It Aint Easy… Bein Wheezy (please someone relate to me dear god)

fitness, General

Yes, you read that right.

No, I’m not trying to be funny, I’m actually Having An Issue.

Imagine being into exercise, just for a bit, right? Like, you’re really enjoying it, pootling along nicely, pushing yourself and feeling GOOD about yourself (it’s about TIME, y’all).

(I’m actually eating brownies as I write this so no I am not life goals yet.)

But then imagine your lungs just, like, not working? Filling up with phlegm instead?*

*(I didn’t say this wouldn’t be overly-graphic and gross.)

The problem 

As you’ve probably guessed from my many, many rants about this, I am asthmatic. I have been an inhaler-sucking, wheezy and incapable individual for, well, as long as I can remember. I don’t particularly mind having asthma – I’m used to it by now – but it can be so ANNOYING.

(E.g. when I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without stopping at the top to catch my breath.)

(OR MAYBE HAVING TO PAY FOR 4 DIFFERENT PRESCRIPTIONS JUST TO KEEP MY AIRWAYS OPEN.)

Anywayyyy *collects self*,  um, asthma is an inflammatory condition which affects a person’s airways.

In short, when I try to breathe, my lungs flip out and all the little tubes inside of them, start to swell up (see pic below).

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Do I need to caption this? Really? 

This has the knock-on effect of making it harder and harder to breathe. 

Currently, there isn’t a cure for asthma, but there are medications you can take, which essentially force the airways to relax, making it easier to breathe again.

Now, there are different things that can trigger this tightening of the airways. The NHS (link at the end of this article), clearly defines the most common triggers. But more simply, asthmatic conditions are usually the result of either:

  • allergies, or
  • exercise.

I am an allergic asthmatic, which basically means that whenever I breathe air, my lungs find something to complain about. (Seriously, ask my housemates. They’re all like Cam, how do u even function? Answer: I DON’T KNOW.)

Haha.

Cool.

Right?

IN THEORY, I shouldn’t be affected by exercise.

Sooo… why can’t I run 5k (AKA the shortest distance you can run properly), without sounding like a dyING GOAT? 

I swear to you, I pinky promise (and we all know that’s serious business), that I am fit, and active, and train different parts of my body/ muscle groups on rotation.

I am CONVINCED that my LUNGS are the PROBLEM, HERE. *Scowls at chest*. 

Asthma-Attack-Cartoon-Funny-Image.jpg

The solution ? 

Ummm… as yet, I don’t really have one.

I do set my breathing to my pace, from the minute I start running (breathe in for 2 strides, out for 2 strides).

I do warm up before setting off, as that kind of primes the lungs.

I do breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth (I have read that this is the best way to get nice, moist air into my lungs. Ew.)

And god knows, that I really don’t run fast.

Any advice, or sympathetic experiences, or exercises I can do to help would be much, much appreciated. 

I know it’s not really that bad, and I wrote this dramatically because, well, it’s more fun to write that way.

But it’s really disheartening when you want to make progress and you just… can’t find a way through. 

Running is my exercise-prozac. It’s my empowerment. I’d love to be able to call myself a runner one day.

Here’s hoping that maybe we (the asthmatics), can figure something out?

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me, taking pics of my self for the ‘gram, even tho I’m being nebulised. maybe i should review my priorities? 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/   

( ^^ link to NHS page on asthma).

Love and wheezes,

(and I apologise for my ranting)

Cam

My “fitness” regime: body gals or nah?

fitness

Anyone reading this who knows me may feel an immediate sense of amusement. Cam, fitness…really? Yeah, I know. I have NO IDEA what I’m talking about. The few times I’ve set foot in a gym, I’ve been too overcome by the A). crippling embarrassment of exercising in front of other people and B). the crippling embarrassment of having to watch myself suffer in those massive mirrors they put everywhere, to actually do much exercise. (NB: WHY? Why would anyone in their right mind want to view themselves in ill-fitting lycra, failing miserably to keep up with the treadmill, as an old man in similarly ill-fitting lycra sprints sprit-lily away next to you?)

So as a NORMAL PERSON, who eats CHIPS and CAKE and looks terrible in spandex, I thought I’d share some of my worldly opinions. You didn’t ask for it, nobody asked for it, yet I still deliver. Enjoy.

Pls remember I am highly unqualified and eat a lot of chocolate and have no idea what I’m doing.

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1. What is fitness? 

When I Googled the definition, I was presented with the thrilling statement of fitness being “someone who is physically fit and healthy.”

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Being psychically fit and healthy?? How do I know when I reach this point? Is there a ceremony? Do you sprout wings or something? Man, being human is hard. By being physically fit, I presume Google means that you, like, have muscles which have the potential to be used. Surely that means everyone is…fit? Gah.

