Cover of "Pippi Longstocking"

Cover of Pippi Longstocking

They say that faith can move mountains or at least my mum has always told me so. I always wondered what that could mean. Did it mean that if you went to church and really believed what was preached that you could actually move things around with your mind? Cool! Hey, I know… give me some credit here.. I was a kid with a very vivid imagination.

Well as none in my family ever really attended any church, of any religion, that kind off made the whole saying even trickier to me. As I grew up I understood that this is a metaphor though part of me still likes the idea with moving this with my mind… what can I say.

As adults we apply this to “you can achieve anything you set your mind to” – be it in personal development, run a marathon, career and so forth. It is a very responsible and powerful approach. We spend large parts of our lives trying to achieve these goals.

But how does it all start? For me it all started with fairy tales. With stories from wonderful authors that make the pages come alive, creating a world of wonder where anything is possible. My absolute favourite author as a child was Astrid Lindgren. My favourite book was Ronja the Robber’s Daughter (Ronja Rövardotter) and The Bothers Lionheart (Bröderna Lejonhjärta). One of her most famous books is Pippi Longstocking – the strongest girl in the world. I have read these books so many times.

Looking back I think I have learned more from these books than from most “personal development” books. Reading these books I learned that friendship can heal any conflict, that hope always prevails (and you get to beat the dragon) and that girls are just as good as boys. These lessons were woven into the most amazing stories. They created in a sense a faith in the world that I always carry with me.

If we allow ourselves to dream and to believe, then we can tackle any obstacle no matter how impossible it seems. With a touch of wonder we can move those metaphorical mountains. What is stopping us really?

 

Sooo… three weeks down the line with my “new improved me” plan and I feel good. Had a bit of a calorie hick-up yesterday (damn you Banoffie pie!) with sharing a divine dessert with a friend but apart from that I have managed to eat healthily and work out 6 times a week.

I tried on a shirt this morning. A shirt that has been too tight for at least 3 years… and it fit almost perfectly, just a tiny bit tight still. So that made my morning!

At the same time I am under no illusions that most likely the most I have lost at the moment is water and I am also very much aware that I need to have a slow but steady weight loss otherwise this will just not work.

I also checked my blood pressure again. It still is higher than what is good (surprise, surprise no changes after just 3 weeks) but it is at least not sky rocketed like it was at the doctor. I bought a blood pressure machine at the pharmacy so that I can check every once in a while. In regards to the doctor… well I will definitely continue to seeing the one that I actually can talk to. She is supportive of what I try to do and is helping and then we keep an eye on things and see how it progresses.

The other doctor (who unfortunately owns the doctors practice) I have now renamed as “Dr Grim Reaper”. The way that woman delivers news you will start to get the measurements for the coffin ready. I also think she gets commission on how many pills she prescribes. She is also not impressed with any of my plans to lose weight, change my eating habits etc.. oh no, medication is the only way. I mean OK, if my BP would be really really dangerously high then I would understand. If my blood sugar levels would be diabetic then ok fair enough… BUT this is not the case. I am not delusional… if my levels were really bad then I would not try to hide from that fact. My levels are not good and if I do not start to do something about it now then yes, it will become bad. This is something that the other doctor also told me. Hmm I wonder if those two ever talk.

Though I have to say, I am also worried. I worry that I will do all this and lose weight and feel great about it but still not lower my BP. I worry I will continue having high BP and that my blood sugar will go up and that I will have done all this and nothing changed. Yes, I know this is paranoid and yes it has literally only been 3 weeks but still… I do worry about these things.

Ugh!

So today I have jo-joed between: feeling great as the shirt fit again, feeling worried when checking BP and thinking “will it ever change?”, feeling happy about seeing progress in my tracker of what I have done so far, feeling paranoid about everything, feeling annoyed with myself that I worry, feeling great after having spend the afternoon cooking delicious healthy dinners for the week.

Yeah.

Weird day.

I am getting a lot of encouragement from friends and that really helps. I am really happy I started doing this. Now please, please let this work (and again.. YES I know it has only been 3 weeks.) Sigh.

 

I am still alive after more than 2 weeks of working out 6 times a week. The work-out has been tiring but going a lot better than I expected.

Hitting the gym before work 3 times a week has opened my eyes to a new fact… I am much more energised and in a better mood than when I do not work out in the morning. I am tired yes, getting up at 6am is really not something I enjoy. I do however feel better. Combined with going to the club twice a week and then throw in a walk on Sundays as well; it is pretty full on. I am tired in the evenings so no party hours for me. Not that it is a big difference from before…

The healthy eating, especially in the evenings, has not been as easy. It has been hard to stay disciplined and not stray into munching on just something when I am bored. The chocolate cravings have been pretty severe as well. I have managed most days in fairness but have had a few weak moments. I am also learning more and more that some things that I thought were ok to eat a lot off are maybe not quite as healthy calorie-wise. I do not try to count calories per se but since I want to lose weight I do need to be aware of it a bit after all.

