Thursday, January 9, 2014

Diet and Exercise

By Lord C., tweaked by Lady C.

We looked backwards through the lens of family history when making our new years resolution towards healthy diet and exercise.  I lost my Grandma as a teenager to cancer.  She effectively raised me on the arm of her recliner, teaching me the foundation of my faith and how to read.  As a 15 year old, I was completely unprepared to lose her.  Worse, I was not ready to see my caretaker  in such a fragile state, needing care herself.  My father struggled with heart issues in his later life, as his father had before him.  While he outlived his own father by more than 20 years, he still lost his life to heart related complications five years ago, when we were just becoming friends as adults. Lady Covington and I have lived so much life he never got to see; including his newest grandson. Both of Lady Covington's grandmothers were cancer survivors, and both grandfathers died of heart attacks. Her father has also suffered a minor heart attack, so it is entirely probable a genetic predisposition runs in both our genes.

We look also at the present through the lens of family. We know that there is an entirely preventable component of these diseases that end ones' life early. Even though Toddlesworth has absolutely wonderful godparents, it would be unethical to orphan him when our choices could prevent it. Our choices at present are not only hopefully leading us to a better future, but they are also inviting enjoyable experiences as a family in the meantime.
As a couple it is hard to be on the same page/or easy enough for the one who is not on board to pull the other off track. With a new year comes new determination in both of us, and we are using the momentum to pull each other forward into the areas we are each focusing on. For Lady Covington, it is trying to regain some flexibility she lost while suffering sciatic nerve pain after Toddlesworth's birth, and doing a number of crunches each day to work on regaining abdominal muscle. For myself, my goal is losing 100 Lbs. this year. I have never been any good at baby stepping towards a goal: I have always operated in bursts.  If I don't feel sore after a workout, I didn't do one.  I began the year by cutting my calories in half, and jogging up a hill at the state park.  Upon that jog, I realized just how repulsively out of shape I have gotten.  Frustrated fury has always been a proverbial fire under my ass, so, fat an sore, I went back the next day.  As soon as I convinced myself that the pain was the direction I wanted to go in, I began to apply science and involve family.  I have on app that came standard with my phone that I passed over with a retching noise before this year called "Walking Mate".  While I am still absolutely unimpressed by the name , I put my weight loss goal in, and it calculated I needed 10,000 steps a day to reach this goal It set a goal of reaching a minimum of 10,000 steps each day.  The 1st day, I tried to see if 10,000 steps might as well be a zillion steps by walking to the local grocery store ( about 10 minutes one way).  Turns out there and back is about 2,000 steps.  When I go in the morning to set up hotel breakfast, this is also 2, 000 steps.  I realized that all of my steps could be combined in larger part with work and childcare.  This clenched it for me.
    
We have turned a near-daily walk at the state part to a family event, where I get in a majority of my steps, and we can get in some nature as well.  I have joined Lady Covington in her stretching and crunches. We are both interested in eating better food and less of it, while keeping our dishes nutritious and enjoyable, and we help reinforce each others good behaviors. (It can be hard to find salad enjoyable when your other half is scarfing down pad-Thai)  Since we met, we have been in each other's presence practically all the time, so we have always had an especially strong influence on each other. Sometimes there will be a downswing of activity that consists of playing video games and eating cookies for a week or two, and sometimes the upswing is two years of martial arts. I enjoy both, but the upswings are definitely where we shine as a couple.

      I have been dimly aware for years , but only recently precisely aware; that I exercise best when I leave my living space and have special space for the fitness ritual.  It helps me to take on the character, so to speak of someone in/ getting into shape.  Also, it becomes easier to fall into the mindset of "well, I'm here, might as well go through with it", rather than, "well, there's my laptop and a bag of Fritos, might as well watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer again." (Ok, well, sometimes that's still fun, just not a good thing to do regularly.)  The Lake Brownwood  State Park is an ideal sacred space to exercise without  interruption.  The seclusion lets me wheeze and cough , which I am generally uncomfortable doing in public.  The other great benefit is being child friendly. It is one place where Toddlesworth  can run amok, without us having to stop him from breaking things or making  mess.  The state park also has the added bonus of being scenic, and thus being useful to Lady Covington's emerging interest in photography.

     So this is our life change we are working on perfecting this year.  We are well on our way, and pulling a toddler along in our wake, or trying to keep up with him sprinting ahead.  We are using the connections of family to provide the extra emotional gas to propel us forward into these new choices. We are a community of three now. Every choice we make now affects not just each of us and each other, but this third member as well. Like putting on your own air mask in a crashing airplane, because we have to be here to take care of him, we must first take care of ourselves.

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