Monday, August 17, 2009
Over the past weekend (this is why I had needed cleaning elves), my parents visited.
They of course know me at any and every weight and so are thrilled that I am where I am but at the same time I was offered some chips. Hmm.
Be that as it may, it was an occasion to listen and observe. My folks are in their late seventies. Like many people of that age group, they've had some health issues. Plus their peer group has had health concerns including, sadly, some deaths. Friends are going into assisted living. Others have the start of Alzheimer's. Others have trouble with mobility.
In short, worlds are getting smaller, and dominions are becoming diminished.
I see their own world shrinking a bit, as they love to travel but now seem to have written off going overseas. Too many health insurance questions. Too many concerns about language barriers. Too many fears of bad food or less than perfectly clean water or the ease of finding proper facilities. Too much walking. Too far from doctors and the familiar.
This from people who, when I was six and we were driving in Germany, he said to her, "Hey, that sign is showing the way to Austria. Wanna go to Austria?" "Sure!" she replied.
So, no more impulse trips to Austria. Or to England, which they both love and obviously has no language barrier.
But I don't push. They make their choices, and my husband and I make our own and we are all adults and, presumably, all have the most and best and latest information at our fingertips. No one feels how someone else feels, really.
But it makes me wonder, how the choices I make today affect the ones that I will be forced into later.
* If I choose to be healthy today, then I might (there are no guarantees) be healthier in 30 years, or 35 or more (I turn 47 in a few weeks).
* But if I don't choose to be healthy today, then chances are good that I will remain unhealthy.
* If I exercise today, not only should I be able to exercise tomorrow, I should also be able to do more basic things in the future like ~
** climb stairs readily
** reach for an item on a high shelf
** care for my own lawn and garden
** drive long distances
** walk where I want to go
** ride a bike if I so choose
** keep up
* If I eat right today, then I have a fighting chance of, in the future, being able to ~
** eat without fear of diabetes
** eat without fear of a heart attack, or needing bypass surgery
** eat affordable, sustainable foods that are not just good for me but are good for my local community and the planet
* If I drink the water, then I just might be able to, in the future ~
** keep my weight down
** not have dry mouth or eyes
** not get edema
I want to be taken out of my home feet first. And I want that to be a long, long time from now. And in the meantime, until that inevitable day, I want my time to be as good as it can be.
On Saturday, we went out and played frisbee. It was some alone together time for Mr. J and me, plus we both needed to work out. I jumped. A lot. And let me tell you -- I have sometimes seen frisbee as a chore, ugh, I need to do cardio, I'm tired of cardio, blah blah blah.
But on Saturday, I jumped and jumped. And I remembered, from back when, I suppose, I was six or so, my parents driving around Austria.
Jumping is fun.
What a great word.
What an awesome, kick-bun word.
Fun. It's the essence. We should have some of it every single day, in whatever way we can, in whatever capacity.
It doesn't necessarily mean that I want to play frisbee all the time, or that I cannot be serious ever again, but I do want to have fun. Every day. For the rest of my life. For every day that remains, I want fun.
That's a lot of wrap up in a little three-letter word package.
I highly recommend it.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
A demo of how to make http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-deta
il.asp?recipe=347094 (serving size is one tablespoon of guacamole goodness), plus how to do a cooking demo when you're nowhere near a kitchen. Note: this video is kinda long.
Monday, August 10, 2009
... or, maybe they don't. I'll explain in a moment.
I saw my friend over the weekend. And he told me he'd been an overweight child, but suddenly had a growth spurt and ended up underweight. He was (and he's about an inch taller than I am) 129 at the beginning of this year. But after quitting smoking, he's now about 160. He's not too worried (he was rather slight before, and now seems to be a bit better-proportioned), but it did remind me: you change your life and suddenly your body changes, too. Even if you expect it, even if you want it to, it can still surprise you.
But what I really want to talk about is the following article: www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/ma
The title is, "Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch", and it discusses the rise of cooking shows in America (some of this is a tie-in to the new "Julie and Julia" movie) and the decline of actual cooking. It makes some fascinating points.
* Most cooking shows are designed to entertain, rather than teach you how to cook. Still, there is information, even in the entertainment-heavy shows.
* Cooking shows have changed from make it right to make it fast. Rachael Ray, anyone?
* Other cooking shows have evolved from mainly cooking to mainly eating. Guy Fieri, anyone?
* What does cooking really mean, in particular, scratch cooking? Is it scratch if you open a can, or spoon out some mayo that you did not make personally?
* The less cooking, the more obesity. "as the 'time cost' of food preparation has fallen, calorie consumption has gone up, particularly consumption of the sort of snack and convenience foods that are typically cooked outside the home. ... when we donít have to cook meals, we eat more of them: as the amount of time Americans spend cooking has dropped by about half, the number of meals Americans eat in a day has climbed; since 1977, weíve added approximately half a meal to our daily intake.
