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Health and Fitness information to improve your quality of life


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Growing Older The Cycle Of Life

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I took a trip home to visit my ninety year old mom this past weekend.  My older sister, met me at my brother’s house where we spent the night on Friday.  Our plan was to leave our brother’s house early Saturday and go visit our mother for the weekend.

We all had a blast Friday night drinking wine and reliving our youth with stories of the past.

We got up early Saturday morning and headed to the small town in south Georgia where we grew up.   Although there was at one time a grocery store, hardware store, drug store and dry cleaner, only the post office remains open.  It brought back so many memories of walking to the small downtown area as teenagers to get the mail and buy treats with our allowances.

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It felt so strange as my sister and I walked into the post office, forty years later to see our old mail box.  My mom still uses it to this day. We laughed as we tried to remember the combination but alas too many years had passed. So many memories in this small little town I used to call home.

Here’s a pic of us present day on the left and forty years ago on the right as teenagers –  pretending to be models  🙂

 

We decided to visit the old Baptist church where we spent a lot of our childhood. We walked into the service on Sunday and was shocked to see the church still had the same olive-green carpet forty years later.  It was sad to see only 25 members in church that day; our church was thriving when we attended in our youth.  It was another sign of how many small towns wither away over time. Our small downtown area now looked almost like a ghost town.

As the preacher began his sermon I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and returned back to the 1970’s.  We were in the back pew where we always sat in our youth.  There were few people we recognized, mostly parents of classmates and friends we knew as children; now in their seventies and eighties.  At the end of the service we were welcomed with open arms and we had a blast catching up after so many years.

My sister and I quietly walked home after the service, like we had so many days in our youth, feeling emotional and nostalgic.

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First Baptist Church Main Street

As we walked in the door of my childhood home, I began to think more about my own aging and the cycle of life.

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Where did all the time go?  How could I be fifty-seven years of age and my sister sixty? It seemed only yesterday we were teenagers in this house listening to the “top forty” on the radio, discussing our dates, and fighting over clothes and boyfriends.

As we walked in the back door, I saw my sweet ninety year old mother lying on the couch.  She looked so sad and weak.  I struggled to understand why a large part of the elderly population end up alone and with such a poor quality of life. This once lively home filled with children and laughter was now quiet, dark, and somber.

It makes me contemplate the life cycle and think more about where I am in the aging process.  As I grow older, time seems to go by faster. What will my quality of life be like when I’m older?  No one wants to think about declining health and becoming dependent on others.  But If you want some control over how you’re going to live your golden years, you obviously have to develop a plan of action.  I have no desire to leave it to chance.

I found this article that compares the aging process to the Stages Of Grief Applied To Aging :

 

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Selfie with my mom

 

Where do you think you might be today?

Denial – how can I be getting old? Just yesterday I was graduating college with the world at my feet, nothing too impossible, dreams just waiting to be realized. Sure some years have passed since then but old? Not me. It just doesn’t make any sense. It cannot be – I won’t let it!

Anger – screw this! I don’t deserve to have to endure the weight of the years, the aches and pains, the challenges faced in what were once basic, simple endeavors. It’s not fair and I am mad as heck.

Bargaining – I am going to work out four days a week and eat only healthy food. I am going to get my rest, avoid stress, see my doctor on a regular basis, and give up drinking. I am willing to do all of this in the hopes that I can delay my aging. Okay? Will that work? I am committed to doing whatever it takes. Surely I can beat this thing.

Depression – there is no avoiding it, there is nothing I can do, I am doomed.

Acceptance – although I am aging with potential physical and mental challenges waiting around every corner, I am still alive. I can experience a good quality of life living within my limitations. So I will no longer be the fastest on the tennis court or able to bench press twice my body weight – I accept that. What I can do is live my life as it is to the fullest possible extent. I have learned wisdom with age and will gladly share my worldly knowledge with those seeking my advice. I appreciate the beauty of a song, can revel in the wonder of a sunset, marvel at the excitement a baby shows experiencing life’s moments for the first time, genuinely share the pain felt in the loss of a loved one, and appreciate my spouse for each and every detail, quirk, and habit that have been such a vital part of my life. I accept me for who I am. Old age – bring it on!