Today I only want to talk about the whole moving-your-body-and-reap-the-rewards thing. EXERCISE. 😨

In short, I think fitness essentially means having a body which is, well, generally FIT to perform daily tasks.

2. Why should I become “fitness”?

There are soooo many bloggers and insta-stars that are super fit and super healthy and they’re so inspirational and motivational but to be honest I have never felt able to keep up with them and it’s all just a bit stressful How does one even make overnight oats? And where do I buy the necessary mason jars?

I am not tanned, beautiful, motivated to CHANGE MY LIFE, and I don’t live in Melbourne or L.A.

I live in the grotty North of England, have shit hair, and buy most of my food from Tesco’s reduced section.

Maybe you #cantrelate, and are like oh my God Cam, you PEASANT, but seriously this is what I feel like! I had to unfollow Deliciously Ella on Instagram because her beautiful food, husband, dog, and 6am yoga classes were just depressing me on a daily basis, as I frantically slap foundation under my eyes in an attempt to conceal the fact I’d been up until 3am, binge watching shitty teen series on Netflix.

Apparently though, there are benefits to yeeting  yourself out and about occasionally.

MY NUMBER ONE REASON TO EXERCISE? 

Exercise produces serotonin, i.e. the HAPPY HORMONE!

EXERCISE IS BASICALLY A FREE, NATURAL ANTIDEPRESSANT. 

For a tragic piece of trash like myself, this is GREAT!

 

I’m sure there are other benefits, like living longer, reducing your probability of contracting all kinds of horrible diseases, and just generally not having a body which retains the shape of the sofa you’ve sat on all day, but this is sometimes the only reason I can force myself out in the cold winter air, or when I’m crying and hungover.

3. Staying “fitness” 

Thus far we have established that getting “fit” means having a body which has some stamina for exercise, and that that’s probably a good thing for your mental health.

If it’s so good for you then Cam, then how do you stay fit? In-between eating family bags of Malteasers, of course.

Basically I like to run and to swim, and I dabble in yoga (again with the broken heart thing – currently I’m into massive cardio as a way of pounding out my SAD THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS). I don’t do it all the time, I don’t have a routine, I just go when I feel like it. I usually exercise two or three times a week, mood-depending. You might fancy more or less, depending on circumstances. When I’m on my period, for example, I barely move from the beanbag in front of the telly.

NB: I am someone who is massively prone to illness, usually in the form of chest infections, and that usually knocks me back for about two weeks at a time. Then I start again, having lost whatever stamina I had previously built up. Meh.

The only thing we can do, I think, is to try.

I’m rubbish, I can barely stagger my way round a ParkRun, and can only breaststroke in a pool. But the point is, I go and I DO IT, which is the ONLY thing that matters! As young children and old people go sailing past me at significantly higher speeds, do I descend to a walk and give it up as a bad job? (Sometimes, yes) – No, I do not! I TRY AGAIN.

I’m really, really, not that interested in having the perfect body. Yes, I’m insecure but damn, I don’t have the goddamn TIME to spend preening myself to that extent. There’s animals to save and people to meet and things to do. And burpees? Who wants to VOLUNTARILY torture themselves that way when there’s CAKE in the world??

I actually enjoy running and swimming, and that’s why I do them, instead of say, spin class or weight lifting.

There is SO MUCH PRESSURE to conform to what the celebrities are doing, to what we see on Instagram, to what our friends our doing. I hate bike riding with a passion, and can’t think of anything worse than a dance class.

Maybe you do though! Please please please, for the love of God, if you decide to make yourself exercise, DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.

It can be anything. I only tried swimming recently: I didn’t learn to swim until I was 14 and for that reason, am less than amateur. I just decided to have a go one day and I really had a great time. Maybe you could do the same with rock climbing or something, I don’t know.

Just don’t start strapping weights to your ankles and subjecting yourself to crunches and squats, unless that’s what brings out your endorphin-smile. 

If you want to get fit, for whatever reason, it doesn’t have to be the be-all-and-end-all. It can be WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE. Hence my angry runs as a way of coping with emotional stress.

4. Okay Bye 

Sorry for the very strident post. Maybe you like BBG, or it changed your life or whatever. That’s totally cool, I’m well on board with that!! I might even try it myself, if I find myself wanting to.

What I’m NOT on board with is this manic desire to push your poor, potato-chip eating body to some kind of limit that the insta-celebs have made “accessible.

If it involves exercise before breakfast, I’m not interested.

YOU DO YOU, PLEASE. And do it with no pressure.

Love,

Cam.

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Showcasing my post-run “glow”

 

 

Hello and welcome!

General
Hi there!
 
