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Cells that fire together, wire together - or - Why you need a vision

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ever wonder who those "scientists" are when you hear something that begins "Scientists have shown ....."?

Well, I tracked down the one who showed us this one and his name is Donald Hebb.

Or perhaps I should say he is the one who showed the way for other scientists to prove it and their work is based upon his seminal thesis, known as the Hebb Synapse

"When an axon of cell A is near enough to excite a cell B and repeatedly or persistently takes part in firing it, some growth process or metabolic change takes place in one or both cells such that A's efficiency, as one of the cells firing B is increased."

In short - this is the guy who showed us that if we think different thoughts our brains become different - will rewire themselves. So we really do need to think like a healthy fit person as often as we possibly can. We need to see ourselves doing the things a fit healthy person does and feeling about ourselves the way a fit healthy person feels about herself so that our brain can become the brain of a fit healthy person.

I've suspected this all along - that I have to believe what I want is possible and then "see" it in my imagination in order to get there. And that takes time out of my routine. Time in addition to meal tracking and exercise and shopping for healthy food and reading labels. It takes quiet thoughtful time and ... it's the easiest time to shortchange because it looks like, seems like, sounds like daydreaming.

And that is because IT IS! I've been reading Martha Beck's book Steering by Starlight: Find Your Right Life, No Matter What!

and she's filled it with lots of exercises to do to help you start thinking like the person you want to be. She's aimed this at people who are far more dissatisfied with their lives than I am, but there are still nuggets throughout the book that are useful for me. It was her quote about cells firing and rewiring that got me to look a little deeper into the scientific literature. It was also that quote that reinforced my own belief that if I go to my thin self often enough in my mind, I'll eventually get to my thin self in actuality - and stay there - at last, and forever.

So - let us all become brain electricians and see just how much fun we can have with our new wiring systems!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 3/18/2010 5:57PM

    I think brain electrician might be better than being a rocket scientist. There are almost as many jokes about them as there is about blondes! Have a great evening!

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JLITT62 3/18/2010 3:10PM

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Martha Beck's book. I enjoy her columns in "O". If I didn't already have 7 books out from the library (and no hope of reading them all in the next 3 weeks), I'd request it now. Hopefully I'll remember it when I get around to needing new books!

Most of the time I believe this . . . sometimes when you're stuck, it's hard to believe.

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SHEILA1505 3/18/2010 10:52AM

    Imagine the harm we do to our children and ourselves when we put a stop to dreaming in class, dreaming when we are doing the housework, or anything come to that.

Although my decision to emigrate to South Africa all those years ago came as a shock to my family, it should have been all too clear to them as I had been dreaming of it, "smelling & tasting it", etc for years on and off. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for me when the timing was right.

The same is happening now with my trip to Paris - I have been hearing, seeing, tasting and smelling it in my memories and trying to describe that to my daughter. Now I am going to be able to share her first experiences of it with her.

It's such a powerful thing - and it's good to know it's a real scientific process not just me going off on one of my mind-travels again!

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JKTENTATIVE 3/18/2010 8:47AM

    Interesting blog. It makes me remember how I felt the first (and only) time I lost all the weight I wanted (7 yrs ago). I remember feeling in some ways like I was a different person. Though I REALLY liked what I saw when I looked in the mirror, I also had some discomfort in not really knowing who I was anymore. Several men "came onto" me at that time too, which really shocked me. Who was this slim, attractive woman that men were interested in (despite my obvious wedding ring)? I actually wonder if that whole discomfort thing had something to do with me eventually gaining most of the weight back. This time around, I am relying on my belief that SP will help me get through the emotional ups and downs of being on maintenance once I reach my goal. What is clear to me is that it is important not to under-estimate all those changes that are/or need to go on in the brain in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle. And, this whole brain change thing is helping me to be more patient with my slow, but steady weight loss.

