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.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Just a case in point: Checking on one random day, I see that I consumed 1782 calories, near the very top of my maintenance range It was also a BIG day for exercise - running, walking, canoeing and even 2 short SP strength training videos. According to the tracker, I burned 522 calories. This was way out of the ordinary. I usually burn about 250-300 calories per day. Fortunately, the following day was my scheduled day off from exercise.
708 of those calories (40 %) were “snacks.” I think it’s time to face the fact that I don’t have snacks, I eat extra meals. I know that 6 small meals per day are recommended for diabetics. Fortunately, I’m not in that group, but their regimen seems to work well for my body too.
My husband says I’m eating all the time and I suppose it looks that way. I have this internal clock, my unique personal clock that expects fuel at certain intervals. What’s changed for me is what type of fuel I’m using. Greek yogurt with FiberOne cereal is one choice, not the donuts DH favors. Instead of Oscar Meyer “oven fresh” deli meat my sandwiches now contain chicken or turkey that I’ve roasted in my own oven. DH prefers that now too and even does a lot of the roasting himself!
I even LIKE the replacements. I don’t think I could continue if I felt deprived. Yes, my Greek yogurt is the organic kind with fruit. That sugar isn’t my problem. It’s the sugar from digging into the container of ice cream that used to sabotage me.
Now I find that I can eat a lot comparatively and still be within my range of 1460 – 1810. On days that I don’t workout I stay at the low end. If I’m active, I eat more. It’s becoming automatic – FINALLY.
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