So one of my goals in TFGL is to explore healthier living. I’m not an expert on this. If you read my mission statement carefully, you’ll see that I don’t set myself up as an expert, but rather, I want to share my journey with others, so we can learn together — i.e., I want to learn from you, and you can possibly learn from me. Mostly, I think that walking alongside each other can really bolster one another.
This summer, I’ve set a goal to really be intentional about making some massive improvements to my health. (Why not just start now? Well, I have been working on this for the past couple years, but I want to take some more drastic steps. It’s been noted that if you want to start a major new habit, you’ll be more successful if you plan a date in the future to start it, and map out how you plan to do it. That’s what I’m working on now.)
I’m going to be specific about my challenges and goals in the next few blogs, so that if you have similar goals or challenges, you can decide whether you want to join me in this quest. I am NOT a doctor or any type of medical professional … just a normal person (well, “normal” might be questionable), so I’m not giving advice, just sharing what I’m doing. If you decide to do any of this along with me, it’s at your own risk, so be sure to engage your brain, please. You may not want to address your challenges in the same way I do. We can still journey together, learn from each other, and most important, encourage one another.
Keep in mind that I have an extremely limited income and I don’t like to take medications, I like to do things naturally … so I’m planning to see how much I can improve through diet, exercise, and some healthy habits.
My doctor recently told me that, other than the basal cell carcinoma (nonaggressive cancer) I recently had removed from my ear, I’m very healthy. I’m 52 years old, but my cardiac age is 42. I’m obese (more on that later), but that hasn’t affected my health … yet. My labs are perfect. My blood pressure is borderline when I check it at WalMart, but right on target when I’m at the doctor’s office. I don’t smoke, drink, or do drugs. I rarely use medications, and I eat much healthier than the general population. I exercise regularly. I also practice stress reduction. I see myself as being in very good health.
I do have some problems I would like to improve, though. They are:
1. Obesity. To be honest, my main concern here is my looks. I want to be able to wear hippie-type clothes and they just don’t look good on a fat person. But I also know that, if I don’t take care of this soon, I probably will develop some health problems. Diabetes is my greatest fear. I’m not ready to say how much I weigh. But let’s just say I would like to lose 100 pounds and I’m 80 pounds over what is considered a healthy weight for my height. (If I can figure out how to post pictures here, I’ll post a before picture.)
2. My right knee. I have pain in this knee and sometimes swelling. For a short time a few years ago, I actually used a cane. One might assume that this is because of my weight. However, my left knee doesn’t have problems. My wonderful massage therapist in Tennessee, after working on me for 2 hours one day, asked me if I sewed for a living. No. Hmm, I would swear you have a syndrome that we see in seamstresses who work a sewing machine pedal for hours on end. Oh, well, yeah, I use a pedal for the transcription work I do. Bingo! Seems that having my leg in the same position for 8+ hours a day has caused the muscle behind my knee to atrophy, making for all manner of problems with my right knee. As I’ve worked on improving that, my knee has definitely improved, but I have a way to go. I need to work on building that muscle back up, strengthen and improve flexibility … And losing weight wouldn’t hurt, either. One of the doctors I used to type for said, when you walk, you’re putting 8 times your body weight on your knees, pressure-wise. So if you lose 25 pounds, that takes 200 pounds of pressure off your knees. (I want to lose 100 pounds, so um yeah, do the math.)
3. Loosing flexibility. This goes with age, I suppose, but probably also because I sit in one position for 8 hours a day, as well.
4. Eye sight. My eye sight has been poor since I was a kid. I have always just accepted this (along with it getting worse as I age), but recently have been reading about some things that may be able to improve eye sight and I want to try them out. Used to have a lot of floaters, but what I’ve been doing so far seems to have taken care of them completely.
5. My recent bout with skin cancer … and a personal history of severe sunburns as a teenager. If I don’t do something about this, I may be looking at more cancer in the future.
6. Other skin problems: Occasional acne (makes me look younger, right?), actinic keratoses, ruddy complexion (rosacea?). Like any woman, I would love to have beautiful skin.
7. I have at times struggled with depression. It seems to be situational … but we aren’t guaranteed that life will be easy on us and my life tends to be stressful, so I want to make some changes that will help me take things in stride better.
8. A family history of stroke and heart problems. Stroke on my mom’s side. Heart problems on my dad’s. I’ve had premature ventricular contractions since 25 and palpitations most of my life. They’ve gotten to be daily, often several times a day if I’m stressed, and sometimes lasting a minute or so. I’m not worried about these and my doctor doesn’t seem very concerned, but I’d like to get rid of them.
In my next blog, I’ll talk about what I’ve been doing for these challenges so far and where that has gotten me. In the following blog, I intend to share my goals for making some pretty drastic changes. I’ll try to share websites and other resources that I’ve used to come up with my plan, and which show some of the research that’s been done in these areas.
As I’ve mentioned before, I make no promises about how often I’ll write. I work full-time-plus and homeschool my kids, as well as a legion of other things. But when I have time, I want to get this out there … and maybe someone will want to join me. ??? Think/pray about possibly doing that. I would love to have some fellow travelers on this journey.