Good morning (or afternoon, evening or late night – depending on when you’re reading this…its morning for me right now). My usual morning routine has been put into play – and now I’m sitting here with a hot cup of coffee and listening to the Grateful Dead (“American Beauty” album for those wanting to know). In about 90 minutes, I will be headed off to a medical specialist to have my left shoulder looked at. About two-plus weeks ago, I jammed my shoulder while mowing my vast yard (I have the largest backyard in my neighborhood – and yes, I bought this house specifically for the backyard). I didn’t think things were bad, but the swelling did not go down after three days. A visit to my family doctor, and the prescription of a pain killer (which I take as sparingly as I can) and an anti-inflammatory hasn’t produced the desired results. Thus my coming visit to a specialist this morning.
However, all of this got me to thinking over the last few days about how often I see folks neglecting their health concerns…particularly in the Pagan community. We talk an awful lot about healing up our beloved Mother Earth (and I’m in no way being sarcastic here), but we tend to not pay attention to our own health or wave off injuries or sickness as something that’s not “significant” – until it becomes worse and someone else pronounces it to be significant.
I’m not going to sit here and get all that preachy on ya’ll. Nor am I going to tout myself as the paragon of virtue on this. Because I’m not. I stand about five feet, six inches tall. I weigh about 175-180 pounds – my weight fluctuates somewhere between those numbers. I’m also a Type-II diabetic, whose BGL (Blood Glucose Level) is not controlled. I’m extremely guilty of overeating – particularly in meals where I go out with friends. I have a hardcore sweet-tooth (originally wrote that as a sweet-toth – but changed it because I don’t follow an Egyptian God or Goddess…::cheesy joke::). I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should. So, don’t think I’m sitting here trying to say I’m doing so much better than anyone else, because I’m really not.
I make excuses, just as anyone else might. Its too hot outside to exercise. Its too cold outside to exercise. I’m too tired. Its too late in the day. But the truth be told, these are just excuses that I tell myself (and sometimes others who might inquire as to why I don’t do this or that). My last visit to the doctor, my blood pressure readings were off the scale – enough that my doctor was concerned…REALLY concerned.
Why am I revealing all this information?? Well, its simple. I’m realizing (a bit late in my life at 48) that I need to be more active. I need to lose some weight. How am I going to walk my Path when I’m not being true to my own health? And I realize that I am not the only other person in this particular rut in the dirt-road of Life.
The Plan – Exercise
I can’t really speak to what anyone else might be willing to do. But I can speak to my own plans. I’m a book and music addict. So, I decided that a reward system for myself would be helpful in trying to ease myself into some exercise. I already walk about twice a week (3+ miles each time). But I need to walk more…a lot more. I also need to incorporate some other exercises into my life as well. So I choose some basic stuff – arm-curls with weight, and situps. Nothing major. I might add other exercises, such as swimming, later on – but I’ve read that the idea is to incorporate this slowly…and get it to stick. Plus, there need to be off-days in there as well, to allow the body time to heal up from some of the exercises.
- Walking – 3 days on, 1 day off. Day 1 and 3 – I will walk my normal 3 mile route. Day 2 – I will walk a 4.5 mile route that I used to walk a few years back when I was unemployed. Then a single day will be taken off to allow my legs and feet a day to rest. Every 100 miles that I accumulate, I will reward myself with a book purchase (incentive here folks.)
- Arm-curls with weight – Again, starting out slow. I have some 3-pound weights, so I will start there. 3 sets with 20 reps each. Two days on, one day off. Every 100th set will earn me two song purchase on iTunes. After I reach 500 sets, I will move up in weight to five-pound weights.
- Situps – Again, starting out slow here. 25 situps per day. Every 1000 situps will earn me an iTunes album or an eBook, my choice. Once I reach 3000 situps, I will increase the frequency by 5 more situps. This will follow the same days as running – so the two exercises will be on the same day.
Of course, all of this will coincide with a change in my diet as well. Or I should say, in the amount of food that I eat. I’ve already managed to cut processed sugars out of my diet for the most part. It took a lot of understanding on my part that I wasn’t going to be able to manage that completely. Next up is salt…and the hardest part of all – fast food, particularly fried foods. I have a Taco Bell habit that will be difficult to kick…and I do enjoy the occasional burger at Fuddruckers – but if I keep that to a minimal amount, it should suffice. If not, I can cut those completely at another time. The idea is not to go drastic…otherwise, I know this won’t stick with me as a life change.
Now, I’ve shared some of the life changes I am headed towards – hopefully, this inspires you to look at how you’re taking care of yourself as well. After all, we cannot be good stewards of our planet, caretakers of our Green environment – unless we are taking care of ourselves first.