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When your health reality hits...

When your health reality hits...

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About a month ago I had an initial appointment with a new doctor. While I love my new doctor, these appointments are always a little hard-hitting. As I ran through my medical history and that of my family I realized I have a harsh reality to deal with: getting healthy will be a long, long road.

After reviewing my family health history, I realized there are a lot of things counting against me:

  1. My paternal grandfather died of cancer - and we don't know where it originated.
  2. My maternal aunt has fought against colon cancer for more than 10 years.
  3. My maternal grandmother died at the age of 54, cause unknown though we suspect either an aneurysm or a heart attack.
  4. My mother died at age 54 from a combination of breast, lung and bone cancer.

So, you can see why I might be a little nervous. Now, I'm not trying to be a downer. This is a post about getting my a$$ in gear to really focus on taking care of myself, and here are my reasons why:

  1. Dan and I would like to get pregnant within the year - must take care of myself in order to grow a healthy baby!
  2. I want to live past 54 (that's only 24 more years!). As depressing as it may seem, there is a real track record on my mother's side, and that's terrifying.
  3. I want to feel better - plain and simple.

That last reason is the most important. I know that losing weight and eating healthier has to be something I do for me and not anyone else. Unfortunately that's the hardest thing to do - find internal motivation. 

Step 1: Set a goal that has tangible motivation.

In addition to talking about my family health history at my doc appointment, I had to step on the dreaded scale. While I know the final number isn't as important as BMI (body mass index) and how I feel, that number can still be externally motivating (and, not to mention, scary!).

So, my goal is to drop three pants sizes - it's not a weight loss goal, but a goal to get to a size where I felt most comfortable in the past. 

Step 2: Set concrete steps.

To achieve my goal, first I will pay attention to my calorie intake. Note that I didn't say eat a certain amount of calories or cut calories from my diet. I didn't say I will cut out carbs or follow the Paleo diet (still not sure what that is), or anything strict. I've tried that and it doesn't work. But what I know works is to pay attention to my food choices. If I just watch the calorie intake I automatically make better choices.

A great tool to help me watch my calorie intake and make good food choices is SparkPeople. If you haven't checked it out yet, I recommend it. Using Spark People has worked well for me in the past, so I'm hoping it will help again now. The website offers meal plans, calorie and exercise trackers, helpful resources and tips, a community for support (IF you want it) - plus it's free! Check out my Spark Page and follow along with my journey (which will also be chronicled here).

(This is not a sponsored post - Spark People did not give me anything in return for this shoutout.)

Second, I will get more active. I'm going to start with walking and fun active games on our Wii. Plus, I want to take a stability ball to work to replace my chair. I am going to take any steps I can to be more active - my current day job has me behind a desk most of the day. 

So, it should be as easy as that, right? Set a goal and take some concrete steps to reach it. What are your motivations to get or keep healthy? What tools do you use? Do you have any advice for me?

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