Monthly Archives: July 2014

“When the Student is Ready, the Teacher will Appear.”

 

Artifical Sweetener

Yesterday, my teacher appeared in the form of a packet of artificial sweetener.

While running some errands I got a hankering for an iced coffee.  Somewhat of a coffee snob, I especially enjoy a hot, dark roast coffee.  But in the heat of the summer sun, iced coffee was calling me.  For some reason, even though I don’t put sugar in my hot coffee, when it’s cold, I like it sweet.  So as I made my way to the coffee shop, daydreaming about my mid-day treat, I realized that I’d have to pass on the packet of Equal.  And I should probably skip the cream (I’ve been drinking it black the last few weeks), as well.  Nevermind that I haven’t yet convinced myself of the adverse effects of coffee in and of itself. My internal dialogue went something like this: “A packet of Equal can’t be all that bad.”  And, “Calorie-wise, it’s fine!”  And finally (my pathetic favorite), “You deserve it!”

I got cranky. By the time I reached the cashier, I was all twisted inside. And then, like a bolt of lightning, I realized that this is how it happens. This is how I get from drinking warm lemon water every morning, to nibbling munchkins in the faculty room.  These seemingly little choices reflect a mindset, and that mindset either leads me to better health or instant gratification.  I can eat anything I want, ANYTHING!

So which is it? What do I want to eat?!? What does my body need (and deserve!)?

When the server asked me what I’d like, I replied, “Small, black coffee, please.”  I sipped that coffee for the rest of the day, and  felt grateful for the choice I made. While I’m not so sure about the negative effect of a packet of artificial sweetener, I am very sure of the positive impact my choice for health had on the rest of my day.

And that is Why it Matters.

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Slow and Steady

No weight loss this week.
No gain either, which I suppose is good, but I’m disappointed. Since I’m not really “dieting,” I have been staying off the scale but once per week.  I am operating under the (misguided?) belief that if I consistently make choices to avoid sugar, flour, and processed foods coupled with regular exercise, that the weight will eventually come off. I have to be prepared to accept the slowness of it. Slow and steady is supposed to win the race, right?

This is soooo opposite the way I’ve spent my life dieting. Used to be, once I set my mind to it, all I had to do was eliminate carbs, pee on a keto-stick to make sure it turned a deep maroon color, and the weight melted off. I remember one of my favorite snacks was to roll salami around cream cheese!  Buffalo chicken wings, eggs & bacon and diet soda provided most of my malnutrition. I could go indefinitely without cheating.  The Atkins Diet was for me.  Problem was, that once I resumed ‘normal’ eating, it didn’t take long to gain the weight back and then some.

So looking ahead, I have 364 more days to lose sixty-one pounds. I can’t remember the last time I had a real, long-term goal to work towards. As I’ve mentioned before, I plan to be <150 lbs. when I turn fifty next year. Let’s do some numbers:
61 pounds /52 weeks =  1.17 pounds per week
61 pounds/12 months= 5.08 pounds to lose per month

Seems reasonable enough to me.

Holy moly, I would be so happy if I could really do it.

Slow and steady.

 

 

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Midlife Waltz

I used to be a dancer. A chubby dancer, but toe shoes and tap shoes still count, right? My mother started me dancing when I was two years old. I endured weekly lessons and yearly recitals until I was about thirteen. Not a team sports kinda girl, it’s a good thing I had these weekly opportunities to move my body. I developed strong legs, flexible joints, and (dare I say) a bit of grace. I believe this early training set me up in life to be more agile and coordinated. I liken it to regular deposits in my ‘physical’ bank account.

Approaching fifty, I guess you could say I’ve been auditing my state of affairs. Aside from the obvious (weight loss), I am coming to terms with my dwindling energy reserves and (lack of) physical prowess. It occurs to me that I’ve been surviving on my trust fund–the physical deposits made in my earlier years, with only occasional boosts to the account as I yo-yo’ed through the next three decades.

The cold, hard truth is that my account is drying up. I can’t believe how weak I’ve become! I hobble for a bit upon rising from a chair, my joints ache, and I have become less sure-footed. I can think of three falls I’ve taken in the last year! I’m an old lady at forty-nine. How could I have let this happen?!?

Recently, I was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease. This may account for some of my lethargy. I don’t yet know the severity, or what, if anything I can do about it. I have an appointment with an endocrinologist in a few weeks and will hopefully get some answers. But I’m worried about myself. I’m worried that I will succumb to inertia. I’m worried that I won’t be able to put myself back together again. I’m worried about my ability to reverse this track I’m on. I must remember how hard it is this time to pick myself up and dance again.

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Getting Back Up

I almost derailed my exercise.
We have a kiddie pool in the yard for my dogs. They love to drink and soak in at while playing catch. Over the weekend I got impatient and tried to lift the pool with the water inside to dump it. Big mistake. I didn’t realize I had strained my back at the time, but the next morning I was bent over, and hobbling around. I have been on the mend all week as a result.  But on Monday, I got on the treadmill, and managed to walk a bit. I stretched using the big ball. Yesterday, I felt much better and had a great workout. I’m pretty much back on track.

One of the things I’ve been coming to terms with is how physically weak I’ve become. I also injured myself last month at field day. I collided with a colleague and went down hard. Like a ton of bricks. Literally. I am still dealing with the residual effects of the injury–sprained ligament in my knee. At the time I was so upset because I wondered why the universe would conspire to roadblock my intentions to get on track and exercise. But what I realize now, is that maybe what the universe was showing me is how weak I am. And that it’s really time to do something about it.

