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My Health Plan for 2012: A Letter to Myself

Monday, January 02, 2012

Whenever New Year hits, I want to make a list of the many things I wanna fix about my life... but that list can be long and depressing and it just never gets done. What's the use in that??

So this year, I think I might stick with one item - maybe two - and work out some ways I can improve my situation and pick up another item along the way to work on. Meanwhile, the other things 'to fix' just don't seem that important. So what better item to start with than health... yay!!! emoticon

I've been a big girl for most of my life. The last time I was considered at a healthy weight was at five years old. I'd love to feel sorry for myself and say I struggled with it all these years... that I've tried and tried, but nothing worked. But the truth is, I've done very little or possibly nothing at all to become healthier. I DARED God, the medical experts, and everyone else and spat in their face by doing all the things that kept me on a road to being unhealthy - I addicted myself to tv, made the unhealthiest food choices, refused to participate in or try physical activity, etc. For the longest time, youth was on my side. I grazed and lazed about without too much consequence - except being bigger than most girls, being ostracized for it sometimes, not fitting into the cute fashionable outfits many tweens and teens sported. It hurt, but I considered myself "counter-cultural" and a rebel. I thought, "Screw society, its mean standards and its unfair treatment of those who don't fit in." And in truth, for this perspective and many seemingly odd reasons, I consider myself very blessed to have grown up a fat girl.

But youth is so elusive. While I still feel for the counter-cultural rebel little girl inside me, the consequences of my protest against health have caught up with me. It sucks to run out of breath after a brief walk. It sucks that I can't sit for too long or my back hurts. It sucks that I can't sudden demand the flexibility and strength I thought came natural. Oh, why is youth wasted on the young?

So anyway, here's my plan to get healthier for 2012. Is it a good plan?? I dunno. If I knew what a good plan was, I might've already figure this out years ago. But hey, I'm not writing the Constitution here. It doesn't have to be perfect and if something doesn't work, then I'll revisit and re-work it til it's does. (It's worth noting that the Constitution is a great comprehensive document that's been amended several times over the course of more than three centuries. So, um... yeah.)

But I digress. Here is the plan:

1) My entire diet will consist of mostly vegetables (mostly greens), fruit, tofu and fish.

I'm a hardcore carnivore and have a huge sweet tooth, so this is pretty extreme. Maybe too extreme, some of you might think. But the truth is, I've over-indulged for most of my life... I've eaten more than a lifetime's worth of meat and sweets. After having consulted with my brother - a Chinese medicine student a sem away from completion and my PHCP since I can't afford insurance (thank You God for providing) - we've determined I need to swing the pendulum to the other extreme for a while before I can find my healthy equilibrium. He said because I have the fat stores and adequate muscle mass, it would not be unhealthy of me to even just limit it to all greens only (omdb). I don't think I will eat this way for the rest of my life, but all of 2012 will probably be mostly like this.

I did allot myself "cheat days" when I an diverge from this and revert back to eating what I wish in moderate amounts. Those cheat days are basically special occasions when finding green food would be hard (family gatherings, big birthday parties, weddings, etc.). So I expect to be a more social person this year too, to afford myself more opportunities to eat outside of my "green norm." Inevitably, there will probably be some cheating beyond the special occasions I've accounted for but I have no consequence system. Don't do it. If I veer off course though, I'll learn from it, get over it and get back on track. Simple as that. I don;t want to set myself up to fail by establishing some weird bad food credit that I'll lose control of , get frustrated with and will give up later. No can do's ville, Babydoll.

2) Work out four days a week for an hour each day. Hopefully, do it while making use of the free gym membership I have (thanks to same bro) and thumb my nose at the 24-Hour Fitness sons of mothers who've had their hands in my bro's pockets while I didn't go because I felt too intimidated.

OK, this one is definitely going to be hard. I want to go out there. I want to move. I just don't like other people watching. Especially, not skinny people. I don't want to see condemnation or pity in anyone's eyes or feel it in their averted glances. I don't want anyone who looks like they should be on fitness mag covers giving me empty affirmations, false encouragement or tips. Because, in my head, if they look like they do, then they don't know me. They don't know how hard I'm working. They don't know the uphill climb I'm facing. They don't know what I'm going through and couldn't possibly imagine it.

But hey, Len. It's humility check time. Your "I don't need anyone's help" attitude is what got you to where you are. You've resisted all those around you who tried to encourage you, motivate you, help you. You do need help. Help is good. All good things are from God, why not be open to it?? Don't close yourself off because you fear the bad things. Scars heal. And goodness goes a long way to helping them heal. So be open to the good and bad... both things can only propel you. You get to learn great things, be encouraged by motivators and have the fuel of haters. And not all skinny people were always skinny. And not all are judgmental or mean. That was middle school and high school. Screw them. They have no significance on you now.

