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Thinking about How I learned to eat, not What...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This article ( www.weightymatters.ca/2014/12/do-you
) by my favorite evidence-based diet doc got me thinking about how I learned to eat as a kiddo.

Of course, I'm forward-thinking about this: I'm well past the inclination to blame my parents or childhood environment for my bad habits, and I'm all about the "so, what do I do NOW to fix that?" self-talk. This article helped me reflect on some a few things I've encountered as I've learned to eat more healthfully.

For example, I grew up before granola bars and fruit snacks were ever widely available...but still, unless it was summer and the garden was coming in, we never had fresh veggies or fruit in the fridge. Those foods were in cans and jars in the basement. And even then, there were only certain veggies and fruits. Today, I now always have fresh foods on hand, but when I buy backups (fresh or frozen), I still buy only what mom had. Green beans, corn, peas, tomatoes. Hmmm. I might need to branch out.

I do remember being pressured to eat, and to feel a certain way about it. Mom and Dad grew up in starving households during the Depression, so our clean plate club was based on starving children who would be grateful for a big meal. We should eat it all and be grateful, too. Maybe it was parental overcompensation, but the portions they served us were huge - which worked great for my brothers, the big football players and track stars, but not so much for me (the little nerd girl). Eventually, as the family grew and meals became more chaotic, we served ourselves, and I could take only as much as I thought I could eat. It was good practice to learn to serve myself - today, I have no problem eating only a portion of what I might be served at a restaurant, or only choosing what I want from a buffet. I don't feel obliged to try everything, or to overstuff myself because it would be rude or "ungrateful" not to. And since the key to my weightloss has been portion control, I just needed to adjust what I was serving myself.

Another item from the article: watching raw ingredients become food. I do remember watching both mom and dad cook, which was pretty darn wonderful to see. Takeout boxes were rare in our house, and though we might have eaten lots of canned veggies, many were canned by mom and dad, and they accompanied real food. Sure, there were shortcuts - instant potatoes, Bisquik, cake mixes - but I saw lots of food made in to dinner. I also saw lots of failed experiments, too...dried beans really do need to soak, cream cheese does not substitute for cheddar in a souffle, and you really can over-work bread dough. Mom always said that if it didn't work, we could always eat PB&J. This fearless approach taught me to try things, and to understand that every meal needn't be a four-star experience. And always to have a backup plan, even if it's only PB&J.

Food for thought - and for the continuing story of being mindful about my relationship with food.


Ridiculously Busy

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I can't even list all the things I'm doing - fielding email, spending more time in meetings than at my desk, travel, overseeing several guests' itineraries, and managing to live my life outside of work, too. I'm so glad we don't "do" the commercial holiday (can't imagine what the added pressure of family obligations and Winter travel and shopping and mall-related mayhem would do to me). Looking forward to quiet observance and a little downtime for reflection.

If I get out of this semester alive...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAVELGO 12/11/2014 9:26AM

  Sounds hectic but you seem to have a great plan!

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Just an observation...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

...I really dislike the 'sponsored' blog content and articles on this site. Like advertorials in print media, the practice seems deceptive, and I distrust the message. Particularly when the content purports to be objective, then points readers to particular products that just happen to be provided by the sponsor. And I dislike the clickbait approach - mixing that content in with actual articles that might be of interest to the community.

I know - advertisements keep this site free. I shouldn't complain, and should appreciate that, thanks to the science-based behavioral modification techniques on this site, the tools and trackers, and the community of like-minded users, I've lost weight. A few clicks on an advertisement is the least I should do to show my appreciation. And hey, at least the ads aren't pushing magical weightloss pills and dangerous practices - someone at Spark is vetting them, to keep the community safe (mostly) from charlatans and snake-oil sellers.

But I really dislike advertorials. The practice of putting an advertisement into something that looks like an objective article seems to be inherently deceptive and manipulative. My opinion only, of course.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KESTRYLL 11/18/2014 8:14AM


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The Running Conversation, Part 2

Sunday, November 02, 2014

As the seasons change, am I prepared to run in the cold?

- I don't have to run outside; I can run on the treadmill if it's too cold. Or, with the bike on the trainer, I can ride my bike.


