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There is no magic elixir

Saturday, February 16, 2013

So - when you were a kid did you pretend you were a magician and stir up a magic potent. Did you wish you had a homework drink that would give you speedy homework finishing powers? How about one to make you smart enough to make straight As? Did you dream about the elixir that would make you beautiful? strong? rich? fast? Something that would turn you invisible or let you fly? That would bring your dolls to life or activate your G I Joe or Masters of the Universe action figures?

I was prompted to remember those days and those longings after reading today's dailySpark blog on energy drinks.

Those things really creep me out. Fear not - this won't turn into a rant, mostly because rants stem from a failure to control other people while I believe we all have free will and don't get much out of letting others tell us what to do. Nevertheless, energy drinks really make my flesh crawl.

Yes. I am a black pot commenting on a kettle's ebony hue. I do drink coffee. Cookies pass my lips at an alarming rate. I can quickly fall victim to the siren song of the Cheeto bag.

It's just that I don't expect coffee, cookies or Cheetos to make me feel stronger, healthier, more powerful - to give me 'quick' energy. I might foolishly want them to comfort me, to make me feel like the booboo is all fixed - even to indulge some urge to disobey, to break some constraining rule - to resist a truth that I don't like. But junk food and junk drinks are always going to be just that - junk - and to paraphrase the old computer data adage - junk in, junk out.

Fortunately, the packaging in those energy drinks also offends me, creeps me out, turns me off. The black and silver and red zig zags streaking across the back view of some model's biceps; the red and yellow star bursts - these colors and shapes have a hostile look (to me) that are enough to keep me from even walking down those display aisles, much less picking up the product. Even the energy bars and protein bars are packaged that way and if I decide to buy one I have to make myself pick it up and read its label. Usually I put it back, too and hunt around for a banana.

That packaging is supposed to make the consumer feel like she has aggressive power - that she can beat the other, win the contest and yes, resist constraints. Mostly, though, it makes me feel like it's encouraging a world of bullies and victims. It's the food equivalent of those old 90 pound weakling ads for weight lifting programs that used to be in the back of comic books.

I am SO grateful that I've come to the point in life where if I want energy I think Dark Leafy Greens and if I want stamina I think Protein.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 2/17/2013 6:08PM

    Atta girl!!! I'm right there w/ya! emoticon

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FORBANDE 2/17/2013 2:24PM

    Awesome blog! It's frightening how our society is about quick and easy. I get a similar creeped out feeling when I see a commercial for 5 hour energy. That stuff just scares me.

I've yet to come across a fruit or vegetable that frightens me. :)

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WEDDWT 2/16/2013 1:59PM case you are wondering about the first 2 ways - they are fight and flight:
Fight is meeting violence with violence and flight is fleeing, to flee is to yield to violence.
Food for thought :)

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WEDDWT 2/16/2013 1:50PM

    I am thankful too, that the "lo-energy"cues I get from my body results in reaching for healthy options. Perhaps feeling tired and weak, in the minds of some, make them feel power-less and the energy drinks promote power-full, so the appeal is there. A quick fix. (Except when you end up in the emergency room later with a racing heart - very time consuming...)
This reminds me of Parker Palmer's 3rd way. The third way is a commitment to act in every situation in ways that honor the soul. In this case, honor the body.
The 3rd way is the way of non-violence. There are so many ways to practice non-violence and dark leafy greens is just one of 'em!
I honored my body with ten fresh blackberries in my oatmeal this morning. I can feel the simplicity and peace in that!

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Who Loves Ya, Baby?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I got a smile reading today's Feature Article about how to love your body - because I remember when i realized that Fitness Magazine had used the same body on their cover for months and just airbrushed a different head on top. The body was long-limbed with absolutely no curves. Whoever was in charge of the art department never swapped out the belly ring either. The boy cut bikini bottoms were always the same style filled in with a different color or texture. Kinda made me disregard all the information inside - what with the fake presentation and all.

