creating health :: being prepared

I have a large stack of books by the sofa on loan from the library; health books, exercise books and recipe books. If only I could sleep with them under my pillow and the information transfer overnight by osmosis and I wake up healthier…..nice thought but I suspect this will not happen and getting healthy again is going to take a little bit of research, hardwork and determination.

There will be some changes to make to overcome some of the ‘lazy’ habits I have slipped into recently – it is never that evident to me how these habits form so quickly especially the bad ones…..funny isn’t it that good habits are always harder to establish.

Before I can change my health for the better I need to be clear on exactly what it is that is wrong. And this is the first problem, as most of my niggles are just that….niggles, no precise illness that I can name. I am a few pounds heavier than my ideal weight and my muscles and joints are often stiff and aching especially in the mornings and around my neck and shoulders as if I have slept in an awkward position. I also feel that I am lacking in both strength and vitality and my eyesight and tinnitus are slowly becomming worse and the Baker’s cyst behind my left knee refuses to go.

In other words at 65 I suppose I am feeling my age.

On the good side I do not suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or heart problems and my cholesterol is not too bad given that my thyroid condition does increase the level. It is hard to know if my muscle problems and tiredness are all due to being on thyroxine medication – some of it may be down to the mechanics of my feet and legs not working as they should because of my fallen arches. I should wear the support insoles I had made but they never fit into any of my shoes.

So far in my reading I am reminded that being healthy isn’t just a lack of ‘disease’ but a feeling of optimal health and vitality. There is a code for renewing health called the heirarchy of healing – I followed this method when I had the cancer in 2008 and it had a profound effect on limiting the extent of the spread and reducing the nodule size in my thyroid gland before the surgery to remove it. Although I had cancer I was otherwise in the best of health!

This is the list I followed back then – unfortunately I have no idea now where I read this but it encompasses all the aspects you would expect in building a healthier life. It reads in order of importance for the biggest effect on promoting good health:-

  • meditation and sleep
  • relaxation such as a relaxing massage or facial
  • exercise
  • diet and supplements
  • complementary therapies – herbal, acupuncture etc

It is now known that we are continually renewing ourselves approximately every 9 months – so I am definitely not the person I was last year! When I look in the mirror I can see that I am not the person I was as there are marked changes – a few more wrinkles here and there, bits of me heading south and flabbier – so the renewing process is not doing so well as I age but the fact that we do renew is good news as it means we can adjust and make changes that will help the regeneration – I am supposing here that how well we regenerate may depend on how good a diet we eat and how much we exercise.

So this is my starting point….my journey to a healthier life (and DH too as I won’t be cooking any separate meals for him).

Before I can begin on our healthier diet I need to remove all the unhealthy foods from my kitchen, pantry and freezer. As I am not willing to waste food, even knowing it is not such ‘good’ food in terms of nutrients we will be eating up the last of the Christmas cake, crisps, pies and anything else on the ‘naughty but nice’ list over the next few days whilst increasing our intake of healthier foods (though I can’t promise I will be cutting out all temptation of eating the forbidden foods – rather minimising them).

Over the coming month we will of course be making soup – lots of it and I will be dusting off the juicer and putting it to work once more to pack in more nutrients to my diet. I will also be taking one or two supplements and trying out different exercises and some of the suggestions and tips I have been reading about and let you know if anything is having any effect.

New Year’s day is not the best time to begin. We will be out with friends on New Year’s eve until early morning I suspect so my contribution will only be a gentle walk and lots of relaxation and I will begin for real on Thursday!

At the moment we are having to walk everywhere or catch a bus as our car broke down yet again on Christmas day. The suspension was still not right but this time because they had replaced the sensor we did get a screen message to tell us the suspension was failing and managed to drive home slowly at 45 mph all the way – which was hairy on the faster roads. We took it into the garage this morning and they ran a diagnostic report for a mere £100 as they could not locate the problem which turns out to be something with the hydraulic pipes and leakage – anyway it is now being repaired for an eye watering £700. Not the start to a new year we were looking for!

Maybe our car needs to be on a getting healthy plan too!!

22 thoughts on “creating health :: being prepared

  1. Your post today could have been written by me – that is exactly how I feel. I am 87, which puts me in a quite different place from you but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look after my health. I do try to eat healthily but now that I am a widow and only have myself to cater for it is easy, as you say to slip into slapdash ways. I adore jacket potatoes and could eat them – with various fillings – every day. I also eat out three times a week – once always salmon and vegetables and once quiche, new potatoes and salad – the other meal varies according to the menu but I never have a sweet (luckily I haven’t a sweet tooth) My other downfall is seriously arthritic ankles which mean i can only walk with a walking stick. But you have spurred me onward and upward once New Year’s Eve is over. I shall watch closely to see how you get on.

