Saturday, June 30, 2012

Better Health

Image by Ingvar-fed. Public domain.

In December, I wrote an article detailing five things I would do this year to improve my health. It was an assignment I decided to claim as a little experiment and personal challenge.

Now that 2012 is about halfway over, I'm preparing a post about how well I did with my resolutions. The article is background for the update, which I'll be posting soon.

[The following was originally published as a Display Only (D.O.) article on Yahoo! Voices, December 15, 2011.]

Five Ways to Better Health in the New Year

Every December, I write down some generic New Year's resolutions, such as "get more exercise" or "eat better." This is a good starting point, but it doesn't hold me as accountable as I'd like. As someone with more than one health problem, I know that there are several things I can do to help myself. That's why I've begun to take a more active role in my health. In addition to getting more exercise and changing my diet in general, I've come up with some specific ways to improve my situation. I have five health resolutions for 2012, along with details on how to follow through.

1. Drink more water. Although I drink water almost exclusively, I still don't drink enough. In 2012, I would like to drink eight glasses every day. This is something I'm working up to slowly. Over the last month, I've increased my daily water intake to six glasses. The many benefits include its ability to curb my hunger and keep me from grabbing a high-calorie snack. If eight glasses proves too much for me, I'll back off until I find out what works best for my body.

2. Consume more calcium. I don't get enough calcium in my diet. Unfortunately, increasing my calcium intake is no longer merely an option; it became a necessity after a bone density scan revealed that I have osteopenia, a possible precursor to osteoporosis. On the advice of my doctor, I plan to take a calcium citrate supplement in addition to eating foods rich in calcium.

3. Eat less wheat. Wheat is my downfall, whether it's in the form of bread, cake, pasta, or something else. Although I do have self-control--I can stop after a bite or two--I like it far too much. With that in mind, I've resolved to do without wheat at least three days a week in 2012. I've already experimented by having an occasional wheat-free day, and I can do it as long as I have a variety of the right foods available.

4. Get more vitamin D. After learning that I have a serious vitamin D deficiency, my doctor advised me to start taking a supplement. I did that for a while but slacked off, and now it's time to renew my commitment to taking this essential hormone.

5. Track my lab reports. My doctor typically doesn't say much about my test results, other than to indicate that everything is fine or that a particular result is slightly outside the normal range. From now on, I'm going to ask for copies of my lab reports. Once I start getting my own copies, I can track my progress all year and be prepared with any questions I may have.

I'm determined to follow through with these health resolutions in 2012. After all, the benefits will far outweigh the inconvenience.

Did you make any health resolutions for this year?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Woof Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

List After List After List

As part of my ongoing effort to restructure my time, I've made quite a few lists. Most people would probably think I'm spending too much time on this, but it's just how I manage to get things done. I thoroughly enjoy this task, and I know that it works for me in the long run.

For this particular project, my lists are helping me organize my thoughts and figure some things out, and they go far beyond shopping and daily "to do" lists. Here are a few of the ones I've been working on:

- titles of books to read
- ideas for each room (organizing, etc.)
- subjects I want to learn more about
- tasks that should be on a regular schedule

Obviously, some of them will always never be complete; my running list of books keeps growing faster than I can add the titles to my shelves at Goodreads. That's okay, though. At least I'm getting somewhere by narrowing down what I want. Not everything I've written down will be accomplished, but writing it all out is an important step toward my goal because it helps me prioritize.

Since I've been at this for a while, I'm almost ready to start working on a schedule. I'm awfully curious to see how it turns out.

Do you make many lists?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Favorites, June 22, 2012

I've decided to try posting some of my favorite things for the week, so here are a few of the best images I've come across. I hope you enjoy them!

This would be an amazing travel destination.

This is a great photo for animal lovers in general, and duck lovers in particular.

These banana bread bars with brown sugar frosting look really yummy!

I don't have many summer shows, but Pretty Little Liars is always good.

Seriously, how sweet is this?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Here's a great image for the first day of summer, which happens to fall on both Wordless Wednesday and Woof Wednesday.

Okay, so it's a set of images, but they go together.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If Only I Had Listened

If I could live my life over, I would--wait a minute. Just hold it right there.

I'm not going to get all philosophical or "if I could go back and change things" wistful or weepy; I'm just going to state a simple fact.

I wish I'd listened to my husband sooner.

There. I said it.

I have to give him credit for finally persuading me to try almond milk.

As far back as I can remember, I've thought milk tasted sour. Chocolate milk is only slightly more palatable. Cooking with milk is fine, and I like many other dairy products. I just don't like milk.

A while back, I bought some coconut milk, thinking it might be the answer. Unfortunately, it seemed very watery to me, so I wasn't crazy about it. My husband, on the other hand, really liked it, so we bought that for a while.

Then I decided to buy a carton of almond milk. Again, he liked it, but I still wasn't sure. Instead, I continued my custom of adding small amounts of regular milk to my granola. One day, I fixed a bowl of granola before remembering we didn't have any regular milk, so I tried the almond milk. After all, my husband had been trying to get me to try it, so I figured I had to at that point.

It was good.

I still haven't cooked with almond milk, but I've had instant breakfasts made with it. (Yes, I know the dry mix contains dairy milk, but I don't notice that.)

So, the point to all this?

I wish I'd listened to my husband and tried almond milk sooner.

Is there a product you wish you'd tried sooner?


This post is a response to this week's GBE 2 writing prompt, "If I Had My Life to Live Over..."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making Time for Some Good Reads

Making time to read is one of the changes I've made recently. As I mentioned briefly as one of a few random facts, I finally signed up at Goodreads. It's something I'd thought about before but never really had a chance to investigate. Once I looked around the site a bit, I knew I had to register.

Reading is something that I'd been neglecting over the last year or two, and that was unacceptable to me. I realized that I needed to do better. Even though I can't devote anywhere near as much time to reading as I did in the past, I can certainly do more than I have been.

I also realized that my reading habits have changed. In the past, I read one book at a time, picking up the next book as soon as I finished one, unless they were required reading for courses I was taking. Now, I generally have at least three books going at any given time. Only one of them is fiction, though; I'm just too forgetful to be able to keep track of what happened where. Right now, I'm in the middle of two health-related books and one classic.

I've come across a few reading challenges but haven't signed up for any of them. I think I'll hold off for a while longer.

Do you read as much as you used to--or even more--or have you slacked off the way I did?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Changing Course

When a friend told me recently that she'd finally gone back to a hobby she's loved since childhood, it made me think. Actually, it did more than that. It made me act.

Well, first, I did have some thinking to do. I thought about how I typically spend my time. I tend to focus on one thing so much that I end up neglecting everything else. For example, when I'm at the computer, I always tell myself I'll be getting up frequently to walk around and get a drink of water. Do I actually follow through? Sometimes, but not nearly as much as I'd like. That bothers me.

As a result of all this introspection, I started making lists of things I want or need to do. They're still incomplete--and probably always will be, since I'm always coming up with new ideas to include--but they're great resources. I've already incorporated some of them, such as more reading and exercise time, into my schedule.

The next step is to prioritize everything and decide how much time to allot each item, as well as how often. This will take a while to figure out, and some items will inevitably be removed or at least placed so far down the list that I'll never get to them. That's okay. The important thing is to figure out exactly what the priorities are and then follow through on what I can. I just need to pay more attention and change how I go about things, so I'll keep plugging away.

Have you ever sat down and completely restructured your time? How did it go?


This post is a response to this week's GBE 2 writing prompt, "Self."