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Getting real - everywhere in my life

Monday, August 30, 2010

First off - I want to recommend Meralo's blog post - because it's good and because - coming from almost exactly the opposite direction, she has arrived at the same place I am.

A lot of threads have been coalescing around me, ready, I am sure, to weave themselves into a new cloth. It's a strange, but delightful sensation. I thought I'd try to lay them out and identify them.

I've been reading and listening to a lot of books this summer, most of them about pushing through the cobwebs and dust of the status quo into a more fulfilling place. This is common in late August as the summertime winds down and we gear up for all the busy-ness that's autumn. Fall explodes on my life with the first of September - my BirthdayMonth (which I celebrate all month) but it is followed swiftly by professional meetings, holidays, anniversaries and civic events. Although my summers are always busy - as they are for all public librarians - my autumns are BUSY.

At the same time, I have a friend who is preparing to move out of a house she's lived in for 15 years and move to a new city, a new job, a new life. As she winnows out the chaff of her life, she's left with just the gold - the pure clean useful kernels of what she needs in her new situation. And I am both envious and inspired by how sleek things will be for her when she finally settles into her new place.

For all that I have been wrestling and not wrestling with weight and size issues, I have been pretty much the same size for about 4 years - and it was about 4 years ago I bought 4 cotton poplin skirts that have become my summer work uniform. They're slightly casual, but with the right top they can pass as business attire in my rural and very casual community. Now - I take pretty good care of my clothes but even the best things wear out and as I pressed these skirts this weekend I realized that not even the heaviest steam iron is going to erase the signs of wear on these skirts. They're kaput and when cool weather comes they will not be stored till next year. I will have to replace them come springtime. And while I love to go shopping and I enjoy buying new clothes, the thought of bringing One More Thing into this house is overwhelming.

Which brought to mind a statement in The Spark - Get rid of stupid stress - and I realized that I have been lazily hording stupid stress all over the house. I have too much clutter and too much yarn, too many magazines, too many books, too many unidentified photos, all the family papers from my parents house ..... the common thread here is excess. So much I can't enjoy any of it. So much, I have abandoned an entire room in my house to it. And because I am tolerating all this stupid stress in my physical setting, it's no wonder I'm tolerating it on my body.

Stupid stress.

And so I spent the whole weekend uncluttering. I started in the bathroom where the cabinets had filled so that they had begun debouching their contents onto the floor. Tossing all those almost empty bottles of "perfectly good body lotion" (oh la - what a Virgo thing to think) and expired antihistamines not only left me with a usable collection of products but also prompted some storage solutions for all this stuff.

As a reward for cleaning out the bathroom cabinets I dove into my yarn stash - just the Spare Bedroom Stash, mind you - not the other stuff. (fellow knitters will know) That was a more daunting task but I am now slightly more organized and, if no longer filled with that first flush of passion for Cleanitis, certainly more sure than ever that I am on the right path. That if I get real with my surroundings I will probably also get real with my body.

And so - both Meralo and I have seen that we often treat our bodies the way we treat our surroundings. If we are callous and thoughtless - either by senselessly tossing out the useful or by hoarding every last morsel and crumb - in one area of life - we are very likely to be so in another.

May your life and your body be sleekly maximized with zero stupid stress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 8/30/2010 11:39AM

    Well, it wasn't all that long ago that we moved from our home of 15 years to a new house & a new state. We still have clutter. I have gotten rid of a LOT, but there is still more to go.

And then there is the stuff I put out to throw away or donate and somehow it makes its way back into the house thanks to DH, who has a very hard time getting rid of stuff. But complains about my stuff!

I don't even have the excuse that I'm too busy because I'm working.

Decluttering can be a process too!

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AEBROWNSON 8/30/2010 10:02AM

    A couple of months ago I sent 7 yard waste sized paper bags to goodwill...all the bigger clothes, so there's no going back! And one of my goals right now is to go through one cupboard or drawer each week and get rid of stuff. It's very cathartic!

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SHEILA1505 8/30/2010 6:53AM

    Ever since I've been on here for health and fitness, I have also been on 3 or 4 of the Teams for organising my life and all the accountability is paying off!

One of these days I will be able to get all the stored items (DD2 and DS left stuff with me) out of my room - I have already cleared the mess under my bed :)

It's amazing - but should be glaringly obvious (it just took me time to realise it) - that if we take control of our actions in one area, it rolls over into other parts of our life


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183WANTS2B140 8/30/2010 6:28AM

    emoticon emoticon

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Don't go off your diet for special occasions - don't even go ON your diet

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bulls Eye! Spark People.

