Monthly Archives: April 2017

Eating Right

I entered a 14 day challenge where I work out, to adopt 10 healthy habits for 14 days.  This includes drinking water (LOTS of water), no alcohol, no soda, enough sleep, eating 6 servings of veggies a day, exercising, stretching, keeping a gratitude journal, and NO sugar.

Somewhat surprisingly, the toughest item for me has been ‘no sugar’ .  I already exercise and journal regularly;  I’ve gotten used to the water (and peeing all the dang time); and so far, have eliminated soda and alcohol from my diet, while adding more veggies.  I am regularly scoring 8 or 9 out of the 10 point scale.

However, my sweet tooth is a well-deserved legend in our household. There have been a couple days I’ve especially gone overboard with the twisted logic of “You’ve already blown it for today, so go ahead and splurge!”   A more healthy response would be:  That was a yummy muffin; instead of:  “Dang, I blew it already today, so I might as well go ahead and have the jumbo bag of M&Ms too”.

I have concluded that for me the threshold of zero added sugar is counter-productive and unrealistic, and I am done beating myself up over it.

Looking through another lens: as an eating disorder advocate, I am  skeptical of dietary restrictions; even when given with the best of intentions.  The very act of restricting can be triggering for anyone with a history or tendancy towards excessive restricting or binge eating.   My own response is on the ‘binge’ side of the spectrum.

Studies show that dieting for weight loss is unsustainable and unhealthy; leading to yo-yo results and counter-productive metabolic changes.  The truth is, what is a healthy weight for one person, is not necessarily healthy (or sustainable) for the next person.

There have been a several occasions where I’ve encountered so-called experts giving advice on how to reduce calories; with the assumption that ‘everyone’ is interested in losing weight. I try to diplomatically challenge their views — with mixed results.  Many people are completely entrenched in the believe system that ‘everyone’ should be skinny and that skinny = good health.

I recall a conversation with a young woman who was hospitalized several times for being severely underweight.  Even when she was close to dying, she continued to received a barrage of compliments on her figure and attention from men.

It is a very disturbing reflection on our society that a woman who is severely underweight and near death is considered the epitomy of attractiveness.

As an eating disorder advocate, I have heard versions of this story many times.  The pervasive attitude that skinny = healthy is also a barrier to recovery, as sufferers are reluctant to lose that identity.

The notion that we should all be skinny is not realistic or desirable. We should not all aspire to be size twos.  I will never look like Gwyneth Paltrow, no matter how many 14 Day challenges I do.  My short, curvy body is strong and healthy and is just right for ME.  We should focus on our own health and wellness, without comparison to or judgement of others.

It can be good to challenge ourselves to improve our habits; with a goal of being a better version of ourselves.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to walk the dog and then have a yummy spinach salad:  right after I take a pee.

 

An unusual morning

As usual, the alarm clock woke me up this morning before I was really ready to wake up.

As usual, I stumbled into some shoes and took the dog out for a walk:  it was darker than usual, which I  attributed to the cloudy weather.

As usual, I donned my work-out clothes and loaded my work clothes, laptop and other items that I would need today into the car.

As usual, I headed to the Transformation Center, where I work out three mornings a week before work.  The traffic seemed lighter than usual. Lucky me!

As usual, the parking lot was fairly full and music pumped loudly out the open window of the early morning Bootcamp class.

As usual, I grabbed my stuff and headed up the stairs, into the locker room to stash my items and change my shoes.

As usual, I filled up my water bottle and headed back to the room where my 6:45 Fit Over Fifty class is held.  At the doorway I stopped short, as there was another class underway with an instructor I did not recognize with a group of sweaty participants that I also did not recognize.

The truth came on me in a flash:  It was 5:45 … not 6:45 in the morning. After a few moments of chastising myself and retroactively fitting in the puzzle pieces from other clues in the morning, I concluded that there had been a serious user error when I set my alarm clock the evening before (an error I have since confirmed), resulting in setting the clock ahead by an hour.   In the IT Biz we have an acronym for this type of event:  PICNIC (Problem in Chair not in Computer/Clock).

I spent my bonus hour sitting in Starbucks sipping a plain coffee, writing this blog, choosing to savor my own personal doubling-down on daylight savings time… if only for a day.

We will see whether I am still smiling over my error when I play tennis at 7:15 pm tonight…  perhaps I will need another infusion of coffee at 5:45 pm as well.

Small Things Matter

Today, I am particularly nostalgic for the Obama’s grace and class.  Barack and Michelle always treated each other with respect and love.  In contrast, The D rarely misses an opportunity to display his  boorishness and lack of common decency.

The D consistently ignores Melania and leaves her to her own devices when going from Point A to Point B, as recently depicted in their exit from AirForce One, which is in sharp contrast to the more congenial descents of other first couples.

Monday, the D flung some poor kid’s hat into the crowd after signing it at the hastily organized White House Easter egg roll–He essentially stole some kids hat to fling into the crowd.  He also failed to put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem, until Melanie gave him a poke.

