Tag Archives: commitment

Intention vs Commitment

First off, let me briefly apologize for the interlude between the last post and this one. Once again, I had a short bout with some stomach issues that have now been resolved. If you want to know the details, read the next paragraph. For those who are either uninterested in medical stuff or grossed out by what goes into (or comes out of) our bodies, just skip to paragraph three.

I went into the hospital with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting the middle of last week. The ER took a CT Scan of my abdomen and spotted what’s called a small bowel obstruction, which was caused by an adhesion caused by scar tissue from a previous abdominal surgery. While I can’t pretend to understand that particulars, what all that medical jargon means, basically, is that when the surgeons went into my abdomen to remove my appendix back in 2009, they accidentally made a small nick in the outside wall of my intestinal tract. Over time, scar tissue formed there, making the outer wall of the bowels unstable. Then, the outer wall can collapse on itself and “adhere” to itself, which is where the name “adhesion” comes from. This can happen for a variety of reasons, and sometimes for no discernible reason at all. Once an adhesion forms, it blocks off the intestinal tract, causing an obstruction. And, apparently, once it happens in a spot once, it has a significantly higher chance of reoccurring there in the future.

So, while I was not happy to have to spend three nights in the hospital again, I ended up learning something that went a long way toward explaining what was happening to me in late October and early November of 2012, and perhaps even starting as far back as two years ago. I have had quite a few abdominal issues similar to the ones described in the above paragraph that went unexplained. The doctor told me that many of those could have been this same problem exactly, but that unless they take the CT Scan at the exact right time it is very difficult to spot the adhesion, and in fact, often when the scan is taken without contrast, it cannot be seen at all unless the doctor already knows where to look and is looking for it specifically. I asked the radiologist later about it and he said, “It is like spotting one colored line in the midst of many slightly different colored lines. You often can’t see it unless you already know it is there.”

While all that really confirms, on one hand, is that I have indeed had at least a few unexplained hospitalizations that now have a clearer cause. But, on the other hand, I recognized something else that is very useful to me.

You see, while I was living both in parents house and on my own this past fall, I maintained my vegan diet, but I often ate more processed foods and my grain/gluten consumption went way up. This was, in recent history, when my digestive issues began. Then, even more recently, from the end of my hospital stay in December, I have been back on a diet more like what I used to eat in the past, including dairy and even some meat. I didn’t particularly want to eat those things, but I had the riot act read to me by two different dieticians in the hospital because I had lost so much weight so quickly. They wanted me to bulk up and told me I really ought to consider meat and dairy again for at least a short period of time until I gained the weight back, and then just to monitor things more closely once I switched back to a vegan diet.

I also realized that I have a tendency to not eat when I get sick. That seems sort of obvious to many of you, but I often forget about it because I usually feel like I’m eating enough, even when I’m not.

Also, my exercise makes a significant difference in my appetite and in my total calorie intake. It also affects my weight directly: muscle is much heavier than fat. So when I started to get sick, I not only started to eat less, but I also stopped working out, which caused the muscle to atrophe and turn into fat, which caused me to lose weight twofold. Not a good combination.

So, as of tomorrow, I’m back on my vegan diet. That’s really what this post is about. It’s an accountability post. I just tend to be more successful in any enterprise when I tell other people what I am planning on doing. Even if I never know who or where you are as you’re reading this, I know that someone out there has read what I wrote and they will know, and what in my head would have just been an intention becomes a commitment.

I have just enough life experience to understand the difference.

While an intention is nebulous, passive, and unrealized, a commitment is structured, active, and firmly put into place – it is binding, and does not yield to varying future circumstances.

In short, an intention is something you’d like to do, a commitment is something you are doing. It is intention enacted.

So, what does that mean for me from tomorrow on? It means returning to more involvement in my food, cooking more often, and preparing ahead mentally when shopping so that I have the things I need to create dishes for myself that I enjoy. I know that if I don’t really like something, I usually won’t take the time to cook it. Instead, I will often just snack or eat something easy or quick, and it is usually something processed, with all sorts of chemicals and preservatives. It is much less healthy than planning ahead and making at least a general menu for myself so that I cook and have leftovers to eat later. I end up getting more calories and also eating better quality foods that are easier for my body to digest.

At this point, I believe that it was at least partly my vegan diet (and my generally less stressful life) that caused such a marked decrease in stomach discomfort and a lack of any complications in my GI tract that required a doctors intervention. This was something I already knew, but that I briefly discarded in the face of pressure and change. That is something I will have to think about.

Thanks for reading, and I apologize for the lapse between posts again.

Peace to you,

-Nathan

Advertisements

A Morning Pledge…to Myself

Well, it is only 9:15am on a Saturday but I woke up this morning at 7am and have been trying to either sleep more or figure out something to do that would be relaxing. I tried watching a show on Netflix, but it was making me more anxious. I tried surfing the internet for some research for my novel but I couldn’t focus. I tried reading, tried just laying down…

So since I couldn’t find anything to do to help me relax, I figured it must not be time for that yet. I guess right now it is time for me to get some writing done. I normally don’t get started till the afternoon, but since I’m up early and my brain is hyperactive, I suppose it makes sense for me to do my writing in the morning today.

That will also give me more time to work. The last couple days I had to quit before I was really ready to do so because I had other things I needed to do. Today, however, I really only have one other errand to do, and the rest of the day I am free to work.

I have also been working on getting myself back in shape so that my exercise becomes easier. At the moment it is tough for me to get on the treadmill. I’m not starting completely from scratch this time the way I did with Wellness Quest 1.0, but I am coming out of almost two months of illness where I was unable to exercise, so there’s been some muscle atrophy.

I get tired more easily, and I have had to really push myself just to do my Tai Chi every day. But that’s where I started before, and I quickly got up to speed. So I imagine that I will be able to achieve the same or even better results this time around.

Results, as always, are the product of a very simple equation. They are equal to the effort exerted divided by the time invested. In other words, if you don’t put in a whole lot of effort but you spend a whole lot of time on something, you’ll get some results. If you put a lot of effort in but don’t spend a lot of time, you’ll get some results too. But to get optimum results, it requires a significant effort and significant time expenditure.

That is the main reason why my wellness quest has stalled in the past. Because I have either stopped putting in the effort or I haven’t made the time. And so, I stopped getting the results I wanted.

It almost sounds too simple, but I’m sure everyone reading this knows that making a significant effort and spending a significant amount of time on anything is easier said than done.

Usually I write this blog in the afternoon or at night so I can reflect on my day. However, since I am writing this early in the morning, today I get to make a commitment to myself. Today, I pledge to do my meds twice. I pledge to go through my Tai Chi routine at least twice. I pledge to get my errands done, and I pledge to write at least five pages for my novel.

That probably doesn’t sound like a lot, and really, compared to what I was doing daily back in September, it isn’t. But I have to start somewhere, and right now, this is enough for me.