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    1. Baked potato is my favourite food and quiche too – I much prefer them to sandwiches when I am out. Like you I don’t have a sweet tooth and much prefer savoury although we do have one square of dark chocolate every night as it is supposed to be healthy. My mum (93) suffers a bit with arthritis now but it has been in this last year, when her confidence to go out very far alone, that it has become a problem and I think that is because she hasn’t been as active and she is starting to cease up. It seems to be a catch 22 situation.
      87 is a good age – all the women in my family live well into their 90’s so just in case I have their genes I want to make sure I am still mobile in my old age – as a creaky 65 year old I am having doubts – hence my determination to do something now that might help me for the future. From what I have read diet is not the only factor for good health – good mental health is key too, so meeting with your friends for a meal will do you the world of good no matter what you eat, but I think you eat very well – my mum tends to survive on cream crackers at times as she has little motivation to cook for herself and loves to be taken out for meals. Here’s to a very healthy 2020 x

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  2. I feel for you,I myself got diagnosed with osteoarthritis at the beginning of the year and the pain can be quite intense some days but I force myself to keep moving! In October I got labyrinthitis and couldn’t move at all feeling I was going to pass out all the time, so consequently my weight has increased! The joys of growing older! So hopefully like yourself in the new year I’m going to get fitter and eat more healthy food. I will look forward to reading your blog to see how you are getting on and picking some tips up as well. Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year.

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    1. I once had labrynthitis many years ago and was in bed unable to move my head – never again. It is quite puzzling with the arthritis that only some people feel the pain whilst others don’t seem to and the research at the moment has no explanation for this. For me my stiffness is just annoying more than painful and I have to be so careful in the mornings that I don’t pull any muscles until I ‘warm’ up and get going. Have a happy 2020.x

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  3. A new year and a new start – ever optimistic I, also, have plans to re-invent myself in a healthier version. How long will it last, you say? Probably until the middle of January if history is anything to base things on!

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  4. As said before, I could have written most of this post. I turned 65 last Monday. I will sit down tomorrow and make a plan which I have been thinking about for the past month or so. I look forward to following your progress.

    Paula from Mesa, AZ, US

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  5. The temptations of the festive season are hard to resist. I certainly had good intentions, but failed when confronted by all those delicious treats!
    My body works best when I eat less so I will be going back to a time restricted healthy eating plan/intermittent fasting. My son and DiL told me about it; I thought it sounded drastic, but decided to give it a go and it worked, so that is what I intend to go back to. It is all about finding what works for us, and what can be woven into daily life, so that we maintain it – even if I did slip up over the holidays! A mere blip.
    Best of luck with your new eating regime, and best wishes for the New Year!
    Elaine, Parsonage Cottage

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    1. Hi Elaine and a Happy New Year to you and your family. The time restriction is one of the things I have noted down from my researching and reading. Like you say it is finding what works and during this first month I aim to introduce some of the ideas bit by bit. I need something that is not abandoned the first time we have to go away or need to focus on some other issues – because that is when everything goes pear shaped again.

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  6. Some suggestions to improving your physical well-being:
    1) A focused awareness of how much impact emotional and mental well-being impacts physical health is a good start. I find that when I am the most stressed or feeling down, it is almost immediately felt in my body. Aches and pains become more pronounced. A sense of withdrawal can overcome one so that you retreat into yourself—usually mentally beating yourself up. Determinedly focusing on keeping oneself on an even keel, mentally and emotionally, despite a swirl of aggravating circumstances is one positive step to attempt.
    2) The intermittent fasting approach or eating within certain time limits (as mentioned by Felicity) is something I have tried off and on. I did initially lose several pounds—something that has seemed futile in recent years—but the d@mn holiday season has brought almost nothing but food gifts to my house, to my great frustration. Somewhat of a sabotage to my good eating habits. Currently trying to get rid of things I simply don’t eat under other circumstances—but like you, I hate throwing out food. Will resume the previous eating approach (but probably not until I return from a trip over the Pond in the next couple of weeks).
    3) One thing you might do with regards to your fallen arches—have your feet carefully measured again. You may find that your foot size has changed. Mine did. Also, take along your custom insert and make sure any shoes you consider will accept an insert. Not all shoes do. You want to be able to take out the regular insert that comes with a shoe (if you can’t remove it, it likely won’t accept the orthotic) and replace it with your custom one. Only then will you know if the shoe fits properly—and walk around the store for longer than usual to make sure that it really does work for you. Finding shoes that don’t hurt has become a bit of an obsession for me as I have developed tarsal tunnel syndrome in my right foot (e.g. aggravated nerves in foot, among other issues)–which is why I believe comfortable, supportive shoes are a requirement for physical well-being.
    4) You generally eat pretty healthily, so returning to your usual food habits will likely help a great deal. I think if you look back over the past year, you have had to make so many adjustments to accommodate others, that regular eating patterns have been difficult to maintain at times. Don’t beat yourself up about it (…that mental health thing mentioned above), just concentrate on having more balanced food days than not.
    5) Finally, keeping as physically active as you are able is the companion piece to #1 on this list. So, I’ve come full circle on my (biblical length-sorry about that) suggestions. 😊

    Looking forward to reading your next steps in bolstering your physical and mental well-being in 2020. Will work at focusing my own suggestions in my life, too. Good luck!

