A few months ago I saw a picture of myself that I didn’t like. In the picture I appeared tired and unhealthy. I looked as though I had not gotten much sleep and even though I was smiling I could see the signs of stress. My waistline had more inches than I desired and the outfit I was wearing didn’t fit the same as when I had purchased it. What was I doing wrong? My husband and I were going to Planet Fitness 4 to 5 days a week and were trying to eat the right things. I was trying to limit the amount of bread, sugar and fat we were eating and staying away from fried foods for the most part. The picture disturbed me enough that I was determined to do something about it other than hide the picture and ignore what was going on with my body.
After reading articles on everything from diets to aging I came up with a few conclusions. According to aging experts we go through biological changes the older we get. As our muscles age, we tend to store more fat in our bodies. On average we gain 1.5 pounds each year from the age of 25 to 60. It totally makes sense why my stomach doesn’t look like what it did when I was 30 and maybe even forty. That’s why my driver’s license tells off on me every ten years when I have to update it.
Being without a thyroid and getting older I have double trouble. Having an underactive thyroid, your metabolism is slower and if your hormones are not controlled weight gain is imminent. Each time I visit my endocrinologist the first thing I ask is what was my weight at my last visit. My doctor knows my concerns and tries to help me figure out how to manage my weight by diet and exercise and getting enough sleep.
After staring at the dreaded picture for a while, I decided I was going to make some changes. Working out more wasn’t going to be an option since my husband and I are at the gym already 5 days a week. According to my Fitbit I had climbed enough stairs to reach the clouds and walked the length of Africa in steps. According to my couch to 5K app I was capable of running/walking a 5K, so I wasn’t concerned about not getting enough exercise.
When you really look at it, weight is just like money. When you have a shortage of money, there are only two options; make more or spend less. I considered weight to be the same way; if you want to achieve a certain weight you must have a balance between what is going in and coming out. Since I didn’t think I could do any more exercise to burn calories, I was going to have to manage my diet a little better.
But what if I told you that diet and exercise are not the main keys to weight loss and health? You would tell me “bye Felicia.” But it’s true, it’s not about the calories you eat and burn, it’s about making lifestyle, environmental and behavioral changes. Change doesn’t come easy nor does it come by accident or wishful thinking. Here are 5 ways you can get on the right track for a healthier life.
1. Stock your kitchen with the right stuff. Clean out the cabinets and refrigerator of unhealthy food items and restock with healthier options. Make healthy foods easily accessible. Instead of putting a snack bowl on the counter, replace it with a fruit bowl. Cut up veggies and put them in the refrigerator for easy access. You can’t resist pancakes for breakfast if pancake mix and syrup is all you have in the cabinet. If it’s not good for you throw it out so you won’t be tempted.
2. Change your grocery shopping habits. Stay away from the middle aisles in the grocery store which contain all the processed food. If you don’t have a package of cookies and crackers in the pantry you won’t eat them. Plan your meals in advance and take a grocery shopping list with you and buy only what’s on the list.
3. Stay out of the food desert. Don’t leave the house without a plan for what you will eat during the day. If you aren’t careful you will end up stopping by the convenience store or fast food restaurants and grabbing anything in hunger desperation. When you are in a desert, everything looks good and you give yourself an excuse to eat the first thing you see.
4. Plan movement in your day. Figure out when is the best time for you to exercise. Some people do better working out in the morning while others do better working out in the evening. Prepare your clothes in advance, keep a pair of tennis shoes in your trunk or office so that you can make plans to walk and move. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you are sedentary, make plans to move at least once every hour.
5. Consider your bedroom a place of rest. Proper rest is important for a healthy lifestyle so make sure your bedroom is equipped for proper rest. Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature, quiet and a stress free environment. Finally know that watching television or playing with screen gadgets before sleeping actually hinders sleep.
