Friday, February 18, 2011

Pancreatitis & Excercise

pancreatitis and exerciseMy philosophy is that my overall good health and well-being can help to impact chronic pancreatitis in a positive way. Therefore, I try to focus on exercise to a reasonable - no fanatical - degree.

I'm not a weekend warrior or really looking to change the way I look physically. I'm a small framed woman and enjoy being just that. (I'm 5'7 and a very healthy 113.4 lbs as of two days ago.)
pancreas and health
I've always been small and the weight I'm at now is a normal, healthy weight for me. It's on the higher end of average for me throughout my adult life.

I walk, not vigorously. Just walk. Sometimes I'll walk 3 or more miles. I feel comfortable with having walked at least one mile. I like to take our dog on walks... if it's not to hot and if the walk it's too long. He's a shitzu so while walking is good for his bone density I find myself working out my arm muscles as he happily cuddles in my arms on the way home from wherever he's too pooped out to walk back from.

On the first of the month, I joined a gym. I'm fairly good about going on a regular basis - except for the week I was gone on a cruise to the Bahamas! Hubba!

Again, I'm nexercise and pancreatitisot a warrior. I take it easy and keep it simple. The goal is not to cause stress to my body but rather to move it, to exercise it. I sit a lot. Exercise counterbalances how much I sit in front of the computer working. The goal is balance.

At the gym, I'll work out for about 1.5-2 hrs. Whatever feels comfortable. I like the treadmill and try to find a show or program I can watch at the same time. While I'll sometimes be in the mood to walk a brisk 3.8-4.2 mph. More than likely I'm lingering around 2.7-3.2 mph. That's right, I'm not even increasing my heart rate. But I'm exercising and moving my body. I'm getting everything flowing in it and not leaving it static as I do when I work.

I lift very light weights - generally just the 5 lb weight. Once I picked up the 8 lb weight and once I used the 10 lbs weight. I can lift those weights easily but (and for me this is a big but) I don't want bulk and I know that I'll start getting bulking rather than just fit if I increase lift heavier weights.

I exercise like I was in the 70s. Lots of stretching. Jack LaLanne would have loved me! I work out using a few of the machines for exercise and pancreaslegs and the hinnie. At 43, my saggy backend is bothering even me! So, I'm doing a few leg lifts here and there and we'll see where it takes me.

I usually put the pin on the lightest weight. Again, I'm not looking to stress my body, hurt it or build muscle mass. Rather, I'm just looking to optimize my health and ensure I'm moving my body around enough to be as fit as possible... preferably in a natural way. I'm rather lift a weight 30 times than 5-10. I'm not in a hurry and, again, I'm not looking for bulk, pain or to stress my body in any way.

I can tell you that after 18 days of working out (minus the cruise - I only went to the gym once then) my body looks toner and I feel so much better. Moving is easier. Not that moving was difficult before or I was out of shape before. I wasn't. But now I'm using different muscle groups pancreatitis and healthand I love how it feels.

I have never read or heard anything about exercise and the pancreas. That being said, it only stand to reason that taking care of oneself will lead to better overall health. Therefore, I choose to exercise and in the process love how it makes me feel and what it is doing to my body. Is it helping my pancreas. Probably only indirectly as a result of how one's overall health always helps a person. That's enough for me. I'll take it!

Pancreatitis & Chocolate

chocolate and pancreatitisThere are certain times when I crave chocolate. A couple days ago was one of those times.

Instead of being level headed about respecting my pancreas and its needs, I chose to gobble down an entire bar of milk chocolate with hazelnuts.

I'd like to tell you that there was a gun to my head and I had no choice. I could tell you that before eating the chocolate I felt justified because I was sooo good on Valentine's Day.

Honestly, my pancreas doesn't care about reasons or justifications. It only cares about and reacts to the truth. And, the truth hurts when you eat an entire chocolate bar if you have chronic pancreatitis.

As a result I've tried very hard to be frugal about my overall food intake since the chocolate bar incident. I've had no choice. It's one of those times that chronic pancreatitis sufferers know all too well. It the time when we limit all food and drinks.

Fortunately, I'm still eating and drinking. I'm trying not to eat or drink too much juice or
chocolate and the pancreas
caffeine. The latter is a terribly difficult vice for me to put down. And I'm trying to steer clear of too much food.

One of the problems was that I had a decent sized steak within the same 12 hour period as the chocolate bar. It was too much for my system. Too rich. Too much fat. Simply too much.

Sometimes, when it has been a while since my last painful episode with my pancreas I forget just how delicate it is. There is no recovery for this disease. Only survival and a goal of longevity. Overeating will never increase my survival rate. I must remember that. Is any food - no matter how much I crave it at that moment - worth the potential reduction of lifespan? Clearly not. This simply train of thought can be easily forgotten once a little time has passed and I begin to feel better for a while. Nonetheless, the only way I can continue to feel better is by respecting my pancreas and it's needs.
pancreatitis and chocolate
My pancreas needs me to eat lightly and without too much fat intake. It also prefers it when I lay low on the juices. While I need juice and the nutrients juices offer I also need to balance these needs with the needs of my pancreas - which means small dozes. 2-4 oz of juice at a sitting is fine, once or twice a day... when I'm feeling well. Right now, it's a bit much.

When my pancreas hurts I do not take pain killers. The goal is to stop the pain, not to cover it up. By covering the pain I could continue to overeat which would decrease the longevity of my pancreas... and thereby me. Therefore, I want to know how food makes my pancreas feel. This way I know when I need to be careful with my food intake, how much I can eat and how foods make my pancreas feel. I can feel better when I eliminate bad foods (ie: chocolate is not good for the pancreas) from my diet. Fatty foods, rich foods and acidic foods don't seem to mix well with my pancreas.

What I'm working on: Eating right. Staying away from chocolate. Why? It hurts my pancreas and can affect my lifespan. I'd rather live longer than have a chocolate bar. I'm working on keeping it in perspective. The remaining question is do I toss or find a new home for the 5 remaining chocolate bars in the freezer.

I made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas fine. Who knew Valentine's Day would be the ring dinger! Humph!