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Establish good habits from birth . . . or live with the after-shock.

Monday, January 07, 2013

How did I establish my eating and exercise knowledge and habits?
I know I cast blame on commercials, the government, food manufacturers. But a lot of it was my home environment and I see applications in my life today from experiences I had growing up.

I had to eat my food on my plate, including the canned peas or asparagus, which I hated. Never saw a dark green leafy vegetable. Our fresh fruit was banana cut up on our cereal, either in the morning or for a bed time snack.

Application today: I've tried to overcome that hatred of vegetables ever since and I've tried to hook my mom, because she really didn't like those smushy canned vegetables either. I've hooked the both of us on steamed asparagus, fresh sugar snap peas right off my garden vines, and she can't believe they are so good!! I've continued to embrace and love many vegetables including roasted carrots. Absolutely delicious. And mom liked them, too, at Thanksgiving dinner.

When I was growing up, I was very active, a softball pitcher, rode my bike all over town, swimming, pogo stick, loved sports in high school, hula hoop champ, tether ball champ even after I broke my arm in a bike wreck. Course I hit the ball with my cast. One whack and my opponent couldn't touch it.

Application: Remembering how much fun I had keeps me searching for ways to get me up and moving now. I have come to learn how important a personal fitness program is. When I was growing up, no one talked about a personal fitness program. Besides the walking, I've started riding the recumbent bike, and swimming, and trying to hula hoop, and looking for other activities which I consider to be fun, like when I was a kid. I even got a mini trampoline for my birthday from my sister. That is lots of fun, and I can do it. She also gave me a Gold's Gym stepper. Now that one isn't as fun. Have to touch the wall to keep my balance. But it is very beneficial for my neuropathy. And I have enough other fun activities I can burst into when that one not-so-fun activity gets to be frustrating.

So there's that word. And another application.

If I tackle a change in my life that I perceive as too frustrating, or is truly too frustrating, I just don't do it anymore. So I set myself small tasks which will see quick results and ramp things up one notch at a time.

When I was in Junior College, I developed a problem with reading which I thought was eye strain, due to the huge amount of nightly reading. When I went out for golf, I couldn't get the ball in the hole. I finally went for an eye examination. I did need glasses for exophoria, where the eyes don't work together and nothing is where you think it is. I had flattened out my grandfather's brick patio and finally understood why I tripped over things there--it wasn't flat at all!! And targets, like the golf cup, were really a few inches to the right of where I thought. But the application here is that I still hate the idea of golf. Don't know if I could manage to get the ball in the cup and I DON'T care to find out. A shame really since I live in a golfing community.

As we got older, my sister and I took a trip around Tennessee and North Carolina. We stopped at a trail in the Smoky Mountains that led to a waterfall I wanted to see. I needed to go to the bathroom first, so I went in, but you needed change to get into a stall. I went back out to the car. My sister who had been driving, had gone on and taken the keys, leaving my purse and socks locked inside. A kind fellow traveler gave me a dime to get into a bathroom but I was left to walk to the waterfall with no socks. It was truly an easy hike as hikes go, and wouldn't have been a problem, except for not having socks on my feet. I'll stop the story here by saying it wasn't a pretty picture when I arrived at the falls. I haven't done much hiking or workout type walking since.

Some exercise-along-with videos I've watched on SP have obviously been designed for people in much better shape than I. I try to keep up with the trainer who is moving at 185 mph. I try to move my muscles that I know I used to have but that don't seem there any more, and I give up.

But I have pulled my self through all the cancer treatments by making myself walk my dog at least once a day. And when I was able, that became twice a day. And Jewels expects it now. I can't get away with giving up or saying it's too cold out there. She would like to give it up when it's raining though.

That has made me pause and wonder where the thing for not giving up comes from, because not giving up is truly part of my nature. I can't remember an experience, just my grandfather and dad telling me I could do anything with my life that I wanted to do. I do evaluate situations like those exercise videos which I know are truly impossible for me right now. And while I'm probably not going to try the 10 minute creative core work out EVER again, I will look for other similar videos that respect where my abs aren't right now.

