Self Regulation

Last March I went to the doctor for my annual checkup and he informed me that my cholesterol  and blood sugar levels were too high. He asked me to come back in six months for a recheck.   I spent the summer working in the garden and changing my diet only a little. I  went back to  the doctor in September, and he said my cholesterol had dropped 50 points to a normal level, and my blood sugar was in the normal range.  I was surprised as well as dismayed, since that meant that I had to maintain my current level of activity and continue to watch my food intake.

The elevators at my work have been out of commission for three weeks, and won’t be in operation for another two weeks.  I work on the 4th floor of my building. I know that I will need to continue to walk the stairs all winter once the elevator is repaired.  I hate to exercise, but I hate the thought of poor health even more.

How do you motivate yourself for good health choices?  What should you do for better health, and how will you accomplish it?  How do you maintain your health?

25 thoughts on “Self Regulation”

  1. I am highly motivated to go to my gym at least 12 times a month because not only does the insurance company give me a little bit of money back but where I work gives me a little bit of money back. If you actually add it up I get paid to go to the gym.

    The other thing I’ve realized over the last few months of wearing a Fitbit is that I’m too efficient. I am always thinking about how to combine tasks that I have to do to make them faster, quicker, shorter. So the last couple of months at work I’ve been trying hard to not combine as many tasks or trips.

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    1. One thing I do if the weather is reasonably nice is to park at the far end of the parking lot. It just takes a few extra minutes to walk to and fro. As a bonus, it makes it very easy to find my car when I’m ready to leave.

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  2. I know that the way husband and I cook with our own garden produce and very little processed food is helthy, but my is it a lot of work. I remarked to a friend recently that all we seem to do is garden, cook, and go to church.

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  3. I’m glad to get your info about the cholesterol improvement, Renee – same thing was just told to me at my annual physical, and since I don’t want to take more meds, I will see if I can start doing more work. Also, spending so much time in the car on our road trip has made me realize I REALLY need to do more walking. Winter will help, since with no biking I am more likely to walk places, but I need to think ahead and plan for the extra time.

    Our senior center work out room now covers Sliver Sneakers provided by our supplemental insurance. I’ve been going in the after t’ai chi twice a week and doing some upper body work on their machines… should step it up to three times a week.

    And I have a 7-minute yoga regimen in the mornings that helps keep me limber. I’m hoping between that and the t’ai chi I can keep the arthritis at bay.

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  4. I had a hunch that this was not going to be a favorite topic for most baboons. Or maybe I’m wrong, and everyone is out hiking in the woods, apple picking, foraging for mushrooms, or working out at the gym?

    I’m a sloth, don’t move nearly as much as I should. It pains me to admit it, but it’s true. I have all kinds of excuses for this, but I shall spare you the litany. I know I could and should do better in that department. But I eat well. Very little in the way of processed fooda, and hardly any sugar. Lots of home cooked, balanced meals featuring seasonal vegetables from the farmers’ markets, and locally raised chicken and other meats.

    Perhaps my most significant daily practice is meditating. That half hour where I focus on calming my overwrought spirit and bringing some sense of tranquility to my body and mind, is truly precious. Considering the almost constant state of outrage I find myself in over DT and the current administration, my blood pressure is soaring. Only a combination of three different drugs and my mediation keeps it from going through the roof.

    To counterbalance all the bad news that I feel obligated to keep up on, I make a point of seeking out something positive to read or listen to. Music helps. Tonight Holly Near is performing at the Cedar. I love her and wish I could go, but today is Hans’ birthday and we have other plans.

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    1. I wish I could chime in on this discussion, but I really can’t. I’ve lost 25 pounds since my annual checkup in April but that’s definitely not due to watching what I eat and exercising.

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      1. BiR, I think T’ai chi is a wonderful practice. During my three weeks in China I saw people doing T’ai chi everywhere we went. In parks, public squares, everywhere. Many of them old folks, and they were remarkably flexible, strong, and energetic. It really made an impression on me that they had no trouble climbing the stairs to places I had struggled to reach. And this was seventeen years ago.

