Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Type of Pilgrimage

As many of you know, I was planning to walk the Camino again this year in celebration of my 40th birthday (my birthday present to myself), but my body has had other plans....I'm currently able to walk/hike about 1-2 miles pain free, and that is about it. That is also without a full backpack, although trailing behind 2 energetic dogs on leashes can have their own challenges.

So, the focus this year is to get healthy.  My sister posted an article about choosing a word to focus on for the year, and in going through the process, the word health is what came up for me.  I am actually trying to low-ball my goals, as I'd like to actually meet and/or exceed them. I'm not sure that all of these will be possible, but I'm willing to go all out to do so.

Me, Yesterday before walking the dogs. Weight: 193.6 lbs.
When I talk about health, I'm thinking not just physical, although that is part of it. I'm also looking at mental, emotional, spiritual....the whole gamut. With that in mind,  There are 2 major things I have decided to do this year, and a few minor thing that I hope to be able to incorporate.

First, I've started the GAPS diet, and am currently working through the intro diet.  I've done this before, and in the process lost quite a bit of weight, as well as felt one million times better, and that was in spite of not following it very well.  My goal this time around is to fully follow the protocol in the hopes that I can curb some of my food allergies.  I'm sick of having to play 20 questions in order to eat at just about any restaurant.  It won't be a permanent thing, but I'm hoping that, in following this diet for 18 months to 2 years, I can get healthy enough to add back some of my favorite foods again.  Losing some weight will also, I hope, alleviate some of my foot pain, as they will have less stress on them.  At the same time, I'm not expecting the dramatic weight loss I had last time--one of the hazards of weight yoyo-ing is that you lose weight slower the next time around.  I will be happy if I can even lose 10 lbs, but am healthier inside and out.

Related to that, I don't plan to go back to my bad eating habits afterwards.  This is what happened the last time, and why I am where I am right now.  I'm not sure what my new normal will look like, but it isn't going to be what I was doing before I started yesterday.

Second, I'm going to walk my dogs every day (and maybe eventually run with them). I'm sick of not being able to run, hike, etc.  And, the only thing I can think of to get to that point again is to walk until my feet begin to hurt and go home.  This currently means a little less than a mile each time.  I'm hoping, by the end of the year to be able to run a 5k (3.1miles).  I will settle for being able to walk that far.

This also helps my mental/emotional health, as it helps me to clear my head and gives me quiet time to think.

As for the small things I plan to do, I want to volunteer somewhere here in town, I want to join a book club that isn't work related, I want to start dating, and I want to not bring any work home from my office.

I have decided that this year of pursuing health is not so much a new year's resolution, but a pilgrimage--a path of discovery of what works best for me to grow, to change, to follow God's will.  While eating weirdly and exercising isn't necessarily thought of as a spiritual exercise, taking care of our bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Spirit is.  I'm looking forward to what the coming year will bring, as it will be an adventure, even if it doesn't take me exactly where I expect to go.  That is the fun of a pilgrimage...your journey is always different that what you expected it to be. :-)