My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life


OK so it’s been about a week since I set my goals. I think it’s going pretty good so far. The eating slower goal is a bit easier than I anticipated. Got some great tips from my friend Jeff and they really work! I’ve cut back on the portion sizes a bit too. It’s relatively easy to do that at home, it will be interesting to see what happens next time I go out to eat. I’ve gone out for a walk 3 times in the last week. The first day it took approximately 45 minutes. I forgot to look at the clock when I started so I can’t be 100% sure on the time, but I was listening to my ipod and I finished 10 songs by the time I got back to my house. Two days later, I went out again and this time it only took 9 songs! I remembered to look at the clock and it took me about 35-40 minutes. I waited 3 days before I went again. This time my dad went with me. We did a different walk than I had been doing. We walked down to my local farmers market. The walk was at least twice as long. I was really tired by the time we got back. I have to remember to take a drink out with me too. I did the first 2 times, but forgot the last time. It really makes a difference. I haven’t gone out for a walk in a few days, but that’s because I’m gearing up for the Relay For Life walk this friday. I’ll be doing A LOT of walking then! I look forward to this every year. It’s just such an amazing event. Anyway, back to my progress.

I’m really trying to eat better. I mean I was already doing that, but I’m trying to do even better. It’s not always easy. I love to cook, but I’m not always a very confident cook, if that makes any sense. Sometimes I’m afraid what I make is not going to taste good or come out the way I intended. I really need to get better at that. And sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking, so it’s easier to call for pizza or get take out somewhere. Eating out is okay once in a while, but I can’t make a habit out of it. Dan and I are going camping in a few weeks, so not sure how that is going help my trying to eat better and with portion control. Guess I’ll find out.

I’m still considering getting an exercise machine for the house. I’m trying to weigh the cost of one against how much I will use it. I would hate to spend a bunch on money on something and then rarely use it. Although Dan might get good use of it as well. I thought about joining a gym, but I’m too self conscious for that, at least right now.


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New goals

I decided it’s time I made some goals. Trying to be healthier is a goal in itself, but I need small, manageable goals so I know where I’m going.

So my first goal is EXERCISING.

This is the toughest for me because I’m not the most active person. I have asthma, which makes it hard to be too active sometimes. I also have a heel spur in my foot, which makes it hard to be on my feet for long periods of time. I’m basically a shy person and pretty self conscious, so I’m not sure I could join a gym, even ones specifically for women. I’ve considered buying an exercise machine so I can workout at home, but I have concerns about that — 1) what if I don’t like the machine I buy; 2) what if I only use it for a little while and then stop; 3) it’s a lot of money to spend. So I finally I decided I’ll start small and work my way up. Just like with that changes I made with my food, if I start small with the exercising as well, I’m more likely to stick with it and even do more. Having said all that, I’ve decided to start with walking. Easy enough. At least I hope so. My goal is to go for a walk at least 3 times each week. If I feel like doing more, great! If not, that’s fine too, as long as I get my 3 per week in.

So today is Day 1 of my new walking goal. My “usual” routine is to get up whenever I feel like it, take a shower, get dressed, make myself something to eat and park myself in front of my computers and tv for most of the day. But today was different. I woke up a little earlier than I usually do, took my shower, got dressed and decided to start the day with a walk. It was already pretty warm outside, but pushed myself out the door any way. I had my ipod with me, so I cranked it up, started playing some of my favourite songs and just started walking. I didn’t want to push myself too much on my first day. I ended up walking about 6 blocks and it took me about an hour. (I forgot to look at the clock when I started, so I don’t know exactly how long it was). I felt pretty good when I got home! I’m very proud of myself 🙂 Hopefully I can keep it up.

My second goal is PORTION CONTROL.

Again, another tough one. I think I need to learn to eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of larger ones. I have specific bowls I like to use to eat my cereal. When I got back from my walk, I was pretty hungry. I went to grab the bowl I would normally use, but stopped myself. I opted for smaller bowl instead. It may not sound like a big deal, but to me it is. Now I just need to work that into other meals as well.

My third goal is to EAT SLOWER.

No brainer, right? Not so much. I grew up eating fast. I don’t remember people making a big deal of eating slowly back then. It’s what I’m used to. But I know I need to change that. I’ve tried it before and it worked for a while, but then I’d go back to what I’m used to. I think I need to take it one meal at a time. And if I don’t remember right away, not to beat myself up over it.

All of this is learning curve. It takes a while to change behavior. I’m trying to change my life for the better. And after basically doing the same things for 40 years, changes don’t happen overnight.

So anyway, those are my new goals. Hopefully I can keep them up. Stay tuned.

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The beginning…

Well this isn’t actually the beginning. My journey started almost 2 years ago. Let me give you some background…

In August 2009 I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. It was undoubtedly the worst day of my life. I never thought I would be sitting in a doctor’s office listening to those words, but there I was. I was very lucky though. My cancer was found very early. Two months after my diagnosis, I had a complete hysterectomy to remove the cancer. I did not need any chemotherapy or radiation and I have regular followups with my oncologist. I’m happy to say I’m cancer-free.

And I want to stay that way. So I decided I need to make some changes in my life. I have always been heavy, even as a child. I had really bad asthma when I was young and that kept me pretty inactive. I was also painfully shy. And because of that, I ate a lot. I won’t say how heavy I was at my peak, but let’s just say it was a big number.

Anyway, after the cancer diagnosis, I knew I need to make changes. Actually, I’d known for a long time that I need to change, but this gave me the absolute push I need to do it. I wasn’t really sure where to start. I decided to make small changes to start with because I knew that if I tried to change too much too quickly, there was a good chance the changes wouldn’t stick. So these are some of the first things I did:

For the last almost 13 years, I’ve eaten mostly vegetarian because I’m married to one. I would rarely cook meat at home, unless it was in a tv dinner or something like that. One of the first things we did was stop buying tv dinners and many other processed foods.

I stopped eating sugar cereals. My cereal of choice is now Special K.

I switched from 2% milk to Soy milk. (I don’t think there is not that much of a taste difference between regular milk and soy milk)

I cut WAY back on the amount of pop I drink. I drink mostly ginger ale, although I let myself have regular ones when I want one.

I am cooking more at home instead of eating out so much. My sister in law Trish is a fabulous cook and I’ve learned a lot of new recipes from her.

I eat a lot more fruits and veggies. I try to be creative with salads especially.

I’ve cut WAY back on the sweets as well. (This one is a hard one for me because I’m a chocoholic)

It may not sound like a lot, but it really made a difference. After my surgery, when I could move around better, I tried to walk more. It’s amazing how much better I was feeling. I hadn’t realized how sick I really was. I am so blessed to have such great doctors.

Anyway, at my first check up with my oncologist, I was amazed to find I had already lost like 30 pounds! I was so excited!! At my next followup, I had lost even more! To date, I have lost approximately 50 pounds. I think that’s pretty good considering I only made small changes. I have even had to buy clothes in smaller sizes. I have a long way to go, but I’m on my way! I know I need help continuing my journey. I plan to discuss it all with my regular doctor at my next visit. I’m excited to continue my journey to a healthier me 🙂

Just a quick note to conclude this post: I would like to thank my friend Jeff Z. who is on his own journey to be healthier, and who has inspired me to continue mine. Thanks, Jeff. Your support means the world to me.

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