Thursday, April 26, 2007
We are all born with free will. Life is a series of choices, and those choices have consequences. We can continue to be a slave to our ego's whims and needs for instant gratification. Or we can look at the big picture and do those daily, even hourly, things that will bring us to our greater goodÖour lasting satisfaction...the desires of our spirit. We can sit on the couch and watch TV, or we can get up and do some cleaning, go walking or another form of exercise, work in the garden, or even read a good inspirational book and feed our mind with positive thoughts and ideas. Itís so important to live consciously and to avoid going through the motions of daily routines that donít bring us what we really want. We need to be aware of what we think, do and say because it all has an effect on the outcome of our lives. Life is not Ďhappening to usí. I believe so firmly that WE create all of our experiences through our own thoughts and our daily actions. Iíve seen it repeated in my life and in lives of others close to me. All it takes is changing your thoughts. Donít live in despair and negativity no matter what your present circumstances areÖ.live in hope and optimism, faith and joy. Donít complain about some of the Ďbumps in the roadíÖbe grateful and appreciative of every single blessing and goodness available to us here on earth. Donít try to accumulate Ďthingsí and live to acquire moreÖbe generous and giving without expectations, and see it come back to you in multitudes. Donít think lackÖthink abundance in every aspect of your life. Donít search for loveÖ.be loving to others. Donít chase after happinessÖbe happy. Itís your choice.
Iím always stopping to remind myself and DH how lucky we are to be retired, not have financial worries, and enjoy doing what we please every day. Iím careful to not waste the day. That doesnít mean that I donít occasionally have a Ďdo nothingí downtime day, but I make the choice consciously. Even when I sit on my swing by the garden in the summer, I take the time to enjoy it fully and appreciate every aspect of my free time, the flowers and trees and pond out back with wildlife coming and going, the beauty of nature, and all there is to love in this world. I appreciate my lovely and peaceful home, all of those close to me that I love, my pets, everything I enjoy each day. The more I am grateful, the more goodness flows toward me. Even if Iím around negative people, as I smile and remain content and positive, I can see a change in their mood. We are in control of our environment and our feelings. It all comes from our own thoughts. Thatís why two people in the exact same situation can have two entirely different outcomes. Itís their attitude, thoughts and feelings that make or break their experience.
As far as my weight loss journey, Iíve never been in such a great place. And again, success in this area also first has to take place in the mind. I now look forward to exercising. I now easily keep within my calorie range and choose those food that offer the highest nutrition for the amount of calories. I look forward to every day, and to do those things that keep me moving towards my ideal healthy and fit body. Iím not worried or anxious about it. I KNOW WITHOUT A SHRED OF DOUBT that I will not only reach my goal, but I will never have to struggle with excess weight ever again. Because I love this way of living. I love treating my body well. I love the way my spirit bursts with joy when I am nurturing and taking good care of my body. I look in the mirror and only see the beautiful person I am on the inside, knowing that my body on the outside is catching up day by day. My body and spirit are merging as one. I am connected to God and through Him I can accomplish anything and everything. Life is unfolding as I choose it to be. I am peaceful and content. This is the way it is supposed to be.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
When I read the book, ďEat to LiveĒ I loved its principles and was so excited to embark on this new way of eating. My intellectual mind was ready, and I always am open to try new things. What works I stick with, what doesnít I discard, but I always at least give it ample time to judge it. I wasnít quite ready for my instinctual mind, my emotional mind, and my physical body to rebel. I was so pumped up the first week, that I was successfully able to power through the tough times. After 7 days on the plan, I lost 3.6 pounds which amazingly did not excite me. I was starting to rebel. I had been eating two large green salads a day and all of a sudden I couldnít face even one salad. All the enjoyment of food was gone. I was eating for nutrition and feeling more energetic. But there was something missing. I was bumming. My husband is not supportive at all in regard to a vegetarian lifestyle. He thinks itís weird and even believes it to be unhealthy. I found out later that my stepdaughter had called and invited us over, but he said it wouldnít be a good idea for a month because I wasnít eating meat. He was already waiting in anticipation for the 6 weeks to be over so I could eat Ďnormallyí again and have some chicken! But besides his lack of enthusiasm, I too was not feeling all that great emotionally. Being honest with myself, I knew I could not do this for an entire lifetime. And in the past when Iíd stuck with something extremely restrictive, Iíd get to the point where Iíd go completely in the opposite direction and binge on ice cream, cookies and candy.
