Update: The Rule of Five, the Rule of Four

In mid-December I posted a column on my physical health and some possible changes. It was a different kind of post for me, since it’s the kind of thing I don’t usually talk about publicly. Anyway, I think it’s time for an update.

You might remember I had two rules for small behavioral changes; the Rule of Five (walk, even if it was a short walk, five days out of seven) and the Rule of Four (skip the sugary coffee-drink four days out of seven). I had also started medication for the blood pressure.

The meds are doing just what they need to and my blood pressure is down to where the doctor wanted it. I check it (nearly) every day, and I am out of the danger zone. The first three weeks I was on it I felt physically tired nearly all the time, which is a common effect, but I’ve adjusted to that, or something, because I don’t experience the fatigue consistently. I still get calf cramps now and then, which is also an effect of the meds, but they don’t last long.

The Rule of Five. Walking has been easy. Our unseasonably dry – and until recently, unseasonably warm weather made a short walk in the park easy. Failing that, I walk to the grocery store and back, which is about a mile, or walk around in the park and then to the store, which probably clocks in at about one and three-quarter miles. Now that Brandy has opened Second Chances, I walk down there and back a few times a week. That’s a mile down and the same back; a good walk.

One of my self-appointed tasks in the store is shelving books. This is not exercise, but it is movement and it’s probably good for my whole body—except my knees. My knees do not approve of this activity.

Walking isn’t hard. It helps that I like to walk and that I stop and take pictures.I think in the past six weeks I’ve managed to do it six days out of seven for most weeks. No, the Rule of Five isn’t hard.

It’s the Rule of Four that’s kicking my behind.

It’s killing me.

You’ll remember that I ingested a lot a sugary coffee drinks, and I decided to cut back. I took it easy on myself. I cut back to three per week. This should have been the Rule of Three, but I inverted it and made it the Rule of Four; four days a week mocha-free.

I’ve managed to do it, heaven knows how, but I think about it all the time. Part of the flaw in my plan was that I free-formed it. I gave myself three days and I get to pick the days. It might have been easier to just say, “Coffee drinks on weekends only.” But no! I wanted freedom! I’m an adult. I get to choose! Choosing means planning. Planning means thinking about it. In a double-negative, though-experiment kind of way, I have to think about the mocha drinks I won’t be drinking. It becomes tempting to see those four days as some kind of terrible sacrifice. Oh, woe! Wednesday is mocha-free! That sort of thing.

Still, I’ve managed it, except for that one week where I had achieved it, and then on the last day of the week a friend brought me a mocha. Well, I couldn’t refuse, could I? I gratefully accepted. And sure, I could have cut back to two treats the following week to balance it out, right? Do you think I did? You know me, so you know the answer to that question.

This is America, and I’m female, so I will anticipate the question you all have; “Have you lost weight?”

Short answer: Yes. I’ve either lost one pound or two pounds, and I’ll get my doctor be the tie-breaker on that one, later in the month.

Longer answer: That’s fine – it would only be good if I dropped a few pounds – but that is not my goal here. My goal is general wellness, and weight loss… and a bit of toning… is a part of that but I haven’t formulated a weight loss plan, and I may not.

I’m feeling better, and I think I’ve taken a few steps away from having my brain explode. My brain is important to me, and I’ve finally gotten around to showing it.

I’ll keep you informed. Unless it’s boring; then I won’t.

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2 Responses to Update: The Rule of Five, the Rule of Four

  1. Terry Connelly says:

    Thanks for the update! The Rule of Four seems especially hard. If you are thinking all the time about when you get to have your drink…well, that seems tortuous. Good luck!

  2. Marion says:

    I think I made it too complicated for myself.

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