Saturday, May 30, 2009
The cottage sits high on a hill overlooking the backwaters of Stillhouse Hollow Lake. It's walls are made of the rocks that clutter the hills and fields of Central Texas. It's red tile roof is a reminder of the not too distant past, when another country laid claim to the vastness of the Lone Star State. The cedar trees, which when left to their own devices claim every inch of soil, give a unique freshness to the breeze which sweeps off the water and is passed along from branch to branch, tree to tree, until it blossoms into a swift current of wind which keeps the paneled rooms and tile floors of the small house cool and inviting, even in the Texas summertime.
Since people disdain whatever they have in most abundance, all but the largest cedar have been cleared from around the house, and chinaberry planted in its place for shade, and perhaps for the music of its rustling boughs, for cedar having no proper leaves, only creaks in the wind. The result is cool, constant shade, which crowds the veranda across the front of the house and the unshuttered windows all around.
From the picture window near the fireplace, you can gaze down the hillside, which drops a hundred feet in half a mile, and watch the colored specks that are boats, drifting back and forth across the water, occasionally disappearing into one of the many sloughs that spread like roots, anchoring the lake to the land.
Between the house at the top and the lake at the bottom, there is a small, flat clearing, carved like a step in the side of the hill. A tiny spring gurgles up through the rock and nurtures a small pond that glistens there like a mirror, giving back to the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars, an image of their own beauty.
In the field around the tank, which is Texan for "pond", coastal sprigs have taken root and cover the ground thickly, swaying gracefully in the wind, providing cover for native quail, turkey and rabbits.
The deer bring their fawns to the tank in the evening, to drink the soft, warm water, and make a snug bed in the long grass. During the night raccoons, too, come to drink, and to feel the soft mud with their inquisitive feet, again and again.
From the top of the tank dam the eye sweeps over the trees below, which cling in a tangle of knotted roots to the falling hillside, and stop at the face of a sheer cliff of white caliche, brilliant and blinding in the Texas sun. The cliff is parted from the hillside by a narrow slough that soon loses itself in the woods. In the bright, hot rock, are pockets of cooler shade, carved by wind, rain, and sometimes the swollen waters of the lake. Here, in one of these miniature caves, a great horned owl comes every year to raise her young. The soft white down of the chicks gives the appearance of furry stuffed toys with two large round dark buttons for eyes. The owls, large and small, are still and unblinking as fishermen drift below them, casting for bass. In the dark of the night the owl sweeps up the hillside and watches over the yard in front of the house, helping herself to a mouse or a rabbit, being part of nature’s balance of all creatures great and small.
I sleep in the house, knowing I, too, belong to the hillside.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
"After breakfast, work a while.
After lunch rest a while.
After dinner walk a mile."
From the wisdom of Edgar Cayce.
I'm looking forward to my massage this afternoon. If you've never had a massage, give yourself a treat! I prefer deep tissue massage therapy, as opposed to Swedish massage, because it's deeper, stronger, really gets into my muscles.
Sometimes I'm sore the next day, but overall it keeps my muscles free of knots that cause spasms and other problems. A good massage therapist will find "hot spots" in your muscles you don't even know exist - yet. Tones and loosens tight muscles and tension.
Plus, you get slathered all over with wonderful scented massage oil!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I lost about 20 pounds before I found Sparks. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about losing weight:
We are all here to feel better about ourselves.
This happens when we are healthier and not overweight. These things just go together and one promotes the other. Sharing this journey with others inspires and motivates us and reminds us we aren’t the only ones struggling.
Make one or two small changes first.
Start with what you consider your biggest problem, your most obvious weakness. Change that one thing for two weeks. Example - No Sweets; More Veggies; or Add Exercise.
Once you have felt the thrill of victory over that weakness - add more challenges.
Here is how it worked for ME.
I stopped eating sweets for two weeks. The first week was really hard. Second week I didn’t think about it too much. By the third week I had forgotten about sweets. I made sure there were none in my house to tempt me.
Then I had lunch with some really thin friends. We were in a cafeteria setting where you choose each food. I ate what I felt was reasonable for someone trying to lose weight but when we sat down together, each of them had about 1/3 of the food I had chosen! That opened my eyes to portions.
I started really watching every bite I took, really logging in my journal.
Once I reduced the portion size, I began looking for ways to continue to eat, satisfy my “chewing addiction”, my hand-to-mouth habit that wasn’t getting the workout it wanted. So I found all the low calorie, healthy foods I could add to each meal.
I designed my meals around a “CORE” of delicious, hearty food, in small portions. Then I added lots of veggies and fruit and clear low calorie soups before, during and after my meal. I discovered that by spritzing all sorts of veggies with olive oil and roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, that veggies I didn’t even think I liked (cooked carrots) were wonderful!
I began looking for the small core meal that would go well with my veggies. First time in my life I ever planned meals around non-starchy vegetables!!!
Eating Out - Try to plan what you’re going to order before you arrive.
Many restaurants have menus on-line. Order first - before you are tempted by what everyone else is having. When you place your order, ask for a take-out box to be delivered with your order. Put half your food in there before you take a bite. Take it home for another day.
WATER - A category all its own.
I drink eleven 8 oz glasses of water a day. I don’t even need to measure anymore, it’s become such a habit.
If I overeat, or eat something sweet or high in fat or not good for me in some other way - when I’m done I drown it in water. I drink all the water I can. I keep drinking water until I go to bed. The result the next morning is always better than I thought it would be. Water is a magic agent, as far as I’m concerned.
I had never before lost more than 7 pounds on any diet. This plan works. There really aren’t any tricks or weird diets involved. It’s just using portion control and finding a way to make that easier to do by adding low calorie foods and lots of chewing!
I think the most important thing is - when I indulge too much, overeat, stuff myself mindlessly - the best thing to do is go right to the next meal like nothing ever happened.
If I try to compensate, I fall into the old feast and famine syndrome, which never does me any good. And I wonder if that "compensate" need isn't really some sort of guilt/punishment mindset, which NEVER does me any good.
Feeling good about myself is a more positive approach!
Saturday, May 23, 2009
For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and
suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I'm starting now to plan for the long weekend. My holiday weekend will be longer than most because Joe is off work for 5 days. Joe the wonderful cook, lol. Of course, I'm a pretty good cook, too, and I'll be doing the ribs.
Last night I made one of our favorite casseroles. I was worried about that but I've decided that I have to learn to live amidst real food and still be thin, so I figured out the calories as best I could, planned my food journal and served myself with a measuring cup.
I ate really slowly and drank lots of iced water with it. It worked, because I didn't eat more than I had planned and my scale was down this morning.
Now I really have to focus on planning and eating like that from now until Monday, with more vigilance than usual.
Now you might think I'm a little flaky, lol, and you might be right, but I often think of my body as composed of little teams that hopefully all work together to keep me well.
Sometimes I pity the poor guys in my tummy.
*Can you just hear the little guys working in your tummy? Watch-out! There’s a load of sugar coming down! What! Where does she think we’re gonna put that fat stuff? We’ve already stuffed her gut to the max. Guess we’ll have to start sending it to boys in the basement. They’re not gonna like it since they’re already having to shore up with cellulite cells. Can’t that woman find an apple?*
Seriously, our bodies are quite magnificent. If you find an illustrated anatomy book and really read how it all works, it just makes you realize that the human body is nothing short of miraculous. If we had to BUY one, it would cost millions!
Fortunately, we get one for free. Unfortunately, we don't pay much attention to it until it starts to creak and groan.
Here's another "flaky" thing I do - Every morning while I'm taking a shower, I talk to all the cells in my body and thank them for manifesting in perfect harmony, according to the divine plan of Our Creator.
So, the guys in my tummy are my friends and I'm hoping to learn to treat them with more respect. I want them to have a good holiday, too!
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