Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joshilyn Jackson: On Betterness

For those not in the know, I am currently moonlighting as AN INTERNATIONAL SPOKEMODEL for The American Heart Association. Okay, the AHA might be calling me a “blogger” on their web page, but this is clearly a euphemism.

This summer, I’ve made a very earnest, serious attempt to use their program to become g.r.a.d.u.a.l.l.y BETTER, whole body healthier, inside and out. It works in tiny steps and increments, because after all, the program is called Better U, not IMMEDIATELY FLAWLESS U. In the past, my “self-improvement regimens” have focused on Instant Poppinsing---jumping on any speedy bandwagon that promised to deliver me to Practically Perfect in Every Way Land in 7 days or less.

Herbal Cleansing? I’ll take two, please.
Cabbage Soup Diet? Why not? After all, who doesn’t love being starving AND gassy!
Replace carbs with bacon? Sure, THAT SOUNDS HEALTHY!
Eat heaping spoonfuls of DIATOMACEOUS EARTH? ....It seemed like a good idea at the time?

Shockingly, none of it works. INSTANT PERFECTION PLANS are followed by swift failure, which causes the kind of despair that can only be assuaged with massive infusions of Cheetos paired with a decent Shiraz-Cab. (I know, I know, some people say it takes a BORDEAUX to really bring out the orange powder tang of Cheetos, but those people have clearly been smoking Diatomaceous Earth. TRUST ME, if you are going to HAVE the Cheetos, and some days require them, Better U or no, it is best to pair them with something like this Penfolds.

The AHA flew us to Dallas before we began and did blood work and put us on a fitness machine for a heart stress test. Here, eight weeks in, I am beginning to look forward to going back for the AFTER check up, you know? I am willing to bet my borderline high BAD cholesterol has dropped. While I’ve LONG been an exercise freak (love the endorphins), I have managed to stay consistently two to ten pounds over the healthy weight range for height ANYWAY via a fierce dedication to the Beautiful Sin of Gluttony and my poisonously bad genes. Even with the extra pounds, my fitness level tested as HIGH for my age range. Heck, I was in the HIGH FITNESS group for adults 20 - 29. I stayed on the machine for 15 minutes...but I bet I can do better now. I am eager to TRY anyway. 17 minutes or BUST, baybeeee.

I want to go back to Dallas and collect concrete, independently verified, encouraging, numerical, documented proof that all these little, easy, step by step changes I have been making, week after week, are having a “whole body” impact. Happily for my motivation, some of the results I can see. Like, I can wear clothes I haven’t been able to wear for two years, and my jeans are too baggy to wear in public. It’s been so gradual I didn’t realize until I looked at pics of myself from 8 weeks ago. Here is a picture of me and the other 3 Better U “Bloggers” read: International Spokes Models taken just before we started the program:

Here I am below from about the same angle, a dress size smaller and now WITHIN the healthy weight range for my height. Scott snapped this shot a couple of hours ago, as I was heading out the front door for church. (Please note the scenic DEAD AZALEA BUSH behind me – apparently you have to FEED those things...):

At any rate, I wanted to take this GUEST BLOG opportunity to encourage folks who are thinking about trying---be it for the first time or the millionth, like me---to get healthier, go for it. Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women over 20 in this country, and 80% of it is TOTALLY preventable via diet, exercise, and regular check-ups. It is worth it. Your kids are worth it, and your grandkids are worth it, and you are worth it even if your kids and grandkids are still hypothetical.

If I can do this---me, the girl who has written LOVE POETRY to double chocolate mocha chip martinis and who grew up in the south where EVERY vegetable recipe in the lexicon starts with the words “Get you a big ol’ scoop of bacon grease from thet there coffee can on the stove...” ---then anyone can.


Even you.

New York Times bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson lives in Powder Springs, Georgia with her husband, two kids, a hound dog, a scurrilous kitten, and a twenty-two pound Main Coon cat named Franz Schubert. Both her SIBA award winning first novel, gods in Alabama, and her second novel, Between, Georgia, were chosen as the #1 BookSense picks for the month of their release. Her third novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, which People Magazine calls “a treat” and Entertainment Weekly gave an A-, is fresh out in paperback.


aka_Nik said...

You look great!!!

cheryl said...

You look marvelous!

Anonymous said...

Hi Joshilyn,
You are looking totlly foxy, you sweet girl!!
Jackie Lee Miles

Anonymous said...

Make that "totally" foxy.

Gail (but you can call me G) said...

You DO look slimmer, and apparently you got a boob job, OR a better bra, because generally weight loss makes those girls shrink! LOL. Anyway, Oprah always says the right bra that brings them up where they belong takes pounds off your look!

You have inspired me, as well. I went to the gym THREE times last week, and I only whined to myself about it the first day. The other two I actually looked forward to it. And I'm still eating badly sometimes, but when I do I feel icky about it after, which I'm hoping eventually turns into "I won't choose that item because I will feel icky after I eat it."

You are a fab international spokesmodel, by the way!

Anonymous said...

YAY YOU!!!!!!!

You look DYNAMITE, and we can't even see most of the changes!! (Like lower cholesterol, a happier heart...)


Roxanne said...

Lordy, girl!!! Had to come over here from FTK to see the before and afters. . .you totally cracked me up with this, "IN FACT, I am deploying Beatrice to beat the crap out of everyone in Greenland until they agree to go to the Real Time system." and you are totally inspiring me with your Better U-ness. Maybe your secretary SHOULD be named Eunice?

Anyway. . .GO U!!!

Sandra Leigh said...

Fabulous, dahling.

'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! said...

Lookin' hawt! i'm working a similar program. 12 pounds in 2 months so far. Only 20 to get to my "healthy BMI" and 30 or so to get to my target weight. I figure by Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on Self Improvement. It should be very much helpfull.

Karim - Positive thinking

janam said...

Swimming is usually a hobby for everyone.
Data Recovery

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