Monday, October 28, 2013

Letting Go

I've lost track of where we are on that list of 30 Things to Stop Doing to yourself but this is a good place to start again because this is so true and if I've covered it before, it still bears repeating: "Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time." Gleaned from an article on the blog, Marc and Angel Hack Life.
Something lovely for your Monday beautiful mare, Mouse.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Eating Healthy

DHC challenge for today was to list 3 benefits from eating a healthy diet. I said: 1) energy and vitality, 2) overall health and wellbeing, and 3) weight loss.

I may be wrong but it seems to me that, the older I get, the more I can feel both the positive and negative effects of the foods I eat especially when I'm stressed. At times when the pressure is on, I feel so much better when I eat healthy, energizing foods and soooo much worse when I eat "comfort" foods which generally aren't that healthy. Sure, I do get that nice warm comforting, tension easing effect when I first eat things like salty chips and popcorn or sweet chocolate but it doesn't last long and when I'm stressed, the good effects are even shorter lived.

I am becoming more aware of how I'm eating. I have tried to incorporate more vegetables into my diet this week but I haven't started keeping that essential food diary yet. I am however being observant of what I eat and how I'm feeling when I eat...whether I'm hungry or just stressed. I've started exercising again and I'm drinking more water (although no where near the eight glasses needed in a day.) Next week, I'll start the food diary and the week after, I'll start controlling, planning and restricting what I eat. With just the added activity this week, I've lost around 2 and a half pounds so I'm hoping for a considerably larger number when I really launch into "diet mode." 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

heard this on my way back from the pasture field tonight. Liked it and went in search of it. Nice.....

Perfect Exercise

I read a few days ago that the best exercise for your entire lower body is the old fashion squat. I've been doing both regular squats and curtsy squats and I have been feeling it...but in a good way because that shows me that they are working. I saw a news program where a doctor said that squats were the best thing you could do for problem knees. He had a fellow on the program that had two knee surgeries and was on lots of pain meds before. Since he started doing squats, he's lost 40 pounds and is off the pain meds. I started doing them on Sunday and I can already tell a difference with my knees when climbing stairs. I do about 150 a day. Monday, I did 300 but I could hardly move on Tuesday, lol. I usually do them in sets of 50 three times a day. Loving how much better, stronger I'm feeling despite the sore muscles. They are said to be a better and more effective workout for your stomach than crunches (which I hate.) With the addition of the curtsy squat (which Spark People calls the perfect exercise because of all of the areas and muscles it works), I'm working my calves as well as thighs, behind and stomach. I do have to hold on to something for balance when doing the curtsy squat but I try not to use it to help me perform the exercise.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A big smile for the day.....

Walk It Off!

I've been getting good test results on all of my health tests and I'm responding well to the meds that I was given. The only problem so far is an elevated blood sugar. I was told that my long term blood sugar was normal but I read an article from the Harvard Health Letter, that said even moderate, non-diabetic elevations can lead to dementia and lessened brain function. There is good news though and that is why I'm sharing all of this here.

This is what the article, written by Harvard Health Letter editor Heidi Godman, had to say about getting your blood sugar levels under control, "What if your blood sugar is above normal? There’s good news in that department: You can lower your blood sugar by exercising and, if needed, losing weight. Shifting to a healthier diet with more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and cutting back on highly refined grains can also help.

Try to get 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, such as brisk walking. If that’s daunting, know that even a little activity can make a big difference in lowering blood sugar levels. Short but frequent walking breaks—as brief as a minute and forty seconds every half hour—can lower blood sugar. So can taking a walk after a meal.

And it doesn’t always have to be official “exercise.” Try taking the stairs more often, parking farther away from the store, and getting up and moving if you’ve been sitting too long. “It’s common sense,” says Dr. Nathan. “The more active you are and the less sedentary, the more likely it is that your muscles can uptake glucose, and the insulin you make will be more effective.”

Also helpful is cutting back your intake of highly refined carbohydrates, especially foods with added sugars such as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, and also molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories from sugar or six teaspoons of sugar per day for women, and 150 calories or nine teaspoons of sugar per day for men. If you’re in the prediabetic or diabetic range, you’ll want to work with a dietitian to determine your exact needs."

Yes, I think that's doable especially now that I don't worry I'm going to die every time I go for a walk, lol. The cardiologist who did my stress test yesterday actually said that I did much better than the norm for a woman in my age range....yay!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Take a few minutes to remember a moment of glory.

