Thursday, 22 July 2010

Look after yourself

I am reading a book at the moment called Shape Shifter, by Geoff Thompson, it's a 'self help' book. I used to read a lot of these types of books when I was younger, trying to learn of better ways to live my life. I also went to night classes and did Psychology, Stress Management, and Counselling. I realised quite early on that the only person who is responsible for how my life turns out, is me.

Chapter three in the book is titled, Food for Thought, and opens with the words, 'You are what you eat'. Dont you just get fed up of hearing that, it's rammed down our throats every day in the media. The government plays God by preaching what we should and shouldn't be eating, and that excess alcohol, drugs, junk food, and smoking is bad for us. We have heard it that often, we don't listen any more.

I hope Mr Thompson does not mind if I borrow a few words from his book, he talks a lot of sense in a simple language.

"Mahatma Gandhi believed that the secret to building unlimited holistic success was in developing the correct palate. If you control your palate, he taught, then all the other senses will fall into line. When you control the senses you control yourself and once you can control yourself you can control the world. However, if you cannot control something as basic as the food you eat how are you ever going to get your head around the big issues such as health, wealth, and happiness?"

Another quote...
"What you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat fundamentally affects who you are and what you think. The wrong foods - or even the right foods eaten in heavy portions, can force the body out of it's natural state of balance. This makes it difficult to think positively, and makes it almost impossible to function normally."

I haven't enough room here to go into great detail, but the main message in this chapter is that food is purely fuel for the body, that's all. It's not about never having a beer, or a pizza, or a pudding. It's about moderation, about not eating food that your body does not need, taking the pressure off an overworked digestive system.

I don't have a relationship with food, it does not rule my life, I am not constantly thinking about it, and I am certainly not addicted to it. Food is the fuel that keeps me alive, so I try and eat the best I can. OK, I ocassionally fall off the wagon, too many crisps, too much chocolate, but these instances are becoming less and less, and I am pleased with myself when I pass them by on the supermarket shelf. I am also pleased that I view smoking as poisoning the body, so I have never indulged, neither have I dabbled with drugs, for this activity poisons the mind as well as the body. My little pleasure is an ocassional can of cider, or a bottle of wine, I only drink them because I like the taste, not because of the effects they might have. Of course all this is no guarantee that I will live to a ripe old age, at the end of the day it's the cards you are dealt, but I do hope that if I look after myself it will help.

You might be wondering where all this psychological (I call it comonsense) talk is leading. I feel very sad when I hear of people who have wrecked their lives through over indulgence. Very sad that people have neglected to look after their own bodies. It's even more heart breaking when you know a member of your own family is heading down the road to self destruction, and you can only stand by and watch them throw their lives away.

I heard yesterday that my brother, who lives in India, is dying of cancer. Sadly it is too late for him. I have known for many years that his unhealthy lifestyle would be his downfall, but I could do nothing. He is only 59, and I may never see him again.


  1. Oh Ilona, I'm so sorry to hear this news of your brother. Whatever his eating habits it's far too young an age. I hope you get to see him and share a few words of care. Hugs Ruth x

  2. It is very sad to die so young Ilona, but given what we now know about the over-riding influence of our genetic inheritance and our environment (asbestos, ground gas etc), I don't think we can apportion personal blame to the sufferers of cancer.

  3. That is sad news, I am sorry.

  4. So sorry to hear about your brother Ilona - my sister, who lived in Australia, died two years ago after a very short illness so we were unable to get to see her. She was 69 so not that old. Husband's brother who sadly fitted all the things you cite regarding neglecting oneself also died last year from something that could have been prevented by taking a little advice. I suppose in the end we all have to follow our own path.

  5. I am so sorry to hear abotu your brother, I have started ( since April) to get fit and healthy againas i want to be here for my kids and grand kids, but I also want to value myself, look after myself better, and it is so empowering, the quotes ring so true

  6. Sorry to hear your sad news big hugs x

  7. So sorry to hear about your brother, Ilona - the last paragraph of your post came as a bolt from the blue. I really hope that you might see him again - family is so important. x

  8. I feel for you and hope, you can still see your brother, one day. Best wishes to you and specially your brother, but also lots of hugs. xxxxx

  9. Sadly, we can not change people and the way the have chosen to live. We all have that choice, to be the best we can, to care for ourselves the best we can. Some of us know instinctively how to do that. Others just live carefree, and we often see them waisting their lives, but we can not change that for them. It`s their choice and we have to respect it, even if it hurts us to see their demise.
    My partner smokes, heavily. I wish he could give it up. I can`t make him do that. He must find it in himself, to want to better his life.
    And, ultimately he might not give up.
    I know that I might well outlive him, evenso I`m the one with asthma. His lung capacity is already far worse than mine. I have come to accept his choice of how he wants to be. I just learned to enjoy his company for as long as I shall have it.

  10. Ilona, I am so sorry to hear your news about your brother. I will be thinking of both of you at this time. Jane xx

  11. It is difficult when someone contributes to their own demise Illona, I have a family member who is doing just the same thing to himself.

    I do hope that you get to see your brother again. Take care of yourself. xx

  12. Thank you kindly for your comments. Lynn, it came as a bolt from the blue to me as well. I never hear from my brother from one year to the next, sometimes even longer, we only have an email address to contact him. His wife made contact with us because he is unable to, she is understandably distraught. She will try and get the computer fixed up in his room so we can speak, but his speech is muddled.

    Jane, it's true, we do not know if there are any other influences which have played a part in his condition, but he has been a life long heavy smoker, and at times he has neglected to eat properly. He was complaining of feeling ill a year ago, but did not seek medical advice.

    Sarina, I feel for you. Please don't stop telling your partner how much damage he is doing to himself. My sister smoked for many years, I am guilty of nagging her to stop, thank God she did. My father died of a heart attack aged 46, after years of smoking and heavy drinking, and my mother who also smoked and was overweight, died of heart disease at 64. So you can see why I am trying my very best to look after myself. I only hope I have some of my uncle Stan's genes, he is my dad's brother and he is 87 and doing fine.

    Well done knithappens, stick with it, I hope you go from strength to strength, and have a long and happy life.

  13. I am very sorry to hear about your brother Ilona. I hope that he is able to spend the rest of his days being happy with family and friends, and that this news does not bring him down.

    Best wishes to you.

  14. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother Ilona. Hopefully his computer can be fixed up in his room so that you can be in contact. Thank you for the wake-up call as I believe most of us can tend to overindulge.

  15. Very sad news indeed Ilona. I remember he did not show for your online chat over Xmas. I sincerley hope that his suffering is not too lomg and that maybe we cabn all learn from his mistakes!
    Chin up, thinking of you.


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