February 10, 2010

BABY STEP 39 - Day of Rest (Feb 8)

If Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, why do I still have so much to do?
My family still expects dinner, usually a big one (roast beef in the crockpot makes it easier, especially if I cook up the potatoes, mash 'em, and stick them in another crockpot on warm, and even make the gravy and put it in a small crockpot). But it still takes time.
Today my kitchen is still torn up, so my husband grilled some steaks on the BBQ grill (it's too cold to grill, but when you don't have a stove/oven hooked up, the choices for a nice Sunday dinner are limited.
My family and I watched three movies today. Usually we'll go weeks without watching one, but we had a regular movie-lalapalooza today. Not many steps, but a lot of relaxation time watching silly movies.
The Incredible Mr. Limpet (man wishing he could be a fish--and becoming one). Them (giant ants, if you must know). And Quigley Down Under. I love Crazy Cora. She's so flawed and Quigley (Tom Selleck) is so gentle with her, even when she's driving him nuts. It's a sweet love story.
Today I caught my breath, in between the last week of business (construction and Eagle Court coming up) and the next week of business (a funeral, floor going in, and a writers' conference).
Sometimes the breaths we take are emotional ones. Today I breathed deeply of family togetherness.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 38 - Living Waters (Feb 7)

How much water did you drink today? I’ve started fixing myself tasty drinks so that I’m drinking more and enjoying it more than plain ‘ole water.
Plain ‘ole water.
I remember living in Kuwait when I was a teen. We had water tanks on top of our flat roofs. A water truck would bring water to the house and pump it up into the tank on the house.
And when we ran the water, it would run hot to begin with. If we wanted cold water, we had to wait a few moments.
And I remember when I was a young child, in South America, when we showered in cold water. I remember when we finally got hot water--and I would still end my shower with cold water because it was so refreshing in the South American heat.
And I remember days when I thought, during the entire working day, that I ought to go fill my big drinking mug--but I didn't. I was starving my body of water.
Remember, my body--and yours--is in large part water. We need to replenish that water, so the water that's already in there can do its job--some of which is to carry toxins out of the body. We want to get rid of toxins and bring in the life-bringing moisture of water.
So the next time you go to a restaurant, order water. Your body will thank you. And it might even become a healthy habit.
Just like that.
Got water?
© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 37 - Soaring with Eagles (Feb 6)

Yup. Today was my son Ryan's Eagle Court of Honor. Which meant that the entire morning and up until three o'clock I was running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.
And I got another 6500 steps for the day. Running errands adds up.
My challenge is on those days when I sit all day at the computer. On those days, how can I get in extra steps? How to I motivate myself out the door to walk for thirty minutes?
Ryan earned his Eagle, which is an awesome achievement. He worked for several years, earning different ranks and merit badges. And, finally, he received the prize.
It might take us a few years to reach our final prize, but I believe by the end of this year we will much, much closer to the prize than when the year began.
Are you with me? Is this the year of change for you, too?
Are you getting you baseline? Have you gone into the corner and opened up your chest? Have you taken a deep breath or two or three? Have you ordered your pedometer? if not, why not today?
We've put enough things off until tomorrow.
Why not today?
If I were to live a healthy life *today*, what would that look like?
If I were to walk 5000 steps a day for six months, how would that affect my body shape?
If I were to step out in faith, trustig that God *will* show me what I need to know and change about myself, and trusting He will send me the courage to make the changes if I but ask, what miracles could happen this year?
If I just do each day what is needful for that day.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 36 - Shop ‘til you drop (Feb 5)

