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Posts Tagged ‘health’

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I thought, “oh no…what if he puts needles in my face?”  Before I knew it, bam-bam-bam!  I had several needles in my forehead and one in each cheek.  Strange, but not painful.  Dr. Ly’s assistant told me she’d be right back to heat the needles.

Heat the needles? 

When she came back into the room, she tapped something behind my head and said, “Don’t worry.  It will feel like I’m going to burn you, but I’m not.  Most people love this.”  Not the most comforting thing I’ve ever been told.

I don’ t have a clue what she did next, and I’m not sure I want to know…but I see why most people love it.  There was a deeply relaxing, very hot sensation on my face – it felt wonderful, like a hot mask, but not.  The strangest part: though the room was dark and my eyes were closed, while she was ‘heating the needles’, I saw vivid colors.  All were shades of blue and purple, mostly turquoise.

What was it?  I’m not quite sure.  It had not happened during my other treatments. I wanted to ask, but Dr. Ly had moved on to other clients and the clinic was extremely busy.  In other words, I was too chicken to say, “So, do people usually see strange colors when you do this?”   I went on about the day and forgot about it.  But I was thinking about the colors today and remembered several years ago when my neighbor, a reiki master, asked if I would take her class and let her give me an attunement.  She had to do a certain number of attunements to attain master status, and way back then I had free time and thought, “what the heck?”  I’ve never really pursued the reiki further, except to return to my friend for a couple of treatments to help me relax.  I convinced myself that the strange colors and shapes I “saw” with my eyes closed during the attunement were my imagination, but it was much like what happened yesterday at Dr. Ly’s office.

I left the acupuncture clinic with my headache gone and my sinuses completely clear.  I’m sad to report the sinus/allergy problems did return within the hour and are still plaguing me.  Despite my determination to let Dr. Ly heal all my ailments, I gave in this afternoon and took antihistamines and decongestants.  But whatever he is doing for my weight-loss is working.  I’m down 7 pounds and I don’t want to eat much.  Really.  And I’m a total stress eater.  I walk by the assortment of candy in my office that used to call to me several times a day, and it now looks like some alien thing that I don’t want to touch.

I’m not sure yet that acupuncture is a cure-all, but there is definitely something to it.  I’m going back after Thanksgiving for more.

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 Back on May 11, Walt and I started a lifestyle change (a.k.a. diet).  We were mostly faithful to this lifestyle change for about a month, and I lost 12 pounds before falling off the wagon and back into bad habits.   With the exception of some typical 3 pound fluctuations here and there, I have managed to keep the 12 pounds off…but I still have a long way to go to be anywhere near my goal weight.  We’re eating worse than ever, and dealing with more stress.  Walt continues to fight high blood pressure, and the nasty side-effects of his medication.  I’m totally lethargic, and getting more tired by the day as winter approaches and the hours of daylight dwindle.  
 
We need to take steps to feel better, and fast.
 
 For a jolt of motivation, I decided to consult with a local acupuncturist.  Many of my friends and family have tried Dr. Ly  for diet and various ailments, most reporting some level of success.  So today I took the plunge into the world of Eastern medicine.
 

If you’ve ever wondered about acupuncture, it really is relatively painless.  After a brief consultation with Dr. Ly about what I hoped to accomplish, long, thin needles were inserted into my ankles, stomach, forearms, and the upper portion of my ears.  With the exception of one or two, I never felt them.  Electrical stimulators from a TENS unit were attached to the needles in my stomach, producing a barely-detectible tingling sensation that quickly subsided.  I was then left alone in a dark room with soothing music for several minutes while the needles work their alleged magic. 

After removal of those needles, four different needles resembling tiny thumbtacks were taped to my stomach, where they will remain in place for 2 weeks.  So far, I have noticed no irritation, and barely realize they are there.  These are supposed to stimulate digestion and the breakdown of abdominal fat.  Now things become a little more bizarre…

My ear on mustard seeds

Five mustard seeds were taped onto various acupressure points on my left ear.  Several times throughout the day, I’m supposed to press on each seed for a few seconds in order to stimulate the pressure point beneath.  One is there to relieve stress, one suppresses appetite, and the other three improve the function of my thyroid, liver, and pancreas.

This weight-loss effort is not totally without work on my part.  As expected, there is a diet to follow.  It’s unlike other diets I’ve tried, in that foods are divided into those that are alkalizing to the body versus those that are acidifying.  Like most things in life, the old 80/20 rule applies.  For restoring health and well-being, alkalizing foods are “good”, and those foods should represent at least 80% of dietary intake.  Acidifying foods should be limited to 20% or less.  I was surprised to see many of the foods I thought were very healthy on the 20% side, but this approach to health and diet is all about balancing the body’s pH, and avoiding an overly acidic state in the body…so the normal dietary “rules” don’t apply.

