2
Jan
2018

Last week, I experienced proof-positive that happiness can be contagious.  My extended family (my family, my sister’s family, her in laws and a family friend – 12 of us in all) went on a Caribbean cruise over Christmas week.   On the first night prior to departure, in New Orleans, my husband and I walked into the rest of the group in the hotel lobby and received a very animated “HeyyyYYYYYyyyyy” from them.  It was annoying as hell and very funny as well. The inflection had an effeminate quality, if that helps you to hear it.  Naturally, the HeyyyYYYYYyyyyy immediately caught on, much to my husband’s chagrin.

Everywhere we were, after that moment, you could hear the subgroups of our party issuing the hey call.  It helped us find each other in noisy bars, expansive lobbies and crowded, dark theaters on the cruise ship.  It became our signature.  (We  realized about halfway through the cruise that there was another group using “Dilly, Dilly” as their mating call. It was very funny, too).  If you wanted to find people in the buffet area, all you had to do was walk through sounding “HeyyyYYYYYyyyy” and listen for the answering call.   We had a laughter filled trip!

I did not really realize it, but other people noticed our boisterous, happy group.  We found out, happily, after we had our Secret Santa reveal on the last day of the cruise.  We were sitting in one of the more comfortable sofa groupings in one of the main bar areas, opening, and cheering the cleverness of our gifts (we all drew names and the rest of the cruise, spent time identifying the perfect gift – mind you, one of our 21 year olds drew an 86 year old’s name. It was a fun challenge).

As we sat and laughed and chattered, a couple, about retirement age, came up to us and told us that, “We have been watching  and enjoying all your joy and happiness this week.  Would you allow us to take a picture of your entire group for you to have as a memory?”

Wow.  Just wow.  It made me feel even happier that our joy was outwardly visible.  That it radiated so from us that other people were affected by it.  Happiness is a state of mind.  It may not be possible 100% of the time due to life events and struggles, but a huge component of it is being open to joy.  Let it in, when you are able.

15
Dec
2017

I believe my brain has a 10 pound filter in my own bathroom but nowhere else. As in, if I look at myself, dressed in my exercise clothes or swimsuit in the gym mirror, it seems so much worse than at home!  Maybe I have a special fun mirror.

I know I need to lose weight.  I am certainly not burying my head in the sand about it. I just hate those little mental corrections!

Speaking of, I went to meet with a trainer yesterday to set up a strength training plan. He used a gizmo to measure my body fat percentage.  Now THAT is something you want to do a week before Christmas! Haha.

Peace, y’all. Go for a walk today.

11
Dec
2017

For the past few years, I’ve eschewed setting of New Year’s Resolutions, because, quite frankly, I failed spectacularly at any sort of follow-through after about three days into the new year.   I have also learned to avoid diets because restrictive eating and rigor generally make me so miserable, I cannot get excited about the benefits they would support in my quest for a healthier lifestyle.

At the end of 2016, I was very depressed about my weight and my blood pressure and my blood work tests, etc, etc, etc.  I was looking full into another new year with no discernible change in my weight or my health, despite talking a good game.  Then, my sister asked me to join her team to walk 2017 miles in 2017.  I   figured it would at least motivate me to exercise regularly, something I very much needed to do.

Fast forward to today, nearly the end of 2017.  I stuck with it.  Now, my teammates are much more long distance than I, where they can average 5 miles in a walk, I do around three. I had worked my way up to four miles in walks, increased my endurance and stamina, then developed plantar fasciitis and sprained an ankle last spring.  It was pretty bad, hampering my walks, and I worked through it in the summer with some PT.  However, I stuck with it.  I have lost 10 pounds, my resting heart rate average is way down, and my last set of bloodwork had backed almost every reading out of the borderline/high zone.  I still need to get my good cholesterol up and my triglycerides down, but other than that, everything looked peachy!

I believe I experienced a resolution sea change this year.  Rather than making an unreasonable promise to myself (lose 50 pounds! run every day!), I have convinced myself that making a permanent change is possible.  I am committed to working a significant amount of exercise into each week.  Unfortunately, the weight loss has plateaued, but now, I truly believe, the next big change will be in my meal planning.  If I can walk 600 miles in a year, then I can stop putting fried poison into my body.

Stay tuned.  Wish me luck.  Send me recipes!

Gotta go swim.  (Yes, I know. Cold. Wet. Ick. December – but I need to condition the muscles in my upper back AND it’s cardio. Two birds and all that!)

16
Nov
2017

I have a cardiologist (because of a terrible, terrible family history and a couple of minor episodes over the past decade).  I am terrified of my cardiologist. He sounds like a KGB agent grilling you in a dark alley.   Well, last year, after a long haul with my mother and her cancer and, and, and, stuff … I gained some weight.  Mind you, the doctor was already urging me to lose weight. So when I went in for my annual in 2016, he let me know how disappointed he was that I was worse, not better.

I made a commitment at the beginning of 2017 to really follow through and develop an exercise habit.  Not a casual, hey I walked a couple of times this week and strolled through the mall, habit. But a, hey, I need to hit at least 50 miles per month and do some other odds and ends habit.  I am nearing my 600 mile target for this year.   I figured I would not try to diet.   Let’s cement this habit first.

So, the benefit of all that walking and hiking and swimming is that now my resting heart rate is around 51 bpm.  And, I lost 12 pounds this year.

I had my annual check up this week.  We talked about how much good my exercise is doing me.  So much so, that the doctor says, if I continue to gradually take off the weight next year, we can cut out a BP medication.  Yay, me!

So, this coming year’s commitment is going to have to be to continue to improve my exercise load and efficiency AND really start eating healthier.  We talked about that, he and I, and we both know that he knows I was lying when I said I ate pretty healthy.  He wants me to cut out the fast food.

I will.

But today, I celebrated with a fabulously retro lunch of Cheetos and Coke.  One step backward and all that, y’all!  Going forward tomorrow.