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The End of the Month. How has this total life makeover been going so far?

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Almost Quit Before I Got Started

This is the body that dieting got me. Let's see where a healthy lifestyle leads.

This is the body that dieting got me. Let’s see where a healthy lifestyle leads.

I had decided at the beginning of January that I would make February the month that I concentrated on affirming that one of my life’s goals is to become more energetic, fit, strong, and healthy. Then later in January I fell from a ladder and injured my knee so I started wondering whether I would be able to exercise like I wanted. Then at the beginning of February, in addition to the injury, I caught a cold. Because of all this, I confess that almost quit before I even got started.

But rather than quitting, I decided to press on and not let the excuses keep me from doing what I knew was in my best interests. I continued doing what I knew I needed to do to be energetic, fit, strong, and healthy even though I did not feel like it.

Amazing things Happened When I Didn’t Quit

At the beginning of the month I slept as much as I needed to fight the cold. Rather than feeling sorry for myself and eating junk food when I wasn’t feeling well, I ate hot nutritious soup and a lot of fruit. Even though I had a knee injury, I exercised as much as I could exercising my upper body. I took supplements for my injured joint. As the cold symptoms subsided, I felt my energy return. My energy did not just return, but I felt better than I had in months. With the help of the supplements, my knee has been improving. I find that I am able to walk over a mile now without pain. In addition, the back pain that I had previously experienced also has become nonexistent.

In the middle of the month we had a huge snow storm that slowed down my ability to get out and walk for a few days. Rather than using that as an excuse not to exercise, I did exercises inside particularly using my five pound weights to build my upper body strength.

I have not focused on losing weight or obsessing over food, but I have lost an additional five pounds over the course of this month. I look better, and most of all, I feel better without the excess weight.

The Healthy Habits Will Continue

Just because this is the end of February, and I will not be posting on this subject any longer does not mean that I will not continue the healthy habits that I have established. All I have done during this month is establish, affirm, and focus on  the healthy habits that I intend to continue for a lifetime

Learning to Major in the Basics

I am learning more and more that the basics must serve as the ground work in any endeavor that I pursue. In the long run, there are no shortcuts. Whether I am looking to be organized, productive,as was the affirmation for January  or to be energetic, fit, strong and healthy this month, there are certain ground rules that I need to follow to be the success that I know that I can be. Majoring in the Basics may not be the Eye-catching headline. that Lose Fifty Pounds in Five Weeks would offer, but it is a whole lot more realistic and honest. It really does work. There really are no shortcuts.

The Focus in March

My affirmation in March will be I am a charismatic individual. This does not mean that I am an egocentric individual. It means that anyone that I am around feels comfortable around me. They know that I understand them, and that I offer them friendship.

I have already started to see some of the areas where I  threaten others.Even though I am an introverted person,  I confess that I tend to act like a know-it-all. but it is a defense mechanism against my shyness.  I use it as a weapon against people who I feel threaten my self confidence. So one of the things I will be working on this month is that I will practice being more kind than right. The idea is to step into the other person’s shoes and look at our conversation from their side.

When out and about, because I am an introvert, I tend to hide behind my extroverted friends when meeting new people. My goal this month includes getting out and around other people, people that I don’t know. On the 9th 10th and 11th I am going to Branson with my daughter and I plan on practicing meeting people. In addition, in March I intend to begin going to several different churches in the area to reconnect with people that I know and to meet new people.

I also want to connect with more people on line and learn to help others connect with more people online. March is shaping to become a very challenging month for me.

2014-04-07 07.07.08

Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 


Begin With The Basics

bathroom scale

With every vocation and avocation, there are certain basic activities that you have to master before you can add to it. If you’re a carpenter, you probably know how to use a level. If you’re a golfer, you probably practice the basics of swinging an iron and a putter. If you’re a writer, you probably (at least we hope) you know the rudiments of grammar. Why is it that people think that we don’t need the follow the basics of nutrition, need regular exercise, or need proper rest in order to stay healthy?

62% of American adults are overweight. Many of us try to blame it on hormonal imbalances or genetics, but the truth is, most of us are fat because we don’t do simple math.. Our calorie intake and output are out of balance. We take in more calories than we use every day causing us to put on the pounds.

We forget that basic math when we realize that we need to lose weight. Someone tells us that we are overweight and we decide that eating right, exercising, and rest are not we need to focus on. We think that we need to “go on a diet”. So we restrict our calories and we starve ourselves or administer some sort of magic pill that is somehow going to melt the pounds like butter.