“Getting old is not for sissies. But we are not the first nor will we be the last to negotiate the journey. Knowing that we are in a particular stage in a progression may give us hope as surviving each elevates us to the next, eventually ending with our acceptance of life as it is.”

I feel like I’m in between the bargaining and acceptance stage.  I’m starting to accept the fact that although I’m in good shape for my age and work as a fitness and yoga instructor; I still have limitations. However, I take pride in leading a healthy lifestyle and promoting the importance of diet and exercise.  My background in health and fitness has helped me to understand the impact of lifestyle on how we age.

I admire my mother so much for the qualities she instilled in me and still has to this day.  She has always been strong and had the attitude to “never give up.”  She continues to fight for what little bit of independence she has left although her health has significantly declined.  I noticed after my dad passed away that she gradually became less active and developed a poor appetite.  Her weight loss and inactivity left her weak, leading to more health issues, additional meds, and more side effects.

As I contemplate the cycle of aging; I’ve begun to  understand the need to optimize your health as you age.  The old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it” is so true.  Life should be lived to it’s fullest, enjoying the simple things, cherishing those you love, and living a healthy lifestyle.   That’s the key to moving into  the acceptance phase of the aging process.  I plan to make sure I reach the end of this life cycle with no regrets!

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Things Will Only Change When I Change

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We all struggle with making peace with our food choices, finding time to exercise and balancing family life. So learn to enjoy each day with a goal to do the best you can by making healthy food choices and increasing your activity during the day. Lose the guilt when you can’t find time for your workout or if you slip up and cave in to that piece of pizza or doughnut.


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Life is a roller coaster ride; learn to find balance and peace by losing the “all or nothing” attitude and always picking yourself back up and getting back on track. Fuel your body with what it needs to stay healthy and active most of the time but learn to enjoy, splurge and celebrate life’s special moments without the guilt.


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Take Responsibility For Your Life

The following quote from Eckhart Tolle

“Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences”19420717_1379921288763078_123818451850414898_n

It starts when you make the decision to change.  The right mindset is key followed by a written plan of action.  Determine specific goals that will allow you to bring about your desired change.  Check out my article on Five Steps To Reach Your Goals that will give you guidelines for bringing about positive change in your life.  It all starts with the determination that you will take responsibility for your life and the consequences.  You have the power within you for change; it all begins with you.


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Ten Steps To Halt Binge Eating

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Binge eating is a disorder that can lead to poor health and emotional issues.  Some of the symptoms include gorging on large amounts of food in a short period of time, continuing to eat when full,  and the inability to control eating habits.  Psychological issues can arise from guilt related to weight gain, hiding food, and embarrassment over gorging. www.helpguide.org lists some specific behavioral and emotional symptoms of compulsive overeating that include:

Behavioral symptoms of binge eating and compulsive overeating

  • Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
  • Rapidly eating large amounts of food
  • Eating even when you’re full
  • Hiding or stockpiling food to eat later in secret
  • Eating normally around others, but gorging when you’re alone
  • Eating continuously throughout the day, with no planned mealtimes

Emotional symptoms

  • Feeling stress or tension that is only relieved by eating
  • Embarrassment over how much you’re eating
  • Feeling numb while bingeing—like you’re not really there or you’re on auto-pilot.
  • Never feeling satisfied, no matter how much you eat
  • Feeling guilty, disgusted, or depressed after overeating
  • Desperation to control weight and eating habits

Binge eating can lead to social isolation, anxiety related to meals, and many health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.  Prevention Magazine reports,

“Binge eating is a psychological disorder that usually has much deeper roots than a simple food craving,” says Mary Ellen Sweeney, MD, obesity researcher at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“Binge eating is literally stuffing feelings down,” says Mary Froning, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Washington, DC. As long as we’re eating, we don’t have to deal with feelings such as anger, anxiety, or depression, say doctors.”

