Thursday, January 17, 2013
My living room would make a decorator cringe. Displayed prominently are these.
The past: The 2 sets on the right (1 & 2 pounds) are the ones I bought for my mother. Her poor muscle tone was impacting her daily activities and I turned into quite a “geriatric personal trainer” to try to stem the tide of time.
Lesson learned: Don’t wait until you are in your 80s to get serious about this.
Mom complained and asked “why aren’t you doing this?” Well, because I thought I was fine. At work I actually once won a “bicep” contest where they measured the difference between your unflexed and flexed muscle. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know I always thought I was fine, even as I gained weight. But Mom persisted and to keep her motivated I bought the next dumbbells in the line – 3 pounds - and Mom and I “worked out” together.
Mom, approaching 90, never progressed to heavier weights, but she was able to do more reps. I was happy to graduate to the yellow 4 pound pair.
The Present: I use the 5 and 6 pound pairs now, three times a week and when the exercise calls for 2 hands, I pick up the 8, 10 or 12. The 8s and above were a present from my daughter. She has higher goals for me than I had for my Mom.
The Future: I have the mate to each 8, 10 and 12 and I hope to progress to that standard eventually and justify my daughter’s faith in me. I even have a pair of 15s. They’re currently serving me well as door stops in the basement. I really don’t see myself using those, but who knows.
Now why must I keep these in plain sight? Because without this visual reminder, I would never bother with them. Also, keeping Mom’s weights in the line reminds me that it’s possible to really lose muscle tone as we age. Those are my genetics after all.
There’s another fitness tool I keep in plain sight – my scale. It’s at the entrance to my kitchen. Another decorator no-no! Daily weigh-ins became necessary as my Mom lost interest in eating and her weight steadily decreased. I joined her in daily morning weight checks and nutrition tracking as a means of keeping her as motivated and as healthy as possible. Little did I know that it would put me on the right track as well.
Related Blog entry: My scale is at the entrance to my kitchen
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
While sitting in my cold house yesterday, I read the SP article “Can Money Buy Happiness”?
It’s strange how SP often emails me a link to something I really need to read.
The answer is “it depends” and the comments seem to support this.
What if I were unable to pay for a new heating system?
What if I were unable to pay my electric bill?
What if I were homeless and cold all the time?
With that kind of stress I would find it very hard to be happy.
Yesterday I wrote that I had responded to my temporary stress and sad reflective mood by consuming lots of comfort food. (Easily accessible since I live with the junk food king).
If I lived with constant financial stress, I would find it hard to live a healthy life also.
Statistics say that obesity rates are highest in areas with the lowest average income levels. Part of the problem is cost and accessibility of healthy food options. Constant stress plays a part as well. Oatmeal, potatoes and some other staples are comparatively inexpensive, but fresh fruit and vegetables are another matter. Occasionally we read about families who are able to defy the odds, but it’s not the norm.
If you can’t provide for your children the way you wish, it takes a very strong person to resist their request for a cheap candy bar or bag of chips. The recent “Weight of a Nation” documentary visited low income areas and compared the cost of junk vs. healthy food.
My comment on the SP article was:
“I think the key is "once basic needs are met." After a certain point, more money doesn't add to happiness, but it's very hard to be happy when hungry or homeless or without the ability to pay for medical treatment”
It’s hard to be healthy also.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
That’s how mystery novels used to begin and they rarely ended well. Fortunately, nothing dire occurred, only very disappointing. After a day of healthy eating and excellent workout, including navigating several potential hazards, I ate 1200 calories of junk, the equivalent of my total consumption all day long.
The day began with a grey sunrise, not at all typical for our lake. It was foggy and gloomy with a steady rain. OK, she thought positively, we need the rain. The lake level is low.
