Day 92: Staying Strong

I worked out today even if it was raining. Our class was moved to one of the gazebos in the park. The space was limited so it was challenging to move around. Nevertheless, I was able to complete my workout. What mattered most was that I was able to show up and bring my A Game. I may not be employed right now, but I can wake up early and attend a workout despite the bed weather. I think it takes willpower and discipline to carry on despite being tempted to just sleep again.  

Day 91: Moving On

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I am currently moving on from a traumatic experience in my previous employer. While I promised myself that I will never look back in anger, I allowed my true feelings to surface and eventually, dissipate. After all, it is healthier to acknowledge one's true emotions rather than just let them kill me deep inside.

I spent my previous week working out and catching up on sleep. This week is a time for reading and more workouts. There is something about burning calories that puts things into perspective. I also like relating to the characters I read about. They make seem moving on possible because they have done so in beautiful prose.

A friend yesterday messaged me to encourage me to enjoy my break because as adults, we rarely get free days when we are tied up with work. I am grateful that she messaged me because it makes me see my unemployment in a new light. At the same time, A is telling me not to be desperate and that I am in charge of my own journey. I will keep moving on until I get to the place where movement is no longer a forced endeavor.

Day 89: Fitness on a Budget

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I have always been a morning person. It is not a problem for me to wake up early and get things cracking. My favorite way to fight drowsiness is working out. I focus on my abs and thighs, then move on to cardio. It never ceases to bring in results and it keeps sleepiness at bay.

There are days when I do get lazy and I fight that with walking workout videos and barre routines. They are focused on target areas and while they are low impact, they also work effectively. I do not want to enroll in a gym because I want to keep fit my way and of course, my routine depends on what I feel like doing for the day. When I settle down, I might have to enroll in a fitness center. For now, I am enjoying my workouts, be it a couple of hours dancing Zumba in our local park or burning calories while glued to YouTube.

I do not think that there is an ideal way to keep fit. I am living on a tight budget so I keep fitness affordable by going to our nearby park. A workout there costs Php20-50. Meanwhile, it is free to workout at home while following a YouTube video. The important factor is consistency, which is priceless. Discipline is developed through diligence and hard work. There is simply no gym membership that could buy that.

Day 83: Purposeful Unemployment

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It is officially my first weekday as an unemployed person. It is a holiday in my city, as it is hosting the state of the nation address. For me, it is another day to workout, and exercise I did. 

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I plan to take a break first to clear my mind. The circumstances surrounding my resignation revolved around factors beyond my control. It is important for me to regain my bearings. Of course I am not a hundred percent healed yet, as I had to question my fundamental principles and corporate ideals. Letting go of my job was not an easy process, as it also involved defying questionable practices which went against my basic values. In the end, I had to stand my ground and follow what I was taught to be correct. No one should be made to literally shell out money at work. No one should be asked to go against their health in the name of camaraderie. No one should work in a dissolving program. 

I had breakfast after my workout and I reflected on my previous job while having coffee. I know that there is a better place for me. I just have to make sure that I am not angry anymore when that happens. I am at my best when I am at peace. Give me a few days of fitness and books.

I will be okay.

Day 77: Starter Pack

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I just had cheesy eggdesal and two cups of coffee for breakfast. I am down to my last four days at my current employer, and I would have to admit that I am quite sentimental. Working in my alma mater was a unique chance for me to get acquainted with my academic institution from another perspective. I have learned a lot in a quarter. Working in IT also enabled me to build this website and blog during my downtime. I am grateful for this experience and I have no regrets. 

I would like to think that the skills I have acquired here comprise my starter pack for my next job. I still do not have a role lined up, so I am looking forward to a short break. I got some books and magazines to entertain me and get my mind active. I am also planning to continue my fitness regimen. Lastly, I am excited to blog about my journey and continue my 100 Day Challenge.  

I have learned to manage my time, start a blog, and live meaningfully. My graceful exit is just around the corner, and I will not look back in anger. Gratefulness is key to making the next four days count.  

Day 76: Dates Do Matter

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A and I needed a break from the recent stressful events we have undergone so we booked a day trip to Corregidor, the World War II military island. We are both history geeks and while we have both visited the island already, a repeat would not hurt. We also wanted to experience the tour together, and it was a memorable one. 

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We bonded during the ferry ride to the island, and we took several pictures all throughout the day. I appreciated A's patience with me as I am not the easiest person to be with. He thoroughly explained to me how the guns and weapons worked and supplemented our tour guide's script. We also got to enjoy our first lighthouse together. 

