George the Therapy Dog

Some weeks are like that – yes?

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.

To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.

I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!

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But most of all I need to hug my dog  George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.

image of my heart
so true!

Therapy Animals

BlossomAre the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people.  I read an article  last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.

 

 

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still running, not stopping

Running

…and lots of it lately. Some excellent events and some awesome training runs and some that were kinda meh! First up was the Bridges Fun Run 10k way back in April (ok, yeah I know that’s only 2 months back, however I have been a teensy bit tardy in my blog updates lately!) 

fun run
Running the Bridges with Nick!

Then there was the Mother’s Day Classic 8k on, you guessed it, Mother’s Day 🙂 That one is a fundraiser for breast cancer research and one of my always events. It’s such an awesome atmosphere, both joyous and sad at the same time, many runners run in memoriam of lost and fighting family members. This one I am always head to toe in pink, it’s the race theme color and I aim to comply right from my pink hairspray, pink tutu and pink socks!! Here’s a pic of me with my new running BFF Carolena… 

My last run was last weekend – the HBF Run for a Reason. Again another one of my always events. It was awesome, over 35,000 people ran!! It was an icy start to the morning, but a beautiful crisp, sunny day and you surely do warm up once you start hoofing it along the course 🙂

And… Nick ran the bridges and the HBF with me. We ran different distances in the Bridges as he joined a couple days out and I still had my head around running the 10… but the HBF we both ran the 4 – together – the whole way and we ran across the finish line together and it was awesome!!

Motivation

To be honest, I am not that big on motivation. I don’t think it’s what keeps us committed to health and fitness, but it is a good starting point for your fitness journey. So what motivates you? Do you exercise to reach a goal? To lose weight or to get healthier or to keep up with your kids or your partner or to enter that fun run or to take up dancing or to improve your mental health… 

Motivation – gets you going, but it doesn’t keep you going. It is really just the first step in your whole health journey. That’s why people get so baffled when they can’t stay motivated to exercise and eat healthily I often hear “I just can’t get motivated”. There’s this assumption that motivation is an ever renewing inner resource, but it just is not. It is the beginning, but not the journey nor the destination.

Persistence (or tenacity or sheer bloody-mindedness) – that’s what keeps you going. That is what gets you out of bed on cold winter mornings to go for a run, swim or to the gym or even just a brisk walk. 

Lifestyle – is the end point. That is what you are aiming for, a healthier and more active lifestyle that then becomes your life. The goals are the milestones along the way. Persistence is what keeps you going in spite of yourself. And lifestyle is what you become. 

Quick Fix – sorry, there isn’t one. It sucks right? I know.  That diet that you read about online that some vacuous celebrity endorsed won’t work and is likely unsustainable.  All those books and magazine articles of “how to lose weight in [insert unrealistic timeframe here]” will not work, not in the long term. Any diet that restricts your calorie intake will result in weight loss, but can you keep it up and should you? Is it healthy or just restricting your food intake until you can’t handle it anymore. 

What can you do? – Exercise every day in one way or another and make sure that some of it is hectic enough to leave you a bit breathless – that’s your heart and lungs working and they will be happy! Eat fresh if at all possible – most of the time – if fresh food is not readily available or too expensive, try frozen veggies, they actually are fairly nutritious. 

Keep up the good work, keep moving, keep eating well, nurture yourself, be the best you that you can be. You are awesome; you are wonderful; there is only one of you – remember that and believe in yourself – I do! 

be yourself

 

 

health, emotional well-being and love (of course!)

First up – health

Physical health and emotional health are intertwined. As humans how we eat, how we exercise and how we feel are all connected. Most people know that having a sugar binge will lead to a sugar “high” and then you crash back down shortly afterwards.

cat and sugar crash
pretty much me in a long arvo at work!!

For sustained energy you’re better off having a handful of nuts or a banana (yes there is sugar in fruit, however there’s lots of other nutrients and fiber too!!). 

Food can affect our emotions and our emotional well-being too. How many times have you overindulged on the weekend, either a junk food binge or too many wines out with the girls? (mmhmm hand up guilty on this one…) Then come Monday morning you drag yourself awake feeling terrible and promising to eat healthy, drink more water and haul your ass out the door for a walk/run/swim/hit the gym?

But what can I do?

