Making Fitness My Priority

I’ve come to make fitness a priority.

Health equals wealth. The true definition of wealth is abundance.

With health you have what you need to achieve your life goals.

Being ill makes it that much harder to succeed.

Over the years through a series of events I’ve come to prize having a fit mind and a strong body.

The mind and body work together to give us optimal health.

I’m 54. Two years ago when I was 52 and started menopause my energy tanked. Would I have to accept that my old energy was gone for good?

My body is getting older. My mind is still youthful.

Could bridging this divide help me get back my energy?

At about the time I turned 52 and started going through “the change” of life as a woman other things happened.

I stopped taking any kind of vitamin or supplement. I had wanted to believe I could satisfy my nutritional needs solely through food choices alone.

This is also when I stopped cooking my own meals for dinner. I relied on boxed frozen food packages that were supposed to be healthier choices.

Folks, I ate a lot of this prepared junk for too long. To compensate, I started ordering food to be delivered to my apartment for dinner.

The restaurant food was healthful yet way more expensive every week.

The remedy came on in April of this year 2019 when on a whim I hired the health coach.

After scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast for the last six months my mood improved.

By exercising in the morning in my living room 2x per week my body got fitter too.

Last week I wondered if perhaps I could use other help. I ordered Vitamin D tablets from the FullScript link my health coach had sent me online.

I’ve started to take one Vitamin D pill in the morning with breakfast.

Would I see a return to my old energy level or at least an improved energy level?

I was motivated to resume taking a Vitamin D pill after reading the Eating Well special edition magazine Eating for Energy.

This book is a common-sense guide to doing what it says: eating for energy.

I also changed one other thing for the better. I’ll talk about what I did in the next blog entry.

My intent is to give readers hope that making positive changes is possible at any time in your life and your recovery.

You might not be in such great health. As always I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

I’ve achieved numerous goals in the last year by using the 90-day action plan detailed in this lifesaver of a book.

In coming blog entries I’ll continue to report on the results I’m achieving by making these small, consistent, incremental changes.

Making positive changes isn’t easy. It’s natural to resist doing what’s in your best interest when it’s easier to adhere to the status quo.

Only I tell you readers: the status quo wasn’t working in my life.

It was time to do things differently. I’ll tell you how things turned out: better than I expected.

Read on for the results.

Chris’s Credentials

I’m 54 years old. I was born in 1965 in the first year of the Generation X cohort.

When I was 52 I started menopause. I haven’t gained weight or had hot flashes. My thinking is still sharp as a tack.

I was 50 years old when my father died. The cancer killed him. He has Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This was the deciding factor in my desire to continue to exercise and eat healthfully.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I started lifting weights. Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5 pound weight. In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds.

This is how I know it’s possible to make positive changes at any time in your life.

I believe in the beauty of making fitness the number-one priority.

Living in health harmony and happiness is predicated on having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Over the years through a series of events happening to me I’ve come to figure out what my life’s purpose is.

I’m here to advance my vision of recovery from whatever it is a person is in recovery from.

My mantra for the blogs is: “No Judgments.”

When I was 22 I was diagnosed with a medical condition. I’ve been in remission for over 27 years so far.

What happened to me I wouldn’t want to strike any other person.

After I recovered fully, my goal was to aid in healing society of stigma.

It’s my belief that healing is possible when each of us honors, accepts, and embraces our individuality and that of others.

I’m a Girl on the Left. My favorite color is Green. I have 12 books I want to publish before my time here on earth ends.

And I think the world needs less judging and more compassion.

I’m going to record my journey to get fitter and remain healthy.

First before I detail the changes I’ve started to make I want to relay in the coming blog entry a scary event I witnessed in New York City.

I want to talk about what happened to dramatize the truth that no human being living on earth has anything to be ashamed of.

Wanting to better yourself is not a sin.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

My goal in wanting to help others live full and robust lives springs from the fact that I had no help in my own life. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps at a time when it was thought recovery wasn’t possible.

What I know to be true: choosing to make fitness the number-one priority in my life has made all the difference.

Who are you? Stand up straight and tall and tell the world.

Upcoming Blog Carnival

I want to talk about the Mind-Body Connection in this blog.

Again, I’m in the vanguard in writing about things no one else is covering.

The idea to publish this blog carnival came to me this week.

In a departure, I want to give more detail about my own journey to get fitter and remain active for the rest of my life.

In today’s publishing climate the more sensational your claim is you’ll be called an “expert” and get a book contract.

What I write about is common sense. I give readers this information in the hope of empowering you to live your own version of a full and robust life.

