#22 Be Healthy

#22 Lose the Last 10lbs Be Healthy

Since 2004, I have steadily gained weight. Some of it is solid weight that was a positive contribution to my health and filling out a once very skinny figure. And some of it has been – EXTRA. I experience a bit of fluctuation when it comes to that number on the scale based on things like stress, lack of routine, level of  activity, occasional portion distortion and hormones.

In 2009, in preparation for my wedding (an excellent motivator!), I lost 15 lbs. My new physique and fitness level greatly contributed to being able to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. This was a huge success and I was so proud of myself. I invested a ton of time and money in my health and fitness to get there but I was so excited by the result. But here’s the truth: would you believe that what excited me most was the number on the scale and not necessarily how I looked or felt? Don’t get me wrong it was great to look good naked but nothing got me high like reading the number on the scale.  Isn’t that such a bummer though?

When I created this goal for myself, I thought I was helping myself to be healthier and more fit. I consider goals to be excellent for this kind of thing. (Obviously.) Instead, I got trapped in the same problem that everyone else has.  Allowing my life to be controlled by a number.

In hindsight, this is such a lame goal. Why? I reflected back on when I was 10lbs lighter. I was in New York. Alone. Lonely. Feeling isolated from the things and people I valued most. I was in class or teaching myself contract law or writing case summaries every waking hour of the day. I watched movies on weekends and used them as an outlet to cry out my frustrations. And when I wasn’t doing that, I would escape to Manhattan to sit in the 5th Avenue Reference Library and people watch. I walked everywhere as much as possible as though I might be able to get somewhere if I just kept going. I didn’t enjoy the experience of cooking for one anymore so I just didn’t eat as much. I was sick a lot. Suffered from two extreme migraines one of which landed me in the hospital. Yes. I lost weight but I was far from happy. And far from healthy.

I think I am so much more than the sum of my body parts or their weight. Thank goodness! Because that number is actually pretty small compared to the magnitude of what I feel I can offer the world. And my very presence on this planet is only a guarantee so long as I have my health. So this goal #22 should never have been to lose 10lbs. It should have been to be healthy. By the age of 30, I want to feel certain that I have made the right decisions and created the necessary habits in order to be healthy.

Here are the steps I have taken to achieve #22: Be Healthy.

  • I WALK everywhere and for at least 45 minutes each day. Didn’t realize that was such a big deal? Watch this!
  • I DON’T smoke or surround myself with people who do. Environmental Tobacco Smoke is no joke.
  • I DRINK rarely. Only about a glass of wine twice per month, the odd flute of champagne and almost never, cocktails, with the exception of my time in Cuba. I was bored and there were free pina coladas.
  • I TAKE all my vitamins. Finally.
  • I KNOW what I should eat and about 90% of the time I eat it. The other 10% of the time I drink that second cup of coffee, eat a whole chocolate bar, or add a little more peanut butter than I need. I do it just to be rebellious and not feel like such a goody-two-shoes.
  • I STICK TO a plant-based diet 80% of the time and occasionally sneak in a bit of blue cheese or a serving of greek yogurt because I like it. I used to think I had to be a PERFECT vegan. And then I realized how IMPERFECT everyone else was. So I mellowed.
  • I LIMIT my exposure to pesticides by purchasing, to whatever extent possible, organic substitutes for the Dirty Dozen and other value-added consumables. If you know anything about environmental media i.e. soil, air, water, etc… then you will understand that there is no such thing as a pesticide-free food product. Hence I am “limiting” not “eliminating”.
  • I try to MEDITATE every morning – even if it is with my eyes wide open looking out the window of the streetcar. I put my ear-buds in, crank up the ocean waves and say “blessings to” every person I can think of.  I am ever surprised by some of the people who pop into my head. But the first on my list are always my husband, puppy, the human and canine members of my growing family, cherished friends and some remarkable people across the planet who I have never met but whose very existence has changed me.
  • I LAUGH every opportunity I get. I like to think that my husband makes this especially possible.
  • I WEAR sunscreen. SPF 15 for everyday and SPF 30 outdoors during the summer or in periods of high exposure. The sun and I are friends and we’ll continue to stay that way. I fully plan to look 10 years younger for the rest of my life and I try to ensure that my face will never resemble a leather bag.
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