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BETHGILLIGAN 3/18/2010 8:13AM

    Interesting comcept! It's just so hard for me to rid myself of the negatives! I will work harder on this! Thanks for sharing this info and giving me something to think about. emoticon

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The Joke's On Me - and some recipe thoughts

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When I was trying to think of a reward for reaching my goal (which I am not anywhere near yet - boo hoo ) I finally decided on a luxurious day at a fancy spa.

Of course, even if some fairy magically wanded me to my goal weight with the promise of life forever at the perfect weight and size, I'd still have to save up the money to give myself that reward .... and then probably have to spend a week explaining to Someone why I would spend $200 for a stranger to rub my back which Someone would be glad to do for free or I could even pay Someone the $200 to do it. emoticon

So, I began saving $2 a day - or rather, since I'm paid monthly, $30 -32 a month cash in my jewellery box. The joke is that now I've saved up enough money to reward myself with an uber luxurious spa massage treatment with extras, I have enough money to buy new porch furniture!

Which really is more of a necessity and we ought to have just bitten several bullets and bought some, but Someone and I don't shop well. We've been married a gazillion years (or 36 years, whichever comes first) and have only ever bought 2 pieces of furniture - and we quarreled doing that. At least, we did the first time till we bumped into a woman we knew in a furniture store in the city, making a bold and decisive statement. "I'll have my son bring the truck around to the back" she said with confident authority.

Someone said, in a pointed dig at me, "Now There's a woman who can make a decision" and the friend spun around with fire in her eyes, took a look at the tear tracks on my cheeks and said "Of Course! I left my husband at home!"

I will love her forever for that. Besides, she filled us in on ALL the couples we know who fight when they have to buy furniture.

But when I am sitting on my beautiful porch with my legs up on a chaise lounge, or when friends are gathered around a pretty glass topped table, or perhaps one of those iron ones with ceramic tile in the middle .... eating a salad of course - I will feel very rewarded. And I suspect the reward will have a more lasting impact since I shall enjoy it over and over again.

And as for recipe thoughts well my dears. Yesterday's nutrition tracker dinner recipe was chicken marsala.

I didn't have any marsala but used a pinot grigio which worked marvelously. I also used chicken thighs because I don't care for breast meat. But oh my goodness! It was simply and utterly delicious. I would give this very simple recipe a 10.

And the day before I found, in that same Weight Watcher's cookbook I mentioned last week, a simply fabulous recipe for turkey and canelli bean stew. 200 calories per serving - this is going to be a summertime favorite. To be eaten on my porch at the new (to us) porch table that I will buy with the reward money in my jewellery box.

Happy Hump Day to you all

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JKTENTATIVE 3/17/2010 7:59AM

    I am thinking that there must be a way to have it all - perhaps a little less expensive furniture, a less expensive massage, ($200 is very high), and a few more weeks/months of saving.
- Also - Thanks for the chicken marsala suggestion.

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ALEXTHEHUNN 3/17/2010 7:58AM

    How fun! I loved the furniture buying description. We're not quite like that, but I definitely get it. But it sounds like you have it reasonably well worked out.


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JLITT62 3/17/2010 7:46AM

    While DH has taken to offering me backrubs on a fairly frequent baiss, for which I'm quite grateful, it's not quite the same as a real massage. And is there any reason you can't have one now as a reward, and something even more fabulous when you get to your GW? You have earned it!

Altho our styles are quite different, we don't have TOO much trouble buying furniture. If I can actually drag him into the store. When it was time to buy new couches a couple of years ago, I did all the legwork.

If we'd known we were going to move in a couple of years, we might actually have waited. We bought 2 couches, instead of a couch & love seat, so both of us can lay down if we wish to. And not long after that a reclining chaise lounge that we both love.

Unfortunately almost none of it actually fits in our living room, and the chaise is in the family room, which annoys me no end because all I do down there is exercise and I really miss my chaise!

