Friday, August 05, 2011
I spent the first several decades of my life in denial about the connection between the physical world around me and my health. My behavior? Pshaw! Nothing to do with my weight. Certainly nothing to do with an illness!
You'd think it would be obvious: lilacs in bloom? Sneeze, drippy nose, headaches! Iris in the house? Similar.
When I first went on a serious weight loss program, a healthy one... it showed me the clear link of calories in/calories out. That was the basis for all further learning. It took a while even after that to bring in the "allergy" connection.
You might think I was really, really stupid or ignorant. What I was was religious. I was raised in a faith of pure idealism, where your thought / prayers controlled your physical health. It "seemed to work" for me as a child. What it really did was calm me and enable me to wait out whatever it was that ailed me. No drugs, no diagnoses... I lived to adulthood, married, even bore a child with this faith intact. Until I first lost the weight, I didn't have the recognition of the connection... I buried it deep.
Bottom line, I learned that the rules of the physical world work. No matter that my parents "exempted" me from biology for religious reasons. The rules work. I'm obviously blessed with a strong enough genetic makeup to have survived, and in fact some studies show that letting your kids eat dirt (to use a metaphor of my mom's) makes them stronger. However, now, as an "over 50", having shed the religion that encouraged me into denial... I pay more attention to what's going on around me when I start to see symptoms.
This week, I'm noticing things. The kittens have been here since last Friday after work. I have started to notice more sneezing and drippy nose, scratchy throat at times. Not as pronounced as my sister's (who swelled up in a matter of minutes). It has taken a more prolonged exposure. Not horribly severe to the point of taking my Zyrtek. I will have to observe for a while, because there are always multiple factors: weather fronts do things to me, too.
When I go to work, I'm fine there. I keep the kitties out of my bedroom (perhaps this was prescient on my part) and I wake up clear. I am washing my hands more (I always do when handling animals, this is not new).
Will I have to give them up? Unless things become markedly worse, no. But I will continue to alter my behavior. This much I have learned... "the rules work"... therefore, follow the rules.
Life's still good... Spark on!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I'm not one to use superlatives when referring to my own life. Consequently, when I take surveys, I rarely pick the "all the time", "always", "never"... because once you've lived more than 20 years on the planet, chances are you have at least got to the point of "most of the time" or "often", "once in a while" or "rarely".
I followed a link from a workplace wellness site today that took me to a "strength" survey. I kind of rushed through it because it was before work... and then as I reviewed the results, I had to wonder if the self-identifying of characteristics one has demonstrated really is accurate. I mean, after all, I'm a compulsive eater... I know all about lying to myself! I wonder if something like a "strength" survey might be better answered by others who know me. My biggest strength came out as "open mindedness". I guess I'm relatively happy with that.
After work I went back and took a "happiness" survey at the same site. Same deal... the reluctance to answer in superlatives. I came out a 3.75 on a scale of 1 -5... by the things they asked about.
I couldn't help as I took the happiness survey wondering how I might have answered it two years ago. Or three? I distinctly remember the moment when I said to a counselor "I feel better about myself when..." and finished it "I work at diet and exercise." In short, out of my own mouth came the words that I just plain feel better when I nurture myself!
What about the rest of you? Do you value yourself more when you take care of your health? Or do you take better care of your health because you started to value yourself more?
Life's good... Spark on!
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Yesterday morning, driving to work, I wrote the best Spark blog in my head... and now I can't remember what it was! Not even the major theme.
I've often said that my Spark blogs are pretty much my pep talks to myself, to keep me on track for the day. In that sense, writing the blog in my head was as effective as typing it through the keyboard would have been. I had a good day, didn't freak out despite a day full of meetings, made sure I got my break walks in, ate according to plan, and topped off the day with my "one thing" items both before and after work. I classified it as a good day.
If you can have good days without blogging "physically", or if you can have good days without writing down / tracking your food / exercise minutes, that's great. Most of us CAN pull it off. Particularly when things have been going well for a while, and it is routine and habitual to make good choices.
But for many of us, it begins to deteriorate when we don't put it down on paper (or on line, via computer). Why? It's a little moment where temptation comes in, that voice that says, "just this once" or "no one's looking", or even my favorite this year, "majority rules". If writing the Spark blog in my head works for a day or two, that's fine... but as with tracking, I expect I'll come back and write "on paper" as a rule, with the "in my head" as an exception.
Because for me, it works. Use what works. Health is important. Remembering what is important requires diligence.
Life's good. Spark on!
Monday, August 01, 2011
Yes, to those of you who commented about the "one thing" now going to include kittie cleanup. It does. I just don't want that to become the ONLY "one thing" I do, as there are other systems that need maintaining, and I don't care to see the progress I have made in those areas undermined. I have essentially added to my to-do list in exchange for the entertainment / companionship of having these critters in the house. I'm thinking it's a fair trade.
Yesterday my son came over and helped me shop for kitty toys and such. Then he came home with me and helped wear them out. Kitties need exercise, too.
After he left I had some time to myself as the kitties were sleeping. But when I got up on the treadmill and fired it up, the Prisoner decided to come investigate. At first he walked on it with me (for a few steps) then decided to sit down. Oops... you can picture... off the back end... thump! Don't think he'll be bothering me when I treadmill again. Kitties do learn to avoid machines. Or the Darwin effect takes over.
The other machine that surprised him was the dishwasher. He sniffed at it as the water loaded in, because he could hear it. But when it went thump and started into its wash cycle, he leapt the other way and scooted across the room. Ah, yes, lots of entertainment value.
This morning I worked the kitty clean up around the normal Monday morning veggie chopping and breakfast prep. Steel cut oats with strawberries... so fresh and good this time of year!
Life's good... Spark on!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
I've been reading a lot of things from people who are slightly dissatisfied with how things have been going for them lately. It is not a bad thing to assess where you're at. In fact, it's something I aspire to do regularly. Being the last day of the month, I've done my monthly progress picture and updated the front page.
In the font that Spark shows, those abs look good. When I look at the master photo, what I see is loose skin.
Yes, that's what I see. The abs are there, they are defined, they keep getting stronger with training, but you can't hide the fact that there is some "empty bag" where there used to be packed fat.
Still, I cannot be dissatisfied. I love my abs. I love them for what they can *do* for me. Think about it. Your abdominal muscles are what protects your inner organs in case of injury. They help you in *everything* you do, from sitting to standing to walking to running, swimming and biking, and putting groceries away. What's not to love? Whatever they look like. They are functional.
And that is the goal, for me: to have a functional, healthy body, doing what a functional healthy body is intended to do. Even when there is illness or injury to deal with, if you start out as fit as you can, or continue to work on improving fitness, it is a boon. Our bodies are indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made". Let's treat 'em with respect and love.
Distractions: Kitties! What a pair I have taken on. Yesterday afternoon late, one of my sisters and her daughter came over to visit the kitties. Within a very short time, my sis had swelling nose and dripping eyes. Oh, yes... allergies. Well, now we know why there are no kitties at *their* house.
After they left, I sat on the couch and both kittens decided to treat me a bit like a jungle gym. They crawled up on my shoulder, purred in my ear and generally made a fuss over ensuring that I was their mommy now. Talk about heart-melting. I won't have them sleeping in my room, but it's so great to be greeted in the morning when I come downstairs. Empty house now resolved.
Balance... ahhhh! Priceless. The trick will be keeping up the "one thing" initiative and the training while dealing with the transition to having furry distractions in the house.
Life's good. Spark on!
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