On another note, I’ve just ingested 8 oz. of what is called Vitality Vinegar Tonic. Something that I’ll maybe do 3x a day, if I can manage it. It’s a mixture I made of water (one gallon) and organic raw apple cider vinegar (3/4 cup).  And I’m starting my day with a glass of warm water and lemon juice. Just writing it makes me want to pucker up. All of this to promote a more alkaline based diet. It is really good for the liver and promotes weight loss.

 

 

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Perception is Reality

When I need to be the parent of myself, my first piece of advice is usually, “Wait a day.” I have a tendency to get an idea in my head, get enthusiastic about it, and lose perspective. I suppose it’s a way of keeping my impulsivity at bay. For sure, it’s kept me from making some pretty poor choices.

I’m observing my newfound enthusiasm for improving my diet. I wonder how could I possibly ever eat processed foods again?  Diet soda? No more! Equal? Buh-bye. Cookies? Not in THIS house! I’m actually on the verge of researching where I can regularly buy raw milk! I get a burst of joy in my tummy (pun intended) at the thought of all this goodness for family and me!

Problem is, this isn’t my first rodeo.

Last summer, we sent our son to a fitness camp (where he lost 20+ pounds) and my husband and I decided it was time for us to get our eating habits in check. We participated in a weekly crop share at our local farm, bought a Nutribullet, and blasted our way to Whole Foods regularly.  My hub bought bikes for the boy and him to trek around together (a biker, I am not) and I even schlepped the Nutribullet with us camping!  And by Christmas?  Sorry to say, I was enthusiastically making marshmallow/buttery holly clusters and bringing in the New Year with egg nog.  Our “lifestyle change” seemed to have disappeared with the sun.  Fast forward to now, my son gained back all of the weight he lost at camp and then some and I managed to put on about ten more pounds. On a bright note, my dear husband just today reached the 40 pounds lost mark from last summer.  He seems to have managed to stay the course!

I guess for every day that I mange to eat healthy, it’s a good day.  There is no doubt in my mind that today, I choose life.

 

glasses

 

Painted these frames yesterday, while thinking about perspective.  We choose, whether we realize it or not, from which lens we view a given situation. Perception is reality. Through what lens are you viewing life today?

 

 

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Independence

A wise mentor recently observed that I am seeking freedom.  I trivialized it at first, thinking how very mid-life-crisis-ish of me to be yearning for freedom as I near the half-century mark.
But it’s true.  

Ever since, I’ve been thinking about my aspirations and desires, and rolling each of them forward. And each one liberates me in some way. I’d like to liberate myself of the contents of my house; I’d like to liberate myself from my financial obligations–live smaller and within my means; I’d like to liberate myself from my growing aches and pains; I’d like to liberate myself from my alarm clock; I’d like to liberate myself from my emotional dependence on others for happiness;  I’d like to liberate myself from my obesity.  

So my goal is to celebrate my very own Obesity Independence Day next year, on July 21, 2015:
<150 pounds by the time I turn 50.  I know I can do it.  I sure hope I do.

One of the things that’s keeping me motivated to eat whole, healthy food, is learning more about it. I mentioned earlier that I’m reading The Science of Skinny, by Dee McCaffrey. I’m about a third of the way through and I just finished reading about sugar and flour. It was fascinating to learn about how sugar and flour are refined. By the time we take a bag of sugar or flour off the shelf at the grocery store, the product we are buying (and consuming) has no resemblance, molecularly, to its original source. The nutrients have been stripped away, and along with it anything that is recognizable or useful to our bodies. Our bodies are simply not designed to deal with these foreign substances! Not only that, but ingesting them lights up and stimulates the same areas in the brain as drugs like cocaine and heroin. We’re all addicted.

And guess who knows this better than anyone? 

You guessed it, the food industry. Here is a link to a TEDx talk about how the food industry (like the tobacco industry before them) is brainwashing us and more alarmingly, our children.  As soon as my boy gets home, I plan on sitting him down to see this as well.  I’m hoping his teen brain might feel stirred to rebel against the corporate manipulation infiltrating his body.  He is after all an adolescent, and like his mom, seeking independence.

Happy 4th of July.  
I wish you well in your own pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

 

 

 

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All Calories are not Created Equal

Can you imagine consuming a thousand calories of chips in a day?  How about broccoli?

1,000 calories of chips • 1,000 calories of broccoli
Vastly different metabolic processes take place in your body as a result of which 1,000 calorie serving you consume.  And apparently, those differing metabolic processes have everything to do with obesity.

It’s all about sugar.  And whether we know it or not, we’re addicted to it.
This part isn’t really new news to me.  Being a chubby family, I rarely bring overtly sugar-ridden food into the house.  Cookies, soda, candy, Fruit Loops… oh no, we don’t do that.  Instead, cereal bars, Crystal Light, pretzels, diet soda, you know, healthier foods fill my cart.  What a joke.  Well folks, the sugar haze I’ve been in is starting to clear, and I am beginning to see the light.  Sugar (in all of its refined forms) is poison to me.  Over the years, I’ve done best on low carb diets. Whenever I did Atkins, the fat melted off of me.  It’s as if I’m allergic to carbs.

It occurs to me that each time I diet it’s like an addict going to rehab.  I learn the truth about the foods I eat, figure out a plan, and follow it–follow it until I don’t, and I return to my old eating ways. I’d really like it if I could find my way to a healthier life.  I think it’s time to kick sugar out of the house once and for all.

If you want to read more about this, I have only just begun to explore Dr. Hyman’s site.  Check it out here.  And have you seen the new documentary, Fed Up?  I’d love to know what you think. It looks really interesting.  I can’t seem to find a theater close to me, or anywhere online to see it.  I suppose I’ll have to wait until it’s released on dvd.

Finally, even though I registered zero pounds lost yesterday, my boy lost 5lbs!
Exercise and whole foods.  That’s it.

Be well.

 

 

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