- Both the bike and the treadmill are pointed at TVs, and I can easily hulu episodes of Dr. Who.

I'd rather run outside...what do I need to do that?

- I'd try layers: Long, warm tights. Wicking long sleeve long johns. Wind-blocking hoodie. Warm socks. Thermal buff for my ears/neck. Mittens? I think I'm going to have to do it a few times to see what works. Trying it out, figuring it out, could be part of the mental challenge of doing it.

What if I don't like it?

- Deploy the 15 minute rule. If I try for 15 minutes and hate it, I can turn around and head back. Or if it feels dangerous and difficult, that can be shorter - but I need to finish the run on the treadmill.

Why am I such a wuss? Shouldn't I love running by now?

- I need to get over the idea that I'm supposed to "love running". I do love running, sometimes. I love it best when moving fast on trails. I love it when I'm in the city, in a quiet warm rain. I love it when I'm so stressed that it helps me empty my mind. I love it when I'm angry and need to run away from the growly feelings. I love it least when it's slogging along as a chore to be done, running because it's time to run, and I don't have the wherewithall (too busy, too constrained) to make the run into one that I'll love. Sometimes you just have to do the chores. That's the life of a grown-up - everything isn't always SOOOPER FUNZ!

I'm going for a run.


The "Running" Conversation, Part 1

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I haven't been running much lately.

- I should go for a run. It's not that hard. Get up, get dressed, go out and do it. I should.

I don't feel much like running. It's cold.

- I have running tights, and a thermal, windblocking jacket, and a buff for my ears. Besides, the last time I ran at this temp, I ended up stuffing the buff in my pocket and tying the jacket around my waist. It's only cold at the start of the run. I bet I could figure out just how many layers work for me.

I'm a little scared to run. It's dark.

- I can borrow the dogs' blinkie lights, and my jacket is white and bright, and it and my tights and shoes have all sorts of flares and reflective patches on them. If I'm really worried about it, I'm sure my husband will go out with me some night to give me feedback about whether drivers can see me. (He wants them to be able to see me, too!)

I don't have time to run. I'm working SO hard, putting in an extra hour before I go into the office, and an extra hour after I get home, both on top of a 9-hour day!

- First, I shouldn't have to work that hard to do my job. That is a different problem - whether that problem is time management, an unmanageable workload, systemic inefficiency, or whatever, "not running" is not going to solve that problem. Second, I work more effectively, manage stress better, and generally FEEL better since I've improved my fitness level, and running is an important part of how I'm going to stay fit.

It's been a few weeks, now. It's going to be hard to get back into it.

- It will be even harder if I wait longer. And every time I've come back after a few weeks off, I get back into the swing of things more quickly than before. Yes, it takes time, but less time than when I started from nothing. Stopping the slump today means I'll have less to make up for later.

It's been so long. Maybe this means I really don't like running. If I loved it, I'd want to do it, right?

- Nope, I don't love running the way some people do. But I have discovered that I do like it. Sure, I hate the first ten minutes, when it feels too hot or too cold and my eyes are stinging or I'm whining to myself about how my earbuds aren't perfect (seriously, they are a pain - how can people wear those things and keep em in their ears??!) If, on any particular run, I hate the eleventh and twelfth minutes, I get to turn around and call that a sufficiency of exercise. Most of the time, by the eleventh minute, I'm enjoying the light in the sky and the leaves on the ground, the feeling of checking in with my body and knowing where all the parts are and that they're working pretty well. I'm thinking about that thing that was bothering me (whatever it was) and deciding that maybe it wasn't a thing at all, not worth the bother. I notice, and move on.

Maybe my problem is that I'm not "athletic" - I never did anything other than mandated gym when I was a kid, never liked any of that because I was always "husky"...

- Whether or not I was "athletic" in the past, or would be considered "an athlete" now, I'm on my journey to fitness *today*. Also, though I never did team sports as a kid or young adult, I remember loving long hikes and running in the rain, playing tag with my friends on the playground, and baseball with my family in the back yard. Maybe I wasn't a star athlete - but maybe we shouldn't put so much emphasis on "be a star or don't bother". That's a lot of baggage to load on a kid.

So why haven't I been running lately?

- Doesn't matter. I'll noodle over it while I'm out there.


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