Why are we facing an obesity epidemic?

15th May 2015: Sydney Australia

The rise of obesity within the Western world and the endless nutritional fads promoted within mainstream media are so intriguing. Surely, each factor is the byproduct of the other. For arguments sake, inclusion of movement or physical activity needs to be mentioned. Many facets of this topic arouse my curiosity, most notably, the possible confusion experienced by people resulting from the varying amount of contrasting information relating to what people should eat or how to move. In addition, it is imperative to reference the growth in market size of the broad area of health and wellbeing. A likeminded person would see the connection immediately, of course that is dependent on whether I have been able to accurately convey the intended message.

The point first stuck me whilst listening to a recent podcast, and has since been thought through. Typically, useful information is extracted from the podcast, however, on this occasion, the striking feature was the lack of knowledge the interviewees actually had. Their capacity at quoting health jargon is indisputable, and yes an overwhelming enthusiasm was evident. My quarrel related to how little content they were able to draw upon without referring to their website/blog. The seemingly lack of knowledge lead me to question the truths of the so called health industry, and importantly, I was able to recognise the similarities between the health industry and any other market. Just to note, I applaud people for seeing an opportunity to make a living from their chosen pathway, however, I believe the continual new fads in regards to nutrition and exercise are the cause of confusion for the general public. Ultimately, resulting in personal financial gain for a few people whilst also contributing to the rising rate of obesity and other health concerns for the easily influenced, and at times extremely vulnerable general public.

Obviously, I am unable to influence the market and shift patterns, however, hopefully people can learn to see the importance of seeking reputable sources of knowledge prior to deciding on what strategy they will adopt in their lives to promote their health and well-being.

Medicinal Cannabis…..

14th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

Last year a friend introduced me to a documentary called, ‘Run from the Cure’. The story is follows a Canadian by the name of Rick Simpson who promotes the use of Cannabis oil for treating ailments, including Cancer. I currently do not have a stance about the matter, however, am increasingly seeing the area gain traction in all forms of mass media, and interestingly the NSW Sate Government of Australia has recently passed legislation in order to conduct trials.

I watched the documentary, and explored other material on the matter to become better informed about the option. The quarrel in using the oil stems from the limited research on the matter, a fear of whether side-effects would be experienced and the implications involved in using the oil. Namely, using the oil would suggest I see myself as unhealthy, and needing the oil to kill Cancer. Obviously, a belief I do not hold. Now, I can understand taking Chemotherapy is somewhat similar, and honestly when thinking about it, I am yet to come up with a strong argument for taking the Chemotherapy above the oil, particularly in my circumstances because there is no evidence to support the type of Chemotherapy I take. So unfortunately, I will need to leave it here for the moment and revisit the topic over the coming months.

Why time makes me want to morph into a bear to hibernate till everything is finished..

12th May 2015: Sydney Australia

My Professor and I discussed several points, including all the details surrounding my upcoming trip. The other matter discussed was the expected period of time on the Chemotherapy, and it seems I have become victim to my own beliefs. I have advocated from the very beginning of all this that no timeframes would be established for when my treatment would stop. Admittedly, since hearing I would be on the medication for a whole another year deflated my mood. Yes, it is only a few months more, and seems essential so will be adhering to the planning. It has just made me down, angry and somewhat frustrated. I recognise this chain of thought is unhealthy and needs to change, especially considering the current fantasies running through my mind. I would never follow through with such actions, however, in being honest, I am inclined to numb myself with prescription drugs to fall into a deep sleep like a bear to hibernate till it is all finished. I can see perspective is required, particularly in how fortunate I am in many ways, it just hard to take that on board at times.

Travel preparations when on Chemotherapy

11th May, 2014: Sydney, Australia

The two month trip to Indonesia is rapidly approaching, and a fair amount of planning is required. Previously, I would have packed my belongings, knowing some clothes, a passport, and bank card provided assurance the trip would run smoothly. How the situation differs. At present, I am working out the number of tablets needed over the course of two months, factoring in the additional levels of Cortisol required to boost my immune system. Moreover, I am liaising with my Professor surrounding whether specific intravenous training is needed for emergencies whilst trying to obtain a letter outlining a list of my all my prescribed medication. A point brought to the forefront of my thinking due to recent relations between the Australian and Indonesian governments, particularly as I will be taking in excess of 500 tablets into the country. Lastly, I am becoming accustomed with a wristband ordered from USA arrived last week. The sole purpose is to provide instructions on what my body requires if I am unable to communicate my needs in case of an emergency. Hopefully, when reflecting on the time away, the wristband is not used, and instead falls into the category of contingency planning!

