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Snap Out of the Denial, Sparky, Those Jeans (or Genes) Could be Telling You Something

Posted Jan 31 2010 11:15am

Wondering what my River Rat-ness and being the lowly girl from Miller has to do with my new life? We'll get there soon, I promise.

As I stated previously, I was so tired and also very clear on the significance of this next transition for me that I didn't just want to "whip up" a new life. This was no "monkey with a revolver" new chapter for me to play with. I had to get clear both in my life and in my head. I was either approaching this transition of mine with sincerity or I wasn't.

And let's recap: For the last few years we've watched my parents have quite a few health issues. And my sister just went on blood pressure medication (she's younger than me). Genetic heritage anyone?

Now let's add that I don't have kids so even trying to guilt a child into taking care of me in my senescence isn't an option. I don't have relatives with resources who could keep me out of a nursing home. Scott and I are self-employed. We don't have any disability policies or paid time off. It's just us and it's just going to be us.

And, of course, there is the little matter of my eyes. I've had drusen (deposits on my macula) since I was in my 20's, if not my teens, putting me at risk for macular degeneration. And now my pressures are a little high so glaucoma is a concern. (Ah, yes, now the desire to put photography higher on the priority list is a bit clearer still, yes?)

And there were the headaches and neck pain that were starting to come back after many years due to way too much sitting in front of the computer with too little exercise, and the weird freezing right hand and foot thing that started to get added to it.

And, let's not forget my expanding ass.  Sorry for the language but after a certain size a butt becomes an ass. Tell me it's not true.

I was ten pounds heavier than my ideal (and I don't carry that well with my short frame), my blood pressure was still normal, but certainly kissing the top end of that range, I was tired, way too jiggly to feel good about myself or fit well into my clothes, was too broke to buy a bunch of new ones and just plain didn't feel as good as I knew I could. It wasn't vanity, it was the recognition of some disturbing trends just noticeable enough that only someone in denial would fail to see were putting me on the same health trajectories as my both my parents that got me going. And while they both seem very content in their lives, they have resources to keep them going that I won't have in my life. And I have a love of outdoor activity (and tackling my nieces and nephews) that they don't seem to, so being confined to a sedentary life would be really hard on me in a way that it honestly doesn't seem to be for them.

As a result, one absolutely non-negotiable step I had to make before I posted one more thing here, or put up a photo, or anything else stunning and impressive for you all was to decide, once and for all, what kind of a lifestyle I was going to commit to. I could either do what most of us do and throw together some meals at the end of the day based on what I had handy, was on sale or what I had the energy to cook or I could take all that wisdom that we ALL have access to and create a plan for myself (and Scott).

Bottom line is that I changed my philosophy of eating. I no longer think of food as yummy stuff to make me happy and fill my tummy. My tongue is not the first organ I think of when it comes to food. It has become the last. First I think of my heart and my eyes. I think of my body as a whole.

For me, food is medicine. Fuel and medicine.

Am I suffering? Just the opposite!  I eat more and better than I have in ages. I've simply been doing my research on what I should be eating and I create my meals around that. I like to cook and am creative enough that I keep us both happy. We rarely go out and when we do I like to enjoy the experience so I'm not a jerk about it. I just am clear on the larger, longer-range picture. A treat is a treat. In fact, I enjoy my treats a lot more now for that very reason.

Now I eat 3 meals a day and 2 additional snacks. Even with this increase in food I have lost 2 inches most places in my body, including my tush, and 5 1/2#. I have dropped my resting heart rate over FIFTEEN beats a minute in the last 2 months (down to a baby-like 58 bpm). My blood pressure is just fine, and because I take it every day I can see definitively that there is a direct correlation between my blood pressure and my aerobic exercise level. It is absolutely under my control. My neck pain is gone, as are my headaches, and my foot and hand aren't cold anymore.   Scott is even walking with me regularly which is unprecedented. He even went and did 5 miles by himself one day which hasn't happened ever in 20 years.

And, yes, I do drink 8 glasses of water a day as a matter of fact (which my intuition tells me has had more than a little impact on my heart rate, though I could be wrong). I floss daily, too.

I make us fresh juices, we eat more fruits and vegetables, and more seafood. I eat lunch now, which I notoriously skipped before and snack on raw nuts, and sardines, and yes, even dark chocolate and a glass of wine with dinner. We've had garam masala grilled chicken, Brazilian inspired seafood stew with coconut and lime, homemade granola with goji berries, raw almonds and dried cherries, soy and ginger glazed cornish hens, vegetable tamale pie, and kung pao chicken (which was lovely and taught me not to fear those crazy dried peppers). Trust me, we're not suffering.

But all that stuff takes time. I wasn't kidding when I said it was a lifestyle decision and a commitment. And that will bring me to my next post, but I really need to get my walk in today so I'll catch you on the flipside, Moondoggies.

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