Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back I Go

Last year, I saw a nutritionist for a little while.  She was wonderful and I loved her.  There were some insurance issues, however, that precluded me from continuing.  Luckily, my insurance company has realized that dealing with and figuring out how to maintain a healthy weight is actually a good investment of health dollars.

So today, I went back.  It was a good appointment.  I was able to articulate what I want in a way I don't think I had been able to do before.  I talked to her at length about "the switch" that I seem to have in my mind, the one where I see myself differently and get into an imaginative space that translates thinking into doing.  The example I used (and really the only one I have) is stopping smoking.  Yes, I was a smoker for a while, which horrified and angered my parents intensely since I'd had underdeveloped bronchial tubes as a preemie and was in and out of the hospital for breathing-related problems.  I tried to quit for years, for all the usual reasons.  And, for all the usual reasons, it was difficult.  Until the time I quit.

I had to perform an imaginative exercise that allowed me to see myself as a non-smoker.  What would my life look like without cigarettes?  What would I do while I drank my tea, commuted to work, talked on the phone, took a break from my desk?  Where would I turn when I was stressed?  How would I relax?  How would I celebrate?  How would I think?   When I figured those things out, it truly was like a switch had been turned off.  I didn't have any cravings for cigarettes, not even physical cravings.  From that day this, I've started smoking two cigarettes -- one to be companionable with a friend I hadn't seen in long time, and one in reaction to a particularly stressful visit by a relative.  But I didn't finish either one -- and didn't enjoy the one or two drags I had from each.  I just wasn't a smoker any more.

So, I need to do that exercise with being a healthy person.  What would my life look like as a healthy person who had a healthy relationship to food and to my body?  What would I eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  What would I snack on?  How would I deal with temptation?  What would I choose in a restaurant?  What kind of exercise would I do every day?  How would it feel not to have pain?  How would it be to not have to think about what I can't do or what I want to avoid because I feel awful?  When I get into that imaginative space, I am confident that the rest will fall into place with work, of course.

The first concrete step I am taking is this:

A glass of water.  8 times a day.  At least.

The second concrete step is this:

Doesn't that look like a healthy person's haircut?


  1. Love the haircut! Yes, water. Yoga teacher hat on: as we age, we dehydrate. Just a fact. The first place in the body to really deteriorate with dehydration are the discs between the vertebrae. When you think of how many people have disc issues and back issues (stenosis, spondylythesis, herniation,etc), this suddenly become a little more interesting. This is why I often say, "breathe between the vertebrae of your spine," because that's the place where the body wants space. I applaud all your healthy efforts, I know it is hard, but every step is a step towards freedom, really. My husband lost 55 pounds in a year, he was a couch potato before that, ate a lot of food, extra portions. After his father developed early alzheimers a few years ago (from smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day since he was 16), something clicked in Hans, he saw what a burden his father became because his father would say, "Exercise stresses the body," as he sat, unmovingly in a thick armchair, smoking. Hans started losing weight for a show, he had to take his shirt off for a moment, and he lost 15 pounds doing the P90X workout and mealplan. But then he kept going until he got the weight that was his goal, he continues to make healthy eating choices. Now he is training for the Team in Training Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Nation's triathlon. I CANNOT believe how much he has changed, almost like our roles are reversed! He's out training everyday, either riding the bike, running, or swimming, and I think he'll continue like this the rest of his life. He said to me, in a grab-your-kleenex moment, "I don't want to be a burden on you like my dad is on my mom, because I love you." I know! But that's just it, we affect ourselves and our loved ones and he gets that now. I continue to cheer you on, my friend!!!

    1. That is so inspiring, Marianne! I saw a picture you had posted of Hans after he'd finished some exercise thing and I could tell how proud of him you are. Thanks so much for the info about water and the spine too -- yesterday I told Shelley about my heat exhaustion at the zoo last week, and when she heard how little I regularly drink, she said that I was chronically dehydrated and it's no wonder that I suffered so quickly. I'm sitting here this morning before VBS and drinking a nice glass of water. 16 ounces. Cha-ching. See you soon!