These are not two of my all-tine favorite words in any language. I also hate that there is a certain negativity that washes over me each time I hear those words.
Diet and exercise.
Yeesh. Those can’t be fun!!
I also think: “Disciplined people.” “Skinny people.” “Models.” “My Husband.” People who I admire with a sense of hopeless wonder, but well, secretly “hate.” (OK, I LOVE my husband, but his discipline to diet and exercise is daunting at times).
When we made our recent move, it was back to the region of my childhood, and all the yummy, timeless things this region has to offer: Utz pretzels and chips (uhm, Barbeque please, ridges preferred); Tasty Kakes (any will do, but PB Kandy Kakes–frozen, and Butterscotch Krimpets will always get my attention); soft pretzels; cheesesteaks; non-chain “real” pizza. The list could go on. Many of these treats weren’t available where we used to live.
SJ claimed that living in smaller quarters required we change our (my) hording and stocked-pantry habits. We didn’t have the space, so we would shop ” like the Europeans,” buying only what we needed for the next day or so. My goal was to keep the cupboards clear of unhealthy treats, snacks, processed foods, refined grain/wheat products, and sugary stuff: A “do-over.” We’d have an endless supply of fresh cut veggies and fruits; dark green leafies and colorful produce; healthy nuts; perhaps really good protein-packed plain Greek yogurt; lean organic proteins and eggs; few cheeses (oh my gosh, can I live without cheese???). If we were really good, perhaps a nibble of fine dark chocolate or a few sips of red wine.
Oh, we did try to buy all that healthy stuff. But the resolve to avoid bad stuff didn’t last long. Before I knew it, I had my stash of chips, Tasty Kakes, ice cream treats (Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow!), crackers, and cookies. It was soooo hard to walk down the grocery store aisle and refuse myself those treats. SJ generally would have some cheap cookies or a few boxes of Cracker Jacks around. Fruit wasn’t always satisfying my sweet tooth. Quinoa, although a grain I love, isn’t rice or wheat pasta.
Thrown into this crazy mix is my recent diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. There are countless studies out there extolling the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet (which incidentally is a diet that can help you lose weight). Triggers for RA flare ups could include anything processed, wheat, red meats, and bad fats. I had already started taking Turmeric Curcumin as a supplement and had good results. I was having very few flare ups, and I was avoiding the pharmaceutical treatments. However I refused to get serious about a food diary and truly eliminating the bad stuff.
About 3 years ago I lost 75 pounds and felt great, looked great. It played a huge part in the revival of my marriage (not necessarily because less of me was more attractive to SJ; but because I felt better, energetic, happier, and more confident about myself). I’ve regained at least 30. Clothes aren’t fitting so well (I’m essentially back to lots of yoga pants). And last week I saw THE dreaded number on my scale, the one I swore I’d never see again. And it won’t go away.
So things are going to have to change. We’ve essentially been eating off the bad stuff, human trash cans. I know, the smarter thing would be to just chuck it all. That would require discipline. Ugh.
And as for exercise– well, I’m an avowed yogi. I try to make it at least 5-6 days a week to yoga class, where I generally drip with sweat. It’s a good workout. I know that it helps with the RA. SJ and I are walking a lot… some days up to 3 miles, and I’m proud to say there’ve been some 5 and 6 mile days. My Achilles don’t like that much. But more cardio is needed. There’s a nifty exercise/weight room in our building. Sigh. I hate doing weights…
I’ve also started using Young Living Essential Oils. This is a whole new world I’m just now exploring, but I believe it leads to a healthier me. I’ve returned to my weekly pill packs with all the supplements I should be taking… wow, there are so many! I will journal to see if indeed there’s noticeable improvements.
There will be some who might say, “love me as I am,” or, “my husband likes me just as I am, fat and all…” And, that’s how it should be. However, in my case, getting slimmer and back into shape honored my husband, and returned life to his wife, and our marriage. Not only was there a more attractive outside me, everything else about my health and attitude was improved. It’s not just a gift I give myself, but to SJ.
The take-away on all this? As I walked to yoga this morning, with the newly arrived northern breezes caressing my skin and the temps pleasantly cooling the air, I went through my thankful list.
- I CAN walk this mile to yoga class–my legs and feet work;
- I CAN do yoga and I get to do it at a nice place;
- Yes, my Achilles really hurt… but I’m walking!!
- I ATE a healthy Greek yogurt and fruit this morning.
- My lunch was going to explore using greens in my smoothie.
- I have clean water in my faucet to drink my daily 64+ oz.
- I can see American flags flapping in the wind everywhere I look and in spite of everything that’s crazy or wrong, I still get to live in the best and free-est country in the world.
- My new neighborhood has offset tall multi-use buildings with a constant array of colorful flower beds and pots, lovely water fountains, lots of leafy green mature trees and grass, and pocket parks every few blocks. I get to enjoy this all.
- I am seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling and hearing all this.
- My last painful RA flare was more than a week ago.
- My grown children are blessed with wonderful experiences, educational opportunities, and lives.
- There is a man who loves me and whom I love dearly, sharing this life with me: playing, living, loving.
- God’s spirit lives in me, and has gifted me all these things. Am I being the best steward I can be?
To keep enjoying life like this, I need to stay healthy. I need to eat well and live strong.
Good bye Utz. Farewell sweet Tasty Kakes. It was nice knowing you, but I’m not going to be seeing you for a while.