So I had a little sit down with myself. Thereís got to be a middle ground here. Why canít I take the parts of the plan that DO work for me and add in other elements that will help me to sustain my effort for the long haul, through the ups and downs of my days, and forward on to maintaining my ideal weight? Itís not all-or-nothing, black-or-white. Thatís a big notion that Iím changing right now. Life IS shades of gray. What works for me wonít worth for others, and some programs that work perfectly for others spell trouble for me. Iím the only one who knows myself, warts and all! I need to tailor my own lifestyle, and balance what is healthy with what is do-able. I believe food is meant to be enjoyed, and there are plenty of high nutrition foods that I like. But eliminating some of the decadent pleasures now and then is not fun! And a wise boss I once had said, ďIf it ainít fun, why do it?Ē
I listed the parts of Eat to Live that I most definitely could adopt easily. And they are:
1. Eat a large salad once a day with as many different vegetables as possible, an ounce of nuts and some beans on top, and use a low-fat, unprocessed salad dressing.
2. Eat lots of steamed veggies with lunch and/or dinner and even as snacks
3. Drink a powerhouse smoothie for breakfast or snack with fresh spinach, an assortment of frozen fruit, soy milk and a Tablespoon of flax seed.
4. Eat an assortment of fresh fruits in season with breakfast and/or snacks.
5. Eat meatless at least 3 days a week.
6. Eliminate pork and shellfish completely.
7. Restrict beef to no more than once a week.
I eliminated coffee, white bread, white pasta and white rice, all processed foods, and all trans fats a while ago and am not tempted by them. I do remember, though, that it took 3 attempts at eliminating coffee completely and that it was the social aspect of it I missed the most; so I do indulge in an occasional cup while Iím out, but Iím definitely not addicted to it anymore. I will allow moderate amounts of chicken or turkey breast, fish such as wild salmon, tilapia, or halibut, and low-fat cheese and yogurt. Iíve cut back on sugar, but will allow an occasional yummy dessertósomething special I eat when Iím out so that I donít have things in the house that tempt me to overindulge.
As long as Iím still eating a greater percentage of fresh fruits and veggies and staying below my maximum calorie range, I should lose weight at a fairly steady pace. I lost another 1.4 lbs. this week (11 lbs. since I started Spark on 3-1-07Öyeah!!!) and I would be extremely happy to lose an average of 1-1.5 lbs. a week. I am addicted to walking and jumping for 15 minutes on my mini trampoline, so cardio exercise is a done deal for me because I enjoy it and even look forward to it. My strength training, Iím still working on learning to love it. Maybe itís the slower pace and my muscles rebelling, but even though I force myself to do it, Iím not enjoying it always.
Itís going to be a gradual progression for me and baby steps along this path to great health. I donít have to be perfect at it, I just have to keep getting back up and moving forward. One thing I do know for sure: THIS JOURNEY IS A ONE-WAY STREET. The old habits that put me over 200 pounds are no longer an option. Every day and in every way I am getting better and better, stronger and stronger!
Friday, April 06, 2007
I do my best thinking when Iím out walking, and this is what I was thinking aboutÖIím equally as interested in whatís going on inside of me as much as the outside. Being slim and looking great are motivators, but what about good health and the way you feel? Not to mention living longer with continued clarity of mind and with the absence of disease, no joint problems, no daily aches and pains (like my father suffered because of his obese condition).
There are people who are thin, but have worn, tired faces with lots of wrinkles, or have high risk for some cancers and diseases because of the poor quality of food they eat. And sure, you can restrict your calorie intake drastically, not exercise, and still lose weight. But youíll be losing more muscle, than fat, slowing down your metabolism, not getting enough nutrients, and making it much more difficult to lose weight and keep it off permanently. You also can lose weight extremely fast eating high protein, low carbohydrate. But youíll be ingesting way too much saturated fat. Although the chemistry of this process burns the weight off fast, Iíve read there is scientific research that meats raise the Ph level of your system to highly acidic, a breeding ground for disease. And high amounts of saturated fat contained in meat (most especially bacon, sausage and processed meat), cheese, eggs, etc. increase risk of heart disease and intestinal problems. A friend of mine went on Atkins and was thrilled with her rapid weight loss the first time, until she couldnít keep it up and eventually gained back more than sheíd lost. When she went on it the second time a few years later, she ended up in the hospital and almost had to have part of her colon removed. She was in a lot of abdominal pain. Her doctor attributed it to her lack of fruits/vegetables and high protein/fat diet. She had to build herself back slowly to a higher fiber diet. Needless to say, sheíll never do high protein/low carb again.
