Why I Work Out (it’s not the reasons you think)

The single most annoying question I have ever been asked in my life is “Why do you work out/run?  You’re skinny and don’t need to.”  The question annoys me because it makes the false assumptions that 1 – If people are thin then they are healthy and 2 – The only reason to work out is to lose weight.

I’m not going to give you the typical answers that you hear about why all people should exercise.  Yes, working out helps me to sleep better, gives me more energy, etc.  I’m glad that I gain those benefits, but they aren’t the driving force behind my workouts.

Here are the real reasons I do it in no particular order.

1 – Creativity.  I love to write, but other than completing journal entries I find I hit writer’s block a lot.  Working out provides a mental distraction from life.  I find running often triggers my more creative thoughts, but doing any kind of workout seems to clear my mind enough to want to write.  Some of my best ideas have come either during a run or in the shower post-workout.  My inspiration for this blog came after doing a total body DVD today.

2 – Self confidence.  Pushing through a tough workout especially if I wasn’t in the  mood to workout that day is such a boost.  It makes me feel stronger both physically and mentally.  It also sparks an adrenaline high that makes me feel like I can accomplish more things in all aspects of my life.

3 – Sex appeal.  This one ties into the self confidence reason.  Some girls like putting on makeup or wearing certain clothes to feel attractive.  I feel sexier after I’ve exercised, particularly after an intense run.  I love my body more after pushing it beyond its daily requirements.  Oh and I love my oblique lines courtesy of my workouts.

4 – Balance and control.  There are so few things in life that anyone has any real control over.  When I work out I get to dictate everything – what I do, how long I do it and how intensely I do it.  This ability to have control while actually freeing my mind is a balance that I’ve found is much needed in my life.  Any time I’ve hit bad spells over the years I seem to always come back to working out as a therapy of sorts.

Not what most people expect to read I’m sure, but those reasons motivate me to continue to work out/run.  I wish I could provide them as responses to people, particularly strangers, who question why I do what I do.  I just assume they won’t really “get it” so I tend to tell them I do it because I enjoy it; that provokes weird enough looks to amuse me and is the easiest and most truthful answer I can give.



Why You Should Have a Doctor (Even if you don’t need one)

This past August I began a new career venture into the medical field.  I was already familiar with a call center environment given my nearly 3 years spent working in one for Bank of America.  I was not, however, prepared for the vast array of stories I would be told by patients or the realization of how flawed the healthcare system in this country truly is.

I will likely be posting more blogs related to my adventures within the healthcare world, but for now I will start by telling you one important thing I have come to realize – everyone needs a family doctor aka primary care physician (PCP).

It never ceases to amaze me when people call in and state they haven’t been a doctor in X amount of years, but now they need to be seen, and it needs to be that day.  Maybe back in the day that could happen, but now with an aging population, endless chronic conditions, and the short supply of doctors, their odds of winning a local lottery are probably better.  During the flu season (which is currently hitting hard) it’s even closer to impossible as people don’t seem to realize that if they’re not an established patient already then unfortunately they really aren’t as high of a priority.

Here are some of the key reasons everyone (including you!) should have a doctor:

1 – Sick Visits – This is the most obvious and as noted above, if you aren’t already being seen at a specific office, good luck getting an appointment in a timely fashion.  I know, I know, you’re healthy and haven’t been sick in 5 years and never get sick.  Well guess what, it happens, and you’re better off having a doctor already established than be scrambling to find one when you’re glued to the couch or hanging over the toilet.

2 – Follow Up Visits – You may think you don’t need a doctor because you can go to a walk-in clinic or the hospital as needed.  What you don’t realize is that many times if you do that, the doctor you see there will refer you back to your primary doctor for a follow up visit.  Sliced and diced your hand over the weekend and got stitches at the ER?  They’re not going to have you come back to remove them; that’s your PCP’s job.

3 – Referrals to Specialists – If you’re like me you may actually trust specialists more than a regular doctor.  They are specialized in a field after all right?  Unfortunately many insurances don’t offer the luxury of just seeing a urologist, cardiologist, etc. because you think it’s better to go to them.  Instead an insurance company may require a referral to these specialists and guess who needs to put through that referral?  Yep – your primary care doctor.