I still love magazines - even fitness ones - but I never buy them unless I think they've switched out the body. It doesn't even have to look like a familiar body - not curvy or ethnic. Just different. Then I feel like there might be something new to read inside.

How will I love my body today? I will take it off to the gym this morning for a weight session. I love it that he always has a surprise for me - a new exercise - something I've never done before. Some I can do without supervision ... some I need a spotter for. All of them leave me feeling stretched and wonderful at the same time. Love me a session at the gym.

After that I'm going to go visit my mother.

And sometime today there will be chocolate.

Happy emoticon Day to you all

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 2/14/2013 7:00PM

    There WILL be emoticon !
Happy emoticon day, Bess!

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BARBARASDIET 2/14/2013 3:52PM

    That's hysterical about the magazine!!

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FORBANDE 2/14/2013 7:06AM

    Great blog! I can feel the love! :)

What an amazing day and fantastic way to love yourself!

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

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In the Deep Mid-Winter - some exercise thoughts

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Man, I knew 2013 was different, but I didn't think my verbal skills would dry up so completely. This seems to be the year of intuition, not reason. It feels as if I were winging it all the time. Which, as I said, was want I wanted to do - to hook into the flow and let it whisk me along. I just didn't think it was going to leave my brain so ... non-verbal. I written only one blog post on my personal blog and that was just the same old update I posted here a few weeks ago.

And now, of a sudden, it's February already. Time for some sort of progress report.

I'm still not at goal and I don't yet feel like I have the right tweaks I need to get there. But I am back at the gym on my beloved regular schedule. I had to cancel 2 sessions with the trainer but we met last Thursday and had the best session on strengthening my back. He gave me 4 new exercises that I am going to love incorporating into my routine. I was also pleased that when I went in earlier in the week, after a long hiatus, I was able to press 2 15 lb dumbells, 3 reps of 10. Yay Me!

Also, some weight lifting goals have been surfacing, murkily, like the little messages that you see in a Magic8 ball

I would like to be able to to do push-ups. Complete, all the way down to the ground, plank position push ups. I would like to be able to do 25 of them. With ease.

And I would like to be able to do pull-ups.

When I was in high school, those were the hardest exercises I was ever asked to do. I never actually did the plank push-ups - we were only ever asked to do what were called 'women's' push-ups. And of course, nobody ever worked us hard at this - we were quickly divided into ball teams and made to play games. emoticon That's right. That's how I felt - just as we were starting to have fun, I was forced to play a stupid game.

I would have LOVED being taught about and pushed hard towards body building type exercises but I hated ball games. I wasn't interested in winning any dumb game. I was curious about and interested in becoming a better me. I still am. Note - I will be watching the superbowl, not playing in it. emoticon

So. Just one more great thing about growing up - you get to study what you want. By bathing suit season - which is June 1 around here - I plan to be able to do both push-ups and pull-ups. Multiple push-ups and pull-ups. And I will buy myself a new bathing suit as a reward. I already have lots of bathing suits, one of them new last summer, so aNOTHer bathing suit really is an indulgence. It feels like a reward.

Last fall the Weight Watcher's version of the fitbit finally hit the market and I snapped one up.

I have not had much luck with pedometers. Pricey or cheap, they last only a little while and then break on me. This has left me a little jaded about tracking gadgetry but hope is the little fire that leaps up at the slightest breeze and I plunked down my $. It costs less than half of a fitbit but it has a monthly fee of $5. It syncs your stats with your Weight Watcher eTools though, so it tracks my activity for me.

But the thing I like about the tracker is that it pushes me to to be active all day long. I have never had much trouble "exercising". I just didn't realize the toll I paid by being sedentary the rest of the day. In fact, I would have told you I'm pretty active all day. Only ... I am not. Or .. rather ... I was not. Just wearing this little tracker reminds me to get up out of my chair and go someplace. Walking to the restaurant instead of driving, stepping out in the afternoon for a stroll around town, and yeah yeah, I know, parking at the back of the parking lot - these things make a huge difference in my overall activity scores.

