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My plan to better health (a little long, sorry)

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Hi everyone. :angel:

Well, for quite some time, I have wanted to create a personal synergy regimen that could incorporate external/topical, internal, and lifestyle aspects for an overall bettering of my health, and hopefully my skin.

I am realizing that I need to start smaller and slower, because I often put too much at once in the basket and then get discouraged before I even started carrying it, knowing I will almost surely drop things along the way.

So, I'm going to start with the internal in the ways I can. I am hoping to gradually reach where I would like to be in about 3 months/12 weeks.

As far as the topical/external aspect goes, I am still working on it and will let you all know when I have finalized it.

Actually, as I began typing this, I realized I would have to start even smaller if I wanted to ensure I could reach my goal, because too often, I feel overwhelmed. So, in italics are the things I would like to accomplish in my first month (remember, I am starting slow to practice these simple things and gradually reach the point where I can feel comfortable and balanced holding that healthy basket! :)). I think once these things become habitual, it will be great. It's getting there that takes time. I always tell myself I will start at the beginning of a new week or month, but why? This may be just an excuse to keep putting it off.

I am trying to keep in mind four main factors: Sleep, exercise, nutrition, and relaxation.

__________

So, in terms of sleep, I realize more and more how important this is.

I used to consider myself a night owl, but I think as I've gotten older, good sleep has become a greater necessity, or at least the effects of lacking it have become greater. Some people can tolerate it and function quite well on not much sleep, but I realize that when I get to bed quite late and wake up before I have had enough sleep, my body is significantly affected, and it shows on my face. Another thing is that my mind is quite active, especially at night, so I have to find ways to slow it down to get ready for a restful night.

So I plan to start by ensuring that 3 days out of 7, I am in bed before midnight.

I will focus on this for about 4 weeks.

Then, I will up it to 4 days out of 7, where I must be in bed by 11pm.

Again, I will focus on this for about 4 weeks.

My ultimate goal is to reach the 10pm mark, because more and more, I am learning it is the ideal bedtime and I believe it, but it's tough.

So I told myself if I alotted two nights where I could get to bed later if I wanted to, it might help me stick to it. It's difficult, but I'm sure once the routine is installed, it would be much easier. Hopefully it will become something I want to do, or simply do automatically.

So I would hope to ultimately reach 5 days out of 7, where I would be in bed by 10pm. And this, I will focus on for another 4 weeks, and hopefully, from then on, my sleeping habits will be more regular and improved.

____________

In terms of exercise, well, this is another aspect I really need to work on.

I used to be more active when I was younger, with ballet jazz, gym in school, etc. but now, I am too often sitting both at work and at home, and therefore am certainly not active enough. This will probably help to improve my sleep as well, and simply keep me healthy physically and mentally. I need this in my life, and it is another thing I keep putting off. I don't want it to be too late by the time I decide to! If I have trouble now, imagine in 20 years!

So, I think I will start by doing someting once a week. I don't have a gym membership (and from experience and knowing myself, I'm afraid I wouldn't make good enough use of it), and winter is approaching, so I will use exercise tapes that I enjoy.

I think I will begin by doing my New York City Ballet Workout tape once a week, for four weeks. The first time I watched this tape, I felt alright about it, but not much more. But now, I really like it. Some parts are a little tougher to follow, but what I like is that it is longer and incorporates some stretching and strength training with the use of your own body at the beginning, and ballet of course. I have always loved ballet. To me, it reflects both strength and grace. Anyhow, once I complete the tape, I feel the work-out, that's for sure! lol

Then, I will exercise twice a week, the second time with a yoga tape. I will do this for another four weeks.

My ultimate goal is to exercise 3 days/week. I would like to do tapes two of those times, and the third time, take a class if possible(dance, aquaforme, etc.), otherwise do a different tape in the meantime.

Once I ensure that I exercise three times/week for at least four weeks, I should be on my way!

_____________

Nutrition.