If you hadn’t already guessed, the inevitable has happened – and I have decided to start BLOGGING *everybody cringes.* As if I wasn’t embarrassing enough anyway (check out my Insta). Still, I remain shameless about my propensity to over-share online. If reading about my trials and triumphs makes even one person feel better about themselves/ their own life, I will have won. Also low-key, my therapist told me that most of my problems would be solved if I just wrote them down and thought them through, so I will also be testing that theory.
 
More so than being an anthropologist (the subject of my undergrad degree) or a veterinarian (the subject of my next degree – we’ll get to that), I have always been a writer. Someone once called me “fat and weird” for reading books a lot when I was a pre-teen, but my hobby did leave me with the ability to string together a few sentences in a way that’s easy to read. Who’s laughing now? Probably them, actually…
 
So what should you expect from avocamilla.com?
 
Food 
 
Food, glorious food! Yes, I’m a (mostly) vegan. BUT before you turn away in disgust, I promise you I am not one of those vegans. I don’t CARE if you eat steak three times a day or are a gluten-free milk-free Paleo pescatarian. As long as you don’t send me sausages in the post or something, we’re cool. I will not preach about veganism or anything like that. I will just share my reality with you! Which is, admittedly, mostly guilty bags of Malteasers and the occasional cheesy pizza. *gasp!* And some meals that are just cous cous and ketchup – I’m a student, let me live. Sometimes I do make nice food (or have it made for me), and when I do, I’ll be sure to share it. But me and my baked beans are probably not going to make it onto the #foodporn hashtag.
 
Fitness 
 
Ha! Ha! Good one, Cam. If you know me in real life, you’ll be well aware that I am super pale, sickly, dramatically asthmatic (no, seriously) and generally do not look like someone who is #bodygoals at any given time. Despite this, I love to run and to swim. I do my best. Occasionally, I dabble in yoga (at present, however, I am nursing a broken heart and am favouring more intense exercise as a form of REVENGE).
 
Rest assured, I suck at both running AND swimming (I didn’t learn to swim until I was fourteen), but maybe you can help me achieve some kind of fitness level or goal. We can encourage one another to get out there and get moving. I do think exercise is an important part of life, but as a normal person with a normal body you will not find me hanging out in the weights area sipping a kale smoothie because, well, I’m probably in bed with a slice of toast and a hangover.
 
Mental health 
 
Okay, this is where it gets a bit heavy.
 
I am someone who struggles with mental health problems. Throughout my teenage years, I had anorexia, which was incredibly debilitating. Thankfully, I got the help I needed and have recovered fully from that awful disorder. But it’s still something I talk about a lot and fight every single day – yes, I live a normal life and eat what I like, when I like (hence why I don’t restrict myself cheese or cake or chocolate if I want it), but the problems which anorexia developed as a coping mechanism for, still remain, and I struggle massively with body insecurity.
 
These problems take the form of depression and anxiety. Panic attacks, SSRIs, all that jazz. And sometimes it makes every day a struggle.
 
Mental health forms a big part of our media coverage today. But what is “mental health”? How do we know when it’s “bad” or when it’s “good”? And what can we do to not feel like crap all the time?
 
I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some of them. Whether it’s books, or lifestyle changes, or quotes or websites or whatever, I hope to share what works for me. By letting you inside my mind, maybe you’ll see that you’re not alone, or be able to help a friend going through this stuff.
 
I am in no way qualified to give advice, so all I can do is share my experiences. Some of them are funny, and some are sad, but they’re all real, and from my heart. And if I got through them, you can too!
 
Travel 
 
I am fairly intrepid and I have some stories to share, mostly about the times I have visited Africa to spend my summers working with primates. One time I got hit in the head with a rock thrown by a chimpanzee! Also once I landed a drone a bit too near someone’s face. OOPS.
 
This September, I, a typical Yorkshire lass from the UK, will be moving to Croatia for SIX YEARS. From what I have described about myself, that seems crazy, doesn’t it! So I will definitely be posting about what it’s like to prepare to move away for such a long time, being an international student, and what life is like away from home.
 
Everything else 
 
I hope to share some of what I learn from my veterinary studies, as well as keeping up-to-date with anthropology. I promise to make it at least a little bit interesting, and not too gross. I’ll also be sharing music that is cheerful and uplifting, as I think music can do a lot to change your mood! Finally, I might share some of my fictional writing, some of which I’m quite proud of. Oh, and probably some “fashion” too. This will mostly involve me wearing brightly patterned shirts and grinning like a maniac because apparently I live in the 80s, despite the fact I wasn’t alive then. There’ll be some funny stories from university and from my family life, too. Plus I have a puppy, so watch out for pictures of him.
 
Anyway, enough rambling. I have a flight to catch. But I hope you are excited! I certainly am.
 
Love,
 
Cam
 
first post

It me! I was trying to show off my shoes but I look a bit silly instead. Still, you win some, you lose some.