So it’s been a week since I last set foot inside the gym. And I’ve been eating unhealthy food on and off just about all month. According to everything I’ve seen about dealing with an STI, the best ways to clear one are eating well, exercising and possibly taking supplements. What happens during the holidays, when parties involving your friends, family and people from your office disrupt your diet and exercise schedule? Frankly, I don’t like the advice that you should fill up your plate with as many vegetables as you can find while only taking small bites of meat, starch or dessert. Often, the most fattening, decadent or most favorite comfort foods are only available during the holidays. Ignoring these foods just makes me feel more deprived and I’m more likely to binge on them and overeat. And taking just one bite of food from any one of those categories frankly does nothing for me. So what I usually do is get a reasonable portion of the food or dessert and chow down without guilt. Also, the advice to go for a walk before or after the party isn’t always practical. The weather is often not that great this time of year. Or you may be bogged down with the gifts you need to get and all the decorating, cooking and cleaning you need to get done, so fitting in a few minutes of exercise can be impossible.

How does this affect HPV and the likelihood that it goes dormant? I haven’t seen anything that answers this question definitively, though from what I’ve seen, there is some implication that if you let up on your diet and exercise regimen, the virus may be more likely to remain active. Honestly, by this time of year, I’m bored with counting calories and going to the gym. I want to enjoy myself and take a break. Reconnecting with loved ones I don’t often see and allowing myself to indulge in my favorite comfort foods take precedence over my health, even though I’m told that those things shouldn’t. After four years of living with HPV and counting, I’m starting to believe that a couple of weeks of junk food and lack of exercise won’t affect my likelihood of getting it dormant one way or the other. Even before I was diagnosed with it, I usually took a break the last couple of weeks in December and eased up on my diet and exercise. It usually results in weight gain of a few pounds, but once I started back on my regimen after the holidays, the pounds came off within a few weeks. No reason why that won’t happen this time. But there’s more at stake where my health is concerned besides weight gain. The thing is, there are many days where HPV doesn’t even cross my mind. It doesn’t define me. I’m still the same person I was before the diagnosis and I’ve conducted my life the same way. Worrying about it would make it hard for me to get on with my life when I still have a lot of things to experience. Somehow, things seem different this year because I’ve made it public and a part of me feels like I should be the poster child for treating it aggressively by doing all the “right things”and I’m letting people down when I don’t. At the moment, I don’t feel like being perfect. I don’t feel like being vigilant over it. Right now, I don’t want to deal with it at all. I want a break. I want to enjoy myself. I want this time to recharge before I’m ready to get back to the grind because the constant vigilance frankly makes me feel resentful of those who don’t have this infection. I don’t think I’m asking a lot.


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