This baseline stuff is interesting.
Today, my husband and I went shopping with our son, who will be leaving for Pittsburgh in March. We shopped for about five hours.
And, amazingly, all that shopping added up to nearlly 7000 steps for the day!
`The moral of the story? Shop 'til you drop ... pounds, that is!
Just kidding. I don't want to shop all day, but it's nice that I got all those steps today.
It makes me wonder how many steps we walked the lsat time we went to Disneyland. Next time, I'll take my pedometer with me and find out. But we can't spend all our days in Disneyland, either.
Nope, we reside right here in real life. What is there about real life that has got us walking so few steps and eating so much chocolate and sugary treats?
I'm now 36 days without caffeinated Pepsi. Most of the time, I'm okay with that. Occasionally, like today when someone else is drinking one, I wish I had one. Then I go grab a water and one of those little Crystal Light individual flavor packets and that helps. (My favorite is the orange flavor.)
I've started buying my Crystal Light at Wal-Mart. The regular is about $3, compared to nearly $5 at other stores, and the Wal-Mart generic is only $2.
Late r in the year, I may find there's something negative about the Crystal Light mixes, but for now it's helping me break the caffeine habit.
Today is a weird kind of day. It's getting warmer here in Salt Lake (actually Taylorsville, a suburb of Salt lake) which is nice. That's why I went walking a few days ago, because the weather was finally warm enough to go out. I still needed gloves though.
I guess that's why some people walk the malls. You get all the steps of shopping in, without having to spend any money.
So maybe ... window shop 'til you drop.
Or something.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 35 - Double Trouble (Feb 4)

Interesting. I found my pedometer and today I took off the clip and hung it on the lanyard from my waist (it seemed too big around my neck).
And this time I didn't lose it.
But, since it was swinging around on the lanyard, I bumped one of the buttons and deleted the number of steps.
Okay. Tomorrow, I'll try clipping it to my waistband where I don't bump the buttons, and also clip the lanyard on my waistband so if the clip falls off, I won't lose the pedometer.
Our kitchen floor is torn up right now as we prepare to put down a pretty new wood-look floor. It's been overwhelming, and today I'm just trying to get myself centered enough to *not* be overwhelmed.
What centers you?
Other than chocolate, which is kind of a faux-fix, I like to read. To lose myself in the lives of others. After I come back from a good book, I can handle my own life more easily. Sometimes going for a walk helps, but this week I've needed to stay at home while the guys have been working on tearing out our old subfloor and installing new, improved subfloor. (Yeah, I don't get it, either. I'm glad there are people who enjoy doing that so I don't have to).
What are ways you keep from becoming overwhelmed with what's going on in your life?

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks


"One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you." (Sung by Nancy Sinatra)
Today I wore my pedometer again. I had taken nearly 4000 steps by seven o'clock and I was pleased with that number. Then, somewhere, the pedometer fell off my waistband, where I had it clipped.
So that kind of ruined my total for the day. Tomorrow I'll try the lanyard provided and see if that's more convenient.
Back in my twenties I went to a karate class. Afterward, my body thanked me for the great workout. Our bodies are designed to move.
You know the old saying; Use it, or lose it. And the first thing we lost is flexibility. And the loss of flexibility and limberness is what makes me feel older. Conversely, when I am more flexible and limber, I feel younger.
Later in the year, we're going to begin loosening our bodies. But for now, let's just start moving them. Gently. And there's not much movement more gentle than what we do every day of our lives (if we're lucky) -- walking.
Keep walking today. If you don't have your pedometer yet, what are you waiting for? It's already February. We have lots of time left to implement changes, but be sure to implement them as they come, or you'll reach the end of the year without having made any changes.
I intend to make the changes, gently, and be closer to vibrant, limber health by the end of the day.
So don't get your running shoes on. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes. Or, if all you have is a ratty old pair of tennies, pull 'em on and start walking.
One of these days these shoes are gonna walk all over ... new. New habits. Newly refound health. New joy.
Come on and join me. Hook on your pedometer. Now -- dadadada -- start walking.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 33 - DUH! (Feb 2)

Okay. Sometimes things just jump out in perfect clarity. I wore my pedometer all day and was amazed.
Remember those studies? The Amish walk 14,000 steps a day, an average American woman walks 5000, and an obese woman walks about 3500 a day.
Okay. My first day I logged in with two different numbers. I'm looking for a baseline of how many steps I walk in a normal sedentary day. And it's not much. I am not very proud to announce that the number of normal baseline steps I walked this first day was a paltry 3500. That's the bad news.
Or is it? If I walk the number of steps overweight women walk, then I can also increase the number of stops I walk and become less overweight, right?
That's the good news. And another note of good news ... My back has been sore because I've been spending so much time in my computer chair trying to finish my latest novel, so I decided I'd better start walking.
So I walked for thirty minutes. (A year ago I was walking for sixty minutes a day and my husband commented that I looked more fit than doing anything else). Anyway, by walking for thirty minutes, I added 3200 steps to y daily total. I nearly doubled my number of steps by taking a thirty minute walk.
That's good news.
And, of course, the ultimate good news -- I have a Savior. And if our baby steps aren't pointed back to Him and to our Heavenly Father, the other steps we take don't really matter.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

