Plateaus.

This is often the point where discouragement sets in.  When I’ve been following the plan, logging everything, weighing and measuring every morsel that goes into my mouth, and exercising on a regular basis. Yet, I hop on the scale and there is stays….right on that same number…for days and days and days.

Plateaus.
Ugh.
Need I say more?!

I often allow moments like these to crush my spirit. I hear myself say, “See? You can’t do this. No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work.” Although my brain wanted to take me down that road, my heart stepped in and fought back, “Don’t go there! It’s okay. Your body is readjusting right now – working something out on the inside that you cannot see – and you’re standing firm. You keep your focus.”

This has been the benefit to looking deeper into my triggers, reactions, behaviors and habits. I read something the other day and kind of blew my mind.

“What causes you to slip is learned. It is a habit.
The way you react to slips is also a habit.”

I had to read that several times to let it sink in. I have actually taught myself how to react to all sorts of situations. The way I react is a habit. I always think of it all as food-related habits…but this is referring to a mind habit.

I have taught myself how to slip…by the words I say to myself and how I react to those words. In the past, I have allowed plateaus to take me down that slippery slope of discouragement, which leads me back to not working as hard as I have been.

Plateaus. They are a painful moment of waiting.

To regain my focus, I decided to sit down and look over the past month of tracking my food and exercise (this is a key benefit to writing it all down). Here’s what I found:

  • According to My Fitness Pal, I have consistently logged every meal for thirty-two days.
  • I have gone from drinking half a bottle of water a day, to easily drinking sixty-four ounces each day.
  • I have gone from hardly eating any vegetables, to including them in my lunch and dinner every day.
  • I have gone from a high carbohydrate diet to a high protein diet, reducing my carb intake by seventy percent.
  • I have gone from walking a little over a mile a couple of times a week, to walking two-plus miles almost every single day.
  • I have successfully lost twelve pounds since my doctor’s appointment on April 2nd, where I found myself at my very highest weight.
  • I have successfully stayed the same or lost after the past three weekends! That alone reminds me that I am doing well and on the right track.
  • My blood pressure readings have gone from 185/100 to 130/75. Wow!!

There’s also the things I can feel:

  • Bloating and puffiness is greatly reduced.
  • More energy out of bed because I’m sleeping better.
  • Waking up hungry, because I quit skipping breakfast.
  • Clothes that are beginning to feel loose on me. 🙂

So even though the scale is sitting still right now, I can clearly see my success.

This plateau…while it wanted to beat me down this morning, I’m fighting back and regaining my focus. This is going to take continued work and I’m not going to let that unmovable number undo my efforts.

Thanks for reading and walking this journey with me. I hope and pray you find encouragement here to stay your own course. You’re worth it.

Simply,
Cindy

plateau

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The other day I was sharing a story with my sisters. We were talking about when each of us went through Blue Birds and Campfire Girls. I mentioned, “I was kicked out of Campfire Girls.” We kind of giggled about it for a minute and then one of them asked what I did. I told them that I admitted to doing something that I really didn’t do…

“We were at a troop meeting and towards the end of the evening, I had to use the bathroom. As I left the bathroom, another girl from the troop walked in after me. She was someone who I considered my friend. She was pretty and popular and did have a sweet nature. When she returned back to the group area, she smiled at me and then motioned to her back pocket where I could see the outline of something, like a compact. I just smiled back and that was that.

The following week, our troop was attending a skate night at our local roller rink. We all came in, got our skates on, and then I was pulled aside by the troop leader and another adult. I was accused, right there, of stealing makeup from my troop leader’s bathroom. Needless to say, I was shocked! I told her, “I did not steal anything from you! I wouldn’t do that!” She said, “You were one of the last people in my bathroom.” Again, I told her that I didn’t take anything from her. I was told to stay where I was and they pulled the other girl over and when she was asked, she denied taking it. Our troop leader knew that it had to be one of us because we were the only two that used her bathroom that evening.

The troop leader left to go and phone our parents. That’s when this girl turned to me and begged me to confess that I had stolen some makeup. I told her that I was not going to do that, because I did nothing! She cried, “Cindy, please! I will be in so much trouble and my dad will hit me.” I started crying and told her that I couldn’t, but she pleaded with me and I finally gave in.

Our parents arrived, heard what we were being accused of, our confessions, and were told that we were no longer welcome in our troop. My disappointed parents asked me on the way home, “Why did you do it?” I bawled and told them, “I didn’t.” My dad, who just happened to be an attorney, drilled me full of questions about it and then asked, “Why would you admit to something you didn’t do?” I said, “She told me her dad would hit her.””