Deep into today's Best-0-SP article by Liz Noelcke - "Is Your Diet Making You Fat?" I discovered this important nugget.

you go "off" your diet on special occasions.
This is a very slippery slope once you step onto it. An extra drink for a friend's birthday, a high-fat dessert at your co-worker's retirement party, and pretty soon, you view almost every "special occasion" as a way to justify overindulging in excess calories. You enjoy these special treats so often that you're "off" your diet again, eating everything with a last supper mentality until you're ready to re-start your diet next week, next month, or next year.


This is a serious trip wire for me and it's all about being "ON" a diet. 'Cause if I'm "ON" one, then sooner or later I'll get "OFF" one. And for all that SP encourages us to not go on diets, I must be honest and admit ... I'm still thinking like I'm on a diet. I know it's true. And I have to stop. I'm going to have to sit down with Wild Child and School Marm and have a deep soul searching listen. We are all going to have to come to a new understanding about what it is we are doing - what we all agree is a healthy way to love - and about what we define as the Special Occasion. Because right now, in my world - there is a Special Occasion all the time.

There are the calendar ones - Christmas, Halloween (and all that fall stuff coming up)

There are the community ones ... like last night's Kiwanis Fish Fry - I assure you, I wasn't going to miss that - they're one of the big library supporters. Menu? Fried fish, fried potatoes, hush puppies, cole slaw, tomatoes and watermelon. Yes. I did eat some of all.

There are the personal ones - celebrations for loved ones successes, family reunions, TGIF's

In a way - there are celebrations and special occasions in my life every day and I have absolutely GOT to come up with a new method of celebrating. Even if the rest of the world around me is celebrating with food.

something is dinging in my brain as I write this. It's got an urgent sound. I think it has the answer and all I have to do is listen to what it's telling me. I think WC and SM are ringing this bell.

somehow I have to separate food from all these Special Occasions and put it solidly in the nutritional activity part of my life. In my mind I can accept the idea of just being with loved ones at a Special Occasion - of making the PEOPLE the focus of the specialness - not the FOOD. But deep down I know that I'm going to have to find something SPECIAL for me to actually do - either right then or just before or a little later ... to get that Special Occasion feeling.

Or maybe not

hmm. I'm still working on this. I'm just giving you the chance to watch my brain dig and scrabble for an answer it knows is near by but that it hasn't yet found. What I know is that I have to take the FOOD aspect out of Special Occasion. I don't mean i won't eat at a family reunion but that I need to eat a meal's worth of food, not a FEAST's worth, at a family reunion. And somehow I have to put the focus on the object of the celebration, not the method. The People, not the Potatoes, the Spirit, not the smorgasboard.

well. I'm beginning to write in circles now so ... I'll be back when I have a better handle on this.

Happy Saturday to you all - I have OWLS with OPINIONS who who whoooooting outside my window.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 8/30/2010 10:16AM

    There are all different kinds of glue from Elmer's to Carpenter's to Crazy. If you glue your fingers together with Elmer's, hours later you can separate them, if you Crazy glue your fingers together, later you may find yourself in the emergency room. I think we have used a certain crazy glue to meld food and celebration together into our brains. We ARE going to find a solvent to separate the two, so that we can more accurately connnect food to nutrition. I've already been experimenting in my chemistry lab of ideas. I think your lab, Bess, has a lot more beakers in it. (that is a compliment, and not a reference to our respective clutter!)

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AEBROWNSON 8/28/2010 12:08PM

    "I think she's got it, dear SparkFriends!" No, really, Bess, I think you have said some very wise words. Separating food from celebration is so important!

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EDWINA172 8/28/2010 9:26AM

    You hit the nail on the head. Diets are temporary. Too many occasions revolve around food. If you want to be healthy, you have to decide what you want more....cake and the temporary celebration or the 2 weeks of working out that it takes to burn off the cake. Before I bite into something I say to myself, "Do I want to wear this for the next 2 weeks?"

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SHEILA1505 8/28/2010 9:24AM

    You do have the handle, Bess
- I went dancing last night and it was sad and enjoyable. My lovely sweet teacher is leaving and all his students had to take snacks. Why does everyone take enough for a family when a single portion would be sufficient? No wonder the Feeding of the 5000 took place!
I took my carrot sticks and FF cottage cheese, cashew nuts and small blocks of LF cheese. Everyone else took gluten-loaded stuff, most had dinner before going (I didn't cos student houseguest was eating out) and there were the drinks as well.