When you are married and decide to make changes in your household you have to solicit the support of your spouse and family. Since my husband enjoys cooking and does most of the grocery shopping, if I was going to make changes I was definitely going to have to get his buy in. Once I researched the route we needed to take to change our lifestyle and behavior, I had to ask my husband if he was with me. I really appreciate my husband for saying, “I’m in” and adjusting as needed.
Here we are less than three months later and I have already had to give away half of my closet and purchase new belts. My husband looks amazing and needs to make a visit to the tailor to take up his suits a couple of inches. We feel great and are sleeping better. Our church members even dropped off a couple of bikes in our driveway since we were enjoying spending more time in nature. By changing our lifestyle I no longer have to go on a special diet two weeks before I take my annual physical or count calories for weeks before I have to wear a dress I bought several years ago. The Bible says our body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:9) and it is our job to care for our temple.
Have you looked at a picture of yourself lately? How’s your temple holding up?
What is the first question most likely asked when travelers arrive at their destination? The answer is “What’s the WIFI code?” No matter where Americans are vacationing whether staying with friends, family, at a hotel, or a vacation rental such as Airbnb, many cell phone users want to know as soon as possible how to access the internet.
There are some travelers who refuse to stay at some locations where we have no internet access. In fact vacationers will often spend an hour of their vacation searching for a WIFI hot spot if they do not have internet access. Most recently during the 4th of July holiday week, hubby and I had opportunity to take our annual nature trip. What’s a nature trip like for the Loves? We do our best to unplug which means we take our phones along with us for emergency but we do our best not to spend time looking at emails, social media and the like. In fact we try to spend most of our time outdoors enjoying God’s beautiful creation.
Yes, the diva and the pastor took off our church clothes, packed nothing but shorts, t-shirts and swim suits and off we went to the lake for the week. We deliberately selected a place in the wilderness with no WIFI access. We enjoyed most of our meals on the patio and I got a chance to break in the pretty pink fishing pole my husband bought me. (Yes it’s pink).
It was nice to put our phones down on the table and only glance at them a few times a day. This time around we only left them on because our son was getting ready to be deployed and we didn’t want to miss his call. I think I touched my phone a total of 5 times a day and didn’t have to charge it for a couple of days. All the touching, clicking, tapping and swipe came to a complete halt.
Have you ever heard of nomophobia? It's the fear of being without your phone. Believe it or not it is real and there is a rehab center in California that offers treatment for this condition. I read an article by Christie Duffie that indicates 12% of people actually use their phone in the shower. The signs of nomophobia include: 1) Frequently checking your phone 2) Using it in inappropriate places 3) Having more than one phone 4) Carrying a charger and constantly checking your battery life.
Did you know that on any given day the average person with a cell phone touches it 2617 times? Have you been guilty of glancing at your phone every five minutes? Are you constantly watching your phone for the next text, email or instant message on Facebook or Twitter? Some people even take their phones to the bathroom because they are afraid of missing a call or a text. Does this describe you? Does it bother you to be away from your phone?
You may be saying to yourself, when I am on vacation I use my phone to capture memories. Are you capturing memories or finding the right photo opportunity to post a great Facebook or Instagram picture? Are you more concerned about sharing a photo of your activities than you are enjoying the activities you are participating in? I don’t want to take a picture of everything I do on vacation. How can I enjoy my vacation if I am trying to take a picture or video of everything?
Do you need a vacation break without your phone? There are now a few tour and vacation organizers that offer digital detox vacations where you are not allowed to use smart phones for social media use or camera use. Could you do it? Sounds like real fun to me.
Take a moment to think about your smart phone behavior. Can you go for five, ten, twenty, thirty minutes or an hour without checking your phone? Take an inventory of your day and see how much time you spend in touching, texting, clicking, tapping and swiping. You may be surprised at the answer.
Do you have symptoms of nomophobia? Have you and your phone become inseparable? 1 John 5:21 (NLT) says: "Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts." If so it's time to make some changes in our life. Be deliberate about putting your phone down or turning it off. See what you have been missing out on especially on vacation.
Well now that we are back to the real world I gotta go and charge up my phone.... See you in cyberspace!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach