Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Give Me Some Greatness

It always remains true that if we had been greater, circumstances would have been less strong against us.--George Eliot, Middlemarch.

So the marshmints are gone (sniff!), the stollen is past its highest allure, the eggnog has been drunk and I am ready to segue self and family gently back towards the Right Path.

Then someone-who-shall-remain-nameless* dumps a deluge of candy and junk on the house.

Ack! Why do people do this? Why why?? Expensive Harry and David junk**, that you don't feel okay about just pitching. DH is off work so he can't take it in there. I will ask DH to make it disappear*** but a part of me will be wondering about those malted milk snowballs and that fabulous peppermint bark.

I know most of us don't have perfect circumstances. Our spouses buy yummy junky stuff, we work long days with little chance to exercise-- the bottom line is you have to dig in, get your priorities clear, do it for yourself.

I just need to find where I put my big-girl panties. Anybody seen 'em?

* my MIL
** Don't I sound ungrateful?
*** He threw it out *sob*

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ha

From Yahoo news this morning--- this has kind of been rumbling around the health news; this is another marker in that direction. We switched to whole milk last summer. What are you drinking?


Whole-Fat Dairy Products May Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk

The fatty acid is called trans-palmitoleic acid, according to the study in the Dec. 21 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, and people with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid reduce their odds of diabetes by 62 percent compared to those with the lowest blood levels of it.

In addition, "people who had higher levels of this fatty acid had better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, lower insulin resistance and lower levels of inflammatory markers," said study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, co-director of the program in cardiovascular epidemiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health.

Circulating palmitoleic acid is found naturally in the human body. It's also found in small quantities in dairy foods. When it's found in sources outside the human body, it's referred to as trans-palmitoleic acid. Whole milk has more trans-palmitoleic acid than 2 percent milk, and 2 percent milk has more of this fatty acid than does skim milk.

"The amount of trans-palmitoleic acid is proportional to the amount of dairy fat," said Mozaffarian.

Animal studies of the naturally occurring palmitoleic acid have previously shown that it can protect against insulin resistance and diabetes, said Mozaffarian. In humans, research has suggested that greater dairy consumption is associated with a lower diabetes risk. However, the reason for this association hasn't been clear.

To assess whether this overlooked and relatively rare fatty acid might contribute to dairy's apparent protective effect, the researchers reviewed data from over 3,700 adults enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study.

All of the participants were over 65 and lived in one of four states: California, Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Blood samples were analyzed for the presence of trans-palmitoleic acid, as well as cholesterol, triglycerides, C-reactive protein and glucose levels. Participants also provided information on their usual diets.

People with higher levels of trans-palmitoleic acid had slightly less fat on their bodies, according to the study. They also had higher "good" cholesterol levels and lower overall cholesterol levels. They had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. And they showed evidence of lower levels of insulin resistance, according to the study.

Most significantly, however, those with higher trans-palmitoleic acid levels had lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes. Those with the highest levels of trans-palmitoleic acid reduced their odds of type 2 diabetes by nearly two-thirds.

Mozaffarian said it's difficult to know exactly how many servings of dairy it would take to get to the highest levels of trans-palmitoleic acid, but said it was likely three to five servings a day, depending on the type of dairy consumed.

However, he said, it's too soon to make any dietary recommendations based on the results of just this finding.

"This study confirms that something about dairy is linked very strongly to a lower risk of diabetes, but no single study should be enough to change guidelines," he said, adding that he hopes this study will spur more research.

Dr. Sue Kirkman, senior vice president of medical affairs and community information for the American Diabetes Association, agreed that it's too soon to change dietary guidelines, but said the findings do suggest "that things may be more complicated than we might simplistically think. It looks like we can't say all trans-fats are bad, as this one was associated with decreases in diabetes, insulin resistance and C-reactive protein levels."

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, concurred, noting, "this was a very nice, and very robust, association. Maybe whole milk isn't so bad, but I don't think there's enough evidence to show that we should start drinking whole milk. We need to understand the mechanism behind this association. Dietary changes in this country tend to be to extremes, but this study should not be used to make changes in the diet; it's just an observation right now."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blogging in My Head

Counts, right? I compose short posts when I'm bounding around in Zumba or struggling with Christmas cookies. I just failed to put on my foil hat so you can all join in.

You know when you get really, really busy, you can't stop for even a few hours without feeling restless and guilty? When you have to sit down, breathe, and say, Yes it's okay, you can sit down, the world will spin without you for a few hours? Like that.

I have a new, scary, interesting part-time job (for the first time ever I was addressed as Professor Larkspur and it took several seconds to realize they meant me.) In addition to my old part-time job, daughter in the Nutcracker, another one in the musical, son started commuter college and doesn't drive yet and oh lord, I'm boring myself. Busy. I suspect many of you productive grown-up-style people live in that place but I am definitely in the reluctant visitor class.

Which means that my fitness stuff has gotten pushed aside some-- I'm still eating mostly okay, and working out a couple of times a week, but my beta cells aren't buying it. There are days I "feel" diabetic-- post-prandial fatigue, carb cravings. Still in the same clothes but they're unpleasantly snug. The action plan hasn't changed. I just have to adhere to it better.

It was great fun bouncing around blogland and getting inspired. My old friends continue to do well and there will be motivating new ones. Cheers, everyone!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Short Post

I am using the iPad which a marvelous object but Not for blogging. Checking in with the basics: I'm still here with no more than a couple extra pounds of me, having the revelation (I keep having this revelation, does it still count?) that I need to work out to maintain my mood, focus, lower blood sugars, and more or less unexceptional body size, and I need to blog to maintain my community of health-minded companions. Today: jazzed pilates, which was sort of a Firm workout to Abba. It was great. How are the rest of you keeping up with the (for many of us) changed and crazed schedules of fall? Signing off before I stamp on my husband's iPad.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who Dunnit?

I just read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taub and am working my way through The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I'll post my review in a bit. In the meantime, I've been pondering the great mystery, why did Americans start getting much fatter starting around 1980? What happened? I'm looking for suspects that become significant around thirty years ago, when the curve really took off.



Here are some of the suspects, in no order:

1. Automation/lack of physical activity
2. Climate control
3. Late nights/poor sleep
4. High fructose corn syrup
5. Steep rise in soda consumption
6. Diet soda/artificial sweeteners
7. "Fat free" mania
8. Social norming
9. More two income families=> no time to cook or engage in active play
10. Shorter lunch times-- 20 minutes to eat?
11. Climate control
12. Decline of family meals/eating on the run
13. Corn in everything
14. Rise of Omega 6 vs Omega 3 fat
15. Estrogen-like chemicals leaching from plastic
16. As mothers get fatter, our kids get preprepared for fatness in the womb
17. Rise of Internet, Xbox, DVDs and DVRs
18. Indoor versus outdoor play sets the stage for more fat cells in childhood, which means fatter adults
19. Explosion of easily available, cheap, heavily advertised, hyperpalatable foods
20. Fewer people in the middle class
21. It was my fault. I hit puberty in 1978 :)

Did I miss any? Who do you think the major culprits are? Tomorrow we'll board the luxury railroad car, I'll take up my Miss Marple-style tatting, and tell you who I think is responsible for fattening the body in the library.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Roadblocks

Do you find funny little roadblocks on the way to your goals?

I wanted to make pillow shams. I had cut the fronts too small and found I had to go buy more fabric anyway. I kept flipping my new fabric this way and that, trying to find a way to make the old, too-small pieces fit and how to make the things go together generally (I don't use patterns for this kind of sewing). It was like I didn't want to burn the calories mentally to get it right. I finally realized I had to go back and cut new pieces the correct size. After that, assembling the shams was easy and they went together in an hour or two.

I like to drink iced tea. I have a snazzy electric teapot but I don't like the put the hot water in a plastic pitcher (one of my minor phobias, Plastic Leaching. Plenty of real estrogen here, no need to supplement with the chemical kind.) So I kept shuttling mentally back and forth and then I'd go get myself a glass of water or (no!) a Diet Pepsi. Today I made myself stop and think. I used to do this all the time. What did I use? I had a metal pitcher. Aha! I found the metal pitcher, and I was able to make tea without it being an arcane process involving three containers.

These are minor silly problems and possibly just a byproduct of a lazy brain, but I realized that sometimes you have to put the effort forth to get the basic pieces in place. Then it all goes smoothly. Can anybody think of an extension to eating well and keeping fit? I can think of a few!

Reading Leah’s blog today reminds me that while I am happy to be maintaining, there is more work to be done. I'm letting unseen roadblocks keep me from where I need to go. So I'll be doing some thinking about what some of those barriers are, and report back.

Today's MIP (thanks, Cammy!)

1. Laundry (which is like eight loads of MIP, but o well)
2. 5-factor workout
3. Make Sunday dinner for all

Friday, August 13, 2010

And a Short One

With a bow to the lovely Diane who posted a few days back about making very short, modest goal lists-- 3 things on a card. It's amazingly difficult in my kind of life not to get blown miles off course by the needs or wishes of others. I'm smack in the middle of three generations and while in many ways I like my spot and feel lucky to be here, it can also be (as many have written before me) a case where your own seemingly trivial needs get placed forty rungs down the ladder while you take care of 39 Won't Take Longs for your deserving loved ones. And then you end up pissed off because you haven't done anything you hoped.

(And little stressors can mount up amazingly. We are fostering a very sweet cat for friends and either it misses its people or something else is not right in its cat world, because at regular intervals from evening till morning it wakes us all up meowing loudly in the hallways for something-- we can't figure out what. AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!)