We had an amazing Sunday and I can really attest that dates do matter. Book a trip with your loved one, even if it is just a day trip. I guarantee you that the pictures, the memories, and the company will be worth it.  

Day 75: Determination

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I workout everyday because I have to. Having hypothyroidism has forced me to take a stand on fitness, and I chose to defy my condition the right way. I did not resort to crash diets or questionable pills. I decided that going slow but steady is key to developing good fitness habits that can support me throughout my life.  

My determination comes from a simple motivation to be the healthiest version of myself, for myself. That way, I can ensure that I am giving myself the best that I can be and I can pass it on to the ones I love. Indeed, self-love can sustain a girl with a chronic hormonal condition.  

If I can be determined to push myself, I am sure that you can do this too! 

Day 74: Resilience

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It was not easy for me to get out of bed this morning. The air was cool. My sheets were inviting me to stay. The teddy bear given to me by A was seemingly beckoning me to hug him again.  

Ugh. Like many similar mornings, I had to make a stand. I chose to rise and shine. 

I got cracking and worked out. I started with my abs, then I threw in some cardio. I transitioned to a barre video and then ended my workout with a squat challenge. 

My body was on fire and I could barely catch my breath. Like most days, I questioned why I was doing this. But I did not answer myself. Instead, I focused on my breathing.  

Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale... 

And when I looked at myself in the mirror and took this photo, I got my response. I am doing this for myself. I am doing this because I am resilient. 

I am doing this because I can rise above hypothyroidism, one day at a time.

 

Day 73: Hangout

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I have been going through a tough week at work as I am transitioning and rendering my last few days prior to my departure. I am making sure that there are no loose ends left untied, no tasks left undone, and no files left in my computer. I am just glad that it is finally Friday. As usual, I commenced my day with a prayer and a workout. I hurriedly prepared for my day. I then carpooled with my dad to the office as he is also working early today. 

I enjoyed my breakfast while reading my crime novel. My cheesy eggdesal blended nicely with the twists of deceit. I drank my first cup of coffee as the plot thickened with adultery. And by the time I had my coffee refill, I was walking to Prom B, which my hangout way back in college.

A and I spent heaps of times here, and while we had our biggest fight here which eventually led to our "breakup" in 2007, I am spending my early morning here because it brings me zen. An empty study hall is a promising cradle for all my feels as I am slowly saying goodbye to my office and alma mater. No, I am not dwelling on my epic fight with A ten (!) years ago. In fact, I am grateful that we are together in the present and that quarrel is history. Rather, I am focusing on the moments I studied here when I was still a student. I believed so much in myself even when the world was challenging me to the core. I never listened to the negativity and focused on my tasks. My college self inspires me to trudge through my current mountain of deliverables and eventual farewell. I do not want to leave with bitterness. Rather, I want to think that this place cradled my idealism and belief in humanity. 

If I slayed it then, I am sure I can do it again in 2017. Push. 

Day 72: Awakening

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One of the the biggest challenges with hypothyroidism is that I am always sleepy. Like really sleepy. I'm not just drowsy, I am sluggish, tired and exhausted even in the morning. The lack of thyroxine contributes to this constant state. With that being said, I make sure that it does not interfere with work. I noticed that praying first thing in the morning works wonders. Aligning myself with a Power greater than myself is not only humbling, it is also awakening. There is also no greater alarm clock than knowing that I was promted to wake up for a reason, and that I have something better to do with my time than lie in bed all day. 

I workout thereafter and make sure that incorporate cardio to burn calories. I like taking a cold shower to jolt me awake because there are times when a quick run cannot even keep me up. I then get dressed and prepare for my day. The drive and commute to work is not bad, but when I do feel like snoozing, I reach for some entertainment. I enjoy reading if I am in the MRT, and of course, I always drown the noise with my earphones. I discovered that I never get tired of The Beatles and classical music, so I am pretty much married to these sounds.  

By the time it is time for breakfast, I drink coffee like it is no one's business. I always clean my email inbox in the morning because it keeps me up to date with my job. If I am not in the office, my emails and social networks also get checked and updated first thing in the AM. I really have to know what is going at the start of my day because it wakes me up. It was a tactic that has helped me ever since I was dependent on the internet to communicate, and if it has managed to energize me, then I am sure it can keep you up too.  