Now some may see this as something admirable and commendable that I did for a friend. Nope. I don’t see it that way at all. She made it very clear to me that she had an agenda, because a friend wouldn’t have even asked me to take the rap and watch my reputation take a dive like that. My peers now believed that I was a thief.

When I saw her the next day, she looked like she didn’t have a care in the world. I asked her how things went with her parents and she said, “They weren’t mad at me at all.” Huh…I believe that was a defining moment where my self-respect took a big dip and a barrier around my heart went up. I never talked to her again.

Diving into the behavior behind the weight issues is proving to be tough, at moments. I’ll just be honest with  you, I’ve never been one who feels it necessary to walk down memory lane; only to drudge up old feelings so I can blame people and things for whatever issues I have. I’m a very even-keeled person, with a huge amount of optimism (if I could bottle it and sell it, I’d probably be rich) so I don’t wallow in pity for very long at all. Last week, at my Thursday evening weight loss group (aka ‘support group’) we discussed chain reactions. We took steps through different scenarios, searching for healthier responses.

So here I am, diving into all of this behavioral stuff, and wondering why telling that story to my sisters lit something inside of me. I hadn’t thought of that moment in years! It has made me kind of stop and take a look back. First of all, why on earth did I confess to something I didn’t do? Was it because she was popular and I wanted acceptance? Was it because I truly felt sorry for her and didn’t want her dad to hit her? If I’m honest with myself, probably a bit of both.

I still can’t put my finger on the reasons I self-sabotage. I truly like me. I know who I am at the very depths of my heart. I am a good and honest friend. I am loyal and passionate. But…I have time-and-time again, put my feelings aside for others. I go where others want to go, I do what they want to do. I have lived a lifetime of putting me aside and placing other’s needs far above mine. I am the most flexible person I have ever met in my entire life…and I so dislike that part of me.

Please understand, this is not a pity party. Oh man…I hate it when people feel sorry for me, so don’t even go there. This is a “me” issue…it’s me realizing that even though I chase every single silver lining out there (always have, always will), I have lacked a level of self-respect in myself. I live a life of self-induced guilt, always feeling like I have to meet everyone’s expectations. Like I’m still running after acceptance. I don’t want anyone to have a negative thing to say about me, so I bend and cave.

This is explains a lot about me leaning hard into being an introvert; it’s the place where I find solace and rest. So…maybe there is something to this behavioral stuff. I don’t eat because I’m angry or depressed. I don’t eat because I’m bored or lonely. It’s a self-respect thing in my case.

I have no idea what this enlightening moment means for me. I have no idea how this will change my eating habits. But, I believe I’ve become aware of something crucial. I love myself, but I don’t really respect myself. And maybe that’s all I need to be aware of..to know that my feelings are valid and that I need to take care of this intricate part of me.

Hey…thanks for walking this road with me.
Thanks for reading my ramblings. 🙂
If self-respect is your issue…be mindful and take care of you.

Simply,
Cindy

respect

Weekends…

Need I say more? What is it about weekends and how one little slip causes all of your efforts during the week to unravel? I’ve been down that road way too many times, so I did my best to go into the one I just came out of with continued focus.

Friday night, as my husband and I sat down to watch a movie, I remembered the pint of B&J’s FroYo “Cherry Garcia” (my favorite flavor!) that I had left in the freezer, leftover from a couple of weeks ago when I had a large dinner and couldn’t eat it all. So, I asked him if he’d like to share it. What was left would be considered about two serving sizes (1/2 cup each). I know…hardy seems worth it, right?! Honestly, we usually watch movies with our own pint, to mindlessly chow down on, so asking him to share is a huge type of victory! And that little half-cup was delicious!

That said, going forward, I know that I will keep this type of temptation out of my home as I set up a healthier environment for us. 

But…Saturday morning, the scale was up by half a pound. Discouragement. Now, I know that could have been from all sorts of things. I don’t necessarily believe that what we eat the day before shows up the very next day. However, it was the start of my weekend and it did make me stop and take stock in how I started it out. I can often have a perfect week of focused-good eating, but then the weekend comes and I get into a mode of relaxing…even where my health is concerned.

A couple of journal entries ago, I shared that I’m going to what I now know is a weight support group. I grumbled about it after my first meeting, but now I am seeing more clearly what it is doing for me. I realized, after that first meeting, that I was remembering things discussed and so I’m really paying attention to my triggers, my environment, and what causes my chain reactions to venture down an unhealthy road.

Each week, our leader goes around the room and asks us, “What is your goal for the week?” Our goals are to be realistic, measurable, and achievable. My goal has been to track, at least 5-times during the week, and measure serving sizes. I’m serious, friends, this is truly a key to success!

