels when she doesn’t eat for twelve hours! It’s one of those habits that might be difficult to begin if you’re used to eating at night or early in the morning, but once you do it consistently, it becomes easy-peasy-lemon-no-
Exercise – My Third Priority
I have always exercised. This remains something I strive to do more, but I feel mostly okay about how it goes now.
My main goal is to get my heart rate up for an extended time (twenty-minute minimum) at least three times a week. I’ll tell you, sometimes I’m active six really awesome days a week, and sometimes I get a total of twelve thousand steps for the entire week.
I’m fortunate that I have a job where I walk quite a bit, which was actually part of my motivation for getting a retail job. Sitting at a computer isn’t great for your body, and I have found it quite difficult to get up to walk when the laptop work lasted for long durations.
Exercise is something I think we are all very well aware of that can help us lead healthier lives. I’ve found that when I exercise, my brain works better . . . and pretty much everything gets better. Cheers to more exercise! Yay!
Here’s where I really, really have a disclaimer about what to take and what not to take. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this, and since this is my article, I get to share my current take on the subject.
Overall, I think that a good multi-vitamin, Vitamin D during the winter months, and an Omega-3 supplement are the core of a healthy daily routine. I take a few more things than that because I was told that people who take these things (listed below) seem to have less recurrence of cancer.
Side note: I’d like to acknowledge how much I’m talking about having cancer and naming it and sharing it . . . it’s so nice to be out in the open about my experience.
Following is the list of stuff I currently take:
Another note: I take all of these at once in the evening because I didn’t take them consistently when it was twice a day. I’m just not good at that. We’re all good at certain things and not at others, so I strongly encourage you to give up things that are just too difficult and cause stress. Life really is meant to flow and
- Turmeric (with pepper, eaten sometime during the day because apparently, that’s the best way to do it) I get turmeric through my chai in the mornings and through a turmeric supplement in the evenings.
- Good multi-vitamin
- Vitamin D during the winter months
- Magnesium and iron – The iron
isbecause my blood work has been consistently low. I take the magnesium because I just feel like I need it, and there’s zero substantiation for that.
Other Juicy Stuff I Feel Good About
I do try to go to yoga once a week, though on good weeks I go two or three times, and on other weeks I go zero times. And that is how yoga goes for me, though I will share that Mason strongly recommended I go to yoga the other night when I was super cranky. There’s definitely something to it that calms my brain and my heart down.
Yo – I am absolutely loving Sam Harris’ Waking Up Course app. I do the daily meditation every single night, and I do the longer meditations on weekends. It’s such great information I feel good about engaging with. It’s smart and it’s helpful and I absolutely love the work he is doing.
I just finished reading Buddha’s Brain.
I continue to read books that I find inspirational, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, and hopefully helpful.
That’s it! Apparently, I’m busy, right? But all of these things are what I believe help me live my best and healthiest life.
I hope you get something from this sharing. I know it’s a daily path of taking one right step at a time. You got this, whatever “this” might be for you.