The Health Responsibility Jar – UPDATE!

As promised, I am here to blog an update to an article under my “Health & Wellness” category. I am SO excited and thrilled that the Health Accountability Jar I created a month ago remains EMPTY. Yes, dear readers, it is EMPTY! No money has accumulated in there from Day 1. I have been reaching my 10,000 steps or more daily and it has been a blast feeling better, being more active, more mobile and feeling younger than my soon-to-be 52 years on this planet.

Now, can I jump as high as this young lady in the picture? Well, if I were built like a gymnast, perhaps. But I’m built more like a “healthier” version of a hobbit at 5’2″ – and I’m proud of my body image regardless! I still am making decisions each day to be accountable to my health because I am still hitting my daily goal of 10,000 steps daily or more and it’s a big deal to me because I wasn’t always making healthy decisions. This resulted in lack of stamina, being stressed out, acquiring high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, muscle aches and becoming an emotional eater throughout the years.

Now this did not happen overnight. It took YEARS. As I have gotten older, I decided to make changes to my health and read books, watched experts on TV shows, talked to my doctors, got advice from those who improved their lives who lost weight whether it was through bariatric surgery or thru a special diet regimen. There are so many solutions and I have tried many weight-loss plans, tried switching up my menu planning. I tried keto, vegan, vegetarian, combination, no-carb, low-carb, low-fat and even all dairy.  Temporary results with no lasting effects.

So I had to go further than just the surface. I knew I had a problem but understanding why I stuffed my face was more than because I loved food too much. I still love food, but I didn’t respect it enough to realize it is simply fuel for my body.  I alsowas not good at sharing my feelings because I internalized my emotions alot – especially anger, frustration, boredom and loneliness.

It wasn’t enough to acknowledge those emotions. I had to figure out the WHY and then follow through on the HOW to resolve this unhealthy pattern in my lifestyle.  Reading books by Tony Robbins and watching YT videos by Lisa Robbins and Dan Lok taught me a lot about my inner self, uncovering ugly truths about myself that I tried to deny through poor eating habits and inept nutrition.  Even living a sedentary lifestyle with very little activity expect pressing the remote button was not going to resolve my love-hate relationship with food and myself.

If some of you have read my previous articles here, you may have read about subjects I wrote regarding removing tolerations, what titles describe you (or what is your identity), and also about having a vision for your life. All of these topics have come my way closer and more frequently the older I got. When I turned 50 a couple years ago, it dawned on me that I slowed down rather then accelerated. Comfort was more a priority and many times, complacency became my BFF.  The spark or passion that ignited my dreams of becoming a best-selling writer decades ago had been stifled for years under piles of unfinished short stories, rejection letters I never tossed out and rewrites of outdated fictional drafts. My decision to pursue that passion was replaced with focusing on just surviving, making a living, paying the bills, trying to keep romance alive in an affectionate but lukewarm relationship and just merely existing was how I was beginning to feel at 50.

It also dawned on me that this was supposed to be the best time of my life – 50 was supposed to be fab, fearless, fruitful (not necessarily child-bearing) and fantastic.  I was past worrying about the kind of job I’d get, past the anxiety whether people liked me or not.  I was beyond dealing with silly office dramas and if I liked being alone at lunch, I was ok with that because I always had my bestie foods with me.  When I began to question what the hell was wrong with me, I figured out it was because I forgot how to seek fulfillment.  I just kept using the excuse, “Oh, just go with the flow. No need to work hard. No need to make the effort. You deserve to go easy now. You’re 50.”

Part of my nature though, is that I get bored easily. While I may enjoy the ease and comfort of relaxation, there was still a tendency for me to pay attention if something was interesting on TV or through a conversation or even on YouTube. My boredom never lasted because I hate it when my mind is merely surfing with random thoughts and going in no direction. It became very apparent during my 2-month medical leave while my rotator cuff needed healing by keeping the shoulder immobile in a sling.