Now, it's funny because in the past years, I have become very interested in natural health, holistic approaches, etc. and nutrition is very important and something that interests me amongst many other things, but I see it as the biggest challenge. I think one of the difficulties is that I live at home with my family, and the groceries do not exactly include many of my choices. Also, I have gotten into the habit of ordering out, instead of learning to cook. This is partly due to laziness and bad time management. Another thing is that my eating habits are very irregular, and sometimes quite unhealthy. Some days I try to remain more conscious and eat healthily, but I do not do it nearly often enough. Somehow, I find nutrition to be one of the primary ways to ensure good heath, and yet my mind is boggled with all the facts and how I should go about it. And what about eating out and such? I just don't want to feel so restricted that I give up.

First off, drinking water is something else I really need to increase. There are days where I do not drink any water, and sometimes not much of anything else. And then other times, I am very thirsty.

I always buy bottled water, partly because I prefer spring water, but also because somehow I saw it as an easier way to accomplish my goal of 1-2 L/day.

Well, for a couple of days a couple of weeks ago, I had forced myself to drink from stirophone (sorry, not sure how to spell that) cups, remembering when someone told me to drink 6-8 of those cups per day I believe. I was surprised but it was actually easier than drinking out of a bottle, because in my mind it was a little bit at a time and I was counting down (ex. 7 to go, 6 left, etc.). I tried to calculate what 8 of those cups equaled to in terms of liters, and I believe it was either betwen 1 and 1 1/2 L or 1 1/2 and 2L. I will try to calculate again. My goal for a while has been 2L, but one naturopath recommended 1L/day at room temperature, so I think 1 1/2 L would be ideal. In the morning, I may add lemon, but I'm not sure yet.

So what I would like to do is begin with 3 days out of 7, where I will drink 8 cups of Spring Water at room temperature. I will focus on this for four weeks.

Then, I will up it to 4 days out of 7, and finally 5 days out of 7, which might be my goal. But then again, once I get into the habit, I might find myself automatically drinking that amount the remaining two days, which would be better anyway. Otherwise, I can allow myself some flexibility those days, as well as drinking juice or something else if I would like to. I will also include tea in my diet.

In terms of diet, I think to simplify things for the moment, I will follow a menu in one of my books. There are many books that contain daily menus, but some I find harder to follow considering time and ingredients. What's good about this one is that it takes into consideration the nutritional value, simplicity (eating raw or slightly cooked), time (average time of 10-20 minutes for meals, and this is usually for dinner only), variety (including taking into account seasonal items), and healthy fats (nuts, grains, nut butter, healthy oils, avocado, flax seed, tofu, etc.).

The book is written by a dietician, and from reading parts of it, I feel her recommendations would be appropriate, and it would help me stop wondering what I should eat (another BIG problem sometimes!) What I also want to do however is take a look at the items in the menu and compare it with recommendations from a naturopath I went to see once (who I feel gave good suggestions but that I didn't have the will to follow as of yet).

There are 15 different menus.

I think I will begin by focusing again on 3 days out of 7, where I must follow one of the menus. I will do this for four weeks.

I will up it to four days for another four weeks, and then ultimately five days.

I guess much of my plan is to do as much of these things as I can at least 5 days out of 7.

___________________

As far as relaxation and simply working on me, I would like to begin reading a book I bought. It is actually a program of 105 days, to help you to learn to take care of yourself, but more on an emotional level. Overall well-being is really important to me, and something I want to continously work on.

Basically, every day, you have a short paragraph to read which focuses on a specific topic, and then must simply fill in phrases to ensure you have understood what you read (just like a quick refresher). You have a sentence to keep in mind/repeat to yourself throughout the day, and an exercise to do. It is actually quite simple, but I truly believe that the combination of all the days together will make a difference. I already glanced at the first page, and it was so simple, but I am already keeping in mind the simple fact I learned, which is good. I can apply it to my way of thinking.

In addition to this, I want to take one day or evening out of the week to really dedicate to relaxing, maybe by taking a bath, watching something funny, meditating, writing, listening to soothing music, drinking chamomile tea....etc. Things to calm my mind and my spririt. The book also has a weekly review, which I could do on this day.

