|Left: That's me on the far left at my friends wedding.|
Upper left: Playing paramedic at the county fair with Clo the cow
Bottom right: Out with the girls
- The F word - yep, the F word finally caught up with me. FORTY. I feel dirty even saying it. About a month ago I had an amazing fortieth birthday party with family and friends. With all that fun however, comes the realization that I'm not as young as I used to be. All those problems that don't seem to afflict people in their 20's and 30's suddenly become
crap you don't want to even consider"risk factors" when you turn forty. That brings us to the next 3 items listed below.
- Stroke - as a paramedic working on a 911 ambulance I see a lot of medical conditions that significantly impact the lives of my patients. Of all the conditions I witness I am most scared of suffering a stroke. A stroke, depending on severity, could limit my ability to be independent, to Zentangle and most importantly, to be a good auntie to my nieces and nephews. The thought of not being able to play with them almost brings me to tears.
- Cardiac disease - what is there to say except that I'm at risk. I'm overweight, have a poor diet, a high stress job and have a strong family history.
- Diabetes - diabetes scares me because it is such an insipid disease. It creeps up on you and before you know it your doctor is talking to you about renal dialysis. My father died from complications related to dialysis and I saw all that he went through and I know he wouldn't want that for me so for may dad, I'm making a commitment to not let that happen.
|My father and I on my wedding day. I sure do miss him.|
- The husband - when you take the vow of "for better or worse" I think you have an obligation to the other person not to do things that would put you at greater risk for "worse". Of course, things happen, but if I am at greater risk because of decisions to not live a healthy lifestyle, that's not fair to my husband. Even though I know he would care for me no matter what, I would rather us live a long, happy, active life together. He has always been willing to live a healthy lifestyle so I think it's time to take advantage of his support rather than work against it.
|The hubby and I at the Providence Botanical Gardens.|
|Hamming it up at Flo's Clam Shack in Massachusetts|
- The nieces and nephews - these kids are my biggest joy. I don't have kids of my own so that means there is a lot of pressure on me to be the "cool" auntie that everyone wants to hang with. I love rolling on the grass with them, flying kites, playing tag, doing craft projects, teaching them to cook, going to the park, and attending their spelling bees. But more important than all these things is that I have a responsibility to be a good role model. I realized the other day that when I watch them I am always conscious of making them healthy meals, limiting their sugar, and including plenty of physical activity in their day yet I don't bother to do that for myself. A pretty pathetic double standard if you ask me. I have a responsibility to these kids to be around for a long time so it's time to get healthy.
|Hanging with the kiddos. And this isn't even all of them!|
- The family - If you saw how my dysfunctional family acts when we are together you wouldn't believe it, but I think that for the most part we actually get along, and dare I say love each other! I think it's unfair to create undo worry and concern if you can control it. I know my mother worries about my health and she shouldn't have to do that and my brothers and sister in laws shouldn't have to worry if their children will have an auntie. You get the picture.
- Friends - I am so blessed to have an amazing group of friends. To be lucky enough to have a group of people who would do just about anything for you is a rare find and something that shouldn't be taken for granted. I'm ready to accept my responsibility to be here for them as much as they have been there for me.
- Chins - I have too many. Enough said.
- Being the big one - a few years back I started to notice that it was becoming more and more common for me to be the biggest woman at any given gathering. This is by far, the thing that most easily causes me to become depressed. Whenever I go somewhere and realize that I am the biggest girl it is almost guaranteed that I will start a downward spiral and usually turn to food for comfort. It's a vicious cycle I don't care to repeat anymore.
So by now you are probably wondering how I plan on achieving this goal of losing 100 pounds and becoming a healthy, happy, active person. It's not really rocket science, I just looked at what I have been doing wrong and figured out ways to change my behaviors using common sense and a few tools. So here's how I plan to do it:
- Common sense eating - I have been on just about every diet imaginable plus my mother was a Weight Watchers leader so I actually know a lot about nutrition. My problem is that I just don't try to implement it as diligently as I should. One of my more successful diet attempts was using the Primal Blueprint. The diet entails eating no grains and only limited carbs while eating an increased amount of fat. It's similar to Atkins but has a more "real world" approach that I liked. The problem was that one of the main sources of protein was eggs and I haven't had an egg (if it looks or smells like an egg I don't eat it.) in 20 years so it presented a real challenge for breakfast when you don't eat eggs and can't eat grains. I felt great but after a few weeks the monotony was too much and my willpower failed. So to become the Healthy RN I have decided to adopt what can most simply be called a healthy diet with no large servings of simple carbs. I plan on focusing on healthy proteins, large servings of multiple types of vegetables and salads, moderate servings of fruit, healthy fats, and small portions of whole grains. I think it's a healthy approach that is easily adaptable for the long run because my goal is to create a healthy eating style, not to go on a "diet".