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SHEALUNA 3/17/2010 7:29AM

    I am of two minds. A spa treatment: Oh, joy! But you set a lovely picture of you and your friends (and possibly even Someone) sitting on your porch on your lovely new furniture eating lovely, healthy food and enjoy the gorgeous summer weather. Hmmmm... maybe not so tough a choice after all!

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MSLZZY 3/17/2010 7:26AM

    It is nice to pamper yourself but I'd vote for the porch furniture. We bought ours at an auction sale and use it all summer long. emoticon

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SHEILA1505 3/17/2010 7:10AM

    I do hope that Someone will give you a series of lovely back massages since you are thinking long-term about your reward!

Well done - and enjoy the balmy evenings etc & Sunday lunches

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TEAMDIABETES 3/17/2010 7:07AM

    What, pray tell, is a hump day?

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GOGIRL62 3/17/2010 7:06AM

    I think new porch furniture would be a much better reward then an expensive back least you'd have something to show for your money.

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BMI - Playing with numbers, yet again!

Monday, March 15, 2010

That's my chart - at least, that's the chart for someone who has shrunk from 5'6" to 5'5.5". That extra half inch means I really do have to be below 25 on the chart to be in the healthy range. 7 years ago when I wrestled my way down to 150 lbs I was smack on the 25. Now I am at 27.8 - more than half way to obese! (halfway would be 27.45)

Well. There. One can play forever with numbers and still miss the important things in life. But the numbers do help define the parameters. My healthy weight range is between 110 (what a laugh!) and 149 (something I can imagine being) and my secret FitThatDress weight is 143. I am working towards an initial goal of 150 right now but I don't plan to stop there. It's just a weigh station along my journey.

okay - sorry - I love puns.

And if you are curious about your BMI - what it is and what it could be - Here's a link to Spark People's BMI calculator:

Happy Monday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACIWRIGHT79 3/16/2010 9:06PM

    You're so close!!!

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JKTENTATIVE 3/15/2010 10:34AM

    It's good to keep reminding yourself where you were and where you are going. That way you are more likely to arrive.

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BEACHSEASTAR 3/15/2010 10:21AM

  Number, numbers -- they do control our lives, don't they. The last respondent had it right on -- it doesn't tell you how much is fat and how much is muscle. I have a lot of muscle for an old broad -- along with my share of fat as well. I just made it down to the over range from the obese range and I'm at 148 pounds. The thing is, I'm short so the numbers really work against me from not being able to cut as many calories to slower weight loss because I supposedly can exist on less calories. Tell that to my growling stomach and my obese BMI standing.

Thanks for sharing.

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JLITT62 3/15/2010 10:17AM

    The problem with BMI is that it doesn't tell you how much of your weight is fat, and how much is lean muscle. You could have a healthy BMI and still have too much fat on your body (ever heard of skinny fat?).

So yeah, it's a good thing to work towards, but it's not the end-all and be-all of the story.

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ALEXTHEHUNN 3/15/2010 9:39AM

    The BMI thing is very interesting indeed. As someone who is 5'7"", I will need to be about 155 to be out of the obese range. That's still 100 lbs to go. We'll see. I'd be delighted to get below 200. And as for the low end of my height/weight range, well that's just not going to happen. I'd be hitting numbers I haven't seen since jr. high (LBJ was in office).


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SHEILA1505 3/15/2010 7:35AM

    I agree with you that the low numbers seem totally unrealistic - mine would mean I have another 6kgs to go - that's about another 13lbs - if I tried to lose that my family would send in the men in white suits!

Thanks for the link


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BRANDY96 3/15/2010 7:18AM

    I'm still in he Obese BMI (ouch) but working hard to achieve Overweight status by my 60th birthday. Doesn't sound very agressive but believe me the Obese word is hard to take. Best of luck!