I would really like to get a facial and massage four times a year if I can, but this is a luxury and at the moment, money is tight.

I think there is a lot more I thought of that I simply forgot to write. I apologize if it's not very clear. I am still somewhat in a brainstorming state.

I plan to begin on the 17th, because this upcoming week is really busy, and I don't feel it would be an appropriate time to begin these new changes.

Until then, any comments, questions, or suggestions would be appreciated.

I will update once a week on my progress. If anyone else wants to join in, please feel free to!

Thanks for reading. :angel:

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I also wanted to add that an overall important part in all of this is reducing stress.

By doing the things mentioned in my previous post, I feel stress levels will decrease and be easier to cope with.

For me, it was also important to note certain sources of stress, and try to work at them.

Some are due to habits, and some due to other things. The stressors can be little or big. The point is that they do not add to our well-being. So, though we cannot control all stresses, there are some we can control.

For example, some of my stresses include being late, my clutter, sometimes getting stuck in the past or in the future, and my feeling overwhelmed at times (if there is one thing wrong, it seems all negative things come to mind at the same time). These are some examples of things that add stress to my life.

I am getting better with the latter, and it makes a difference. I still need to work on the others.

I wanted to share something I read in a book regarding habits that I thought could be helpful.

Apparently, according to studies, it takes twenty-one days to break a habit pattern. Interesting huh?

Well, the idea behind this specific technique is to go back to childhood days and gold stars. The idea may sound a little silly, but I actually think it's a fun and helpful idea.

The woman explains that over the years she has called upon this system for developing discipline, both for starting good habits and for getting rid of bad ones. She eventually stopped using the stars but she still relied on a one month time frame to keep track of her progress in whatever she was trying to accomplish.

She does emphasize that motivation is key, and that getting rid of the habit may be its own reward. She also admits this may sound childish or absurd, but that it works, so she encouraged us to humour ourselves here. The last line states: Recapture some of your childhood enthusiasm and get excited about gold stars. Besides a couple of dollars for the box of stars, and possibly a bad habit, what have you got to lose?

So here are the steps from the book itself to develop self-discipline:

1. Get your calendar and a box of stars.

2. Decide what discipline you want to work on. Let's say you want to eliminate your habit of worrying (example).

3. Check your motivation level. If you're not fully committed to breaking this habit, you're wasting your time.

4. Don't tell anyone what you're doing, or what the stars mean. This dissipates the energy. But do make a private coded note to yourself in the upper left-hand corner of the calendar, so you can look back and evaluate your progress in each habit you've worked on (one at a time)

5. Keep your calendar where you'll be certain to check it every day.

6. At the end of each day, take a look at your calendar and think about your day.

If you were able to nip each worry in the bud as soon as you became aware of it, pull out a gold star and place it in the appropriate date box.

7. Always start on the first of the month and go through to the thirtieth. If by the end of the month, you've got stars in each and ever box, you're on your way.

Again, studies have shown that it takes 21 days to change a habit pattern. If that's true, then 3 weeks would work as well, but a month is such a convenient block of time. Also, if it's now the 15th of the month, and you've decided to break a bad habit, you still have roughly 15 days to indulge yourself in the old one - or until you have to start on the new one.

If you don't have a star in every box, congratulate yourself for the stars you do have, but realize you'll have to start the process all over again next month until you have an entire month with stars on every day.

If you miss a few days in between, don't make the mistake of thinking, ''Oh well, I'll just have to wait until the first of next month and start again.'' No. No. No. That won't work.

If you stop to wait for the first of next month after missing a couple of days, you're only kidding yourself. You need to do a motivation check.

Even if, by the end of the month, you don't have stars on every day, you're still working at it. Once you've got stars on every single day then you've broken the back of your habit (she mentions that it took her three months once to eliminate a bad habit)

8. Once you've achieved a level of self-discipline in one area, go to the next habit you want to work on. Soon, you'll have established a pattern of self-discipline you can easily apply to any area of your life.

