Getting My HEALTHY Back – Six Tips to Get and Stay on Track
Think with me for a moment… Just picture this… flat, washboard abs; long and lean toned legs, Michelle Obama-like arms; firm perky butt; an overall well-proportioned hourglass figure. This is the image that has been portrayed as the “perfect” healthy body that appeals to many of us as females. Some of us naturally have that(thank God for good genes), others simply don’t or would have to work extremely hard to get just a few of these features or none at all. My point is, this probably should not be your goal. We should be more focused on getting and staying healthy. This post is focussed how I am working on getting my “healthy” back. Please take the journey with me.
The more we age, the harder it is to stay healthy(especially if we are not trying to). When we get to a certain age, shapewear becomes our friend. You know what I’m talking about. That’s why Spanx has grown to what is today as a company. Lots of very loyal customers. No shame in that! It is what it is. Things we used to be able to do in our early twenties and get away with it no longer happen. Our bodies just do not co-operate. That’s just how it is. I am sure I am not telling you something you don’t know. But there is hope!
Here’s how it began for me. If anyone knows me they would say that overall I am a healthy person. I watch what I eat, I don’t overindulge. I have no problem with exercise and for all intents and purposes, one would say I was doing OK. But nuh-uh!! That is definitely not good enough, especially if you are basing your assessment of your health on conjecture, assumptions and how you feel. I am here to tell you there is a better way. Before I share with you my own journey and offer up some suggestions, I want to put it out there that I am not by any stretch and health professional. I am not providing medical advice on what you should do. These are merely suggestions based on what I have found out as far as my own health is concerned.
Know your numbers
First of all, I would suggest that you set a baseline. Know your numbers. There is a reason that medical professionals recommend having an annual physical. I know I was guilty of this. We only go to the doctor when we are sick. I know culturally for some people, not having to go the doctor is grounds for bragging rights. It suggests that you are well preserved, healthy but that is not always the case. Not that it’s foolproof, but an annual checkup where medical professionals review and monitor your “numbers” is a way to increase the chances of your remaining healthy. The simplest number I can think of is your weight. Many people don’t even know how much they weigh because they are afraid to find out.
This is an opportunity to make tweaks or adjustments to stay on track with your health. Or worse yet, you might be able to get ahead of some issue that may be developing without your knowledge. When you know where you are, you can make the changes you need to make with the help of your doctors. This is especially helpful if you are genetically pre-disposed to certain illnesses that can be controlled or prevented. For example, diabetes or hypertension. Diabetes runs rampant in my family, so I am particularly sensitive to that.
I know it’s kinda intimidating when you visit the doctor. Noone wants to get bad news about their health. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Prepare for the visit and mention everything that concerns you about how you have been feeling. When you get your results, ask what the numbers mean and what you can do to improve on them. Or get a second opinion if you need to! Remember, you are responsible for your health, not your doctor.
Make the Decision to Get into Action/Set Goals
Now, this is often the hardest part of any journey back to health. Many times the actions required are not fun and or will make us uncomfortable in some way. We either have to give up certain things, start doing others. And sometimes its a matter of life or death. Seriously!! At the end of the day, it’s all about choice. If we want to live healthily we usually have tough choices to make. Face it, being unhealthy is the easiest thing in the world to do. No effort required.
I am not going to sit here and pretend that I have it all together. I had to make some tough decisions after I came to grips with my own numbers. First of all, I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. That scared the daylights out of me because I honestly didn’t see it. I felt it but obviously, I was in denial. My once very healthy numbers were becoming borderline. They weren’t bad but they were shifting in the wrong direction. That was enough for me to know I needed to take action. And that I did. Here is a simple tool you can use to set and measure your goals.
Set yourself some targets that you want to achieve. Make them realistic based on where you are and work towards them. Don’t wait for 2018 to start. Now is as good a time as any. Let’s get ‘er done!
Do what works for you
I knew what I wanted to accomplish and I had to figure out what I needed to do to get there. Full disclosure; the numbers I was most concerned with were my weight, my A1C (3-month blood sugar count) and my cholesterol. Now, this seems like a lot, right. But what I learned is that they were all connected. So if I chose to start with my weight control first, then I would likely see improvements in the other 2 numbers.
Like most working mothers living in a big city, time is not something I have in abundance. To control my weight I would need to get back on track with exercising and controlling my diet. I have to admit I was feeling the effects of the extra weight I was carrying. I just felt heavy!
At that point, I decided I needed to give myself the gift of my health. I needed to focus on myself for a bit and not feel guilty about it. I realized I would be no use to my family if I was constantly not in good health. In spite of what I perceived as my lack of time to focus on exercising, I decided to take it one step at a time. With the help of my husband, he got me going to the park that is a mere 2 mile away, walking/jogging on the summer evenings while our son used the playground. We would do it together and that made a huge difference to my motivation. Now I am back in the gym and incorporating weight training. Something I hadn’t done in almost a year.
I don’t know what your circumstances are and where you live but get active. Do something! Start small and build on it. No more excuses, right? Let’s do this.
Have regular checkpoints
While you are on your way and implementing the suggestions, decide on certain milestones and checkpoints against your goals. Set yourself some rewards along the way. Maybe it’s a new outfit or dinner at a special restaurant. Whatever floats your boat. This way you stay motivated to continue. Checkpoints could be weight check-ins, followup visits with your doctor after 3 months. Whatever it is, just decide it up front and followthrough. That’s how you know if what you’re doing is working or if you need to make adjustments.
Maintain(Don’t fall off the wagon)
When you get to your goal. You must maintain. Don’t fall completely off the wagon. This is hard but easy. No need to succumb to old habits but when you get to where you need to be, you will be able to indulge once in a while as a treat. For example, those of us who like to imbibe but the blood sugar doesn’t agree with that, once you have your numbers under control, you have more latitude to indulge without going overboard of course. Maybe on special occasions rather than every day.
I hope this post has inspired you to get informed about the current state of your health and for those of you who already know, to get into action. Please share your stories with us to inspire more of our readers to get their health back!