We do okay on this “diet” or with these pills for a while. We might lose five or even ten pounds. most of the weight that we loose is water weight, but then something happens. Once we lose some water weight, the weight loss isn’t there any more. We are said to have plateaued. What has actually happened is that our bodies have gone into starvation mode and won’t let us lose any more weight. If we do continue to lose weight, it isn’t fat that we lose, but it is muscle that we start losing. Our bodies begin to grow weak and we feel real, genuine hunger. Suddenly our bodies overrule or minds and we eat and eat and eat until our bodies have regained the weight that we lost, but we don’t gain water weight. The weight we gain back is pure fat, and the next time the weight is even harder to get off.

Doing Weigh Loss Math

So, how can we loss weight and keep it off? Well, the best way to lose math is to take it off gradually. Unless you are extremely obese, I think that if you intend to have sustainable weight loss, you should not think that you will lose more than a pound per week. Here’s why.

It is unrealistic to think that you could possibly lose over a pound a week and sustain the weight loss. A pound of fat amounts to about 3500 calories. If you are to lose a pound of fat, you will have to taken in 3500 calories less than you’ve taken in. If you are to lose a pound in a week, you need to decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories per day. Most women use 2000 calories per day. Therefore, if you decrease your calories by 500 per day, you will be able to eat just 1500 calories during the day. That is actually quite difficult to do on a long term basis.

Another option would be to decrease your calorie intake by 250 calories and increase your activity by exercising 250 calories per day. This is the easier solution over the long run because it is more sustainable. A little less food, a little more exercise, and over time you become slimmer, fitter, and healthier.

This last option is the one that I am following. It is all about creating a healthier lifestyle that is completely sustainable. For the first time ever, I am eating whatever I really want, exercising, and still losing weight. I am also not obsessed by food all the time. I eat when I am hungry. I feel good, and I don’t beat myself up when I eat something that is not diet food. I recognize that the weight didn’t come on in a week so it is not likely to come off in a short time either. I won’t be losing all the weight I intend to lose by the end of this month because I know that is not realistic. This month my focus is on making healthy eating and healthy exercise positive lifestyle changes that can last a lifetime.

2014-04-07 07.07.08

Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more info about Cygnet Brown and her books.


Imagine the Headline “120 Year Old Woman Killed in Sky Diving Accident”

sky diver

During this month, I am focusing on the affirmation “I am Energetic, Fit, Strong, and Healthy. One of my goals (or at least dreams) is to live to be 120 years old and die in a sky diving accident,. I don’t want it to happen that a sky diver falls on my wheelchair at the nursing home! I want to go out of this world still living. I want to go out like a friend of mine did. She was sitting at the dining room table talking. The person she was talking with was doing something in the room and asked a question of my friend. When my friend didn’t answer, the woman turned around and my friend had died.

A person’s demise may seem like a morbid topic and may seem inappropriate for a month when the affirmation is about health, but I think that this goal is probably the most important goal in my life. Its a SMART goal really. It is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Limited. This is the ultimate goal of all my goals, because with it I might actually be able to accomplish all of the other lifetime goals that I want to accomplish.

Having My Ultimate End in Mind

To accomplish THAT goal, this month’s affirmation is very important, because only by living this affirmation now, will I be able to achieve that goal or most of my others for that matter. Right now I have no serious health issues. I have a strong heart, low-normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar, and low cholesterol levels, The worst health issues I currently have are some osteo-arthritis in my shoulders and lower back , bunions, and obesity. I take no medications, but I do take a few food supplements.

The Problem with Medications

Approximately 65% of Americans take prescription medications on a daily basis. In addition, According to the Journal of American Medicine approximately 106 thousand people die every year from prescription medications every year. (only 15 thousand die of illegal drug use). Prescribed medication over dose is the fourth leading cause of death and prescribed complications from medication usage is the sixth leading cause of death behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke. All those medications statistically do not make us live longer or healthier either. These statistics does not come from some obscure source, but can be found in JAMA literature.

I take no medications, but I do take a few food supplements. I believe that good health can’t be obtained by taking medications. I cannot think of any medication that actually cures anything. Most, at best, treat symptoms or kill off disease (along with healthy cells). It is our bodies that heal using the building blocks offered in foods and food supplements. Water, exercise, and rest also play an important part in the healing process.  Promoting my health through healthy practices is the best tools I have available to me to reach my goal of living to be 120.

How about you? How long would you want to live, if you knew that you could live to be 120 years old and still be healthy enough to sky dive? What are you willing to do to accomplish that goal?

 

2014-04-07 07.07.08

Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. For info about Cygnet Brown and here books, click here.


