Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ideas to Spark Your Quest for Health

Today I started thinking about self improvement, specifically my health.

I have never been a tiny person. Actually, I’m rather “thick.” Every summer, I have these grand plans to lose weight, exercise more, thoroughly clean my house, have a fantastic yard, and make everyone in my family happy.  This summer, as in summers of the past, I have failed. But this summer, I haven’t failed miserably. I decided not to beat myself up but instead concentrate on the positive ways I have improved and acknowledge what I did wrong which will make me more aware and hopefully  bring about change.

Below are five healthy things I did today:

1.  I swam for 30 minutes. When I tell people about my method of swimming for exercise, they laugh. You see, I don't swim laps; I swim circles. Also, I swim with a mask and snorkel. It took me a good bit of time to figure out my routine. I have a big pool in my backyard. Last summer, I tried and tried to swim regular laps back and forth like Michael Phelps. It worked fine until I had to take a breath. That's when I took in more water than air. I am not coordinated enough to swim strokes and take a breath at the same time. I picked up the mask/snorkel we had lying around the pool and started swimming. It worked great! I get a great workout without sweating and or impacting my joints. 

2.  I ate high-protein/low carb throughout the day. I usually have 1 egg and 1 egg white scrambled for breakfast. I don't like just egg whites so cutting out the yolk of one egg cuts fat. I also add some Crystal Hot Sauce to spice it up a little. Lunch was a banana and natural peanut butter. Dinner was a tossed salad and chicken breast. 

3.  I laughed. Laughter comes very easy to me, and I can usually find something funny in most situations. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can

  • Stimulate many organs because of the intake of oxygen-rich air. 
  • Activate and relieve your stress response because it increases your heart rate and blood pressure.  Sounds similar to an orgasm to me.
  • Soothe tension by stimulating circulation and aiding muscle relaxation.
  • Improve your mood. Positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain.  Laughter can cause the body to produce its own natural painkillers and can also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. It can make difficult situations easier and can help you connect with people.
  • Improve your immune system. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier.

4.  I completed a project. Finishing up something that you've been working on for a long time is a great boost to your health, especially your healthy attitude. Today, I really cleaned my bathroom. I even scrubbed that yucky place on the floor behind the toilet.

5.  I drank my required eight glasses of water, plus some. I never have trouble getting in my water for the day. This summer, I have really concentrated on getting more water each day. I choose water at meals instead of tea or soda.

To shame myself into doing better, I listed five unhealthy things I did or didn’t do:

1.  I watched too much TV. Three days ago, I watched the first episode of the first season of Once Upon a Time. That lead to a two-day marathon, and I finished all 22 episodes today! Each show is about 50 minutes since commercials are cut on Netflix. So I've watched over 18 hours of TV in the past 72 hours. What the heck? The good news is that I'm done with that show. I overdosed and don't even want to see what happens in seasons 2 and 3.

2.  I stressed about things I have no control over. I have a lot of trouble with this one. Who doesn't? When I realize that I'm worrying incessantly about something, I think about the Serenity Prayer. Is my worrying going to change anything? 

3.  I didn't exercise more. I did my 30 minutes of swimming but didn’t do any strength training. At my age, I should concentrate on strength training to make my bones stronger.

4.  I let the dust stay on the shelves upstairs. Actually, I didn’t even go upstairs. Out of sight, out of mind.

5.  I didn’t chart my food.  I’ve tried to do this over and over, but I am never consistent. I have bought journals specific for this task, made my own on pretty paper to entice me, and tried it in digital format. I know if I could do it for a month, I’d continue forever. Why can’t I?

My goal is to continue with the healthy five and hopefully, get away from the unhealthy ones. I'm definitely trying to get away from living like this: