Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Well, not the whole pie. As they remember, I left one little sliver for someone else.
I taught high school math and computer science and was also technology coordinator for grades 6-12. I took my job very seriously and I came home each day physically and mentally drained. Even at home my job hovered over me and the entire family. My lesson plans and piles of papers to grade were never far away. When I took this stuff along on a family trip, DH yelled in exasperation “you didn’t sign a contract, you took vows!” Fortunately, there are more good things to remember about our life than the incidents that have become family jokes.
I used to think that my body was craving nourishment. While most of the time my food wasn’t quite so unhealthy, I was quite capable of eating enormous quantities of healthy food too. What I considered healthy has changed over the years as well. Nutritional content wasn’t always as easy to find as it is today.
Yesterday, I wrote about one big slip-up. That sort of thing didn’t used to be a slip-up. It was the norm. Finally I decided to change the norm and now I join the 5%. I may still slip, but I know so much more now. If I do slip, I’m going to pick myself up and keep going in the right direction.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The “bottomless pit” is alive and well.
I’ve been writing regularly about my upcoming 3 year maintenance anniversary and how my healthy habits are finally becoming automatic. So it’s only right that I record and report one colossal failure. I believe in baby steps forward so here’s one giant leap backward.
I know exactly why it happened. One day last week some sad news had me feeling down and awareness of my well-known past reactions didn’t change the situation. The ice cream was there, many cartons of the stuff stashed by DH, the junk food king. He keeps most of his junk food out of my sight, but we only have one freezer. The calories weren’t all from the ice cream. We also have a bottle of chocolate syrup in the fridge which I dumped liberally over my mountain of ice cream.
Something is different though. Yeah, I messed up. There’s no way my body needed that. Yet strangely, I don’t feel all that bad about it.
800 extra calories translates into at most 4 ounces. Even if every last calorie lands on my hips, my body’s destination of choice, I can get rid of that.
What I do realize is that I just can’t eat like that every night. You know, we used to do that, DH and me. We laughingly called it our nightly “ice cream ritual.” We have big bowls for ice cream and toppings. When filled, they look like Mt Vesuvius spewing lava, especially when we added a cherry on top.
The ice cream isn’t going away, but I found something else that might help – my mother’s old dessert dishes – the ones I remember as a child. They actually hold ½ cup of ice cream. So that’s where they get the “serving size!” They haven’t changed it since 1950.
The average American was a different size back then too. Maybe my goal should be to train my body to match those old dishes?
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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