That was today's assignment from DHC. My answer was that I had never enjoyed achievements, awards, honors in my life because they always came with mixed feelings to me. I just hate being the center of attention. So, while others talked of sports competitions and beauty pageant wins, I just thought about how uncomfortable I've always been when placed in the spotlight. But I'll tell you of one moment that does stand out in my history as pretty darn glorious. Not surprisingly, it is about a horse. :) In fact, it is about me and that beautiful gray in the photo above (at our first horse show which she aced--blue ribbons all the way! Yay, Mouse!) I'm a timid rider. I didn't use to be when I was young but when I got my first horse at 49, I discovered that I'd built up all sorts of fears over the years. Fear is not a very good thing when dealing with horses much less sitting on the back of one. I took a fall....basically, I baled.  I was a little banged up, a few broken ribs and bad bruising but the biggest casualty was any courage I might have possessed. After that, I was terrified of riding but I kept trying. There was a moment of joy on the day I realized that I was riding without fear and a feeling of triumph when I gave my horse her head one day and we galloped up a hillside. I called the trainer who'd helped me overcome my fear later and told her and what she said to me was better than any prize or honor I've ever won. She said, "I've taken riders to national competitions and victory but I've never been prouder of any student in my entire life. You were so full of fear when you came to me but you never gave up." I think that might have been the proudest moment of my life and thinking about it, I realize that it was because I hadn't just worked to achieve something, I hadn't just earned an honor for something I'd done, I had to overcome something in order to reach that glorious goal. That was indeed a moment of victory for me. I've also since realized something else, fear and joy are polar opposites. You can't have both at the same time so I choose joy. :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

'Humans of New York': Photog Gone Viral | Video - ABC News

'Humans of New York': Photog Gone Viral | Video - ABC News

The video link above takes you to a segment of ABC's nightline. It is the story of Brandon Stanton.This is such a moving video and this is such an inspiring young man. He reminds me of an article I read a few days ago. The title of the article was The One Thing You Should Ask Everyone You Meet. Do you know what that thing is? You should ask, "What's your story? Who are you?" What we usually ask is, "What do you do?" But that doesn't define us. Where we've been, where we're at and where we're going defines us. Who we've met, who've we touched and who we've inspired defines us and certainly, the people who've touched and inspired us define us. That's what makes each person an individual and makes each person interesting. I told one of my nieces when she was young and a bit arrogant as most teenagers are, "Don't dismiss anyone on outward appearance because I can tell you not only does every person have some sort or wisdom to share but the best story may come from the most unlikely source."  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Keep on Truckin'

One more rule from the article, "30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself", this one concerns self pity: "Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past.  You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile!  Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be."

Isn't this the truth? Life is ever changing and both bad and good experiences are constantly in flux. We have to move also. We can't look back, we can't stand still, we can't remain angry, we can't keep feeling sorry for ourselves, we have to keep moving because that is the only thing that is going to change our circumstances. I heard a minister speak who was talking about Jesus healing some lepers. He didn't instantly heal them. Instead, he told them to go see the priest and the scripture says, as they walked they were healed. So, we also have to keep going in order to heal. We all are going to have times of sadness, hurt, even anger but holding on to those things is counter productive and why would we want to hold onto such miserable things? Why would we want to feel badly for one second longer than we need to? Instead, set yourself free. Keep only the lessons learned, let go of all anger, hurt, self pity, guilt and move on.

And speaking of truckin', My friend Gary finished another 5K yesterday...I've lost track as to which one this is Gary, you've done so many now :) ...... He finished first in his age class!!! Yay, Gary! And better still, there was a one mile fun run after the 5K that he did with his grandson, Gage who finished 4th and did an 8 minute mile! Wow, way to go Gage! Younger brother, Jax finished the race as well but he opted to stay in his stroller.
That's Jax in the stroller, Papau Gary, and Gage....all winners!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another "rule" from the article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself : Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this:  “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”