I admit I enjoyed the sparkling bubbly drinks (and they were not H20!!) but was perfectly happy with my healthy choices - amazing how many of the people bringing gluten foods were tucking in to the healthy choices too! I also felt the benefit of it this morning at Aqua

I still celebrated my teacher's new future, his encouragement since I started dancing and his new life as he will move into a new home today - and we danced!

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WOMANCHEF 8/28/2010 7:58AM

    Ding! I think you are on the right track - celebrate the people in your life not the food in your life. Have a great weekend.

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I knew that - or why I ached all night

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I did. I knew that if you put forth extra physical effort, work muscles that have been unused for a while, it is vital to drink extra water for the next few hours. Though the argument about whether lactic acid released after muscle effort will cause aching muscles continues, I know from experience that after a new or more strenuous exercise I heed to re-hydrate - to make a special effort to re-hydrate.

Happily, I'm usually sweaty and thirsty after exercise and I keep a bottle of water with me and fill it up again on the way out of the gym. Only. I forgot.

I forgot about that when I was swimming yesterday. I felt so good, I was so ready to push myself, add a couple more laps, (instead of the single ONE lap I planned on adding each time I went swimming) do a wonderful and gentle cool-down-plus stretch afterwards and take a shower after that. so I wasn't sweaty. I didn't feel thirsty. I came home in a great mood to Himself - who always celebrates August 25 as Edward's Day - so of course we had wine with supper - and no extra water and whoo boy. did I ache last night. Tossed and turned and woke up often looking for a comfortable position to lie in and only after I actually got up did I realize


So - fully rehydrated now - I'm feeling much better and next time I will have a water bottle by the pool and sip while I'm swimming.

And what did I remember? Ah! I remembered to stretch before I sat up, to think about the most wonderful thing I get to do today, to turn on lights as I moved through the house and to step outside and pet the dogs in the sweet morning air. So. That's 4 steps forward and only one step back, hmmm?

Happy Thursday to you - and drink your water emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 8/26/2010 4:59PM

    I wish I had cold water handy while I was in the therapy pool today, the water temp was 95 degrees, it's usually 90 which is plenty warm. Today I felt like a boiled potato.
Glad you are enjoying your swimming!

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JLITT62 8/26/2010 2:43PM

    My shoulders were real sore after all my swimming last week! But that was probably because I also did some push ups -- pushing up my entire body on the pool side -- several times throughout each swim.

Well, soreness let's us know we've moved, right?

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AEBROWNSON 8/26/2010 9:46AM

    Thanks for the reminder, Bess!

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AEBROWNSON 8/26/2010 9:46AM

    Thanks for the reminder, Bess!

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SHEILA1505 8/26/2010 7:17AM

And of course the glass of wine had absolutely nothing to do with any of it???

I drink lots after aqua aerobics and swimming - good luck


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a wake-up routine

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I just loved today's Best of Spark People article about morning routines. The suggested one is below with my own thoughts added:

1. Wake up to music rather than an alarm.

I don't use an alarm - I'm a naturally early riser while Himself is a classic night owl. He's retired now so he sleeps as late as he wants. Of course I am a kind wife and don't really want to wake him, but more important than that, these early morning hours are MY time in my house, quiet and alone. I wouldn't give them up for a kingdom. Still - if I were going to have a wake up sound, I would choose music over an alarm.

2. Don't get up right away. While breathing deeply, loosen up and stretch your limbs out, from your fingers to your toes. Pretend you're a cat waking up from a nap.

Oh man - I am gonna start doing this. I do tend to leap out of bed and get go-go-going but I once had a physical therapist tell me to do exactly this. As my body ages I think it's even MORE important to stretch my body and breathe deeply before I actually go upright. So. Add this to my routine.

3. Think of the most positive thing you'll be doing that day.

WHAT a good idea. I'm usually actually upright and moving forward before real mental activity begins but if I give myself a few moments to stretch I bet the brain will kick in too. And I love the idea of plucking something wonderful out of the coming day to contemplate before I'm even out of bed.

4. Get out of bed slowly. Ease into it.

Well. Erm. I almost have to do that anyway - there are enough creaky joints and bulging disks and floppy ligaments in this body to make that an essential ... but there is something sweet about allowing myself to do what my body wants me to do anyway. It is ALWAYS good to give yourself permission to do what's good for you.

