Thursday, August 20, 2009
A New Me
I'm working on creating a new me. Well, an improved me, anyway. You know from my plethora of plaintive posts (like the alliteration? I love it - alliteration makes me happy!) that I have had a wealth of physical ailments for the past two years. I have chalked them up to having had the stroke and I can't discount that factor. Strokes, even small ones, are horrible on the whole body system and can affect just every part of it. But I had that MRI and EEG a month ago and it came back showing absolutely nothing. That was terribly frustrating for me to hear. So, a couple of weeks later I visited the doctor out at Preventative Health Sciences and she was the first to say that it looked like I had some hormonal issues going on. So it could be that all the ailments that I have assumed were stroke related really have nothing to do with my brain at all. These TIAs I have continued to have could probably be a separate issue - or not. I don't know.
She arranged for me to have a complete physical, which was this past Wed. They took a gallon of blood from me - I'm waiting on the results from that. She's checking for estrogen and testosterone levels, cancer, adrenal levels, thyroid, etc. But in the meantime, it has kind of begun to dawn on me that I can't rely on doctors to "fix" me. To that end, I have begun taking some baby steps on the road to self-improvement.
The first thing I did was to visit the Clinique counter at Younkers. I know, I know - make-up is all external. But it's important! My skin has changed as I have gotten older. I am tired of guessing about what make-up will look right and then being disappointed. It makes sense to me to wear all the same brand so that everything will work together. I remember being given that logic by Mary Kay saleswomen in the past. It made sense to me then. But I have a horrible time ordering make-up out of a catalog. I can't accurately determine the color and then I'm usually disappointed. So anyway, a couple of Fridays ago I ran out to Jordan Creek Mall, plopped myself down at the Clinique counter and asked them to fix my face. I have never in my life had a make- over. Fortunately, the gal working was probably in her early sixties and I didn't walk out of there looking like I was trying to be 20 again. She was well acquainted with the way aging affects our skin and how we wear make up, as a result. She showed me how to apply things so they looked natural and she really took her time experimenting with different things in order to get the right look. As a result, I bought almost everything she suggested. And I feel a lot better. Now nobody has stopped me and asked what I have done to create such a beautiful new face, so I'm assuming I probably don't look all that different on the outside! But I feel better. And I guess that is what is important. Looking good doesn't hurt either, though.
Last Friday night Paul and I were supposed to work our state church association's booth at the Fair (Yes, "fair" is supposed to be capitalized - it's the fair in Iowa, the state fair! Actually, a few years ago it was ranked in the top 3 in the whole U.S. - it's a cool place). Since he was working a little late, we decided to meet there. I needed to run to Walmart first, which I did. When I came out, my van was dead. It would not start for anything. It turned out it needed a new battery and had chosen, thankfully, to die at Walmart. Paul was not able to get over there for almost 2 hours. So first I went and bought my weekly dose of celebrity gossip (People magazine). I devoured that and he still wasn't there. So, I went back in the store and began to peruse the book aisle. That's when I found this book that you see pictured above. I think God directed me to this book. I bought it and I haven't been able to put it down since.
Obviously, the book is by Joyce Meyer. I don't know a whole lot about Mrs. Meyer. I have caught her a few times on the radio and I have always appreciated her no-nonsense approach to studying and applying God's word. But doctrinally - I don't know enough to make any judgements. I know once I turned her on and she had Joel and Victoria Osteen on her program. That couple makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, so I wasn't all that impressed then with Joyce who considered them worthy enough to be interviewed on her program! In reading her book I have come to see that she has been divorced before and that she considers herself to be a preacher - two factors that would, in my understanding of the Bible, prohibit her from public ministry. Obviously, she believes differently! However, those differences aside, I cannot argue with this particular book.
She starts the book talking about where she was and how so many of us are there, too. We live these busy, busy lives and we don't take care of our bodies. Then, one day, they begin to protest and we don't know what's going on! She points out how we are no good to our families or to service for Christ when we are so run down physically. I am beginning to think that this is where I am. For twenty years I have eaten whatever I wanted. I always joke about how if it is deep-fried, cream-filled, or chocolate covered, it's mine! I like junk food. I like easy food. I enjoy baking really decadent desserts! I really, really dislike vegetables and I'm not overly fond of fruit, either. I have never bothered to exercise, thinking that I didn't need it because I am naturally slender. Besides, I get enough exercise chasing my kids, I said. And I took vitamins, which would make up for any nutritional deficits I had - I hoped anyway.
