Category Archives: Health

Dealing with the Bugaboo of Weight

JANE
Jane

When I stepped on the scales at my annual physical, I realized that I have gained back a large portion of the weight I lost in my weight management program a few years back.  In the face of this sad reality, I have two choices:

1)  I can feel ashamed, try to hide this news from myself, get depressed, and gain back the rest.

2)  I can admit it to myself and do something about it.

The first option is tempting because it’s so much easier, but I’m going for the second.  It’s time to face up to the facts:  after losing all that weight and being convinced I would never gain it back because it cost so much to lose it in terms of time, effort, and most of all, money, I need to realize that my issues with food run deep!

I wish was my weight!
I wish this was my weight!

Here is how I know I need help:

1)  I eat when I’m stressed.

2)  I eat when I’m happy.

3)  I eat when I’m sad.

4)  I eat when I’m mad.

5)  I eat to celebrate big changes and grieve others.

6)  On and on.

And I’m talking about over-eating here, the kind of eating where your hand is just slightly  out of the control of your brain and picks up food and puts it in your mouth even after your body has plenty of calories and nutrients. 

fork and foodSo, I’m writing about all this here, in the hope that there are others like me out there who might want to share their thoughts—in the form of a comment or a guest blog post—especially if they have found things that have helped them make big mental breakthroughs. 

Here’s my plan for tackling this:

1)  I’m going to start reading those books that have been sitting idly on my shelf, i.e. books with titles like Women, Food and God, or Feed Me, or Thin for Life. 

2)  I’m going to admit to myself that I need some therapy because I’m tired of feeling out of control and I’m tired of acting like I’m not.

3)  I’m going to take steps toward getting my body back in shape by trying to eat less and taking a beginning yoga class, since my sister-in-law and Annice both tell me that it’s great for both strengthening muscles and relieving stress.

4)  I’m going to make myself not set goals I can’t reach, and I’m not going to feel shame about any of this.  My mantra is going to be:  “You can do this.  One day at a time!”

5)  (It seems good to have a five-step plan!) Any time I make any headway, I’m going to try to make myself take a breath and pat myself on the back, since if I don’t congratulate myself on the little steps, the big steps might never happen. 

If you have reactions, please comment or send us a blog piece.  I know I can’t be the only over-50 woman who wonders how it is even possible that she is still dealing with this crap!

Sadhvi Sez: OK, I get it.

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On top of feeling like a crone (which I am), a lot of stuff seems to be happening to those I love and the planet.  How is one to cope with it all?  I mean, the town that some dear friend’s of mine (Tosh and Garima) live in was destroyed by a 1000-year-flood (Lyons, Colorado), another friend who is just one year older than me found out he has a couple of weeks to live after going in to the doctor’s to see about a bump on his head, if I think of the economy I get really nervous, and and and.

I try to not be negative, I really do.  And even when I think I am helping the planet by sending FB friends a petition to sign that I feel might make a difference, it can backfire:

“Please STOP sending me all of these causes…. Thank you I have my own causes….. I have unfriended you and still I am getting them….. because I am a friend of a friend of mine…. I am so sick of being bombarded with every bad piece of news out there ….people are just going numb ….to it all…. Everyone knows that everything is f—-d,,,, I think its time to start spreading a little joy instead of all of this fear……”

Ajita, I truly am sorry, and I get the cosmic message because I won’t be sending out any more petitions to be signed to stop Monsanto, have GMO’s labeled, or to try to get the world governments to join in to help the Fukishima disaster, I promise!

Instead, I am going to start to write posts with things that I am liking, and not just my favorite lipstick (which used to be Chanel because of the way it glided on my lips, plus the smell was a wonderful, subtle rose frangrance but is now some weird smell that makes me feel like I’ve put some sort of cheap air freshener on – yuck!).

It’s funny, but when I started writing for this blog many years ago, I was only going to share what makes me happy.  I guess I started to get a little too personal; call it the “FB” sydrome of thinking I should “share” everything.  It’s a sickness and I know the cure.

So what am I liking right now?  It’s the 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey with Deva Premal and Miten.  I have loved singing since way back when we went to Catholic mass every week.  I can’t think of anything that I would rather be doing.  Chanting to the divine is just, well, divine, and I had forgotten about it and the places it takes me.

Take a look at the clip below, and if you’re interested, click here to jump in.

Thank You Deva and Miten!

OM

In Awe of Sleep

JANEI have to write about sleep again, since it keeps evading me.  I could rant and rave about how little sleep I have had over the past 10 years, or I could talk about how much I dread going to bed at night, knowing that I will be up again at 3 a.m., all by my lonesome, walking around trying to figure out what to do with my time.  But I don’t want to do that.  It’s too boring.  Everyone has heard it before.