Try these 10 steps to help you overcome binge eating:

  1.  Consider listening to positive affirmations daily related to overeating and self-control.
  2.  Make a point to eat something healthy at the beginning of each meal.  Try a smoothie, juice, or glass of water before meals and a binge. If you have additional cravings for something processed or junk food afterwards, allow yourself to eat it without guilt. However, make an effort to eat it slowly, focusing on mindful eating by enjoying each bite and savoring the taste of the food.
  3.  Set a timer to extend your meal time to 20 minutes. Practice drinking fluids in between bites and counting how many times you chew each bite.
  4.  Don’t stock unhealthy items in your home.  Therefore, it will require more effort to leave your home to go purchase the binge food. If you give into a craving, buy small portions.  For example, if you have a strong desire for ice cream, buy a pint rather than a half-gallon. 
  5.  Stop dieting and avoid starving yourself throughout the day.  Get in the habit of eating regular meals and try to balance each meal with protein and healthy fat. Healthy fats such as walnuts, coconut oil, and avocado help fill you up and stabilize your blood sugar.
  6. Lose the all or nothing attitude.  If you binge, learn to accept it and consider starting a journal to jot down your feelings. Did something happen at work?  Are you anxious or stressed for some reason?  Learn to detect behavioral patterns and determine ways to alleviate stress before it builds and becomes overwhelming. Perhaps take a walk outside or call a friend or loved one.
  7. Make a list of what you can do to improve your health and consider adding one item on the list each month. Make sure each item on the list is doable and something you feel strongly you can achieve. Examples can include: I will eat breakfast every morning for the next 30 days, I will eat a green food item with one meal each day, I will try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night.
  8. Treat yourself once a month by doing something non food related that you enjoy. It can be as simple as going to a movie with a friend or buying yourself something nice such as a massage or new clothes.
  9. Consider getting a physical and a comprehensive blood workup to look at any deficiencies or medical issues.  It may be helpful to start a multi-vitamin to help ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need on a daily basis. Always check with your doctor before starting any vitamins or supplements.
  10. Therapy can help disclose and work through hidden issues that may be causing emotional turmoil and overeating. Many therapists are covered by insurance and now offer online therapy in the privacy of your own home.  Other options include self-help books and group therapy.


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I Like Flaws, They Make Things Interesting

How many of us look in the mirror each morning and only see our imperfections? You focus on small wrinkles around the eyes, stray gray hairs, imperfect teeth, cellulite, belly fat, ..etc.  What would happen if you changed your ritualI like flaws and began to see beauty instead?

The quote ” What you focus on will flourish” is so true in many ways. If you bring attention to what’s good, the bad will fade. Learn to wake up with a positive outlook and take a good look at what you like about yourself. This can make a tremendous difference in your self-image and your confidence.

What’s unique about your beauty? Is it your beautiful eyes, a gorgeous smile,  glowing skin, or your winning personality. Begin to let go of your imperfections; they are less apparent to others than you might think. Learn to embrace your flaws, accept them and begin to explore what you can do to accentuate your posititive attributes. As you begin your path of self-exploration, take inventory of what you see and write it down.  Don’t focus solely on appearance; look at personality traits and  how you interact with others. People are drawn to others who exude self-confidence and portray a positive attitude. How do you make others feel when you interact with them? Give others your full attention and look them in the eye when you talk to them. Really LISTEN to what they have to say.

Self exploration gives you power, knowledge, and self-confidence. Learn to take care of your body, your appearance, and your soul. Perhaps you may consider giving yourself a makeover, or maybe you want to improve other areas of your life such as job or social skills. Discover new books you want to read, learn a new language, or discover a new hobby. Challenge yourself to take a yoga class or try meditation. Learn the importance of being quiet and reducing stress in your life. We all have many areas of our life we can improve on that will improve our quality of life.

What you focus on will flourish. Self-confidence looks beautiful on everyone. Learn to love yourself!


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Drop And Give Me Zen

Life passes by in a flash and there is nothing we can do to slow it down. Learn to appreciate the small things that bring you joy. Make each day count by practicing kindness, patience, and compassion. Learn to let go of anger, resentment, and regrets.

Determine what’s important to you by setting priorities. It’s not about the job, impressing others, social media, or material items; none of that will matter in the end. It’s about learning to savor the moment, making wonderful memories, and celebrating each day with those you love.

 

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