Posted in cancer, mindset, thoughtfulness

Wishes of a cancer patient

The post that is going around (again) about cancer patients having only one wish—to kick cancer’s butt—is short-sighted and shows a lack of understanding of what cancer patients go through.

Of course cancer patients want to beat cancer and go on to live a healthy life. (There are people with cancer who refuse treatment and accept that it will eventually kill them, but they typically don’t want to live through the awful side effects of the treatment, rather than actually not wanting to go on to live a healthy life.)

To address the rest of this meme…

A cancer patient who has gained 30, 40, 50 or more pounds as a result of treatments probably wishes to be thinner.

One who has become skin and bones as a result of treatments may wish to be bigger.

The countless who are uninsured or underinsured or were fired from their jobs as a result of diagnosis wish for more money. (Heck, who among us is not wishing for more money?) While I was going through chemo, our house had foundation issues. You bet I was wishing for more money. (Or maybe a house without foundation issues.)

A cool car? OK, maybe you got me on that one. Though I’m certain there are plenty of cancer patients who would still love a sweet ride.

Every cancer patient wishes for a day off. A day off from tests, treatments, appointments, surgeries, blood tests, scans, anxiety, fear, looks of pity, inane comments.

A new phone? Depends on what kind of phone you already have, I suppose, regardless of the presence of a tumor.

A single cancer patient still wishes to date the person of their dreams … and fears that with a cancer history (and all of the physical and emotional baggage that comes along with it), it will be impossible. And cancer patients whose spouses leave them because of their cancer wish for the person of their dreams as well.

You know what I hated when I was going through chemo? The assumption that now everything was about cancer. It was as if I had become cancer instead of just acquired it. That nothing else in my life existed for the entire 8 months of treatment (but then that the cancer never existed once treatment was over. Odd juxtaposition.) This meme really supports that notion, which drives me bonky.

How can everything else simply stop existing?

Sure, it’s possible for your priorities to change. Looking at a potential death sentence can do that to you. But you still care about other people (and have wishes for them). You still care about other things in your life. You still want to look nice and pay bills with money left over and play with gadgets. You’re still a person.

Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health

Go get what you deserve

Get out.

Exercise.

Eat real food.

Cut the processed crap.

Cut the added sweeteners.

Quit smoking.

Get enough sleep.

Cultivate relationships with people offline.

Turn off the TV.

Why?

You deserve it.

Feeling good in your body, being healthy, having energy, are worth it.

We’re told at every turn that it’s not.

“You deserve a treat.” Sure you do! But a “treat” isn’t deep-fried or chocolate-covered.

Can you really think of no way to reward yourself for whatever you feel you need to be rewarded for other than to eat junk food?

(How often do you need to be rewarded?)

Have you lived in a sluggish, tired body for so long that you forget how good it feels to have energy and mental clarity?

Being tired all the time is not the inevitable result of hitting a certain age. Neither is weight gain. Many significant health ailments are avoidable or reversible.

When I was in my mid-20s, people who were in their mid-30s told me I would understand when I was their age. Same thing happened in my mid-30s from people in their mid-40s.

As I pass through their ages, I understand that they were blaming it all on aging so they didn’t have to accept that it was really something they had some control over.

Make healthy choices.

You deserve it!

Posted in food, mindset, motivation, physical health

When is the best deal not the best deal?

Who isn’t on a budget?

The economy’s been bad, budgets are a little (or a lot) tight. Everyone wants to get the best deal possible.

Sometimes, though, getting the most quantity for your dollar isn’t really the best value.

A cheap meal from a fast food restaurant is not a better deal than a slightly pricier one from a restaurant that serves fresh food.

Packaged food from the dollar store sure costs less than the equivalent at the local grocery store (and way less than at the health food store!) but you get what you pay for.

Go to Costco and you can get a great deal on way too many chips.

The problem with these “great deals” is that they’re on food that aren’t ideal to be eating in large quantities. (You could argue they’re foods you don’t want to be eating at all, but I’m looking to the “moderation” mindset.) Getting twice as many fries for only 20 cents more (or whatever) is really just selling out your body for twenty cents.

“I got 400 pieces of fried chicken for $10!” Yeah. But how much does it cost you down the line?

I know—we’re all about instant gratification. But there are very few middle-aged to older people who are sick in some way who say, “Yes, I knew this was coming, I did it to myself, and I’m glad I did.”

Mostly, we attribute it all to getting older. It’s all unavoidable.

False.

Big difference between normal wear and tear and breaking down from years of abuse.

Treating ourselves badly is so common that we often don’t even see it. And really, how many people are mentally or emotionally strong enough to say, “I am responsible for my sickness”? The only people we’re allowed to blame are smokers, right? For everyone else, it’s just dumb luck.

People think I am crazy for giving up added sugars for any period of time. (Sometimes a week, sometimes a month, occasionally though rarely longer.) Sugar is toxic. But it’s common and it’s tasty and we’ve been trained to believe we deserve it and/or we can’t have fun or celebrate without it.

Change your mindset to change your life. Be wary of great deals on junk food.

You can do it. One step at a time. 

Posted in mindset

Would you talk to anyone else like that?

Everyone has a set of ideas (positive, negative, neutral) that they believe to be true about themselves. Here are some that I believe about myself.

  • I have short, brown hair.
  • I’m an excellent teacher.
  • I’m a mediocre musician.
  • I love public speaking and am good at it. (Looking for a speaker? Hit me up!)
  • I hate peppers and coconut.
  • I love a good salad.
  • I have too many things on my plate right now.
  • I enjoy writing.
  • I sometimes feel competent writing.
  • I get cold easily.
  • Athletically, I am slow. I will probably not ever win a race.
  • I’m deeply loyal.
  • I have trouble remembering people’s names.
  • I created the cutest boy on the planet.

And so on. You get the idea.

Things that we believe to be true steer us over the course of a day. However, in the world of healthy living, much of our self-talk does a lot of damage.

  • I have no self-control.
  • This is just how I am.
  • I love [chocolate, ice cream, cake, chips, whatever].
  • It’s genetic.
  • I could never [enjoy exercising, do a race, give up junk food, reach my high school weight, whatever].

Do you see how these might be problematic?

“I have no self-control” lets you off the hook for poor choices.

“This is just how I am” and “It’s genetic” mean that it’s impossible for you to change which also lets you off the hook (and is largely not true!).

“I love [junk]” makes it much more difficult for you to avoid those foods/drinks, even occasionally and makes you more likely to feel deprived when you do pass it by. (This was part of my identity crisis with regards to ice cream.)

“I could never” shuts down big opportunities as well as all of the little opportunities that come along with the big ones. (People I’ve met, things I’ve learned as a result of running a health coaching business for a while would not have happened if I had been closed to the possibility of trying it, even if the business didn’t work out in the end.)

What does your self talk sound like? Are you reinforcing what you actually want reinforced? If the answer is no, pick one and change it! Yes, you will absolutely catch yourself chattering the old chatter sometimes—it’s habit! Just talk positively as often as you can remember, stick with it, and see how it slowly changes you.