Went training at the club today again. It is freezing cold here at the moment and I really should have warmed-up better because once again I have managed to pull my neck/shoulder. SIGH. I knew that my neck and shoulder was starting to play up a bit again (the curse of working in front of a laptop all day long) but did I get it sorted before it was too late?? Of course not. Luckily one of the lads at the club took a look at my neck today. Bit of physio, a few acupuncture needles and some cupping later… it is a bit better. Will have a follow-up treatment soon as well so that will hopefully ensure a quicker recovery.

In regards to the cupping, I am now sporting several round shaped marks on my back. I look like I had a battle with a giant octopus! Now that will get a few weird looks in the gym next week. I laughed out loud when I looked in the mirror. It looks insane! This is the first time that I have had this done on me but I have heard about it before and heard that it is very beneficial. http://cuppingtherapy.org/pages/discolorations.htm It does look a bit mental though but then, as long as it does the trick all is good.

So here I am sitting on the sofa now with a warm neck&shoulder pillow, looking out at the falling snow, sporting some fetching marks and feeling pretty positive about this new health regime. Even with a stiff neck.

Now bring on next week.

When the third cold (after 2 colds and the flu) hit me within a period of 2.5 months, I had enough. I dragged my sorry arse to the doctor for a check-up demanding blood tests and a miracle (eh well, I never said I was all that logical…).

Hmmm blood tests booked and the miracle.. well, that will be up to me. The doctor also took my blood pressure and after a month on cold and flu medication and not enough sleep it was no surprise it was pretty darn high. That said… there is was. Even with the contributing factors I still have a blood pressure that is too high for my age. When the doctor started talking about starting to take medication I backpedalled quicker than any politician put on the spot. I left the doctor with a pretty sinking feeling.

Sat at home reading up on the various medications and the potential side-effects and I freaked. Then I came to a conclusion…. this will not go away magically. No matter how much I backpedal. Now the decision is up to me… I can either continue being a lazy bum that occasionally gets going and hits the gym/club and throws in some healthy food semi-regularly and then resign myself to eating chemicals medication OR I can at least try to make a difference and change my lifestyle and by that also my health.

So here I am. I am lucky enough that I have friends that are very good at what they do in their field of work/interest be it holistic Eastern health, physical training or nutrition. I am even luckier that they will help me out with a good plan and support.

This is week one. I have a plan for exercising. A plan for a better eating habits. And before anyone asks, no I will not just be living of salad leafs and carrots all day. I am also a realist and know that sometimes you need to allow yourself something in moderation. The 80/20 rule or 90/10 rule or whatever you want to call it. Luckily I really do like all kinds of food including lots of nice healthy stuff… I have just been too lazy to actually cook and prepare it.

The blood tests are done and once the results are back then the next step is to try to tackle this in a natural way. I spoke to my doctor who is supportive of this and we will keep an eye on my progress.

Let’s face it. I am stubborn. Unless this will miserably fail, I will not start taking any effing meds! IF however with weigh-loss, better habits and better health I still end up having an issue… then OK… then I will face other solutions.

I guess I am writing this post now so that it is out there. So that I cannot try to lie to myself and say I did not commit to do this. I know there will be times when I really do not want to go to the gym, take that walk, go to the club. When I really just want to vegetate on the sofa with too much crap food. The hardest things will be when I am bored. When I am bored, I munch.

So there it is. No more excuses. No more “oh has 2 months already passed since my new-improved-me-scheme without me actually starting it…”.

This will not be easy BUT I am actually feeling really positive about this. Maybe because this is it. I have no more excuses and this will mean that I finally will do what I always wanted to do but just never did. Maybe one of these days what I see in the mirror will actually match the person I see myself as. Then not having to take the medication will just be a side-effect to being healthy and feeling great.

On that note. I’m off to the club.

One of the best advice I ever got was to write down my thoughts when things felt overwhelming. Initially I could not see the benefit of this. Why would I do this? How could it help me? How would that give me any answers? These were questions I asked myself.

At the time I knew I could no longer express how I felt to others. Not because others did not care but I started to feel like I was a burden. How many times could I repeat the same lament? How many times could people bear to listen?

It is strange when all you want is to feel happy but you just don’t. When you know you need to “snap out of it” but you can’t. I knew I was stuck and I felt like a broken record stuck on repeat. So I stopped saying how I felt. I stopped trying to talk about it. I could not pretend to say things were OK because I just did not have the energy to even do that. I stopped.