What do you like doing to stay awake? I am on the lookout for life hacks for keeping energized and I am glad that with the improving awareness on hypothyroidism, people are not branding those with my condition as being lazy or worse, slackers. Before you judge people, make sure you know what they are going through. That way, you can be more compassionate and even more awakened. 

Day 67: Consistency

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In an age where there are endless forms of distractions to derail me from being fit, I aim for consistency. It is a challenging journey, because it is also acceptable to just let go. But I am not giving in. Rather, I choose to go all out with my efforts. 

I start my day with my morning prayers. I go on with my workout even if I am so sleepy. I carry on even if my joints refuse to cooperate. I will them to obedience. I have been doing this since I refused to let hypothyroidism rule me. I have befriended coffee and promised myself to eat right for my condition. Eventually, my efforts have paid off.  

But I am not being complacent. I cannot afford that, as hypothyroidism is a chronic condition. I have to aim for consistency. 

This daily journey has to be a consistent one, and it is keeping me grounded. I hope that I will remain faithful to it, and may the fruits of my efforts inspire me to carry on each day. 

Day 63: Life Meaningfully Hacked

 "Whaaaaat? You have hypothyroidism? Aren't you supposed to be fat?" 

Lifehack #1: A microwaveable pillow helps my body temperature adjust to an airconditioned office after commuting. Hypothyroid patients are notorious for being sensitive to changing temperatures, so a heated pillow is a Godsend.

Lifehack #1: A microwaveable pillow helps my body temperature adjust to an airconditioned office after commuting. Hypothyroid patients are notorious for being sensitive to changing temperatures, so a heated pillow is a Godsend.

This is the usual reaction I get from people every time I tell them I have hypothyroidism. It is sad that in the Philippines, hypothyroid patients are popularly perceived to be predestined to be overweight. The condition is widely covered by mainstream media, and not many people talk about it online. The lack of awareness causes the condition to be shrouded in mystery and misinformation. 

Yes, hypothyroidism can cause the patient to be overweight. But I am not letting this happen to me. Just because I have this condition does not mean that I will let it define my weight, my mind, and my sense of being. To counter the tendency to be overweight, I workout everyday and watch my food portions. I also include as much exercise as I can in my day, such as walking to the MRT station, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Regarding the natural tendency for hypothyroid patients to be sluggish and drowsy, I fight the lack of energy by drinking coffee after each meal, taking walks, and really, willing myself to keep up with life. I cannot afford to drift away and lose myself in the tiredness, and I can tell you first-hand that this is not easy. The lack of energy can really make me feel sleepy even in the middle of meetings. But I try my best to psyche myself up so I will not snooze at every onset of drowsiness.

Lifehack #2: Taking a selfie before boarding the MRT strangely prevents me from dozing off during the trip. Yes, I have snoozed even in a SRO train!

Lifehack #2: Taking a selfie before boarding the MRT strangely prevents me from dozing off during the trip. Yes, I have snoozed even in a SRO train!

This is why I strongly believe that defying hypothyroidism is more willpower than anything else. Mindfulness is my secret weapon, and my thinking is that I should believe in my own ability to fight the symptoms of my condition. Every time I feel discouraged or moody, I workout. I read. I listen to music a lot while working. I go on a coffee run. These life hacks help me go through life, and just plain awake.

Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries

Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries

I once suggested to a teacher to share life hacks but I was told that systems work better because it is not wise to hack through life. I strongly disagree to this because as a hypothyroid patient, I have been working smarter to make it through each day, each week, each month, and each year. I have followed forums and groups online to know how to hack through each hour of my day, because trust me, having hypothyroidism is not a piece of cake. Systems are useful, but hacks are help me survive when I am battling drowsiness, hunger (because I am controlling my portions), and moodiness (yes, hormonal imbalance does this to you).

How can I even maximize systems without life hacks? They are efficient steps to productivity, and in purposeful living, getting things done is key. Here are some life hacks that help me everyday (see photo captions). I know that they are useful not just to hypothyroid patients like myself, but for everyone. 

Processes can work if there are efficient steps along the way. I have embraced these life hacks which I have discovered as I have lived each day because they keep me productive, awake, and thriving. If I am thriving, then I am really maximizing my time, resources, and creativity. And yes, life hacks help me live meaningfully and defy hypothyroidism.

What are your life hacks? How do you integrate them into your processes and systems? Let me know so we could exchange ideas!