Little did I know that in the area where my orthopedic surgeon worked, tissue, cellular growth, muscle and bone needed to re-connect thru sutures and tiny little screws. It needed healing because eventually it would face its worst nightmare: physical therapy. Of course, after going thru the pain and challenges of all those exercises, at six months post-op, I am thrilled that my shoulder is way better than where it was back in November.  I even attribute physical therapy to success: it takes time. Any goal worthwhile takes time. Be it strengthening and flexing the shoulder again or losing weight or paying off debt.  Any goal worthwhile takes time and walking 10,000 steps a day is achievable but takes time.

It takes little steps each day to reach a goal. It was the same way with my health accountability jar. Walking was something I enjoyed but I wasn’t sure if I could achieve 10,000 steps daily. I could do it maybe 2-3x/week…but DAILY? However, I held myself accountable by telling others when I blogged about it last month here at my website. I also sent pics of my pedometer steps at the end of each day to my Instagram account so my friends could see that I needed their help to hold me accountable. One night I was so tired, I didn’t post my steps until the next day and my co-worker asked me about it. She said she was used to seeing my Instagram post and when she didn’t see it, wondered what happened.  I immediately went to posting it.

It is kind of scary to be held accountable, but it also made me feel good that I could accomplish something like that and STILL continue to do those same steps day in and day out. Another big supporter was my husband. He wasn’t one to nag or preach to me about my health but he has always been concerned and was happy to see that I was taking actions to get active again and start making better decisions towards my health.

Learning about this tool in the 28 Days to Results program by motivational speaker & best-selling author, Lisa Nichols, was a huge contributor to my taking action. The program helped me break goals down in areas which I could take ONE action step towards it. Goals are achievable if they are realistic, doable and small enough you can take action consistently.

Walking 10,000 steps daily was achieved because my full-time job required me to move and walk to take care of tasks. My daily steps were achieved because I chose to park farther away from my office so I could walk to and from the location daily. My daily steps were achieved because I have a supporting co-worker who walks with me on our 15-minute breaks and it helps her feel better as well. My daily steps were achieved because I have a loving husband who cares about me and walks with me in the evenings in and around our neighborhood.

I made a decision to be accountable to my health. My goal to that accountability was to walk 10,000 steps every day. I still walk those steps plus more each day. My health accountability jar remains empty, but my heart is full with gratitude. I have learned over this last month that true wealth is better health and it is so true the older I get!

 

How do you honor yourself?

One of the most memorable and learning experiences I ever had is happening this weekend. I invested in getting more training for myself online through a great organization called Motivating the Masses. I am big on learning because it is something to fuel my mind, energize my spirit and remind myself to live a purpose-driven life.

Being part of the membership community of any association whether it’s professional or social can bring meaning and fulfillment outside of your every day life. Forming those social media connections and brand-new friendships in person can be rewarding as well as a type of networking that you can tap into at a later date.

When I was much younger, I didn’t put myself first alot. I grew up where family and culture and community is big. Service to others was always emphasized at church, at work even amongst friends. If someone was hurting or needing advice, I was there. Whether it was 10 am or 10 pm, my friends knew how to reach out to me and I made time for them. Again and again.

What I didn’t realize was that time for myself was getting less and less. I felt that being needed by others would fulfill me. Being popular and the “Dear Abby” of my friendship circle would help others change for the better. It would make me the person I was always supposed to be,right?

Not necessarily.

In the last thirty-some years, I realized that people come and go in your life. There are “fair-weather” friends who are there when times are good (and they are more than happy to spend my money and take up my time) and there are friends who are there for a particular season, which could be the amount of time you stay in a certain job or profession. There are friendships you formed in highschool that are still lasting or just there for the time you were in highschool. There are also the ones who are there for you thru thick and thin, no matter the decades that pass by.

Regardless, who is always with you? well…YOU!

