Tag Archives: Health


We are often told these days that we must exercise. I have tried to duck the questions about exercise I get anytime I have contact with a doctor’s office, ‘ Do you exercise? or How often do you exercise? or What type of exercise do you do? I do try to be creative in my answers but then my honesty gets in the way. I used to be able to say, ‘I do yoga.’ My warrior and cat poses were pretty good. But I quit doing that too. I’ve wasted a lot of money paying for gym and yoga studio memberships and then did not go to the classes after a while. I have decided to try some exercise classes at my local city recreation center in the Fall. They are closer to my house, are scheduled at a decent time, and are not overly expensive. And I don’t have to sign a contract. I am looking for gentle limbering up not high impact, weight-bearing, hot chakra yoga or some such thing. Not looking for a triathlon or Iditarod. Not even interested in Zumba Gold. Maybe a nice Qui Gong.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by the ever limber Linda G Hill. The prompt for today is ‘limb.’ Featured image of Contortionist via wikimedia.


What is considered to be beautiful is always changing, over the years and across cultures. I think the young woman in the above image may have a “wheat belly.” ( a reference to a popular book about gluten free diets). She is a little soft and pudgy according to current beauty standards. Her belly is bulging out a bit.

Opinions about diet are always changing as well. There are so many changes in just the past 20 years. Remember all the talk about low fat diets and heart health. I stayed away from butter and ate margarine for years to find that now we know margarine is actually very bad for you. And then no red meat. I followed that advice as well and did not eat red meat. Now I hear that the low fat diet caused many people to eat too much sugar, which is worse, and that some fats are good for us. And it was artificial sweeteners are good and then they were bad. Now sugar is bad again. Then coffee is good, coffee is bad, or wine is good, wine is bad. White wine is not as good as red. No white wine is ok. Now red is better as long as its organic. Confusing isn’t it.

It is amazing how there are so many books and posts telling us how to be better at everything. How to eat, have sex, be mindful, find purpose and exercise in just the right ways.

This got me thinking about body image in general and women’s body image in particular. I want to be comfortable with my body and it’s image even if it is not the ideal. Women spend a good part of their lives worried about their appearance and weight, scrutinizing their bodies in the mirror to see how they measure up to the latest popular image.

I have read  many articles on this topic and this lead to a website called Beauty Redefined. I am sure there are others out there that are as good but I do like a lot of what this one has to say. It belongs to Lexie and Lindsay Kite, who have PhDs in media and body image.  In there own words, We have a passion for helping girls and women recognize, reject and resist harmful messages about their bodies and what “beauty” means and looks like. I am learning there is a lot of resistance against all the dieting and the popular media images of beauty. This is a positive thing.

This a great little short film by Em Ford, a very courageous young woman, who demonstrates how women are judged by their appearance. And how some commenters on social media are sociopaths.

There is resistance to dieting as well. In her book Body of Truth, Harriet Brown talks about how she learned to become comfortable with her body at a weight that felt comfortable to her. She makes a convincing argument about the futility of dieting and how all the hype about obesity is overblown. She talks about her own daughter’s struggle with anorexia and how this experience helped her and her family change their attitudes toward food. She includes some of her own process that she developed through therapy to be able to relax about eating and not be obsessed about diet.

Another website I have discovered is Refinery 29 that has some good posts about positive body image and anti-dieting. There is great blog on there called The Anti-Diet Project by Kelsey Miller. She did a recent post about intuitive eating. This has been around for awhile. It is learning to make food neutral and get in touch with your natural appetite and get off the diet merry-go-round. Another post by Kate Harding as part of Refinery 29 Take Back the Beach exposes many of the myths about the virtues of dieting.

I find the posts about positive body image and anti-dieting encouraging. Maybe there is hope that people’s attitudes will change and we can learn self-acceptance.

In the meantime, it is good to keep a sense of humor. There is one health practice that I really believe in, laughter. When we laugh we lower our stress hormones, improve our circulation, increase our endorphins, exercise our lungs and even exercise our core muscles. I believe the part about the core muscles because my daughter pointed out to me, and I confirmed it by looking in the mirror, that my belly moves up and down when I laugh. Besides laughter makes us feel great don’t you think?

Age Like an Okinawan

Senior Planet alerted me to a You Tube video of Dr. Andrew Weil talking about longevity in Okinawa. Many of us have read about “Blue Zones” or regions of the world known for centenarians. Many things have been written about the diets and philosophies of the people in these zones in hopes that we may emulate them.

