Thursday, February 14, 2013
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, SPARKIES!
This year on this holiday of love, I've decided to go against the trend. I'm putting myself first! I'm going to be a little selfish, and it's long overdue. Before you judge me, let me explain, in my usual rambling way, of course....
This is the day of pink and red, of candy and hearts. The "hearts" are what have always seemed a little odd to me. What most of us think of when we picture a heart looks something like this: [mistaken for HTML, so couldn't post. Oh well. You know what it looks like.], but what about the actual part of our anatomy which without its healthy functioning none of us would survive? Unless I'm missing something, we don't celebrate other days with the symbol of an organ that, in reality, looks nothing like the real one. --Happy President's Day! "I think of you with all my brain"; now picture a die. It's Flag Day! "Live it like your liver"; imagining a sieve? --Even dice and sieves are real things. The heart symbol is just made up, but we've seen it everywhere for so long that we know what it represents. So, I've found myself thinking about my heart in recent weeks when I've seen all of those dumb commercials. (I would be SO MAD if someone bought me that huge teddy bear I've seen plugged on TV! Space is expensive. It would just be in the way. What a waste of money! Buy me a plant. Help me start a vegetable garden. A rose bush would be great! I'd love some good quality dark chocolate with all those antioxidants. Jewelry is always a good choice (and unless it's a candy necklace from 7-11, it has no calories).--Just me opining again. Giant obnoxious teddy bears are NOT my thing. Obviously.)
All of these thoughts about my heart and heart health, in general, bouncing around in my brain lately have led me to fondly recall when Oprah (--LOVE her!) was discussing this topic with... (okay, vaguely recalling now... maybe said brain needs some dark chocolate) an expert (was it Dr. Oz? --Really, I tried to find this online so I could more accurately quote and report the details, but to no avail) showed her how her heart was doing, and her heart was found to be on the healthy side of the matter. She said (paraphrasing now) something to the effect of, "I love her!" (referring to her own heart). She went on to say that she wanted to "...take good care of her" (again, paraphrasing and referring to her heart). I remember feeling touched by this, but I just wasn't where she was in life at that point. Not that I was smoking like a chimney (or at all), living on bacon and foie gras and drinking like Hemmingway, my heart be darned (or needing to be later, like a sock). I was, however, "thriving" (or so I thought) on stress, habitually losing sleep, exercising only sporadically, usually just to lose weight, and rarely, if ever, stopping to smell the roses or much of anything appealing. I also was relentlessly pursuing my career and putting in all of the hours that that effort required. It was not a time when we were concerned about Trans Fats. I never paid attention to how much sodium was in anything I ate. I remember thinking that I'd like to care for my heart in the loving way that Oprah had expressed, but I knew that it wouldn't be my focus, at least for a few years.
Fast forward at least a decade. Quite a few people in my family have died from cancer. Maybe that should be my health-related focus. But then there are the stats: More people die from heart disease than from AIDS and all cancers combined (1). Hmm. That's a lot of people. That's a lot of risk. The good news is that there are things we can do to prevent AIDS (and we now have reasonably effective drugs to fight it) and, in general, the things you can do to help prevent cancer are the same things that help to prevent heart disease and make your brain healthier --and to prevent or reverse diabetes to boot! (2), including being happier (3). (Talk about multi-tasking! Woo Hoo!!!)
So, now I am in that place in my life where I am committing to nurturing my heart. Poor old girl. I really have put her through so much over the years. I'm sorry, dear heart. I'm in your corner (ventricle?) now. In the wisdom of the flight attendant instructions, in the event of an emergency, you must place your oxygen mask on yourself first (before you do so for your child or other traveling companion who is unable to do so). This is because you're no good to anyone else if you have passed out or are unconscious. I really think it's best, though, not to wait for an emergency to do this. So, when you're showing the people in your life how much you care for them by showering them with Valentines, don't forget to be selfish and take care of your heart. If you are bothered by the thought of being selfish, then give a healthy gift to your heart and let her (or him, as the case may be) know how much you appreciate her (or him).
Happy Valentine's Day!
Be sure to smell some roses.
Friday, February 08, 2013
Hello to all of my Sparkling People!
Wow! Things have been so busy in my world since the beginning of the New Year. So much is happening in my life. Plenty of stress and some things that I can't say if they're "good" or "bad" yet, although most of that really is just a matter of perspective. Whatever is happening right now involves a lot of changes. (No, I'm not pregnant! --Or in menopause, thank you very much! Hey, we're not on The View!*) I'm learning to ride out the stress without letting it be too disruptive in my life. I'm not stress-eating nearly to the extent that I did before finding SparkPeople. So, I've been thinkin'.... How do y'all (no, I'm not moving to the South, either, it's just such a handy little contraction) deal with change, in general and the inevitable stress that tends to come along with it?
So, here it is.... My sparklin' new latest poll question:
Since I started Sparkin', I've learned to manage stress and not let it affect what I eat....
A. Yes, I've mastered it!
B. Yes, for the most part.
C. Meh... maybe a little.
D. No, I still eat like the Cookie Monster.
E. I wasn't a stress-eater before I found SparkPeople.
F. Something else describes me better.... (Do tell!)
Have a Super-Sparkly Weekend! (Yeah, I'm still not tired of that commercial.)
*No disrespect to the ladies of The View. I only made this comment because comedians have quipped that it's their favorite topic. I rather enjoy The View, myself.