So I'm encourage my mom to walk. When she was up for Christmas, she went with my sister and I to the River Walk and walked in the freezing cold. Very good for managing her diabetes. Her sugar is so much better managed now with what we have learned from Spark People. The day after that walk, she expected her sugar reading to require a pill because of the extra carbs from Christmas dinner. But no. 103. Woohoo!! Perhaps she will walk with me when I get back to Florida.

My point? Lifetime eating habits and exercise habits are easier learned than unlearned. It is VERY difficult to put changes in place after you have established horrible eating habits or couch potato habits. It is not impossible to change, but it is very easy to give up in the face of frustration, or fear of failure, or what I call the two-year-old stomping the foot syndrome.

Do you know that one? Where the two year old yells NO and has a tantrum?

So that's why I worry about everyone who is younger than me, especially about how they will ever change their eating habits, or exercise habits. I don't seem to be as worried about that because I see many people going to the Y with their kids, And kids certainly see lots of sports on the TV. None of that was going on when I was growing up.

But I think we're a couple of generations away from families who made their children eat their vegetables. Even if they were cooked to smush before being canned.

We stomp our feet and say, "But I don't like to drink water!"
And we think it's okay to let our kids drink all the sodas they want.
A better plan might be to just drink the water and teach the kids from the beginning how important water is first, with the other drinks being an infrequent snack?

We stomp our feet and say, "But I don't have time or energy to go to the store and buy the fresh fruits and vegetables and come home and cook a healthy meal and then clean up. So let's swing through the Drive-Thru."

And when our health or waistline suffers from the ravages of these bad habits, we look at the monumental task of learning how to fix it, and then actually trying to make those changes, and feel it's not worth it, or it's impossible and we give up before we start.

Wouldn't it be easier if we started our kids off on the best foot we knew of at the time?

Wouldn't it be easier if they saw everyone around them eating fruits and vegetables? that looked like fruits and vegetables? without all the additives?

Wouldn't it be easier if they saw everyone around them walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and enjoying it, having fun?

Edit in response to CT: Right. We didn't know better then either when I was growing up, Except they did say, Eat your vegetables. But the science wasn't there then to KNOW. As a teacher, we had workshops every couple of years when we learned what was new with nutrition that we were suppose to teach our classes. I started to think all the nutritionists were idiots because they threw out everything they had said at the last workshop. and so I never did much with the information for myself.

Now we do KNOW and I don't see any major changes happening anywhere.

I had high hopes for Michele O'Bamas "Plate" concept, but the new is dragged down by the old. Cafeteria meals at school continue to be processed carbs like pancakes on a stick with syrup for a side, or mac and cheese with no vegetables on the tray. I see no sign of a 1/2 veg, 1/4 proteiin, 1/4 starchy carb in our cafeteria meals.

We must do better establishing good habits early for a lifetime of health and happiness.

There are a few parents who are mean to the point of cruelty and abuse. But I think most parents are loving and want the best for their children.

I watched a show yesterday where a dad lost weight because he wanted to be around to see his boys graduate from college. But for me, the best reason for him to lose weight was when his kids saw him outside playing with them. That image will stick no matter what they do with their lives.
They might not make it to see him beaming with pride at their college graduation. But they will remember being active with dad no matter what they do with their lives.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORASPAT 1/7/2013 10:32PM

    I was so very lucky. In England we were taught NUTRITION in our Dining Hall. We had home cooked meals Like Mashed potato and meat and vegetables.
No Pasta, No hot dogs or Hamburger we ate with Knife and fork from 4 years old and we loved it.
We were required to eat liver to give us iron rich blood. we were required to eat PRUNES and we were required to eat baked Fish.

We stood in line at the door to be given a piece of MOUSETRAP CHEESE and we all ate it smiling.
CONVENIENCE is the underlying problem, We never had soda or Candy because it was all rationed. after the war. HUGS Pat in Maine.