So here's my list.

1. Go to Zumba.
2. Make at least one of my shams-- yes, it's trivial, but it's been on my list for weeks and I haven't been able to make the time to do it and I want the satisfaction of a project complete, damn it.
3. Make up with my husband (tails pinched ==> meaningless fights).

Wish me luck! What are your 3 things?

Edited to add:

1. The shams.


2. The shoes I wore to Zumba, plus I wanted to show you a bit of my new Dash & Albert birthday rug. Zumba should be compulsory for me. It does a lot of good things but the most important, I've decided, are the anxiolytic and antidepressant effects without having to mess with actual psych medication.


3. No photographic proof that I made up with husband, you'll just have to take my word for it :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eep

It's been a month since my last post. Computer problems plus 8 well-loved family in the house (both grandfathers here, one for the summer, one for 2 weeks, brother for the weekend) and trying to do right by 3 kids over a busy summer = no damn time. I am sure you can all relate. I notice the blogging moms with kids at home get a little more reticent over the summer.

My bullet-style update:

1. Weight is stable (yay!)
2. Lots of informal exercise (powerwashing, Hershey Park) but not much formal (sniff, no Zumba)
3. It is interesting that my body seems so far to be happy to stay at this weight, and even when things get crazy I don't have that much trouble staying stable. So that's one vote for "settling point" versus "setpoint," bearing in mind that point whether set or settled is not that low.
4. May have lost some muscle. Afraid to use my Omron till I do a bit at the gym.
5. Still fighting the good fight and hope you are doing the same!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Do It

Applies to so many things, doesn't? Including that blog post to keep you on the straight and more or less narrow path.

I just got back from my family reunion, which I loved, and which is also giving me a great subject for my post: MY DEAR AUNT.



This is my Aunt. I am shamelessly posting a picture of her because I think she's so pretty. She is a former ballet dancer who ran an aerobics studio back in the 70's when aerobic dance was still a pioneer concept. She gave up running because of a no-cartilage knee, but she is still using the elliptical daily and lifting weights three times a week. She prefers a high-rep, lower weight routine which is what I like myself (3 sets of 20 reps). She emphasizes the importance of "real" pushups for women and showed me how to practice from a plank position. She can do them fine. I can't.

She's seventy three years old, people.

My aunt was a beauty for most of her life but she's not in it for cosmetic reasons any more. She works out to maintain function. She moves like a young woman. She can supervise ten grandkids for a day and follow up by making dinner for 16 because she's taken good care of her body. When she is caring for a grandchild, she is not only able to give her full mindfulness (and her cognition shows no signs of aging); she can play on the floor or move the kid from place to place or whatever is required.

I want to be her when I grow up.

That means I have to get back on the road. Too much sugar this weekend (what is it with family reunions that makes you crave chocolate?) I am struggling to get away from the stuff again. I hope to be able to report in tomorrow that I am back to eating well and training with weights. Can't wait to catch up with everybody!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Confessional

I will confess in bullet points. Makes it seem more coherent somehow.

* June was a parade of houseguests, intense inlaw discussions, 19,000 hours of ballet rehearsal and performance, end of school stuff, graduation, anxiety about getting 3 kids productively employed for the summer, and fostering a cat which is AWOL somewhere in the house at the moment.

*I hurt myself doing dumbbell rows, but I'm better now.

*My tummy hurts and my ever-lurking health anxiety is at Defcon 3.

*My MIL is failing physically, is anxious and (justifiably) needy and does not wish to be either. She needs more from my husband and me than we're used to, and she has less internal strength to cope. My 79 year old FIL is planning to move to the area this August and my husband will need to divide himself into smaller pieces than he does now.

*I haven't been able to make any time for Finishing My Book, which was supposed to be this summer's project.

*I feel inefficient and divided and mad at myself for becoming so.

*My tummy hurts, did I say that?

*I have been getting some workouts in, eating pretty well, and keeping my weight just this side of red line which is 2 pounds higher than what it says on my sidebar.

I feel like I shouldn't be this stressed because, knock wood please God, nothing is really wrong. But I feel anxious and guilty much of the time which is not how I want to live my life.

Advice, please? Anybody?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tennis is Fun

We all played in the last half hour before dark. My 8 year old is a terrible server who is bitterly determined to get better-- that's how she learned to roller skate and master a tour jete. She's cranky and absolutely set on getting it.

My older daughter has long arms and legs that still need to master the mechanics.

My son is like a spider who can stay in one spot and amazingly return the ball without moving anything but his grain elevator arms. Serve needs work.

My husband has some innate sports sense but he can't see so he springs into action at the last possible moment, or a millisecond after.

I'm absolutely terrible and I get mad at whoever served the ball I wasn't able to return.

We had a wonderful time.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

On Balance

Gina over at Fit by 42 has a good Challenge going on. Nothing like a juicy challenge to start summer.

So I was thinking, and this is what I gave up over the last year (except for Cheat Days, of course):

basing meals around easy, tasty floury stuff
ordering the fabulous-looking cheesy fried dish
eating out wherever without having to decide whether the menu will be too difficult
shopping once or twice a week instead of three or four times (fresh produce doesn't keep that well)
dessert every night
eating candy while I read
pancakes for breakfast
cheese quesadillas for lunch
nachos for dinner
water ice or ice cream just because it's hot
curling up with a book versus suiting up to work out

This is the rest of what I gave up:

shopping at Lane Bryant
frequent indigestion
feeling tired and foggy
not being able to run after a frisbee
fear of blood pressure cuffs and cameras (I am still twitchy around scales)
sizes 18, 16, 1X and XL
candy wrappers in my car
constantly feeling like I need to eat
worrying about my health a lot
feeling bigger than average

This year, my fasting glucose was 84, not a 104 like last year's. When I went shopping for my son's graduation in the middle of a whirlwind of activity, I didn't have to think, "Oh crap, why didn't I lose twenty pounds?"

If I'd had to stick to 1400 calories or give up licorice forever, I might have said, "Hell with that!" But I eat plenty (probably 2,000 calories on a non-cheat day) and I work out moderately (5 hours or so a week) and the modest sacrifices I've made would have been worth it just to get one or two things on my second list.

OK, it doesn't always feel modest when you really really really want that pastry at Wegman's and it's not time for it. It feels major. But that feeling passes. It always passes. Fifteen minutes later, I'm through it and it's gone (provided I was not so unwise as to bring the pastry home with me.)

I still have oodles of room to clean things up and do better, but I wanted to take a minute to reflect on what it took to get me this far. And, the great majority of the time, it wasn't all that bad.

What are you willing to sacrifice? What feels like too much? I'd love to hear how other people find their balance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mission Statement

I'm coming out the other side of the whirlwind of my son's graduation, with its houseguests and partying and dinners out. He is graduated, thank you Lord, and we can all breathe now. The last of my well-loved guests left this morning. All the unwise eats are out of the house apart from half a French Silk Pie which I will be dealing with one way or another shortly. We had gorgeous weather. Today, appropriately, it's raining as we all come back down to earth and take stock. The best thing I can say about myself was that I got in a good weight workout and one C25K (still limping through week 2, but hey, it's a workout). The next best thing I can say is that miraculously, I didn't gain any weight-- I suspect it's coming though. Have you ever had that? Dodged the metaphorical check and then 2 days later the bill comes to your house. I'll keep you posted.

My family reunion is in one month, and I have lots of photos from graduation to prove to me that, while I don't look like I need a dolly to get around, I am definitely still too fat. One month would be a perfect span to lose the 4 pounds I would need to get back to my 18 year low. 5 pounds would be a new low.

So I made a list of what I plan to eat most days. Concrete planning is very helpful for my pulled in all directions, ADD self.

water X 6 glasses
berries 1-2 cups
leafy greens 1-2 cups
tomato
broccoli or cauliflower, 1 c
whey protein
1/2 c beans
1-2 T nuts or PB
apple or pear
2 dates or prunes
greek or whole yogurt 1/2 c
chicken or similar 4-5 oz
chocolate and or cocoa
olive oil
cherries

Wonder how many calories that represents? Guess I better look it up!

I'll be eating other stuff too but I want to make these my staples and keep them on hand. I'm putting a 1/2 of soy mix in my purse for I'm-hungry moments or when I'm getting a starving ballet dancer something at McDonald's and I'm tempted. I plan to keep up with my 5-factor workouts plus a few sessions of calorie chewing stuff like Zumba, trail hiking, C25K or Kettlenetics (you can laugh at the name if you want, I don't mind.)

It was nice to shop in regular sizes for my mom-of-the-graduate wear, so yay for that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

:(

Oooh, I'm in one of those spaces. My primary job is as a stay at home mom and there are days I don't think I'm doing such a hot job. I think about instituting a regime of flash cards, room checks, and compulsory reading, but I was thinking back to my recent reread of French Women Don't Get Fat, and the central theme of the book seems very pertinent. Apply some discipline in the right places, but enjoy yourself as you go. Meals shouldn't go down like medicine, nor do you need sugar and bread all the time. I've been doing well with drinking water or tea versus diet soda, which made a swift difference in my sense of sweet. I've been remembering to sit down to eat rather than nibbling stray bits. I exercise for my health and because I like how it makes me look and feel-- not every minute's fun, but a lot of it is things I enjoy.