The arrival of the wrist band reminded me of the moments when first needing to wear glasses. At the time, my thoughts would be best summarised by a projected perception of my description by others as, ‘that guy with glasses’. In this instance, the curious and wondering eye of others would notice I am now officially stamped with a medical condition. Luckily, I consider myself mature enough to overlook the perceived label associated with the wristband, a circumstance not comparable to my teen years when braces were virtually forced upon my teeth. In all honesty, it actually does act as a continual reinforcement to my predicament, however, I seem to be progressing well with my capacity of managing the array of factors associated with Cancer, and simply see the wristband as an insignificant adjustment to my appearance. Furthermore, the prospect of spending time in the sun, surfing quality waves in warm water with a range of good friends, then arriving to have approximately six more months before coming off my medication is extremely pleasing, and if a little comfort is provided to those close back home should I wear a wristband then so be it 😄

Belief: The essential point to survival

7th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

The approaching time away in Indonesia will see a change of climate, with daily temperatures approximately 30 degrees. A point, definitely eliciting a feeling of happiness when considering I will miss most most of the winter here in Sydney. Interestingly, it seems my infatuation with the need for more sunshine stemmed from the fairly lengthy spell in the UK, and it it possibly intensified by reading about the benefits of receiving a regular dose of natural Vitamin D. In addition, the fact of me currently not working results in having more time to pay attention to the environment around me. Therefore, noticeable difference in aspects of the environment, including the amount of sunshine are observed.

Another factor associated with not currently working relates to the current pace of time, and although I am happy, content and attempting to cherish the present. I would lying if I didn’t feel excitement about the prospect of heading to Indonesia, coming off my medication or commence working again. Always whilst on the topic of timeframes, a specific reference comes to mind. It was made by a holocaust survivor whom stated that his life today resulted from a belief of being ok, however, never allowing hope in regards to certain timeframes of a release to be the focus of his thoughts. The person in discussion saw others firmly focused on being released at certain times, and consequently became further deflated and even lead to death upon discovering their time in Auschwitz would not come to their desired end date. Interestingly, the words will remain with me forever, yet, I am unable to implement the advice into my own life.

Mathew McConaughey and the evolving self..

6th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have recently come to the position of opposing the belief a certain lifestyle choice can be implemented for the entirety of my life. Upon reflecting on the concept, it appears I have reached the position whereby I feel simply aiming to sustain your life, results in missing on many future opportunities. Ultimately, a point of stagnation. It is agreed that a lifestyle can be sustainable, and I know many populations who sustain their lives over many years, however, on a personal level, I feel a long journey awaits, and can not see myself equipped with all the knowledge and information to support me throughout my life.Therefore, I propose the goal is instead changed to focus on evolving over a lifetime.

An acceptance speech made by Mathew McConaughey involves him making reference to the person he looks up to is himself in ten years time (see link at the bottom of the page). The purpose of the message is to show that he could never match the future version of him, yet, will always inspire to do better. I find this extremely powerful in reinforcing a message about my lifestyle needing to evolve rather than sustain. Of course, elements of my life can be sustained, yet, I was very naive to think decisions made just after the removal of a life threatening Cancer would be the very avenue adopted for the rest of my life. Yes, they well may be the foundations to base future decisions upon and a critical stage of development within my life, however, the uncertainty of what will surface in my future life seems to be lacking. To conclude, similar to the vision of Matthew McConaughey, I wish to never match the future version of myself, and the only way of achieving this is to continually evolve throughout time whilst overcoming any adversity faced.

Click the link to the see the speech in full: http://youtu.be/wD2cVhC-63I

Plan to succeed

4th May 2015: Sydney, Australia

I have come to realise a saying taught many years ago within a professional context is easily transferable to other areas, including your personal development. The intentions of applying the rule ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ was to highlight the responsibility l had in ensuring thorough groundwork was completed prior to meeting with a family or individual to complete a therapeutic session. As noted, I see benefits of applying the rule into our lives, and my writing, if used effectively can provide the platform to hopefully build success, opposed to failure.

Yesterday was a clear example of my writing acting as the very means to plan ahead in preparation to approach a situation to the best of my capacity. It was actually ironic in some ways to consider I had put together an entry about the very topic on the day before the question was asked. It was not something major, simply a conversation within a social environment relating to my lifestyle choices. On reflection, if I had not taken the time to sit down and write about my thoughts, then the execution of my answer would not have accurately captured my feelings towards the situation. In summary, my writing can be useful when I am able to avoid becoming stuck in a hole of despair, and at such times, many similarities exist with the preparation undertaken for a job interview whereby you have had the time and space to gain clarity in your thoughts before needing to share with others. To conclude, I must acknowledge my fluctuating feelings on the matter, however, overall, a journal would be encouraged for all people experiencing Cancer to ensure any difficult circumstances or encounters can be hopefully prepared for in advance.