So after weighing myself Saturday morning, I worked through the rest of my day. That is, setting out a plan of what I would eat for the remainder of the day and writing it into my tracker. It got me to thinking…when I go on vacation, I don’t want my time to be all willy-nilly, so I usually have some sort of plan as to how I want to spend my time (ie., things to do and places to see). When the checks come into our home, I don’t just spend however I’d like, I budget our expenses for the month (paying bills and setting a little bit aside for extras). So why not do that in THIS really important area of my life?! I know that I can’t go on living completely carefree, so I know I have to plan. And let me just share right here, I love to go out to eat. Any eating plan that I’m on must include me being allowed to live my life. So..I just have to plan if I want success.

Our weekend had its busyness, as always. My husband and I had errands to run on Saturday, so our plan was to grab lunch while we were out and about. On Sunday, we had family in town, so I knew we’d be having lunch out again. I didn’t do as I’ve done in the past, “Oh, I’ll just get back on track on Monday.” No way! I’ve worked way too hard to lose what I have and make some good habits. So, I logged into the restaurants websites and looked up their menus to see what would fit into MY life and MY plan. I already knew their portions would be larger than what I wanted, so I made a plan for that…before I even got there. I walked through the doors with a mindful focus on my health.

Well, long story short, I weighed point-4 LESS this morning than what I weighed on Friday. My friends, I haven’t had that happened in 4-EVER!! To be down after a busy weekend is the biggest self-confidence booster that I can give myself.  And what do you think this kind of success does for me?! At the starting gate of my new week, I already have this feeling of victory and so it sets a renewed focus on a brand new week ahead.

I’m not looking at that big number I need to lose, as that would overwhelm my mind and heart. Honestly, at this point in the game, I can say that I’m not really focused on any specific number. I mean, I do celebrate when the number is down, because it represents health inside of me. What I am really focused on is turning old and bad habits into new and good habits. I have a lot of undoing to do. My goals, right now, are to be mindful; to pay attention to what triggers me and causes the chain reaction to venture off the healthy road that keeps me doing, over and over again, the things that I keep on doing. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?! It really is a deepening of getting to know myself better. I like the girl who lives deep within my heart and I’ve allowed this shell to kind of fog my view of her – of me. I feel for the first time, in a long time, I’m being truly honest with myself…physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Honesty.
I think I’ll just leave that right there. 🙂

Thanks for walking this road with me.
May you find encouragement on yours this week.

Simply,
Cindy

planning

Focus Forward

I saw the doctor yesterday, to go over the numbers from my blood work. I knew we would talk about my high Cholesterol and Triglycerides. What I wasn’t prepared for were the questions asked about low levels of Neutrophils and high levels of Monocytes.

Wait…Neutro what and Mono huh?! I was asked questions like, “Have you been sick recently? Have you had any infections?” You see, these new words are all about my white blood cell counts. As I answered the questions, I didn’t think much of them. In fact, I was pretty unconcerned for hours until I decided to sit down and look closer at my paperwork, which, of course, led me to Googling the meaning of these little white boogers.

I am scared by what I read. It’s not a good thing to have low levels of Neutrophils and high levels of Monocytes. This has raised a little flag with my doctor. In three months I am to return to have blood work drawn so they can re-check these numbers.

This undoes me more than anyone can even imagine.

Upon reading all of this, I headed for the bedroom. I could feel my emotions building. My husband (who’s this amazing guy, who totally loves, accepts and just gets me…) was on the phone with someone, but as soon as he saw me he knew something was up. He hung up, came over to where I was holding up two pieces of paper and said, “Okay…what’s going on?” Tears spilled out of me as I explained these two words I had never heard in my whole life and then I proceeded to tell him what I found out when I Googled them (thankfully, he also refrains from rolling his eyes…he knows and doesn’t really approve of my Googling antics). I told him I saw words like, lupus, cancer…leukemia (the word that I detest as it took my dad’s life), inflammatory disease, infections, etc. I told him, “I’m frightened by this.” He just listened, nodding his head as I poured it all out and then reminded me that our home hasn’t really been the picture of good health this year. The beginning of the year had us all wrapped up in that awful flu going around, which has left both of us with lingering coughs and sinus issues. We have a little family living with us, where our two youngest granddaughters have often seemed to have a little fever or sniffle of some sort. He said, “It’s possible that our bodies are working overtime to fight on the inside and because of our malnourished way we’ve been eating, it’s taking is toll on you.” His sensibility always lifts and encourages me. We talked a little, prayed a little, and then he went back out to the living room to watch the baseball game.