So, it's probably a good idea to set up a schedule of when I go to the gym so that it becomes more concrete. Still working on this... updates to come. I'm thinking mornings... like really early so there'll be less people. Then I could also schedule Eucharistic Adoration before or after to get more time with Jesus (another goal of mine) and as an added motivator to get out of the house. but January is very daunting as I know the gym will be filled with more people. But maybe that's the good thing... more beginners like me who aren't gym regulars and looking to find encouragement in others just starting the journey too. Even if that encouragement is just an understanding glance and tired smile from across the room to let you know they know your issues too.

3) Get accupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment to address various health issues.

Again, thank you to my awesome brother who encourages me and gives me free treatment and a gym membership. And thank You to Jesus from whom all grace come and blessed me with so much, particularly a plan and resources to finally better my health.

4) Keep a daily food and exercise diary/journal/log. Track progress.

OK, admittedly, free spirited and undisciplined as I am, this will take time. But imagine if I succeed at this?? I could sell my story to Harper Books or another publisher. I can write a self-help or autobiography about being the incredible woman who lost nearly 200 lbs and changed the world. I could have book tours or go on talk shows. I could be the reason Oprah brings her show back. Wow!..... OK. Have you had enough time to indulge in that silly fantasy, Delusional Delilah??

The point is, every step of the journey - good or bad, leap or misstep - is worthy of documenting and being preserved. If this year is going to make a difference, I wanna know how it did and how I can make things better - success or not. I wanna savor my innocence and naivete the way I do when I read my journals as a 16-year-old. I want to be able to glean and preserve the wisdom blessed to me by God through the blood, sweat and tears. I want to be able to look back and know that I faced pain, cowered to it or/and finally smacked it down and made it my b!tch. I wanna remember that carrots and celery do not taste that bad at all. I wanna have written down the phrase "V8 is yummy" just so I can send my older self into hysterics at such a joke. So yeah.... write it all down, Len.

5) Keep a schedule. Get up at 6 am, eat four scheduled meals a day, one snack, stop eating by 6 pm, go to bed by 10 pm.

If you have a schedule, you don't have the time to be distracted or derailed from progress. Fight it all you want, Free-wheelin' Freida. It's the one thing you've always known you've needed to do. And just as you are addressing a lifetime of unhealthy indulgence with a stricter diet, you need to be more vigilant about making a schedule, being militarily strict about sticking to it and seeing it all through. Seriously, please do this tonight.

So there it is. Refer to this often. Keep your eyes forward. Drive. Travel at a nice, healthy speed so you don't burn out. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you do. Don't hesitate to pull over if you need to and call AAA. Get back on the road as soon as you can. Appreciate the scenery of the drive. Appreciate the potholes and bumps along the road. Try to avoid some, but don't sweat it if you hit a few. Enjoy the drive. Enjoy a few rest stops but don't stay there. While the rest stops may be charming, nice and comfortable and you get so tired, it is not your destination. You are expected to arrive at some place much greater. And someone really awesome is there waiting to meet you: the You that God created and meant for you to become. Speaking of God, enjoy the drive and know that this isn't a solo road trip at all. You are traveling with Him. He's your Navigator. You'll always be safe and get there faster and more enjoyably if you listen to what He's telling you. But even on days when the road seems extra longer and you feel lost, He's by your side on this ride.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 2/3/2012 5:17AM

    Hi, Len - just saw a post from you on Tammie's page - I got unsubscribed from your blogs, I guess. I was happy to see that you were back. This does indeed sound like a very ambitious plan. How did it go in January? Would love to hear from you...praying for you today!


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Another new Beginning...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Every new year, I'm completely divided within myself. Half of me turns into a Stepford-wife and spouts out random, positive sounding gibberish about hope, prosperity, and "This is gonna be the year..." The other half - who resembles more my usual unsure, insecure, pessimistic and snarky self - either cringes in silence while I snort at all my new-found positivity and retort back all the long list failed past attempts and useless affirmations. But neither these sides of myself have been very helpful in achieving any of my health, wealth and personal goals... or anything at all for that matter. Every year had the story of how my positive attitude fell to the pervading laziness, uncertainty, insecurity and whatever all else that ails my very crazy pysche.