In addition to following the food plan, I’m required to walk 30 minutes per day, preferably in the morning.  Dr. Ly says that morning exercise is more ideal for promoting wellness in the body, as the body is most oxygenated when we awaken.  I am also to aim for 8 hours of sleep per night, and take two supplements per day.

I must admit, the supplement part has me a little wigged out, as the packages resemble something “as seen on T.V.”   The scantily clad babe on the “Fruit & Plant Slimming Capsule” box does not give me the warm fuzzies.

However, life is short, and it is flying by more quickly than I ever imagined it would.  I want to feel good for the ride.  It took a month to get this appointment, I’m financially invested, there are needles in my tummy and mustard seeds taped to my ear…I’m going to give this experiment in healing an honest effort. 

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”  – Buddha

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Six weeks, twelve pounds!  I wish I could say it was all due to willpower, but this week’s 4-pound reduction was due to a particularly ruthless stomach bug…I’m considering the 4 pounds a silver lining!

Along with lots of fresh fruit and grilled fare we’ve been enjoying, we also found a diet-friendly recipe for chili we loved.

I’m very proud of Walt, and of all my friends who have chosen to make healthy lifestyle changes this summer.  All have had a very successful month.  Keep it up!

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The past 10 days have been hard.  Why?  Too long and complicated to explain.  Let’s just say at the moment, I feel ripped to shreds, and I need some serious mending before I get back on track.

One of my new blogging friends at 365 Days, 365 Ways recently suggested listing the unhappies in your life in order to recognize them and start pushing them out.  I am working on that, but took it a little further.  I’m also making a list of happies, simple pleasures, that I need to put back into my life. 

I know me, and I need this accountability to keep me going – even for the stuff that should seem easy to accomplish.  So, I came up with 3 things I can do that will help me heal a little this weekend.  If I put this out there, if I say I do it, I will.  You guys hold me to it.

1.  I’m going to sleep late Saturday and Sunday.  Lazy, lazy, lazy.  It’s my favorite thing in the world, and I’m doing it this weekend.  I’m tired.  I’m sleeping in.

2. I’m going to make homemade lemonade, the real kind with real lemons and real sugar.  I’ve only had homemade lemonade once since I was a little girl, and even that time was 20 years ago.  Someone tell me how many lemons to buy, and how much sugar to put in, please.

3. I’m going to swim.  I live in the South, and it’s hotter than Hades right now.  I’m going to turn my phone off, hide our vehicles so it looks like nobody’s home, and get in my pool.  Swimming has been my all-time favorite activity since I was a little girl.  We’ve had a small pool at our home for 3 summers, and we’ve only been in it a handful of times.  I’m going to swim with Walt and some of my dogs, laze around on a float, drink lemonade, and listen to the call of the two BobWhites that have taken up residence on the farm.

I’ll be brand new Monday, back on the diet, back to organizing the chaos, back to the promises I’ve made to myself and to others.  But starting tomorrow at 5:00, Selfish Michelle’s coming for a visit, and Busy Michelle is being kicked to the curb for a couple of days. 

Y’all have a fabulous, healing weekend yourselves, now, ya hear?

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I cheated.

Diet, Day 15:  I got up.  I went to work.  I had a lovely breakfast of berries and organic yogurt.  I was unusually focused at my job, finishing two projects without procrastinating.  Around 11:45 a.m., I headed home for my new lunch ritual: a healthy meal and a few chores that would normally be put off until evening.

Something happened on the way home.

I stopped at the bank to make a deposit.  The bank is next door to Burger King.  The moments that followed are a little fuzzy, but when I regained consciousness, I was driving down the road with a big, fat, greasy cheatburger in my mouth.  It was the first red meat, grease, white bread, bacon, processed cheese, or mayo that has passed my lips in 2 weeks.  And it was good. 

Before I inhaled the last bite, I had already started to analyze why this happened, in the hopes I can prevent it from happening again!   These are the reasons…not EXCUSES…reasons:  It’s Monday.  I had a stressful Sunday, followed by a sleepless night.  My endocrine system can’t decide if I’m in PMS or menopause this week.  And my old faithful, number one reason I always cheat on diets…after two weeks of diet success, I felt like I deserved a reward.  Until now, my reward for everything has always been greasy, cheesy food.

I haven’t figured out how to get rid of Mondays; I’ve been trying for 42 years, and the pesky things just keep coming back.  The Stressful Sundays which inevitably lead to Sleepless Sunday Nights, I’m working on.  If I had paid more attention to my hormonal forecast, I would have realized I’d be a little extra cranky this week.  What I need is a new reward, a new “little happy” to take the place of comfort food.  It’s got to be something fast, easily accessible, and cheap…I don’t have the time or money right now for a massage, new hairdo, or weekend at the beach every time I do well on my diet for a couple of weeks.

