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  Week of 10/15/2009 - Featured Blog Post

Denial Is A River In Egypt

I saw that on a sign about 6 months ago when I went to a rehab facility to see a patient. I was curious as to what the significance was, so I asked one of the therapists. He said it's a favorite saying in group therapy when one group member is in denial and starts making excuses for his or her drug or alcohol issues -- justifying behaviors. The group will shout "Denial is a river in Egypt". No denial allowed!

For some reason through out the week following that visit the sign kept haunting me. "Why was it bugging me?" I asked my very wise 27 year old daughter. I'm certainly not in denial about anything! She rolled her eyes." Oh mother, you are so in denial about a lot of things"! "Like what"?? I asked her indignantly. "Well for starters, how about the 15 pounds you put on last year after finally reaching your goal weight"?

I wasn't in denial, I protested. I was embracing reality. I launched into the role that menopause and hormone replacement therapy plays in metabolism and cruised into the effect that the steroid inhaler that I use for my asthma has on my weight. "Oh", she wondered, "so the French fries and cheesecake you ate last Friday had nothing to do with it"? Still indignant, I told her all about our "set point" weight. You know - the weight you can comfortably maintain without starving yourself?

What else am I denying? "That you can't run", she told me. "I've tried", I told her defensively. Many times. My knee hurts. I get short of breath - probably from the asthma. And it's not like I don't do other cardio exercise. I do! She reminded me that I had said on more than one occasion that I wished I could run like her. Give me a break I'm 26 years older! Maybe I did say that but I've since discovered that some people - like 52 year olds - just aren't meant to run. "BS", she replied. "If you don't want to run and are happy doing other cardio just say so, but quit making excuses"! She challenged me -- "Run with me", she said.

We started out from our warm up walk and the first thing she told me was to slow down. I wasn't in a race. I slowed a little. No! Slow way down. I felt like I was shuffling. Now slow your breathing, she told me. Keep going. But people are going to look at me for running so funny I feared out loud. Nonsense she said. People who don't run aren't critiquing your form. People who do run are saying "Newbie..." and "Way to go"! Every time I wanted to just stop, she gently said come on you can do it. She kept my pace and shuffled right along with me. I saw the school coming up. OH MY GOSH! That's 1/4 of a mile!!I've never ran 1/4 of a mile in my entire life!! I remember in grade school having to stay after school because I couldn't run it during PE class and the sadistic gym teacher made me stay until I did it. Right before I threw up. Maybe that's why unconsciously I wanted to be a runner...

My daughter smiled at me and said now I could walk. She told me to do the same thing again the next day. Now I am up to 1 1/2 consecutive miles on the treadmill with another 1 1/2 run/walking. My pace has improved considerably. I love to run! The first half mile often starts out with thoughts of why on God's earth is a 52 year old trying to run? But, after that I'm on cruise control. I feel like a runner now and am looking forward to a 5K and maybe even a 10K someday!

Anytime I'm faced with unhealthy food choices that look just too appealing, I think of the scale. No, not the one that weighs you. The 1 - 10 scale of happiness. And I put good health and longevity so I can enjoy my family and grandkids waaay above a cheeseburger or movie theater popcorn.

So those 15 pounds are gone again along with my denial. Hopefully never to return again!

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