So I need to apply that useful philosophy-- enjoyment in a framework of discipline-- to the process of parenting. I have good and dear kids and they deserve the best I am able to give them. My husband provides awesome backup and I truly have no excuse. I'm setting myself a "Don't Be a Disgraceful Lazy Ass" Challenge for parenting. Now all I need is a logo.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Eat Like a Grown Up

That's my secret subtitle for this blog. It's all I want, really. How a grown-up eats is still an evolving idea for me, but there are a few basics.

Grownups eat meals. At the table. With fruits and vegetables.

Grownups drink tea or water, not soda.

Grownups don't need dessert every day. Definitely not twice a day.

Grownups watch the starchy stuff.

Grownups don't snack on junk.

Am I a grownup? Getting there, I guess. I'm poignantly aware of how important it is to provide a healthy food culture to my kids, and how far I have to go. It's hard, with recitals and practices and rehearsals, to get a good dinner on the table every night. It's hard to limit sugar without demonizing it.

I had one hell of a day-- son is stranded at an airport 1,000 miles away, youngest got in hot water for bringing her rubber Prince of Persia dagger to school. I really wanted a diet soda, which is my selected vice. Instead I had a glass of wine. Much more effective :)

What does "grown up" mean to you?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Taking a moment to think about our men and women over in the Big Sandbox, to honor their courage and pray for their safety, and to pray also that as a species we figure out a better way to do this.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Blogoversary!

I've spent the week Really Pretty Sick, as opposed to Head Cold Sick-- bronchitis and green icky stuff and no oomph to spare apart from the basics to care for family and self. Today I was playing Rock Lobster on my ipod and found myself dancing, so I am cautiously hopeful things are looking up.

It's my One Year Blogoversary. I'm going to mark the occasion by posting one thing I'm proud of, one thing I'm bullshitting myself about, and one thing I want to reflect back on with relief when I am snuggling in with Mr. Larkspur tonight. I'd love to see you do the same, except for the snuggling part. I am unfortunately territorial regarding Mr. Larkspur. You understand.

1. Proud of... making better friends with my body, gently stripping away some denial, and moving away from diabetes over the past year. (Can I count that as one?)

2. Bullshitting about... thinking I can't lose more weight. If I cleaned some things up consistently, I suspect I could do better.

3. Looking forward to... drinking iced tea (not lab-created diet soda) and eating whole foods instead of sweets, except for a spoonful of my daughter's life-enriching chocolate chip cookie dough if she happens to make any. There is definitely a sharp curve with homemade cookie dough. No cookie dough is lower on the life experience scale than the peak of one spoon, the graph dropping at two spoons, falling sharply at three spoons and then descending into depths we won't get into. Too bad blogger doesn't have a graph function.

Do you have a 1-2-3 to share?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book Review: The End of Overeating

I have a cold, the third since I started this blog a year ago, which is one of its many virtues: keeping track of my colds. I did NOT get this one from smooching my husband. He's perfectly healthy and I'm trying to remember not to kiss him, which is surprisingly difficult. It does give me an excuse to lie around and prepare book reviews.

I've run into numerous mentions of The End of Overeating by David Kessler, and my finger kind of slipped on the Kindle and now it's mine. It's a good read, providing a fascinating scientific framework for what many of us have intuited. So if you're waiting to take it out of the library versus pushing the wrong button on your Kindle, here's the general idea.

Kessler, a former director of the FDA, notes that obesity rates were rather stable until the 1980s. Then they started to cliiiiimb. He doesn't mention artificial sweeteners or HFCS. He comes right out and blames most of the change on sugar, fat, and salt, "the three points of the compass" for food manufacturers, and how processed food is produced to provide such a tremendous reward that our brains literally become rewired. Junk food is just below cocaine in terms of how motivating it can be-- for rats, anyway. Food manufacture and marketing is calculated to sell as much product as possible, and in our part of the globe they've succeeded all too well.

The first part of the book describes the brain science of why Cheetos are so hard to resist. If you read blogs of recovering compulsive eaters, it resonates with what you read here-- there is something literally in the wiring that reinforces compulsive eating in spite of the fact that it's physically uncomfortable, emotionally disturbing, and socially devastating. I don't think of myself as a compulsive eater, but I've certainly felt the call of certain foods and noticed the way that they can occupy the main part of my thoughts, which is odd, really, when you think of it. That box of Pinwheel cookies can assume the importance of a loaded gun on my counter.

The second portion of the book describes the food industry's tricks to come up with "hyperpalatable" foods-- stuff that makes sense, if you want to sell a lot of Hostess Cupcakes. Successful junkfoods melt in your mouth-- little chewing is required. They are "layered," with interesting extra bits... think the white squiggle on the chocolate frosting of the cream-filled cupcake. They employ fat, sugar, and salt in startling amounts, because that's what makes them so alluring. That's before you get into orchestrating the other aspects like the design and sound of the wrapper, the smell, the advertising that helps you connect the product with warmth, indulgence, fun, belonging. Food manufacturers don't do this to be evil. They do it to sell lots of Bloomin' Onions and keep their jobs.

Part three describes how "conditioned hypereating" emerges. Parts four and five deal with the author's thoughts on how to combat it, among them:

1. Avoid junk food cues when you can, which will not always be possible, so you'll need to

2. Develop strong rules: "I don't eat fries." You can and should make the rules personal, but some guidewires will help you when you're remapping your brain.

3. Engage in competing behaviors-- take an alternate route to avoid the pie stand. Swerve early. Don't let it evolve into a standoff at the Golden Corral.

4. Change how you talk to yourself about food: "Food is fuel to keep my body running right."

5. Find the right kind of support (blog!)

There's a lot here that fits with my own experience. Eating "clean" is (let's face it) partly about calming down those hyperstimulating food cues. When I'm eating nachos or biscuits, it's hard for me to find that perfect stopping place. It's so good, I would eat a little more than I should-- twice a day, for years, which adds up. (Even now, on Cheat Days, my satiety signals are confused and junk food calls my name.) I am not going to overeat on soy nuts or turkey wraps because, though I like them, my interest will wane before I'm overfull.

The "strong rules" piece makes sense for me too. Cheat Days mean I still get cake, if I want it. But the rest of the time I don't have to struggle with myself, or try to define "moderate." Those days give my brain a chance to rewire, balancing my rewards so they aren't just about food, and they also allow my body to run the way it should, without having to cope with toxic doses of sugar and fat. I'm not pushing Cheat Days, by the way, which are an imperfect solution. The author seems to feel that a just-say-no approach is indicated until you get your wiring under better control, at which point you can develop your own cautious rules for reincorporating hyperpalatable foods.

End of Overeating, while it doesn't really promise what's offered in the title, does shine a floodlight on the trap so that you can at least see the serrated jaws before you stick your foot in there. The more I read, the more distressed I'm becoming about junk food, and as the mother of teenagers, whose diet is getting more and more out of my control, it's not making me too happy. The answer is to eat real food at regular intervals and treat junk food with the wary respect you'd offer a poisonous snake. What I need next is a book to convince my kids.

Friday, May 14, 2010

When my 8 year old wants an extra dessert or something else not on the board, I typically say no. I say it with a smile. She doesn't need another fudgesicle and she isn't going to get one and my telling her so only hurts for a minute. She's fine.

I get the best results when I Mommy myself. When I simply say, No, you don't need that-- to another bite of chocolate, or the diet soda I want to quit, or a few of those Tostito chips that are, after all, whole grain, right? (Wrong. At least in the ways that count.)

Saying no when you're undernourished or starving is not really an option, unless you have some powerful agenda at stake. But I'm not undernourished or starving. I work plenty of treats into my life, food and otherwise. I'm far from deprived. So when I say no, I'm giving myself the same thoughtful treatment I take so seriously with my kids.

No.

It only hurts for a minute. I'm just fine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Review: Omron Body Fat Monitor and Kettlenetics!

My Mother's Day brought a bonanza of fitness-related products, if you don't count the ebelskiver pan my kids got me.* My sweetie got me the Omron body fat monitor and plucked Kettlenetics off my Amazon wish-list.

Body fat monitor: Easy to set up and use. I tried to go conservative with this one, opting for the "normal" setting which gave me 31%. I didn't like that too much. I went to "athlete" mode (really?) for which I actually do fit the criteria based on the rubric they give you, and the response (28%) was more in line with what my calipers say (24%) and what I get on those feed-in-your-measurements sites (26 or 27%). I was somewhat worried about it until I realized, hey, I get to create my own reality, right? If I want to use athlete mode, what are they going to do? Arrest me? Creating your own reality is so much nicer. I recommend it.

Kettlenetics: Greta has me about convinced. I looked at the Body Like a Goddess DVD, but was a bit worried by the instructor's body, which looked more like the Goddess of Isolated Whey Protein than Athena or Aphrodite or anybody I might reasonably be aiming for. Kettlenetic was well-reviewed and looked appealing for a weenus like myself, so I flagged it. And my husband bought it, and I did it today. There's a nice 20 minute section where she goes through the kettlebell moves slowly, and then a 20 minute workout which got my heart moving and made my legs say, "Yes, thanks, I get the point." The instructor explains well and injects a little Zumba-style flair that had me feeling at home. There's a 40 minute workout I'll try when I've made friends with the kettlebell. The DVD comes with a weenus-style 4 pound kettlebell, which believe me was plenty heavy by the time I was done throwing it around. In the interest of full disclosure, the smiling instructor also looked like a Whey Protein Deity, so I'm guessing it's a kettlebell thing.** Also she said "tush muscles" and other unscientific things that I don't imagine the Russians mention in their kettlebell workouts.

So that's my review. That and a wonderful, brisk 50 minute trail hike with my sweetie reset me for the week after extensive restoration of leptin levels this weekend.***

*Review: Fabulous. The cinnamon ones with cream cheese icing especially.

**Not that I'm worried. You have to do things like eat right and avoid sugar to look like that. No fear. I'll just look like one of those ex-football guys who drinks a lot of beer but still has some pretty good delts going on.

***I ate a lot of ebelskivers.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Try

My teenage son has an important matter to clear up before he graduates high school this spring. We reminded him that he must talk to Mr So and So. He said, "I tried, but he was out." And I gave him the spiel about how the difference between being a kid and an adult is that a kid tries and feels that's good enough, he's done his part. An adult keeps trying, goes back at different times, tracks the person down-- he's at it until the thing is done. Which brings me to an interesting review of my attempts to lose a few more pounds. I've certainly been trying. Hmmm.

I ran into Your Office Chair is Killing You and some equivalent pieces in different sources lately. If you follow health news you've probably heard that sitting workers-- even if they exercise-- are at higher risk for certain unpleasant causes of mortality related to heart health and diabetes, not to mention back problems. I'm 90% stay-at-home mom at this point (more accurately, rarely-at-home mom) so I do a lot of leaping up and down, gardening, and carting laundry. But my husband has to sit a lot. We're looking at stand-up desks for him (some have motors so you can switch back and forth). He's started doing his dictation standing up. And my resolution henceforth is to blog standing up at the kitchen island. Which may help with nice short posts.

Is there a way you can add more stand-up time to your day?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Have Gorgeous Cholesterol

Be warned: bloodwork post upcoming. Worse than looking at strangers' pictures of their vacation.

My blood sugar numbers were not too bad, and I'm not (at the moment) anemic. My a1c was 5.3 which is on the higher end of normal, fasting glucose was 84 which is quite decent. I would be clicking my heels except that my glucometer is giving me (prediabetic) higher numbers, not sure if it's the machine or the fact that blood sugar changes from the time you test it at home to the time you get to the doctor's office. My doctor thought it was early yet for Metformin. I will go with that for now. At some point I should get my insulin levels checked but I am paying for this stuff out of pocket (high deductible plan) which definitely dampens my medical curiosity.

I don't know if there are other prediabetics out there. It is easy to get sucked into worrying a lot about the whole thing. Worry that gets me moving/eating right is productive-- hence the 23 pounds I've lost since my high point. Worry that leaves me fretting over whether I should be eating fruit or milk or anything but hemp seed and egg whites, not so much.

My total cholesterol was 122-- yes, I can't help it if my lipids are sexy. My triglycerides are 59. Check that out, sailor.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Solidarity

In the major bummer department, Bullies Target Obese Kids

I made sure to remind my kids on how to support the bully-ee. It makes such a difference. In first grade a kid did something mean to my daughter. Another boy's mother impressed on him the importance of not just denouncing the act, but standing with my daughter and supporting her, which he did. (Needless to say he has a place on the okay-to-date list when high school rolls around :)) Fast forward to sixth grade. A boy tore up a girl's election poster in front of her and asked my daughter wasn't the girl's expression funny? And she told him in clear terms that was a mean thing to do and went to comfort the other girl who was crying. The boy stood down and the girl had a good memory to soften the bad one.

It hurts to think of these very young kids suffering like this. Obesity is such a complicated mechanism, kids in particular have so little control over their bodies, and it is upsetting to think of them being victimized for being different (when it's not even that different these days).

I did good things with weights today. The theme from Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes for an awesome 1 minute HIIT, or as our beloved Cranky Fitness used to call it, Somewhat High Intensity Interval Training (SHIIT). I looked cautiously for kettlebells but they haven't made it to Planet Fitness yet. (If I was relieved, I'm not going to say so.) I've been eating Very Well, using the The Daily Plate to track my stuff, because I find that by far the easiest and most comprehensive of the tracking sites. Shooting for as close to 30/40/30 as I can get.

My bloodwork's tomorrow, physical is Wednesday. My sugars haven't improved as much as I'd hoped, but this may be a case where I just have to be happy with holding the line. I'll let you all know after I talk to my doc about the Metformin.

Back to Jurassic Park 3 with the Fam. Night, all.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Vanity

I started this blog last spring (coming up on my blogoversary) because I was skidding down the hill towards diabetes and I wanted to stick my feet out and slow down the bike. That's still my main motivator. That's why I do this. But now that I've started, interest in looking nice has spiked. I spend more time fretting over my hair, fussing with makeup. I like to see my muscles in Zumba and I maneuver to get a place where I can see myself in the mirror. I bought retinol. I haven't been this involved with my appearance since college. I distinctly remember having a meltdown one day where I decided I wasn't going to fool with it anymore, the boys would just have to take me as I came. Probably time for another one of those :)

I checked my blood sugars this morning. I have 2 different monitors my dad left and no way to calibrate either. Anywhere from 109 to 126 fasting-- all high, but enough variation that I'm going to wait for the fasting test and the A1C test (long term blood sugars) at my doctor's next week. I'm going to ask her about going on Metformin which doesn't seem to have too many major side effects, and is used for prediabetes as well as diabetes.

My blog is picture-deficient, so here's a couple over the last two weeks or so. (Not that I'm overly involved with how I look or anything-- it's perfectly normal to take weekly pictures of yourself in the bathroom mirror. If you're a blogger.) I like to imagine I look a little sleeker since I've been more regular with the weights. If you don't see a difference, say something nice about the curtains. Or the beadboard. I'm not picky. (Thank you, Kathy, for the pretty dress! The river of wonderful hand-me-downs, as the size fours pass to the twelves who pass to the 16s, the 24s and all the up. Comforting when you have to give up your favorite things because they don't look right anymore.)

Then:

Now:





Have a great day, everybody! Say it with me: Calories down! Protein up! Lift those weights! Step away from the mirror (unless you're checking form. Do you think that's just a bodybuilder excuse?)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wrestling

I have been struggling with my secret experiment, which is trying to adhere to a popular commercial weight loss program ("It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle!") It's a lifestyle featuring less food than I'm used to and I'm having a hard time with it. I was hoping to meld my loosely evolved program (real food, fewer grains/refined carbs) with the Lifestyle, but I've been dealing with some degree of hunger and whimpery "Is that all?" feelings, plus I've let it move me towards ersatz food--bars, sugar alcohols, added fiber that does less than desirable things to my digestion. I have a feeling this isn't going to work out between us. I told myself it was an experiment from the get-go, it was only $13, and if I try very hard and click my heels three times I will manage to convince myself I'm not a failure and neither is It. Just not a match, I think.

I need something that is intuitive in some ways and strict in others. I suspect I might be able to lose another ten pounds and keep that off. On the other hand, maybe I can't. I wish I had a more upbeat message, but it's possible 26.something or other is the lowest BMI I can maintain without getting into a Thing. Success (straight from the Lifestyle's materials!) is achieving a lower weight and sustaining it. Whether or not that weight will get me into a 2-piece bathing suit or "normal" on the BMI charts.

I've been keeping up with my weight workouts. Just from a metabolism perspective they really do make a difference. I feel less "diabetic" when I'm lifting weights, less cravy, less likely to get sudden crashing hunger. So that's a "Lifestyle" I want to maintain, whatever I decide about the other piece.

So where do you fall? Formal diet (sorry-- Lifestyle!) versus intuition? Group versus solo? I'd love to hear.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sore

Weights. Ouch. Four days this week, yay me.

I had a successful Cheat Day yesterday. How do you define success in a Cheat Day? I paid attention to my belly and didn't overeat, and while I had a lot of treats (let's see, water ice, a bear claw, and a homemade chipwich) I enjoyed each one and it was enough. The munchy/chewy Insulin Resistor* (I think that's my new name for it) is less of a factor lately-- maybe that sorry Friday where I didn't feel like eating helped out, or maybe it's the weight training. Or Friday being the first day in 6 months where I didn't eat at least some chocolate :)

I am going to try something new but I am going to keep it a secret until later in the week. (Even from me: Stop thinking about it, right now!)

I would like to check out my body fat somehow. I had the Blue Cross scale blat out 31% last summer. Didn't like that much. My calipers, where you just check above the sacroiliac, say 25%, but then I don't carry a lot of fat above my sacroiliac, you know? I think there's a tape measure method somewhere. I'll go look for that and report back.

'K, here's the report: 26.8%. Of course I do unbelievable amounts of sucking in to achieve a 30" waist, but that's fair, isn't it?

Get some exercise today and tell me about it in your comment. I'll come back and comment on mine after some ibuprofen and a hot bath.

*I think there's a Halloween costume in there somewhere, don't you?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Short Post

I had a bit of an emotional shock yesterday, nothing along the lines of Tyler's, but the kind of thing that makes you feel kind of wobbly and sick even though really, it should all be more or less okay in the end. It made suddenly very clear to me the difference between hunger and appetite. The rare times I feel like this, I eat when I have to and that's it. I don't think this is a diet I'll be marketing, though.

I did manage to do my weights and part of a Bollywood Workout from On Demand. There is something about cheerful people in voluminous garments skipping around in bare feet that bucks you up a bit, you just can't help it.

Please stop by 344 Pounds if you haven't already to wish Tyler well.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Which I Am Glad No One Is Watching Zumba

There's this shimmy thing, right? And I wear cast iron undergarments designed to discourage shimmy. So all that's shakin' is stuff that no one wants to see behaving that way. Mostly I like my body, really I do, but sometimes I get annoyed with this baroque, super-girly figure I have. Whatever my weight, it's the same body style, just different sizes. It's like huge Tammy Faye eyelashes I can't take off. It would be fun to be rangy, just for a day.

That concludes the complaint portion of this post*. Here's the rest of the report:

Exercise: Zumba. Weights tomorrow.
Food: Planned (yay), Journaled (yay), Ate Peeps (no!) So around 2,000 calories which is overshooting my goal, and 260 carbs, which is too many. We'll try again tomorrow. I planned out the day, anyway.
Diet Soda: One. Drat.

So there you have it. How was your day?


*except the part where I note that today I worked both in and outside the home and I had not one minute to myself not one and I've not done the thing my boss wants from me and it's getting late and I need to have some fun at some point damn it. Obviously.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back To It

We celebrated very-late-Easter last weekend, as our teenagers were away over actual Easter. Our dear friend who happens to be a rabbi is always thrilled when lambie cake falls after Passover. I did a big Easter goody clean out, shoving it out the door with friends, but quite a bit remains. I mean, I can't deep six my kids' candy, can I? Unless it starts getting me in trouble.

Today Is The Day when my DH and I are sworn to get back with our Five Factor workouts (5 minutes cardio, 10 minutes weights, 5 minutes core, another 5 minutes cardio, 5 days a week-- catchy or what?) Which we did. Although I was weak as a kitten. If I tried to lift one of Greta’s kettle-bells it would smash me flat. I was flailing around with 10 pound weights, but tap squats are tap squats, right? My core is in pretty good shape, if I do say it, compliments of Zumba.

I am also planning to woman up and come up with a Tom Venuto-style food plan, which involves (1) journaling out what you're going to eat and then (2) eating it. Novel idea. Something (we hope) in the range of 1600-1800 calories, 30/40/30. I am about 5 weeks out from my 1 year blogversary. It would be nice to see a bit more progress by then. I am also following along with Jen’s 30-in-30 Challenge: 30 minutes of exercise a day, 30 days. Good for Day 1 with an Appalachian Trail walk with a friend this morning and 5-Factor this evening.

Check out Tom Venuto. Anybody else read his stuff? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bullet List

*It makes random ideas look connected.

*See?

*I've missed my blog. Thank you to my wonderful guest posters who gave me a week to schlub around undetected.

*My friend gave me a slinky size 12 dress which zips, but needs another 5-10 pounds in the down direction before it will look right.

*I am having a hellofa time finding shorts/skorts/capris, because of my size 10 waist and my size 14 thighs. Maybe if I did my weights LIKE I SHOULD BE, I would meet in the middle at a nice even 12. Anybody know a good label for the small waisted and hip-enhanced?

*I still love Zumba.

*I am having trouble with fatigue. We live on undeveloped land in the middle of town and the field behind us, while I'm very happy it hasn't yet turned into the hulking nursing home it is slated to be, works like Dorothy's field of poppies. So. Sleepy.

*Sleepy is a reminder that I am probably eating too many carbs, though I am being fairly careful about sugar. I think diabetes educators are still telling people around 45 grams of carbohydrate for a meal. If you're eating 4 meals a day, that's still less than 200 g of carb a day. I'm sure I'm getting more than that.

*DH and I are scheduled to give it another good 5 week push after this weekend, when we celebrate late Easter with our kids and best friend who is thrilled we're doing it after passover, because then she can have lamb cake :)

*I have to say DH looks pretty damn good as he is. I feel a little guilty about this. He's 6'3" with a BMI in the 27ish range. BMI wise he should lose more, but my taste in men runs sturdy. It is horribly shallow of me, but I don't so much fancy the willowy type. Our plan involves getting back to the nearly daily weight workouts (all split up so there's no overtraining.) I am of course psyched about this purely as a health measure. Nothing to do with the fact that he's going to be looking awfully good.

*I didn't do new or great things with eating or exercise this week, but I did begin weaning myself off of diet soda. Still not perfect but lots better. This one I really hope to press forward with. I believe that diet stuff is fattening (for some people at least-- people like me) and I've implored my kids not to drink the stuff.

*Have a great second half of the week, everybody!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Guest Post: Danny from Fit by 41, Maybe 42

I am delighted to present my second guest post, written by Danny, Gina's husband, of Fit by 41, Maybe 42. This is one husband's perspective on a wife's weight gain. It is a rare man who will open up on this minefield topic, and I offer Danny a warm virtual shake of the hand not just for contributing, but for raising so many great subjects for discussion. And I have to add, both of these guests posts are so well-written, they are raising the literary bar around here at Am I Really That Fat? Not that I'm intimidated or anything :)

A Torrid Affair
by Danny, Gina's husband

I told my best friend when I was in high school that I never wanted to get married. I wanted to follow my dreams, roam the world, and live in a foreign country. He, on the other hand, pictured himself hitched, not hitch-hiking. He wanted kids and a mini-van. He wanted to settle somewhere quiet.

My best friend ended up being the one traveling the world. He built water wells in Bangladesh, taught in the Netherlands, and is currently doing a PhD in Australia. Oh, and he's still dating. While he did all this, I slipped a wedding band on Gina's finger at the tender age of 21, took out a loan to buy a minivan at 25, and after becoming a father of three at 31, I needed to find some place quiet.

So I couldn't believe when last year I decided to turn to my friend for marriage advice. Through a weak Skype connection from my home to Australia late one night, I managed to summarize my wife's struggle with weight, the fights it ensued because I was confronting her like she had a drinking problem, and the jealousy I surprisingly felt when she kept choosing food over our relationship —over me. She wouldn't always binge, but she would do it behind my back. Gina would wait until I was gone on business trips to partake of chocolate cakes like it was the pool boy. She knew it wouldn't help things between us, but she still chose food. Was my wife having a torrid affair with Messrs. Ghirardelli, Lindt, and Ms. Godiva?

What he said next completely changed my life. I couldn't believe such counsels came from a guy who was never engaged, someone whose idea of fun is to dig holes in a third-world country and then finish a PhD down under. After his words of advice, I felt a changed man.

My friend said that Gina's weight gain wasn't due because she loved me less, but rather because she felt comfortable around me, something I should cherish. That was a gutsy assumption from someone who had only met my wife once over a decade ago. But I bought it and enjoyed the fact Gina was comfortable with me.

He also said that in a relationship, we tend to obsess on a partner's major weakness. But if that weakness magically disappeared, our focus would shift to another one, always keeping us from truly being happy. Again, I felt he was right. He was either a genius, or I should send my kids to Australia—or drink water from his wells.

But I also wondered whether women completely grasp the level of pain a husband feels when he sees his young wife, whose physique was the major source of attraction, neglect her body and morph into something unfamiliar. If I tried to describe it, it would be akin to seeing your full-of-potential husband suddenly quit Harvard Law, move the entire family and his Xbox 360 to a dilapidated shack, and live off welfare for the rest of his life—and yours. Worse still, if you need an extreme example, the fellow decides to go work for an airline.

I've also discovered that we men don't realize how much we can hurt our wives, no strike that, how much we crucify our wives when we bring up their weight. Unless you want to be an actor, a gigolo, or the next Bachelor, appearance has never truly defined a man's success. But for a woman, it's huge. For thousands of years, the survival of women has depended on mostly looks and reputation, characteristics that have worked their ways through the evolutionary process. Subconsciously, males associate beauty with health to bear and care for their offspring. From the size of the breasts to the shape of the hips, the selection process is brutal but hardwired to an instant physiological reaction.

Men, if your wives tell you that you're terrible in bed or a loser who will probably never amount to anything, you might catch a glimpse of the pain you inflict when you mutter the three-letter F-word that rhymes with hat. When you criticize her looks, you do more than just plant a scimitar sword into her tender heart, you're destroying one of the most attractive features in a woman: her self-confidence.

Since skyping with my globe-trotting friend, I've managed to cut the string that tied my level of resentment to the pointing arrow of a weighing scale. But occasionally, I think about those who are married to alcoholics or drug addicts and wonder if they would agree with my now complete laissez-faire in my partner's diet. When does overeating become a deadly addiction that one shouldn't accept for a spouse? When does a husband who loves his wife becomes nothing less than an enabler? What would my friend in Australia do? Would he put his head in the sand... or dig his own hole?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guest Post! Gina From Fit by 41, Maybe 42

I am tickled to present my first guest post, written by Gina of Fit by 41, Maybe 42. I had hoped to link this but better yet, Gina kindly agreed to guest-blog for me. Later in the week, I'll be posting her husband Danny's viewpoint. Gina writes movingly about the sticky problem of

When a Spouse Calls You Fat

(Or boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father -- anyone who you've emotionally invested in)


My husband, Danny, is my soul mate. We've been married for almost 15 years. We click in every area of our lives. When we disagree about stuff, it's usually done respectfully. We listen, we talk, we honestly want to understand where each other is coming from. We're both thrifty and don't fight about money, a common thorn in marriages. Other than some heated debates on how to reprimand our kids, the only thing we fight about, I mean nasty bringing-out-the-worst-in-each-other fight about, is my weight.