With no answers I started to write. Longer pieces, shorter pieces, letters addressed to no-one. Sometimes I pretended I was talking to a friend. Sometimes I just wrote down a mass of words jumbled together. I did not receive any answers but somehow it lessened the tightness in my chest. Piece by piece what I wrote down lighted the burden. Maybe it was because I could be brutally honest. Not having to take into consideration how others might feel. Not having to think about not wanting to worry anyone. I just wrote.

How I felt then and how I feel today is vastly different. Today I look at life and smile. I have a curious positive outlook forward. There will always be down days of course but in general I feel pretty damn good.

I am not trying to say that writing down how I felt back then made me all happy now. There are so many things that made that happening but I am not writing about those changes today. What I am trying to say is that writing down my inner most feelings and thoughts when I was at my lowest helped me getting through it.

Recently, for the first time in a long time, I actually dared to look at those entries that I wrote back then. It was both a scary and emotional experience. I had forgotten how low I felt. I am glad that I once again can put them back in the box. Not forgotten but eased out of mind with a few lessons learned.

Sometimes a simple advice can make all the difference. An advice I will be eternally grateful for.

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It’s the second week in January and lo and behold… the world did not end. Quelle surprise.

Instead it is the usual January blues with credit cards bills piling up, bleary eyed office workers turning up to work, off-licenses noticing a down-turn as the “white month” is in full swing and gyms bursting with sweaty new year’s resolutions.

It is a new year. Full with potential if you decide to grab hold and do more than just wish. For some it is a change of life-style, change of focus, change of perspective. For some it is yet another year of half-hearted resolutions given after too many glasses of champagne. Resolutions broken just as quickly as the bubbles dispersed.

I spent the last two weeks thinking about what I want for this year. What I would like this year to mean for me. I guess I got sick of always having more or less the same resolutions that always end up lasting until February (in a good year). Of course the whole “get fitter, work-out more often and regularly” is still very important but that is not a new year’s resolution. It is a life resolution and a very tough nut to crack. So yes, I will once again try.

Apart from that one then? What will be different from before? So I could focus on ensuring I reach my targets in work, lose weight, work-out (see above), eat healthily, try to make a positive difference in the world even if it is just a small one … but those are things I TRY to do all the time (not always successfully).

I think this year I will just go with a general wish of doing what makes me happy and to set goals as I go along. The road to achieving and reaching those goals is what matters.

Thinking about it… I have some amazing people in my life. People who inspire me. People who I care about deeply and unconditionally. People who care about me. With friends and family like that, what else can I wish for apart from spending time with those who matter to me?

The rest will follow naturally really – I will do my utmost to reach my targets in work so that I get the extra cash to see all. The work-out will follow as I need to improve fitness in order to be able to do the things I like with my friends and stay healthy. The weight-loss will slowly follow with the fitness and the healthy food follows the fitness (as I cannot eat crap when I have been working out, it just feels wrong). And if an action from me can put a smile on someone’s face and if an action somehow helps the betterment of this world then I have made a difference. I can wish for nothing more.

So there is my wish for 2013 and beyond. Happy New Year.

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Every December I read this poem. There is something about it that gives me a cosy and happy feeling. It was written by the Swedish poet/author Viktor Rydberg in 1881 and it is called “Tomten”.

A tomte, nisse or tomtenisse (Sweden) (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈtɔ̀mːtɛ]), nisse (Norway and Denmark) (pronounced [ˈnìsːɛ]) or tonttu (Finland) is a humanoid mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore. The tomte or nisse was believed to take care of a farmer’s home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep.

I found a translation to English as well (see further down), it doesn’t do the original justice really but it is the best that I found so far. If any one has a better translation, please let me know.

With this I want to wish you all Happy Holidays and a fantastic 2013! God Jul & Gott Nytt År!

Original:

Midvinternattens köld är hård,
stjärnorna gnistra och glimma.
Alla sova i enslig gård
djupt under midnattstimma.
Månen vandrar sin tysta ban,
snön lyser vit på fur och gran,
snön lyser vit på taken.
Endast tomten är vaken

Står där så grå vid ladgårdsdörr,
grå mot den vita driva,
tittar, som många vintrar förr,
upp emot månens skiva,
tittar mot skogen, där gran och fur
drar kring gården sin dunkla mur,
grubblar, fast ej det lär båta,
över en underlig gåta.

För sin hand genom skägg och hår,
skakar huvud och hätta —
»nej, den gåtan är alltför svår,
nej, jag gissar ej detta» —
slår, som han plägar, inom kort
slika spörjande tankar bort,
går att ordna och pyssla,
går att sköta sin syssla.