 

Lifehack #3: Workout, workout, workout. Burn calories, release endorphins, and improve your mood!

Lifehack #3: Workout, workout, workout. Burn calories, release endorphins, and improve your mood!

This morning's selfie before the MRT started moving southbound. Yes to staying awake during the whole trip!

This morning's selfie before the MRT started moving southbound. Yes to staying awake during the whole trip!

A good breakfast is never complete without coffee. Lifehack #4: COFFEE HELPS!

A good breakfast is never complete without coffee. Lifehack #4: COFFEE HELPS!

Lifehack #5: Online classes, books, Tedtalks...Always look for opportunities to learn and grow. Feeding the mind is just as important as nourishing the body. 

Lifehack #5: Online classes, books, Tedtalks...Always look for opportunities to learn and grow. Feeding the mind is just as important as nourishing the body. 

Day 61: Fit and Fab with Hypothyroidism

Yes, that's six-year-old me on the framed photo. 

Yes, that's six-year-old me on the framed photo. 

Having hypothyroidism means that I am supposed to be fat and sluggish. Sure, that may be the norm when my thyroxine level is naturally insufficient. But I am determined to outsmart my condition by being fit, fab, and active!

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was thirteen and I did not choose the path of self-pity and loneliness. Rather, I have noticed that my mood and overall wellness improve when I am constantly exercising and mindfully choosing my activities everyday. I may not be able to engage in stressful jobs such as graveyard BPO roles and advertising agency life with round the clock deadlines, but I can still have a meaningful existence through fitness, proper dieting, positive thinking, and of course, a lot of faith.

Championing courageous wellness through mindfulness! 

Championing courageous wellness through mindfulness! 

These photos were taken this morning, and the framed photo shows a smiling six-year-old me. If I can give my childhood self some advice, I would tell her to be courageous enough to defy expectations and outsmart a chronic medical condition.

My life is wonderful even if I have hypothyroidism. I am sure my six-year-old self will be like, 'wow, fantastic!".

 

Day 57: Life After Diet Delivery

I am currently enjoying regular food after three years of diet delivery subscription. My drivers for this decision to eat normally but within diet portions are: 

1) Budget- Food subscriptions are expensive! Especially now that my salary has been downgraded since working in the academe.

2) Convenience- As my food provider grew its reach, their delivery times became erratic. I work in a company that has strict security, so it will not be easy for the rider to bring my food up to my office. 

3) Adaptability- I cannot be dependent on a food provider for life. After three years with them, it is time to let go. 

I am fortunate that our cafeteria has vegetables, the half cup of rice option, and fresh fruit shakes. It has been a fortnight and I am already eating healthful meals. I get to enjoy guilty pleasures such as shawarma rice and sausage muffins, but only if I eat vegetables and half rice for lunch. It is about compromise and balance.

I am addicted to kebab rice meals. 

I am addicted to kebab rice meals. 

 Vegetables with half rice from our cafeteria

 Vegetables with half rice from our cafeteria

Portion-controlled snack at a work event

Portion-controlled snack at a work event

Yummy way to begin the day

Yummy way to begin the day

Day 56: Stretch

6:30am, MRT platform

6:30am, MRT platform

I woke up this morning to do my workout. I raised my heart rate during cardio, flexed my muscles, and brought everything back to normal during the cool down stage. I realized that stretching is something that I cannot always perfect. I am not naturally flexible, plus I also have scoliosis. I can only do my best, but I cannot force it all the way. 

The same goes with life. Right now I am upscaling my skills through classes, coaching, and mindful writing. There are limiting factors such as the fact that I am employed full-time, the difficult commute I have everyday, and hypothyroidism. However, I realized that I owe this to myself. I may not reach my toes but I can build my abs, so to speak. I even found my niche through my rallying cry, which is "wellness through mindfulness". 

I hope that you can join me in stretching myself while being careful in observing my limiting factors. It is not about fear, it is about prudence. Balance is key to achieving my goals this year, and I know it is possible to continue realizing my purpose through everyday mindfulness and blogging.  

Day 52: Small Wins

Cardio warrior 🏃🏻‍♀️

Cardio warrior 🏃🏻‍♀️

I have read that celebrating small wins is important. You may think that it is shallow to list down the little victories that get us through the day. I must admit that I was skeptical at first. However, I listed down my small wins anyway and I was determined to see positive results. After more than a month of doing so, I have observed that I was more focused. I was resourceful in completing tasks such as commuting and eating healthful meals. I thought out of the box and became more creative. 