Now you could argue with me and say, ‘Well, Shalei, God is always with you….or your family is always with you.” But I mean, in the darkest hours….when no one else is around….when you’re the last person in the office to lock up….when you are the last person up at night to put away the clean dishes and load the dirty ones. When you come home to an empty house because your partner is gone…..your children are grown and living elsewhere…..or you simply live alone because your cherished pet is in animal heaven.  When you are still, and quiet and behind closed doors and there is a sense of disquiet stirring in your restless spirit.

Do you honor yourself?

Many times when we think of honoring someone, it is usually something formal or solemn. We honor our veterans. We honor lifetime achievement awards to recipients such as celebrities, famous authors or a political leader or even volunteers to a charity. We honor a beloved friend or family member in celebration of the life they had.  But more importantly:

Do you honor yourself?

It is not being full of yourself. It is not being egotistical. It is not self-absorbed. Honoring yourself is appreciating yourself for all you do when no one else notices. So my question again is:

Do you honor yourself?

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, why not? There is no shame to be acknowledged. There is no shame to be validated. It is important to know that what you do matters. But you have to be the first one to recognize that in yourself. Whether your are over 20, 30, 40 or 50 and older – you are worthy to honor yourself but you need to believe it.

It is easier to encourage someone else of their worth, isn’t it time to renew that self worth back to you? No matter your age, background, experience, skill-set – remember to celebrate your own wins because sometimes, you can get lost in the shuffle of life. You may be overlooked at work even though you work behind the scenes or are sent out to pick up refreshments for a long in-house training or staff goal-setting session.

Sometimes even at a family reunion, everyone else is sitting at another table laughing and enjoying each other’s company, and you find yourself with your own food plate, sitting alone on the couch watching sports….or some other vague television show you don’t even watch. Why are you there?  How is it that you’re forgotten?

Remind yourself that you do matter. Your life counts though you may not give it a second thought. Self-care isn’t just for your appearance or health. Self-care also needs to be tended inside you.  Do you consider yourself worthy enough to love yourself just a little bit more? Of course you should!

So I ask again:  Do you honor yourself? If yes, I applaud you to stand proud that you are true to yourself.

If no, then I encourage you to find out why and keeping asking why until you find your answer.

To love, honor and cherish is not just for married couples.

Give yourself permission to love you right where you are at.

Give yourself permission to honor yourself in the moment, in the present.

Give yourself permission to cherish yourself because you a pearl of great price.

Do you honor yourself?

 

What “Titles” Describe You?

Writer. Partner. Motivational Provocateur. HEY!…did you catch that last one? yes, I actually have started calling myself that because I am striving to become one in my path to success and fulfillment.

It is a mouthful, but recently I watched a video on Instagram by financial guru Dan Lok. Dan has an Instagram content director who oversees the content and topics that are put forth for Dan Lok followers and anyone else interested in checking it out. This “SME” person shared some insight. One of the things he mentioned was how important it was to create a bio about yourself that is accurate and real (or as ‘real’ as one can be on social media).

My instgram account is marked ‘private’ so I can pick and choose who I want to follow and who I allow to follow me. My account is not all that important to anyone but me. It’s about my journey to self-improvement and better health as my shoulder (Bertha, remember her?) recovers and gets back in shape from shoulder surgery several months ago.

My bio has yet to post those “titles” I described at the beginning of this article, but I certainly believe those are my roles that I am and aspire to become. It is interesting to view when I see requests from strangers who want to follow me. Some titles are “mother of 2″….”CEO of my best self”….”Slutty & Successful”….and “Born to succeed, breed and conquer.” And no, none of them interested me enough to accept their requests.

I also noticed not all these “titles” match the photo listed on the Instagram account. Most show a picture of an individual smiling, maybe carrying a pet or with a trio of friends; another with a flritatious smile and revealing bosom, all tan and pretty, and another with just part of a very half-naked, sculpted physique only Donatello or Bernini would admire. Title and image create a visual impact to the viewer which will either gain a positive or negative reaction.

Yes, titles matter. They describe something about a person. CEO and Chariman. President and Owner. Her Majesty the Queen. 7-time Olympic Gold Athlete. They usually generate admiration and even inspiration for those of us who can only dream. Michael Phelps comes to mind when I think of Olympic Gold champion. I watched every segment he competed in.

