It only matters what works for you.

Archive for February, 2013

Will you or won’t you?

Lots of people whinge about getting older. In our beauty/youth based culture it’s not surprising. But I think there are a lot of positives. I’m a lot more settled, patient, and I have a very good sense of who I am and what is important.

With that, I’ve also learned what I will and will not do, and that gives me a solid base for making decisions I can and will live with. Including health decisions.

Kale is extremely nutritious. Lots of trace minerals. I loathe it. Seriously, in all my years of dieting and trying to eat the ‘right’ things, I’ve never found a single way to prepare it that makes it palatable to me. I will not eat it.

Apparently what I *will* do, is run kale, along with a lot of other veggies, through my juicer. This takes about 45 minutes every other morning between running the juicer, and then cleaning the juicer. Then I’ll swig down what I consider a relatively unpleasant drink. And then I’m done with it. It would be nice if I enjoyed it, the way so many people of my acquaintance do. But I don’t. I can live with that. 15 seconds twice a day to chug down the veggies that I other wise wouldn’t get? No question. I will do that. And I have, every day for 5 months now. I think I’m seeing some real benefits, but that’s another blog.

I don’t care to ‘go for a walk’. It may be because as  a child I walked outside a lot. Alone. It was lonely. Or it may be because in college I couldn’t afford a bus pass, so I walked a mile in the Texas heat between my apartment and campus twice every day. That was truly unpleasant. In any case, no matter how excellent a fitness opportunity just walking in my neighborhood would be, as a general rule, I won’t. I can make myself do it for a while. I had surgery once and had to walk every day as part of the healing. And I did that. And then I kept walking for a while. But the minute I had a ‘good reason’ to get out of the habit (I believe it was snow at that time) I quit and never got back to it.

On the other hand, I will change clothes, drive to the gym, work out, drive home, shower and change 3 or 4 days a week on a fairly regular basis. I do occasionally get derailed, take time off, or generally feel like not going, but I usually get back to it fairly quickly.

I don’t really understand the why behind this. Why the gym and not the walk? It’s the same playlist on my MP3 player.

But it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I have figured out what I will do, and what I won’t do, and I’m making that work for me. I will eat according to my allergies, I won’t sign up for a lifestyle that makes me hungry all the time. I will go to the gym, I won’t go for a walk. I will drink water 95% of the time as long as it doesn’t taste nasty, so I have a water delivery service.

Have you figured out what you will and won’t do yet? Are you still fighting to do what you ‘should’ instead of figuring out what you ‘will’?

Own who you are and build your life around what is realistic. If there’s something you need or want to accomplish, work out how to do that within the context of a life you can really live instead of something imposed from outside. It just works a lot better that way.

more dieting.

Last year I blogged about why fat is like a leak in a pipe. And I wondered how to find the broken spot.

This year I’m thinking that the way we think about the problem is the problem.

When we decide we don’t want to be fat any more, we diet. Often it works for a little while. If you diet often enough and hard enough, then sometimes you’ll stop losing weight all together. If you do lose the weight, keeping it off becomes a full time job.

Traditional dieting is all about ‘no’. Don’t eat this, don’t eat that. It’s all about outside in.

What if it’s inside out? What if it is all about mindset first. So many things turn out to be a reflection of what you think and believe. What if this is one of them?

All the planning and scheduling and calorie counting, those can all shift the focus from what your body needs to what you think it should have, based on some external criteria handed down from outside. What if the focus instead should be on, how is this going to make me feel? Does this make me happy? Does this make me feel cared for? Does this make me feel strong and energetic?

Green drinks make me feel strong, and every one of the nasty things seems to encourage me to make better and better choices. Counting calories makes me feel deprived and sad and hungry.  Conventional ‘wisdom’ pretty much tells us flat out that you have to be hungry to lose weight.

Do what you’ve always done, get what you’ve always got.

What if the first step to being healthy and strong is believing that you deserve it and it is possible?

Changing the paradigm

Changing a paradigm is astonishingly difficult.

As a society, we’ve been utterly convinced that your weight is 100% linked to the food that you eat.

This is patently false. Food is only part of the equation, and from the results that we’re getting as a society, I’m not even convinced at this point that it is a pivotal point. Our society is more focused on diet than ever in human history and we get fatter and sicker every year.

So what else should we be looking at? With so very much external programming, its very difficult to make yourself look at anything at all. ‘Everyone knows’ the world is flat, you’d have to be crazy to think otherwise.

How about joy in movement? I don’t mean going to the gym. I mean moving in ways that are fun, and relaxing, and make you happy. Dance in the living room. Walk because it’s beautiful. Maybe roller skating.

How about letting your body tell you what food to eat, instead of imposing rules and restrictions. We can make ourselves very unhappy about food, and I think the unhappiness is the issue. We only allow ourselves to eat this amount of these foods at restricted times. That causes stress.

Stress. That has to be a huge part of the equation. Seriously. not only did Lissa Rankin talk a little about how being in stress mode may deactivate the body’s amazing self repair functions, I’ve since read 2 online articles on it and there was a feature in Wired magazine. There is definitely some serious science coming together on this idea. Being hungry, being deprived, causes stress. Actually, over time, being hungry makes you crazy. There are studies about that too, but I’m not going to go find one right now.

I don’t have all the answers yet. But my devotion this year to doing things differently is at least causing me to look for new questions to ask.

I’ve done it their way. Over and over and over. What I have learned is that their way isn’t good for me, and doesn’t cause lasting change. Lasting change is the only thing that is really going to make the difference.

So that’s what I’m looking for.

Can you heal yourself?

In my recent post about rethinking my approach to health I referenced Lissa Rankin’s new TED presentation. Here it is:

In case you don’t know, Lissa Rankin is an MD with huge credentials who is devoted to changing our very broken health care system. I love what she has to say, and I enjoy her blog, and I can’t wait to see how she succeeds in her goals. I think she has just the right kind of voice, and background, to make a difference.

This TED is about healing yourself. Research proves that the ‘placebo effect’ works. It’s real. But we don’t harness the power of our minds because we can’t quantify it. We can’t distill it down to a protocol. We can’t make it a set of easily followed instructions.

We can’t make it easy.

Changing the way you think is hard.

She says that the placebo effect may only come in to play when the stress response is relaxed. I find that very interesting. Our society isn’t really geared for relaxing. Very few of us remember to focus on fun and play and enjoyment. There are too many stressors waiting to jump on our free time.

The other big question that comes up for me when I listen here is, how much play does the physician really have in the placebo effect? If the issue is the nurturing support of someone who really cares, can that be provided by partners? Family members? What about intuitive healers or other kinds of energy workers like reiki practitioners, can the same support be provided by them?

I certainly hope so. Because as much as I’d like to embrace this possibility, I don’t really want to hold my breath until I have a great supportive relationship with my health care provider. With our broken system, those are really hard to come by.