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BRAVELUTE 1/7/2013 8:02PM

    NSTAR, I wonder if they don't put muscle behind a major campaign to solve this problem because they know we would not have enough fruits and vegetables to feed everybody, and the economy would go tumbling into the Grand Canyon if all those associated with junk food suddenly went out of business or had no jobs??? farmers, miners of raw materials for additives, poptarts, fast food corporations, manufacturers of fake vegetable oils, toy manufacturers for happy meals, packaging manugacturers, trucking companies, fuel suppliers. . . The impact would be a shock felt round the world. We'd definitely have to be raising some of our own produce. Let me know if you get this going. I'll plant a couple of citrus trees. Already have the veggie garden going. emoticon

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BRAVELUTE 1/7/2013 7:54PM

    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto on each point.

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NSTARSMITH 1/7/2013 6:29PM

    My mom insisted we at least try everything new on our plates, but never insisted we eat all of it. I think she "got" that kids have different tastes. When I was a kid, at first there just weren't many sweets or treats. But as the years went by, such things became easy to get and desirable. My dad was a doctor! But medicine was not about health back then! Looking around the world, I get the feeling that we in America are grotesquely spoiled by a glut of cheap, bad food. Don't get me wrong, I was seduced by cheap, bad food in large amounts. I have no idea what the heck will move America in a healthy direction! None of the federal program launched over the past 50 years has had any effect whatsoever. Since I am a psychotherapist, my focus has been on helping individuals to manage their lives differently. I hope they pass on better ways of choosing to their kids! I hope all the people who bring their families along to Spark Families pass something wise on! One at a time ...

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BRAVELUTE 1/7/2013 5:15PM

    Liligrac, I don't think we'd find a rich farmer anywhere. There probably won't be any government grants coming down anytime soon to fund the advertising.

Internet would probably be best. Oh, I know. a Twitter campaign!!

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GRANDMABABA 1/7/2013 4:37PM

    Good thoughts. Reminded me of watching "Wide World of Sports" as a kid and wanting to try some of those things. We grew a wide variety if fruits, veggies and evenn had a couple walnut trees. I took it all for granted back then. Now, I worry about the freggies in my grocery stores.

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KITT52 1/7/2013 2:04PM

    we all have to make good choices ....some times we do sometimes we don' happens

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LILIGRAC 1/7/2013 1:38PM

    Great Thoughts and concepts! I agree with you, but you'll have to re-educate the parents first! Or you could start at commerical campain aargeted at children to brain wash them the way the big food processers do!!@ Can we Compete? Do We have the MONEY?? We need som rich Farmers to push their products on tv the same way McDonalds pushes theirs. What do you think?

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CHRISTINASP 1/7/2013 10:10AM

    Of course it would be better. But. I think 'convenience' is a big temptation. Until we get a wake up call that forces us to think about health and DO something. Hmm?
Also, honestly, I always ate vegetables and they weren't always mush but I never realized just how important they were after, encouraged by books I read, I started eating truly LOTS of them. I simply did not know...

Comment edited on: 1/7/2013 10:12:07 AM

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The Sun Brings Many Possibilities

Saturday, January 05, 2013

I can imagine why early people were taken with the sun. It brings warmth to a cold land. It brings hope to a dismal gray week. After all, the temperature here has warmed up from 22 to 36 degrees. Early people might have wondered if it was a good time to walk down to the river to get water, or ice to melt.

I'm wondering about packing my lunch and wandering down to the river to walk, take pictures, even paint a picture if my fingers don't fall off first.
Maybe go south and explore Brasstown Bald or find a waterfall for plein aire painting.

I have on clean clothes. Laundry can wait until this evening after the sun goes down.

Yep sounds like a good afternoon!!

(Health, Fun, Responsibility, Creativity Goals)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITKAT717 1/7/2013 6:28AM

    This is a great blog!

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LVSHOPE 1/5/2013 8:43PM

    I was refreshed by your post. Today

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CHRISTINASP 1/5/2013 6:15PM

    Enjoy yourself! And the sun.

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SAGELADY2 1/5/2013 2:28PM

    We've got dodgy snow now, lots of clouds. Yesterday the sun was shining. I love sunlight and during the winter I tend to hibernate and get anti-social. Guess I should invest in one of those lightbulbs that makes you feel good.

Enjoy your painting adventure!!!