This guy won 28 Olympic gold medals and is considered the most decorated Olympian of all time and a ‘success’. Why? Because he didn’t let limitations hold him back. At the age of 7, he was introduced to water and was “scared” of putting his head underneat the surface. So he learned to float on his back and inevtiably mastered the backstroke. One of many techniques he tackled to stretch and challenge his abilities to become the best.

He thought. He decided. He took action. He went for the title he believed he could earn. He paid a high price and that did not stop him because he set out to achieve what needed to be done to win the title of Olympic Gold Medalist. He achieved it and went after more. How’d he do it? 5 Things: Embrace Drills, Get in gear, Hit the weights, Rest & Recover and Train your brain.

“The superior man always thinks of virtue; the common man always thinks of comfort.” ~ Confucius~

How many of us have struggled with losing weight and staying healthy so we don’t go back and gain it all back? I am certain many of us have had the yo-yo effect of diets and exercising and even trying the latest trends to lose weight fast. With subtle advertising and subliminal gimmicks on infomercial programs that we watched many late nights while eating kettle popcorn or a bag of cheetos – many of us fall into that trap of wanting to lose the weight without sacrificing the comfort.

We so badly want to shed those pounds with a pill or supplement or “meals and snacks” but not have to exercise, sweat, and push our bodies to improve metabolism, burn calories, tone and strengthen.

We don’t like pain. If it takes too much effort, we whine about it. If it takes too much dedication or commitment, we procrastinate a little while longer.

We prefer comfort over inconvenience. It is human nature to seek comfort, ease and things that feel good. We don’t like to think about hard work, self-discipline and mastery over over-eating. It’s too difficult.

Today, we life our lives in a lot of convenience just at the click of a mouse. We can conduct billion dollar deals over the internet in record time. We shop online and things arrive at our door in matter of days or weeks. We have it way too easy.

And we wonder why we struggle with renewing our minds. Why we find ourselves fighting our inner strongholds because we cannot demolish the negative thoughts quickly enough. They’ve been there years and becamehabits.

“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to be harmoniously related to his inner state…Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.” ~James Allen~

James Allen is a famous British Philosopher who wroteAs A Man Thinketh which became his best well-known work when it was published in 1903. He had no idea just how well-loved that book would become for the rest of the world decades later as generations of people sought after becoming better, learned, articulate, generous individuals. He believe that our thought life eventually manifested into our reality.

We think what we become and as a result, what we project we attract. Whether this is good or bad depends on the situation and the outcome or results we want or don’t want. So if we don’t like the results our outcome we need to find a better solution.

Sometimes we need to change the title. If we’re carrying an invisible title that says “Poor self-image. Low self-confidence. No ambition. Complacent and easy-going” – maybe it’s time to kick things up a notch. Or kick it where it hurts!

The next time you see yourself in the mirror, ask you yourself, “What’s my current title? Is it accurate? Does it represent who I am?”

Writer. Partner. Motivational Provocateur. It’s what I am and what I will continue to become.

 

Waste Not, Want Not: Removing Tolerations

One of the best ways to declutter thoughts in a disarray is to have a physical environment visually clean, tidy and attractive. It serves a better purpose.  The mind can be renewed with fresh thoughts and ideas and an overall sense of well-being.

But many times as we get older, we tend to tolerate more things or situations for the sake of “letting things be” without really giving much thought to the consequences.  We allow ourselves to get caught up in the family drama, we try to play a role in the family to make sure everyone is happy even though we’re miserable.  We will say “yes” when we really want to say “no”. And we make excuses for others whose behavior is, frankly, inexcusable.

We all have been there at one time or another.  We all had others depend on us because they refused or chose not to depend on themselves.  Sometimes we tolerated things and people to be liked, to be popular, to be relied upon.  The downside on this is that we tolerate it until we accept it as part of our every day routine though it doesn’t bring us any closer to fulfillment or satisfaction. In fact, it often turns to internal resentment and even animosity towards others.