I had my first colonoscopy 3 years ago. I had a polyp that turned out benign, but my doctor said I need to have another colonoscopy in 3 years. Iím scheduled for it on May 22. Although Iíve made great strides in the past 3 years, my previous attempts at healthy eating have been sporadic, so Iím not certain how this test will go. But now that Iím presently eating an enormous amount of fresh steamed and raw vegetables, and foregoing the animal protein that sits in your intestines for a longer period of time because itís harder to digest, Iím fairly confident that if I continue this way of eating I will no longer have to worry about my colon.
I have had yearly mammograms since I turned 40. Iíve never had any problems. I had one last February and got called to come back because something showed up on the x-ray. I was a wreck. They did an ultra-sound, and it turned out to be two cysts that appear benign but they want me to come back in 6 months. After eating this way, Iíll be interested to see if they are still there in August.
I had the left side of my thyroid out in 1988. It was a benign cyst, but Iíve been on thyroid medication ever since. I get a full blood work-up once a year. My last blood test was February. Iíll be extremely interested to see the LDL/HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and sugar levels next February. I have also been on medication for high blood pressure for about 18 years, increasing the dosage over time. My goal is to go from two pills a day to one, and eventually achieve a healthy blood pressure without medication. As Dr. Fuhrman states in Eat to Live, the pills just treat the symptoms and mask the underlying cause. Just because your blood pressure is normal with medication, doesnít mean youíre not at risk for heart disease, quite the contrary. Eating the way Iím eating is so heart healthy that people have been able to get off blood pressure medicine even after having taken it for years, and some have actually reversed their heart disease.
My mother had open heart surgery in 1993. She was never the same afterwards and died in 1996 of kidney failure. She was only 73. For the last 10 or so years of her life, she was taking a massive amount of medications. I was flabbergasted to see the line-up of pills on her kitchen counter. And do these doctors really know how these medications affect each other? Iím on two medications and my goal is to get down to one (with half a thyroid, unfortunately Iíll never be able to get off thyroid medication).
So, while Iím excited at the slimmer body I will achieve through this way of eating, Iím even more excited to think of the added energy, vitality, and quality of life, as well as a longer life. THATíS the motivation that will keep me committed even in the more difficult daysÖand keep me dedicated to this healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I love to walk outdoors. Not just for the perfect and natural exercise it is, but for the emotional and spiritual boost. I love to look at natureÖthe spring flowers popping up after a winterís rest, and buds on the trees. The birds singing, a rabbit running by. Watching the fuzzy, yellow baby Canadian geese growing up through the summer to big, bold and beautiful brown, black and whiteÖflying off before the dead of winter to return next year with their own babies. The bright blue sky with billowy white clouds. Even a cloudy and rainy day has itís own charm. I love the smell of rain and the way it cleans off the dirty snow in early spring. Walking in early winter with snow tickling my face is fun too. And everything is so pure and clean covered with a blanket of white. I love it when the snow clings to the tree branches, a beauty with no match. As I pass by people, we exchange smiles and hellos. People in passing vehicles wave. I feel like Iím connected to the rest of the world. Walking is not a chore for me. I look forward to it and miss the very few days that I canít get outside to walk. It energizes my body and soothes my soul.
I love jumping on my Urban Rebounder (mini trampoline). Getting exercise this way is so much fun! And it only takes as little as 15 minutes to get all of these benefits:
It increases the capacity for breathing.
It circulates more oxygen to the tissues.
It helps combat depression.
It helps normalize your blood pressure.
It helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
It increases the activity of the red bone marrow in the production of red blood cells.
It aids lymphatic circulation, as well as blood flow in the veins of the circulatory system.
It lowers elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
It stimulates the metabolism, thereby reducing the likelihood of obesity.
It tones up the glandular system, especially the thyroid to increase its output.
It improves coordination throughout the body.
It promotes increased muscle fiber tone.
It offers relief from neck and back pains, headaches, and other pain caused by lack of exercise.
It enhances digestion and elimination processes.
It allows for easier relaxation and sleep.
It results in a better mental performance, with sharper learning processes.
It relieves fatigue and menstrual discomfort for women.
It minimizes the number of colds, allergies, digestive disturbances, and abdominal problems.
It tends to slow down aging.
Most importantlyÖ.ITíS FUN !!!!