From Beyonce from a fashion magazine interview:

“The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic…Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.”

In the next blog entry I’ll give you my autobiography.

Then I’ll start to take you on my journey to get fitter and remain active for the rest of my life.

I firmly believe that if you want to have a better life this is under your control.

You can “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams” at any age.

My greatest goal is to use the blogs to spread joy, love, peace, and understanding in the world.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed because you want to better yourself.

Forget the jealous people. Forget the critics, naysayers, and haters in society whose sole purpose in life appears to take other people down.

Hold your head high. You are a person of worth equal to others in society.

Perhaps in sharing my journey you’ll be empowered to make positive changes as well.

How Much Exercise You Need

A shrink told me that the current thinking corroborates that engaging in short periods of exercise throughout the week is definitely okay.

I’m 54–I’ve been lifting weights for over 8 years so far. I find that my older body cannot sustain my former madwoman intense 50 to 60 minute lifting sessions 2x per week anymore.

The health coach I employed vetted what I thought myself months ago: it’s time to exercise in more frequent sessions of shorter duration.

The spring issue of the NIH MedlinePlus magazine gives these exercise guidelines:

Adults and older adults: 2 to 5 hours per week.

Adults with chronic conditions or disabilities: 2 to 5 hours per week as able.

Pregnant women: 2 hours and 30 minutes per week as able.

Kids: 1 hour per day.

Young children: 3 hours per day.

I’m 8 years older than when I first started lifting weights.

I’ve learned firsthand that you need to adapt as you go along. To be flexible to changing when your needs change. To honor your limits in any given session and modify your approach for that day.

The benefits of exercise are numerous. To be blunt: You’ll feel better when you exercise.

My father died of Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

He spent 3 hours a day watching FoxNews. Regardless of his choice of state news channel the fact is he was sitting around doing nothing all day when he was older.

Please–I urge you–step away from the TV and break a sweat.

It can be gardening, raking leaves, walking your dog, salsa dancing.

I will report back in 2 weeks the outcome in my life of exercising more frequently in shorter time sessions.

My goal is to give people hope that engaging in any form of moderate sustained physical activity is well worth the effort.

Having 5 Commitments

Easily over five years ago I read a Leo Babauta book where he told readers to list their 5 Commitments in life.

This approach made great sense to me. In the spirit of talking about recovery I want to riff on choosing and committing to 5 areas.

Do this for the sake of your mental health and physical well-being first of all.

As I head into my fifties and go through changes at mid-life the benefit of having 5 Commitments resonates with me more than ever.

It’s called a routine: adopting healthy habits that you engage in every day or every week.

This isn’t to say that the focus of your life won’t ever change. As you get older, you’ll need to improvise as you go along.

I find myself at 53 engaging in a form of woodshedding, which I talked about in one of the first blog entries in this Flourish blog.

While isolating inside because you’re afraid to go out your front door isn’t healthy I say:

Enjoying your own company when you’re alone in your apartment or house is imperative.

As I’ve started journeying through mid-life I can vouch for the positive health benefit of needing more time for yourself to rest and engage in recreation.

You need to rest after going out socially or having a long, hard day at your job.

The key to maximum productivity in your personal life lies in the beauty of honoring your 5 Commitments.

My 5 Commitments are art, music, fashion, books and writing, and exercise.

Making time each week to do something involving these 5 things I love has been the way to feel healthy and be happy at mid-life.

What are your 5 Commitments?

In coming blog entries I will continue with the focus on careers.

Yet I will apply this wisdom to everyday life.

Living in recovery doesn’t have to be so hard. Even if you’re in pain that’s when doing the things you love can help you feel better.

That’s it exactly: focusing on the 5 Commitments that bring you joy.

 

Finding a Career You Love

About a year ago I read a scathing book titled Do What You Love and Other Lies.

The author excoriated this method of obtaining a job.

Her most famous analogy was that of individuals with PhDs who can’t get tenured positions at colleges and universities. They’re hired as adjunct professors making barely above the minimum wage. They’re forced to pay their own expenses to attend academic conferences.

We cannot ignore the reality that some jobs pay a dismal salary.

What is the remedy? Having a “side hustle”–a second source of income–is imperative when your primary job isn’t high-paying.

It’s better to have two jobs you love than one soul-sucking job.

The point is you should not hate your job as a matter of course. Continuing to show up to a job you hate you might be tempted to numb how you feel with food, street drugs or alcohol, or expensive vacations you can’t afford.

How might you figure out the kind of job or jobs that earn you a livable salary that you’re inherently happy to go to?

I created a method to do this which is predicated on promoting The Business of You.