This all starts with tolerations. It’s not a bad thing, but if left unchecked can result into a bigger problem, mess or undesirable situation that may require massive overhaul resolution.

Perfect example is when I was recovering from shoulder surgery last November, I could not do anything – just had to keep the shoulder immobile as much as possible for several weeks. The only time I could move it was during physical therapy and when I needed to clean up or change clothes. Everything around me was just left as it was – cleaning was done by The Hubs but when he had time to do it which was usually on weekends.

I hated the mess. I hated being fully dependent on him. I had to get used to feeling less in control and tell myself the cleaning up can take place later next Spring.

Well, four months later – Spring arrived and I was still making excuses to leave things messy. I sometimes argued with The Hubs that once my sholulder can actually lift light weight items, I would start cleaning up and organizing. Eventually, when my physical therapists began adding weights to my exercises, my muscles strengthened along with the mobility and range of motion.

Now heading into 6 months out of post-op surgery, I no longer was allowing these “messy” tolerations lying about the house; I needed to take action, take stock into how to improve the look of the place and remove unsightly items that were either to be tossed away, donated, sold or boxed away.

Sometimes in our lives, we keep things around that slightly irritate us or when we look at us make us give out heavy sighs or roll our eyes and say, “Oh gosh…yeah, I forgot about that! Ugh. Just leave it. I’ll deal with it later.” And we push it up against a wall, or put it away in a drawer so we don’t need to look at it. Sound familiar?

Why do we keep these “tolerations” around? It could be the toleration is a relationship. A long-time friendship college days, highschool or chidlhood. It could be putting up with snide remarks from a cantankerous relative who doesn’t know those remarks are nasty jabs to self-image because that person is insecure as well. No one says anything. It’s just tolerated.

In my young 51 years, I have learned there are things and people I will tolerate and there are things and people I will not tolerate. At times, the things or people are out of my control but I can certainly control how I response or react and can certainly take action based on my response or reaction.

It is important to take the time to figure out if what we’re allowing is a reasonable discomfort to provoke us to take eventual action or if it is something easier to not deal with because if we do, it will result in negative feedback or hurt feelings. Sometimes feeling pain is a necessary step to heal. Just like with my recovering shoulder – physical therapy was necessary so my shoulder could get back into working motion again. Did I enjoy it? Hell no, not all the time. But as the shoulder got stronger, more flexible and put forth work into the home exercises in between visits, then it got easier, better and now enjoyable.

I enjoy learning new exercises to improve my range of motion for my shoulder.  Physical activity is so important! I also enjoy learning new technology and concepts to create additional income online. Mental stimulation to acquire more knowledge or skill-set is key to keep from feeling old and decrepit.  I embrace new and better ways of thinking to eliminate old, negative habits and replace them with better, consistent steps.

One thing I no longer tolerate of myself is making excuses not to get physical exercise daily. Physical therapy is only two times a week at 40-minute sessions. That is not enough to get this well-rounded, lovable woman into better shape. Also, as we age, it does get more difficult to keep a healthy waistline, stamina and healthy immune system.

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick.

One of the recent online courses I came across was at a site called Motivating the Masses. The founder is a motivational coach and author, Lisa Nichols. Her story from broke-to-abundance on a Dan Lok podcast so impressed me, I had to search her website online. She had talked about an annual writing and speaking workshop she does each year in San Diego. Well, I found the website and I immediately learned about the 28 days to Results program. I also signed up to attend the conference as a virtual attendee.

The 28-day to Results program that helps a person achieve small, doable goals which in turn provides consistent, positive and healthy habits in 9 different environments impacting one’s life. There is a lesson each day via e-mail and an action task to implement what was learned.

In one of the early lessons, I learned about responsibility and my homework was to select an environment I was going to implement an achievable goal each day to improve that environment. I also needed a tool to help implement that action task so I could start being consistent with that responsibility goal. So I created a Health Responsibility jar.