He first brought it up after a year of marriage. He was 22, me, 27. We were taking a walk, hand-in-hand. I was happy. Birds were singing. La la la la la. Then, out of nowhere, he asked, "So, when are you going to lose the 10 pounds you said you wanted to lose?" {cue the screeching sound of a needle scratching an LP as she lets go of his hand}


He just mortared in the first layer of bricks that would eventually form a wall around me.


I was mortified. He didn't understand why; he thought he was helping me by holding me accountable to my desire to lose 10 pounds. I'm not really sure how that bomb was smoothed over, but it eventually did (but not without some damage).


We continued with our beer-drinking, wing-eating, happy-go-lucky college-going lives. I guess I gained. He brought it up, again. Fight. Smoothed over. More bricks layered the wall. Resentment compounded for the both of us.


In my heart, I did want to lose the weight. I was successful years ago (pre-Danny) on a popular liquid diet. I gained it back and (now say it with me) "plus some." (Isn't that the common story)? But, that liquid diet didn't work anymore for me. I was active, but as far as food went, I didn't know what to do. And I was freaking stubborn. The more Danny pushed the subject, the more I rebelled. ("He's not ---munch munch--- going to --- munch munch --- tell me ---munch--- what to do!")


He really took my weight-gain personally, he thought it reflected my lack of love for him. At one point, he said point-blank I was obese, and he never thought he'd be married to a fat woman and tried to explain that every man desires a pretty wife. He barked that he was going to assign himself as my personal trainer. (More bricks). He'll tell me what to eat and when to exercise. He'll do it with me. He bought me a scale (trying to be helpful). I resented and hated that thing. Eventually, that scale met its death from a second-floor window after one of our conflicts about my weight.


I told him I didn't want him policing me. I (post swearing and yelling) agreed I was gaining too much but to let me do it on my own. I would begin to cut back, and as long as he thought I was trying, it would appease him. We'd be "happy," again, for several months. Then I'd gain weight, and the confrontations would start over. That was the cycle.


We wanted to start a family (there were many more good times than bad). I wasn't losing but wanted to be at a healthier weight while pregnant. Around this time, he asked me to give his way a try. I agreed. My ill-informed way wasn't working. It was actually a little fun to do this project together. But, we weren't always together. He was working as an airline pilot and would be gone for days at a time. I had to police myself and found a calorie-restricted diet. I counted calories, measured, and wrote everything down while working full time.


I was losing weight and felt so hungry. Then, one time I ate a cheese crisp. Something snapped. I ate another, then another. I foraged in the apartment for more food and binged. Panic struck in, "What have I done?! All that work ruined in 10 minutes!" I had heard of bulimia where people binged and purged. "Okay, just this once. You'll learn from your mistake and not do it, again."


I didn't learn. I did it again. And again. Danny didn't know. He saw a wife sticking to the plan. (smile pretty. kiss. kiss.)


Good news: I was pregnant with our first child! I had to be healthy for the baby. No more throwing up. Somehow I was saved from the addiction of bulimia. Thank goodness, but my addiction to food grew. Over the years I was a closet-eater. I was a in-the-car-rip-it-open-as-fast-as-you-can eater. I was a hand-shaking-forget-the-plate eater. I was having an affair with food, particularly ooey-gooey pastries.


Danny didn't see me eating, but he saw the results. He didn't know what to do. He said, "Gina, if you loved me, you would stop. Do it for me!"


The wall got taller, and I was pulling away from him.


Sometimes he'd be so angry. "I'm not happy! I'm going to tell you you are too fat and need help. Other men are afraid to tell their wives that. Instead, they behave like cowards and have affairs. I'm not going to cheat on you, but I am going to tell you I'm not happy." I remember thinking (briefly) I wish he would have an affair and leave me alone.


Part of his unhappiness was that I wasn't interested in sex anymore (I couldn't stand the idea of him seeing me exposed, vulnerable, and I felt safer behind the wall of bricks. Plus, I was a new mother and worn out). He felt I rejected him and chose food over him. He couldn't seem to understand why I didn't initiate intimacy, and I couldn't understand why he would want intimacy with me.


See, here's the paradox I couldn't wrap my brain around: he says that even though he's been unhappy with the weight gain, he found me physically attractive, is in love with me, and wants to be intimate. It breaks his heart that I choose food over him.


Confronting me about my weight is not an aphrodisiac. Telling me I'm fat and obese (although true) is not the sweet-nothings I want whispered in my ear. He knew that bringing up my weight wasn't going to get him any, but had to let me know, anyway.


One day, I saw he stopped wearing his wedding ring. He didn't feel I was committed to him. Neither one of us wanted to celebrate our 8th anniversary. It was some sad, sad times. What did I do? I turned to food.


My new neighbor who was large, too, asked if we could be walking partners. We both lost weight. My mood was elevated. Danny and I got along. I became pregnant with Skye, my 4 yr old.


Life has been a blur with a new baby, job losses, more moves and changes the last few years. I gained it almost all back and am 10 pounds away from my highest (as far as I know...I threw the first scale out the window, remember). Fortunately, Danny began to grasp that my weight-gain wasn't about him; I have a real problem with my relationship with food. His focus on my weight went from an aesthetic view, to a it's-coming-between-us view, to I'm-concerned-about-your-health-view, to I-love-you-the-way-you-are view.


We both built that wall. It's slowly coming down. I finally believe him that he truly desires me for me as me. I reach out to him. I let him be there for me. I tell him my secrets. I tell him my failures and weaknesses. I tell him because I trust him with my heart, again. I know he loves me. When someone feels loved, they feel loving.


I'm still tempted by the sweets and go overboard, but I'm learning about food, nutrition and have completely revamped our weekly menus. Now I'm doing it for me because I want to and am no longer distracted by someone else's wants. What I want is ringing clear, uninterrupted.


Danny had no idea how hurtful those first few comments about my weight could be. He grew up in a fit, athletic family with one brother. He was raised in France where weight wasn't an issue for 99% of the people, especially young people. He also has a beautiful, fit, no-nonsense German mother who tells it like it is; if it hurts your feelings that's okay as long as it's the truth and would help you.


If I was an alcoholic or drug-addict, and it affected my behavior, health and our lives, shouldn't he speak up?


Danny is honest and has great integrity. He's a loving, warm, wonderful father. (He watches our child now while I sit and write). He's honorable and passionate. He's funny and makes me laugh.


He is sorry for many of the things he has said. And I'm sorry for hurting my body so much and for hurting Danny as he watched me do this to myself. It's been a journey. Neither one of us wanted to give up on this marriage nor ourselves. We both wanted to become better people, better spouses, better parents. And we both worked at it.


"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)


I am a worthy purpose.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Nifty Study

Following up on yesterday's discussion, Losing Weight After 45 (ooh, these strenuous links!) posted a link to this study. Which was fascinating to me, because the rats were subject to "Cheat Day" type conditions (lab chow all day plus junk food 1 hour a day) in addition to a control (lab chow only)and a free access situation (lab chow or junk food 23 hours a day.)

Interestingly, the 23 hour access rats got fat. They also developed some distressing brain changes similar to those you see in human drug addiction, even ignoring an aversive cue (they had been trained to fear a certain light cue preceding a shock). They were so focussed on the junk food they kept eating it even though the light was flashed. If you've ever read the moving blog Escape From Obesity or similar ones describing the problem of compulsive eating, this change in brain chemistry really fits with the subjective experience the writers describe.

The 1 hour access rats got a little fatter, but not significantly more so than the chow-only rats. The authors concluded that the 1-hour access rats didn't develop the same addiction-like reward deficits (whew!) or eat significantly more calories than the chow-only rats. But they did (let's face it) binge during that 1 hour. They just ate less the rest of the day and more when the ho-hos and bacon came out.

So it looks like the best situation for both humans and rats is to be fed nothing but a nutritious chow until you're sacrificed at the end of the experiment and get your spleen weighed. No, no! Just kidding!

Failing that, I'm guessing that what works for most people is regular meals consisting of highly nutritious food. Some people do great with regular access to junk food (however you choose to define it). They can eat a little and their reward centers light up and they go happily about their business. Others seem to need to limit access (raises hand). I keep chocolate around and eat a few squares daily. But I can't keep, say, pastry or malted milk balls in stock-- just askin' for trouble. My husband wouldn't be able to resist Doritos (which are dusted with cheese flavored crack, I'm pretty sure.) A few people seem to need to stick with the lab chow only.

Of course people are not rats, except possibly Sandra Bullock's husband. (Wonder how much his spleen weighs?) But it's all interesting stuff unless of course it happens to directly contradict your own pet health practices. Then it's just another worthless rat study :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

When Your Diet Comes Under Fire

Dang it, Cammy. I was going to go be productive but now I have to write a blog post.

The excellent Cammy linked this interesting article. Especially interesting for me as it attacked one of my pet institutions, the much-reviled Cheat Day.

I was gearing up to write a balanced, persuasive response but you know, I decided I'd rather just jump up and down and bitch at the top of my lungs. And right there that's a more interesting post than debating the pros and cons of cheat days, or intermittent fasting, or intuitive eating, Weight Watchers or Medifast or anything else.

(Let me just issue a clarification that it is not the highly tactful and kindly Cammy so much as lifting an eyebrow at my beloved Cheat Day. The dietician blogger characterized Cheat Days as "very dangerous" which I thought was theorizing waaaay ahead of limited evidence, but that's another post).

There are 95,000 diets (or "non-diets") out there. Something works for me, and I immediately want to apply it to my friend down the way. "Don't try to eat moderately of refined carbohydrates and desserts. Limit them to one day a week. That's what works!" That's what worked for me-- maybe they would do better focused on intuitive eating, or increasing exercise drastically, or eating 90/10, or counting calories and watching macros. I might think someone is losing too fast, and destined to gain it back because their metabolism is cooling off too much. They might think I'm wasting time and pussyfooting around and should get to it already. If one approach worked for all, there'd be only one.

The part I'm addressing here is the problem of letting criticism weaken my focus. If I have concerns about what I'm doing, I need to address them, but if I find that I'm letting someone's else's generic disapproval deflect me from my goals, then it becomes a real problem. Have you ever embarked on something (fitness-related or other) only to read ten different conflicting approaches? "This way!" "No, whatever you do, not THAT way!" "X way's dangerous and wrong!" "Y method is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN." And you end up doing nothing because you can't be sure that any one method is exactly right? There are as many ideas about fitness and fat loss as there are stars in the sky. There are thousands of studies but in the end each of us a study group of one-- what works, or doesn't work, for you. Because in the end you're the one who has to live with the results.

What do you all do when you encounter criticism about your health practices?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Okay, She Convinced Me

Losing Weight at 45 posted a persuasive study about HFCS (see my sidebar for her post). There are some critics (notably the Corn Council) saying the methods are murky-- I will ask my research-prof husband to have a look if I can get to him before World of Warcraft does. Anyway, it's enough for me. I'll do a search and destroy mission this weekend. I'll buy the special catsup and everything. Yikes, who the hell needs 48% more fat? I sure don't, and neither do my beautiful healthy children whom I am trying so hard to keep slim without giving them miserable body image tapes playing in their skulls.

Thank you all so much for your very dear support in my last post. This community is so important for me. There's kind of a headwind when you're trying to change your diet and exercise habits. The bracing effect of like minded friends can't be underestimated.

Gratitude list:

1. Taxes were what we were told to expect and what we prepared for. I want to give our accountant non-HFCS cookies.

2. Great first year of private practice for my hard-working sweetie.

3. The timer trick works. I reaaaally wanted something sweet coming in the door. I set the timer for five minutes and told myself I could have it after that. I got involved in blogging and now I don't want it (though now I have to go throw out any and all HFCS crap!)

4. My house is in decent order and I have time again, YAY. I am doing Flylady-inspired routines which I should never have departed from. It is such an awesome system for my easily distracted brain.

5. Spring! I was out in the country today seeing a patient and it was so, so beautiful-- Central PA in March. Greening grass and little rivers and round hilltops and the forested ridges with the maple blossoms just showing red.

My poor patient was an object lesson in what can happen (and doesn't always, but he wasn't lucky) when you eat a slipshod diet and smoke. Poor guy. He is only in his forties but looks ten years older and now the consequences-- COPD, diabetes-- are hitting him like a lead hose. Seems like people can unintentionally hamstring themselves with their food and then, once their knees are shot and they're insulin dependent, even if they want to change, the effort and expense required are harder with those disabilities to tackle. It's sad, and I see it a lot. Of course there is a tendency to blame ills on overweight-- there are plenty of very sound fat people and some slim ones in poor health. But it's definitely influenced my desire to fight off diabetes as long as can.

Enough pontificating, gotta go. Have a great spring day, all!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reviews: Pilates and Glucerna Bars

Zumba was too early so I opted for Pilates, which scares me. Everyone knows about planks. I was looking at the line and asked two ladies, "Is this the line for Pilates?" They told me it was. I said brightly, "I've never been. Will I bitterly hate it?" Turns out one of the nice ladies was the INSTRUCTOR. OOPS. There were quite a few elderly people in the class, some rounder people (all of whom kicked my butt, by the way), and all was well. I can't say I enjoyed the planks or those evil bicycley things, but it was stretchy and good for me and mercifully short (45 minutes), plus it gave me comraderie with my 8 year old who takes Serious Ballet. I'm always encouraging her to work hard in class and this was my turn to pull in my belly and even out my hips and all that stuff. I'm planning to visit Pilates again.

I bought Glucerna bars at Costco, seduced by the promise that they are Scientifically Proven not to spike your blood sugar, or minimize spiking your blood sugar. Paid $20 for a large box versus $10 for ordinary mortal type bars. I discovered the main high-tech mechanism the bars seem to use is being very small. (To be fair, they are labeled "mini bars".) They are quite tasty, such that I mistrust them a bit-- long list of lab-tested ingredients. But they are handy to have in the car when ballet goes longer than it was supposed to. Alas, 100% of my sample of 2 little ballerinas rejected them. After a tentative lick they were pronounced "yucky". (In the interest of disclosure my 8 year old rejects 97% of food that way.) I'm not sure I'd spend that much again but I'd think about it.

I am feeling torn between an energetic spring urge to Get Somewhere (dropping another ten pounds) and being happy with my bod and my current routine and not wanting to mess with success. I'm worried nobody will be interested in my blog if I don't soldier on to a BMI of 22. But then, *I'm* still interested in my blog, and other people's blogs, so that's okay.

What are you all opting for? Holding steady or a Spring Sprint? My physical is in early May which is a nice 6 week target.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Born Organized?

Diane had a timely post about organization and why it matters for fitness. In particular, eating right is not a spur of the moment thing for most of us. When the word "Organization" enters the picture, I tend to have a similar reaction to when I hear the word "Excellence"-- I break out in virtual hives and hastily change the subject. I'll get into my excellence-avoidance another time, but I want to tackle the other one now. I think I rebel against organization because (1) I'm not good at it and (2)sometimes organized people are also tense and controlling, two no-nos in my book. I prefer relaxed and cheerful. So is it possible that you can be organized, relaxed, and cheerful?

I was thinking about this today and I realized that among other sources of resistance, I'm worried about messing with the stuff I like about myself. I have a lively internal critic and I can give you a detailed list with footnotes about what's wrong with me. The part that seems to work well is the affectionate, accepting, consider-the-lilies, you're-gonna-be-okay part, which was sort of the warm core of my mom. Recently it dawned that the warmth and the acceptance are probably quite separate from my organization or lack of it. It's not a barter thing, where I have to trade, or even something I could trade if I wanted to. Not being organized is a branch in the path making me stumble. I can clear the path and I'll still be me, hopefully minus some of the skinned knees and barked elbows.

Getting better at this, or at anything-- including fat loss-- doesn't have to mean a repudiation of the way I used to be. I'm just looking for a way that works better. Doesn't mean I'm shunning the old me. Isn't that odd? I'm so concerned with hurting my own feelings. Perhaps I need to write myself a nice note :).

Have a great week, everybody. Try Zumba!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why?

From Jack's blog, which I am not going to get out of linking, a series of provocative questions. Here they are.

Why do you suppose you let your life be less than you imagined it to be?

This is a very good question that also sort of pisses me off. (Spot of denial, anyone?) I will launch into my reasons in a minute. The question is asking why I got fat. I can tell you what it wasn't-- ignorance (I've read avidly about weight and nutrition since I was 14), family schtick (no abuse or major control issues so far as I know), war with spouse (he's the Crown Prince of Tact), weird binges or junk food addiction, or lack of exercise.

What did matter-- pregnancy (I gained all of the weight with my first), genetics/prediabetes (not the whole story but a large factor), contentment, denial, and the Standard American Diet intersecting with a certain amount of innate disorganization. I know from blogging that many people do have fascinating and powerful psychological factors behind their level of fatness. But for me to angst after the psychology of it is probably a false trail. It is not at all difficult for a distracted person whose ancestors evolved on lots of labor and few refined foods to pack on the pounds, especially if that person likes to bake.

But, truly? Some of the happiest years of my life I was 50 pounds overweight. I remember having chipmunk cheeks and size 18 pants and being terrified something bad would happen because I was so happy. I had (have, knock wood, please God) affection, companionship, sweet kids, a cheerful sex life, sufficient money, and a few close friends. As far as I can tell, my major social sacrifices for my fattest years were pleasing my inlaws and getting hit on by strangers.

Why do you stumble so often despite all your good intentions?

50 pounds is maybe 500 calories a day. It is very, very easy to eat 500 extra calories. You don't have to binge. Three chocolate chip cookies and not working out will do it.

Why do you sabotage yourself?

I don't think I do, really. Is that boring?

Why are you here anyway?

Because I'm prediabetic. I may not have minded shopping at Lane Bryant, but I sure do mind losing my gallbladder and probably half of my beta cells. That sucks!

If you’re making it, if you’re succeeding on this weight-loss journey, tell me why this time is different than all the others.

Interestingly, I never did lose this much weight before. I was worried about weight cycling and figured if I didn't have a decent chance of keeping it off for good, I didn't want to take it off at all.

Why are you going to make it this time when you’ve fallen short before?

I don't know that I am, but if I do, it will be because of the proverbial lifestyle change-- I don't (usually) count calories, I eat more like a grownup and less like a silly person. I exercise differently.

Why are you going to keep it off this time when you’ve gained it back before?

See above.

Why are you a different person now than you were before?

I'm not really, and I don't think I have to be. I eat fewer breads and desserts. Otherwise, I'm still me.

Something about these questions touched a nerve. I think it has to do with treading carefully between what is "best" (normal weight) and what is necessary to happiness (whatever that is, for some of us it doesn't have that much to do with weight). If circumstances took from me an eye or a limb or my hearing, I would still hope to suck the juice out of life and burp loudly afterwards. It is painful to me to think of anyone (me included) refusing to dance, date, snuggle, wear pretty clothes, swim in the ocean or think well of themselves because they have too much fat.

