Friday, October 16, 2009

Making Changes

First I decided to stop reading fiction. I made this decision while we were at the beach and I was ravenously devouring books.

During this period I was also thinking about what I would like to write. I thought I might return to my fantasy novel, and then I read a fantasy by someone else that touched on some of the themes of my book. I thought she did it better than I ever would, and my decision wavered.

So I thought, I shall not read any fiction for awhile. I have stories in me, I just know I do, but maybe they are drowning in other people's thoughts. Maybe if I don't read fiction for a while (the time was not specified) I would clear my head and find some kernel in my brains that I could develop into my own story.

But a reader cannot simply NOT read, so after we returned home on September 5, I turned to nonfiction. I have read a lot of magazines, blogs, online newspapers, etc. and listened to nonfiction books on tape in the car. Sometimes I think maybe I'd better take up counted cross stitch or something because TV at night is certainly very bad, but I haven't done that - yet.

On September 10 I decided it was time to do something about my weight. I am obese, which is just another word for fat. How I got here is a long story, one that began in 1983 when I started on birth control pills when I married. That put on 10 pounds; then our efforts to have a baby failed, which made me depressed, and that combined with the infertility drugs added more pounds, then after six surgeries came the hysterectomy at the tender age of 29 and the Premarin, which added even MORE pounds (I no longer take that but still take a plant-based estrogen called Estrace, though in tiny amounts, which I suspect doesn't help).

And of course I never learned to exercise and eat properly growing up; my mother did not fix us breakfast or attend to the food groups; my grandmother thought macaroni and cheese was one of the basic requirements of life, and no one in my family exercised. So it's a family thing; my brother, my aunt, my uncles, we all struggle with our weight. Genetics and poor familial habits, I guess.

So anyway, September found me not reading fiction and dieting. I have lost four pounds (which is sometimes five but I seem to keep regaining that one). One of the first nonfiction books I listened to was one of Dr. Atkins' books, because I know from past experience that limiting my carbs works a lot better than, say, a low fat diet, at least for me.

My exercise habits, alas, have suffered. I need to be walking every day if only for my blood pressure, which has decided to climb back up in spite of my medication and the loss of four little pounds. I have found it difficult to exercise for two reasons: my feet still trouble me (I have plantar fasciitis and a heel spur) and some mornings my chest hurts. I have a hiatal hernia and am pretty sure that is the chest pain but I have enough of a hypochondriac in me that it makes me anxious because of course I worry that it is my heart hurting. And who can exercise if you worry that if you start to sweat you will drop over dead? Which might be alright if I thought someone would find me quickly but that is not the case. It could be many hours before I am missed.

Another reason for my lack of exercise, though, is this blasted computer. This blog. Facebook. All of the great things to read online.

For at least a decade (maybe longer), I have turned the alarm off at 6 a.m., climbed from my bed, put on my robe, and stumbled into my office beside the bedroom and turned on the computer. Then I go make my morning decaf tea with a little drop of honey and return to the computer to read my email. For a few years (yes, really, years) I did this and then exercised, because if I don't exercise first thing I simply don't do it.

But in the last several months (probably since I lost my main client, but I am not sure of that) I have instead found myself reading things on the computer, writing a blog entry (as I am doing this morning), piddling on Facebook, or simply playing Spider Solitaire until I look at the clock and think, golly, I need to get a bath and get dressed or I will never get anything done today. And then I think, oh, I haven't exercised, I will do it at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. or whatever, and of course I rarely do.

So it is time for another change. This is the last morning I stumble to the computer. Instead my plan is to keep away from the computer until after I've showered, which will occur after I've walked on the treadmill or done some other exercise. This is necessary for my overall health and well being and it is time I stop dilly-dallying around with something so vital and take care of it. Otherwise I will not live to see 50 and that's only four years away.

Having said that, if you see me online before 8 a.m. from now on, please gently remind me I am supposed to be doing something else, won't you?


  1. According to what I'm seeing you posted this at 7:07am :-) Habits are hard to break, but it is good to shake things up now and then!

  2. Great plans! Way to go with the eating changes and exercise changes. I will be hoping that you can get some fairly quick gratification to give you the boost you need. Hang in there. We will be cheering you on! I think that the modified Atkins diet, which is any diet that limits simple carbs, allows plenty of veggies and protein has worked for me for a long time.

  3. I had back problems in the mid 1990's and walking a mile a day along with stretching the right muscles took care of the back problems as well as about 15 pounds fell off. It was a new way of life for me. I practiced the religion of exercise and never felt so good in all my life. It's was truly a new lifestyle and it worked!

    Wishing you the strength it takes, Anita, the strength within yourself to commit to taking care of yourself.


  4. My morning routine is coffee at the computer right before (first cup) and after (second cup) I've finished feeding all the critters. I used to linger over the paper when I had coffee, but the RT is so lacking in content these days that I can read it in a matter of minutes. Now I read blogs and national news online.

    For weight loss, try an experiment: Give up bread and pasta for a week. See if that makes a difference.

    I've also been through the plantar fasciitis and heel spur nightmare. Myofascial release (way better than the therapy I was sent to) helped both. Plus orthotic inserts.

  5. I know what I need to do - doing it is the problem. I spend way too much time on the computer. As far as diet, I had cut out white flour, overly processed products and tried to eat more real food. I lost weight and felt great but bad habits have crept back.

  6. Wow, you really had a lot happen to you in your 20's health wise. I'm sorry you had to go through all that :(

    I've taken the BC pills since I was 18 for ovarian cysts and they do add on the weight. As I get older, it gets so much harder to maintain my diet and keep the weight off. Female hormone problems are notorious for adding on the weight!

    You go, Girl! I have no doubt you will be successful with the diet and working out. One day at a time. And congrats on the 4 (5) pound loss!

  7. You are NOT obese. But I do think exercise is a good thing. I like to do productive exercise. Even when we had money, I wouldn't hire someone to help with yardwork, etc.--whatever I could do myself, I did. The more I work, the more I can eat. That's what I often have in my head. So I go out there and pick up rocks in the arena or sticks in the field, clear more trails, clean out my gutters, paint something. There's always something to do. Just take little steps. You'll find yourself being able to do more and more and you will feel better.

  8. Anita I can't read in my genre either while I'm working on something. I get other character voices in my head. I'll read a mystery or a good romantic suspense novel. I read non-fiction too but it doesn't spark my creative juices like fiction. As for the excercise routine, I'm right there with ya. My problem is that I feel like I'm wasting time when I work out...besides the fact that I HATE it.


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