I, on the other hand, took to Googling. 🙂 I’ll admit it right here…I’m an addict of many things. I decided to look up natural ways to increase my Neutrophils and decrease my Monocytes. Well, guess what? I found out that nutrition and exercise is a big factor! I also read that inflammation can cause these levels to get out of whack. Do you know what body fat does? It causes inflammation that messes with your immune system. Hmmm.

Don’t get me wrong…I know that being overweight is unhealthy on so many levels…but this was something in black and white, numbers that rocked my foundation and scared the crud out of me. I can’t stop asking myself, “How did I get to this?!” “Why haven’t I taken better care of myself?! I’ve always just looked at this like I just make poor choices and eat too much. But it has to be more than that. What causes me to sabotage a perfectly good day of eating well? What causes me to look for something sweet to eat when everyone has gone to bed…knowing that once I eat it, I will hate myself for it? What causes me to not care that I’m overweight, over 50, with hypertension and a family history of heart issues?

This is ALL about emotional eating. ALL about some type of behavioral thing going on inside of my heart that causes me to continue down this road. This isn’t going to be a quick and overnight fix. It’s going to take me diving into myself and recognizing what triggers me to head down the wrong road.

Years ago, I met a man my husband worked with. I sure liked this huge guy. Every time I saw him, he was an absolute delight to chat with. I found out that he had Diabetes, but he just continued to eat the worse things possible for his body and in huge amounts. I remember being so shocked and saying to my husband, “How can he continue eating that way? If I were given a ‘sentence’ like that, I’d change everything to save my life.” That conversation comes back to me and haunts me all the time. My sentence is different, but I do have an affliction and I’ve done absolutely nothing to save my own life.

I know I keep saying, “This is my wake-up call” but friends…I am telling you today that this is definitely my call to action, my call to WAKE UP!…my motivation to be victorious on this journey once and for all.

Skinny is the bi-product of good health, but good health MUST be my focus! My body…what’s going on inside of me…is fighting. The battle is real and I’m worth it. Today, I’m committed to digging my heels in, diving in deeper, getting my eyes focused forward, not looking back…and fighting this battle.

And just for the record…I am down three pounds already and my bp reading at the doctor’s office was 133/68 (that’s awesome!). At my meeting last week, I committed to measuring and tracking what I’ve been eating. While I haven’t been perfect, I’ve been very mindful to pay attention and track ALL that goes into me. As soon as I post this, I’m heading to the kitchen to cook up some eggs and steamed broccoli for breakfast, and then heading out for a 2-mile walk.

Thanks for being here and joining me on the journey.

Simply,
Cindy

lace-up

Hello Again.

Here I am, eight months since my last entry. Suffice it to say, I fell off the wagon…pretty hard. Yesterday, I made a big commitment; to sign up and attend a 12-week program offered by my insurance company. I’ve committed to educating myself on nutrition, exercise and the behaviors that cause me to do what I do…as well as, putting all of this into practice as I create a new lifestyle. I’m standing back up, brushing myself off, raising my chin, and stepping back up to the starting line.

I turned 55 two days ago. I began that day at the lab having my blood drawn. I want a crystal clear picture of where I am in every aspect. Call this my birthday present to me, because I’m worth it and my life matters. I’ve been able to view my results online and I can see the damage my careless lifestyle is creating: high cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels (not at diabetes level, but creeping up) and unhealthy levels in my kidneys (due to lack of nutrition and hydration). I have to wake up to the fact that I’m not getting any  younger and my body is going to stop fighting as hard as it wants to, if I’m not giving it what it needs for the battles going on inside of me.

My first class was last night. They keep the group smallish so there’s time for everyone to talk. I guess you could say, it’s a support group. While I see the similarities of other types of groups I’ve attended, I’m remaining open-minded (this is so outside of my comfort zone) and committed to taking in all that I can from this more intimate setting. I was given a big book that has lots of questions to ponder. It’s a funny thing…I’m a very deep and passionate person, who has spent decades reading books that take me deeper into my own heart, however, I’ve never dug deep inside of me with regards to my weight issues. I’m actually a little nervous, but excited, to see where this goes because I want to get to the root of this and find victory once and for all. This is going to take me where no man or woman has gone before…into the depths of my heart to figure out why I continue to do what I do. I was a skinny and active kid, but have struggled with weight issues my entire adult life. Just the reality of that astounds me…how and why did this happen?

From my first meeting, I’ve gathered that this program seems to be more about the behavioral reasons. I was expecting a nutritionist to sit down with me and help me design an eating plan unique to my needs. But, that wasn’t the case. We’re actually, pretty much, on our own; eating real food…no pharma-diet pills or meal replacements. At first I was a little miffed that I didn’t have more direction, but as I’ve reflected more on the meeting, this is what I need, to focus in on my real life and make behavioral changes so I don’t continue further down this road I’ve been on. Yeah…I believe this to be a deep focus on a lifestyle makeover.