All because I celebrated the small wins. 

My P2P ride this morning  

My P2P ride this morning  

I wrote down each time I worked out. I listed down each healthy meal. I diarized those times I drank a fresh fruit shake. I wrote about successful dates and quiet times with A. It was relaxing and meditative. 

In time, I looked forward to completing my tasks. I saw consistency even when my hypothyroidism was wearing me out. I exercised even when I was tired. I observed my diet even when I felt like doing the opposite. And I realized how short life truly is so I have to make the most out of it. 

My classmate Marvi passed away the other day. Back in grade school, she wore a headband everyday. I thought that was so badass of her and her style still inspires me today. I still wear headbands at present.

I was heartbroken to hear about her passing due to aneurysm. I am wearing a headband today in her memory, and hopefully to pass her cheerful personality on even if she is no longer with us.

Day 41: Faith and Fitness

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It has been my ritual to offer eggs at St. Clare Monastery as often as I can. I try to go there weekly, and it has been helping me find my center since I have decided to let her intercede on my behalf. I have hypothyroidism, so I am dependent on keeping fit in order to have ideal blood test results. Praying at the monastery has given me hope and renewed my faith. My ideal time to visit would be after my weekend Zumba class, when traffic is nonexistent and my drive is as leisurely as it could get. The endorphins I have released post-workout also triggers my belief in a Higher Power. I offer eggs because it is my only tangible gift to an unseen intercessor. This bridges my prayers from this world to the next, and I hope that my offerings are appreciated in heaven. 

Keeping fit physically and spiritually is possible. I am dependent on rituals, and this is my personal one. It has helped me especially during those times when my faith is challenged. I also go there to give thanks. Every prayer ends with an amen , and the promise of a better day ahead. 

Day 40: Balance

Yesterday was challenging because I learned that my thyroxine dosage has to be adjusted to a lesser quantity for a month. This allows my body to rest from my normal dosage and recalibrate my thyroid functionality. I was initially unhappy with this news because the smaller quantity makes me sleepy and sluggish. It was only when I exited the hospital and chanced upon patients in worse conditions that I realized how fortunate I still am. This dosage is only for a month, and it will be reverted back to my regular medication. I am only taking a break, while other patients only have a few months to live. I was worried about being sleepy, whilst other people were anxious for the fight to remain alive. It brought me back to my center, and in a way, I regained my balance.

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I realized that there was no need to panic. After working out this morning, I was thankful for the new day and for the opportunity to exercise outdoors. I enjoyed my favorite fast food breakfast and indulged in a donut and coffee. I remembered how short life is, and that time is only as valuable as how we make of it. I cannot afford to live without balance, as this would defeat the purpose of living mindfully and outsmarting my hypothyroidism. Rather, it is in staying balanced that I remember how lucky I am and how far I have already gone. It is utterly senseless to just give up now. 

DAY 6: Commuting Is Tough

This morning, I had to cross EDSA via three footbridges to reach the P2P bus station. The MRT was not working to its full capacity and the commuter buses were all crowded. Grab and Uber were cancelling my trips because my office is not the most accessible building there is. Hence, my decision to take the P2P was already the most viable option.  

The queue to the P2P was longer than usual.  

The queue to the P2P was longer than usual.  

By the time I reached Megamall, I only had fifteen minutes to spare. My office was several blocks away, so I did not think twice anymore. I ran

I ran like my job depended on it (it was, as my employer puts a premium on punctuality). I ran without considering my disheveled appearance. I ran because time is more valuable than my comfort zone. I ran because I was escaping from mediocrity.  

I reached my workplace five minutes before the commencement of my shift. I walked to the chapel. It was time to give thanks.  

Day 5: Push Yourself

I woke up this morning feeling lazy. I was tempted to press the snooze button before I dragged my feet off the bed to change into my workout clothes and prepare for my fitness class. I can actually make it in time for my aerodance group. I was about to get inside my car when I asked our helper to take my picture. 

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The picture was enough to inspire me workout. I'm a visual learner, so photos really speak to me. Seeing my abs has motivated me to push myself further. Just like that, my laziness has melted away. I rode my car and drove to my aerodance class.  

I had so much fun dancing and moving for an hour and a half. Sometimes, all I need is a picture to push myself even when there is a force pulling me back to bed. Note to self: the bed cannot give you abs!