Doing Taxes with My Estranged Husband

A week ago I went up to Springfield to do my income tax with my estranged husband and then afterwards my daughter and I went to the mall. Always before when I went to Springfield and saw my husband, I always felt depressed afterwards and angry about how things turned out between us. This time when I saw my husband prepared myself more than I usually do. I bought a new outfit and paid special attention to my hair and makeup. The fact that I am maintaining weight loss and continuing to become healthier looking, added to the confidence that the hair and makeup gave me.

I felt good, and I looked good, but my husband just looked older. I even told him as much. I also told him that I had to live a philosophical idea that he taught me. “The best revenge is to live well.” He just laughed. I no longer feel intimidated by him, and that is good. I don’t feel depressed either. I am still angry though, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

Rebuilding An Important Relationship

After my daughter was out of school, she and I went to the mall and she helped me with shopping. Shopping is something that my daughter always enjoyed, but I have not had a chance to do much of for a long time. Because I was staying home and taking care of the house and the kids, my husband always made most of the money and because of that, I was highly discouraged from spending it. I was always very frugal, but when I was with him, I was denied a lot. Our daughter got whatever she wanted. He didn’t think I deserved anything. Anyway, now I have to relearn to allow myself the pleasure of having nice things.

My daughter Boni who is a very mature thirteen, took me under her wing and started showing me what she liked and what she didn’t like. She doesn’t want me to dress like a teenager, rather she wants me to dress like a well-dressed mature woman. She is becoming my clothing and makeup coach. I got my ears re-pierced, I got some under-eye cream. I got a new pair of shoes, some socks, and a necklace. More important than the getting things though is that she and I are connecting on a level that we have not connected before. We both want to travel. She is taking Spanish in school, and I am learning Spanish online. We thought it it would be cool if when we both know enough Spanish that we go around the mall or whatever speaking Spanish. We thought it would be really weird for two  women of Northern European blood (English, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish ancestry)  to walk around speaking Spanish to each other.

I am glad that I am making it a priority to add quality to my relationship with my daughter. When I was with her, my attention was on what we were doing. I was in the moment, I didn’t worry about what I had to do or the fact that I had to drive home. I wasn’t on my phone, texting or on facebook.  I was shopping with my daughter. Boni was also valuing the time we spent together in that she did not text one of her friends the whole time.

Boni and I are planning a trip to Branson over her spring break next month. While there, of course we are going to go shopping as well take in a couple of shows. Sometimes life isn’t about getting work done. Sometimes its about having fun, but I think life is always about building relationships.

My husband told me that his girlfriend is moving in next month. Strangely, I’m okay with that because I am beginning to realize that I can do so much better than an selfish old truck driver.

2014-04-07 07.07.08

Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon.

Click on these links to follow Cygnet Brown

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Twenty-four years ago tomorrow, I smoked my last cigarette. I gave it to myself and my then unborn second child as a Valentine’s Day gift. When asked how I quit, I tell the person asking that every time I smoked, I got morning sickness. Pregnancy acted as a smoking antabuse for me. I did not go back to smoking after the pregnancy was over either, like many women do. Every time I felt the craving to smoke, I put off picking up the next cigarette until I no longer wanted the cigarette. The cravings gradually became less frequent and less intense.

However, the surprising thing is, every once in a great while I still crave a smoke. Usually I crave one when I am under stress, but I know that if I don’t give in to the craving, I don’t crave it long.

Not the First Time I Tried to Quit

This was not the first time that I tried to quit. however. From the time that I started smoking, I had been trying to quit. I had quit eight months earlier. That time, I gradually cut down on cigarettes over the course of a month. Because I smoked menthol cigarettes, I cut out the menthol first. Then I began putting off the first cigarette that I smoked until later and later in the day. Finally I quit all together. Yes, I went through withdrawals, but I did it without nicotine gum, patches or anything like that. I also lost weight rather than gaining it during that time. I should not have picked up the next cigarette, but I succumb to giving in to the stress and picked up the cigarette.

Do You Want to Quit A Bad Habit As A Gift To Yourself?

Some habits by some people can be quit in the way that I quit smoking, by gradually reducing exposure to the substance and then quitting. Some habits are best quit cold turkey. Some habits are quit by using other substances to control the cravings. Some habits you can quit with the help of like minded people who have quit. Some habits require professional interventions. All bad habits however, need to be replaced by  better, healthier actions. If you are willing to do whatever it takes, you too can remove a bad habit from your life and maybe eventually you too can celebrate 24 years of abstaining that habit.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

2014-04-07 07.07.08

Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon.For more info on Cygnet Brown and her books, click here.

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