But, as many greater than I have often said, defeat lies not in the failures but in the giving up. I've been defeated and given up too many times already... more than enough to know that it isn't the refuge or acceptable 'ending' it ever presents itself to be. The truth is happiness and becoming who I was meant to be doesn't happen unless I face the hard roads. Not with denial. Not with self-persecution. Not with concession to live an unhappy life.

Knowing this, I have to reconcile these two sides of myself. While my snarky-side - crippled by fear of failing yet again - would rather give up now and avoid any self-deluding mantras, I - the whole me - just cannot afford to concede defeat to the fear and resign to become unhealthier, lazier, dumber, and spiritually disconnected. And while my cheerleader side can seem like the 'me' I wanna lead with, I know I need more than empty affirmations and a results-obsessed mindset that's completely unaccommodating and unprepared for dealing with the real pain that comes with facing a fight. So, rather than choosing to be an uber-positive angel obsessed with the future (weight to lose, healthy habits to gain, etc.) or the self-flogging devil obsessed with the past (my failures, my bad habits, my bad history), I'm choosing to be Me.

The human Me. Present in the NOW. Not in the future where everything is bright and sunny but completely mythical, idealized and still unseen - a mirage of how things are supposed to be. Thereby, no need to punish myself or feel discouraged if my actions don't completely resonate with that goal. Me no is still getting there. No need to punish me for not being there yet. It's part of the process. I will accept that as Me in the Present, I am blind and vulnerable to all the roadblocks, dips and hardships on the road ahead. So why shouldn't I be forgiving if I make a wrong turn here or there?? But Me in the Now is also not condemned or limited by the past either. When driving along, what does it matter if I was lost 20 minutes ago?? Me in the Now focuses on finding my way there now. Having made a wrong turn doesn't condemn me to the wrong location right??

The thing is I've been lost. I wanna find what I'm looking for. But I'll never get there by lamenting over how/why I got lost and being in the wrong place or by fixating on a destination and trying to "teleport" there. The road must be traveled. And I'll enjoy the journey a lot more if I drive forward looking out through the windshield rather than in reverse with the rear view mirror. Sure, I gotta keep looking 20 feet ahead of me and try to manage the bumps a long the way. But if I gotta hit one here or there or get thrown by a tiny pothole, so what?? And I'll probably have to keep glancing at the rear-view mirrors once in a while to make sure I don't get rear-ended by bad habits or lessons I've already learned. But if one or two or three overtake me at some point, my car still moves forward. I'll catch up with them eventually and zoom right past.

I can't say I've never been lost and failed to find my way, or that this time, I'll get there... but it sure feels good to be back on that open road with the wind blowing in my hair and adventure awaiting me at every wrong and right turn.

emoticon and emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KINGSDTR 1/2/2012 11:01AM

    Hey Len! Nice to see you back! Great blog! ... I am not sure u you were writing out of your head or mine, LOL! Just kidding! :) I am reading the book Made To Crave by Lysa Terkurst... it's AMAZING! Check it out if you get the chance... I bet you'd love it! in the mean time, stand strong sista! We can do this! Have a blessed day!

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HOMEBUNNY 1/2/2012 10:22AM

    It is good to see you back, Len!! You can do this. You have the right attitude. Just keep moving forward & don't look back at your mistakes. Learn from them & move on. I have not been doing so well & am trying to get myself back on track as well.


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A new beginning.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

it's been a while now since i abandoned this umpteenth attempt at sparkpeople and healthy living once again... it's probably been 2 or more months since i last logged on. and i truly hate doing this... i hate starting over. i hate failing. i hate trying. i hate it. i hate it. i hate it.... but i gotta try again. because death is the only other option...and that's a notion that's not too far-fetched anymore.

while i was out running errands on thursday, i was coming out of a starbucks and began to experience chest pains... now i've had chest pains before, but they're starting to come more often than ever. and they hurt now and don't subside as quickly as they used to. then, i did a really stupid thing. stupid and insane. i ignore them, got behind the wheel and drove. i uttered a quick prayer in my head to ask God to please help me, to please make the pain go away. and they eventually did... but what if they didn't?? what if i killed myself and/or someone else on the road if my chest pains became a full-blown heart attack?? what if i just keeled over at the starbucks and died?

the coroners would have to rule it a suicide. it may not have had the makings of dramatized suicides... no razors to the wrists, no carbon monoxide inhaled, no self-poisoning, sticking my head in an over, carrying weights to a swim or jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge... but it'd have been suicide. suicide by skipped exercises, by too many donuts, huge portions of drive-thru fat-ladden slop... suicide by negligence, suicide by choosing to self-gratify instead of self-care, suicide by choosing a life of inertia over energy.

