Well, the journey continues. Last week, week 2, was a very busy one at work and just in life in general and I still haven’t mastered all aspects of what I need to master in my new healthier life – but I’m working on it. It is a lifelong project after all and so I’m not looking for a quick fix. I’m going to do this right – and take the necessary steps.

Speaking of steps, I took a few more of them when it came to my meals last week (and of course this week), cooking really great and healthy dinners like salmon (which I must brag, I have down pat: my salmon is on point!). I also made a great French beef stew. Now, before you jump on me with the “beef” part and how red meat isn’t the healthiest meat choice, let me say that we hardly ever eat red meat in my house – maybe once or twice a month (and when we do have it, it’s a little bit of meat with lots of veggies). And to take it a step further, I gave up red meat in 2001. After 2010 I would have one or two bites of red meat a year, then in 2019 my red meat consumption increased slightly – but we’re talking very minimal. I make an exception when it comes to my French beef stew, which is full of amazingly fresh veggies, lots of herbs, and some red wine. It’s extra yummy on cold days, too.

Last Friday I also had my biannual appointment with my rheumatologist. I have two auto-immune syndromes, but I’m fortunate that they don’t affect me too badly… or so I tell myself and so that’s how I stubbornly fight them. My thinking is that if I don’t pay them any attention that they have no power and won’t affect me. That may sound childish or stubborn, but it works 99% of the time.

One of the things that always makes me feel so good when I go to these doctor’s appointments is when the nurse brings me in and does my vitals, and then when she checks my chart and remarks (in a somewhat surprised voice), “No meds – wow, good for you!” I’m just like, “That’s right – no meds for me!”

My rheumatologist knows all about my health issues, my family health issues, and my big concerns with cardiac health. I’ve been working with her for over 12 years now. She always runs blood work, but due to my new family history, she makes sure to check things carefully as they pertain to my body, our concerns and goals. I should get results from that visit next week.

At this doctor’s visit, my doc had a nurse practitioner shadowing her. Coincidentally she primarily works at Albany Cardiology and so I was able to have a chat with both of them about my particular case, my concerns, my challenges – and what I am working towards. The nurse practitioner suggested that I have a calcium score done, and so that is something I’ll bring up to the cardiologist when I meet with her next month. She also gave me a few other pointers, particularly when it comes to exercise. But she did ask about my triglycerides when we spoke about my elevated LDL score. My doctor brought up my blood work results from my last visit and she said that all of my other numbers are really great. So perhaps when I get my results next week all of my numbers will still be really good… But if everything other than the elevated LDL score is on point, maybe I’m doing ok? I’m excited to find out.

So as you see, I’ve got the food part more or less going in the right direction. I’ve got all of the doctors lined up along with tests and blood work and all of that good stuff. We’re determining my starting point. All necessary things. All good things.

Next up: exercise.

Masha, my pilates guru has been out of town and will return next week, at which time we have workout appointment already on the books. I’m also going to start yoga up again next week (I wasn’t able to attend this week because of a scheduling conflict). But I did dust off the rowing machine in my office. Furthermore, I actually used it yesterday. No kidding, right? I bought it about two or three years ago, thinking that if I had it in my office that I’d be more inclined to use it. That worked for a little bit, but the last two years have literally been crazy and a lot of things were put on the backburner – like the rowing machine. But it is no longer a decorative element, standing upright against a wall in my office, it is now on the floor (taking up lots of space) and right in my way – I almost have to climb over it to get around it. But that’s ok. It just means that it’s more of a reminder: “Hey! Use me, I’m right here.” That’s the goal at least.

So that said, what’s next up? Getting my body moving more and more. I’ve been working on this a little bit, too. So, it’s cold out and I feel like an indoor kitty these days, not digging that cold wind and all of the layers necessary to stay warm. So I’m not too thrilled about the idea of taking walks outside. Instead I get up from my desk frequently during work (I work in front of a computer all day), pace back and forth and stretch. I have a long and narrow office, perfect for pacing. In the front of my office I’ve got a sofa and some chairs and I use them to stretch, do dips, and things like that. I know I look weird to people walking by, doing lounges and dips, but … ya know … what are you going to do? I’m working on my fitness here! The folks in my office are used to it by now, too, and don’t look at me weird when we’re having an impromptu meeting while I stretch and do lounges. I’ve noticed in the last two weeks that my iWatch hasn’t reminded me at all to “stand up” because I’ve been proactive about moving more during office hours. Take that iWatch – one less task for you to remind me of!

I know that to some health experts out there that this might not sound like much at all (“Who is she kidding with walking back and forth in her office?!? Like seriously?” I feel your judgment, dude). But my thinking is: what can it hurt? And my predicament is that of many people, who have limited time and energy and so I’m trying to find methods and exercises that can incorporate into my life. A few minutes here and a few minutes there will add up to many minutes a day. So stop judging and be helpful instead. If you’ve got methods and suggestions, email them to me! I’d be happy to incorporate some new stretches and exercises into my office wheelhouse!

And guys, this week our February issue of the magazine comes out. In it you’ll find a healthy living column that I wrote where I dove into a few of my favorite foods. Take a look. It’s all part of my transformation! Now if I could only shed a few pounds… next on the agenda, right? Talk soon!