My goal is to post here regularly, to share what I’m learning along this new direction I’m heading down. I hope to encourage others in their efforts and, as always, appreciate all of the prayers and encouragement that come back to me.

Thanks for being here, and walking with me, along this road.

Simply,
Cindy

start 2

Finally!

Friends, I was beginning to think it wasn’t going to happen, but it did!

My first TEN POUNDS are finally gone!! If you’re a visual person like me, that’s an entire bag of potatoes. And let me just be real…it’s been quite the battle. We’ve had birthdays, vacations, last-minute plans to be out of town…a myriad of things that cause an eating plan to fall off of its tracks.

I’ve been so far from perfect; I failed at logging in each day on MFP so my streak was broken – many times over, and missed days-worth of walking and riding my bike. So, you can only imagine my excitement this morning when I “decided” to step on the scale and find my focus once again. I thought, for sure, I’d be back up where it all began.

Let me just be clear…at no point did I feel the urge to throw in the towel on all of this. I still hung onto my goals, but dealt with a lot of guilt in my imperfection to staying on my personal plan. However, in hindsight, I am reminded of times where I made some better choices and ate much less than I normally would. I had bites instead of slices, scoops instead of whole pints. I did my best to stay away from starchy foods, and instead focused in on protein, vegetables and fruit. I drank lots and lots of water!

That’s not to say I should just keep going along this way…unfocused and trusting myself to make all the best choices…because tracking my food and exercise is definitely key for my success on this journey. That said, my wandering has helped me to see that sometimes I’m just going to have off days. Sometimes even the best laid plans fail. But what I can see, in this moment, is that my little steps are beginning to make bigger changes even inside of me, where my mind controls so much about my success.

Last night, hubby and I went shopping and loaded up on lots of healthy options. I love that our focus was there…even before I stepped on the scale this morning. So today I’m feeling that much more encouraged about planning and prepping meals for the week ahead. So this morning also serves as a non-scale victory (NSV)…that something good, that goes beyond what the scale shows, is happening inside of me.

It really is a journey…and today, I’m ready to focus in and take on the next goal!

10 lbs potatoes

 

Proof in the Pudding

Last night for dinner, I gave into a salt/fat-induced option and felt the effects of it this morning. My brain was sluggish and my body was puffy. I would have been perfectly happy sitting on my front porch for the entire morning, sipping on coffee to re-energize me. But then…I decided to take my blood pressure readings; something I haven’t done in a couple of weeks.

As they say, the proof is in the pudding my friends…

blood pressure (7-21-17)

THIS IS WHY I MUST STAY FOCUSED on eating healthy and exercising. My “before” reading (left) really shocked me. It always does when I get a reading like that, because I don’t always feel what is shows. Most of the time I’m very energetic and feel just fine. It’s a depressing reminder that I have to take medication and cannot slack off on pursuing a healthy lifestyle. As you can see, my “after” reading changed significantly. Yes, it still looks like a high reading to all of the healthy people with regular blood pressure levels out there, but for me, it’s in a good range.

After my first reading, I decided to take a brisk walk. I went two-miles in forty minutes and this is the result. If you need proof that exercise works, here it is.

I was very active in my youth. I’m not a person who grew up struggling with weight issues. I was a runner, who actually ran with the boys because I was that fast. Call me arrogant, but I could never understand how some were unable to win the Presidential Award for physical fitness, because it came that easy for me. In high school, I was doing fifty-two sit-ups in a minute. It makes me emotional to think of where I once was and where I am now, because that young girl still lives in my heart. I long to, one day, be able to run again. The road seems so long at times, but I’m continuing to focus on the little steps that will bring the big changes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today…my hope is that you’re encouraged to move your body. Take another look at my heart information above. Use it as proof that moving our bodies makes a difference…a really big difference.

Simply,
Cindy

For the Love of My Heart

With various celebrations I attended over the course of the weekend and leading up to Independence Day, a few not-so-good choices got the better of me. Planning was where I fell down. Usually I can piece together a nutritious meal wherever I go, but when you’re faced with constant BBQ fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, potato salad and maybe some watermelon, it’s hard to stay focused.

But…I hung in there as best I could. I didn’t get my bike riding in, but I took as many steps as I could each day to keep myself moving, and I drank lots of water. As of this morning, I am at a 9 lb. loss. Not too shabby for my first month, but definitely time to dig my heels in and hone in on my focus.

