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Good Neighbors

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I started the year out making a list of people and things I am grateful for. But yesterday I remembered that I missed a very important group--my neighbors.

We are always ready to lend a hand to one another when it's needed. The teenagers across the street have mowed our lawn, raked our leaves, and shoveled the snow without even being asked (maybe it was a hint that we should be taking better care of our property). And I've seen them helping the other neighbors, too. We hire them to dog sit whenever we vacation and can't take the dog. Whenever I hear disparaging remarks about today's kids, I remind others that the "bad" ones are the minority. Most teenagers are wonderful, even they can be trying at times.

Other neighbors welcome my intrusion into their gardens when they're in full bloom and share their enthusiasm, knowledge, and seeds with me. Sadly, I have a brown thumb, but green with envy at their botanical accomplishments.

Neighbors have also trucked away bagged leaves and trimmed brush--without saying a word.

They also keep an eye on the house when we're not there. Last year, a neighbor noticed a contractor working on the house engaging in non-professional activity and alerted us. One also called me when a contractor's truck was showing up at our house at odd hours when we were on vacation--he was supposed to be there, but we had forgotten to let the neighbors know. That really gives us peace of mind when we leave the house.

Yesterday was another good example. Our dog had major surgery on Thursday and came home on Friday. I spent a wonderful long bonding weekend with her, almost never leaving her side. She's able to get around, just a bit slower, and she's still just a bit unsteady on the stairs. I didn't feel comfortable leaving her alone on Monday, but I had to go back to work. If she had to go to the bathroom, she has to go to the basement to use her dog-door, and I was afraid she would fall--so I asked a neighbor to stop in once in the morning and again mid-afternoon to let her out and check on her. My neighbor offered to keep her all day at her house instead, so I walked her, her bed, water bowl, chewy and a couple of treats over early Monday morning. When I arrived home I ran right over to pick her up. The neighbor's house smelled heavenly--she had baked a batch of dog biscuits for my pooch. You can't find better neighbors than that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TWINKLING_LOTUS 4/7/2009 10:18AM

    How sweet! You have such nice neighbors.

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DH is a Good Influence on My Eating Habits

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This blog is in response to the question, How does your significant other influence your eating habits?

My DH is THE model for how to eat responsibly and mindfully. I try to emulate his eating habits, but usually fail. So what makes him such a good role model?

For starters, he almost NEVER eats between meals. The rare exception is when we are celebrating someone's birthday in the office. And even then he'll take a piece of cake or a cookie, but bring it home to have for dessert after dinner. What will power!! I practically inhale the sweet treats.

He eats slowly and deliberately. He may be only half way through his meal while I on the other hand have finished my meal and have begun to clear my plates and utensils from the table lest I go back for seconds. I think my middle name should be "Hoover." He sometimes will make comments like, "Is that a touch of cinnamon in the sauce?" That's when I know he's truly savoring every bite. I miss all those wonderful subtleties.

A piece of fruit or some plain yogurt with a touch of honey and granola will satisfy his sweet tooth after dinner. I, too, eat yogurt and fruit for dessert, but I'd be lying if I said it satisfied my cravings for something sweet. Though I can get by adding a cup of herbal tea with some honey. I keep a stash of Hershey Kisses or other mini candy bars for when the cravings get extreme--I am very good at eating just one, letting it slowly melt in my mouth.

We share some good eating habits. We both love vegetables and salads and eat a lot of them without butter or sauces. We go very light with salad dressings--just a teaspoon or two. We also like vegetarian meals, and I try to work in tofu and tempeh once in a while.

Neither of us cares to eat at fast food restaurants or chain restaurants. Even dishes that appear to be healthy are loaded with more fat than I would ever use at home to make the same food. We rarely go out to eat except for special occasions, and then we indulge in fine dining where the portions are much smaller and the chef will cater to any special requests we may have.

We are both adventuress in trying different cuisines and foods, especially when dining out--we've had goat, ostrich, rabbit, venison, alligator, all types of seafood, sushi, etc. We really enjoy trying new things, and we have yet to find something we just couldn't swallow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAFODIL24 1/8/2009 10:23AM

    WOW ~ he is truly an inspiration. emoticon and thank you for sharing. I am what you would call a "hoover" when it comes to sweets, especially cookies and chocolate. Well, a gal just has to have her chocolate! It is great that you are able to indulge with just one and savor it slowly. Take that practice to your regular meals like your DH and slow down to savor it. I've been trying to slow down and one thing that is helps me is setting my utensil down between each bite. You guys have fabulous eating habits!! And again, thank you for sharing!