"The more time a nation devotes to food preparation at home, the lower its rate of obesity. In fact, the amount of time spent cooking predicts obesity rates more reliably than female participation in the labor force or income. Other research supports the idea that cooking is a better predictor of a healthful diet than social class: a 1992 study in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that poor women who routinely cooked were more likely to eat a more healthful diet than well-to-do women who did not."
That last point cannot be hammered home enough.
Want to eat less? Want to eat less junk? Want to have a shot at health and weight loss?
I got one word for you: COOK.
And another thing, spend time doing it.
You need not slaughter your own chickens (unless you want to; urban life tends to preclude that) or grow your own wheat, and, yes, you can use the microwave and some packaged stuff (particularly when you're away from home). But take some time. The weekends are a good time to take time, and then you can take advantage of that spent time during the week.
How do you add time and care to cooking?
Follow a recipe.
Make up your own recipe.
Shop carefully, from a list you have written by thinking about and planning a week's worth of meals.
Take care of your equipment, and the prep area.
Taste what you prepare -- and I mean taste, not grab a portion while cooking -- to assure it is seasoned correctly.
Do occasional difficult things, like cooking live lobster or deboning a chicken or making a Moroccan stew. Get outside of your comfort zone at times.
And have fun.
Fifty years ago (hell, twenty!) every home had a home cook. This was almost always a woman, though not 100% of the time. Not coincidentally, there was far less obesity then, High fructose corn syrup wasn't an issue because you ate at home and that just wasn't an ingredient you could find and use in home cooking. There were trans fats, yes, but you knew how much of them were going into your body. Salt? Sure, but you could see most of what was going to go into you. Sugar? Absolutely. But, again, you had a chance to control your intake from the very beginning. It was not just portion control at the plate, but also portion control before your food ever hit the oven, fry pan, microwave or stock pot.
People cooked. They did it here in Boston and, yes, they did it at Waikiki.
Let's bring it back.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
A catch and release program for public transportation, plus why I still don't like my driver's license picture.
Monday, August 03, 2009
This is kind of a mish-mash sort of a blog, hence the title. Plus, well, there are other reasons for said title.
I started off this week royally PO'd as I'd been gaining for four weeks in a row no matter what I was doing. I was exercising, eating well, drinking water, getting sleep, yet the scale was giving me a hard time. We can say muscle, we can say water weight, we can say sunspots or whatever, but the ugly truth was that I mainly wasn't losing inches so things were not looking good.
It kills me because, heh, if I had been cheating, at least I'd accept that, change back and move on. But being punished and NOT cheating???!! I felt, well, cheated out of the cheating. If I'm gonna gain the weight anyway, at least can it be that I had some chocolate ice cream or something? I mean, criminy, it was slow cooker Indian stew with chicken, tofu and vegetables last week. With a salad on the side, some yogurt, fruit and skim milk. Properly portion-controlled. Oh yeah, I was having a party. Not.
I didn't have ice cream, though, and I didn't use the whole thing as an excuse to have any. Hmpf. Right now I guess I just don't care about such things. I figure I'll eat them next year or so. No rush.
And that's another part of this week. A woman in my office asked me, "Do you cheat?" And I realized, well, sometimes I eat an extra few raspberries and don't record them. "No, not that! Do you have a Three Musketeers bar, or a bag of chips?" Uh, no. And, funny, I don't miss 'em. Again, if I have them again, it'll be 2010 or so, or later. Not a thousand years from now. I can wait.
Another thing - for the first time in 2 months or so, I saw my friend! We discussed, well, the usual stuff, the usual joking around. And he reported that he's still smoke-free. It's been, what, six months? Seven? More? If he can give up cigarettes forever, then surely I can defer ice cream or whatever until next year. Pshaw. It's like nothing, in comparison.
Then this weekend rolled around. Mr. J and I decided to go to Providence, which is where we lived 15 years ago. It's a pretty little city. We walked around the area, had lunch at a favorite place (where I bought myself a tee shirt in a women's medium size and yes, it fits!), etc. And then, oops, it was time to get back to the train. We walked. Fast. Uphill. Did I mention it was 83 or so? Faster. Egad.
We're not gonna make it.
I hate being sweaty.
Dammit, keep moving!
Don't talk to me.
Left, right, Hope Street.
Left, right, Benefit Street.
Left, right, North Main Street.
Holy cow, there's the station.
We made it.
With 9 minutes to spare.
And, because we're insane, we also walked home from public transportation in Boston.
Did I mention it was 79 here?
At least we weren't trying to catch a train.
We got home and it was about all we could do to have dinner and grab showers. Lots of sleeping happened on Sunday.
And then this morning?
Down 4.4 lbs.
Why the heck would I want some old Three Musketeers bar anyway?
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