The house felt cold. Her husband announced that there was something wrong with the heat pump. The compressor was dead. OK, she thought positively, it should still be under warranty. I have the paperwork. I’ll go to the gym and call from there
At the gym all treadmills were occupied (very unusual) so the regular pre-class run was scrapped. At least, we had a heating tech coming out after lunch. Aerobics/weights class went well.
Back home the rain had stopped temporarily. She raced out the door to get a few miles in. After a healthy lunch, the technician arrived. The bad news – a whole new system was needed, inside and out, including corroded pipes. Engineer husband agreed with the diagnosis. OK, she thought positively, we’re lucky that we can afford it and it will be more efficient and better for the environment.
After a healthy dinner, it was time for choral rehearsal in a city 30 miles away. An email arrived with the news of the death of one of our singers. Who would be available to sing at the funeral?
After rehearsal the husband and daughter of the deceased arrived to thank us for singing. Our group had meant a lot to his wife. Only 30 people could fit in the choir loft. There are about 100 of us. They would practice the chosen songs at the end of rehearsal.
As one who was unable to attend the service, she hurried to leave. The weather was getting worse. She was stopped suddenly by the sound of “Amazing Grace” a beautiful arrangement and a standard part of the group’s repertoire. From the back of the church she listened. It sounded heavenly. Singing within the group, in the 4th of 5 rows, she never heard the full effect before.
She drove carefully on the way home. It was difficult to see, even with bright lights on and deer are a common road hazard. Thoughts of the day filled her brain.
Once home in a cold house, she bundled up in a heavy robe that she realized belonged to her mother. Jan 31st would be the 2nd anniversary of her mother’s death.
She made some tea and got “something to go with it.” Soon more and more nourishment was needed “to go with it.” 1200 empty calories later, she stopped. The thoughts stopped too. It was finally time to sleep.
If you’ve read this far, thank you, I know this isn’t like my normal blog. I’m feeling better this morning and realize why my lapse occurred. This is a long journey and one bump in the road won’t make much difference.
Monday, January 14, 2013
My blog entry on Saturday included the admission that I didn’t diet in the past because I didn’t feel I had to. In spite of my weight gain, my body image was fine.
Case in point: When at a family gathering my aunt remarked to my mother that ooh, Eileen got fat, I responded while gesturing around the room, “compared to whom?”
Still, there was one feature of mine that I always wanted to change – my hair color. Naturally a dark brunette like my mother’s side of the family, I wanted to know if “blondes have more fun” as the commercials said. I started dying my hair at age 15. I couldn’t easily be a blonde, but I went as light as I could with do-it-yourself home products. Did my mother object? No, she was dying her hair too. So was her sister and her daughter, my cousin. We were all “Moongold” women. We were a matched family set.
I went natural for awhile around age 40 just to see what I would look like, including the gray hair, more of which was popping up every day. Finally, my mother had enough. “Dye your hair,” she said. “What will people think if I have a gray haired daughter? They’ll know I dye MY hair.” Well, of course they would, Mom. You’re 65 and your hair hasn’t changed in 50 years.
You see, there was a time when women all claimed their hair was natural. “Only her hairdresser knows for sure” was another Clairol commercial. In our case not even a hairdresser knew for sure since we did it ourselves.
Back in the day coloring your hair was like getting some “body work” done now. It was just polite to believe whatever the remade person said.
I was 45 when my oldest daughter got married and I dyed my hair as Mom wanted. I’ve continued ever since. Fortunately, grey hair is much easier to turn blonde. After 50 years, I’ve finally reached my original goal, but whenever a form requests that I specify hair color, I’m tempted to answer “Nice and Easy #106”
Now we’ve come full circle. My daughter must decide if she wants to turn grey when her mother isn’t showing any. Her sister doesn’t have that dilemma. She started her hair dye ritual at age 15 too and never quit.
Society has expectations of how a woman should look and we can’t help but be affected by some of it. As long as it doesn’t negatively impact your life, go for it. If you prefer to defy convention, that’s OK too. Do what you have to do to keep physically and mentally healthy and happy.
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