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NORASPAT 1/5/2013 1:20PM

    I hope you layer when you go out in the sun. We often walk on the rail trail when I do not have this annoying flu. e layer, we take hats and gloves and sunglasses and if you get warm open just the coat the body loses heat rapidly. I sometimes took off jacket and in just a few minutes I had regretted it.

Winter sun and bright blue skies trick you in to under dressing, that is not good.
Maybe you can take a photo and go home with it as a reminder. Maybe use it as a landscape the camera and the eye see very similar images. The motion is not there so one sense gets lost but it gives you some incentive. HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon

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KIWIANN 1/5/2013 12:46PM

    Enjoy your fun in the sun!! emoticon

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BOSS61 1/5/2013 12:27PM

    You must live someplace nice. The sun is seldom seen here this time of year, and never too far from the horizon.

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CSAGIRL 1/5/2013 12:17PM

    Absolutely! Out came the sun, and our temps went from the teens to the 30s. Life seems so much more possible now.

Enjoy your lovely day!


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NSTARSMITH 1/5/2013 12:00PM

    Sounds like a peaceful, meditative day out in the fresh air, admiring nature! Good for the soul and the body.

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EWL978 1/5/2013 11:07AM

    A lovely plan for the day.... keep on keeping on!!


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I don't find cold weather very fun.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Lows of 22 and highs of 44, overcast for days and rain (or snow, which was pretty cool while it lasted). It got very gloomy. And I was cold to the bone every time I went for a walk. I decided I wasn't living up to my "fun" promise and joined the Wellness center. I used the treadmill Wednesday and asked my family to ship up my bathing suit. Swimming will be fun. I'm hoping the 80 degree water will seem warm. The pool in my Florida community is heated to 85 degrees but has no cover. So getting out is difficult sometimes.

At least the pool at the Wellness Center is under one of those big bubbles.

The suit arrived today, so the plan is for a swim tomorrow. My only worry is whether it still fits. Some problem, huh?? But there are no swimsuits in the 2 clothes shops in Murphy, NC. They shipped them all to Florida.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARJOPAUL 1/5/2013 10:20AM

    The best thing about going out for walks in the winter is getting back inside. I do tend to wak faster this time of year.

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KITT52 1/5/2013 6:34AM


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CHRISTINASP 1/5/2013 6:07AM

    That's great that you are simply looking for other ways to get your exercise - AND your fun!

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DJ4HEALTH 1/5/2013 12:04AM

    I just saw them in the stores today and that is expected since we get allot of the snow birds around this time of the year.

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NORASPAT 1/4/2013 11:22PM

    That is where all the swimsuits end up you must be able to buy them for a song down there. Why are you in NC right now HUGS Pat in Maine. I love 85 degree water I swam for years at the Y 6 am and the pool just for me. THEN we got a new Y and the swim team swim faster in cooler water so now I do not bother to look for a pool HUGS again Pat

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KIWIANN 1/4/2013 11:00PM

    Hope you are able to get some great time in the pool to help you meet that "fun" promise you mentioned emoticon

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Is it Healthy Food?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Answer yes to 6 out of 7 questions and it's probably healthy.

Is it a plant part?
Is it colorful with lots of nutrients and phytonutrients?
Does it have 3 grams of fiber per serving (or more)?
Did you start with the raw food directly from a garden or farm, fresh or frozen without additives like sweetners, fats, or sauces? (you cooked it from scratch)?
If it was processed by someone else, are the other ingredients only other plant foods?
Was the plant food grown without pesticides?
Is it on the Anti-Angiogenic food list? (available at

I consider mushrooms to be very healthy for you, but they would fall short by these questions, since they are not a plant part.

Food that is excluded by these questions, like soda, sugar, artificial sweeteners, cake, meat, fish, etc. are questionable by many reputable, knowledgeable people.

So I am staying away from them, for now.

The most amazing thing to me is the amount of chemicals put into canned vegetables, fruit, and legumes.

I continue reading labels, and am scared off from most things except fresh or frozen produce. Or dried without additives.

