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!!!
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.