Good question. What can you do? Everyone talks about “everything in moderation” and for sure that cliche has some merit. However, what does moderation actually mean? And how do you ensure you are being “moderate” in what you choose to consume? Here’s one simple tip:

Keep a food diary – it really does help keep track of everything you eat and drink on a daily basis (including that one, sorry two or was that three glasses of wine each night?) try it for a couple of weeks and you’ll surprise yourself for sure!!

image of a food diary/journal
food diary

Then you can use your food diary outcomes to change up what you eat and how you eat and you can easily spot things that you can swap out or cut down. For example, if you find you have a choc bar every arvo, swap it out a couple times/week for a small handful of nuts or piece of fresh fruit. If every morning you have a super large full-cream vanilla coffee latte – swap it out for low-fat coffee a couple of times/week. Glass or 3 of wine each night? Aim to have a couple of wine-free nights, swap it out for mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Making small changes makes you feel less deprived and more likely to stick with them and maybe even increase the changes over time! And remember:

create the change you want to be!

Love and Emotional Health (for me)

ok, this one is surprisingly tricky. It’s all very well for me to say that you need love in your life to improve your emotional well-being. It’s a loaded concept and far too easy to criticise. Many of us have been or are alone without a significant other in our lives – so it’s always painful to hear that love is important and necessary to stay emotionally healthy, but it kinda is…

But you know and I know that love is not just from the husband/wife/partner in our life. It’s also our family, friends, child(ren), pets  whether that’s a dog, cat, goldfish, goanna (an Aussie lizard, go google it, I’ll wait…).

Animals and small children give us unconditional love and that’s the kind that makes us feel wonderful and that all is right with the world even when it really is not. My daughter is just as loving and adorable at 26 as she was as a tiny child, I look at her and am amazed at how awesome she is and how lucky I am. So, go hug your child/children or your fur-baby, whichever, whatever – it’s all good.

I also have my therapy dog George and I share his love with the students and staff at work, with dementia patients and with random strangers I meet out walking him (love and exercise – mmhmm, I’m in heaven!!) Here’s a pic of George for y’all to make you smile.

Get on over to his fb page Georgie-boy on fb for more joy and happy, then come back here for my final comments on love.

Therapy Dog
George the Therapy Dog and my best friend 🙂

 

Love – that is all

child with balloon
don’t let go!!

So, now for my final comments on this blog post. Y’all know I’ve been in a relationship that has had some serious stops and starts and it’s caused me a fair amount of anguish and my living it all out in social media means everyone pretty much knows my business, so I have no secrets – not sure if that’s a good thing, but that is how it is for me.

Yes, we are back together. Yes, I know some of my friends worry about this. Yes, I know what I am doing. Yes, I know how the story may end (hey I’ve been living it for the last year!) and No, you don’t have the right to tell me how I should live my life. I love my friends, but you cannot make my decisions for me. You can choose to question my decisions, but I’d truly appreciate you keeping that to yourself and having respect for my choice, even if you think it is not the right one. 

And me? I always choose love and you know what? That is my happy. He asked me if I had put this photo on fb and I’m like nah, but it’s killing me and he laughed coz he knows I put it all out there – so here, this is us…

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if you can just change that one thing…

I was talking with my friend Katie at work the other day and she was commenting on how lucky I am because I look fit and healthy. I often get told that or that my metabolism must be really fast, well hell no, my metabolism is the same as any woman aged in her 50s. I work at staying fit and healthy – sometimes it’s easy and sometimes not so much…

Anyway, back to Katie. She was saying that she felt unhealthy, overweight and tired all the time. She said that she often was too tired to cook a meal after work and would swing by the local take-out on the way home.

no junk foodShe also said she didn’t have much time for exercise (so many people tell me that – but really it’s how you choose to prioritize your time – we all have the exact same amount of time in a day, I have another friend, Emma, who is a single mom and she throws the baby in the buggy and goes for a jog with her every morning. Me – I used to enroll my daughter in swim class and then go do laps). swimming laps

 

 

 

 

Katie also told me that she has a 500ml (roughly a pint) of flavored choc milk every day around mid morning to get her through to lunch time. She said she felt almost addicted to it, wanted to cut it out, but felt unable to do that and wanted to know if I could give her some tips on how to stop.

My response was – well don’t. She looked really astonished at that and I said, clearly you have a bit of an addiction to the sugar and chemical additives in the milk, so if you just stop you will end up craving it,  buying it and feel like you have been defeated. I suggested she try to go one day without it – not change anything else, just try for one day. Then I said if that works then try every other day to cut it back and see how you go. I also threw in that if she could work in a walk at lunchtime or after work, that would also be good.

inspiration

Three weeks later Katie came looking for me and said, hey you know what? that actually worked… she managed one day, realized that it was doable and then she cut back to every second or third day. Then she grinned at me and said – I’ve cut it out altogether – I don’t need it and I could quit it! She had also lost a little weight and felt better about herself because she proved to herself she could make that one single change. And she had taken up going for a regular walk at lunchtime AND after work! 🙂 🙂 🙂