Dr. Weil discusses how he has made several trips to Okinawa and has found many factors that may contribute to their people’s longevity. A couple of factors he mentions are healthy diet and physical activity. One factor he chose to emphasize, and that really caught my attention, is the cultural value placed on aging in Okinawa. He says the people there are not ashamed of aging and are considered valued members of their community. They are considered ” living treasures.” Dr. Weil argues that the extreme negative attitudes towards aging in our culture are what influences the way we age and contributes to the negative manifestations of aging we see. Food for thought?

Try to catch yourself when you are making negative self-talk about getting older. Things like ” I’m having a senior moment,” or when you have a ache or pain saying, ” Oh, I must be getting old.” I have heard 40 year olds making these remarks about getting older. Just think if you feel that way at 40, how will you feel at 60?

When we internalize our culture’s negative attitudes toward aging we can not help looking at ourselves negatively and feeling negative about getting older. I would like to age like an Okinawan and feel like a “treasure.” How about you?

Want to Reduce Stress? Stop Thinking and Start Breathing!

I am sharing a post from Boomerly. I always like helpful easy suggestions for making my life less stressful. We all are already breathing and so it is easy to take up a practice of focusing on your breath during the day. It does help break the stress response because when you concentrate on just taking some deep breaths you can not think about whatever it is that is worrying you, at least for a few minutes. I have realized that often I am not taking relaxed breaths, but going through the day taking shallow breaths or sometimes holding my breath.  I doubt that I am alone in this.

If you would like to check out some breathing exercises click on the link to the Boomerly post. Want to Reduce Stress? Stop Thinking and Start Breathing!.

9323940149_983f439be9_z  Lotus Flower by Daisuke tashiro on Flickr

Remember to take a breath  ❤

Cape Sebastian Oregon by Linda Tanner

Stream of Consciousness Saturday-To Heal

“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.”
Linda Hogan

There are many synonyms for the word heal. Recover, be out of the woods, get back on your feet, bounce back, feel oneself again, pull through, and restore, are some. I have felt wonder and gratitude for my body’s ability to heal. There is nothing better, after having a bought of illness, than to feel myself gaining strength and feeling good again.

I have had some major challenges to my health and had to undergo major surgery two times and literally gone off a cliff in a car. So I have some good examples of our body’s ability to heal. I feel vulnerable writing about this because I do not want to be seen as damaged.  I know people turn away from those of us who have had cancer.

I underwent major surgery for lung cancer two times in a 4 year period. In between those times my husband and I were in a major car accident which could have easily killed us both. I was terribly wrenched and bruised with 3 broken ribs from that accident. Each time I underwent surgery I was very frightened. Even though or maybe because I was a Nurse my fears were magnified. One brother-in-law, who is a MD, told me after the first surgery that this type of surgery is one of the most brutal and worse than cardiac bypass because of what they do to the body during the surgery. I am glad he did not tell me this before I went into surgery. I remember asking one of my RN friends about how they operate on the lung when you are breathing. I was not familiar with how the surgery was done and she worked in ICU and knew about these surgeries. She told me they put a tube in your windpipe and collapse the lung before they start. The recovery from this type of surgery is rough. But even a few days after I felt my strength and would get up by myself in the hospital at night to go to the bathroom.

About 4 years later, after the second surgery, there were several wild fires in the LA area. The location of one of the fires was not too far from the hospital I was in. During the second night, after surgery, I could smell the smoke coming into my room through an air vent. I thought this is so great for someone who has just undergone lung cancer surgery. I asked if something could be done. They could not move me or get ahold of anyone in engineering. Hospital beds are on wheels. So I got up and moved my own bed away from the vent.

The recovery from the second surgery was harder as I had been told it would be. I think part of that was my stomach does not tolerate pain medication. I really needed the medication but it wrecked my stomach and I ended up with trouble sleeping not only because of pain but because of terrible heart burn.

But I did recover from both of these surgeries. My body healed.

I do not have to go through major surgery to appreciate my body’s ability to heal. I do appreciate it even when it heals from minor illnesses and injuries. It is a kind of miraculous thing this great strength and ability to heal with which we are born.

My husband has pointed out to me that the visible scars of my lung surgeries have faded quite a bit. Another demonstration of the body’s healing powers.