Går till visthus och redskapshus,
känner på alla låsen —
korna drömma vid månens ljus
sommardrömmar i båsen;
glömsk av sele och pisk och töm
Pålle i stallet har ock en dröm:
krubban han lutar över
fylls av doftande klöver; —

Går till stängslet för lamm och får,
ser, hur de sova där inne;
går till hönsen, där tuppen står
stolt på sin högsta pinne;
Karo i hundbots halm mår gott,
vaknar och viftar svansen smått,
Karo sin tomte känner,
de äro gode vänner.

Tomten smyger sig sist att se
husbondfolket det kära,
länge och väl han märkt, att de
hålla hans flit i ära;
barnens kammar han sen på tå
nalkas att se de söta små,
ingen må det förtycka:
det är hans största lycka.

Så har han sett dem, far och son,
ren genom många leder
slumra som barn; men varifrån
kommo de väl hit neder?
Släkte följde på släkte snart,
blomstrade, åldrades, gick — men vart?
Gåtan, som icke låter
gissa sig, kom så åter!

Tomten vandrar till ladans loft:
där har han bo och fäste
högt på skullen i höets doft,
nära vid svalans näste;
nu är väl svalans boning tom,
men till våren med blad och blom
kommer hon nog tillbaka,
följd av sin näpna maka.

Då har hon alltid att kvittra om
månget ett färdeminne,
intet likväl om gåtan, som
rör sig i tomtens sinne.
Genom en springa i ladans vägg
lyser månen på gubbens skägg,
strimman på skägget blänker,
tomten grubblar och tänker.

Tyst är skogen och nejden all,
livet där ute är fruset,
blott från fjärran av forsens fall
höres helt sakta bruset.
Tomten lyssnar och, halvt i dröm,
tycker sig höra tidens ström,
undrar, varthän den skall fara,
undrar, var källan må vara.

Midvinternattens köld är hård,
stjärnorna gnistra och glimma.
Alla sova i enslig gård
gott intill morgontimma.
Månen sänker sin tysta ban,
snön lyser vit på fur och gran,
snön lyser vit på taken.
Endast tomten är vaken.

Found translation:
Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold
The stars glitter and sparkle.  
All are asleep on this lonely farm,
Deep in the winter night.
The pale white moon is a wanderer,
snow gleams white on pine and fir,
snow gleams white on the roofs.
The tomte alone is awake.

Gray, he stands by the low barn door,
Gray by the drifted snow,
Gazing, as many winters he’s gazed,
Up at the moon’s chill glow,
Then at the forest where fir and pine
Circle the farm in a dusky line,
Mulling relentlessly
A riddle that has no key.

Rubs his hand through his beard and hair,
Shakes his head and his cap.
“No, that question is much too deep,
I cannot fathom that.”
Then making his mind up in a hurry,
He shrugs away the annoying worry;
Turns at his own command,
Turns to the task at hand.

Goes to the storehouse and toolshop doors,
Checking the locks of all,
While the cows dream on in the cold moon’s light,
Summer dreams in each stall.
And free of harness and whip and rein,
Even Old Pålle dreams again.
The manger he’s drowsing over
Brims with fragrant clover.

The tomte glances at sheep and lambs
Cuddled in quiet rest.
The chickens are next, where the rooster roosts
High above straw filled nests.
Burrowed in straw, hearty and hale,
Karo wakens and wags his tail
As if to say, “Old friend, “Partners we are to the end.”

At last the tomte tiptoes in
To see how the housefolk fare.
He knows full well the strong esteem
They feel for his faithful care.
He tiptoes into the children’s beds,
Silently peers at their tousled heads.
There is no mistaking his pleasure:
These are his greatest treasure.

Long generations has he watched
Father to son to son
Sleeping as babes. But where, he asks,
From where, from where have they come?
Families came, families went,
Blossomed and aged, a lifetime spent,
Then-Where? That riddle again
Unanswered in his brain!

Slowly he turns to the barnyard loft,
His fortress, his home and rest,
High in the mow, in the fragrant hay
Near to the swallow’s nest.
The nest is empty, but in the spring
When birds mid leaves and blossoms sing,
And come with her tiny mate.

Then will she talk of the journey tell.
Twittering to all who hear it,
But nary a hint for the question old
That stirs in the tomte’s spirit.
Now through cracks in the haymow wall
The moon lights tomte and hay and all,
Lights his beard through the chinks,
The tomte ponders and thinks.

Still is the forest and all the land,
Locked in this wintry year.
Only the distant waterfall
Whispers and sighs in his ear.
The tomte listens and, half in dream,
Thinks that he hears Time’s endless stream,
And wonders, where is it bound?
Where is its source to be found?

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold,
The stars glitter and sparkle.
All are asleep on this lonely farm,
Late in this winter night.
The pale white moon is a wanderer,
snow gleams white on pine and fir,
snow gleams white on the roofs.
The tomte alone is awake.

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