I Have a Confession to Make

It’s been awhile since I have written a post so I thought it was about time. I have been knee-deep in writing my book.  I have wonderful amazing friends that stepped up to help with reviews and editing and so it’s been an endless cycles of reviews, rewrites and cleanups.  But is all going to be worth it in the end.  I think I really have something here with this book and I know it can help people navigate their past relationships and online dating. You can see the website for the book here.  Here is the cover:

But enough about that.

My confession is about my exercise routine.  At the beginning of October I took up Jazzercise again.  I have been going 3 times a week, so that is three hours of dance exercise fitness each week and haven’t missed one yet.  I am up to 17 session so far.  Where the confession part comes in is that I have been letting  my heart rate up higher than my doctor recommended.  I wear a heart monitor when I exercise so I can tell when it is higher than he wanted.  I feel great when I exercise, not out of breath or exhausted afterwards or anything and I do slow myself down when it is really high, but not enough to take the fun out of doing it.  I do really love to dance and stiffling that seems like such a waste.  I was supposed to be exercising all along but at a much lower heart rate and did that for a while with fitness tapes but that just didn’t keep my interest.  So it was Jazzercise or nothing as far as I was concerned.  Fun Tip: I have found that if I tell myself I am “going dancing” rather than going to exercise I get totally hyped up about going to class.  The thought works to propel me along while in class too.

My logic on the heart rate issue is that I have been taking A LOT of vitamins as prescribed by the doctor for 5 solid months.  And I can’t help but thing that has already improved my heart function (I just haven’t had the test yet to prove it).
Here is a picture of them, aren’t they pretty.

I take them morning and night plus some other powders and potions.  Overall I feel so much better:  I sleep solidly through the night (I suspect cutting out caffeine has helped that as well), I don’t feel like I am in a constant state low-grade panic anymore and my digestion is really good.  But it’s hard to know if that is because I removed the stress of a 9-5 job from my life or because of the vitamins and diet adjustments.  It is probably a combo.  But the bottom line is I feel really good.

I pushed my Echocardiogram test to the first week in December so I could hopefully have the book done and not be distracted by the test results before then.  The goal is to have an ejection fraction higher than 45. If I do it means my heart is stronger and is pumping blood out as it should and I can cut back on the vitamins and stop worrying about my heart.

It’s been an interesting journey quitting my job and putting myself and my health first.  I couldn’t have done this without amazing support from my family and friends and most of all from Dave.  I don’t know what I did in my last life to deserve him but I could have never gotten this far without him.  He’s a total keeper.

Coffee is NOT My Friend

Since I can currently wake up when I want, caffeine has become much less important to me. This is a pretty big shift for me.  For many years I didn’t even like coffee and didn’t drink it with any sort of regularity. For some weird reason I only drank it when I was on vacation or on the rare occasion I desperately needed to stay awake late at night.

That all changed when I started working at my last job for a company that did event planning. When I was on site at conferences I had to be ON very early in the morning, have very long day of 10-14 hours, then promptly get to sleep at night and start the whole cycle over again. That cycle would go on for 5 or more days in a row for most of our events.  That started my am coffee addiction and then sleeping pills at night.  I was no longer in control of my body’s ability to tell me when it needed rest or not. When I met Dave I started to sleep quite a bit better and I didn’t need the sleeping pills so much but I was still drinking coffee in the morning like clockwork.

When I quit my job I slowly stopped drinking coffee until one day I realized I hadn’t had any in over a week.  Then I slipped and had a caffeine blitz: one cup at home, two cups at a restaurant and a large diet Pepsi at lunch.  That night I kept waking up and had chest pounding nightmares. In the morning feeling lousy from no sleep, I clearly saw the connection and decided to cut out caffeine.  To drive the point home further, the other day I visited my parents, had one glass of strong iced tea and promptly had another sleepless night. Without a doubt I know it was the caffeine.

Now that I have really seen the impact of the caffeine on my sleep I started to wonder how else it had effected me.  Did it have something to do with the problems with my heart?  Did it influence the way I responded to things at work and my everyday life?  I suspect it has impacted me much more than I realized.  I used to be pretty close friends with adrenaline surges during the day.  They were so common for me that I didn’t even know that they were anything unusual. But as I started to get a handle on my stress and I would feel that sensation in my chest, (sort like when you bite into a lemon and feel your saliva glands squeeze, but in my chest). I realized that it was adrenaline I was feeling.  Thankfully lifestyle change and all but removing caffeine has made that a much more rare occurrence these days.

I bring all of this up because I have so many friends that tend to live pretty stressed out lives and drink tons of coffee. I know, I know that many of us live in the great North West and coffee is a way of life. But, I am here to tell you that for coffee probably isn’t your friend either.  That panic and pressure you feel at work, might not just be what is going on in your head, but may also be the physical impact of caffeine on your body. If you are having sleepless nights, panic attacks and anxiety it could be that double-frappa-mocha-latte-grande causing it.   That energy comes at a price.

I found a couple of articles that might help free you from the shackles of caffeine: