Saturday, January 30, 2016

On Turning 70 and Change

For years my New Year's Resolutions have had a depressing sameness:
1. Lose weight
2. Get fit
3 - 12 (everything else)

For the 1st time in my life I'm still keeping my New Year's Resolutions on Jan. 30th. Thank you Gretchen Rubin for your books: "Better Than Before - Mastering Habits of our Everyday Lives" and the matching journal.

Turning 70 last month made me stop and think.

I told myself that seventy does not mean to just coast through the rest of my life. Seventy means to work harder now to change the things that make me disappointed in myself. Gretchen has mastered the art of forming good habits and she shares her insights. Works for me.

1. Lose weight. I went on Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet on Sept. 19, 2015. I lost 25 pounds by Jan. 16 - and have kept them off. The Cookie Diet is the easiest, best tasting diet I have ever been on. Besides cookies, there are milkshakes.  Dr. Siegal, D.O., M.D., wrote a book, "Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet" Book", with the details. Dr. Siegal also authored a cookbook that I'm using which makes it easier to keep the pounds off after the cookie diet. Now, after a week's break, I am starting on my next goal, to lose 25 pounds by July 1st - only this time, I'm going to the gym.

2. Get fit. I joined Timber Town Fitness here in Estacada Jan. 18th, and started a program of cardio and weight training. My trainer Daina Cisco is expert in all the equipment and also in the body, and knows exactly what muscle groups are used in each exercise. She knows what muscles to stretch to release a cramp, and her encouragement helps me keep going. The gym has state of the art equipment and terrific classes. I looked in on their "Pound" class, and aim to be in the next session What could be more fun than moving to music with weighted drum sticks? Oh, right, but they don't have a belly dance class (yet).

2. Get fit, part II. My husband is totally supporting my efforts, and bought me a Fitbit at the time I joined the gym. What do you need to track and monitor to reach your goals? 

3 - 12 (everything else) There is room for tracking four habits at a time in the journal, which is more than enough for most people. Some people can form a habit in two or three weeks. Some habits can take six weeks or more to make secure. Checking off a box that I did a habit I'm working on feels great. An empty box is a pointer to review the ways habits form and change something.

I am not bragging - who brags about waiting until 70 to lose weight or get fit. I am pointing to the tools and books and people who are inspiring and educating me so I can reach my personal goals, after decades of failing. If I can change from using these tools, anyone can. Why wait until you're 70?

What do you want to accomplish now, this year, this month, this week? Get started today. Now is the only time any of us have to make a change.

I'm inspired to increase my commitment to exercise, to good nutrition, and to decluttering, by the following books because they work for me. They are the right tools found after many failures and I recommend them to anyone who wants to change an aspect of their life.

The Life-changing magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondo.  I've gone through my closet and drawers using Marie's method, and it was fun, easy and works for me. Now I can toss the four books on my shelf that didn't work for me. Books are tidy too now. Another category of stuff - bathroom stuff, is half done. Kitchen stuff, papers stuff, nostalgia stuff still to go.  I love opening my drawer and seeing my socks all ready to go, not having to stir around a pile to find a pair. I didn't know how much energy we get from having a tidy place, and how much energy I was losing by the discouragement of starting the day with a messy closet and dresser.

Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John J. Ratey
This book pushed me into the gym. Here is what I read:"Exercise has a profound impact on cognitive abilities and mental health." Dr. Ratey's goal in his book is stated as: "to deliver in plain English the inspiring science connecting exercise and the brain...". As I came to see the effect doing aerobic exercise has on the brain, I understood that here is the answer to my deep desire to be healthy to the end of my life, to not burden my family with having Alzheimer's or some other debilitating malfunction of the mind. It is simple - extremely simple. Do aerobic exercise regularly and you have the best insurance that money can't buy to be mentally fit and mentally active to the end of your life.

Why Isn't My Brain Working? by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS
This is a thick book with a great deal of information in specific, scientific language. Dr. Kharrazian does his best to write to the average person, but the subject requires certain vocabulary. My husband and I are both reading this book, because it appears to hold some answers for specific physical issues that doctors have not been able to address successfully with us.  Datis emphasizes the causes and effects of inflammation on the brain and body, and he gives concrete, specific remedies. This is not a quick fix, easy read, overnight change type book. This book requires thoughtful investigation and determined pursuit of a healthy body. Be prepared to work for weeks or months on an issue to reach your goal. This is the one book I'm recommending that I cannot say "It works for me", because I haven't finished reading it and started a remedial program yet. I add it because I think I will find answers, as have others using his solutions.

You do not have to wait until Jan 1st, 2017 to start making changes. Please let me know if you find any of these tools that have helped me are helpful to you too.