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Letter to self

Monday, June 06, 2011

In my last blog I mentioned that I had gotten two books by Andrew Weil, MD:
“Natural Health, Natural Medicine” and “8 Weeks to Optimum Health”
They are both excellent books and I highly recommend them. His approach to good health is based on sound principles that would make total sense to our ancestors: moderate daily exercise, a diet comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, limited protein especially from animal sources and to eliminate processed, artificial ingredients as much as possible. Drink lots of clean water. Eliminate caffeine, soda pop, and unhealthy fats. Limit or eliminate alcohol. Take time daily to breathe deep and RELAX. Appreciate your surroundings. Get adequate rest. Sounds elementary, doesn’t it? Not to a busy caffeine fueled woman who hits the floor at 5:45 am, work at 7:30 am, the Y at 5:30 pm, who finds herself laying a supper of mostly meat and processed foods on the table for her husband and her at 7 pm. I’ve been known to be folding laundry at 11 pm.

Last week I took a WONDERFUL vacation to visit my sister and her husband across the country in Virginia. She lost 70 lbs last year with the help of SP. Despite the miles that separate us we have always been close. She encouraged me to try eating her gluten free diet (she is gluten intolerant) with her, so all week we had healthy, fresh produce, lean protein mostly from fish and beans, and just enough sugar to make us feel decadent. Plenty of “skinny “ de-caf lattes. We went to her gym daily and exercised. I took a drop in gentle yoga class with her and she thoughtfully arranged a “training” session for me with her trainer/yoga instructor. I left her home feeling so energized. Her lifestyle all melded perfectly with Dr. Weil’s books. Sigh! Good-byes are hard...

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad to be home. I missed my DH. I missed my cats. I even missed my job (the patients mostly). But I feel motivated to continue with my new plan. I discovered that it isn’t enough just to be thin because I’ve been at or near my goal for almost 5 years now. Mostly, I want to be healthy and feel full of energy. Not full of aches and pains and stress. I realized that when I spent more time in the pharmacy aisle getting ready for my trip than I did in the grooming aisle that I needed to take some proactive steps to tune my immune system and get away from masking symptoms with pills to combat heartburn, joint pains, sinus troubles.
It will not be easy. Old habits die hard as they say. I have definite perfectionist tendencies and have been known to throw in the towel if I slip up and mar my “streak”. So with that in mind, I began my journey by writing myself a letter:

Dear Joanne,
Like all things that matter, this will not be easy at times and sometimes you WILL fail. That’s Ok. Remember to cut yourself some slack. Please take stock of your life and not make this journey just about weight, but about what’s healthy for you. Don’t use other people as excuses to veer off your path; ignoring what you know is the best for yourself. It’s Ok to be a little self-centered, especially while you are trying to establish new habits. Yet at the same time, don’t lose sight of trying to be a better person, friend, and mate. Get your “house” in order but don’t make it more of a struggle than it needs to be. RELAX! There is no time-line. It is not about a finish. It’s about feeling – healthy, balanced, happy, and serene. There is room for gentle drive and focus, but only as a means to enhance your journey. Listen not only to your physical body, but to that little voice inside that says: I love you…
(written while sipping a cup of decaffeinated copy and listening to quiet, gentle music)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Yes, we had a wonderful week together. It just seemed easier (and so much fun) to do healthy things when I had a fitness partner. (Being off work didn't hurt, either!)

    I did yoga again on Sunday and Monday, and did strength training Sunday and Tuesday. I'm hoping to stick with those habits for life.

    I saw Julie at the gym and she said you were delightful! I had to agree.
    3627 days ago
  • LAUREL220
    I loved reading your blog! Thank you!!
    3628 days ago
    Excellent blog and it couldn't have come at a better time for me
    3628 days ago
    Another thought-provoking blog. Another step forward. Thanks for sharing.
    3628 days ago
    How wonderful it is that you continue to seek ways of improving your lifestyle yet even MORE than you already have! Whew...just don't know how you manage those early morning workouts...! I used my treadmill around 6 a.m. for a while, but couldn't keep that up...as much as I like getting the workout done and out of the way early on.

    Weil's approach sounds like it has much in common with Michael Pollan and his "food rules." Keeping it simple with lots of common sense!

    "Healthy, balanced, happy and serene" just about sums it up for most of us!

    Spark On! :-)

    3628 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/7/2011 8:48:16 AM
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    Dear Joanne, you are growing in wisdom & strength, and I trust this new journey will move you forward in new ways! Good for you! Just treating symptoms is far less desirable than clearing up the causes! keep doing all you can to be the best you can be!
    3628 days ago
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