We humans do some pretty odd things with our health. I know someone who was so afraid of breast cancer that she underwent a double mastectomy, but didn't quit smoking. I know people who are 100+ pounds overweight, and taking massive quantities of medications to control blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, back pain, knee pain, and acid reflux, even though losing the weight would reverse most, possibly all, of their other health issues. I've known of people with bleeding ulcers who won't give up alcohol, and people experiencing bouts of paranoia who don't want to give up smoking weed. I know women who bask in the sun until their faces resemble baseball mitts and then undergo plastic surgery. And people like me, who really love to work on the laptop while sitting on the sofa far better than at the desktop on the treadmill desk, but who suffer horrible muscle pain after too many hours of sitting.
We humans can be our bodies' own worst enemies. But we can also be our own genius physicians.
The key is to decide. Once you make the decision to be your body's best friend, you begin to become just that. Changing habits takes time and persistence, yes, but if you don't take that first step, the step of making the decision, those crucial changes of habit can't even begin.
Drink more water. Good water, not chlorinated, fluoridated, or bottled unless that's all you have access to, in which case, drink that. Water is good for you. Pure living water is even better for you. Find a source for good, living water, fill your water bottle every time it gets empty, day and never let it be far from your side.
Sit less. (I swear to god, I'm moving from laptop to treadmill desk as I type this.) So how do we do this? I hear a bunch of you saying you can't afford a desk treadmill. My hubby built mine, but he did have to purchase the parts. But you don't need a treadmill desk to work standing up. When I first learned that the cause of the excruciating lower back pain I'd been having was probably sitting too much, I made 3 stacks of books on my desk and put my keyboard atop one, my monitor on another, and my mouse & pad on the third. And sure enough, the pain eased within a few days of writing while standing. And as awkward as it felt at first, it became easy-peasy in very short order. Hours.
Move more. Yes, this goes hand in hand with sit less, but it can't be emphasized enough. I recently noticed myself sliding into the tendency to ask my husband to do things I never used to ask him to do. The main one was having him carry the full laundry hamper from our ground floor bedroom to our second floor bathroom where the washer & dryer live. I didn't think anything of it, until I read in GODDESSES NEVER AGE several examples of the same thing. I know women who hit a certain age and suddenly make their husbands or sons go out to pull the car up to the entrance, before they'll get in. We don't lose the ability to do things because we get older. We lose the ability to do things because we stop doing them. So open your own stuck jars, carry your own hamper up the stairs, get up and get your own drink or snack or cuppa, walk your own dogs. And here are a few more tips. Take stairs instead of elevators every single time. Park in the farthest spot from the entrance no matter where you are going. One of my daughters, an R.N., uses her 30 minute lunch break to walk. She walks outside even when the weather is unpleasant. She walks inside when it's brutal, around and around the small building's halls. She walked every single day of her recent pregnancy including the day when she was pretty sure those funny cramps were the onset of labor. (They were.)
This is a big one: Stop Eating Processed Foods. Anything that comes in a box or can is processed; mixes, dry cereals, ready-to-eat anything. In my household, we've been steadily trying to buy more and more groceries at this amazing local farm & produce market, and less and less at the big chain grocery stores. And succeeding! Fresh fruits and vegetables, locally raised meats and locally produced dairy products including milk, cream, butter and cheese, whole grains and fresh herbs and spices. Even our goodies, giant homemade half-moon or chocolate chip cookies, pies and homemade loaves of bread, come from the farm market nowadays. Our grocery store items have been reduced to things like bathroom essentials, laundry & cleaning products, and cooking oil.
Lose Excess Fat. (If you're doing all the things listed before this one, you're already losing it!) Extra fat puts a whole lot more pressure on your bones and joints, connective tissue and muscle. It increases your likelihood of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, heart disease, many kinds of cancer, and a host of other illnesses, and it overworks your heart. Losing just 10% of your body weight can result in reversal of countless ailments. And it's not as hard as we make it. It's really just a matter of being accountable. I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, and I swear by it. The program is fabulous, cheap, easy to follow, and it works. (*I am NOT a WW affiliate. I don't get paid if you go sign up.)
THE MOST POWERFUL, LIFE-ALTERING CHANGE OF ALL is changing your mind, your default setting. Break the habit of complaining, and replace it with the habit of praising. Instead of spending time worrying about what isn't working, spend that same time singing your gratitude for what is. And that is something you can do more easily than any of these other suggestions. Just decide to, and then start paying attention to what's coming out of your mouth, and through your emails, posts, tweets and phone calls. It's just that easy.
Let's change our habits and become Ageless Goddesses who treat our bodies with as much care as we treat our kids, our families, and our friends.
Tell me what changes you've made that have improved your health in Comments, below!
Visit the Maggie Shayne Readers Group on Facebook to continue the discussion!