- Have a realistic exercise regimen - I plan on exercising 5 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. In the past I have always gone exercise crazy when I have started a new diet. I have bought equipment, joined more gyms than I care to mention, and created plans that were so detailed and time intensive that I never carried through for more than 2 weeks. My new approach it to enjoy exercise. I know that sounds totally cliche but it's true. The older I get the more I appreciate what nature has to offer and I'm going to take advantage of it. Each month I plan on exploring 2 new exercise options. It might be a new walking path, a hike, or a bike ride. I am also going to find some "back up" exercise options so I have no excuse when my day gets to busy. I have a very nice treadmill, and the hubby already set up a TV so I have something to watch while I'm walking. I'm also going to dig out some pilates and exercise videos that I know I have lurking around.
- Utilize my friends - Like I said before, I have an amazing group of friends. My girl's Chris, Andrea, Jenn, Sudahlia, Steph, Chandra, and Debbi would do just about anything to help me out and have offered to on numerous occasions but I'm the one who always make some excuse to not take them up on their offer. Besides my girls I also have my two main guys, Greg and Margarito who have always stood by me no matter what. So I have this great support system yet I manage to minimize any offer they make. Well that stopped yesterday. Bring it on girls and boys, I'm ready to work!
- Taking advantage of circumstance - Like I said earlier, one of the reasons I decided to get healthy now is because of the nursing school timeline and how it coincides with my goal of 100 pounds. I just happened to get into nursing school with my co-worker and friend Sara, and let me tell you there is a new task master in town! Sara seems to have taken on a mission of getting me to be healthy and active. Nursing school is a daunting task in its own right but it's also expensive and has major time constraints. These circumstances, combined with Sara constantly being on my butt about eating healthy, made bringing my lunch to school a natural decision. I have also made a couple new friends, Kevin and Katie, who are being super supportive in helping me get on track with my healthy lifestyle. Together we plan on walking the track and running the stairs at school and also taking a few "field trips" for some more nature based exercised. I'm lucky to have ended up with such great friends for this journey of school and weight loss.
- Getting rid of the numbers...well sort of - When I have lost weight in the past, I have always put an enormous amount attention on the numbers, primarily how many pounds I've lost. My weekly goals were usually unrealistic and in many cases I was working with an unrealistic timeline. You know what I mean, the "I have to go to my high school reunion in 2 months and need to lose 60 pounds!" diet. It's unattainable and when you have so much pressure and then have a week where you gain a pound or two it sometimes creates a downward spiral that you don't recover from. It's a self defeating plan to focus on pounds lost in a traditional way. So I devised a plan for myself that tracks pounds lost in what I think is an unconventional manner. I used 95 post it notes that I labeled week 1-95. I then labeled each one with the week it starts and wrote what my goal weight should have been for that week as calculated by a 1.1 pound weight loss for each week. Each week I will peel of that weeks post it note paying attention to whether or not I am on track for the week. Sure this still involves the numbers but for me the number is more symbolic that I am on track with my healthy lifestyle than keeping track of how many pounds I have lost total. My hope (fingers crossed) is that since my weekly goal is low, I might lose a few extra pounds here and there so if there is a minor gain (which there is bound to be) I will still be meeting my weekly goals in the long run. It's a symbolic way for me to stay on track and physically see the weeks and pounds melting away!
|My post it note weight tracker|
So if you have stuck it out to get this far in my post you are probably wondering "Why is she telling us all this personal stuff?" and it come's down to one word: accountability. I have tried just about everything to get healthy but I have never tried peer pressure/support/constructive criticism/commraderie of this level before. Every week I pour my heart into my Zentangle's and the Zendala Dare and each and every week my readers reciprocate by telling me how much they enjoy and appreciate them. So logically, if I put this struggle out there I hope I will receive a similar response. So loyal readers, I challenge you to join me, help me, support me, and offer your tips, tricks while sharing your challenges with me. We can take this trip together and two years from now I will hopefully achieve 3 goals:
- I will be able to run most of a half marathon.
- I will be healthy, fit, happy and 100 pounds lighter.
- I will be wearing a cute dress to my pinning ceremony and will be a Registered Nurse.
What challenge are you going to set for yourself?
|This is what I look like 100 pounds lighter. |
I haven't seen it in 20 years but I plan on
revisiting it again in a little under 2!
Who know's, I may even revisit the
Marilyn Monroe costume.