February 2, 2010

BABY STEP 32 - Baseline of my actual steps (Feb 1)

I’m so excited. I received my pedometer in the mail yesterday. So today, bright and early, I figured out how to use it and I’m wearing it all day today. I’m going to get a “baseline” number of steps. The number of steps I normally walk if I’m not exercising in any way (I actually did walk this morning, but I’m going to subtract those steps off to see what I have been walking in the normal course of my sedentary days.
And then I can start making changes for the better, changes that will slowly bring me to vibrant health.
Do you have a pedometer yet? If not, I challenge you to get one. If you do, I challenge you to get it out dust it off, hook it on first thing in the morning, and get your own baseline.
Once we each know what our own baseline number is, then we can each modify by adding to it. If you normally walk 6000 steps and someone else walks 2000, then you’ll need to make different modifications, but we’ll all big kids here and can handle the math (it’s so simple there’s nothing to handle, really).
I’m excited. Like when I figured out how much debt we had three years ago. The number scared me but was also a great relief to know that was really the number and it would never be larger than it was at that moment (and now it’s zero, which is an awesome feeling). So soon I’ll know the number. It may well be pathetically small- -but that’s a good thing, right? I mean, if I was walking 10,000 steps a day and was this overweight and out of shape, I’d figure there wasn’t much hope. But if it’s 2000, I can look at that number, nod, and realize that I can increase that number and improve my health, slowly, one baby step at a time.
So let’s find out the magic number. Where we’re beginning (that’s a more interesting number than our weight, because if we weigh and it’s higher than we like, we’ll feel depressed; if we find out we’re not moving nearly enough, we can just start moving a little more, easily and effortlessly moving toward vibrant health.
I’ll race you. On your mark, get set.....go get your pedometer!

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

February 1, 2010

BABY STEP 31 - Getting used to the view (Jan 31)

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” (Jim Davis)
I gave up soft drinks a few years ago, suddenly, and went through three or four months of hellish withdrawal. Headaches and incredible cravings.
This last year, I started drinking diet Pepsi with cherry again and enjoyed every can. But, even when I began drinking it again, I told myself that I would allow myself to drink it, and enjoy it, until the end of the year.
On January 1st, I stopped drinking it again. Only this time, because I allowed myself time to ‘get used to the view,’ I have not had the horrible withdrawals. A few times I’ve had a mild headache, but even that felt more like a sinus allergy headache. But definitely not the horrible headaches I had before.
I also haven’t had the horrible cravings. Before, even three months later, we went over to a furniture store that had Boy Scouts serving free hot dogs and cups of Coke--and every cell in my body put out it’s little arms and cried out, “Gimme!”
I haven’t experienced that this time. Sometimes just giving ourselves freedom to fully enjoy what we want, without guilt, and also give ourselves a date, our subconscious can help us give things up instead of adding to our cravings.
What does your body cry out, “Gimme!” for? Enjoy. For a time. You choose the thing to give up. You choose the time.
Our power to choose is one of the most fantastic gifts our Heavenly Father gave us.
This year, we will choose wisely.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 30 - Add chocolate to your list. (Jan 30)