How do you decide if something is healthy for you?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NORASPAT 1/4/2013 10:40PM

    Very interesting. My brother in England hunts mushrooms and other fungi in the fields of Southern England he is a writer and he loves to cook. He just has no free time to be in touch with me. I do love him a lot.
The growing season here is too short for many foods. I must admit I am English and was raised on meat and vegetables. Only Apples and pears when we could pick them in Friends orchards. I am so happy to meet you, I am type 2 diabetic so I avoid sugar I prefer it to artificial sweetener. I do not drink soda and the only vegetable I like but it is always too tough to eat is KALE. I love it in soups I know it is great for eye health but cooking it just never works for our taste buds. Pat in Maine.

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CHRISTINASP 1/2/2013 2:21PM

    I would think that a mushroom is a plant... isn't a fungus a plant? Joel Fuhrman who wrote Eat to Live considers it important to eat mushrooms frequently...
It's great that you simply decide to stay away from certain foods. Good for you!

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HHLTD1 1/2/2013 2:09PM

    I would consider mushrooms to be healthy too, they may not be a plant but they are not considered an animal either. I eat very little in the way of canned vegetables after not eating them for years I now find I don't like them and think they taste funny. We have so many options today to me it doesn't make sense to eat anything but fresh. Good luck with the the change in eating habits. I can't seem to stay away from sugars and starches they are my big down fall.

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Evaluation Questions and Creative Solutions For Resolutions

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

January 1, 2013 Evaluation Questions and Creative Solutions For Resolutions

Though I have never been successful with New Year's Resolutions, I have taken time to look and my goal page and do some revising. I'd like to think they will be important goals for the rest of my life, but we'll see next December.

Here are my revised goals for 2013.

According to Peter M. Gollitzer, it's not enough to have good intentions to accomplish one's goals. Good intentions must be backed up by good implementation intentions. I translate this to mean it's not enough to say, "I want to be healthy, or creative, or have fun." I need to have an action plan to meet these goals; a plan that tells what I'll do and when; a plan that helps me keep moving toward my goals.

("Implementation Intentions: Strong Effects of Simple Plans". July 1999 American Psychologist. Vol. 54. No. 7, 493-503)

So my first linchpin in my action plan is EVALUATION QUESTIONS and CREATIVE SOLUTIONS. I know, sounds like something a teacher would come up with. Guilty. But I think it will work for me.

If I __________________________
will it support my health?
is it nutrient dense food
is it fiber filled
will it support and maintain a healthy active body?
Am I being a playful responsible adult?
am I maintaining linchpins
Will I nurture relationships
with people
with the world around me
Will I make my spirit Soar?
will I nurture creativity?
music, art, literature

Implementation with Solution might go something like this:

#1. So, if I plan to eat supper at Krystal or McDonalds with Mom, that food gets 4 NOs in the food department. It doesn't maintain my linchpin of avoiding processed foods or excess sodium.

I might try to get away with saying I'm nurturing relationships with people because I'm keeping Mom company, or I'm helping to keep a whole industry in jobs, but I know I'm only rationalizing a negative situation.

Solution: Invite her to eat my healthy lunch. If she turns up her nose, I can say no, or take my dressing and go with Mom to Chick-fil-a and have a chicken/fruit salad and extra fruit cup, and supplement with more veggies when I get home. (Healthy, Creative, Nurturing)

#2. So, if I watch TV for 6 hours tonight,
I won't get enough sleep so I'm not supporting a healthy active me.
I won't be having any variety.
I probably won't be having fun, though I might learn something if I'm lucky.
I will be using up time when I could be creatively pursuing music, art or literary endeavors.

SOLUTION: I can check the cable menu guide and see if there is an entertaining or educational program that I will want to see. I can choose to record it or watch it, leaving time for me, to walk, ,be creative, to nurture relationships, to plan a fun activity for tomorrow, to maintain linchpins. If I start arranging, painting, or writing, I'll need to set a timer so I stop in time to go to bed. (Nurturing, Creativity, Health, Linchpin)

Tomorrow I'll look at the question: How do I decide what is healthy food?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PKBOO3 1/3/2013 4:01PM

    Very good motivating plans in action for you and encouraging for me also.

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CHRISTINASP 1/2/2013 5:33AM

    I am not sure I can follow this... But I like that you worked this out for yourself!

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FCARMICH 1/1/2013 3:42PM

  sounds like you have plans! Good for you!

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