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MSLZZY 3/15/2010 7:08AM

    Thanks for the link-very helpful! emoticon

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Sleepy Sunday

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I don't normally like daylight savings time. I prefer the snuggle of dark closing my day and telling me I don't have to do any more - it's time to rest. Besides, I'm a morning person so I would rather have it light at 5 a.m. than 8 p.m. Usually.

This year, the winter and it's darkness didn't seem as cosy as in years past and the many days of snow that shut me in, following my unexpected brain thang episode made the winter feel confining instead of comforting.

So, for the first time in maybe my whole life, I'm glad to see DST come in. Of course, it may be that Mother Nature took pity on me and made it a nice grey rainy day so I can spend it all cosily indoors anyway - with no excuses about not going out and Doing Something. I don't even plan to do any housework, beyond cleaning up the kitchen after meals and sucking up the dog hair from the living room rugs - so I can do my yoga routine.

But this brighter, lighter, slightly warmer time of year also reminds me that I want to be wearing fewer clothes and feeling freer as I move through the world. I don't want to carry around all the folds that make me hot in the summer - I would really like to feel confident about wearing less. And I also want to feel more of that freshness inside that comes from eating maximum nutrition - minimum empty calories.

I have an image of me walking along the beach, kicking the waves and skipping through the tide - because I have the strength and stamina to really enjoy an ocean beach. And that image is not wearing some sort of hide the fat cover-up either. She's wearing a pretty swimsuit and she has her arms uplifted to the salt spray.

Yeah. That's what I'm thinking about on this sleepy Sunday morning at ..good gracious! 9:41!! Well. I'm glad I'm feeling so charitable towards DST because otherwise I would be resenting how it just robbed me of an hour of play on the Internets. Happy Sunday to you and may your summertime image blossom in your imagination and may you get there in 2010.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 3/14/2010 11:29PM

    Sounds like a beach scene out of a movie. What a wonderful image! I may come join you!
Have a wonderful evening and a magnificent Monday! emoticon

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SHEILA1505 3/14/2010 4:42PM

    I like your daydream - it could so easily be an early sleepy morning on a beach in Cape Town with mountains close by and vineyards misting up in the Spring or Autumn

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IPATRICIA 3/14/2010 3:37PM

    We are not changing our clocks until 28th March. I love your vision of the beach. emoticon

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JLITT62 3/14/2010 3:12PM

    Every night as I fall asleep, I try try to envision what my ideal life would realy look like. What would I be doing? How would I look?

I don't particularly like DST, but for different reasons. Even tho I'm a morning person, too, I really love it when it's lighter out longer. I feel energized and get more done. But DST just feels wrong -- it's not nice to fool mother nature, after all, right?

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HARPERLADY 3/14/2010 1:48PM

    great outlook, keep it up emoticon

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JKTENTATIVE 3/14/2010 11:24AM

    Just keep on heading in the right direction and you will achieve your health and weight loss goals. Somehow, knowing that I am eating healthier and starting to lose weight makes me happy and also more comfortable in my clothes. also, I am just starting to see a difference in the mirror...and that also helps.

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SANDRAFIVE 3/14/2010 10:49AM

    You got me thinking differently about the warm weather. Thanks.

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BRYNSHIPE 3/14/2010 9:46AM

    A couple things in your blog sounded just like me - I ALWAYS have to vaccuum up the dog hair to do my exercises and I spend way too much time on the internet :) I, too am looking forward to the warmer springtime temps. Exercise is finally not so much of a chore and it could be really nice to do more outdoor walking, etc.

Keep up the positive attitude and imagery - you'll get to that swimsuit girl!

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JUHOEG 3/14/2010 9:45AM

  With the change in time it is an adjustment

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More Math and a correction - Hey, I'm a right brained ENFP - that's why I'm a librarian!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Do you do the spark people trivia game here? I do - I love it and I never cheat by looking up the answer first in another window so I can have a perfect score. Turns out I'm a 75% person most of the time (although right now I'm in the high 60's) I know an average amount of information about health, fitness, nutrition, etc.

