For the last few weeks I went back and forth about whether or not I should write this post. But this subject has been on my mind so much that I had to. Maybe it was because of a relative’s recent heart surgery, or the anniversary of my debut (birthday), that I started thinking seriously about getting healthier.
So I made the decision to increase my exercise and alter my eating habits. Now, I have to be honest, I’ve made this decision before. In fact, I’ve tried almost every type of weight-loss program and exercise DVD there is: American Weight Loss, Freshology, Weight Watchers, Tae Bo, Wii, Hip-Hop Abs, Insanity, P-90X and even Weight Loss Warriors (a group that I created with my coworkers). Here’s the thing. They all worked…for a while. Every last one of them gave some results. The trick, at least for me, isn’t losing the weight but keeping it off.
What’s different this time, is that I really want to see more than just a change on the scale. I want to make a lifestyle change. I don’t want the glamourous life. I want the glamour-fit life! And there’s no scale for that. Interestingly enough when I went to Circle Of Sisters, there was a “Health Panel” and I knew that no matter what, I’d be there to hear whatever they had to say. I’m so glad that I listened. Because the things I heard further impressed upon me the need to make my health a priority.
It was a distinguished panel that consisted of doctors, a news anchor, a psychologist and actors Nicole Ari Parker and her husband, actor Boris Kodjoe-an eclectic mix that piqued my curiosity. Here’s just a few of my notes.
“Stress is a big contributor to illness and can be a key factor in heart disease.”
I’d heard this before. But it wasn’t until Dr. Janet Taylor put it in layman’s terms that I got how stress contributes to illness. She explained that your brain sends out chemicals to your body that are dependent upon your circumstances. So let’s say you’re in a “fight or flight” situation. Your brain will send out signals to your body to increase your blood’s ability to clot. Why? Because your body is preparing for a wound. So if you are stressed out and your body is sending that signal even when you are not in danger, an increase in blood clotting could increase your risk for a stroke. That’s just one example. This is when I had an aha moment.
“Some people are so used to the feeling of chronic stress that they don’t know how to feel good.” This is where the panel shifted to the importance of letting things go.
Actress Nicole Ari Parker was inspiring. She spoke about parenting a child with special needs and how she also has shifted her perception of exercise. She encouraged the audience with the following words.
- Manage your life in a way that reduces stress
- Consider yourself worthy of exercise.
- I want to look good but I also want to live for my children.
- Jogging is free.
- Then she challenged the audience with this: What if [I] changed my view of exercise from that of being about having a tight stomach and looking good, and instead made it a prayer? An opportunity to say, “Thank you, God.”
Boris Kodjoe followed. He asked the audience to do the following:
- Raise your hands above your head
- Spread your hands to the side
- Then repeat
That is a full body workout and if you just do it while watching your favorite sitcom, that is 30 minutes of exercise. Finally, one of the doctors drove the point home with telling us to eliminate negative stress, move every day, and skip the salt.
So I’m still on track. There’s no need to wait until a new day or a new year to make changes. There’s no time to wait. I haven’t decided which exercise or eating plan I’ll use this time, but I’m weighing my options (no pun intended).
Have you recently gotten healthier or lost weight? What did you do? Talk to me. I’d love to hear from you.