Reading this book, my eyes have really become open to the absolute necessity of caring for my physical body. Joyce does an excellent job of explaining why it is so important to eat the right combinations and the right kinds of food. She explains the necessity of exercise in detail. So I'm reading this book and gaining a huge education in the process. And then yesterday I had my physical. I think I really like this new dr's office. The dr. came in and sat with me for a good half hour and she, too, emphasized the importance of a healthy diet. She told me some things I did not know - like that corn syrup is really bad for you. I didn't know that. Afterwards I needed to buy bread and this time I checked the labels. I ended up having to purchase $3 a loaf bread in order to find some that didn't have corn syrup in it. Who would have thought corn syrup was in bread? I sure didn't! I appreciate Joyce's approach in saying that there is no "bad" food. There is nothing that we cannot eat. But we have to be very careful about the unhealthy choices we make - they need to be in moderation. Last week Paul and I were listening to WHO, a local conservative talk radio station that is always on in our house and vehicles. On one of the afternoon programs they were interviewing the guy who started Preventative Health Sciences clinic (the one who tried to talk me into spending $2000+ on their total health program (exercise and eating training). The interviewer asked, jokingly, "So is there anything healthy that can be found to eat here at the Fair?" Our fair is famous for its food on a stick - porkchops on a stick, eggs on an stick, fried twinkies on a stick, etc., along with it's typical fair offerings of cotton candy, cookies in a cup, fried mini donuts, taffy, and all other kinds of goodies. The interviewee laughed and then made the wise comment that when a person is healthy and is making good eating choices, for them to indulge and have something utterly decadent is not going to send their body into a tailspin. A healthy body can handle a little junk a lot better than a sick body can. Talk about common sense! So, I am working on it. This week I have made a lot better eating choices. I can't say that I am feeling immensely better yet or that my belly bulge has disappeared. But I'm going to keep at it.
I started walking earlier this summer. I had to take about a 3 week break when my sciatic nerve flared up. It's still giving me a few problems, but has finally calmed down in this last week. I have an appointment with the chiropractor out at Preventative Health for a week from today. I haven't been as faithful with my walking as I need to be, though, even when feeling well. That needs to change. It's especially hard when I have somewhere I need to go first thing in the morning. But I'm thinking I just need to train myself to get up very early in the mornings which is NOT how I am wired. If I had no kids or responsibilities I could easily stay up into the wee hours of the morning as long as I could sleep in the next morning! But then I'd be more likely to get my walk in. Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do when winter arrives. I do not have room in this house for a piece of exercise equipment. I have tossed around the idea in my head of joining a gym. There is one 10 min. from my house in Carlisle. I hate the idea of spending that kind of money, though. Also, the idea of sweating in public and using machinery that someone else sweated on doesn't appeal to me much, either. Or, I could just get an exercise DVD and do something in my living room. I am realizing through my reading that I need to be doing some upper body strength training with weights. So perhaps I could walk when the weather is good and do something inside when it isn't. Of course, this means I'll have to buy some weights and a DVD. I'm also going to need some better tennis shoes.
I need to change. I can't continue on this way. I'm not saying that a makeover, good diet and exercise is going to change everything. Monday I am having an ultrasound of my uterus done and if they find fibroids there, as my dr. suspects I have, I'm probably looking at having a hysterectomy in the near future. Obviously, I can't fix that by being good. But I want more of life than I have had for the past two years. And if changing some things - doing the hard thing - will help that, then I owe it to myself, along with everyone who needs me to be at my best to do it. Part of writing this out is for accountability purposes, so when you see me, ask me how I'm doing, if I'm still choking down broccoli, limiting my sugar, eliminating trans fats, and lacing my tennis shoes first thing in the morning. Because without that, it's going to be too easy to quit. And I can't quit this time.