Salmon on a plate. A sign to start eating more fish and take my omega-3 supplement.

Estimated time to read:  11 minutes

 

CliffsNotes Version:

***God sent me a sign, and it read, “SALMON.”  Laugh-cry emoji, reader Deb.

***Thich Nhat Hanh’s name is pronounced “Tik N’yat Harn,” according to one internet reference.

***I think it’s okay to be “smoking hot,” but all-in-all, it is better to refrain from smoking cigarettes when you are hot.  Or cold. Or at ambient temperatures.

 

Hey y’all, I’m back.  It’s me,The Fun Med Doc, and I’m talking about Stress and Trauma Disorders (STDs) and how I am putting my own oxygen mask on first by making some positive life changes.  I made a SMART goal when we left off in the last blog. And, it was a DOOZY!!! I declared that I would have a six-pack on my body by Christmas 2019. This may seem a little bit outrageous and a tad bit crazy, but that’s how I roll. In my mind, I also believe that I can sing the operatic part that Montserrat Caballé sings in “Barcelona” by Queen. Just not as well and only in my minivan. So, again, totally attainable and realistic, and definitely a SMART goal for me.

 

And then, I went home and told my family about it. I don’t think my husband was surprised. My soon-to-be eight-year-old said, “Mom, you’re going to have to start working out. A LOT.” Laugh-cry emoji. Then, he offered some words of encouragement regarding my ability to achieve my SMART goal about the six-pack:  “Mom, why would I doubt you? You’re my mom. You don’t doubt your mom.You cannot run away from her. Unless the neighbors will take you in.”

 

Ummm, thanks, I think?

 

But, I was seeing signs everywhere that I needed to change.  I needed to take better care of myself and put my own oxygen mask on first before helping others. I don’t think I mentioned this previously, but I was parked at a red light at an intersection in Los Alamos. There was an Audi in front of me. Do you know what its license plate said? “SALMON.” I kid you not. Laugh-cry emoji! I think that’s a sign from the universe that I’m supposed to start taking my fish oil supplement and eating less carbohydrates.

 

So you may be curious, how on earth is she going to pull this rabbit out of her hat by Christmas? I mean, how will she have a six-pack on her body by Christmas 2019? Is this even possible? I mean, it IS the holy grail of fitness, after all. I bet she’s going to go to the grocery store, lie down in the Christmas aisle, put one of those little leopard-trimmed Santa hats on her head and don a Christmas light necklace while placing a six-pack of Coca-Cola or beer on her stomach.  She’ll recruit one of her kids to snap a photo, and then post it as “photographic evidence” of the six-pack on her body. Surely she must have considered that as a creative solution to this little healthcare dilemma at some point.. That would be a lot easier, and possibly funny. 

 

I think this goes without saying, but it’s helpful to have a plan of how to accomplish your goal. The concept of plan-making was first introduced to me in college, when I took an eastern religions class. Part of the required reading included “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh, revised edition published in 1987. In chapter seven, titled “Three Wondrous Answers,” the three important questions are posed: 

 

What is the best time to do each thing?

Who are the most important people to work with?

What is the most important thing to do at all times?

 

The answers to the questions are geared at teaching mindfulness and presence. I think they are also very important in paving the path to healthcare goal accomplishment.  I think that inherently, most people know what is healthy and good for them. I think a lot of us spend time trying to justify why we choose alternate choices. Sometimes, it’s unbearable to be honest with ourselves that we are hurting and harming our bodies, poisoning them with excessive amounts of sugar or other toxins. I think we create guilt internally and sometimes we present ourselves differently to others because we are embarrassed of our behavior.

 

And this happens to everyone. As a personal anecdote, I was a closet smoker in parts of high school, college, medical school, and surgical training. I didn’t actually smoke in the closet. But, as I mentioned previously, I was exposed to very stressful situations throughout my surgical training. I turned to nicotine as a coping mechanism for long call nights, sometimes working 36 hour shifts on one or two hours’ sleep. Anyway, one night, I was at home at my apartment, smoking away on the balcony. I got chest pain and thought I was having a pulmonary embolism.  I would put the laugh-cry emoji here, but I was not laughing at the time. I was actually kind of scared that I was experiencing a blood clot in my lung vasculature. That happens when you go through medical school. You start thinking you have all of the diseases you are studying. 