Good health has always been a battle with me since childhood. Being born and raised in Hawaii, I was exposed to a lot of damn, good food. My father was a former executive hotel chef, my Mom enjoyed cooking and baking and we always had delicious food around the house. Of course I was going to grow into a huggable, lovable “well-rounded” individual.

What became a fondness for food turned into obsession as I got older. However, allowing myself to “tolerate” eating an over-abundance of foods both healthy and unhealthy was not a good balance in moderation. With lacking exercise and leading a semi-sedentary life, my eating “tolerations” followed me into my teen years and adulthood. This resulted in obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Sadly, this is a self-destructive cycle that continues in my family to this day.

But I have been fortunate to meet others who have been in my situation and turned themselves around; I have had many positive experiences by engaging with organizations like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and Nutrisystem. They are all great plans and I have lost weight utilizing them at one time or another.

Yet, I gained it all back eventually. Why? Because the habit of “tolerations” as applied to food remained. It never went away, never got fully addressed and I had was not consistent in accountability. Habits take time to be replaced with better ones and as long as I was keeping it around, allowing it to remain and fester in my life, there could be no progress to create a different outcome.

That has changed since a week ago; learning about the concept of the Health Responsibility Jar as a tool to guide me to create a daily activity goal: 10,000 steps daily, no matter what. Even if I have to get the steps in up until I shower and go to bed, I choose to not compromise, make excuse or procrastinate til another day. If I don’t hit the daily steps, I put a $1 in the jar.

As I progress each day, I see the results of my steps because I post it to my Instagram account and share it with a few friends online that encourage me and hold me accountable. It is not easy, especially with this the capricious rainy weather in Oregon. I still walked my route to town during a downpour yesterday – and I arrived home soaking wet with only half my route walked but I was already near the 9,000 steps so I just kept doing cleaning tasks I needed to take care of because I kept putting it off (you see how motivation works once you start seeing results?).

It’s been 7 days, and my overall energy level is up. I’m excited, motivated and choose to stay on this path because learning what I tolerate and don’t tolerate is an ever-changing process. Do I still have days I don’t want to walk to town? Sure, I do but then I remember words by Tony Robbins: “Change is inevitable. You can’t stop it. What matters is what progress are you making when change happens?”

Don’t allow tolerations to keep you from making progress. Instead, bring one to completion and move on. I know I have and will continue to remove them one by one.

 

The Health Responsibility Jar

When your health is optimal, life is VERY good!

For most of us, being able to jump in the air like the young lady in the picture makes us cringe a bit inwardly, doesn’t it?

She looks way too happy, too flexible and frankly, my recovering rotator cuff (I named it ‘Bertha’) is making weird twinges of achiness in my right shoulder. Pure, old-fashioned jealousy.

That familiar phrase, Your health is your wealth pretty much sums up what we all know but not many of us follow through on it. Why is that?

There are a lot of reasons: We’re too busy. We’re too tired. We’re too lazy. We’re too ill. We’re too overwhelmed with other responsibilities.

I recently learned from a highly successful online entrepreneur that an excuse is equivalent to being a well-planned lie. When I heard that I thought, “Wow, this guy’s pretty blunt.” But then i began looking at my own life and how since childhood, I have always struggled with the ongoing siege of childhood obesity. It lead to yo-yoing between the latest diet fads, then back to regular diet and exercise, then not eating healthy at all and then sometimes eating better with some physical activity.

Still, the weight fluctuated. Sometimes I lost and sometimes I gained. It got worse when I had surgery and took 2 months off work to recover. I gained ALOT of weight. And mind you, I had lost close to 50 pounds about 4 years ago when my fiance and I (now husband) traveled back to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

 

What the heck was wrong with me?

I had other chronic conditions on top of my weight struggles: diabetes and high-blood pressure. I also had aches and pains, less mobility and flexibility. Yeah, I was a basic hot mess.