I donít use weights or resistance bands for strength training anymore. Not since I discovered T-Tapp! T-Tapp is isometric moves that are done in a specific sequence. You use your own body as resistance and work multiple groups of muscles at the same time. It may look easy, but it isnít! Itís a challenging workout for all fitness levels and the more you do it, the better your form; hence, the challenge continues to increase. I believe it to be the best program for strengthening your core and all muscle groups.
There is a 15 minute sequence called Basic Workout Plus. Just doing that regularly with a healthy diet reduces inches significantly. The Total Workout is about 45 minutes and works every single muscle in your body and improves balance and coordination. And, once youíve mastered the moves, you only have to do it 3 times a week to see amazing results. Again, the emphasis is on inch loss and internal health. There are many testimonials and before/after pictures in the book that are truly incredible.
To find out more about this amazing program, go to www.t-tapp.com and/or read Teresa Tappís book titled, ďFit and Fabulous in Fifteen MinutesĒ. But here is just a brief description from the web site of this amazing program:
ďT-Tapp is a series of copyrighted, sequential movements designed to put the body in proper functional alignment. Its special sequence of comprehensive, compound muscle movement helps establish better alignment as well as increased strength and flexibility of the spine, better neuro-kinetic flow, lymphatic function, and increased metabolic rate. Its physical therapy approach to fitness makes it safe for those with shoulder, hip, knee, neck, and back concerns. Yet, it delivers a challenging workout for all fitness levels!
More Than A Workout! T-Tapp...
∑ Is done without weights, equipment, or jumping!
∑ Is very rehabilitative, especially for the lower back and knees. The movements look so simple, but they provide a workout like no other.
∑ Works all layers of the muscle at both attachments to develop muscle density instead of muscle bulk.
∑ Is more than a mind/body workout! T-Tapp is a left/right brain, mind/body workout.
∑ Is where less becomes MORE! Instead of working long and hard, discover how quality of movement can be more important than quantity! ď
Monday, April 02, 2007
What a wonderful day today. The sky is a bright blue with no clouds, the sun is brightly shining, the temperature is already in the 50's at 9 am (average for this time of year here in NY). I'm looking forward to going outdoors for a walk.
If I could bottle the enthusiasm and postive feelings I'm having today, I'd make a fortune selling it!!! Eating healthy, excersing, losing weight--it all starts first in your head. If your thinking is not there, it makes it much more diffult, if not impossible, to stick to your plan. You need an undying commitment...a burning desire...like there is nothing more important to you. You need to keep refueling your desire with passion to strengthen your commitment through any obstacles or challenges.
I'm on Day 3 of Eat to LIve. I feel so fantastic! No sugar, no saturated fat, just tons and tons of fresh raw veggies and freshly steamed veggies...beans, legumes, nuts, fresh fruit. I'm sure many of the South Beachers and Atkins people are cringing!!!! But, I'm not just approaching this for weight loss, I'm more interested in good health. What is the fat in bacon, sausage and cheese really doing on the inside? I don't condemn anyone for whatever they feel is working for them, because I don't think it's a one size fits all world. But this suits me perfectly. I am so full from all of the fiber and I eat so many nutrients for the calories I consume (which has been around 1500). And I want to eat this way forever. I do think that I may want to add in chicken, turkey, fish, and low fat dairy after the initial 6 weeks detox plan. I honestly don't think it's realistic for me right now to say I won't want to eat those foods in the future. But I do know I can easily give up all red meat and pork and even shellfish (which I've read is not good for you), as well as cheese.
There are people who criticize. But, what do I care what other people think? It's MY BODY. I've always been a seeker, always ready to try new things. Whatever doesn't work, I toss aside and go to something else. But I at least give it a fair shot, because just WHAT IF this is the very thing I really need to do? I am not a slave to my mind. It's my MIND that wants the sweets and the fatty foods. My BODY craves good nutrition. I enjoy what I'm eating. I feel full and satisfied all the time. I get a ton of vitamins and nutrients in what I eat. What possibly could be wrong with that? I have no intention of ever going back to my old way of eating. That's why I've had years and years of yo-yo'ing in my weight. I know that's not the answer to go on some "diet" that produces results, only to go back to the old ways and gain it all back.
I like the title "Eat to Live". That says it all. I no longer want eating to be the centerpiece of my life. There is so much more I can enjoy besides some momentary pleasure of eating something I'm addicted to. I'll get my seratonin and endorphins from exercise, thank-you.
I'm content, I'm happy, I'm more satisfied than I've been in many months. That's the only proof I need that this is for me. I will continue to monitor my feelings and promise to blog the tough days too. As with anything, I'm sure I'll have some hills to climb along the way.
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