I know there are other monitors that do more - for example the Fitbit tracks your sleep. But this is enough for me right now. I chose to go along with their suggested program when I first bought my little tracker. I'm at week 9 of a 12 week goal to get a certain amount of activity into every day. It will be fun to see what they come up with after this and to see what sorts of goals I can actually choose for myself.

The really good news, of course, is that this tracker has lasted longer than any other electronic body monitor I've ever owned. 9 weeks?! That's a record.

And so - that is where I am right now - in the deep mid-winter of February. I want to leave you with a link to one of the most powerful blog posts about body image I have ever read. Most of you will have seen this because it's going viral right now all over the blogspehere but I want to do my part to share it here. It's called:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 2/4/2013 3:52PM

    I had not heard of the WW version of the fitbit , so thanks for including a picture of it; it is really working for you! You're doing great Bess!

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JLITT62 2/3/2013 12:27PM

    Pushups are not really that hard . . . but pull ups are! Good luck with that.

I know that while I certainly get in a fair amount of exercise, I'm still quite sedentary. I keep working on it.

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Too visual for words

Monday, January 28, 2013

Miss Loquacity here has not been a very good blogger this year - not here and not on her own LiketheQueen2, over at blogspot, either. Mind now, there's been plenty to write about. There has been travel - that's Himself and me at the Metropolitan in NYC

There's been long walks in the wood with the dogs.

There's been company. There's been a fabulous visit to see the Chahuli glass exhibit at the Va. Museum of Fine Arts. This was my second trip because I didn't get enough last time.

There was Mama's 90th birthday! You Go, Mama!

But most of all, there's been ART.

All my spare moments have been devoted to learning a new doodley art form called Zentangle.

Not just learning it but teaching it to my cousin Frances.

so - life is busy here in TheCastle and one of these days I'll catch everyone up with words and not just with pictures. But that will be later - at Tara.

Happy Monday to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 1/29/2013 7:21AM

    emoticon What fun! Can't wait to see more!

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WEDDWT 1/28/2013 8:02PM

    I love your Zentangle. I went to the Intro last year and have done a few tiles, and get inspired by the Rick and Maria newsletter -they always show a few new ones. It is fun, how great that you are sharing with others!!!

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3016DEBRA 1/28/2013 5:43PM

  Sounds like you've been enjoying yourself...I like hearing that people still do that! emoticon

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SHEILA1505 1/28/2013 11:12AM

    You've been spending your time 'doing' things rather than sitting at the PC/laptop - it's great!


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1935MARY 1/28/2013 7:44AM

    Beautiful pictures and art. It is nice to learn something new. Have a great week.

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12 in 12 reviewed - and what's on for 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Whew. emoticon That's how the cram packed insistently demanding days of January have left me - slightly wiped out. Thank goodness for this 3 day weekend, coming after all the January deadlines, to rest up and get my groove back.

The past 3 weeks have held deadlines, introductions, trips and guests - all great opportunities to shove my New Years Resolutions to the back burner - not where they'd be forgotten, but where they could simmer gently till I was ready fo serve them up. Of course the operative word in New Year's Resolutions is NEW and since they're new I'm not sure they're quite ready to lay out in print, but if I don't do this now - I may not do it at all and I know for sure if I don't write them down I will feel bad all year. So. Here Goes.

First off - the recap of 2012 and it's 12 new habits. I loved doing these. I loved them so much I was tempted to say I will just do the same 12 in 12 in 13 and leave it at that. In fact - I will do that - with some tweaks and modifications. Those habits centered around 4 core areas of my life:

1. MY PHYSICAL LIFE (food tracking, exercise and water)

I'm very pleased with the end results. These three actions are at least enough of a habit to make me uncomfortable when I don't do them. I intend to keep on concentrating on these good ways of living my life. And though I am not at my goal, I did lose 10 lbs last year and kept it off. I started lifting weights and am twice as strong now as I was a year ago. And in a whole year I did not once talk myself out of going to the gym!