Years ago, I was in therapy (I know that revelation surprises no one.) and the therapist asked me on a Monday morning to describe my weekend. I guess it was a way to get the conversation started. I told her we'd been biking in the mountains. These were the days when I was fit and trim although I still saw myself as out of shape and fat. We'd been to the Citico area and biked on a road that had been shut down because of the damage done to it by massive storms and a subsequent fire several years before. It was closed to cars and other motorized vehicles but it was easy to get a mountain bike around the barricades and the perfect place to ride since there weren't any cars or other motorized vehicles to be concerned about. It was also ideal for mountain biking because it was rocky, steep, curving and a bit treacherous which are all things normal people avoid but mountain bikers see as a fun challenge. I did feel a bit accomplished by making the thirty mile climb up the mountain which took us nearly six hours and exhilarated by the ride or flight down the mountain which took a little over twenty minutes! Yeah, you do the math. I could have told the therapist about that but it was only side story to what I did tell her about the people we encountered on the trail who were coming down the mountain as we were going up. They were a friendly, extremely attractive couple and I described them as "perfect people." They seemed to me to be everything I wasn't, fit, trim, beautiful, tanned, athletic, and stylishly dressed. The therapist asked me what I meant by "perfect people" and I told her that they were the type of people I envied, the ones who evidently had their whole lives together. She started to laugh which at first offended me deeply. Then I asked her, "What are you implying? Surely not that you see me as one of the "perfect people"?" She said, "I think you would be very surprised by how many people see you and your life that way and by how many people envy you." If that is truly what people thought of me, I wouldn't have been just surprised but shocked.

That was an eye opening experience because I realized then that many of the people I envied actually envied me. I realized also that their envy was based on an unrealistic romanticizing of my actual life and so, it would be reasonable to assume that my jealousy of others was based on the same irrational ideal. I'm not saying that I don't still feel envy from time to time but my envy isn't usually based on the material things that others have or what they've achieved in life because I really could care less about those things and I'm happy to see my friends' successes. No, my envies are all about life style. I see people out having good times with their friends and family and going places and doing things that I never do and I can get very jealous. But I am finally realizing that jealousy is very telling. As my life has spun more and more out of my control.... That therapist also told me that any amount of control I ever thought I had over my life was a complete allusion. It took me a long time to accept that...... my answer has not been to deal with all of my problems but to hide away and I stopped living my life. In fact, it has seemed at times over the years that the very effort to try and live a "normal" active lifestyle was so exhausting that I simply stopped trying. Of course, it was the stress I was putting on myself which was actually exhausting me but it has taken me too many years to learn that lesson. So, my lack of a fun social life or any social life at all is basically, no one's fault but my own. I've hidden away, I've driven friends away, I'm sure, with my constant whiny soul searching while I was finding myself, and I've basically just given up on life. That proclamation, in itself, sounds all gloom and doom but the extreme stress and losses of  the last few months has brought about an eye opening revelation for me, life is always changing and we can either change with it or, as a good friend said to me this morning, just grow old. She too has been through some very traumatic months of life and she too has decided to opt for change and living life rather than giving up and giving in. I'm tired of looking at others and envying their life, counting their blessings when I have so many of my own. I have ambition for the first time in a long time, I have ideas and dreams to start working on and I have been working and making progress for the past few days which is something that has been a very long time coming. I've decided to stop planning so much and just start doing. My goal is not to live up to any one else's standards but to make me (as trite as this sounds, truth is truth) the best me that I can be. So, I'm marking this day and I'm setting goals. I hope when I look back on October 6th, 2014, that I can say, "For this last year, I've truly lived an envious life full of gratitude, joy, wonder, and generosity...with a bit of adventure and lots of laughter thrown in."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

  1. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  2. Ha, ha....once again with the list numbers. Sorry folks, can't find the problem in the html so I guess we are stuck with them so I'll try to keep this brief and enclosed in one succinct paragraph. I have to start remembering this. I've never been one to try and keep up with the Joneses but there are a few people that have always made me feel as if life is a competition and they always point out when they are winning. Worrying about them and what they think of me.....which probably reflects more on what they think of themselves than only slowing me down, making me falter and often fall. So, I will make an effort to stop doing this and begin competing with myself. That gives me a much better chance of winning and moving forward. :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

From the article, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself, "Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you."

I've never rejected new relationships that I'm aware of but it has taken me five decades to learn two things, 1) when to let go of bad relationships and 2) to realize that I've taken something away from each of those bad relationships even if it is just knowledge. I've said before, this road of life is too rocky, steep and difficult to try to walk it while carrying all that baggage from the past. Cut the ties, take with you only what benefits you and then lock the door and walk away. I'd keep the key though. I have found that some people actually do change and then I've allowed them back in my life....cautiously.