But I knew how important it was to stop hiding behind the excuses if I wanted results. But first thing had to learn was PATIENCE with myself. I was recovering from shoulder surgery. I was told even before I went in the procedure the post-op would be a long, at times painful road to recovery.

I had to PREPARE myself mentally. Nothing like actually going thru something to test your mental preparation. It was all true: after the nerve-block anesthesia wore off, Bertha hated me and reminded every day with her pain. I had to ice that shoulder 24-7. I had to sleep in a recliner. I couldn’t bathe until after 72 hours but I was in such pain, I remained smelly and stinky for the first week before I could even get into the tub.

I had to use a shower chair. I had to rely on my husband to be my care-giver to clean me up and dress me all the while moving that right arm hurt like hell and I hated it every minute of it. Even though my husband was patient, loving and gentle and supportive. I hated relying on him. I hated not depending on myself. I hated being limited.

I wanted better results YESTERDAY. However, just like dealing with my weight issues, results take time but they don’t happen if there’s no plan. I had no strategy to bring about those results except I knew physical therapy would be involved. I had to figure out a plan I was willing to commit to and work that plan consistently for however long it took.

This guy makes it look easy but these are some of the exercises I am now doing being over 5 months out from surgery. But I use resistant bands. I also use weights of not more than 3# to strengthen my shoulder muscles. I also do a lot of stretches, push-ups against the walls and these cat-cow stretches to maximize improving the strength in my back muscles.

Overall, I am doing much better. I am about 75% overall recovery but I have ONE major challenge left: getting my shoulder rotation so i can reach behind my back. That is my obstacle right now. I can barely reach the backside of my hip.

But I am determined because I’m not alone in this: I have the support of my physical therapists; I am committed to do my home physical therapy exercises they teach me when I’m not at the clinic and I’ll be damned if Bertha is going to get the better of me because physically, I still have limits on that shoulder.

My decisions, not the conditions, will determine my destiny. In this case, my decisions will determine how my health is optimized.

One thing I have recently added was to acknowledge that the way I look and feel today physically were the results of many decisions I made a year ago, two years ago, a decade ago. If I wanted to change that, I needed to change how I made my decisions. I needed to create small, bite-able action steps that would support those decisions to bring about a different outcome.

Enter the Health Responsibility Jar.

It actually was created from a homework assignment on a 28-day online course developed by motivational coach Lisa Nichols. One of the areas I wanted to improve on, obviously, was my health.

So the Health Responsibility Jar came out of a need for me to make a change in what I am doing so I can get exercise daily and be accountable for it. Since my shoulder has been improving, my strength has been coming back and I have been able to walk at least 5,000 steps or more using my pedometer as a guide.

What I learned was that I didn’t always hit the 5,000 steps and during really hectic days at work, I could easily reach 10,000 steps or more which is about 5 miles. I also noticed that I could hit 10,000 steps or more at least 3-4 times a week. Not bad, right?

So why not try to aim for it DAILY? Crazy thought, but hey, I don’t think average thoughts. In fact, sometimes I didn’t like the way my thoughts would take me to some far-fetched goal that is probably doable but in my undisciplined mind, I put it out of the way so I could avoid reaching for greatness. It was too hard.

But my desire to overcome my life-long battle with weight struggles overrode the side of me that didn’t want to put forth the effort. Just like how I am determined to not let Bertha be a mediocre, half-lame shoulder.

So yesterday, I took an unused, pretty, blue ceramic jar and dubbed it my Health Responsibility Jar. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps minimum each day. If I do not hit that goal, I put a $1 to the jar. My husband thinks its a good idea but will I stick to it? He knows my track record is famous for starting and quitting projects or goals when it gets too tough.

So accountability comes into play. Do I have what it takes to see this thru the next 28 days?

I will let you know when I blog about it here on May 4th!

Health Changes After 50

Aloha, All!