        A lot of people envision the lives of Chinese people as pure drudgery. And, to be honest there’s a lot of that. But there was also a lot of joy. A bunch of old men hanging out in parks with their birdcages, visiting with each other as their birds enjoyed the “fresh air:” dancer practicing their dance skills in public parks to recorded music. And all of those T’ai chi practitioners. I treasure the memories of that one sojourn to China.

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  5. I’ve always been health-minded, but have a hard time doing all the things I know I should be doing. It helps to take baby steps and add small incremental changes to diet and activity levels over time. Working a full time job and having a 1 hour bus ride both ways really makes it difficult to find time to exercise and we don’t have standing desks yet at work. I have a Mindbell app on my phone and set it to go off every 30 minutes while I’m at work. When the gong chimes, I stand up and do about 2 minutes of simple exercise movements or walk around the floor of the building — something to move my body. This is actually more beneficial than staying completely sedentary all day and trying to work out 4 days a week for 45 minutes at a time.

    Renee, I wish I had your commitment (and yard!) to grow so many vegetables and do all your own cooking. I do more cooking and eat little processed food, but it does help to have some on hand in a pinch.

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  6. Hi Kids—
    I’m stretched a little thin lately as I’m in the middle of two shows.
    College show, Rumplestiltskin, opens on the 27th. And then I stepped in to light ‘Barefoot in the Park’ covering for someone who got hurt. That opens next week.
    I’ve lost 10 lbs without really trying…
    But I’d sure like to be home working on a remodeling project.

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  7. OT: I trust Renee won’t mind my posting about something else. My family moved from Oregon to eastern Michigan in what we hoped would be a return to the Midwest. The move has not been a great success.

    My grandson is doing well. He is thriving athletically (soccer, hockey, karate). He astonished us all by excelling at mathematics. His public elementary school seems pretty good, although we hear that middle and high schools here are mediocre.

    My son-in-law and daughter struggle economically. My son-in-law quit his first job and now is deeply unhappy with his new job. My daughter has not been able to find appropriate work.

    There is a workplace culture in Michigan which is nasty and demeaning to workers. We know there must be places in Michigan that are more progressively managed, but maybe not many. I won’t go into details here about how bad things are. Both Oregon and Minnesota have much better workplace cultures than this area. I’m not sure why. This is critical to my son in law, for he works in these badly managed plants. It is equally critical to my daughter, an expert in human resource who now cannot imagine functioning in the sort of workplace atmosphere that prevails here.

    Even so, my daughter and I hope we can make a go of it in Michigan. Moving is so complicated and expensive. The latest plan is to stay here through the school year. But the odds look better all the time that we will move to the Twin Cities. You need not feel sorry for us. We are coping. But our travels sure reinforce our conviction that Minnesota is a great place to work and raise healthy kids.

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  8. I don’t have much self discipline when it comes to food, so I rely on physical activity for whatever benefit it affords. I don’t really have time to be very sedentary. So far, I have good metrics – healthy weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, lipid profiles & such.

    I have a standup desk when I’m at the flower shop.

    The thing I get frustrated with is the conflicting advice about what foods are good or bad for you. For years I bought margarine, because it was cheaper than butter and supposed to be better for you. Then they decided trans fats were bad. Skim milk was supposed to be healthy. Then I read that milk is a good source of Omega 3’s, but only if it’s whole milk. 2%, 1%, and skim have the Omegas 3’s processed out. Saturated fat was supposed to be bad, now they’re rethinking that. For a time they said eggs supposedly raised your cholesterol level; now eggs have been rehabilitated. The most reliable advice seems to be to stay active. No one seems to be arguing against that.

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      1. There are two ways to respond to this. The first, and probably the psychologically satisfying way, would be to become suspicious of research on what foods are healthy. The other response would be gratitude for the scientific method. It doesn’t promise perfection, and yet it tirelessly works toward more and more reliable information.

        This has become a core issue with me. I am appalled at the cynicism I see everywhere in our society today. To a point, it is smart to doubt things . . . to doubt people, advertising, the internet, professional groups, governmental pronouncements, etc. But that is ultimately defeating. If we are to live well we have to believe in something. Embracing negativity is self-defeating. Or so I believe.

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