My H.E.A.L.T.H. plan โ€“ A is for Active – how doing ‘something’ every day grew to 10,000 steps

ID-10043382.digitalartTwo years ago I wrote a post on how my attempts at engaging in an exercise programme (such as running or going to the gym) repeatedly failed. That was because it was an all or nothing approach that I took. I would do lots of exercise. I would get sick of that. Then I would slip back into doing nothing at all.

At that point in time when I wrote that post, which was I might add a fairly intense period of my life when I was extremely busy, I resolved instead to simply do ‘something’ every day, whether that was a short walk or housework or similar.

Life unfolded again and again after that and so getting myself into a proper exercise programme was indeed out of the question. I simply could not commit that time as there was too much else going on in my life. However, I kept up with doing ‘something’. I told myself I had to do a minimum of ten minutes a day. That does not sound very much and indeed it isn’t and that is the point. There was simply no excuse for not being able to find at least ten minutes a day. But what that ten minutes became was a commitment to myself that no matter how bleak the day was, no matter how overwhelming the tasks in front of me were, I always deserved those ten minutes for me, for my health, for my well being.

The ten minutes grew to fifteen and then to twenty. I came to really enjoy those twenty minutes each day where generally I would go for a walk after breakfast. I kept up that twenty minutes through rain, hail, and sunshine.

Since I began my H.E.A.L.T.H.plan where I resolved to take fifty weeks or one year to get my health fully back on track [giving myself two weeks off over Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚ ] and especially the last four months since the final ending of the marital settlement, I have been doing even more. The morning walk has gradually increased to forty minutes a day, and each afternoon I go into town and by doing so clock up an extra twenty minutes of walking. Then I have been giving the house a much-needed spring clean, room by room. It is amazing how many ‘something’ minutes are clocked up when you become a better house-keeping person. Last, but not least, a definite advantage of sorting the boxes upon boxes in the garage, is the fact that it has added to the little bits of ‘something’ that I have been doing.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a fitness app onto my phone that counts the number of steps I do a day. I was so excited when the first day I used it I clocked up 10,000 steps which the app told me is more active that 94% of the population. Some days I have clocked up 15,000. I have never considered myself a fitness freak and indeed I hate exercise and it did give me a thrill to realize that I was doing more than 94% of the population, simply by doing ‘something’ over and over throughout the day.

I have found the app is good as it does motivate me to go that extra distance, park the car a few blocks from where I need to so that I need to walk there and back and that adds up to my daily score. The children have similar ones on their phones or ones on their wrists and we text each other as to the steps we have done each day. So this has given me something to share with my children even though they are not with me – the enthusiasm for becoming more active. And now they are running and going to the gym to get their scores up, as they have to do that (after a sedentary day at work) in order to keep up with Mum who is simply doing ‘something’ – and more and more of it – every single day.

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Images.courtesy[digitalart]/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

My Health. My Responsibility. # 2 Exercise.

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This is the fifth in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’.

Exercise
This area of my life is my downfall.

My husband was a keen athlete, participating in both individual and keen sports, all of which came easily to him. Rain, hail, or shine he was out running, kayaking, skiing, lifting weights, or cycling. Meanwhile I was inside looking after the children or cooking or cleaning or at my desk working. Sometime after he left me, I found a crumpled piece of paper of his jottings where he had drawn up a table, listing various attributes in the first column, then giving a score for both him and me in the next two columns. I presume this had been him weighing up whether we were really suited to each other. He included such things as socialising, dress sense, punctuality, and physical exercise. Needless to say, he had scored me very badly on physical exercise.

I was quite upset that he would draw up such a list after a 40 year relationship. I was angry that part of his decision to leave me was made after consideration of what I thought were personality differences and that, even if there were differences, a good marriage is all about tolerating those differences. There was not a hint of consideration of deep values such as kindness, honesty, and compassion; that I had always thought our marriage had been based on.

Initially in the throes of divorce griefย  “I’ll show you” angry phase; as well as a complete makeover and spring-cleaning of the house; I focussed on my well-being, diet and exercise. I became quite fit and healthy. That all fell away when I fell down into the “complete and utter sadness and misery” phase at which stage I was quite content to remain a motionless blob for days at a time..

Then over time, focussing on my inner self and affirming my values and beliefs, some reverse illogical psychology also came into play for me.

