Artist Constantino Brumidi (1805–1880)
Description one of a pair of ceiling-mounted paintings representing the concepts of liberty and union.
Medium oil on canvas
Current location White House, Washington, DC
Credit line The White House Historical Association (White House Collection)
The Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when the United States declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. An interesting fact is both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on July 4. I won’t even get into the dispute about the date that the Declaration was officially “signed.
I officially declared my independence from the Standard American Diet in January of 2012. I was fortunate in that I had help from a professional nutritionist. Although I didn’t always like to hear what she had to say and I acted like recalcitrant teenager for my first couple of visits, I owe so much of my success and independence to her. I also saw a professional about my night eating and binges and learned that I was dependent on the combination of sugar salt and fat. The nutritionist advised me on calorie intake and the other doctor showed me which foods to include in my eating plan and slowly I was liberated from the pain of overeating, binges and night eating. My new way of eating led to better sleep, less anxiety and my brain worked better. I am not on diet. This is the way I eat. Nothing tastes as good as good health feels. If I never eat most of the foods that I used to scarf down in a feeding frenzy ever again, I will not miss them. Believe me, I have tried, but I do not get the same “bliss rush” that I used to get from it. I don’t tempt it by indulging in those foods because I know it can come back.
In February of 2013 I started a Kundalini Yoga practice. I’m 60 years old and I retired last year after sitting in an office for 8 hours a day for 20 years. I’ve had a number of injuries to my legs that required physical therapy. I had to have a wheel chair in the airport at one point because I had torn a muscle in my leg on the day I was traveling.
Today, I am so flexible that I was able to kneel on the floor, clean out a cabinet (completely empty it, scrub it, dry it and clean everything that was in it and return the items) on my hands and knees and I was able to get up. Keep in mind, I still have at least 80 lbs to lose to get to an ideal weight. What the yoga has done for me is quiet my mind (no more chatter), improve my mind body connection (which was non-existent), improve my breathing (I can walk as far as I want as fast as I want) and made me strong and flexible. I’m not kidding; compared to where I was 6 months ago I am a beast.
The other day I went to the theatre with a much younger friend and I insisted we go up the 1 flight of stairs. I went up at a brisk pace. When we got to the top, he was winded and I was not. I hadn’t seen this friend in about 6 months and as he was panting he turned to me and said, “Who are you?” I felt like a million bucks.
I joined Spark People in August, 2012 so I am approaching my anniversary. I joined my first challenge over the winter and made new friends from whom I still receive daily encouragement. I also learned that I can exercise far more than I thought I could. The challenge helped me get through the bleak midwinter and emerge in the springtime with a brand new perspective on moving every day.
I don’t fool myself. If this is going to be permanent, I must make it so. I now have the confidence and the independence to believe that I can. I no longer have a Debbie downer in my head. I’ve learned to turn my mind into a sky and let Debbie float away like a cloud. I still need the support of my Spark Friends on many occasions. I take strength from reading their blogs and from my teams. The eating is almost easy now. I always weigh, measure and track and probably will forever. When I walked into the butcher shop the other day, there weren't any other customers so I stood in the middle and said, “Guess what, I don’t want a whole chicken!” And they all laughed. I bought a couple of chicken breasts instead.
Happy United States Independence Day to you and your family, wherever you are in the world. I wish you independence through finding good healthy habits and things that work for you on your road to better health. Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.