The D recently took to Twitter to defend former Fox-News pundit, Bill O’Reilly –days before O’Reilly was fired due to a egregious pattern of sexual harassment towards female colleagues.  O’Reilly and The D personify the despicable old-boy mindset that any women is fair game to be ogled and groped; or insulted if they are deemed too unattractive to ‘deserve’ their revolting advances.

To me, his outright refusal to shake hands with Angela Merkel remains as a low point in a very deep well of boorish behavior.  Although–perhaps being ignored when offering a handshake is preferred over enduring the bizarre hurky-jerky, wood -sawing motion of the D’s handshake.

In addition to his astonishing misogeny, the list of character flaws is long. The D is absurdly vain and self-centered; frequently going off-script to congratulate himself and/or nonsensically describe how awesome he is;  with  forehead-smacking results.

During an appearance with the Italian prime Minister, the D referred to the great opera tenor, Pavarotti, as his great friend:  despite the fact that Pavarotti has been dead for 10 years:  Perhaps they used to party with Fredrick Douglass, another great (and deceased) friend of The D’s.

The D is too thin-skinned to attend the up-coming White House Correspondence Dinner.  (On a side note:  Women were not allowed to attend the dinner until 1962, when a persistent (and probably nasty) woman by the name of Helen Thomas raised a ruckus about it.)

Individually, some of these events are merely fodder for a national eye-roll.  As a whole, a picture emerges of a leader who lacks basic emotional intelligence and is unable to feel empathy or respect for others.

I have a personal litmus test I use when gauging how responsible or trustworthy someone is.  My conclusion for The D is:  No, I would not trust him to feed my cat.

 

 

Orange is the new Crack

 

Addiction can come in many forms. I am addicted to Sudoku– it started as a harmless hobby, but has become an addiction that interferes with important life activities, such as blogging and sleeping.  So far, the only people harmed are myself, my husband and my doggie—who looks at me beseechingly, wanting to play, while I embark on ‘just one more game’ on my I-Pad.

The D’s regime administration feeds upon the addict-like zealous support among his passionate faithful. (For new readers, I refer to #45 as ‘the D’, since I got tired of typing “he who shall not be named”).    Like addicts everywhere, his true believers are adept at rationalizing bizarre, cruel, unlawful and unprecedented presidential behavior; without regard for consequences or impacts to others—anything to feed the insatiable power-lust of their leader.

His supporters regularly rally against their own best interests in support of policies that will strip away health care, transfer even more wealth to the 1%, destroy our environment, erode human rights, and ensure the proliferation of ignorance by compromising the education of our children.  Like addicts (and following their leader’s example) they will find others to blame—specifically Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Addicts can only be cured once they admit they have a problem; which is unlikely to happen with the dial set to Fox News 24/7.

Yet—who am I to judge?   My own ‘dial’ is set permanently to the Huffington Post and similar news feeds.  Am I equally blind to rational points of view that differ from my own knee-jerk reaction to oppose all things Trump?   Am I capable of objectivity, or am I so completely outraged that I will be unable to recognize it if and when The D does something decent?

This is a marathon.  It is important to take breaks periodically to regroup, re-center, and assure that we maintain the will, the energy and the humanity to continue without burning out; without losing sight of what we are fighting FOR, and without becoming the flip side of the orange demagogue that we rail against.

Orange is the new crack – Don’t lose yourself in the fight.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Life

Last night we celebrated my dad’s 90th birthday.  The extended family of 24 souls ranged from 18 months ‘old’ to 90 years ‘young’.

It was an inter-generational gathering of people with a great deal of shared history.  The grand-children (Most are now in their 20s and 30s) shared memories of childhood fishing trips up north with Grandma and grandpa–simple times ‘away from it all’ that they clearly still treasure.  My son, Ben, shared that grandpa knew the secret to beating him at chess… all he had to do was turn on the TV to distract his grandson.

My siblings and I shared memories of dad teaching us many things: to drive, hunt, play checkers, deal with adversity and more. Incidents from our youth and adolescence were  told from multiple perspectives.   MY memories as a then 10 year-old the morning ‘after’ one of big brother Doug’s escapades was something like this:

  • Why does Doug have a big bandage on his head?
  • Where is the Maverick (its was a car – in our case, a very bright yellow car)?
  • Why is dad so mad?

Doug’s memories of that incident were reminiscent of a time when the local police force was more tolerant of underage drinking.

The young and energetic great-grands were wound up with excitement and sugar, careening around the private party room with abandon–contributing greatly to the general merriment. At one point, we were grateful to have a couple nurses in our midst… let’s just say that blood is thicker than water.

We all felt mom’s presence as we looked at old photos and reminisced over our childhoods; prompted by many pre-digital, dog-eared photos, many of which look absolutely ancient to the grandkids–primarily due to the styles of the day (some of us REALLY got into the big hair and glasses of the 70s and 80s)!

We hope dad has many years with us– after a rough couple years, he is doing well physically, and remains mentally sharp.  Last night was a reminder to all of us of how lucky all are to have him, and each other, in our lives.