Temptations…

2nd May 2014: Sydney, Australia

Temptation to past lifestyle choices is becoming an area requiring attention as time since my surgery passes whilst the side effects associated with my chemotherapy are seemingly decreasing. The actions last night are a perfect foundation to base the discussion on, and could be viewed as a shift away from the intentions established in my entries last year. Initially, I was in the same position, fluctuating between feelings of guilt, fear and regret, however, without justifying my actions, could the negative feelings be solely dependent on seeing myself as unwell or in a position of recovery? If so, it should be noted that I object to seeing myself as unwell or in a state of recovery. I completely accept the need to further develop myself emotionally and physically, however, the mental aspect of a Cancer diagnosis is often deemed one of the primary obstacles associated with overcoming the entire experience. It is for this very reason for reframing the context, and instead, viewing myself bound within a stage of preparation.

Undoubtedly, temptations are going to exist throughout my entire life, and not just in regards to lifestyle choices. Therefore, should I feel a level of guilt for socialising with friends on one occasion over some drinks or do I learn from the situation, finding a place for it in my life? Yes, I need to be mindful of what I put in my body, and how much sleep I have each night, however, attention equally needs to centre on connecting with close friends, and importantly the effects of finally feeling a degree of normality. I am not advocating a permanent change from the areas I deem essential to getting me to this level of health. Rather, placing the events from last night into perspective whilst recognising the benefits of social connection and unrestricted happiness.

To conclude, I believe an example can demonstrate the point above. Take for instance how pivotal the stage of preparation and training is for success, particularly in a sporting context. Now, say a professional sports team successfully applies a play or tactic in a real contest. It would be fairly accurate to hypothesis that more often than not, the play had first been developed in a less intense environment, i.e, a training session. Therefore, I propose similarities exist with our lives, with the underlying message relating to how we can be equipped to face future scenarios in my hopefully long and fruitful life. Of course, I will not make the right decision on every occasion, however, should I learn from the experience, it can still prove beneficial in the longterm. Regardless of whether people agree with what has been stated, reframing the events last night eroded any stress associated with my decision, and consequently, I am left in a positive mindset. I must note, I can definitely see I am trying to justify my actions, and possibly I am, so it would be interesting to hear feedback 😄

Physical, emotional and mental strains of Cancer…

1st May 2015: Sydney, Australia

A possible flaw has been identified in the framework I designed to help others with Cancer. Initially, my planning was based on the idea of challenging attendees in a similar manner to others in the community who engage in group work, however, recent circumstances in my life brought the matter to surface, namely, the limited emphasis I placed on the possible physical and mental capacity of future participants. On reflection, I feel my intentions reflect the personal strategy created to ensure I faced the duration of time on chemotherapy with a belief of undermining the impact it would have on my life. I acknowledge many would suggest overlooking the impact of treatment for people is negligent, and I must add, of course consideration was made to such a blatant point, however, I feel sufficient attention was not directed to the area.

The events leading to a shift in my thinking again derive from the level movement in my life, and most likely links to memories elicited from viewing past photos. In summary, I have developed a tailored plan in regards to the level of movement that will feature on a weekly basis. My reasoning for tailoring the plan as such results from a knowledge of avoiding physically over exerting myself whilst recognising the great importance needed on recovery time to combat levels of fatigue experienced. The fact my programme is much less intense compared to one in place should I not be receiving treatment is a clear example of the need to also design the framework accordingly. I do recognise the main focus on movement in my life, and some may argue this may not be a suitable example when making comparisons with mental fatigue. In response, I would advise those people give equal weight to mental and physical fatigue, and my reasoning derives from previous study undertaken over the past year whereby I realised that regardless of whether it is physical, mental or even emotional fatigue, the end result is the same. It is for this very reason, I will explore avenues to decrease the load on future people who hopefully partake in my programme.

Do photos really show if we are happy?

29th April 2015: Sydney

I found myself locating, then reviewing photos from the past few years. One striking feature was a smile always on sprayed across my face. Consequently, I was left wondering whether I was happier in the past, and if so, does my current state of perceived unhappiness derive from a complete change in living circumstances; health; relationships; experiences; available finances, and employment status? Or alternatively, does the question need to be posed of whether happiness can actually be gauged from looking at photos?

If we were to break down the function of a photo, in the most basic format it captures moments, and some would suggest, only moments to cherish (honestly, how many selfies are posted on the first take). Therefore, the possibility surfaces of becoming drawn to consider past happiness as triumphing over my current state, especially when reviewing pictures when not the feeling the best. Really, who goes looking for photos when happy! In all seriousness, and with little surprise, I am inclined to think I have been happier in the past compared with now. Inevitably, a number of factors could support a basis for the change, and this is definitely not a path I will walk down for sympathy. Instead, I propose that surely a greater level of happiness can be obtained in my current and future life, and firstly this position needs to be truly believed in my mind before it can eventuate.

So, you may ask how a shift in direction will occur? Obviously many areas of my life need to be explored, however, honestly the process of exploring my mind and feelings through these entries helps to put topics into perspective, namely, the compartmentalisation of my Cancer experience into a certain place whereby I once again I can see the smile dominating my face.