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So many positive changes

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Looking back at my blog entries, I can see I was feeling pretty desperate a year ago. I was struggling to get control of my diet, exercise routine and life in general. I was trying to cope with a lot of stress in my life - and wasn't succeeding.

Finally, in February of this year I managed to right the ship. I've gotten thing back on track. I'm down 8 pounds, and that's only one of the positive changes that have taken place over the last few months.

I was reflecting yesterday what a varied, healthy diet I now eat. I mean, my diet has always been healthier than many people's - because I don't eat fast food or junk food, and I cook almost everything myself. But over the past year or so, I've broadened the types of food I eat. I enjoy fresh fruit every day. It took me awhile to figure out what types of fruit I like (because there aren't many). Once I settled on berries and melon, I had no trouble incorporating them into my diet.

I also used to keep a lot of foods "off-limits." No white potatoes. No white rice. Very little pasta. No bread. No red meat. I've relaxed about that. I now have a "nothing off-limits" philosophy. I enjoy a baked potato every now and then (or, more likely, half a baked potato). It's a good source of potassium and other nutrients, and I don't need to slather it with a lot of toppings to enjoy it.

I've been eating more beef and pork. My mom (who lives with me) loves a good pork chop - and I've discovered I do, too. I'm happy there is now 94% lean hamburger available because I can incorporate it into my diet easily. I still mainly choose chicken and fish for protein, but having a more relaxed attitude toward eating takes the stress off and allows me to enjoy whatever I choose instead of feeling guilty about it.

I've also been able to get into a regular workout routine again. I walk 5 to 6 days a week, and I alternate between speed, distance and conditioning walks. I'm very interested in walking a marathon some day, so I've begun building up my leg strength by taking at least two 5k walks each week.

I've realized I'm more flexible about my routine than I'd given myself credit for. When I lived in Albuquerque, where every day is sunny and dry, I could do my walking at the same time every day, no matter the season. Since relocating to Houston nearly three years ago, I've been forced to revise my walking schedule based on the time of year. Right now I primarily walk in the mornings, when it's cooler, and in the fall/winter I go back to my preferred workout time of mid-afternoon. I was afraid adapting my walking routine would derail my consistency, but this hasn't been the case.

I think it's good to take stock every once in a while about how far we've come because it offers a mental reward for a job well done, and it motivates us to keep pushing forward.

And then, too, there are the times when life's changes aren't so positive. I've experienced one of those in the past few months, as well. In April my husband of 33 years died unexpectedly during a medical procedure. Needless to say, it was devastating. However, I choose not to focus on the awfulness of this development but to appreciate and cherish the memory of all the wonderful years we had together. And my fitness routine truly has saved my sanity during this time of grief. My walking routine gives me something to focus on. The exercise burns off the anxious energy of grieving. The fresh air, sunshine and favorite music in my ears relaxes me and gives me a sense of peace. Not to mention the fabulous burst of endorphins that elevate my mood.

I will mourn my husband every day of the rest of my life, but the reality is I cannot bring him back. He would not want me to sit around drowning in sorrow. He would urge me to press on and create a new, rich life for myself - and that is what I am doing. Thank goodness my fitness lifestyle is something I can concentrate on and expand. My late husband wasn't into fitness, so I never had the opportunity to do things like join a hiking club or compete in a walking marathon. Now I can, and I intend to seize every opportunity like this that I can.

This evening I'm planning to enjoy a pork chop, baked sweet potato and small salad for dinner. I'm really looking forward to it. I've realized life is made up of small enjoyments, and we must revel in them each time we're able.

Peace, and spark on!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow. You are truly amazing and inspirational. I just lost my Mom and I understand where you are coming from with the loss of a loved one.
    1748 days ago
    I'm sorry for your loss.

    It is amazing you found power at this time of grief, and balanced your life in a new way.

    1752 days ago
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm also amazed by your perspective and attitude. You've been able to find healthy ways to take care of yourself while you grieve and have found such an amazing amount of balance, it sounds like. Keep up the great work!
    1753 days ago
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