My Update: I started last Monday optimistic. I was going to make homemade tortillas and chorizo, and I was all geared up for a good run. Instead, I was immediately hit with a cold that very night that put me out until Sunday.
I’m much better now and full of pep, but this last week taught me a lot of lessons that I want to share with you in this week’s ELB iChallenge.
(Before I begin, remember that I’m not an authority on nutrition, health or exercise. The things I say are always based on my limited experience, and they might not be a good fit for you and your needs.)
iChallenge Week 40 Topic: Being healthy when you’re unhealthy.
If there’s ever a time where I reach for comfort, it’s when I’m sick.
At the first sign of a niggling throat, I would rush to the supermarket to stock up on essentials:
- Puffs Plus Lotion tissues (a MUST – if I had to use regular tissues, I’d just cry)
- Chamomile tea
- Pudding (Tapioca, chocolate, or vanilla – I’m a bit of purist)
- Juice – preferably apple
- Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
Aside from the first item, my comfort items are all food related. I don’t eat a lot of food when I’m down with a cold, and I tend to eat the same types of things. Most of my “must haves” are good on the throat and easy to prepare.
But this is the first cold I’ve caught since I turned my life around and begun to live more healthily. When I was looking over the grocery list while sucking on a throat drop, I realized that a lot of this “food” wasn’t exactly healthy. In fact, a lot of it I didn’t even want to buy anymore.
Considering the sodium and sugar levels in some of those items, I might as well just sucker punch my body on top of the pounding it was already getting from the cold.
Something needed to change. So, I did.
Here was my new list:
- Puffs Plus Lotion tissues (obviously)
- Chamomile tea
- Pudding – Chocolate but this time sugar free and fat free (not instant but the cook and serve variety – I actually didn’t get around to even making this)
- Butternut Squash
Instead of buying a can of condensed soup, I opted to take advantage of the squash bounty currently available and made a Matzo Ball/no-Chicken soup. I’ll be posting the recipe this week, but it was the best decision I could have made. The matzo balls filled me up, the soup was gloriously warm, smooth and tasty, and I was able to get a LOT of servings out of one batch. It also didn’t take too long to make, which was a plus seeing as how I was cooking it while just tipping over into a full-fledge cold.
So, on the food front, I was fortified with nutrients that my body needed, and I wasn’t sabotaging any of my healthy eating efforts.
The exercise front?
Well, this one was a bit tricky.
I had completed a pretty vigorous upper body strength workout that Monday morning (before I noticed I was sick), so I was good to go for the first day of my cold. For the next day, day 2, I rested. I was hit with extreme fatigue and nothing could have convinced me to do anything other than nap on the couch.
I knew I should be doing something the next day, since I was feeling better, so I looked up advice online. I followed the guidelines and took them seriously. I didn’t lie to myself about how I felt just so I could work in a longer routine. I didn’t ignore my tiredness or my body’s responses. I also only exercised what I felt I could do and no more. All the while I was drinking a lot of water to replenish my body and to stay healthy.
For that day, day 3, I rode my stationary bike at a comfortable peddle for about 20 minutes. I’m usually more energetic in the morning than I am in the afternoon and evening, so I made sure to take advantage of this. For the next couple of days, I slowly upped the intensity but not the duration. It wasn’t until the fifth day that I actually rode the bike at my normal rate.
Exercising while sick was actually liberating for me. I didn’t feel tied down to my cold, and I felt like I was doing something to help me feel better. In fact, while I exercised, my symptoms abated a bit – I was less stuffy and I felt more “normal”.
Again, I wasn’t deathly ill and all I had was a common cold. If you’re really sick, obviously you’ll want to seek professional advice. For me, however, I felt really good coming out of my cold. I was successful in keeping with my healthy lifestyle, and I even helped it out with battling the cold by feeding it nutritious food.
I was more than ready to start my regular exercise routine today and I fully took advantage of it. 🙂 30 minutes of upper body strength training and 40 minutes of high impact aerobics. Woo! I feel GOOD!