“Make a list of important things to do today. At the top of your list, put "eat chocolate." Now, you'll get at least one thing done today.” (Gina Hayes)
I bet that’s not what you expected to read today, is it? I think today will be a piece of heaven. Find a piece of chocolate. Your favorite kind. Make it a delicious piece, and enjoy every second as it melts in our mouths (if we can keep from chomping it).
Yesterday, I ate too much sugar. You know those days, when you start and then keep going and can’t seem to stop? Coincidentally enough, by the end of the day I felt crappy. Do you suppose there’s a correlation between the two events? Perhaps even a direct correlation?
Does that mean I should cut back on sugar? Eep!
Okay, okay. I do want to give up sugar except on special occasions. I know I feel better when I don’t eat it.
I spent several years researching different diet plans to see what they agreed on and disagreed on (is salt good for you? bad for you? etc). The only thing they all seemed to agree on was to drink sufficient water (have you had your extra glass today?) and to give up sugar. I kept searching, I guess for that one elusive plan that would say sugar is good. But I never found it. Drat it all.
So today, let’s put several things on our list, chocolate included. Write a list of things you feel you wish you could give up (like sugar, soft drinks, cigarettes) or would like to add (water, exercise, service). Then choose just one of the ‘give-up’ items and write a date at least two months out beside it.
We need to gear up for big changes. To get used to the view. We need to do some things that might help us not crave sugar. Are there vitamins and minerals that could help? I’ll find out and pass it on.
So today I'm going to choose a day--far out in the future (say about two months--right around April 1, which makes me kinda laugh, but that doesn’t mean this is a joke) that I'm going to give it up.
And each day that I eat sugar in the form of candy, candy bars, etc, I'll just tell myself that on April 1st, I'll give it up.
I'll still allow myself to have a baked dessert once a week (probably Sunday). Mainly because baked desserts don't have nearly the bad effect on me as the candied kinds.
Okay. Whew. Breathe a sigh of relief. I don't have to give it up today.
Neither do you.
But today you also need to set a date--as far out as you need to--and make it definite. And start telling yourself that you're giving it up on that day. And decide exactly what you're giving up and what you'll still allow yourself.
That way, it won't seem like such a deprivation. Because we don't want deprivation. We want success and vibrant health. And chocolate...but only until April 1st. If you choose.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 29 - Sweetening the pot (Jan 29)

“The reality is that there is epidemiological work done in children as well as adults that links obesity and Type 2 diabetes with the consumption of sodas.” (Dr. Sonia Caprio, Yale University professor of pediatric endocrinology)
Okay, I want us to try a simple experiment today. When you get your glass of water, pour anywhere from seven to thirteen teaspoons of sugar in it. If you have high-fructose corn syrup to add instead, all the better. Now take a sip.
Now why would I ask you to do this? Seems pretty silly, doesn’t it?
Because I want us to try a common sense experiment. A single 12-ounce can of soda contains between seven and thirteen teaspoons of sugar, usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
So let’s stir in the sugar, take a sip, and see how much sugar we’ve been drinking in our soft drinks. (You may choose not to do this, but I’m going to just for the experiment part of it. I’m curious.)
I happen to be obese. (I hate that word! But it probably accurately and technically describes my body.) I also happen to have family who have Type 2 diabetes, the type you develop from lifetime of eating too much sugar.
I no longer choose to be obese.
I no longer choose to eat in a way that will trigger Type 2 diabetes.
I choose vibrant health.
This year, everything changes (but in tiny little baby steps that don’t frighten us).
So I’ll sweeten the pot (as it were). Can you ‘see’ yourself giving up soft drinks? If you can see it, it can happen. Let’s sweeten our lives with joy, no longer with high-fructose corn syrup.
But today, just taste the sugar water, and see if you think it would be better ifyou added a whole bunch of chemicals, some flavoring, some bubbles, and some phosphoric acid? No? Me, neither.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 28 - Stolen calcium (Jan 28)