4 – Medication – You have all the symptoms of a sinus infection and don’t want to waste the time to make a visit to the doctor.  Think a doctor will call you in a prescription if he or she doesn’t know you?  Nope.  Now some doctors may still require you to have a visit, but if a doctor knows you and your medical history well enough (ex you get a sinus infection every year) then they’re going to be a lot more likely to send something to the pharmacy for you.

I could list more reasons I’m sure, but I think you’ve gotten the point by now.  You don’t even need to see a doctor more than once a year if you’re fortunate enough to have good health.  You just need to find a doctor, go in and establish care (we call them “wellness visits”) so that the doctor knows you and has your medical history/medications on file.  Then the next time you’re sick or in need of a doctor you won’t be frantically trying to get an appointment only to hear “Sorry the doctor doesn’t have anything available for the next 2 weeks.”

Happiness Isn’t Easy

Happy people fascinate me.  You know the kind I’m talking about – the ones who seem to always see the light at the end of the tunnel, who have glasses half full and are just upbeat and fun to be around.

I am not one of those people.  I’m coming to the realization that no matter how many books I read or counseling sessions I go through I am just not meant to be one of those people.  That’s not to say I don’t ever feel happiness.  I definitely do and I certainly get excited for certain things more than I probably should at times.  Often times though I will fake happiness to avoid telling people when something is bothering me.  I’ve gotten fairly good at it to the point that some people are surprised when they find out just how upset I’ve been inside over something.

I remember an incident where I was crying my eyes out to a friend over my cell phone when the house phone rang.  I promptly answered the phone, voice perfectly in tact and took care of the call.  When I resumed the call with my friend he was stunned.  “How did you do that?” he asked me.  “Do what?” I asked back.  “Just turn everything off like that.”  “I just do” was my response.

I am still trying to figure out how much of a good or bad thing my ability to shut off emotions so easily is.  On one hand it enables me to always go to work and put forth my best effort despite anything that may be bothering me.  On the other hand it can be quite lonely to harbor so many emotions that no one knows exist.

I think this ability was honed over the years as I grew to realize how very few people could truly tolerate my extreme sensitivity and overemotional state.  I lost friends because I “became too much” for them.  It just became easier to fake being fine than to risk people not understanding me.

I’ve tried to become an optimistic person.  Someone who doesn’t have to fake being happy when they’re not; someone who just tends to be happy all the time so that even when something bad in life does occur they weather the storm without too much effort.  A few months ago I read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Psychology of Happiness” and even put some of the practices into play such as writing in a gratitude notebook.  I’ve read many articles that argue happiness is a choice, but the more I struggle with it the more I really believe it is more in someone’s personality than anything else.  Sure, we can try to change out outlook on things, but I think some of us are just inclined to be one way or the other.

That’s not to say I’ve totally given up.  I believe we can all work at self-improvement and curb some flaws within us.  Just don’t expect me to become all sunshine and rainbows one day.

Goodbye Again Facebook, Hello Again Blog

My one and only New Year’s Resolution this year is to write more.  I know that’s very vague and it is said that goals should be specific such as “I will write 3 blogs per week” so that you can better track if you’re achieving your goal.  I don’t tend to do most things the way they should be done though.  With that said to me writing more is just that, to write more.  For me that can be anything from journal entries to blogs to short stories.

If you’re reading this I’m going to assume 1 of 2 things.  Either 1 – you don’t know me and you’ve stumbled upon my blog to which I say welcome and thanks for stopping by or 2 – you do know me and you saw my Facebook post stating if you want to keep tabs on me after my Facebook deactivation that you should bookmark my blog.  I deactivated my Facebook once before in the fall of 2013 for about a month or two, and not only did I not miss it, but I found that I was a lot more productive without it.  I also found myself actually reaching out to people to interact with them as opposed to relying on a newsfeed stream to help me keep in-the-know with their lives.  I’ve realized that the only way I will actively dedicate myself to writing more lately is to remove the distraction of Facebook at least temporarily.

So with that said I am back to my blog and hope to be writing more entries of a varied nature.  I invite you to leave comments, throw me some ideas to write about, anything you want really.  I don’t write for anyone specifically beyond myself, and I don’t stick to a theme.  I know those blogs that center around a main concept (kids, food, etc) tend to see more success, but I find the idea of that too limiting.  I like to write about whatever I want as I feel it sparks more creative thinking.  As I said I tend to not do anything the stereotypical way.

Here’s to a 2015 filled with more writing!