We have all heard it before: “As you get older, you need to slow down, eat less, stay active and get enough sleep because you’re not 20 anymore!”  Sound familiar? We are inundated with social media turning out blogs, videos, and endless get-slim-quick schemes so those of us in the “aging” population can keep up with the “youthful” generation.  Sounds like too much work, but it IS important to take care of oneself because let’s face it, we all are getting older.

Are we 50-somethings like fine wine or lukewarm water?

So what can happen to a person after they turn 50?  Health changes for one. For me, I was already experiencing the “symptoms” in my late 30’s and into my 40’s.

Now at 51, I have the pleasure of dealing with pre-menopausal symptoms. Oh, the joys for ya’ll who haven’t reached my age yet!  Turning to diet and exercise had been one of my love-hate relationships since my prepubescent days. Trying to educate myself with all the types of diets out there – I tried most of them: Atkins, low-carb, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and most recently, Keto.  All of them contribute to helping me carve out a more modified eating plan, but for years I’ve struggled with few health hits against me. Family obesity, diabetes and hypertension plus certain cancers have bombarded my family especially, I noticed, after many of us were heading into our fifties and later.

I thought after I hit 50, I’d be maturing like fine wine – admired for the flavor, texture, delicacy and aromatic. Nope. Not quite in my experience. Sometimes, I felt similar to that of tasting lukewarm water – without flavor, intensity, color or LIFE!

How does one combat all of this and still be able to function every day balancing work and home life?

Premium vs. Regular (gasoline, that is)

Perfect example: I drive a 2013 Chevy Camaro.  It’s a RED Chevy Camaro and it looks hot as (you can fill in the blank here) when it is washed and waxed on the outside. I do try my best to keep the inside clean, but on occasion, I have one of my jackets in there, I do keep a box of tissues on the backseat along with a spare throw or jacket when the weather is good. I also keep a container of mints or tic-tac, a couple bottled waters and in the trunk a tire air machine (I believe the correct name is an Ion Air Inflator by Craftsman according to Google).

The car can take either regular or premium unleaded gas. I usually will select the premium though it costs me about $43-$45 a fill-up these days.  Is it worth it? Absolutely.  Premium gas allows the car to perform at its optimum level.   On occasion when the budget gets tight, I pay for regular unleaded. The car still runs okay, but it’s not at optimal performance.

So what’s my point?  Consider yourself like the Camaro.  You can occasionally exercise, eat some whole foods, drink lots of water and try to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep after watching a marathon of your favorite Netlfix or Amazon Prime shows and movies.  But can you still function at your best? and for how long?

Change is inevitable – don’t run from it!

Health changes after 50 do happen. They can occur at ANY age, but for me and my family, it was noticeable after turning 50. The decision to put premium time and effort in taking care of one’s health as one gets older is critical for optimal, quality living. We were not meant to just “get by” and live an “okay” lifestyle.  It is so true that most of us don’t always pay attention until something life-changing occurs like being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at 37, or watching an only older brother go through an aortic aneurysm before he was 40 and the damaging impact it has had on his life, or seeing the fear in a parent’s eyes when told bladder cancer is diagnosed. Health changes are KPI’s (key performance indicators) to inform you it’s time to assess, evaluate and take action.

Consider some really easy steps to giving your health improved functionality:

  1. Consume more “premium” food (whole foods, to be exact – fresh veggies, some fruits, some protein and starch like quinoa, brown rice, or buckwheat).
  2. Get moving! Choose a type of exercise/activity you enjoy. I like simply walking and strive for the minimum of 5,000 steps daily and I wear a pedometer
  3. Get to bed a little earlier so your body can optimally renew itself with a 7-8 hr sleep cycle.
  4. Stay hydrated with drinking lots of water throughout the day.
  5. Check in with your doctor at least 1x/year (or more if you have chronic health issues that require monitoring).

Your health is your wealth.  Nothing else can’t happen unless your health is at optimal level and functionality.  My friends, this isn’t rocket science and it’s certainly not brand-new advice. It is a reminder that we have one body and one life.  So why not make give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. It’s never too late to get healthy and embrace the changes that come with life after 50.