Suggestions?

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Me and two of my oldest and dearest friends, Rosie, and Andrea – circa 1993, ready for a night on the town…

Diet, day 11.  Yesterday was supposed to be Wednesday weigh-in, but I still don’t have a battery in my digital scale.  That is my life, I’ll get one eventually!  Anyhoo, it’s more than a number on a scale.  Walt and I have stuck to the healthy eating plan this week with gusto, and despite an emotionally draining week, I actually feel better physically…and I haven’t felt better in a long time.  In conjunction with the diet, I’m reading a great book called “Younger by the Day” by Victoria Moran, filled with daily inspirations for reversing the ravages of time.  I was thinking about what it used to feel like to be young, and I started looking at old pictures  for inspiration. 

It’s not that I necessarily want the size 6 back (or the bad bangs, 8-lb earrings, or shoulder pads, for that matter)…but I do miss the gifts of youth: the happy skin, the sparkle in the eyes, the silky hair free of gray, the ability to dance for two hours non-stop, the promise of a good night’s sleep without Ambien.  I’m not sure exactly where we were going all dressed up in that photo above, but I can tell you without a doubt we had a blast that night; and although we didn’t realize it at the time, we didn’t have a care in the world. 

Life has changed, but did we have to?  Was it really that much more simple then?  Sometimes I think I’ve let everything in the meantime take more of a toll than it had to.  So while I’m trying to undo the physical damages of time, I’m also trying to undo the emotional.  Here are a few random, yet powerful, realizations I’ve had in the past 11 days about health and life:

1) I married my soul mate.  How many people truly get to say that?  Every day is precious, and I don’t want to waste a single one.  I want both of us to have many more healthy days on this planet.

2) All of my life, I’ve had the best friends a girl could have.  Some I talk to daily, the best know when I need my space, some know just when I need a smile or a kind word, whether it be monthly or yearly.  Your friends will keep you young if you will let them 🙂

3) My body is SO much happier without carbs and red meat, and eggs taste so much better from chickens that haven’t been tortured.

4) We need more sleep as we age, and in a cruel twist-of-fate, our bodies try to give us less.  Do whatever it takes to get the sleep.

5) I inherited my mom and grandmother’s incredible skin; why the hell did I ever get into a tanning bed?

6) Most of the things I think are tragic end up being ok….and the truly disastrous things slowly but surely heal over time. “Today is the tomorrow that worried you yesterday, and all is well.”

7) I have learned something from almost everyone I’ve ever met; every family member, every co-worker, even strangers, and of course, my animals.  The older we get, the more we tend to ignore those lessons.  Pay attention.

8) Fruit is the best dessert.

9) Never work late.  Nobody appreciates it, so it just leaves you bitter…and bitterness makes you old.

10) The world is not coming to an end this Saturday at 6 p.m. – but let’s assume for a minute that were true.  How would you live tomorrow?

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I know…it’s not supposed to be a diet, it’s supposed to be a “lifestyle change”.  Whatever it is, Walt and I started it Monday.  Sort-of.   He started on Monday – and I cheated on Monday, reminding me of the first cardinal rule of dieting:  NEVER start a diet on Monday

I want to feel better and be able to walk up a few stairs without panting.  Walt wants to reduce his blood-pressure naturally.  We want the quality of life that better health provides.  We are both inspired by friends who have recently taken charge of their health, and my office-mates are both ready to start diet or exercise programs.  We feel like now is the time for success;  it’s grilling season, fresh produce will soon abound, and we’re both ready.  To me this is the second cardinal rule of dieting – be sure you’re committed to change for the right reasons.

We’re following The Perricone diet, sometimes referred to as the Perricone “prescription”.  http://www.oprah.com/style/Dr-Perricones-Prescription-for-Aging-Beautifully.  This is an anti-inflammatory diet that was originally developed by a dermatologist  for improvement in skin tone and overall health.  The first three-day phase of the diet, if followed strictly, promises a “facelift in a fridge”.   We’ll see!

Why am I sharing this?  Because accountability is a key element  in the success of any goal.  I’m not paying for a diet program (although I did buy Perricone’s book years ago), I don’t officially have to weigh-in at a group meeting.  So here it is, for the world to see (or at least the handful of readers of this blog)!  Wednesday Weigh-in.  We’ll check in weekly on “the bite” page, which ironically is supposed to be about bar-b-que and all great things Southern to eat…and we’ll report our progress.  With meals like grilled Caesar salad, blackened salmon, turkey burgers stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, fresh cantaloupe or pears for dessert, I haven’t suffered yet.  But then again, it’s been less than 48 hours…

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