I don't want to give a false picture of being perfectly fine with my fatness. If I could change that about myself, I would in a heartbeat. I am envious of bloggers who get a handle on it at 30 or 35. I am doing all I can to spare my kids the hassles of being overfat. I miss my gallbladder. I don't want to have to take Metformin. Even with all that, fatness is not incompatible with happiness. If I get hit by the metabolic bus in 10 years and gain back my 25 pounds, I hope I will still manage to get a kick out of life.

And for those of you that made it to the end of this post: my lies revealed! I cheated, though. Did you catch no. 1? Both 5 + 6 are true. Once when I was traveling in Arizona we stopped at tribal dance. I don't remember what tribe. This shirtless guy in a towering horned mask bumped me with his hip and tried to get me to dance. I still remember looking into that horned mask. I was 15 or 16 and too shy, but I thought it was nice of him to invite me, don't you?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This Post Is Stuck

I have been putting off writing this post because it involves the dreaded act of linking. I imagine other bloggers throwing fishheads and old cabbage at me because of my terrible link success rate. In fact, I delayed so long those posts seem to have disappeared, so it looks like I'm off the hook for linking. But read Gina's blog anyway. It's wonderful stuff.

I Zumba'd like mad last week and it felt great. My goal for this week is to shore up just a couple of good habits. So many to choose from, but all the latest headlines are urging us not to change too much at one time. So here's my two:

1. Zumba lots.

2. Write down what I eat.

No. 2 in particular in difficult for me. It's one of those for-cryin'-out-loud-anybody-can-do-that stumbling blocks that leave me sprawling and feeling bad about myself. So I'm setting a modest goal, just for the rest of the week.

The dramatically shrinking 266 (link --ow, that hurt) kindly awarded me the Creative Writer Award. I get to make up lies, as follows:

1. Only one of the following is true.
2. I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
3. I danced with Paiutes.
4. I went on the Beverly Hills diet when I was 15 and ate mango for days.
5. I have an International Standard Book Number.
6. My first kiss was professional. In the context of dinner theater performance.
7. I am Libertarian.

Now my blog is Unstuck. Just so I stay away from those pesky links. Very binding.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time for a Research Post

But I don't have time today, so let me just say: if you are interesting in losing weight, I think you should consider taking probiotics. I will back this up with links at some point or other. Really.

I went to Zumba today AND yesterday. Much calorie chewing. I felt sort of frumpy in class so I went out and bought myself a new T-shirt at the Gap. The old shirt was XL and this is an M so that's better. It doesn't help with the Looking Very Old problem, but I have a whole mantra for that.* My goal is to hit Zumba every day this week. Whee!

I find myself in Getting Back Down to It mode. I am showing solidarity with a friend by eating gluten-free for three days (she decided this was a good week to try it.) I'm open to ideas on what to eat. Kind of stuck with chicken, vegetables, fruit, and protein shakes. And chocolate. Chocolate is gluten free, right? I am a little worried about dropping another size, because I don't have many M/12s and I can still wear some of my 14s now. I'm not making any money to speak of and resizing rings and buying new clothes is expensive. I wore 16s for most of my adult life, and for all of the years that I had any money, so it is a little painful to part with my pretty things. Ten years ago a 12/ size M would have been plenty small for a 5'8", but I weigh over 170 lbs-- not a sylph-- and I'm in medium shirts. What do you 120 pounders wear? Probably have to shop at Wet Seal. I have two shirts from there I can look forward to fitting into, because I bought them in a moment of optimism even though when I put them on I am ready to burst out, Superman style, any moment. I decided the suspense was too great and gave them to my daughter. Who is a 6/8, so no plans to raid her wardrobe.

The plan is still to shoot for the 150s, BMI in the 23-ish, 24-ish range. A shout out to 266 whom I believe is enjoying that territory now-- how's it feel, 266? She honored me with a very fun award in which I get to lie. I'm rubbing my hands and snickering in anticipation.

Have a great, productive second half of the week, everybody! Weekend's coming!


--As follows: it's an honor to grow older, those are good years accumulating, you have an 18 year old for heaven's sake, and the major problem's the lines around my mouth and I got those from kissing four beloved people on a daily basis, could be worse, right?

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Have a Fat Head

So I was trying to go to Zumba, but the schedule changed on me. I had to take Muscle Works instead, which is more of a get-it-done militaristic kind of thing, featuring background music as a concession to the weak and a stability ball which was anything but. I weight trained five days last week (modest polishing of knuckles) so the core stuff and the weighted bar and all that jazz left me more or less unmoved. But you do weird stuff too-- lifting your legs up and down while clutching a big red Target ball in an undignified manner. Leg lifts that make me want to look around for Jane Fonda in a stripey leotard urging me to feel the burn. And lots and lots of core. Who needs that much core? I mean, no one's going to see my core unless I burn some calories/poundage, right? Plus we had to lift the weight of our own heads like 18,000 times. I had no idea my head was that heavy. (And no cracks about muscle weighing more than fat.) I was sadly missing my insouciant calorie frittering dance workout.

I'm back on the bus food-wise, trying to be mindful of my carbs as I don't feel too well when I get too many of the wrong kind. Plus I get that gnoshy, hard to satisfy pseudo-hunger-- blech. I saw a number I didn't like this morning. My theory is that I traded some muscle for fat and I put the muscle back on again, so I'm finally seeing an overdue jump in the scale. I'm not upset about it-- yet. Let's see how it responds to some frivolous minded Latin dance workouts. Because I'm not going back to Muscle Works. I'm pretty sure the stability ball is trying to hurt me.

Friday, March 5, 2010

So I Did It

My friend and I met for exercise at 6:30 am every day this week.

Random observations:

1. I gained 2 pounds
2. I feel better than when I started and much better than midweek, when I was colossally sore
3. I look firmer
4. My blood sugars did not improve
5. It wasn't really all that terribly hard
6. It was a nice little social contact
7. Gym's busy at 6:30 in the morning
8. I missed Zumba, literally and figuratively

My eating was slack this week-- no heinous gobbling, but too many extra bits of chocolate and things. I'm quite sure those nibbles add up dramatically. I think I had this "it's okay" thought because I was going to the gym every day, but I recall from experience that the short weight/elliptical workouts don't burn much in the way of calories-- Zumba/hiking are the real calorie chewers. I could have gotten away with my 300-400 calories in nibbles on a Zumba day. It's very possible I made Zumba less of a priority because I "already worked out." What to do for next week?

1. Take Wednesday off from the morning.
2. Add 2-3 Zumba classes back in.
3. Adhere more closely to 5-Factor eating, specifically: eat five times and do not pop a handful of raisins or chocolate chips and pecans at random intervals. At least sit down or something. Geez.
4. Eat protein and vegetables for dinner-- see if that lowers am blood sugar.
5. Fruit or veg every meal.

There, I tried to pack my list with Do's versus Don'ts.

I still don't know ultimately how much I can accomplish with weight loss, but I'm pretty sure I'm not there yet.

How was your week?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sore

Really. Walking like John Wayne here. I haven't done weights two days in a row for, well, months. (Don't worry, my program is designed for two exercises each day, five days a week, plus some cardio and core stuff, so I'm not bombarding the same muscles two days in a row. I'm just bombarding new ones. So I have to think about it before I do something rash like getting up.) Eating has been "not weight loss portions" as South Beach Steve so aptly puts it. Stress has been high. My oldest was asking today why married people get so stressed when they have money, possessions, and love. He's 18 and is focused on finding a girlfriend, which when you have a high functioning form of autism, is more of a pain than usual. He is fairly gorgeous, which helps a little. Anyway, it did sort of put things in perspective for me. Why do we get so stressed?

I think in my case there are the big things (MIL's declining health, tax season) but I am more bowled over by the little things-- for example, I have driving errands at 6:30 am, 7:30 am, 12 pm, 3:30 pm, and 5 pm. I'll spend about three hours in the car today and that's a normal, non-work day. Behind that is what feels like choking backlog of errands, phone calls, things to remember and send and do. The house is falling apart a little bit-- just normal stuff. And here I sit blogging, :). I do think I will be able to get caught up a little bit now that I'm working less. Maybe do some hard thinking about which things need to stay and which can go. I don't want to be this stressed and I suspect that at least some of it is a choice. So hopefully I will be able to post a better report next week.

Meantime I can proudly say that I got up at 6:ish every day this week and exercised before the day wrestled that away from me. Do I get a gold star? My friend needs one too-- she was right there with me. Go, Lisa!

Monday, March 1, 2010

So That's How I Need to Do That

We had friends in for dinner last night. The wife mentioned she was going to the gym at 6:30 this morning. I offered to meet her. Being expected and not wanting to yield the moral high ground gave me the turbo burst I needed. There were quite a few cars in the lot but Planet Fitness has a ton of machines and enough weight benches so that was okay. It wasn't very difficult, and I got home fully dressed and alert around the time I'm usually getting to my feet like a mummy with a hangover. And now I don't have to worry guiltily about when I'm working out.

On the way back from driving my son to school I heard yet another report on NPR about how exercise enlarges your hippocampus (you want this, apparently) and improves memory even if you are an old duffer.

So here's the plan: for this week only, M-F, I am pledging to go at 6:25 every morning and get it done before it gets ploughed off by the day's events. No matter what other factors are out of my control, I can do that.

Got any tips or hacks for getting your workouts done? I'm all ears.