I do want to write about how much I miss sleep and how I long to have it back in my life.  I don’t think I ever realized how much I loved and appreciated sleep until it left me.  Growing up, I took it for granted that I would go to bed at night and sleep until morning, without interruption.  I also took for granted how rested and alive I felt each day.  And any time I was exhausted from some activity or event, I knew that I would recover after a good night’s sleep.  I remember my mother saying to me often, “All you need is a good night’s sleep.”   And she was right.  That’s all I need right now:  one good night’s sleep.

But that’s not going to happen.  I can fall asleep without any problem, but come 3 a.m. or so, every night, I am wide awake, either worryin about some stupid thing or just plain wide awake.

I know one thing that ruined my sleep was having four children and waking up all night to feed them.  I tend to think that’s what ruined my sleep patterns for good, but I’m not really sure.  Plenty of people I know, especially women over fifty, never sleep through the night.  It just seems to be the new reality. So, maybe it was Menopause.  Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s having grown children.  Maybe it’s having pets.  Maybe it’s just being over fifty.  Who knows?

All I know is this:  I want to take a minute to say to anyone out there who has the ability to sleep through the night every night:  enjoy it!!! Never take it for granted!  Luxuriate in it!  Sleep an extra hour for me!  I wish to heaven I could take your place, even for just one night.

 

 

Play: It’s Not Just For Kids

Oops50:BarbaraWe usually associate play with children.

But why did we, the adults, stop playing?  What is at the heart of playing, and why is it good?  How can we do it more?
Most of us in the States grew up with the Puritan work ethic, which values hard work and frugality.  As Americans, we have a reputation for living to work.  Many of us are perfectionists and tend to deny ourselves permission to do something unless we can do it perfectly, or it’s “productive”.  We feel guilty if we’re just having fun.
 play1
Thanks to Stuart Brown, psychiatrist and founder of “The National Institute of Play,” there’s now ample scientific evidence showing the benefits of play in the animal kingdom.  A neurologist discovered humans develop more emotional maturity and better decision-making skills when they play more.
Brown says, “Play energizes us and enlivens us.  It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.”
Play is pleasurable.  It’s purposeless and fun. When we’re truly playing, we lose all sense of time and enter that flow state. Our spirit will always urge us to play, as our spirit is always seeking the highest feeling of joy and aliveness.  It’s our mind that puts the brakes on: “Play is frivolous” “I don’t have time”…
play2
So how do we get back to play?: There are five key ways:
1.    Get into your heart energy and let-go of play saboteurs that come from the mind.
2.    Remember back to when you were a kid having the most fun – what were you doing? How did you feel when you were playing? What would feel like fun now?
3.    Look at role models to inspire you. Movies like “Harold and Maude” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” are wonderful for inspiring play. The author SARK is another one.
4.    Give yourself permission. Let go of perfection and productivity and enjoy the process. Your only gauge should be how you’re feeling.
5.    Invite your friends to play.
Chew quietly your sweet sugarcane God-Love, and stay playfully childish. – Rumi

My Life Doesn’t Fit In My Jeans!

Cynthia Ackrill, MD

Ask an audience of 500 high-achieving women what isn’t fitting for them and you will get a lot of answers – from jeans to life to some things that truly can’t be printed! But over and over I hear recurring themes. We want to feel like our life fits, like our precious time and energy is spent in ways that reflect our values, in ways that make us feel effective, and in ways that leave us energy to take care of ourselves and have some fun! 

Why is this so hard? Why do so many truly remarkable women feel drained, their energy scattered in so many directions? To address this critical subject, we’ve invited Cynthia Ackrill, MD to share her expertise and understanding with our readers.

The secret may be in the error of the phrase I just used: “in ways that leave us energy to take care of ourselves and have some fun!” This is completely backwards! Yet, it is such a pervasive concept it is part of our culture. We take care of ourselves last, even give ourselves and each other kudos for the sheer martyrdom of it all. We are secretly competitive to do more than those around us. We are continually rewarded for external achievement, not for our ability to balance healthy self-care with managing the challenges of careers and lives. Sure, you might get noticed for dropping some weight, but it is rare for our culture- corporate or otherwise- to recognize the art of life balance.

Yet aren’t we drawn to those folks who have that grounded-ness, that vitality that comes from putting themselves on their own to-do list? And don’t we really know, somewhere deep inside, that making sure we have stoked the fires of our energy resources pays off–getting enough sleep, good nutrition, movement, recreation, social connection, etc. We certainly know it when we send children off to school. We know their little bodies must have the basic needs met to learn. Yet we expect our brains to be creative when cheating our rest and nutrients.  

Energy spent must be replaced. It’s not linear, by any means. Beyond the basic human needs, what refuels us varies. But we are all systems that operate best when balanced. And often it takes so little to tip the scales back toward balance. 10 minutes of me-time in the middle of a day can recharge batteries for hours. 10 minutes! 2 minutes of breath work can reset your brain and heart- how cool!

What can you do for yourself today to help your life fit? To reclaim some energy for your fabulous life?

To learn more about Cynthia Ackrill, speaker, coach and president of WellSpark, please visit her at her website.