Sunday, August 24, 2014
A few months ago I looked in the mirror and thought: time for a haircut...but had no time. It kept growing. Weeks ago I then decided not to cut it til I reach a certain hurdle weight that once crossed puts me in a totally different zone of the journey. And last week I got even braver.
Plan to grow it til I can donate enough to Locks of Love and still have hair on my head after the donation. Man, am I getting shaggy!!! This is the longest it's been since my early 20's. When I lift a strand from the top of my head I can stretch my arm staight up in the air (like saying "teacher! teacher! I know the answer; call on ME!" lol) and still hold the strand! Ok, so I'm only 5' so that's not a LONG arm, but I never planned or imagined ever growing it this long.
Since it got long, why not give it to a good cause, right?
Can I really last at least (!) another 3 months.... without sneaking into the hairdresser's door?
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
First: Please note that my keyboard has for weeks been refusing to type every letter I hit, so you'll see words that are missing 'something'. Consider it a game, and read on, ok? Thanks for unerstanding?!
Tonight I held the first meeting for what wil now be called "Healthy Lifestyle RoundTable"! After lots of thinking and planning, my pet project EXISTS!!
Purpose? A social networking group (for the senior community in which I live) for people to have in-depth discussions on a myriad of healthy lifestyle topics. Originally, it was to be called "W8 RoundTable" to start with overweight people an then fanout. I had wanted to have it be for everyone regardless of circumstances physical or otherwise, but had been swayed to focus on weight. Tonight those in attendance all agreed with my original concept and said "GO FOR IT".
I'd hoped to bring SP flyers with me, but they seem to have become hidden. What a shame that the features most important to me keep disappearing or become so hard to find that you only have a chance to find them IF you know they exist. But. After 20 minutes of searching for the flyers, I gave up. Instead, people knew that much of what we do will be totally in sync with SP because I told them about it, gave out the site information to them for those interested in joining.
One interesting topic that explains this unanimous support of lifestyle rather than 'yet another diet' is that many people there do know how to lose weight... but once their method of getting to goal reaches goal... they just lain didn't know how to maintain. Of course, I inserted "yes, that's why ...etc"!! lol, I'm such a SPer!! To me, a huge memory of this meeting was: I was shocked at the number who stated they'd lost a lot of weight and regained that and more. Sure, I knew SOME would have experienced this, but... so many?! This is better proof than any distant study in showing that gradual, enjoyable changes to lifestyle is more effective and lasting than any 'diet'.
In making preparations before tnight, I got the information that covers all people on Medicare or insurance working with Medicare. Sure glad I did. Told them to get out their 2014 Medicare books, turn to Section 3, Page 46 and have that paragraph in front of them when calling their providers' customer service. Every insurance provider will handle the details differently, but must comply with Medicare law: anyone with a BMI of 30 or more can receive up to 22 free nutritional consultation visits (etc etc) during one year.
So if on Medicare and have a BMI of 30+, call the insurer, go to the primary physician for a referral for nutritional consultations.... and be sure that you go to a Registered Dietician or other qualified person who accepts your insurance. RD's LOVE seeing SP print-outs of nutrition logs, summaries and other reports: it helps them work with us in detail. I truly believe that people doing this benefit more than many others, because we are so in tune with what we need. Anyhow. Back to tonight's meeting...:
Maintenance. We all talk about goals. But reaching the ultimate weight-goal and staying there seems to be a truly defeating attempt for many people. Key words in that? "Seems" and "attempt"; think about it! We sure did discuss this tonight: how they reached their goals and then felt unsure about what to do!
One lady said she lost 150+ pounds in less than a year on a doctor-'supervised' Medifast plan; then she was under stress while moving and at a hectic time of work all while preparing for a large family gathering for Thanksgiving! Her doctor said, "you can go off the program for the week while your company is here and you're moving; eat what you want". This and other all-too-similar tales with just different details explains why those who attended AND those who were busy tonight but interested... all said "No 'diet'? GREAT! I just want to get/be healthy!" Wow. Huh?!
This and next week's meetings are the groundwork for setting the loose structure. Using principles very like those of SP, I wrote on a sheet of paper and circled separately each grouping of categories with organized sub-groups. For two hours, truly substantive conversation FLOWED. It was wonderful!
You should have heard how each time a person mentioned a challenge, at least one other discussed workable solutions. You'd have thought these folks were all long-time Sparkers. Sure am glad I provided paper, pens and oter supplies because everyone was busily writing down information the entire time. Sharing the way we all did tonight felt... great. Absolutely fantastic.
When I reserved the room for a two-hour period, I didn't really expect everyone would be thoroughly engaged the entire time... Wow, was I ever wrong! So. The beginning of my real-life support group for healthy lifestyle and all it includes.... is looking promising for future meetings.
