Monday, November 19, 2012
Not about everything obviously. She would cringe at some of his advice.
I don’t usually watch TV during the day, but on Friday the 16th I found myself watching yet another easy fix for weight loss. I was about to switch channels when the promo appeared for the next topic.
They staged a stressful situation in a supermarket and afterwards measured the heart rate and blood pressure of the customers affected. Not surprisingly, the numbers were extremely elevated.
This isn’t really news to us. We know that stress is detrimental to our health. We have plenty of stress in the modern world. Some is unrelenting – a demanding, unreasonable boss, health concerns in the family, money troubles, traffic gridlock. Extreme reactions like “road rage” and “going postal” have actually made it into our common vocabulary.
In this episode the TV staff had an actor delay a checkout line while he communicated loudly on his cell phone with his wife who was still searching the store for certain items. This went on and on while she would return with one thing after another that he considered unacceptable. The waiting continued.
Afterwards during the TV interview the question was “Did you know the effect it was having on your body?” Although the victims knew how upset and frustrated they were, they were surprised by the actual numbers.
What would you have done?
My Grandma’s advice as I wrote in yesterday’s blog would be – “Don’t stress your heart”
But how exactly would we have accomplished this?
Grandma would probably have waited patiently and used the time to say her prayers.
My Dad would have pushed the offending cart out of the way and moved the line along. He always stood up to bullies. Fortunately, back then you didn’t have to risk that the bully might be armed.
I would have called the manager and threatened to leave my cart of groceries right where it was, if he didn’t fix the situation. There’s a bit of my Dad in me.
According to the experiment, the most dangerous thing for our bodies is just silently to become more and more frustrated.
One stressful situation isn’t likely to have long term effects on our health, but continuing stress will and we must find a healthy way of dealing with it.
Stress is something we all have in common, but the type of stress is very individual as are the solutions. There are many suggestions in the SP articles and blogs and we have to find what works best for each of us. Whatever we decide, let’s just do it.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
My grandmother was 65 when I was born. She seemed old to me from my earliest memory. Now I’m 65 and I have 6 grandchildren ages 11-18. I wonder if I look old to them.
She arrived in the USA in 1900 alone at age 17 on a ship that still had sails along with an engine. I saw a picture of it at Ellis Island. Today I can see photos of outer space provided by astronauts on the International Space Station. “Baba” and I led different lives. “Baba” literally means “old woman” in Slovak – kind of loses something in translation, doesn’t it?
Widowed twice with 6 children, she worked “outside the home” as a cleaning lady – long hours, low pay. No wonder she never really learned to speak English. There was little time to “improve” herself. She did the best she could until her death at age 93 still living in her own home (rented), cooking on a coal stove which also provided the only heat.
I had it easier. However, my demanding job, 3 children and their activities, plus a stressful daily commute didn’t leave much free time either. I thought I did the best I could.
Looking back there were things I could have done better. I’ve written about some of them previously. 50 years ago Baba was warning me to avoid the new stuff they were putting in food. She didn’t know the word “processed” but she knew food was changing.
I spent summers with her as a child since my parents wanted me to get out of “the city” as much as possible. I walked with her to “town” everyday and to nearby “blueberry hill” to get the main ingredient of her pies. If you know northeastern PA, those “hills” are steep! We always picked more than we needed so we would sell the rest to a man from “the city” who bought them for commercial bakeries. 25 cents a QUART! I had $300 in my bank account by age 12. That’s a lot of blueberries!
When I was upset about something, she would tell me “nebudz taka” – don’t be like that. She didn’t mean I should just accept the situation, but I shouldn’t let it get the best of me. “Don’t stress your heart”
I have more time now to follow Baba’s advice. I regret that I didn’t make more of an effort to do it sooner. I well know how hard it is with competing demands on your time.
I hope all you young women (and men) will make a healthy lifestyle a priority. It’s not perfection we’re seeking, but each day to be better than we were. These years count too.
Related blog: Grandma said: “always get a fresh chicken”.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
“No one knows our house is messy ‘cause when somebody’s coming we clean it up.”
That was my son’s observation many years ago as I mobilized the “troops” for a marathon effort to get our house “ship-shape.” Company was coming and not just any company – the in-laws. Remember the commercial with MIL and the “white glove test?” I don’t know if there would ever have been a test, but I didn’t want to find out.
Although our house would never be condemned by the Board of Health, House and Garden Magazine would never have us on their “must see” list either. To put it as kindly as possible, it had a “lived in” look. It took an outside push to get us moving.
The same thing happens with our health and weight. Maybe it’s a wakeup call from the scale or the mirror, a too tight pair of jeans or breathlessness at the top of the stairs. Maybe, it’s an annual physical, a school reunion or family wedding on the horizon. Some outside influence makes us put in the effort to get ourselves “ship shape.” Often we’re quite successful. The Sparkpages and blogs report years of pounds lost/pounds gained. Yo-yo dieting has become an American pastime.
I never had the yo-yo dieting experience. This is my first time through this and I do not plan to have to do it again. However, I do understand the concept because I am a “yo-yo house cleaner.”
I must add that my husband does the heavy cleaning, the stuff that requires serious cleaning supplies and I take care of the clutter and daily mop-ups. He once wrote “I love you” in the dust on a table in our guest room – seriously! Once I read it, he made it disappear. My desk has the quality of a geologic dig. I know the age of something by how far down I have to dig for it.
My daughters have developed a different mindset. They do a little bit everyday and never have to endure the whirlwind sessions they remember from childhood (the homemaking equivalent of a crash diet). I can learn from them. That’s my goal. That’s my goal health-wise too. Do my bit everyday to eat right and get my exercise. I’m on maintenance and it’s time to put the house on maintenance status too.
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