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    1. We are madly eating up the bad stuff so we can eat more of the good. Funnily enough the bad stuff is always quite filling so the good stuff has to wait longer before we get to it.
      I am going to copy and keep this comment to keep referring back to – there is so much advice to take in. From what I have read the mental state of health is very important – more than diet as it is the brain as much as anything that keeps your body from ‘disease’. x

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  7. Good luck with your healthy lifestyle plans, I shall be interested to read the positive impact they have on you and your husband.

    Oh crikey, that’s another hefty car bill isn’t it. Not much to be done though when we rely on them so much.

    Wishing you and your family a Very Happy New Year. Hope it’s good for you in all the ways it should be. xx

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  8. I love that hierarchy of healing, it is good to know that the things I have been doing intuitively are all on that list.

    I have never been one to exercise for exercise sake, I make sure that I am active. We go for a short walk every morning during the week, just half and hour or so each day. I do yoga every morning too, I started doing this about five years ago, with a sun salutation (you can find loads of these online) now i do more than that. On the rare days that I don’t manage to do any yoga I can start to feel it by the end of the day. I found a great book in the library which had lots of different yoga routines that you can do at certain times of the day. Other than that, gardening, housework and the odd walk during the week makes up my usual exercise.

    I am a barefoot shoe wearer so the thought of insoles/support feels like an anathema to me. I would liken them to not doing any physio after an injury such as a broken leg and continuing to support your leg and not use it as you had done before it was broken. I can recommend listening to or reading anything by Katy Bowman. I used to get knee problems if I did a lot of walking, since switching to barefoot shoes that has all stopped.

    I am sorry to hear that you are still having car woes. That is a big bill to start the year with. I hope that is it for a while.

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    1. I have heard of the barefoot ideas and will certainly look into it – thank you for the recommendation.
      I am not even going to think about the car today -the maddening thing is we have no idea if this further problem is due to something that the garage did when they repaired the suspension before or even if it was when the car was being placed on the low loader when we had the breakdown rescue. Nothing can be proved but it is suspicious.

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  9. You have kept your car going for a long time. They seem like a family member sometimes!

    Maybe I missed this – do you get your state pension at 65? If so, are you finding your expenses easier to meet now?

    You are a conscientious person and you will do well with your health this year!

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    1. My husband had his pension from age 65 but the retirement age will be increased soon over here to 67 I think for people coming up behind us. It is this which we are presently living on approx £750 a month. I cannot draw mine until May this year. I fall into the bracket of women who just missed out on having the state pension at 60 and now have to wait until I am 65 and 10 months. It has been quite contentious over here as the retirement age was change for women quite abruptly and so many of us born in the middle to late 50’s have lost out by about £40,000. Such is life.
      It would be impossible to live on one state pension alone without selling up and getting rid of our car and even then you have to be extremely frugal and hope nothing breaks down and needs replacing. luckily we have a small private pension and some savings to fall back on but things will be easier for us from May when I get my state pension. We do all pay into the state pension in the UK for the whole of our working life so we are very much entitled to it, however it has benefited some people more than others because the government keep on moving the goal posts which is not very fair on those who lose out.

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      1. Thanks for explaining. 65 and 10 months seems so arbitrary. A previous government in Canada was poised to raise our pensionable age from 65 to 67 but they were voted out! Rom will get State Pension from the UK when he is 65 because he spent the full required number of years in the UK before moving to Canada. A good thing because he won’t have anywhere near the full number of years for the Canadian “old age” pension. I just looked up the history of Canada’s pension and they have always been the same for men and women.

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        1. It is 65 and 10 months for me because of my birthday date. It was a staggered change for a small band of women – for someone else with a different birthday it might have been 63 and 2 months for inatnce. In UK it was always 65 for men and 60 for women until recently when the government of the day (Conservatives) decided there would not be enough money in the pot to pay out and also to bring the two pension ages into alignment. They could have reduced the men to 60 but instead increased the women to 65, then to 66 and now I believe to 67.
          We have all paid into this pot but some of us will not get back the same amounts. Some people are missing out because they are on the old weekly rate which is not as much as the new weekly rate. Those that could still retire at 60 could also carry on working if they wanted to and also choose to defer taking their pension and gain another 10% on top if they left it for a while. Even the deferral rate has reduced drastically now to about 1% I think. This is hardly a fair way of dealing with something that is a national benefit for all.

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