[Road to Wellness] We've Arrived! Weeks 11 and 12

When we started this trip, the word "wellness" made me cringe. Now it's what I strive for on a daily basis. I'm still not exactly where I want to be, but I have a strong foundation for the journey now. In this last installment, I thought would I summarize all that we've talked about over the previous 10 weeks.

Weeks 11 and 12:

Exercise: We should all be walking 45 minutes four days a week in conjunction with other forms of exercise. Add another day whenever you can. Now is the perfect time to add some small weights to this routine. Might as well work on your arms while you walk. By now we should be doing yoga stretches daily and should be feeling the benefits. I can now walk up a flight of stairs and not have to take a break. I still haven't been to the Y, but I've found myself a friend—whom I'm not afraid of looking like a dumbass in front of—who has promised to be my workout buddy. He and I start first thing Monday morning (laugh).

If you're still having problems convincing yourself to work out, just think about it this way: The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate. We should also be trying to increase our heart rate a few times a week. If you don't want to run or take a step class, try putting in your favorite CD and dancing in your living room for 20 minutes (I like the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack). I've been doing Pilates (in my living room) and yoga for about a month, and I've lost two inches from my hips and three from my waist (!). The best part about these forms of exercise is the almost instant gratification. Have you joined a gym, yet? If you have, try out their personal trainers. Now that you're well down the road to wellness, you're in a perfect place to, as Emeril says, kick it up a notch.

•Diet: Well, if y'all have been even half way taking my suggestions, your diet should be just about perfect by now. You should be eating fish (mainly salmon), or flax, on a regular basis; two or three times a week is best. There should be broccoli and greens on your table along with healthy servings of garlic. You should have replaced at least one cup of coffee a day with green tea. I've actually given up coffee completely. (If you knew me, you'd know what a big deal that is.) We should all be taking a good multivitamin every morning with our green tea. We should have thrown out the Crisco and replaced it with olive oil. We should have replaced all refined wheat products with whole grains. There should be no artificial sweeteners in our homes. We should be drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of purified, distilled water a day. We should be eating soy products on a regular basis. We should be almost regulars on the health food aisle, at Rainbow or For Health's Sake (in Highland Village). (A Whole Foods is coming to Ridgeland, by the way.) Continue to try and use as many organic fruits and vegetables as possible. But, the most important thing is to try and enjoy all of this. Otherwise we'll never stick with it. We should all have some essential oils at home (lavender and peppermint especially), not to eat, but to sniff.

• Creative: If you've actually created a room of your own, I'm proud. How's the
journaling going? Keep it up. Do it for me. I promise it is one of the best things you could ever do for yourself. Hopefully, by now, you've created some sort of ritual for yourself. Maybe on Monday evenings you lock yourself in a room and paint. Maybe you are designing a garden. Maybe you just like to build stuff with Popsicle sticks. Whatever makes you happy. Have you rediscovered something you loved? Now is a great time to start knitting all of those scarves for Christmas presents. Have you joined, or started, a club? The Manly Man Meatball and Motorcycles? Mambo Lovers Anonymous? Are you still trying to make yourself laugh once a day? You know the most powerful form of love is self-love. Take yourself on a date, and dress up. Make it a monthly date.

• Boundaries: Boundaries are the types of things that need constant attention. If you're not careful, they'll close back up on you. The ability to expand your horizons takes a lifetime of commitment. Decide to try something new every week, for the rest of your life. Ever had Vietnamese food? (Try Saigon on Lakeland.) Ever squared danced, actually "listened" to a rap song? My Great Aunt "Ain" (Loraine) and I did a rain dance once when I was a child, while it was raining, in the front yard, in our underwear. There's a role model for children and for us. Forget what other people are thinking of you and worry about what you think of you.

Note that these wellness tips are gleaned from a variety of respected sources, and in no way take the place of consulting a good doctor about health concerns.


Wellness Resources

"The Healthy Hedonist: A Fun Lover's Guide to Great Health"
by Janet Bridgers (Terracotta Books & Media, 2002)

"Eat More, Weigh Less" by Dean Ornish, M.D. (Harper Paperbacks, 1993)

"8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power" by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. (Ballantine Publishing Group, 1997). http://www.askdrweil.com

"The Artist's Way: The Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" by Julia Cameron (J.P. Tarcher, 2002)

Words of Wellness
• Water
• Walking
• Yoga
• Organic
• Laughter
• Weights
• Broccoli
• Salmon
• Flax
• Blueberries
• Black Beans
• Fruit
• Garlic
• Ginger
• Dancing
• Green Tea
• Forgiveness
• Creativity
• Speaking Up
• Tolerance
• Love
• Pets
• Soy
• Lavender
• Peppermint
• Breathing

— by J. Bingo Holman, Sept. 17, 2003


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