and i'm not even 30 yet. i've no kids, no property, no legacy of any kind. no accomplishment or service worthy to present before the judgment seat of my Lord, so that i might say i served him well. and what of my mother? how could i be so selfish as to leave her with the costs - financial, emotional, physical - of having to bury her daughter?

i've been mulling the idea of re-starting my journey w/ spark for a while now... maybe the last three weeks. and i don't know what led me to go thru the ignored spark emails that've collected over the past two months. i just wanted to collect points for each email... but one caught my attention: a blog posted by SKINNYME82, about her friend who died at only 49 years old because of an unhealthy lifestyle. and it just kept reminding me of me... where i could be not too long from now. and i can only hope that this is the last time i have to restart... but if it isn't, i'll never hesitate to keep doing it as long as i still live. because again, death is not a considerable option.


below is the reply i posted on SKINNYME82's blog. i'm posting it here for my posterity so that i'll always remember.

thank you so much for sharing this... your love and grief for your friend is evident, but i'm so blessed that you pressed though it and shared this warning.

i know it's nearly a month since you posted this blog, so it might seem strange that i'm just writing to you now. as it often happens with this struggle to lose weight, i've been on a long, long hiatus from my path and been vacationing in denial... i stopped weighing myself, stopped watching my portions, stopped tracking my food, stopped even entertaining thoughts of exercise. and lately it has taken it's toll... not just the usual not running fast enough, running out of energy quickly, sleeping too long struggles that i've come to see as normal...

yesterday, i had major chest pains... and they wouldn't go away. it took all the prayer i had in me and God's grace that i didn't collapse and die of a heart attack yesterday while i was out w/ these chest pains. but i ignored the small signs so long, that i just don't know what i would've done if...

anyway, going thru my inbox for spark emails, i came across your blog... and it truly woke me up. i can't pretend there isn't a problem anymore or pretend that i'll be ok with dying. i don't even turn 30 until may 31... i don't have any kids yet, nothing to present before God as my service here on earth if i should meet him. and i just can't keep refusing to take care of myself anymore... esp not after reading about your friend.

thank you for your candor. i'm sure your friend was a very lovely person who'll be greatly missed. but i can't help but feel angry for you and the other loved ones she left behind. because she ignored her own body, because she chose to self-gratify instead of self-care and because she didn't care to do the work, she cheated you all and God of the light she brings into the world. and even if i don't know either of you, my life is jolted by your message... because i only hope that it isn't too late for me.

thank you again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 4/22/2010 2:14PM

    Just now seeing this post, Len. It's good to know you're back. His mercies are new every morning - in fact, I have that on my spark page now because I want to be reminded of myself - Often!


That's a rather sad-looking picture of Jesus. But it's a good reminder, too --- that HE is up there on his throne of grace praying for us right now.

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    Don't drop the bundle. It is okay to have a slip. Get up and go because tomorrow is another day. Look at the good things you are doing & improve on that each day.

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VTORIA3 4/17/2010 5:36AM

    Your honesty is sobering. I am so glad that you are starting again. Better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. When I first started, I was miserable with a capital M. Some days my mood was so black, I couldn't wait to go to bed at night just to be rid of me. Finally, after 3 weeks, my withdrawal ended, and I started to feel more upbeat. We sparkers have many starts and stops. And that's not failure, it's changing a habit and that takes time. Most important is to try to have more good days than bad ones. At some point, something sticks and I think it has a lot to do with the support from fellow sparkers...at least it did for cynical me. Blogging as you are is a really good way to stay plugged in to get support and encouragement.

Best of luck on this important journey to better health. Keep telling yourself, you deserve this. Remember, baby steps all the way. Slow and steady wins the race this time. emoticon

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DEUSMACHINA 4/17/2010 5:31AM

    Wow! What a powerful blog. You're right, though. There is only one way: to keep trying. And boy do I know what you mean about hating having to try. I have regular bouts of diet-rage and unfairness-rage. Why me? Why do I put on weight so easily while my partner doesn't? Why am I the one that has to watch every single mouthful? GAH! Don't even get me started!

But here we are. Still at it. The single biggest piece of advice I can give you is to get really involved here at Spark. Check out this blog: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_p

from a chap called John. He perfectly describes the alchemy that happens here on SparkPeople. So come on! Get involved! Meet people! I'm going to friend you RIGHT NOW to keep an eye on you! ;) Join some good teams that help keep you motivated. You KNOW you can do this!


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