Am expecting more people to join in next week, especially since we're expanding the scope to appeal to even those maintaining a good weight and who are active. Their input will be great. And one should never forget that they have -or should have- goals too!
Sunday, August 03, 2014
We can be motivated to reach a goal and then dissuaded or recommitted or continuingly find reasons to stay on track. The very same situations can at different times trigger unlike responses or emotions. Sometimes a negative thought or experience is cited as reason for going off track. Sometimes the negative event encountered strengthens us. I truly believe that we should do our best to allow every experience or encounter, failure or loss... strengthen us.
A question in one of my teams today made me want to share more than the answer... and to blog my thoughts.
The question in the team asked who did we first tell about our commitment to creating a healthy lifestyle. I told two people immediately... and either on the same day or within a day or two of one another. This was in 2007. My answer and thoughts about it:
My R.D. (dietician) or my P.T. (physical therapist).
Can't rmember which I told first.
They both supported me wholeheartedly.
Both were younger and mch healthier than me.
And 2 years ago they both died suddenly and unexpectedly within 4 months of one another.
These collective facts stress to me the importance of doing what we can WHILE we can to be the best we can be... or at least enjoy our efforts to TRY to reach those goals.
I could have said "sheesh! They looked great, were athletic, 'had it all'... and what good did it do THEM, huh?!?" But my reaction was the opposite.
Linda and Sharon believed in me. Believed. In. Me.
They were MY support 'team', my support system.
And they are gone.
For five years they each nurtured this journey of mine and helped me reach a much better place. Their deaths don't mean I can or should even slow down. Ok, I DID feel a little lost for several months. That IS true. These two women wer the ONLY people in this whole world who together SAW how hard I have worked to create a healthy lifestyle. My doctor sees improved bloodwork, but not enough weight loss to reflect the exercise and the care to activity that I now do. But these two ladies saw what I was doing, and without fail cheered me onward.
My journey is slow in ways that show to others. A frustrating fact. But I owe a lot to these two ladies because I no longer really care what others assume when I KNOW I am doing my best. THAT is HUGE.
The reason I'm saying all this is because there are many 'lessons' to be gathered from it.
Interestingly, the two people I first told are the ones who became my most staunch supporters. Ok, they were professionals in fields that were necessary for my journey, but they went beyond requirements for me. They went out of their way. They loved that I was active in SP and put the use of tools and articles as my priority with use of personal interactions as supportive. Would I have stayed here without that support? I have no idea! I could GUESS the answer to be yes or no, but... who knows.
Sharing the decision to focus not just on losing weight or on 'getting healthy again' but sharing that we decide to truly focus on overall BALANCE and healthy LIFESTYLE is important.
I've said and written this many times but the truth is that living in a healthy way is the best measure of success when you consider the befores and afters of changes such as those we each seek. And sharing the goals with the RIGHT someone/s is invaluable. The right someone is not always a friend or relative; it might be a stranger or like me you'll find a health professional who is overjoyed that you focus on well-rounded changes instead of singular ones.
In my view there is a right one and there is a wrong way to share this goal:
Wrong way: "Hey, doc, I'm trying to lose weight so I joined Spark People. What do you think?"
Right way: "hey, doc, I want to lose weight but my real goal is all over improved healthy lifestyle. I joined SP and am really learning a lot about myself. Have you ever looked at the site?"
I tried the second approach with my GP. She'd heard of the site, but slim athlete that she is, she still hasn't found time to look at it. I get that. She is THERE in healthy lifestyle. And she still says there's no mystery to weight loss; just eat less, move more. Yup, the skinny lasses who try to be understanding really DON'T. But these days I'm alone in my support... with a little help here and there from SP friends, even though the vast majority of my friends have different issues and hurdles. And I'm so grateful to those two ladies who gave me the in-person support that strengthened my resolve to stick with all I do for myself here on this site.
Maybe someday they'll look down on me and say to one another, "holy cow, look at SAM! Doesn't she look GREAT now that she lost that weight?!" And at that point my outside will have finally caught up with the way my insides feel so much healthier already!
I am currently talking to some women where I live, sharing that healthy lifestyle is integral to their weight loss and other health goals. They want me to lead a small support group. People have supported me, believed in me. Am I ready to help others?
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
As I blogged the other day, I am determinedto increase and vary my exercise plan. But I do not feel that exercise is the only issue standing between weight loss and my bathroom scale numbers.
Many people who are 'mature' (meaning stage of life, not necessarily mental aptitude) get frustrated with the slowness of losing weight. I've known some who aren't losing because they still eat porly and many who eat properly, exercise daily... and lose very little. I'm one of the latter group... sorta. "Sorta" meaning: except that my exercise is limited to what I CAN do. That's definitely a big factor here.