I do want to tell you a little more about me, health-wise:

Somewhere around 2010, I visited the doctor because I was having issues with my left ear. I had gotten over a cold about two weeks prior to this visit, but it seemed that something triggered a constant pulsing that was driving me insane. Sleeping was more difficult than ever with the sound of whoosh-whoosh-whoosh in my head. I thought it was a sinus issue or possibly an ear infection. My ear felt plugged and the pulse seemed to mimic my heartbeat.

All was well as my doctor checked my ears, nose and throat. It seemed that I had healed up from my previous cold just fine. He then moved put the blood pressure cuff around my arm and gave it a good pumping. It wasn’t reading, so he pumped it up again with a little more force for added tightness. Still…it wasn’t registering. I made a joke that he should wrap the cuff around my head because I felt my heartbeat just fine in my left ear. He chuckled before giving it a pumping that made my hand feel like it was going to explode and then he said, “There it is.” He took the cuff off and began to talk to me about hypertension.

“Wait. What?!” I said. He continued talking about medication to bring it down. Now let me just tell you, I do not like taking medication and began to put up a little stink about the idea of this. I told him, “My blood pressure has been fine. You can’t put me on medicine because of one high reading.” Be began to flip through my previous appointments and told me that it had actually been working its way up, but hadn’t caused him much concern because of my previous good readings. But he continued, “Your blood pressure reading today is 190 over 110 and I cannot let you walk out that door without something to help bring it down.” Shocked doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. I know people who have to take medication, like, forever…because of ailments. I did not want to become one of those people.

In my first writing, I told you how I had successfully lost weight about ten years ago. This was three years after that and I had allowed the weight to creep back on (plus some), and here I was…overweight with full-blown hypertension.

Since that time, I’ve been on-again and off-again with dieting and exercise. When I’m eating well and exercising, my numbers come down to very healthy levels. But when I’m off the wagon, it shows. A typical day, without exercise, is about 150/92. It’s become a constant battle for me.

So, fast forward to our current date. I have gained additional weight and early this year ended up needing to increase my medication and adding another. I was having problems bringing my diastolic number (the lower one) down below 100, so I was sent to a cardiologist for a rigorous treadmill test. He told me my heart was very healthy, but that I needed to lose some weight. It always comes down to that, doesn’t it? That was back in March and well…my weight didn’t go down. In fact, it went up a little bit. I did some research on the new medication and it’s geared to slow down my heartbeat and can cause some weight gain. I think I’ve allowed this to happen, but now I’m ready to fight back. It means pushing myself a little harder though. Because my medicine works to slow down my heartbeat, I have to push against it to raise it up to an exercise level. While I don’t have a heart-rate monitor (something I do want to get) I know that I’m getting it up to that level when I walk and ride my bike. My gauge is my breathing when I try to talk or sing. The doctor did tell me that just losing 10 lbs. would help to lower that diastolic number…as that one really reacts to weight.

That is my added incentive in all of this. It’s not just about being thin and looking cute in my favorite fantasy pair of skinny jeans, it truly is about my health.

Before seeing the cardiologist, I had a scare. My chest felt tight one evening and I went to the ER. My numbers were off the charts, but I wasn’t having a heart attack or a stroke. They sent me home and said I should have a follow-up with my cardiologist. Umm…I don’t have a cardiologist. Those are for old people, right?!

I have a different doctor now; a sweet older gal, who’s like an older sister or mom figure. I adore her, but was a little taken aback when she said in her sweet accent, “You are going to have a stroke, and you will have no one to blame but yourself!” Wow, huh?! Her words seemed a bit harsh, but it was exactly how I needed to hear it…straight up and honest. She handed me a piece of paper with a referral to a cardiologist and thus began the direction of this journey I’m on. I walked out of her office knowing that real changes needed to be made.

I am probably more in tune with my heart than I have ever been. When I’m walking at a brisk pace, or peddling my legs off and feel like quitting…I do a heart check. I don’t even have to put my hand to it any longer because I can just feel it inside of me. My spiritual heart reminds me of my friend and family that I want to spend much more time with, but my physical heart reminds me that I’m strong and my efforts are worth every bit of this health journey. I want true heart health…mentally, spiritually, and most definitely physically!

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I hope you will take to heart making the necessary changes to keep yours active and healthy. I used to live a carefree life, and didn’t worry about things like this (my physical heart). But time has a way of catching up with you. How’s your mental, spiritual and physical heart today? Do you need to make some changes or create new habits? If so, join me on this journey.

Comments are always welcome. 🙂

*raising my glass of water to you* Cheers!

Simply,
Cindy

my heart

 

Creatures of Habit

The old adage goes, “It takes three weeks to break a habit.” This brings to mind negative things we do in our lives like, smoking, drinking, biting our nails, overeating…or any other bad habit.

But, what if we were to change this up? What if we wanted to begin habits? Wouldn’t the amount of time be about the same? I think, yes. So I’m putting my own little positive twist on this. I want to use the next three weeks to “change” or ever better, to “begin” a few habits…new and improved habits. I’ve done enough focusing on the negatives that I shouldn’t do, so I’m going to turn my focus to positives that I want to do.

This blog is about my little goals on this journey. It’s not all about just losing some weight. It’s about changing in many other positive ways to find victory in my health and wellness. I believe that by taking these little steps they will lead to big changes as they begin to piece their way together and that doesn’t seem so overwhelming for me. I am more than numbers on a scale. I need a health body, mind and spirit. So, I thought of three habits that I want to accomplish over the course of the next three weeks.

My first one:

Drink Water! I plan to drink it from the time I wake up until I go to bed at night. I don’t know what it is about water, but it’s something that I struggle getting enough of. It’s one of the most important things our body needs and something that is so easy to get, yet, I fight it. I’m probably dehydrated most of the time. Ten years ago, when I lost a lot of weight, it was the number one thing on my list then and it became something that I practically craved. I want to know my body well enough to be able to feel when I’m dehydrated. They say a lot of people eat when they are actually thirsty. That’s a theory I definitely want to test.

How will I do this? I’m a very visual person. I’m all about setting the scene and mood. For instance, a lot coffee/tea drinkers have an assortment of mugs in their cabinet. They don’t just grab the first mug they see. No, they usually find the one that feels right for that morning. So, that’s what I’m doing with my water…making it feel somewhat special. I have a certain glass and a pretty water pitcher (to aid me in getting my daily amount) that I’m going to use each day. I’m setting the scene and the mood for my personal success. And because water can feel a bit boring, I’m going to add flavor with fresh lemon, lime, cucumber and/or mint…and work on some other refreshing flavors using fresh fruits.

Which leads me to number two:

Eat Your Fruits & Veggies! This is the other area I struggle with; getting my fruits and veggies into my meals. Again, our bodies want and need the nutrients from these, yet, I fight it. Just like water, I know when I become better at eating these, I will begin to crave them instead of the sugary-carb-ridden options that I tend to go after.

How will I do this? For me, success comes from planning. I sit down every morning, log into My Fitness Pal, and write out my eating plan for the day. I have found this keeps me focused on my entire day and I actually look forward to each meal because it’s already planted in my thoughts and tends to keep me from straying. I’m going to make sure I have an assortment of vegetables and fruit options in the house. Because I know I’ll gravitate more towards the fruits (remember…I’m a sweet-eater), I need to have a plan. They do have their own source of sugars, so I need to make sure I’m getting my vegetables in there too. In my opinion, fruits always compliment breakfast…so I’m putting something there. And because I get an evening sweet-tooth, I’ll have some fruit as my evening snack. Vegetables will be included in my lunch and dinner plans.

And my third habit:

You’ve Got to Move It, Move It! Yep, exercise! I really do love to get outdoors and I enjoy a really good walk or ride on my bike – that is, once I’m out there doing it. But before I set out, my brain tends to think about the distance.

Here’s what usually takes place inside in my mind: I start out and I’m feeling pretty good, but at almost the half-way point I’m feeling ready to be done. All I can think about is, “Wow…I still have this far to go.” But then, as I pass that half-way point, I find myself digging in and pushing harder. My feelings of, “I don’t like this” turn to, “Wow, I’m feeling really good about what I’m doing!” Again, positive feedback.

How will I do this? Little Steps to Big Changes…that’s my focus. Honestly, the thought of exercising for an hour each day doesn’t sound all that appealing right now. I read somewhere that thirty minutes each day is good for your body. Thirty minutes? It sounds good and totally doable! I can do thirty minutes!

For me, that’s about a two-mile walk or a four-mile bike ride, depending on my speed that day. It burns the amount of calories I eat for breakfast. By the way, I rarely eat back exercise calorie credits. It doesn’t feel or sound overwhelming. I can easily give up thirty minutes of my morning. And you know what happens from there? It causes a mental switch to flip. I will feel so good about myself that I’ll want what’s healthy throughout my day. I will come back wanting water, wanting my fruits and veggies, and wanting to exercise more! Crazy how that works!!

My encouragement to you: 1) Think of three things that you could do over the course of three weeks to change, replace or create a habit. 2) Write a short “love” letter (yes…I want you to be gentle and kind to yourself) as a reminder of why you want and need to take this journey. Go back to it as often as needed! I go back to mine all the time.