Hugs~Taffi emoticon

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2009 First Week Review

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's been hit or miss for me as far as tracking my exercise and nutrition on SparkPeople. Much to my surprise, I finally have a full week recorded--hey, that's a streak! So how am I doing? Let's see . . .

Nutrition Report: Five days out of 7 I've stayed within the set range for calories, fat, and cholesterol. I've met the goal for fiber 3 times. Without eating high-fiber cereal for breakfast, I don't stand a chance of meeting the minimum. I'm a little high on carbs and low on protein. Eating enough protein has always been a challenge. I'm not a vegetarian, but I could easily go weeks without ever eating any meat. But eventually I miss a tasty burger or grilled chicken breast, or my favorite, pork.

Where can I improve? increase the amount of fiber and protein and decrease the amount of carbs.

How am I going to do it? Fiber: Sprinkle high-fiber cereal on yogurt. Add 1 vegetarian meal per week using legumes. Protein: Add a protein shake for lunch. Carbs: not sure how I'm gong to reduce. I have to look over the individual foods I've been eating to get a better idea of how to bring these into balance.

Exercise Report: Bootcamp video every day since it started on Jan. 4. Thirty minutes of yoga twice a week. I'm short on cardio--35 minutes on the dreadmill. Weekends I usually get in my long run; this week's goal is 10 miles.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJRENOIRGIRL 1/11/2009 3:20PM

    I have the same problem with protein and carbs. I've essentially started paying attention to how my friends on low-carb diets are eating. I'm not going to go Atkins, but I've realized that veggies and fruit really do have lots of carbs in them and I can probably get by well on those.

And yeah! I found the same thing with fiber. I got to the point where, if the carb isn't high-fiber, it just isn't worth it!

To increase protein, I've started having a serving or two of fat-free egg substitute, cooked, as a snack--sometimes with some olive oil added, since my diet is actually so low-fat that I usually have to look for opportunities to add nuts or olive oil back in.

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TAFODIL24 1/8/2009 12:00AM

    emoticon This looks like a great start ~ you will Shine in 2009. Keep the focus!

Hugs~Taffi emoticon

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Bootcamp Challenge

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Day 1 - completed the video. These short exercises will be easy to fit in early before I leave for work. It's hard to find an hour to do a longer DVD before work, but there is no excuse for not finding 10 or so minutes to do the bootcamp. I'd like to lose 3 lbs. this month. There are some leftover holiday social events this month, so I've picked a realistic goal. Nothing succeeds like success, so that's what I hope I am setting myself up for. I'm looking forward to Day 2 using a stability ball. Mine is gathering dust in the basement.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJRENOIRGIRL 1/5/2009 2:26PM

    I loved the kickboxing routine, and actually backed it up a couple of times (from the ending boxers' shuffle back to the same point at the beginning) to lengthen it a bit.

That stability ball workout this morning, though--bah. I wish there were some alternative to lunges and squats!

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WILDCARD1 1/5/2009 10:53AM

    I have been getting up and doing them in the morning too! I will have to fit the cardio in at another time during the day, but I like getting the video's out of the way right away. Also, motivates me for the day!!! Let's get it done!!!

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No Resolutions

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Well, the new year is here and I have been feeling compelled to make a list of resolutions for '09. I've started the list several times, only to scratch it out and start all over, and then finally to scrap it all together. After all, if I had my lists from the last few years, I'm sure they would be the same re-cycled lists: lose weight, get in better shape, watch my diet, yadda, yadda, yadda. Obviously, I haven't been successful at keeping those resolutions or they would have been eliminated by now.

So this year, no resolutions. Each month I'm going to select 1 goal and try my best to reach or exceed it. I'm hoping by being focused on making just one change at a time that I'll be able to analyze the results and then the following month either continue with that goal and/or select another. Goals may be related to exercise, diet, personal relationships, hobbies, profession, house projects, etc. I may select a larger goal to meet in a few months, and each month prior will be a stepping stone to reach the larger goal. I've never tried this before, so it will be an interesting experiment.

Hopefully, as I succeed or fail, I'll learn what's really important to me.


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