Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It’s as simple as ‘Mind over Matter’

Maintaining your health becomes even more important as Kennedy’s Disease progresses. Issues, such as being overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, swallowing, excess fluids that settle in your lower extremities, etc., are just a few of the things we need to be mindful of.

Today, I want to address weight and eating habits.

Excess weight is a health issue for many. When you couple excess weight with Kennedy’s Disease, the problem becomes even more serious. You can imagine how difficult it would be to carry around 30 or 60 pounds of dead weight every day. Now, consider that your strength has diminished by 30, 40 or 50%. It would feel like you were now adding another 10 to 30 pounds. Those already weakened legs would really be struggling to hold you up. And, your arms would be shaking trying to push yourself upright from the bed or chair.

Yard work, home repairs, playing with the kids and grandkids, andeating-right tinkering in the garage takes energy. Performing this work was how we could justify sitting in our Lazy-Boy on Sunday afternoons watching the football game. However, we burn fewer calories as we are forced to give up these activities (or have to slowdown in carrying them out). The result: The more inactive we are, the less fuel (food) we need. For example, in order for me to maintain a comfortable weight, I need to reduce my food intake ... especially fatty foods.

The last few years have really shown me the importance of maintaining my weight. I know that when I added ten pounds (5% of my weight) last year it became significantly more difficult to lean over, stand up, walk, etc. By reducing my food intake for a couple of weeks, I was able to lose the weight without any serious changes in my diet. I was amazed how good I felt after losing those ten pounds. Today, if I gain 3-5 pounds, I immediately go to work on losing it.

Mindfully observing my food intake (what and how much) helps me maintain a good ‘fighting weight’.

mind_over_matterBy maintaining a good, comfortable weight, it is easier to safely move around and transfer. When you eat better (the right type of foods) it is easier to lose or maintain your weight as well as reduce the possibilities of other health concerns.

There was a saying that went something like:  “Weight is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  In the case of a person with Kennedy’s Disease, it does matter.

The key, like anything important, is to:

  • Set a goal
  • Make a plan
  • Work the plan
  • Monitor (record) your results.  
And it is just as important to take it one day at a time.  If you over-indulge one day, consciously under-indulge the next.

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