Friends, this really is a mental journey. To succeed at anything requires some learning, planning, research and commitment. I continually remind myself of why I want and need to do this. I want to live a healthy life. I want to enjoy my retirement years with my sweet husband. I want to be a good example to my kids and grandkids. More than anything, I want to feel good about me…on SO many levels.

Setting some Little Step Goals will bring Big Changes for a healthier future. So let’s do this and begin some habits!!

*lifting my glass of water to you* Cheers!

Simply,
Cindy

habits2

We Danced

As I have put weight on, I know that there are parts of me that I have stuffed away. Self-esteem (or lack of it) can cause a person to not do and enjoy the things they once did. At least that’s the case for me. Even though I lean into introvert tendencies, there is this other side of me where I’m very sociable. That is the side of me that suffers the most when I don’t feel good about myself, so introversion can become worse.

I had a wonderful Saturday with my husband. We did work around our home in preparation for one of our granddaughter’s birthday parties, ran errands, went to see a good move (“Wonder Woman” – loved it!) and then we went to an evening concert in the park. I love summer nights and the weather that evening was perfect for music and dancing.

Yes, dancing. We had been there just a little under an hour, when I turned to my husband and asked him if he wanted to dance. He had a shocked deer-in-the-headlights expression at my request. I had been sitting there rocking away to their music and watching all of the other brave souls on the dance floor. A few made me giggle, but I more admired their unabashed courage to just have fun. I wanted to throw my own self-conscious anxieties out and have some fun of my own. I wanted to reclaim a little piece of myself.

I can keep a pretty good beat and was blessed with a bit of rhythm, so in my mind I pictured myself going out there and really showing some moves. HA! My first steps felt awkward, like I just couldn’t get my flip-flopped feet to move the graceful way I had envisioned. For a moment, I thought, “What the heck was I thinking?! What am I doing out here in front of ALL of these people?!” Red-faced, which fortunately people would have thought came from the warmth of the air, I looked at my husband who was also awkwardly trying to work out his moves. Once we got eye-contact we laughed out loud and something inside of me switched on. My relationship with my husband began on a dance floor and other than a few slow dances at weddings we’ve attended, we hadn’t been out on the dance floor, like this, in years. At that point, my awkwardness left and I allowed myself to just enjoy and embrace this piece of time with him. I’m sure we still looked awkward up there, but we didn’t care. The whole world went away and it was us…it was me. I felt like I pulled a big piece of the shell off, that I have covered myself in. It was freeing.

That piece of shell that I peeled off set the course for the remainder of my weekend. I didn’t go out and hit more dance floors but I took that moment with me into everything else I did. I felt like I stood a little bit taller and felt a lot braver. Oh, what a good feeling that is.

Life can be such a mental game…and for me, the extra physical weight causes the mental weight to become very heavy, as well. It’s so true that we are our own worst enemies. If someone said to me what my internal voice says, I’d throat-punch them. This weekend really reminded me of how unkind I can be to myself and that was my biggest take-away…I’m going to be kinder to me.

You know, some of us (usually people who journal like me) make notes of what our “Plan of Attack” will be as we step into the healthier living lifestyle. It often goes something like this:

1) Eat breakfast (stop skipping).
2) Exercise.
3) Drink more water, etc.

…a list of bullet points to begin our plan of attack. But over the weekend, mine has been re-written. My list looks like this now:

1) Remind myself of what is good in me.
2) Pay attention to the parts of me that I like.
3) Be gentle and kind to me.
4) Nourish me in a way that says, “I care about me.” etc.

Do you see the difference? Instead of starting my morning like a mental drill sergeant, I want to feed the deepest parts of me. I believe that as I do, the other things that I need for this journey (eating well, exercising, drinking my water…) won’t feel so much like chores, but will cause it all to begin to fall into its proper place. Caring for my physical heart health has to begin with caring for what’s in the depths of it.

My hope was to have my first 10-pound loss by this morning. It didn’t happen. Had my Saturday played out some other way, it’s possible I’d feel a little discouraged this morning. But I’m not. I’ve made good headway and I am holding steady at my 8-pound loss (in spite of allowing myself a yummy coconut cupcake at my granddaughter’s birthday party yesterday). But…as I reflect on my weekend, I’m reminded of the great time I had with family and friends…and that moment, of reclaiming a bit of our youth, as my sweet husband and I danced our awkward legs off. I think that’s a little…or actually, a really big, victory!

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No matter what the weekend held for you, keep your focus my friends. Be reminded of what is good in you. And hey, dance!

Simply,
Cindy

couple dancing