Thursday, January 10, 2013
Have you noticed that every so often, something that you are focusing on starts popping up all over the place? Like you say, "I haven't seen any green cars in a long tine." And green cars will appear at every turn through town?
I've been thinking about my bad habits and how difficult it seems to just go ahead and change them. I wrote about it Monday in my blog.
Tuesday morning I was greeted by a newsletter from Simple Truths. I was blown away when I read that Aristotle** had something to say about forming habits. ""We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act...it's a habit."
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He lived from 384 BC – 322 BC. A polymath is a person who is knowledgeable about many things. So Aristotle was a Renaissance Man of his time. Isn't it amazing that people were thinking about habits that long ago? Do you think he ever had a "green car" experience?
They go on to talk about a new book, Habits Die Hard. I loved the excerpt from the book which they share. I'll call it a poem, written from the point of view of a habit.
I'd love for you to read it, but the only place I can find it other than the newsletter is this ad for the book, Habits Die Hard. I promise I have nothing to do with the book, author, or company store.simpletruths.com/habits-die-ha
rd-p2997.aspx The poem is called "Food for Thought." Go read it!!
If you are what you repeatedly do (Aristotle),
then what would your habits be saying to you?
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
While on my river walk yesterday, I noticed this tree digging in to the side of the high riverbank with those old roots. They were probably doing the same thing when the army marched the Cherokee Indians past it along what we now call the Trail of Tears. I thought that habits, good or bad, are like these roots, taking a firm hold of our lives. It would take a major catastrophe, like the hurricane of the millenium for these roots to let go, to give up.
And it takes major effort, like the energy in a hurricane, on our part to make a change in our habits when we finally realize that perhaps we haven't been making the best choices.
The biggest effort is probably being honest with ourselves about what is really going on. Once we are, it's like the eye of the storm has past, knocked that old tree and its roots into the river, and we're finally free of those roots that took hold of our life.
Sure, we still have to work to put something else in that spot. We do need good healthy roots reaching down to the water.
Monday, January 07, 2013
How did I establish my eating and exercise knowledge and habits?
I know I cast blame on commercials, the government, food manufacturers. But a lot of it was my home environment and I see applications in my life today from experiences I had growing up.
I had to eat my food on my plate, including the canned peas or asparagus, which I hated. Never saw a dark green leafy vegetable. Our fresh fruit was banana cut up on our cereal, either in the morning or for a bed time snack.
Application today: I've tried to overcome that hatred of vegetables ever since and I've tried to hook my mom, because she really didn't like those smushy canned vegetables either. I've hooked the both of us on steamed asparagus, fresh sugar snap peas right off my garden vines, and she can't believe they are so good!! I've continued to embrace and love many vegetables including roasted carrots. Absolutely delicious. And mom liked them, too, at Thanksgiving dinner.
When I was growing up, I was very active, a softball pitcher, rode my bike all over town, swimming, pogo stick, loved sports in high school, hula hoop champ, tether ball champ even after I broke my arm in a bike wreck. Course I hit the ball with my cast. One whack and my opponent couldn't touch it.
Application: Remembering how much fun I had keeps me searching for ways to get me up and moving now. I have come to learn how important a personal fitness program is. When I was growing up, no one talked about a personal fitness program. Besides the walking, I've started riding the recumbent bike, and swimming, and trying to hula hoop, and looking for other activities which I consider to be fun, like when I was a kid. I even got a mini trampoline for my birthday from my sister. That is lots of fun, and I can do it. She also gave me a Gold's Gym stepper. Now that one isn't as fun. Have to touch the wall to keep my balance. But it is very beneficial for my neuropathy. And I have enough other fun activities I can burst into when that one not-so-fun activity gets to be frustrating.
So there's that word. And another application.
If I tackle a change in my life that I perceive as too frustrating, or is truly too frustrating, I just don't do it anymore. So I set myself small tasks which will see quick results and ramp things up one notch at a time.
When I was in Junior College, I developed a problem with reading which I thought was eye strain, due to the huge amount of nightly reading. When I went out for golf, I couldn't get the ball in the hole. I finally went for an eye examination. I did need glasses for exophoria, where the eyes don't work together and nothing is where you think it is. I had flattened out my grandfather's brick patio and finally understood why I tripped over things there--it wasn't flat at all!! And targets, like the golf cup, were really a few inches to the right of where I thought. But the application here is that I still hate the idea of golf. Don't know if I could manage to get the ball in the cup and I DON'T care to find out. A shame really since I live in a golfing community.
As we got older, my sister and I took a trip around Tennessee and North Carolina. We stopped at a trail in the Smoky Mountains that led to a waterfall I wanted to see. I needed to go to the bathroom first, so I went in, but you needed change to get into a stall. I went back out to the car. My sister who had been driving, had gone on and taken the keys, leaving my purse and socks locked inside. A kind fellow traveler gave me a dime to get into a bathroom but I was left to walk to the waterfall with no socks. It was truly an easy hike as hikes go, and wouldn't have been a problem, except for not having socks on my feet. I'll stop the story here by saying it wasn't a pretty picture when I arrived at the falls. I haven't done much hiking or workout type walking since.
Some exercise-along-with videos I've watched on SP have obviously been designed for people in much better shape than I. I try to keep up with the trainer who is moving at 185 mph. I try to move my muscles that I know I used to have but that don't seem there any more, and I give up.