“Pepsi is like a party in my mouth.” (Diane Stoddard, author and friend)
But sometimes the party needs to come to an end.
I have a question for you. Do you have enough calcium in your bones? Do you have an excess that you can stand to dump?
Answer: No, you do not have enough if you drink soft drinks, which leach calcium from our bones. You know, leach: to dissolve out soluble constituents from [bone/teeth] by percolation. In this case, the percolation is caused by the bubbles that contain way too much phosphorus.
Leach, as opposed to leech, which is what the soft drink makers have become (I mean, come on--soft drink machines in schools? Give me a break). A leech is a person (or company) who clings to another for personal gain, especially without giving anything in return, and usually with the implication or effect of exhausting the other's resources; parasite. (Both definitions were found at dictionary.com) In this case, the companies don’t care what the soft drinks do to our bodies, as long as their bottom line looks good.
(I’d like my bottom line to look good, too, and that’s what this year is all about.)
Okay, I’m a writer, so I’m going to tell you a story. A horror story.
Once upon a time there was company that made soft drinks. And that company added many chemicals to the bottles and cans.
One thing they added was phosphoric acid, to help the many little bubbles effervescing. Because people won’t buy soft drinks with flat bubbles, and they want to sell as many bottles and cans of soft drink as they can.
And then along came a thirsty consumer who bought one of this company’s soft drinks, and drank it.
And the phosphoric acid went into the body and stole some of its valuable calcium and ran out, laughing. The end.
Okay, okay, once again I’ll force myself to get serious. (Although you’ll see that this is actually what excess phosphorus does to our bodies.)
For good health, our bodies need to maintain a one-to-one (1:1) balance between calcium and phosphorus. If that balance is kept, our bodies retain their calcium or, if it dips, our bodies are able to create more. Drinking soft drinks drives this balance up much higher, as high as 4:1 or 5:1. Unfortunately for us, when we drink a soft drink and the excess phosphoric acid hits our systems, our bodies attempt to re-balance the ratio by releasing calcium from the teeth and bones into our bloodstreams.
Whoa. Did I hear that correctly? Like I have extra calcium in my teeth I want to toss out, or extra calcium in my bones I can afford to lose?
And what happens after the body dumps its much-needed calcium in its attempt to balance the excess phosphorus that just hit it? Eventually our bodies excrete the phosphoric acid, but out with the bad goes the good: the calcium our body released.
Hmmmm. I wonder if there’s a correlation between the increase in soft drink consumption and the increase in osteoporosis?
Michael Murray ND and Joseph Pizzorno ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Edition, stated that, "Soft drink consumption may be a major factor for osteoporosis as they are high in phosphates but contain virtually no calcium. This leads to lower calcium levels and higher phosphate levels in the blood."
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want soft teeth and weak bones.
Now there’s some food for thought to chew on. If we have strong calcium-rich teeth left to chew with, that is.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 27 - Singing an ode to chocolate (Jan 27)

“Money talks. Chocolate sings.” (Tee-shirt from Zazzle.com)
Addition and cravings are interesting things. What makes us crave stuff? Sometimes it’s the situation (sitting down for a movie without popcorn? I don’t think so!). Sometimes it’s the chemistry (I’ve never smoked, but my sister-in-law said it was easier to get off cocaine than it was to give up smoking; now that is some serious chemistry). Sometimes it’s our frantic need to push down our emotions (my husband’s ex-wife is coming to town? Bring out the chocolate!).
Ah, chocolate. Now there’s a craving worth talking about. I gave up chocolate for an entire year (well, I did allow myself chocolate in baked goods or I couldn’t have handled life, but I don’t bake very often any more). And my father, a founding member of the fat police (every visit, he would mention that I could probably lose a few pounds, said by a man who chose his last psycho wife based on her skeletal body form; hmmm, I wonder if there’s any baggage there?), convinced me to buy a big box of hand-dipped chocolates to give as Christmas gifts several years back. And I resisted them for at least a month.
And then I caved. (Anyone here surprised at that?)
I listened to a talk a few weeks ago: It’s easier to avoid than to resist. I avoided chocolate all year. And then I brought it into my house and was not able to resist it.
Another interesting thought in this talk? That if you don’t avoid a temptation, then you have to not only resist the temptation, but the chemistry. The speaker gave the example of giving up chocolate chip cookies, but if his wife has set two dozen warm-from-the-oven cookies on the kitchen counter, he won’t be able to resist.
The chemistry. Chocolate has caffeine. It also has something that calms my once-a-month chemistry (any other women out there ever come across that one?). If it’s in my house, I will eat it. If not now, then eventually.
I’m working on giving it up again. I have given up regular candy bars, because if I don’t I can’t even run into a gas station to pay for my gas without thinking, “Oh, look, a Three Musketeers.” I do allow myself dark chocolate (I prefer the Lindt brand with chili in it, because it’s a lighter dark chocolate and because the chili gives it just enough kick to keep me from eating too much) and chocolate chips, either baked into cookies or just poured into my hand.
Today, let’s look at when and how we cave to cravings. What triggers our cravings?
And what changes can we make to make sure we are avoiding temptation rather than resisting both the temptation and the chemistry.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks