22 Feb 2017
Is Your Body Dialing 911?
It can start as a whisper.
That 20 pounds you’ve gained over the last 5 years. You pass it off as part of aging and go grab a donut, vowing to make better choices starting tomorrow.
Or, it could be a not-so-gentle tap on your shoulder….chest pain now and then when you go for a walk.
Or, your wakeup call may be the 2 x 4 that smacks you squarely on the head (from the back of an ambulance) as you find yourself on the way to the ED because you’ve had a heart attack.
At last, your body has your attention…or not.
February is Heart Month and menopausal women NEED to be paying attention to these clues. Heart disease is the number one killer in this demographic.
The problem is that many of us sleepwalk through our days. We’re often NOT paying attention!
Our lives are stressful. And chronic stress leads to chronic health problems like heart disease and opens the door for disastrous 2×4 moments.
There are any number of stories we tell ourselves as we set the cruise control on our lives. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.
1. “I have to take care of everyone else first”
My friend Sandy is a preacher’s wife…and a nurse. I met her at a retreat where she described herself to the group of attendees as “fat, 53 and diabetic.” Ministry is a 24/7 job and the spouse is along for a big part of that 24/7 ride. Add in the caregiving aspects of being a nurse and it’s easy to see why Sandy is last on her list. But it is literally killing her.
This kind of self-neglect is a form of abuse. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor. You can’t give others what you don’t have to give. Fill your own well first.
2. “I don’t know where to start”
Sandy wants to lose about 100 lbs and get her diabetes under control. That’s a tall order for even the most motivated folks. It’s easy to see how planning to reach this goal could lead to paralysis before she even gets started. But the truth is she only needs to take one step in the direction she wants to go.
Weight loss can only happen one pound at a time no matter how you tackle it…so why try to take 10 steps at a time instead of just ONE? Maybe it’s a small change in food choices or leaving work earlier 2 days a week to create some time to walk. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to do as long as there is action! Baby steps create momentum and set you up to succeed.
3. “I don’t have time”
It’s a challenge to fit everything in, and too often, despite our good intentions, self-care ends up at the bottom of our priority list. Here’s the thing. We all have the same number of hours in a day. And we choose how to spend it.
Consider how you could create some ongoing structure around your self-care. Schedule walking dates or program your daily gratitude journal time into your phone (so you’re reminded). Create a system that reminds you that you’ve committed to taking better care of yourself.
4. “It won’t happen to me”
We all want to believe we’re invincible. But ignoring chronic medical problems and preventive care needs is not a good long-term plan for a healthy future. My friend Sandy didn’t think for a second she’d end up in the ED having a workup for a heart attack despite all the evidence that shows that people with uncontrolled diabetes have a huge risk for this.
5. Want to be a Healthy Old Lady?
Where will you be in 5,10, or 20 years if you continue living your life as it is now? Are you on the path you want to be on….and if not, what can you do today to start creating the health you want for yourself?
Your health is the biggest asset you have. We create plans to manage our money into retirement. How about creating a plan to manage your health? As a trained coach and menopause expert, this is exactly what I can help you do! Let’s talk and get you on the fast track to healthy.
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Her clients would tell you that her real gift is helping them reclaim parts of themselves they thought were gone forever.
Find out more about working with her at http://www.drannagarrett.com/work-with-me/.