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August Reflection

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Firstly, thank you to all who have commented on Mrs. Palmer, my beautiful feline daughter. She is holdlng her own for the time being.

Now I have something to write that I hope does not come off sounding harsh or pedantic. I hope it does not make me sound like a frustrated Classics professor.

I struggle with Congestive Heart Failure and my diabetes every day. I know that my life expectancy is lower than it should be at my age. For many complicated emotional reasons, I feel as if I ate myself into this predicament. If you are younger than I am (and almost all of you are) it is my sincere hope--really I beg you to know---that time speeds by as you get older. You turn 40 and blink and you are 50, you take a half-blink and then you are 60.

Please take care of yourself now. Tell yourself that you don't want to eat yourself into heart disease. Tell yourself that you cannot possibly know the odds and that the genetics are only a part of the story. Tell yourself that if you do become ill, if you have diabesity or heart disease, you can look at yourself and say: "I did the best I could to avoid this".

I cannot do that. I can say that I ate myself into serious diseases. Because I thought that I would cope with my issues in the future. Because the future is an impossible place--we can imagine it the way we can imagine Utopia or Atlantis, but the future is difficult to understand as a "real concept". I did things like: decided it was more fun to read a book or watch tv than work out; decided that working as hard as I could was worth more than cooking good food; decided that caring about weight was superficial (not at all true when you reflect that weight itself is a symptom of somethings that can be deadly); decided that I was A-OK for caring more about Beethoven and Shakespeare and the political identity of narrative voices than something so mundane as my blood sugar. I thought it was perfectly find to get my fuel from Ben and Jerry and pretzels and potato chips as long as I was Thinking. Great. Thoughts.

If you are reading this, you know and I know that I was wrong.

In weeks like this--when my heart is acting up and my body is clinging to weight and my heart is just not pumping the oxygen the way it should, I feel a kind of zeal to beg of people to take care of your body today. A person can go from being symptom free to having a full-blown disease very quickly.

Use and conserve your energy wisely. Put only the very best food into your mouth. Keep your body moving. Reward yourself with all kinds of things but please do not confuse an overload of sugar (or alcohol or drugs) as a basic diet. Nor as a reward. And please do not tell yourself (as I told myself) that it's OK to mainline Big Macs because I don't take drugs or alcohol.

Approach August as a month that will be transformational--a month of fitness and health.
Try making August a month where you will do NOTHING to encourage a heart attack, a stroke, a diagnosis of high blood sugar, or any of the numerous toxic side-effects of making lousy fitness decisions.

I scold you because I care.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD13629552
    Thank you for the scolding. Thank you for caring. Honestly, this deserves to be in a newspaper, where it can be read by a wider (in both meanings of the word) audience.
    2873 days ago
    This was such a lovely, heart-felt blog. Sometimes, we must be harsh (perhaps tough would be a better word?) in order to get across how much we care. Not unlike being a parent-you have to scold them in order to get them to act in the proper way and become the best person they can. You are speaking from a place of experience, and from an attitude of caring. I think it is to be commended that you are taking responsibility for your health. You acknowledge where you have fallen short, but also are not calling it quits and giving up. I admire that.
    2881 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Terrific blog, I couldn't agree more with what you write. I feel the same way when I see close friends and relatives in care homes, in a couple of instances purely because their lifestyle issues have robbed them of mobility and caused avoidable health problems. I'm not perfect, and do have more than the occasional blow-out, but I do try to think of their situation to motivate me to eat plant-based and simple food most of the time and to keep moving as much as I can.
    I do hope you get through this latest bout of ill-health - there are still books to read and ideas to pursue amid the good eating and exercise! emoticon
    2882 days ago
    I'm sorry to hear about your heart problems and your diabetes.

    Do take care of yourself.

    2882 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13664249
    This is fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to write to us and let us know the dangers of being overweight.
    2882 days ago
    You've shared some very important wisdom. Thank you for the reminders that I need to keep forefront in my mind.
    So sorry that you are having to deal with these health issues, and I hope you're feeling better this week.


    P.S. Love your colorful background fruits and veggies!
    2883 days ago
    Thank you so much for this. We always need reminders!!! Take care of yourself please.
    2883 days ago
    Thank you
    2883 days ago
  • LE7_1234
    Thank you.
    2883 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13425678
    You took the words right out of my blog - I've been thinking the same thing. Any effort is better than none, and no effort is wasted. To young folks who think they have forever to change, to older folks who may think there's no point in making the attempt - I've been wanting to shout "Do it NOW! Don't delay!" Thank you. And I hope you keep Thinking Great Thoughts and also continue taking ever-better care of yourself.
    2883 days ago
    Great blog that hits home. 3 out of 4 grandparents and one parent were all victims of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately they changed their lifestyles too late.
    Your advice is timely for me. Bad things have happened lately in my life and I have resorted to bad habits - sweet food. And I am not young. Keep scolding, Natalie! And, thank you.
    2883 days ago
    and believe it or not, even after that half-blink you can still do something to improve your condition. shake it babe, for mrs. palmer's sake.
    2884 days ago
  • MINEA999
    This is excellent advice that more of us need to listen to. The younger the better. I can't go back and redo the years I ate every fatty, sugary thing I could get my hands on and then followed it up with cigarettes but I can take pride that I'm no longer on that path to heart disease, diabetes etc. and that every good choice I make takes me farther away from that fate.
    2884 days ago
    I am on the road to prevention!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2884 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13046058
    Your blog is moving and beautifully written. Thank you for your encouragement to us all.
    emoticon emoticon
    2884 days ago
    Thank you for writing this, Natalie! The fight against diabetes is a passion for me - when I lost my mom over 30 years ago (she was 76) it was to the side effects of diabetes. She was legally blind and had lost a leg from a lesion that would not heal. But except for diabetes she was totally healthy.

    She waited too late to take the disease seriously. I don't fault her for that as back when she contacted it we didn't have the knowledge do now (and we STILL don't have nearly enough knowledge!)

    You on the other hand are taking responsibility for your health NOW and while you have side effects, I believe you still have time to arrest and conquer them! So thanks again - let's continue to spread the word!! I miss my mom every day and don't want anyone else's daughter or son to be without theirs at too young an age!!
    2884 days ago
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