Weighty Matters

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Reforming the Fitness Habit

I’ve heard from a lot of different sources that it takes 21 days of consistent repetition to form a new habit.  That might be, but then it takes days 22 to forever, to keep that habit going.  Among other things, I realized that I haven’t been as physically active as I was about six months ago.

No, I haven’t gone all sluggish and slothful, but I’m simply not quite as diligent.  If I’m going to ride my bike for several miles in the morning, I want it to be at least semi-light out, so I fell out of that routine when the days reached the point that it was still more dark at 6 a.m.  Then I was tired in the morning and didn’t bound out of bed with good energy.  I dawdled longer in my morning routine which then cut the amount of time I had for a walk with the pups.

After work It was easy for me to convince myself that I was sooo tired that the dogs and I could settle for a shorter walk than the nice half hour-45 minutes.  This kind of lazy thinking makes me the most upset.  Those shorter walks not only don’t do me as much good, but I’m shortchanging the dogs on the physical and mental stimulation that they need!

So, it doesn’t matter that I was super enthusiastic and consistent for a few years with my devotion to exercise.  When you let yourself get out of the habit, it’s easy to keep sliding down and cutting back.

Not good.  Not good at all.  I’m adjusting my attitude on this again too.  It all starts with the mental dedication.  When the side of me that wants to be lazy comes up with excuses, the rest of me gives it a, “Shut up and put on your walking shoes” look.  The wind eased way down yesterday afternoon so I jumped on my bike for a 7 mile ride.

The dogs get two walks a day with one of them being longer.  Sometimes with my schedule, it might be a challenge to get those walks in but all three of us need them so I just need to be more creative with my scheduling.

One of the cool things about all this is that more exercise doesn’t make me more tired.  Being physical actually kindles more energy.  Since I increased my activity the week that I was away on the cruise, I’ve felt better with more pep in my step.

Because my mindset has been a bit screwed up, I probably don’t have full objectivity about this whole thing.  Honestly, I’m sure that I haven’t gotten as lazy as I think.  The fall back behavior for me when I’m not doing all that I think I should is to then turn around and blame myself, deciding that I’m doing even worse.  Hellish diseased thinking, that!

Whatever the case, I like being back on an acceptable course.  It’s better for me all around.

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Staying on the Total Care Track

Odd as it might sound, it is sometimes overwhelming to take care of ourselves the way that we need to.  Here’s my case in point.  Among the many wonderful things that I inherited from my parents, came a few not so desirable things.  I have a genetic tendency toward gum disease.  I’ve known this for 20 plus years.  Keeping my gums healthy requires dedication to care at home and visits to the dentist office four times a year for a good periodontal cleaning.

Usually, even when neglecting other aspects of my good health – like I did prior to weight loss surgery when I was super obese and oh-so-sedentary – I still kept those quarterly hygienist appointments for deep cleaning and was mostly good with my home care.   There’s no other way to put this, but somehow in the last 18 months, I spaced on the oral healthy commitment.  I went in March 2013, made next appointment, forgot the appointment until they called to remind at which point, I couldn’t make it.  Rescheduled for a month or so later, but was sick for that one.  See how the slide happens down the slippery slope?  Anyway, I forgot to reschedule right at that point.  Every once in a while I’d think, with a sharp stab of guilt, that I really needed to call and make an appointment, but I’d let it slide.

A couple of weeks ago, the office called me to ask if I’d talk to a co-worker who had questions about our company’s dental insurance plan.  Oh, and did I know it had been quite some time since I’d been in?  *gulp*  “Um, yes, it has and I’ve been meaning to call,” I sort of stammered.  We set an appointment right then.

A few days or a week later, the dentist himself called me too.  He didn’t know that I’d spoken to the office but he’d realized it had been a while since he’d seen me and wondered how I was doing.  Honestly, I feared a scolding, but he is one of the coolest dentist’s in the world.  We acknowledged that we both know that I know what I need to do to protect my gums and, ultimately, my teeth, against disease and moved on.

So, the appointment was this morning.  They x-rayed, did that poke test, thoroughly cleaned and polished and the dentist also came in and did his examination.  I feel like I dodged a dental bullet.  The results weren’t anywhere nearly as bad as I feared.  There’s room for improvement which can happen as long as I stick to the home care regime and come in for the cleanings four times a year.  You can bet that I made the appointment for my next visit before I left the office and it’s already on my calendars.

While I was stretched out in the chair, sometime between the gum poking and the final polishing, I had a realization.  We can’t pick and choose  the essential elements of our self-care.  Annual physicals, breast self-checks and mammograms for women, prostate self-checks for guys, eye exams and dental visits aren’t optional.

It doesn’t matter if I’m crazy busy at work and have more than enough extra-curricular activities to tie up my nights.  These are things for which I must make the time.  It’s not like I ever miss making or keeping my manicure and pedicure appointments.

Honestly, it’s deep on the dopey side for me to overlook any of these elements when I’m working so hard on my weight loss and overall physical fitness.  If the goal is the most healthy Mary I can be, which it is, then I need to be vigilant about the entire package.  Total Care.

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