2. MY WORK LIFE ( Charles Schwab list, 5-year plan, BigWorkGoals, Compliment Staff)

I'm pleased - though not as pleased - with how I incorporated these into my life. I realize that reading the 5 year plan daily is excessive and but I will do it twice a week and see that my staff does too. The Big Work Goal and the attention to my staff are not yet habits but they're on my horizon. The Charles Schwab list is an absolute essential and the only month when I drifted away from it was the crumbiest month of the year. Won't do that again. Love me that CSL!!

3. MY HOME ENVIRONMENT (Clean the kitchen every night)

I started right off the bat and found it made ALL the difference in the whole rest of the house. Those few minutes of tidying up before going to bed gave me time to think about the rest of the house and what I'd like from it and for it. It prompted me to push for - and actually get - the bathroom renovation we so needed. It got me to get the rug doctor in to clean the rugs, and it lead me to initiate the difficult discussion with Himself about the addition to the house that we MUST have before I retire and before he gets to old to oversee it. Who knew a clean kitchen would do all that.

4, MY SPIRITUAL LIFE (Pray, Draw, Read, BigLifeGoals)

Yup yup yup. Prayed and found such expansion in it. Drew and got lots better. Didn't read as much as I thought I would ... didn't want to read as much as I thought I would - what a surprise. And found that some steps towards my BigLifeGoals were seeping into my days, my life, my very soul, just by opening up and letting them in! Got the bathroom redone, took the beach vacation with my sister, revisited old places I loved, explored new ones I uncovered.

I'd say the 12 in 12 were the most interesting and fun New Year's Resolutions I've ever made and ever kept. They were so much fun that, as I said, I want to keep on doing them. But they are neither new nor resolutions so ... what's on tap for 2013?

Ahh. It's much more ephemeral. Much harder to describe - to put into words - one reason I've been so long spitting it out. I'm not sure I can even now - but I am going to try. If I come off as maudlin or blasphemous or just plain weird - so be it.

There is a power - a flow, a source, an energy - so vivid, so exciting and so magical that it can take you anywhere in a twinkling. I call it God. I do not subscribe to a particular religion but I am absolutely positively certain that God exists and God is the way. God is the source. God is the power, the energy, the flow. God is the love. This is not a faith thing. This is a knowledge thing.

Nothing keeps me from this power except my own laziness, sloth, and ego. I can tap into the magical flow anytime I want to but I have to do the actual tapping. For 2013 I want to tap into that flow - every day.

I could say I want to pray every day - but prayer can so easily turn into a Christmas Wish List. "Please God, make me thin. Please, God, help me keep my tempter" That sort of thing. Instead, I just want to tap into the flow and let it take me wherever it wants to go. I'll admit it. I'd also like to use it now and then for my own egotistical purposes, but mostly - I just want to open up. Let it in. Participate in it's exciting energy.

Unlike my 12 in 12 - I won't have daily or weekly or monthly reports about concrete accomplishments. What I hope I'll have will be insights, revelations, ah-ha moments - some of which might be worth sharing. But that's not the point of this effort. The point is to live each day more within the flow of ... of God.

As for concrete accomplishments achieved in 2013 - there will be 4 of them.

1. Reach goal weight by March - and stay there the rest of the year
2. Do something every month about my kitchen so that it is more functional
3. Carve a space for myself out of the Junk/Packing/Guest Room upstairs - before May
4. Discuss with Himself - every month - the addition to the house so that it doesn't drift into the realm of pipe dreams

So. This is a different sort of set of New Years Resolutions. In fact, the big thing is more of a New Years Revolultion. But there it is - spit out in all its ungainly description.

I sure do love a New Year. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FORBANDE 1/21/2013 7:56AM

    WOW!! I love this!! What a great 2012! And I know your 2013 is going to be amazing too.

The balance of work,health and life are critical to success and you are doing just that.

You're right. A new year brings such great challenges and opportunities. Here's to an amazing 2013!!

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