[Road to Wellness] Skating into Health, Weeks 9 and 10

Sept. 4, 2003

Can you believe we're almost done with our 12 weeks? After this one, there's only one more installment. I don't know about y'all, but I actually feel better, both mentally and physically. I feel stronger. Proof of that is in the pudding, as it were. Some friends and I are trying to start a roller derby league. A few weeks ago I would have said, "No way, Jose!" But now I'm raring to go. Our first meeting was last Saturday, and we had a blast. The music in the roller rink was pumping, a lot different from "Drop a Bomb On Me"—they were playing that last time I was there. Let me tell you, skating is some kind of workout, and I am beginning to love working out (don't tell anybody).

Week Nine:
• Exercise: We're going to give our walking a bump to 45 minutes, four days a week. Have you noticed that tiny hint of fall in the air? Pretty soon we'll sweat more because we're working out and less simply because we're outside. True confession. I can't work out in front of other people. I joined the Y two weeks ago and have yet to make it to a class. Too self-consious, I've been working with tapes and books at home, after my husband goes to work. I will keep trying to convince myself to go. Hope the rest of you fare better than I. Maybe this week I'll go.

• Diet: Our diets should be pretty good at this point. I just wanted to reiterate a couple of things. In a study of diets of both Eskimos and Danes, both of whom eat a high-fat diet, it was found that only the Danes had the normal unhealthy by-products of such a diet. The reason was that the Eskimos diet was mostly fish, meaning omega-3 fatty acids, one of the two main classes of polyunsaturated fats. More than that, this study found that omega-3s reduce the production of a substance in the blood that causes blood platelets to stick together, leading sometimes to blocked arteries and eventual stroke or heart attack. So, remember, there is such a thing as a good fat; it actually counteracts the effects of the bad fats. (If you don't eat fish, flax is a great replacement. Just sprinkle it on your cereal.)

Also, how are you doing on your servings of (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables? You should be getting up near the seven recommended servings a day.

• Creativity: Continue to write in your journal as often as you can. It has proven to be a major stress reducer for me; I hope it can do the same for all of you.
And it's time to throw a party! It can be any kind of party you want, the funnier the theme, the better. There can be as many or as few guests as you want. Throw a party for your cat. A breakfast-in-bed party for your significant other or yourself. A luau or a neighborhood potluck. Host a country-and-western party. Have a "My Kids Are Back In School" party. Really, plan a party at your house (just don't stress out trying to be Martha Stewart). First, I bet you'll clean up really good. Second, you can serve the food and drinks that you like. Third, you're in charge of the music. Fourth, you can never have too many parties. And, fifth, any excuse to dress up.

• Boundaries: My mom (Hi, Mom) said that I should talk about spirituality, and she's right (as usual). I told her that I didn't feel right trying to preach such a delicate subject. But she said studies show that people who are in touch with their spirituality live longer, healthier, happier lives. I try to live a good life, although it's not always easy. Maybe this is a good time for us all get in tune with whatever spiritual ideology that makes sense to us. It may also be a good time to expand our horizons with religion. It is my belief that, in the end, they are all very similar. Most religions teach beautiful lessons of loving one another and accepting our differences as a blessing.

Week 10
• Exercise: Walk for 45 minutes four days this week. Continue your yoga stretches, or attend yoga class at least twice, and mix up your work-out routine a little. You don't want to get bored and quit. Schedule a tennis or a skating lesson; try a different class at the gym. Dig your bike out of the garage and get the tires fixed (seen those new bike lanes on Old Canton?) Plan a dancing night-out at least once a month; drink a lot of water and dance up a storm.

• Diet: Go back and re-read the previous weeks to see if you're sticking with the regimen. If there are some things you've skipped, try them now. (Or just start Week 1 right now; see the JFP Web site.) Try another fruit-fast this week. Pick up one vegetable that you've never tried before and find a recipe for it. Check your cabinets again to be sure that offending ingredients (MSG, Nutrasweet, hydrogenated fats, artificial junk) haven't sneaked back in.

It's a good time to go back over the list of miracle foods and find even more creative ways to incorporate them into your diet (broccoli, soy, blueberries, ginger, black beans, and garlic). Go get some great tomatoes at the farmer's market. Pick up some organic herb plants off the rack in front of Rainbow to grow on your back porch and snip from when you cook dinner.

Creativity: In your journaling this week, write a letter to someone who has hurt you, and try to forgive him or her. Also, write a letter to someone that you've hurt; ask their forgiveness. Plan a weekend getaway. Go to New Orleans, Memphis or the Coast. (Turn the page for Herman's Fall Road Trip Guide for ideas.) Pack a healthy cooler and car basket, filled with veggie sandwich cutlets, soy bars, trail mix, dried fruit, juice and natural sodas. (Blue Skys are yummy.) You can even get fake jerky, if that's your car-trip thing. If you can't get out of town, plan a weekend getaway in your back yard.

Boundaries: Visit a museum that you've never been to (Smith Robertson is incredible). Ask for a curator, or someone else that works there, to explain some of the exhibits to you. Go to a music store and buy an instrument. The prices of instruments vary from a few dollars to a few thousand. Give a concert to your pet. If you're obsessed with the news, start building in a couple days' news-fast every week. World events aren't going anywhere. Reward your first 10 weeks with a nice fresh-fruit margarita or daiquiri, virgin or otherwise. Cheers.

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 any health concerns you may have.

— by J. Bingo Holman, Aug. 21, 2003


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