For those of you who have been following Bat Fit for the last five years will recognize many of these suggestions and challenges this week. Yes, I’m in repeats. Why? Well, this is a new blog with many new followers who aren’t familiar with Bat Fit (Hello new people!), something that took a life of its own on my previous blogs, Le Professeur Gothique and The Curious Professor Z on Blogger. Secondly, I personally find that these suggestions and challenges worked for me and since they worked I’m returning to them as part of my Bat Fit routine. Remember everyone, Bat Fit is a personal journey: take what you need from these posts, modify what you can, and leave what doesn’t work.
I’m a big believer in writing everything down — yes, real paper and real ink. What can I say, I’m old. I keep a paper planner, loads of “think tank” notebooks for research, writing, pedagogy, etc., and a personal journal outside of this blog. I make lists and lots of them. I jot down passages of books that I like or that will be useful for a writing project. I write out lecture scripts for my teaching videos. Hell, I even wrote a good portion of my dissertation in long hand on legal pads. I like seeing words and thoughts on paper … my handwriting is evidence of what was and what will be. It represents my thoughts and dreams, and records where I’ve been, what I’ve done, who I’ve met. And it keeps track of the future.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that a big part of my Bat Fit journey is to maintain a Health Journal. I’ve done so since the beginning and will continue to do so throughout the rest of my life. When I started on this journey I only recorded what I ate, the amount that I ate, and when and where I ate. I also recorded my exercise progress. Eventually, I included how much water, coffee, and booze I drank; what kinds of medications and vitamins I take and when; my PMDD and periods; how I felt physically, emotionally, and mentally every day; and any other bodily changes I noticed. My health journal is a valuable record, one that I share with my primary care doctor and my ObGyn on every visit. This personal record helped my doctor assess that I was taking my Synthroid at the wrong times and that I shouldn’t take it with certain vitamins. It also helped her diagnose my low B12 levels, even before my blood test. I find that writing everything down and letting my doctor read it helps me receive better treatment and care.
Bat Fit Challenge #1: WRITE IT DOWN
When I first started Bat Fit I kept a huge 8″x 11″ journal that wasn’t very portable. I used all sorts of fancy pens and stickers, spending a lot of time “beautifying” my entries instead of really meditating on what I was doing and feeling. As time went on I kept simpler and simpler journals, finally opting for the little Stitch notebook that you see in the above photo. It’s small and portable — it can fit in my purse — which is key to staying on top of changes in health, eating, and fitness since I can take it with me at all times.
- What I eat, how much I eat, where I eat, and if I eat with someone. I also record what I have to drink with the meal and how I feel while eating (rushed, stressed, anxious, happy, relaxed, etc.). I tend to have a nervous stomach and it helps me figure out if my stomach distress was from what I ate or from how I was feeling at the time.
- When I exercise, how long I exercise, and what kind of exercise I do. I also record how I was feeling and what I was thinking about, if anything.
- When I go to bed, how I slept, and what time I woke up.
- What medications and vitamins I take and when, closely monitoring things like Advil and other non-prescription medications.
- My PMDD and period — how my PMDD was that month, when I get my period, how heavy/look/etc., cramps. I have fibroids so this information is valuable to my ObGyn.
- A general overview of my emotional and mental health. Am I stressed? Why? Am I upset? Why?
- Weight gain or loss.
- Anything else that might affect my physical, mental, and emotional health.
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to maintain a Health Journal throughout the year. Use any format that you’ll stick with — paper, digital, other — and update it everyday throughout the day. Utilize some of the entries that I’ve suggested or come up with your own that match your Bat Fit goals. Decorate it or not. Do whatever it is that you need to do to stick with it. You’ll be surprised at how much valuable health information is in that Health Journal, which will make your next physical or mental health visit easier and much more productive.
Good luck! And remember, Bat Fit 2017’s Kick Off is all week long. Come visit me tomorrow for another Bat Fit Challenge!