5. Turn on more and more lights as you go through your routine, until every light you see is on.

Oh I like this idea too. I love the idea of flooding myself with light - and often I don't bother to, leaving only one lamp on beside the chair I'm sitting in or just using the glow from the computer in the morning. Before I even logged on this morning, though, I did turn on the lights in all the rooms I passed through and I do feel brighter for it. another permission-to-do-what-feels-good item. cool.

6. If weather permits, step outside for a minute. Sunshine is one of the strongest ways to tell your body to wake up.

ha! that won't be possible much longer since we're heading into winter but I do at least open up the door every morning to let the dogs in. I could take a moment to step out into the beautiful outdoors, bathing myself in daylight. I actually do that frequently already - might as well just make it part of the routine.

7. Do 3-5 minutes of easy activity. Emphasis on easy.

Okay ... I like this too. Movement just for the pleasure of moving. Maybe a walk out to the fields to watch the light change, some very gentle yoga poses - not "exercise" so much as a little movement. Yup. I can add this one too.

8. Eat breakfast! Foods low in fat and high in protein, fiber and carbs provide energy that lasts a long time. Try yogurt, fruit, whole wheat breads, and skim milk.

Well there - I don't eat breakfast till Himself starts moving around, closer to 8 o'clock. If I am really hungry I will, of course. I don't believe in making a fetish out of any routine. But we do like to share breakfast together so that's usually around 8 o'clock. Normal for folks who get up at 7:30 - a bit on the late-ish side for us larks. But that is one routine change I am not about to make.

anyway - I thought the article was particularly good and I can't wait to try these new little steps.

Happy Hump Day to you

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEBROWNSON 8/25/2010 10:34AM

    I liked this article, too.... I'm a lark as well, and I already do most of those things, except before breakfast there is the hour I spend at the gym, and the feeding of the animals. But there's nothing like a good cat stretch before you jump out of bed!!!

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DIFROMWYOMING 8/25/2010 9:22AM

    I do some of these but I totally do NOT do the positive thought thing, which I think is a good idea to add. And stepping outside? In Wyoming in winter? thanks!
I'll just stand at the window and look at at the cold, sleeping world instead.

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EDWINA172 8/25/2010 8:17AM

    I also love the early mornings to myself. Quiet and peaceful. Have a great hump day too!

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SHEILA1505 8/25/2010 7:49AM

    Lovely Bess - Can I add just one more little one - I think it would be numbered 3.a. cos it is the one where we decide how we are going to face the day - isn't it going to be a fantabulous day where we are going to shine and be happy because everything is going to slip into place because we have planned it that way and got all the elements in place

Just a thought
Love it - lots of hugs

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The joys of Day 1 - because it's always fun to visit a favorite place

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thanks girlfriends, for your encouraging words. I do feel ready to move ahead and while I wish I had made more progress this year with the scales, I actually feel I made a lot of progress in other areas and after all - I am not Just a Number on a Scale. For example:

YOGA - I know a lot about yoga and my body now. I understand how much I slump forward and how important it is to Not Do That - and I can tell if I'm standing up straight if the area across my breastbone feels open - as if energy were pouring into my body. It's a wonderful feeling.

I also understand more about my feet and how to plant them firmly when I am walking instead of teetering only on the heel portion. for years I've sprained my ankles with horrific regularity and my husband would say "you're not using your whole foot to walk" but it took yoga to show me and 'feel" me how to use my whole foot.

Man - those are fabulous advances towards a healthy self.

WATER - I drink a lot of water most of the time now. There are some days when I don't drink enough, but they are few and I can always tell by the way my body feels that I am thirsty. I've also almost eliminated sodas from my life. In a year I've probably drunk 10 of them - but maybe fewer than that. I actually go months between drinking sodas. Now - if I could go months between overeating I would be in perfect shape.

SWIMMING - I actually love lap swimming and it's good for my poor back - and it is not that hard to buy the right equipment.

Great tools to take with me into a Brand New Day 1.

Yup. why not. Why not start today as if it were a brand new journey. After all, I take trips to a favorite place over and over - I frequently go to richmond to see beloved friends and family. I would return to the Atlantic Ocean every summer if I got a chance (and if I make the plans to do so). I can't wait to go back to New York City in October and visit our friends B&M. Why not start out on another journey to a fit healthy body?

Can you tell I'm feeling inspired?
I hope you are too on this fresh bright rainwashed Monday Morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUEANGELLK 8/23/2010 8:57AM

    Glad to hear you feel inspired! It is a great feeling. You sure have learned a lot! Isn't it great how the more we learn, the better choices we can make?

Keep up the great work!

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