Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Small Daddy, My Coach

Last June 24, 2007, I was at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose, helping out at the Annual San Jose Punjabi Mela. Neeraj Dhar, a new friend from Elephant Advertising, took a photo of me in front of the Direct TV sponsor's booth.

A life-size image of Sharukh Khan, one of Bollywood's mega-celebrities, is my companion. However, when Neeraj sent me the photo, I was looking at my "bulky" size. Ugh, reality really does bite!

I was wearing my orthopedic shoes, a reminder that I was slowly recovering from plantar fasciitis. Being overweight makes it worse for my recuperation. Well, I did get depressed looking at this photo BUT nevertheless, I couldn't "photoshop" it either or else I'd be in denial.

I still suffer from plantar fasciitis. Since I first noticed the pain in my right heel during the first week of April after I had logged thousands of air miles between San Francisco and Chicago in the past six months, it wasn't until early June that I called my doctor and took action. It wasn't too late yet, I found out. However, my daily walks had become painful exercises. Naturally, I gained weight because I didn't substitute the walks with other less feet-intensive workouts.

My husband was very candid with me --- and nice. "Lorna, you're gaining weight!"

"Don't even talk about it!" I snapped back.

Talk about being a bitch, that was me!

Then, one of my close guy friends called me up a month ago. Let's call him Small Daddy.

"Hmm, I'm worried about you," Small Daddy told me as soon as I greeted him on the phone. "I haven't seen you in a while but I noticed it clearly. So, I suggest sit-ups for you."

"What is it about sit-ups that I rebel at the thought of even starting a routine?" I asked myself as I listened to my concerned friend.

Small Daddy continued. "All it takes is 10 sit-ups a day. C'mon, do it!"

Of course, I didn't do it.

He was quite persistent. Small Daddy does care because we, together with our motley group of friends, have grand projects to accomplish in the next 40 years. Anyway, he kept calling me almost every day since then with the first question out of his mouth, "Have you done your 10 sit-ups yet?"

"No!" I vehemently replied.

He sighed every time. "Aw, Lorna. 10 sit-ups!"

Dogged, persistent Small Daddy.

Then, early last week, I decided I had had enough of my unhealthy attitude. My energy level was so low that after two 12-hour days at the Pistahan Festival last August 11 and 12 in San Francisco, it took me another three days to recuperate. It didn't do wonders for my work life. My husband was reminding me every day to take care of our family matters. My head was ready to explode. In fact, I really did feel like giving up. How depressing is that?

However, there was a part of me that bellowed, "Lorna, you are better than this! Believe that you can do this. Just do it!"

Thus, the first thing I did last Monday was walk to Safeway and Trader Joe's to buy vegetables. And I started cooking my dinner. I also prepped my vegetables to last me for the next three days. Finally, I felt I was doing something constructive about my eating habits.

I started consciously limiting my "carbs." No rice or bread. No platefuls of pasta. Some baked Dutch potates only.

Since I've been a "yoyo dieter" for the longest time, I also followed my tried-and-tested formulas. I cut all my usual servings in half except for the green, leafy vegetables. I had lots of those veggies this past week. My stomach needed to get used to the smaller food intake but I didn't want to shock my system either.

During the University of the Philippines Alumni Association in America's General Assembly & Pre-Centennial Celebration this past weekend, I allowed myself some moments of celebration. I ate dessert. Tiny servings of delightful, sugary morsels. And I danced! My plantar fasciitis survived the hopping and skipping. The sweating felt good! My endorphins were starting to kick in. And I felt VERY alive!

I also have this black pair of pants which is my "progress marker." It was a snug fit last Friday night but at least I could zip myself up. Next month, it's going to be a loose fit, I promise.

I created my new blog a few days ago after consulting my sister, Noemi, who has an award-winning blog in the Filipino blogosphere, "Touched By An Angel: A Mother's Recovery Notes." "Diabetes Life Notes" appealed to me. The words, "A Filipina's Adversaria on Living & Eating Well with Type 2 Diabetes" felt like an appropriate tagline. Then, I wrote my short profile.

For the graphics, I chose a photo of our dining table at home. A Val St. Lambert crystal bowl, a pair of black candlesticks, an Italian-type sculpture --- on top of some black place mats. A Vincent Van Gogh poster. I labelled the photo: "Perfection: Healthy. Wealthy. Wise."

All I needed to do now was to start blogging.

This morning, I woke up and immediately checked my blood sugar reading. 110. I felt very happy. The past week had been full of 139's. Today, for the first time, it had gone down to an acceptable level. Progress.

Excited, I called Small Daddy because I wanted to announce to him that I have a new personal blog.

"Why do you have this fear of sit-ups?" He asked me.

"I don't know" was my reply. Surprisingly, I was open to listening to Small Daddy's words.

"Maybe because the 10 sit-ups mean that you have to work at it --- and it's agonizing, life-changing work. No pain, no gain. Perhaps it symbolizes your resistance to change. Something inside you is holding you back. Why do we have to put a gun to your head before you can convince yourself that you need to modify your behavior?" Small Daddy is good, don't you agree?

"I really don't know -- but I'll find out. Just read my blog, ok?" I replied.

"My friend, when you go to Walgreens today, remember to buy a blood pressure kit. You know, the kind that you put around your wrist, you press something, and it does everything for you," Small Daddy advised me.

I agreed. "I'll buy my Splenda also. I can't live without it."

He continued. "Don't forget to weigh yourself every morning."

"Can I do that another day, please? I'm just getting used to this new mind-set," I pleaded with Small Daddy.

"Good. Now, what about your 10 sit-ups?"

"Later," I mumbled. "I'm doing a lot of walking today. Hey, let me do it my way. One step at a time."

Small Daddy is a great coach. I'm looking forward to his wise remarks and admonitions.

This is my life.

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