The first step when you’re collecting SSI or SSDI or attending school is to create what I call an Action Grid: doing work in a variety of fields first. You can get experience in one field for three to five months then move on to another field for three to five months.

Here’s how:

Getting an internship or doing volunteer work in one field and then getting an internship or doing volunteer work in a second field and then a third field can help you narrow down the job or career you want to work at first.

Conducting an information interview with a person working at a job you’re considering doing is also a method for ruling out or verifying what you want to do.

This isn’t an interview for a job. You’re asking the person for advice on what they like and dislike about their job, what skills, traits, and experiences they have that benefit them on the job, and other salient questions.

Armed with this information you’ll get a clearer sense of the path you might like to go down.

People who collect SSI or SSDI are in the perfect position to do these things while unemployed.

Taking these action steps can help you determine what career is the right fit for you right now.

I recommend doing more than one internship while you’re searching for a full-time job. I helped a woman with a career search who listed 3 internships on her resume to account for what she was doing while unemployed.

Eighty-five percent of hiring managers think volunteer work is impressive according to one study. Doing volunteer work linked to a future job or doing an internship can set you apart from scores of job candidates without this kind of experience on a resume.

I’ll end here with this positive advice:

It’s not ever too late in life to get a job you love.

It wasn’t until I was 35 years old that I found my ideal career.

I worked with a guy who had collected a disability check. When he turned 55 he said: “This is it. No more. I want to get a job.” He was able to obtain a job as a peer advocate.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about promoting The Business of You, which is a visionary method of finding the job you love that can pay a livable salary.

How to Eat Healthier – Part Three

One of the scariest true facts is that chemicals thought to cause cancer are often found in food and drink products in the U.S.

Not all chemicals in food and drink products are regulated. Most aren’t.

Awhile back I had no energy to get out of bed on most days. Without resorting to taking an anti-depressant (I wasn’t depressed just fatigued) I was willing to try any non-chemical method of regaining my vigor.

My primary care doctor had told me that emotional distress can cause physical fatigue.

One idea she told me was to buy Ubiquinol from the pharmacy. The pill was supposedly a better version of CoEnzyme Q10.

CoQ10 is thought to give a person energy. I thought nothing of popping this pill until I read the ingredients. The Ubiquinol was listed as having Red and Blue Food Dye.

No kidding. After that, I stopped buying and taking this supposedly healthful product.

The pills were coated in an orange color–which should’ve been a tip-off.

Shortly after I stopped taking this OTC product my energy started to get elevated again. So I was lucky the fatigue slowly slowly got better.

You might not know this: a lot of drugs that are prescribed like atypical anti-psychotics cause weight gain precisely because the pills cause a person to have a ravenous appetite.

I take a pill that I’m grateful didn’t cause weight gain.

To end this blog entry I want to give you a dose of common sense.

Alas, common sense isn’t at all common.

I’m 53 years old, so technically I’m living in mid life.

Yet I haven’t packed on any extra pounds in mid life and have maintained the same weight as when I was 40.

Part of this equation is that I don’t eat a lot of food. I eat healthfully 80 percent of the time. I wrote about the 80 Percent Rule in a long-ago blog entry.

When I’m not hungry anymore I stop eating. Often I leave food on my plate–not a lot yet there’s food left over.

Thinking that you have to “clean your plate” so as not to waste food is a mistake. Why are you cooking too much food to begin with?

It’s also not your fault that chain restaurants sell huge portions of food. The food they’re giving you is unhealthy most of the time: the food was bought cheaply and prepared cheaply.

Then it’s loaded up on the plate. You could be tempted to eat it all or take home the leftovers.

Taking home leftovers is better than eating the huge portion all at once. You’ll have a second meal the next day.

Eating healthful food in moderation–five a day of fruits and vegetables–is one sensible guideline I think is non-negotiable if you want to stick to the one best nutrition guideline.

In How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life Frank Lipman, MD goes so far as to recommend eating two servings of fruit a day.

Eating two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables isn’t that hard to do every day. I have an organic navel orange for breakfast and a serving of an in-season fruit for an afternoon snack. I have a salad three days a week for one serving of a vegetable that day. Mix in a vegetable for dinner on most nights:

Voila–you can see it really isn’t hard to eat healthfully 80 percent of the time.

How have I been doing in executing my sub-goals for Step Three Perspire with the  Changeology 90-day action plan?

Remember: I wanted to buy and bring salads to my job to eat for lunch 3x/per week. And I wanted to exercise at the gym 2x/ per week.

In the next blog entry you’ll find out whether I succeeded or not.