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Guest Tinky

WOW. Could you give the titles of the books you were talking about? I'd like to check them out. Stress is a

BIG factor in my acne....my face always shows the aftermath of a couple bad days. I know most of the

things I need to do but I'm just too lazy to get up and do them. It's like in my mind I see what I should be

doing but I never seem to get around to doing it. I really like your plan at starting slowly. Maybe this is my

problem too. The few times I DID start things, they ended very quickly because it was too tramatic. Like

exercise. I started many times thinking I would go at it every day....only to fail at it and end up all guilt

ridden :( It's funny how emotional changing one's habits can be. Food!!! AHHH I tried to be vegan..failed.

Tried just veggies and fruit...failed again. Now I'm just trying to learn moderation and get more education

about healthy food. The bedtime issue is so big for me too. When 10pm rolls around I get sleepy and think

I should just go to bed...but darnit if not everynight do I stay up past 1am!!!!( and I have to get up at 6am,

so it's not enough) How does that happen!!!! :doh:

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Hi there!

The book I was speaking about in my second post is called The Simplicity Reader, by Elaine St-James. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/076511676...283155&v=glance

It is a big book, that includes three different books I believe (Simplify Your Life, Inner Simplicity, and Living The Simple Life).

I don't agree with the negative reviews, but of course it is subjective. I like to refer to this book regularly, and though there may be certain things that may not seem as easy or typical to incorporate, there are many others that are.

I know most of the things I need to do but I'm just too lazy to get up and do them. It's like in my mind I see what I should be doing but I never seem to get around to doing it.

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Guest Tinky

Thanks for the books!!! I will check the one out from the library and try to get through it.The other, eek I

can't read ANY french , but I will try google for it , if nothing else I'll look into the technique of

microtherapy and see what info is out there!!! Thanks!

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You're welcome Tinky!

I will try on my end to see if the book is somehow available in English, but I have a feeling it might not be. :(

If not, it would be a shame, because there are many books using the technique that could be helpful.

Let me know if you find the other one at the library! :angel:

Edit: I have been looking up microtherapy without much success so far. In French, it is microthérapie, and so I thought it would be the same in English, but I am wondering now. I hope I can come up with something for you.

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Guest Tinky

I can get the first book though our inter library loan system. :dance:

I am looking forward to reading it.

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Hi everyone. :angel:

So I made a simple chart that displays how I will go about these first-month goals (please see attachment).

I may decide to add other things (re: breaking a habit, taking a supplement, etc.), but for the moment, that's how it will look.

I also decided that for my exercise, I would begin with yoga instead of the ballet tape because I thought it would be more relaxing and also more gentle considering I haven't exercised in a while.

Once a week, I will update on my progress. I have a feeling it might work this time. At least I hope!

I think if it does work, it will be because I started smaller and also made this chart to refer to.

If anyone is interested in trying this to improve aspects of their lives, please feel free to make your own chart, be it the same as mine or modified to suit your needs (in terms of areas and days you would like to focus on), and we can encourage each other and perhaps offer tips in areas we may find a bit tough.

It would be great if people could post their personal charts.

Take care everyone!

[attachmentid=2341]

P.S. Any feedback would be most welcome.

Month1Chart.doc

Month1Chart.doc

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Olive_Leaf - if you were referring to the attachment, it is a Word document. :angel:

Thank you for wishing me luck. The beginning is always tough. I know just sticking to it is a challenge, so it's good that I'm starting off smaller. I think it's important to remind ourselves that it's ultimately to optimize our well-being.

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Hi everyone.

Sorry I didn't update on Sunday as planned.

So my first week proved to be slightly more difficult than I planned. Overall, it was a lazy week. Looking at my chart, there did not seem to be too much to accomplish, but the beginning is always tougher and sticking to something is not always easy.