A dog has four legs, fur and a tail.
A cat has four legs, fur and a tail.
Therefore a cat is a dog.
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Husband exercised every day. .
Husband dumps wife of 37 years without warning.
That is not an admirable trait.
Therefore, exercising everyday is not an admirable trait.

Floored logic.
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With the best of intentions, I do sometimes start an exercise programme and keep at it for some time. Then things crop up and the exercise gets shoved aside. So in my new take-responsibility-for-myself frame of mind, rather than start an intensive programme that will surely fail, I have decided to start a new approach to physical activity. I read this on another blogger’s post last week of always doing “something” physical every day. There is no need to feel guilty if it is not a marathon run, or two hours at the gym as long as it is “something”. So I can pass the test even if I only manage a 20 minute walk because that is better than nothing at all.

Interestingly enough, this philosophy works.

While too often I am rushed for time, with too many other more ‘important’ things to do, it is hard to find that hour or even a half hour for exercise. However, I can always find twenty minutes. In fact I can find twenty minutes twice a day. I can even making finding that twenty minutes a habit, a life-time habit. I can make those twenty minute episodes full of fun, and I can combine this strategy with a great walking adventure at least every fortnight.
One week down, so far so good, and I will update you further down the track and let you all know how I am coming along.

๐Ÿ™‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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Image Courtesy [Grant Cochrane] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Responsibility for basic needs

ID-10039226This is the third in a series of posts on ‘My Responsibilities’

At a time of crisis, say after a flood or earthquake, peopleโ€™s needs return to those very basic needs of food, water and shelter as they begin to rebuild their lives. The ending of a marriage is similar to such a crisis, especially if it is unexpected and sudden. It rocks the very foundation of your life; your self-esteem, relationships, your emotional and financial security. As everything comes crashing down, to cope and survive you cocoon yourself by living in the moment of waking, eating, walking, eating, and the comfort and security of a warm bed at night. You are thrown into a survival mind-set of fulfilling these basic needs because everything else is gone. In the early days post separation, in a state of turmoil, I was comforted by focussing on my basic needs for some months by following a healthy diet, engaging in a gentle exercise programme, and restoring routine and order back into my daily life. Then my initial enthusiasm wavered. Why?

  1. Reason # 1: I became overwhelmed by the ‘big-picture’ changes required of me. I did not have the time, energy or inclination to focus on trivial daily activities.
  2. Reason # 2: I did not see who would benefit from what I was doing.
  3. Reason # 3: I was focussing on short-term gains rather than long-term outcomes.
  4. Reason # 4: Doing the right thing seemed like deprivation (eg dieting, budgeting).

    Pep talk to self:

    These are all just excuses.
    – It is time to stop blaming the divorce and its emotional upheaval for my lack of inclination to do what is right for me.

    Having spent all my adult life putting my family first, it has been difficult to put myself first. I have to keep reminding myself that the person who will benefit from all this effort is me. I am important enough to make that happen. Moreover I can only be good for others if I am strong and healthy and calm myself.
    When short-term goals (eg: weight loss) are the focus, rather than long-term outcomes (eg: good health), enthusiasm wavers at times of stress or when a short-term goal has been achieved and then discarded.
    – After a while, if habits are formed and results are seen, the effort will no longer be seen as deprivation but just how it is.
    – Keep going, you are worth it.

So lets begin……..
I have listed here aspects of three basic needs that I will be taking responsibility for, together with a long-term desired outcome for each and the first steps to take to get there. I will be posting brief progress reports on the side panel of my blog in each of these areas; and over the coming weeks will outline the plans in more detail.

Health

My desired outcome: To remain independent, fit, healthy, and active into my old age.
My responsibilities:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern one day at a time.
  • Engage in a regular exercise programme for at least 5 days a week.
  • Spend some time each day in a relaxing activity.
  • Keep up with my annual medical checks

Home and Routine

My desired outcome: Simplification of my life to reach a state of calm
My responsibilities:

  • Get into a daily and weekly routine for my activities
  • Achieve a balance of work, home, and leisure.
  • Simplify and de-clutter my surroundings

Financial Security

My desired outcome: Financial independence
My responsibilities:

  • Set a budget. Cut down discretionary spending. Stick to the plan.
  • Plan for a secure financial retirement
  • Take control of personal affairs.

Message to self:

“I am responsible for my own health, sense of calm, my home and my finances”.
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Image Courtesy [Digitalart] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net