 

Anyway, I thought I needed to be evaluated in the emergency room for my substernal crushing chest pain (which was probably from anxiety, in retrospect). But, because I was a medical student at the same hospital I was contemplating going to, I was fearful that the attending physicians (my mentors) would smell the smoke on my clothing and judge me. So, I did what any logical person would do, I took a somewhat leisurely 20 minute shower before I drove up to the hospital to be assessed for what can sometimes be a fatal condition. Thank goodness I didn’t actually have a pulmonary embolism. I probably would not be here, dictating this blog if that was the case.

 

I’m happy to report that I stopped smoking cigarettes in 2008. They are really not good for you. And, I knew that, but smoked them anyway and then tried to cover up the smell with a shower. So, a few points here:

 

  1. Cigarette smoking is not a healthy habit, and it has addictive potential. 
  2. I think all of us know inherently what is good for us and what is not, but we make poor choices from time to time.  
  3. When deciding to stop harming yourself with unhealthy habits with addictive potential, it’s helpful to have a plan and lots of support to accomplish that SMART goal.

 

For my personal healthcare journey with my SMART goal, I found it helpful to create a list of things that would definitely get me closer to my goal. I am also very aware of things that are NOT helping me get closer to my goal. Ultimately, I created a list of healthy activities that I intended to complete on a daily basis. I had to practice the list and record the amount of time each task required to find out if it was humanly possible to accomplish these things on a regular basis.  And, I had to work really, really hard at eliminating the things that were not serving me or my cause. I am still working on those….

 

It has been like alpha testing and beta testing all at the same time. An entire period of trial and error. Testing, tweaking, testing again. Flipping the switches, twisting the knobs and dials. Eliminating. Adding. Finalizing. Adding a period to the end of the sentence. And, in the process, I tried to determine WHEN was the optimal time to perform each task. As an example, I quickly learned that I needed to take my vitamins very early in the day, or else I would forget them and/or find excuses to not take them at all as the day would wear on.

 

There is an optimal list of healthy activities which will help you accomplish your goal, too. There is an optimal time to perform each task. I’ve been tweaking and twisting for about two months now, trying to get my personalized list just right for me. I’ve not been twerking, though. I don’t even know how to do that. Or, some of these other dances that the young people do, like flossing and Fortnite dances. You might need to know a soon-to-be eight-year-old to understand. Laugh-cry emoji.  

 

Oh, and I should mention that this is a dynamic and fluid process.  Over my two month journey, as I have leveled-up my exercise tolerance, I have started incorporating new challenges into my routine, like adding in strength training.  Wait, I’m still trying to do that. But, I know it’s important. I am still changing up my routine, even as recently as this morning. I feel that it is almost perfect for me.  When I started my journey, I did not have the energy to even MENTALLY lift a two-pound hand weight. But here I am, killin’ it with short, 5-30 minute sessions of jogging, swimming, dancing, and yoga.  And I did strength training at least once in the past two months, too.

 

So, realize that you are going to change on your journey, too.  You will get stronger. You will want new challenges. And, you will have the strength to start eliminating the habits that are not serving you.  You know, the ones that are only interfering with your quest for greatness. Remember, we learned to BE AN ABSOLUTELY AWESOME MOTHER CLUCKER from the blog about “Getting Ready for Change.”  https://santafeveinmedspa.com/2019/07/11/getting-ready-for-change/  

 

In the next blog, I will share with you the first thing that I do on a daily basis that is a sure-fire way to get me that six-pack by Christmas.

 

SUMMARY:

 

***THIS IS THE BLOG ABOUT THE PLAN REGARDING GETTING FROM A TO B.  WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD. MENTAL NOTE: I NEED TO WORK EVEN HARDER AT DOING THE THINGS I SAY I DO, SUCH THAT I WILL HAVE A SIX-PACK FOR REALS ON MY BODY BY CHRISTMAS 2019, SO AS TO NOT DISAPPOINT MYSELF.

 

***MY FUNKY DANCIN’ FOX JUMPSUIT COSTUME IS ARRIVING IN THE MAIL TODAY.  SO, LIKE I SAID, THIS IS WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD. NO MORE MESSING AROUND.  NEXT STOP, SIX-PACK ISLAND. TOOT-TOOT. CLIMB ABOARD THE FUN TRAIN!!!