I managed to achieve drinking the required water 3 times during the week, as my goal entitled. I was proud of this, because it was actually tough - I wasn't feeling very thirsty that week. I think my cycle could have played a part in this. So twice (I believe it was Monday and Wednesday), I drank 8 cups as planned, even though I began later in the day and therefore finished quite late, just before going to bed (I told myself I had to reach the goal before bedtime, even if it was 2 in the morning). Tuesday I reached 7 cups, so I told myself I had to pick another day to reach the goal, even if I was only off by one cup, so Thursday or Friday, I drank 6 9oz cups, which equals about 1L and a half.

As mentioned, the diet part was unfortunately put on hold because I was unable to get what I needed to follow the menus.

My exercise ended up being accomplished on Wednesday instead of Monday. I tried the new yoga tape I had bought and it was alright. The music was relaxing, and the scenery as well, but it proved how much I need to get back into shape. The positions and my breathing were not as good as they should have been, my heart was beating so quickly, etc., but starting off after a long break is usually this way, and it gets better and easier with each time you do it. I think one mistake I made was that in the tape, there were four variations of the same move, and I decided to follow the third variation (one more and it would have been the leader's variation) but that was a mistake, as I was pushing myself too hard after being inactive for a significant period of time. I enjoyed the tape, but might try my other yoga tape next time, as it is more introductory to the moves (I need a refresher) and is generalized, instead of geared towards weight loss.

I failed at being in bed before midnight. Thursday or Friday, I almost achieved, but then time passed and I sort of gave up for that day. Saturday, I managed to be in bed at around midnight, but I only actually officially told myself it was time to sleep around 1:30/2am. Sunday I was not feeling well at all. I had bad cramps (almost like air or gaz in the stomach that cause you to fold over), and felt sick overall. I wondered if it was something I eat the day before. I also thought it was just this cold getting worse, but it felt more like a flu. Later on, it proved to be the flu indeed. I had chills, aches, and going to the bathroom proved my body wasn't feeling well. It will pass, but it's tiring as it will soon be two weeks that I am not feeling so well. So Sunday I went to rest around 7pm and awoke at around 11:30pm, then went to rest again at 2:30am. This week so far, I have been trying to rest to recuperate. Have been drinking some Neocitran and haven't been eating much, except for soup, crackers, jello and a bit of toast.

So I think unfortunately I will skip this week and start fresh again next week if I'm feeling better, because it will be difficult to commit myself when feeling like this. As far as exercise, it can help sometimes but I once read that if your sickness is below the shoulders, it is best not to. If it is anything above the shoulders (throat, runny nose, etc.), it is still normally alright to exercise.

My daily readings started off well, but because I wasn't feeling so well, and was also very preoccupied at one point during the week, I fell behind and wasn't able to catch up. Even though it's fairly simple, it requires commitment and attention.

Today I did a test for fun to discover my real age in relation to health and lifestyle, and it enlightened me. It is difficult to rely on Internet tests, but it showed me points I knew were weaker in my lifestyle, and let's just say according to the test, I am at least 4 years older. I will modify my chart a little bit to take into consideration some of the suggestions, and will begin again next week if I'm feeling better. At this point, I would not have wanted to stop like this, but I just am not feeling well.

When I begin again, I will still work with a 12 week span, as I think it's a good length of time, and the test also bases making improvements over that period.

Take care everyone.

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flax seed ican be expensive. love my olive oils. hard pressed extra virgin never fails me

i buy everything organic. milk. i have it dselivered straight from a farm it tastes more creamier& has more omega-3 acids. fruits and veggies. heh cant recommend organic produce ENOUGH!!

my all time fav skin food:

warm pitta naan split in half filled inside with humus, avocado, black olives, red onions, romaine lettuce, cucumber, grilled chicken breast slices, sprinkle with sea salt&cracked brazilian pepper. crumbled feta. serve wiht a touch of organic yoghurt mixed with fresh manuka honey. mmmm filling.. tasty AND healthy!!! :drool:

good sleep. sure could do with that ive been so busy with work. *sigh*

GOOD LUCK!!

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