But I have pulled my self through all the cancer treatments by making myself walk my dog at least once a day. And when I was able, that became twice a day. And Jewels expects it now. I can't get away with giving up or saying it's too cold out there. She would like to give it up when it's raining though.
That has made me pause and wonder where the thing for not giving up comes from, because not giving up is truly part of my nature. I can't remember an experience, just my grandfather and dad telling me I could do anything with my life that I wanted to do. I do evaluate situations like those exercise videos which I know are truly impossible for me right now. And while I'm probably not going to try the 10 minute creative core work out EVER again, I will look for other similar videos that respect where my abs aren't right now.
So I'm encourage my mom to walk. When she was up for Christmas, she went with my sister and I to the River Walk and walked in the freezing cold. Very good for managing her diabetes. Her sugar is so much better managed now with what we have learned from Spark People. The day after that walk, she expected her sugar reading to require a pill because of the extra carbs from Christmas dinner. But no. 103. Woohoo!! Perhaps she will walk with me when I get back to Florida.
My point? Lifetime eating habits and exercise habits are easier learned than unlearned. It is VERY difficult to put changes in place after you have established horrible eating habits or couch potato habits. It is not impossible to change, but it is very easy to give up in the face of frustration, or fear of failure, or what I call the two-year-old stomping the foot syndrome.
Do you know that one? Where the two year old yells NO and has a tantrum?
So that's why I worry about everyone who is younger than me, especially about how they will ever change their eating habits, or exercise habits. I don't seem to be as worried about that because I see many people going to the Y with their kids, And kids certainly see lots of sports on the TV. None of that was going on when I was growing up.
But I think we're a couple of generations away from families who made their children eat their vegetables. Even if they were cooked to smush before being canned.
We stomp our feet and say, "But I don't like to drink water!"
And we think it's okay to let our kids drink all the sodas they want.
A better plan might be to just drink the water and teach the kids from the beginning how important water is first, with the other drinks being an infrequent snack?
We stomp our feet and say, "But I don't have time or energy to go to the store and buy the fresh fruits and vegetables and come home and cook a healthy meal and then clean up. So let's swing through the Drive-Thru."
And when our health or waistline suffers from the ravages of these bad habits, we look at the monumental task of learning how to fix it, and then actually trying to make those changes, and feel it's not worth it, or it's impossible and we give up before we start.
Wouldn't it be easier if we started our kids off on the best foot we knew of at the time?
Wouldn't it be easier if they saw everyone around them eating fruits and vegetables? that looked like fruits and vegetables? without all the additives?
Wouldn't it be easier if they saw everyone around them walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and enjoying it, having fun?
Edit in response to CT: Right. We didn't know better then either when I was growing up, Except they did say, Eat your vegetables. But the science wasn't there then to KNOW. As a teacher, we had workshops every couple of years when we learned what was new with nutrition that we were suppose to teach our classes. I started to think all the nutritionists were idiots because they threw out everything they had said at the last workshop. and so I never did much with the information for myself.
Now we do KNOW and I don't see any major changes happening anywhere.
I had high hopes for Michele O'Bamas "Plate" concept, but the new is dragged down by the old. Cafeteria meals at school continue to be processed carbs like pancakes on a stick with syrup for a side, or mac and cheese with no vegetables on the tray. I see no sign of a 1/2 veg, 1/4 proteiin, 1/4 starchy carb in our cafeteria meals.
We must do better establishing good habits early for a lifetime of health and happiness.
There are a few parents who are mean to the point of cruelty and abuse. But I think most parents are loving and want the best for their children.
I watched a show yesterday where a dad lost weight because he wanted to be around to see his boys graduate from college. But for me, the best reason for him to lose weight was when his kids saw him outside playing with them. That image will stick no matter what they do with their lives.
They might not make it to see him beaming with pride at their college graduation. But they will remember being active with dad no matter what they do with their lives.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
I can imagine why early people were taken with the sun. It brings warmth to a cold land. It brings hope to a dismal gray week. After all, the temperature here has warmed up from 22 to 36 degrees. Early people might have wondered if it was a good time to walk down to the river to get water, or ice to melt.
I'm wondering about packing my lunch and wandering down to the river to walk, take pictures, even paint a picture if my fingers don't fall off first.
Maybe go south and explore Brasstown Bald or find a waterfall for plein aire painting.
I have on clean clothes. Laundry can wait until this evening after the sun goes down.
Yep sounds like a good afternoon!!
(Health, Fun, Responsibility, Creativity Goals)
Friday, January 04, 2013
Lows of 22 and highs of 44, overcast for days and rain (or snow, which was pretty cool while it lasted). It got very gloomy. And I was cold to the bone every time I went for a walk. I decided I wasn't living up to my "fun" promise and joined the Wellness center. I used the treadmill Wednesday and asked my family to ship up my bathing suit. Swimming will be fun. I'm hoping the 80 degree water will seem warm. The pool in my Florida community is heated to 85 degrees but has no cover. So getting out is difficult sometimes.
At least the pool at the Wellness Center is under one of those big bubbles.
The suit arrived today, so the plan is for a swim tomorrow. My only worry is whether it still fits. Some problem, huh?? But there are no swimsuits in the 2 clothes shops in Murphy, NC. They shipped them all to Florida.
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