And today I got one of the questions ... correct ... but realized I've been carrying around the WRONG information in my head for a long time. This is both good and bad - and since I like to get bad things over with first - The bad side of thinking a pound of fat requires you to burn 3,500 calories (not 2,500 as I posted in my March 3 post "The Mathematics of Failure" is that you have to actually burn those 3,500 calories! But the good is that you must consume THREE thousand 500 calories more than you burn, not TWO. So eating 800 calories over your consumption each week would put only 11.8 pounds on your delicate frame - not 16.5.

what I know is 11.8 pounds heavier means I have to go up a dress size. At my height and the way I distribute poundage I change sizes about every 10 lbs. And for some More Math - 800 extra calories a week is 114 a day so think about it. What little thing of only 114 calories would cause you to top the limit? 9 jelly beans? That was a sad discovery - I really love the black jelly beans and they're coming into the stores now. But you don't get the full blossoming of licorice aroma goodness if you dont chew at least 3 or 4 of them at once! Two moments of joy? Once a day? Up a dress size?

Hmmm. I don't think so.

This year the Peeps folks have come up with another (aproximately) 100 calorie yummy - Chocolate Covered Peeps!!! I don't normally like chocolate covered marshmallows but I really like these.

Obviously I've been wandering down the WRONG aisles in the drug store this week.

And just in case you TOO are a Peeps fan here's one of my favorite sites. Some of the links are dead because the site is a bit old - but it's still good for a laugh:

Well. At least it's Friday. Stay out of the candy aisle!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BFREE2LIVE 3/12/2010 11:15PM

    Peeps are not a favorite of mine, but dark chocolate is. I eat sugar free everything and still enjoy dark chocolate in its sugar free form. I also like the black jelly beans---licorice is my favorite candy and yes they make sugar free licorice as well. So I still enjoy my candy without fail. Great Blog. Sandy

PS I was a librarian at one point in my career life.

Comment edited on: 3/12/2010 11:16:41 PM

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IPATRICIA 3/12/2010 1:05PM

    Fantastic Blog.....Love it! emoticon

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SANDYJAS 3/12/2010 10:07AM

    Oh dear lord, they added chocolate to peeps?! Sheesh, I will have to stay out of the stores this Easter!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 3/12/2010 8:12AM

    Peeps just don't do it for me. Give me a Godiva truffle, dark with hazelnut cream......

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SHEILA1505 3/12/2010 7:50AM

    I used to do the Trivia game when I was point-hunting (which I quit as it was eating into my day severely - and my expensive bandwidth internet account) but I find it very frustrating as I'd be on a roll for days and then they'd throw in highly US-slanted questions about which icecream brand is the healthiest, and US statistics which either entailed total guesswork or crash out of it and start again.

I've got 2 celebrations this w/e - allowing space for a couple of glasses of bubbly for each - 1yr anniversary of dance lessons with my teacher, and DS's birthday at a Rock concert. I think if I leave out a piece of cheese and a portion of yogurt each day, I'll be OK!

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JLITT62 3/12/2010 7:45AM

    Thankfully, being Jewish, I don't much have to worry about the Easter candy. I could do a lot of damage with those reese's PB eggs! Used to love Cadbury eggs, too, but they don't call to me so much anymore.

I could easily cut at least 100 calories out of my day by giving up treats. No treats = smaller dress size ought to = happy, but I don't think it really would. Gotta get a handle on just what will make me happy, both in the food department AND in life.

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BESSHAILE 3/12/2010 7:37AM

    Wise, MsLzzy - because those PEEPle have made a Dark Chocolate one just to fool us into thinking we are eating healthy candy.

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MSLZZY 3/12/2010 7:33AM

    My daughters loved Peeps but the sons didn't. I haven't bought any for a few years but chocolate covered? I will avoid the candy aisle!

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