Resetting things

So my hair isn’t falling out. I think.

Upon further reflection – also known as “Obsessively examining every strand when I’m doing my hair” – it looks as though it’s breaking off, which lends credence to my doctor’s theory that this is stress-related and it’s a somewhat-delayed reaction to the stress I was feeling/absorbing/name-your-term in June. Right where it seems to breaking off, if you figure the rate of hair growth, is just about at the place where June was working its magic, or “four-inches past my scalp.”

The approach I’m taking is helping – all the not-washing and thick serums and hair masks, the Evening Primrose Oil and Biotin – and it’s not breaking off in the record rate it was. I rather suspect, though, that has more to do with duration and my hair has simply done what it’s gonna do.

I’m also not too attached to what’s happening anymore, either. It’s just hair, and for now I’m taking the still-vain approach that it’s fun to experiment with a new look. Instead of big, curly hair it’s pin-straight and perhaps a bit more suited to my age. It’s also nice to not have to blow my hair out so much. Either way, I actually have hair and it’s silly to get mired down for too long in what amounts to a generally solvable situation. At least as it seems for now.

This has all been a blessing, I’m convinced. It’s forced me to take a long, softer look at myself and the things I do or don’t do, whether it’s “never” or “always” or “not nearly consistently enough.”

  • Do I get enough sleep? Yes, kind of. Sometimes it looks more like six hours, rather than the 7.5 I need.
  • Am I eating well? Generally, I do. But it’s not accurate to say that it’s consistent enough to make a dent in places that are bothersome – feeling ravenous by dinnertime, lowering my ridiculously high cholesterol, feeling less weighed down and bloated. If I’m honest I’ll say that I’d still like to lose a few more pounds, but as I’ve said before, I’ve come to a point where I feel like it’s always going to be “another ten pounds” and at some point you just have to quit worrying about it.
  • Am I forgiving and kind with myself? Not really. I try, and within the past two months I certainly have been better, but in the realm of self-compassion, I spend more time than not berating myself for any number of missteps, second-guessing the silliest of things and letting outside forces beyond my control to influence the things I do.
  • Am I taking time to practice being present and active? No. Maybe it’s just summer, but my yoga practice has dropped off to a ridiculous degree. The notion of just stopping and taking three deep breaths seems invasive to my self-important schedule.

My friend, Mary, is a Beachbody coach and a coworker. We’ve gotten to know each other during the past couple of years and she’s one of my biggest cheerleaders. I turned to her last month when the hair thing started happening, primarily because I wanted some nutritional guidance – she’s recently completed a course from the Integrative Nutrition team – and because I knew she’d generally just be awesome. In May, she completed the Ultimate Reset and has been raving about what its done for her.

I’m generally skeptical of such things, so if I didn’t know Mary personally, it’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY I’d be interested in it. I just, I don’t know, 21 days and vegan diet and supplements and no working out and “detox” and something that would be a PITA for my family and blah blah blah…

I think one of the larger truisms about myself that I absolutely need to curb/change is caring so much about changing things up. Whether that’s for 21 days or forever. Even more to the point, I need to get honest about doing the work that it takes to change things up when necessary. I talk a good game, but in the end, my demons win out. I worry that…

  • Scott will think something is silly or be annoyed that I’m altering my diet. Which is ridiculous because 1) it’s my diet and 2) my husband has never been anything but supportive of me. If I want to cut meat and dairy from my diet, (rhetorical question warning) why don’t I just do it?
  • I will have to change my social life. Oh, alcohol and appetizers. I adore you so. I don’t even want to think about what my life would be like sans Manhattans and cheese plates, but the rate in which I consume both has a heavy impact on my demeanor and ability to just be in a better mood. My larger goals are better suited to me being a club-soda-drinker, but who am I if I’m not having cocktails and wine? It’s not as though I drink every night, or even every week, but still. Do I become the person who doesn’t really drink?
  • I might have to sustain something. Look, I’ve spent the better part of almost a decade switching my eating and exercise habits – meaning I actually developed some – and I’m pretty sure I’m set in my ways. The idea that I spent almost ten years thinking I reached the peak, when really I’ve only reach the base of what’s the real mountain is annoying.

(You know where this is going, of course.)

So I’m going to try the Ultimate Reset. After the gallbladder incident, it wasn’t lost on me how much better I felt not eating meat, dairy and drinking booze. The impetus, of course, was not wanting to feel a ridiculous amount of gut-searing pain, and it all slowly made its way back into my diet. But yeah. I felt better. And though I feel strongly that my cholesterol is a by-product of my thyroid, and my good levels are ridiculously high, thanks to my exercise routine, I worry more and more routinely that I’m using Hashimoto’s as an excuse to ignore it and not try and manage it better and I’m headed toward a life of taking pills every day to manage that, too.

(It’s around 260 total. That’s right. It’s that high.)

I told Mary that I really wasn’t interested in doing something like Ultimate Reset during the summer months, thanks to how I wanted to exercise after a year of babies, sinus surgeries, a fractured foot and a defective bodily organ. I really wanted to work out hard and push myself. You cannot work out – aside from walking and some gentle yoga – during the Reset, so it seemed ridiculous to do something like this if all I really wanted to do was run and do burpees all summer.

Everything for a reason, though. I don’t know that I would have even been open to what I could do during this time. I don’t know that I could be open to not working out so hard, almost every single day, and what that could bring to my life should I get an extra few hours every day. Maybe more sleep. More time to head to the yoga studio. More time to try to devote to a meditation practice. All of these things I could stop putting off because I’m spinning/running/boot camping and there are only so many hours in a week.

Of course this all makes me itchy and gets me back to bullet three above – sustainability – since what will this all mean if at the end I figure out I need to let go of one of these things because I might really need to make a lasting change and do more yoga instead of endless burpees and bear crawls at boot camp and who the heck would I be so why should I bother OMG.

I’m predictable.

I’m not going to lie – I cling to all of these things like a barnacle to a ship. The “extra” ten pounds. The challenging, intense workouts. The stiff drinks and the decadent foods. At 36, these things help to define me. The prospect of upending that is a bit unsettling.

(Oh, the dramatics. I know. Bear with me.)

So this could change nothing or everything. In the spirit of good practitioners of moderation, I pray for a middle ground. “Middle ground,” I wager, is what’s really missing from my life, so maybe this’ll be a good way to get there.

Even if it’s not, I like a good challenge and a goal. After this, I start training for a half-marathon so I’ll be back and running soon enough.

For now, I’d love to hear if any of you have done this, or anything like this, and what your experience was like.

I start August 20. Wish me luck.