To shed pounds, I know that I need to do what I cannot at present do: burn more calories. But is that all that is wrong? Periodically I dig into new areas, knowing that the way I eat and exercise should have by now resulted in reaching goal weight. What is the missing link to weight loss? Is it 'just' to move more... or is some internal roadblock in need of change?
For over 40 years I've had to take maintenance medications that all are known to cause weight gain, sluggishness of mind and body. The alternative to taking them is not good, so I cope. Fibromyalgia has pretty much controlled my life for about 22 years, and I've lost an adrenal gland. Adrenal functions are important, too; just how DOES the loss of one affect me?!? That's an answer I seek and WANT. And other factors combine with these to create some internal 'issues' that my doctor needs to address... or she should give me a referral to an endocrinologist.
Sometimes when we search for something, we find a site that is commercial but informative or leads to an area of thought worth pursuing further. I keep plowing through thoughts about the various physical, hormonal and other fact-of-life issues that create my roadblocks in this journey to a healthy lifestyle. And today one of those 30-minute videos was full of information that touched my issues. Ok, the topic refers to anti-aging, but this isn't about slopping on some fancy new cream. The subject is really "internal health" in this complex system (body) that houses a person. Yes, you could say quite rightfully that improving all these internals serves an anti-aging goal if you view 'aging' as deterioration of cellular function.
See if this video makes you think about possibilities... especially f you have an autoimmune illness or syndrome (like cfids, lyme, or fibromyaglia).
When one is doing her best, and is eating healthy foods in proper amounts and balances...but not getting enough results:
is it time to consult an endocrinologist to look into the underlying nonsense of how life has affected the inner functions of the bod? That's where I am today in my thoughts.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
This blog is just a statement of my July progresss...and... my plan for reaching a solid but diverse plan of exercise...
Now past the middle of July and about 1.5 weeks to its end,
I've been assessing my July progress. For me that's always "exercise".
In my Making Daily Choices Count team, we are doing a challenge to stay on track with some basics. Because of that challenge, I can summarize that I'm getting my exercise time in, and am definitely drinking my water requirements. But getting back to exercise. How I use that time is very important and I've been digging into its possibilities and potentials.
July is full of appointments and obligations, so I knew that the pool time was impossible for July. And while I sure do miss my pool time for so many reasons (it keeps the fibro and arthritis in check and... heck, I just love being in water!), I've enjoyed experimenting with other types of exercises! Among other things: exercising to videos more than I've ever done... and not the same videos, but an assortment of MANY videos!
Having the month 'off pool' and filling it with constantly changing activities made me consider more long-term options for changing what I do for exercise. I'm feeling more open to experiment.
Taking the stress of obligation out of exercise was important for July, and so far, so good on that count. Also, I've been more less demanding and critical of myself than ever, able to just do my best and feel comfortable even though I cannot move as well as those folks in the videos. This is big for me, because I usually compare myself to how I USED to be, before the accident in '92. Back Then, I was still in decent though not great-as-once-upon-a-time shape. But that was THEN, and... Heck, I'm now 64, so it's time to ease up on comparing myself to the person I was a few decades ago, or even the person I might have been if only...! Do you ever think that way? You know what I mean: "If only...such and such..., then..." Well, I dumped it in July. This is me. The Now Me. Not the Yesterday or CouldaBeen Me, but the Now Me. Somehow this month, that settled in ... and let me just be comfortable with my Now.
The Now Me is thinking of plans and goals. Rethinking them too.
Pool belongs in my long-term plan; this is unquestionable: I'm doing more of certain things, but over the past few weeks I've been feeling stiffer than usual because these fibro muscles NEED that warm water exercise. So
First of all:
The first part of my long-term plan is deciding WHEN to return to pool, but to retain it as my main exercise for as long as possible. During the next week I'll decide whether to return in August or wait until September.
When I return to pool, I want to have a plan that will let include use of treadmill and seated elliptical machine exercises. One or two days a week, committing to one, hoping for two. To do this, I just have to return to using the hospital's Wellness Center machines. This week I will resume using their machines.
The flexible variables:
My at-home exercise currently includes more walking and daily videos, in addition to the already-ingrained-habits of stretches, and exercises with weights and bands. These will be fill-in flexible activities that add change to the otherwise regimented schedule. Why? Because we all NEED diversification to keep things interesting, to keep US interestED.
By this October I want to have a basic schedule that varies only with unavoidable appointments. It is very likely that I will need to discontinue pool at some point this winter, but I am hopeful that getting a plan going now will prepare me should that be necessary (again). So. For now. Pool is priority, but the machines are necessary...at least 1x week:
.....EVERY DAY = stretch routine
.....M, W, F = pool exercise OR!!!... 1 hour of exercise to videos AND .5 hour 'floor exercises'
.....Tu, and/or Thrs = Wellness Center machines.
And I now have a wonderful assortment of interchangeable 'fun to do' exercises that will have no schedule other than that I require I do some of them every day to remain flexible.
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