Friday, January 25, 2013
I was thinkin' 'bout where we are now. It's January 25th. Exactly a month after Christmas and a few weeks after the beginning of the New Year... and more than half way to Valentine's Day from there, too. By now many of us have forgotten all about those New Year's Resolutions set only a few weeks ago, so earnestly and with so much *anticipation. But, I think I've found a useful tool to keep the motivation going. Success, in and of itself, tends to be especially motivating. However, I discovered this other new tool quite by accident when I was having an especially busy day. I had made tea one morning --and I'm sure you can relate to the mad rush to get out the door on a typical weekday. Well, I heat up my water for tea using the microwave. (Nuke a mug of water for two to three minutes. Could it be any easier?) On this particular day I was really racing... gotta GO!!! So, naturally, I forgot said mug in the microwave. Darn! I was really looking forward to enjoying that tea. Even though the tea would not have cost me any calories, this got me thinking about all of the other things that I tend to crave. The things that call my name from the kitchen, drawing me in like the siren's song to those poor, doomed sailors. (Ship)wrecking my healthy eating plans and intentions. (Sorry. Had to. I don't want to mix my metaphors, or rather similes, though. So back to the topic at hand.) If only I could forget about those things before I pillaged the cupboards and fridge. (Arrr, matey! Land Ho! Okay. I'll stop. Really.) Ahem... recovered now, I think.... I have, on occasion, been one of those people (hated by others, I'm told) who actually forgets to eat. Not so much in recent years, but I do have a history of this.
Procrastination is generally regarded as a bad thing. For example, putting off going to the gym or stopping whatever bad habit or starting one's latest resolution. But, what if I put off what I was craving? Hmm... that might actually work! So, that's what I've been doing lately. It works like a charm --or like some really cool jujitsu move; using your attacker's weight/strength/momentum against him and flipping him, leaving that criminal wondering what hit him while you make your escape (with the pirate's booty? --or with a smaller booty yourself). Ha! Take THAT bad pirate criminal guy! : P (I have no idea how THIS became the theme here. It sure is buoyant.)
So, here's that poll question now:
Do you consciously use procrastination to your advantage?
C. I've meant to, but I keep putting it off
So, why do what you can do today when you can put it off until tomorrow? Get crackin' with the procrastination, *cause these are the good old days.
*Props/credits, of course to Carly Simon (despite my minor adjustments).
Have a Sparkly Day today... or tomorrow... whatever.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Hello SparkPeople ... um, well, people!
I know I've been slackin' on the blogs lately. Forgive me; things have been really busy for me over here in my real life, and that tends to keep me away from cyberspace (even the Sparky kind) more than usual. Now that we're past the holidays, it's just a mad sprint until Daylight Savings Time begins again on March 10th. Up here, near Seattle, that's a really big deal. This is because, at the nadir of winter, it gets dark here at about 4:30 p.m. Yech! (We're not that far from Alaska, but I still can't see Russia from my house.) So, considering how dark and cold and generally dreary the weather has been lately (although, I do realize that I'm kind of spoiled in this relatively mild climate, and it certainly could be a lot colder, so I could be much more miserable, if I really put my mind to it) sometimes one's exercise routine can follow suit. In short, it just gets really boring. Like the kind of boredom you experienced when you were a kid. The kind of boredom in which you would prefer to be doing anything else other than what you have been doing, but you still can't think of anything else to do. (Akin to deciding what you're craving by process of elimination, except that with the former, you're deciding how to burn calories, and in the latter, you're making the huge mistake of accumulating them willy-nilly!) Wow. I really am even more rambly than usual right now, aren't I? My apologies.
So... I've been thinking about what I might do to shake up my exercise routine when I just do not want to go outside. I have my faithful stationary bike. I haven't established any alternates for my at home, indoor exercise. So, without further ado (too much already about nothing, really), here's my new Poll Question:
My ALTERNATE indoor/winter exercise, at home, is:
A. A piece of exercise equipment/home gym
B. Exercise videos (TV/DVD/online, etc.)
C. A game system (such as Wii Fit)
E. Walking (or running) in my house
F. Riding my horse around the house
G. Something else
Please share your winter boredom breakers with me!
Count down to Daylight Savings Time! Ready, set, go!!!
Have FUN, Sparkies!
Monday, January 07, 2013
I'm in a silly mood right now. I was thinking about what good things might be in store for us now that we are in the year 2013. We can all consider ourselves to be "survivors" now. After all, we've made it through 12/12/12 AND 12/21/12... narrowly escaping the Zombie Apocalypse. --Whew! Aren't we AMAZING!? Yay us. We've even made it almost a week into 2013 now. The only New Year's celebration we're left to anticipate is the coming Year of the Snake, which starts on February 10th, just five short weeks away from today. (It's still Sunday night where I'm writing this.)
Maybe the Mayans got it right, but they were just a little off in their timing. They were, after all, whizzes at math. They couldn't be entirely wrong, could they? No, I'm not saying that the predicted world destruction is just around the corner. I'm saying it has already happened, and just a little earlier than the Mayans had calculated.
I'm not suggesting that we're already dead or that we are now living in some alternate reality. So, what was this earth shattering, eon-ending change that has taken place? --Although if you've been on SparkPeople for a while, it may not have phased you in the least. I'm sure it has had much more impact on others; those pitiful ones who have not yet heard the good news of SparkPeople, but are sorely in need of it. What is the entity that is now dead, but has promised to rise again? (There's a hint in that last sentence.)
Ponder it for a while, then scroll down for the answer....
I'll even sing the Jeopardy! song while you give it some thought....
Do dee do do, do dee do, do dee doo dee do de do do do....
Okay, here it is:
It's... of course... the demise of the Hostess Company. "Rise" again, yeah, it's a bread company.
So, what earth-shattering changes have happened in your life since you joined SparkPeople? Do tell....
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