Within my control
Friday, October 25, 2013
I spent 4 days heading out of town, being out of town and coming back to town with my mother in order to visit her terminally ill sister. I did a lot of thinking on this trip.
My mother recently confided to me that she did not marry well if she wanted to predict the health of her future offspring. 52 years after she made that choice, it's a little late to be sorry... and well, heck... neither my brother nor I would be here if she'd married someone else, would we? But she was warning us to be very, very careful.
Yes, we must be careful. And no, we cannot do anything about our genes. But I have realized that not only are there things I can control, but that I can feel really good about these areas of control.
We can control what we eat. We had been wanting to go to a fine restaurant. Time, not good intentions, prevented that, but I am very glad because we both would have eaten things that two women on low-sodium diets can't have. My mother would have willingly gone through a fast-food drive through, but I went to Safeway twice and brought fruits, vegetables, a chicken, cheese for her, hummus for me and whole grain bread back to the hotel room. We never ate anything but Safeway food the whole time we were gone. It was plenty of food and it was healthy. I got to check off that I ate all the freggies of the rainbow on my BLC weekend challenge! I also stayed well within my calorie range the entire weekend and posted a small loss on Wednesday.
I can exercise. I hurt my ankle and my IT band, so I upped my strength training. It is very important to me to keep my cardiorespiratory fitness up, so I have not stopped running entirely. Instead, I am running half a mile or a mile as a warm up. Then I do kettlebell, dumbbell or barbell workouts with no rest time between sets. I definitely feel not only my muscles, but also my heart - another muscle, after all - working.
While I was out of town, I looked at my family around me. My mother is 26 years older than I am. It is not so hard for me to remember 26 years in the past, so I can now think 26 years into the future. Do I want to be in such poor health? Or deceased, like my father? Or as ill as my aunt? My cousin, the same age as me, with similar body aches and pains, is heavier and hurts so badly she spent most of the weekend on ice packs. I wanted to tell her (and wish I did) how my pain lessened once I started exercising and losing weight. I have to admit I was afraid to have so personal a conversation with someone I haven't seen in years.
I did advise her on physical therapy and a podiatrist. My orthotics, which help me stand straight (I have one short leg) have indeed helped quite a bit with my back pain. (She also has one short leg.) What a simple help that was! And a good physical therapist helped me not only learn helpful exercises, but also helped me get insurance coverage for a traction machine. I bought an inversion table on my own. Again - why did I wait? Yes, these were expensive, but was saving money worth being in pain? It was not.
I am hoping just watching me in action was a motivator for everyone. Two years ago they saw me as a fat girl, but I have slimmed down and gotten stronger. I was even able to pick my aunt up after she fell. She is my height and weighs about what I do! This felt like a major victory to me.
There are so many things all of us who feel cursed by bad genes CAN do. Instead of sitting around popping chocolates into our mouths and griping about our hearts, our lungs, our knees, or whatever else is making us feel fat and sick and ugly and hurting... we must think: what can we do TODAY, TOMORROW and EVERY WEEK from here on out, for the rest of our lives? What can we do to motivate our loved ones to join our journeys with us?
I'd like to welcome you to join me on the path to being our healthiest, happiest, and most pain-free possible selves!