[PERSONAL NOTE:] Summer break. Mental health week. Vacation. Breather. Whatever you call it, it means time away and I'm putting some distance between me and this blog for a week.
Posts here will be a combination of new that I've written ahead and golden oldies. Note, however, that all posts at The Elder Storytelling Place linked at the bottom of each post on this blog are new so please do read them.
I'll check in occasionally during the week to see how it's going around here.
Back in April, I told you about my fitness plan begun early this year out of fear. Make that FEAR.
Compared to many people, I have been remarkably healthy all my life but it is well understood among the medical community and old age researchers that the diseases of age – heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. - begin kicking in, on average, when people reach their mid-70s. I am already 72.
It is my strong suspicion that I would (will?) be terrible at following necessary regimens to control such diseases so I've taken on a routine I can easily do because I have a lot of on-again, off-again weight loss and exercise practice over the past half century.
Of course, there are no guarantees that this works; terrible health problems befall people who are fit all the time. But the science is on my side so it seems prudent to do this.
Here are some new personal stats: Since that April blog post, I have lost 13 more pounds and moved my body mass index (BMI) from 2.1 points below the high end of overweight (25 – 29.9) to .4 points above the low end of overweight. Four or five more pounds and I'll be at the high end of normal BMI.
When I first starting tracking my weight in March, I was losing about five pounds a month. That has now has slowed to three-to-four pounds a month. The drop is not unexpected – weigh less, lose fewer pounds.
A few weeks ago, I posted a story about an ebook filled with inspiration to help keep people motivated on their fitness plans. Now I have discovered another kind of inspiration that works only for old people.
You know how we often lament that time speeds up as we grow older, that here it is nearly August but it feels like New Years was yesterday? Usually, it is not a good thing that the months and years rip by in a blur. But now I've discovered the upside.
When I was younger and wanted to take off a few pounds to fit into a dress or for a special date, time crawled by and it seemed to take forever – while my impatience grew each day - to lose the weight.
But nowadays, with the speed of weeks and months giving me whiplash, I hardly notice how long the weight loss takes.
Combine that phenomenon with the paradox I've written about in the past - that the older I get (when it is demonstrably true that I have less time to live than I have already lived), I'm no longer in the rush I was as a younger women to accomplish anything quickly.
So with those two time perception changes, it makes no difference to me if it takes a couple of months or a couple of years to reach my weight goal. I'll get there when I get there.
The terrific bonus to my efforts to change my health behavior is that I haven't felt this good physically since I was a kid and didn't notice how good I felt because it was normal then.
And that's a bonus after the real changes the weight loss has made in what I can do. There is a hill near my home I could not walk up or, rather, not without having to stop to catch my breath every few feet. It was so hard that I'd quit even trying, instead driving short distances to avoid trudging up the hill.
But just this Saturday, I walked that hill twice in the span of 15 minutes while breathing as easily as if the street were flat. I was almost giddy with the improvement in my body.
Half of how I live now involves food and this time of year I do 95 percent of my shopping at the farmer's market. Here's what I brought home this week - the only things missing from the photo are a piece of fresh, local salmon that will give me two meals this week and giant pile of Rainier cherries.
Every week when I unpack the bags from the market, I'm surprised again and thrilled at how beautiful a pile of fruit and vegetables is. No wonder so many artists make still life paintings:
For anyone who knows they should do something about their fitness, I've found yet another reason to skip the ice cream and do those dreary exercises every day even when I don't feel like it: as the changes happen to my body, I feel so damned proud of myself for sticking with it.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Compulsive Hoarding