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Can you be too focused?

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's feels that way sometimes, doesn't it? Like I can't help wondering if I ended up with a cold because I was too focused on trying to lose weight before going on vacation. Anytime you get too unbalanced one way, something's got to go.

I got a cold right before we went to Paris about a year ago, too. Only then I wasn't concerned with my weight (and trying to lose weight wasn't even on the horizon); and I wasn't seeing relatives whom I haven't seen in a long time.

Still, there really IS more to life than sparking, tracking food, exercising, and preparing food, even if some days it doesn't feel that way.

I don't think I'll come up with any answers today.

Another moral dilemma I'll be wresting with is what to eat on vacation. I am not a vegetarian. I eat everything. I enjoy a good prime rib, rack of lamb, and especially sushi.

Yet more and more I am troubled by how that meat that ends up on my plate meets its end. I don't actually think it's morally wrong to eat meat -- but I do think that said meat ought to be treated respectfully, even when being slaughtered, and it doesn't take a whole lot of digging to know that just isn't so.

I also know I could never bring myself to kill an animal (okay, I do not classify insects as animals -- just ask that saw palmetto bug I took out this morning, even though I did try to let it make its escape first, but the silly thing would hunker down right in my sink).

And why is it okay to eat a cow and a pig, but not a dog or a cat (and of course, this all depends on where you live and how you were raised)? A pig is supposedly more intelligent than a dog. Who says it's okay to eat one type of meat, but not another?

It's easy to eat vegetarian when I'm by myself. It's harder to do so when the food is free (mostly) , good, and plentiful.

I know I stopped eating veal completely when I found out how it is raised. I won't eat lobsters because of the way they are cooked (although I have in the past -- but I refused to actually put it in the pot myself).

Cruises offer vegetarain fare. I've no doubt I will eat some vegetarian meals. I know I'll probably eat a fair amount of fish. I hope so. But will I be able to pass up prime rib? Or rack of lamb? I actually make prime rib occasionally, and its one of my signature dishes. I do it just as good, if not better, than most restaurants. I have not come to a decision yet.

It is one of the reasons I love shopping at my farmer's market. I can buy chicken, pork, lamb, bison, eggs, and grass fed beef there. I can support my local community while hopefully insuring the humane treatment of food animals. All of that comes at a price -- none of it is any cheaper at the farmer's market than it is in the store.

I guess I need to just ponder Winston Churchill instead:

"It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time."


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAL503 8/18/2008 8:42PM

    Great blog! I hope you feel better soon.. It can be stressfull to get ready for vacation, especially when focusing on weight loss.. I know I've been there!
Take good care,
Val

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MTER67 8/18/2008 7:27PM

    When we had a South Korean man over for dinner, he was fascinated by our dog. My husband teased me in private, saying that he was hoping our shih tzu was on the menu! I learned something interesting though. In Korea, rising wealth and the westernization of the population means more people are keeping dogs as pets and fewer are eating them.

Dog meat is a "guilty pleasure" because the restaurants that continue to serve it are hidden away, unadvertised, and people don't like to talk about it. I am sure in the rural areas and among the older generation, it is still served, but the practice is definitely falling by the wayside.

An interesting blog. I agree with Start. There IS a disconnect between Americans and the food they eat. It's not just about meat--how else can you explain why anyone in their right mind would buy orange "cheese product" in an aerosol can?

Funny story: I was in the American commissary the other day doing my shopping. There was a group of Japanese students taking a tour, being led around by our store manager, an American who speaks Japanese. I enjoyed listening to them b/c he spoke Japanese slow and simply enough that I could understand a lot of what he was saying. They oohed and ahhed over the freezer, the walk-in fridge. But, you know what fascinated them the most? They couldn't get enough of this wonder product: "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter SPRAY!" You'd have thought it was fireworks or the latest cure for cancer! Isn't that funny?

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STARTSPARKING 8/18/2008 3:30PM

    I believe that not thinking about the sources of our food is one of the reason for our country's obesity epidemic. When we see a round piece of protein sandwiched between two buns, drowning in mayo and/or ketchup served in a box, we often don't connect that food with cows or chicken in farms. Many children today haven't even seen farm animals or even been to the countryside. There is such a disconnect, so of course there isn't respect or appreciation for where our food comes from.

I hope you will get over your cold soon and will have a wonderful time on the cruise. I admire you for being a responsible citizen and trying to make your best food choices. If everyone will just think a little more about their food in regards to the sources and effects on our bodies, it would be a step towards a healthier lifestyle.

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Swim your own race

Sunday, August 17, 2008

That's what Dara Torres said she did -- she didn't look to see where the other swimmers were, she just swam her race. And she won a silver medal at the age of 41.

It's hard not to be envious of people sometimes. Of those that can eat anything and not gain an ounce, or those that shed weight quickly. I am not immune to it. In about the five months I've been measuring it, I've lost about 13 pounds. 20 weeks; 13 pounds, so less than a pound a week on average. And it already seems to be slowing down.

No matter, though. Yes, I get frustrated sometimes. But it's so nice to pull on smaller jeans and have them fit. Some of the people who lose weight quickly may or may not keep it off. Of course, I may or may not keep it off as well. But I do believe that I will. I am swimming my own race, for the most part.

And yes, I most definitely do have a cold. Not that bad as colds go, and hopefully by Friday I won't be too stuffed up. It's funny, I really do believe that things happen for a reason. Back at Passover, I bought 2 jars of matzo ball soup; I didn't use them. I'm sure using them now! There's nothing more comforting than holding something warm in your hands when you're sick & chilled.

Of course, I'm also trying to figure out just how I'll get everything done before we leave now, when all I want to do is lay down, but I know that when all is said & done, we will leave & we'll have a great time.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/18/2008 5:32AM

    I have to remind myself to swim my own race because everyone's abilities and circumstances is unique. It is tough not to compare though, so it's something I need to remind myself from time to time.

Please take care, and I hope you will get well very soon. emoticon

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CITABRIA 8/17/2008 10:54PM

    Sorry you have a cold! Where will you be leaving for?

I need to remember the Torres quote because you're fight -- it is easy to be envious, or to wonder whether I should be doing what X is doing. I've got to find what works for me and keep doing it. Thanks!

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LSFBOOK 8/17/2008 9:02PM

    Keep eating the soup and get as much rest as you can. You'll get done what you really need to get done before you leave and the rest will just have to wait. Hope you feel better soon!

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WOODLANDMYST 8/17/2008 7:58PM

  I had a similar thought while musing over having to cut back my walking due to a tender ankle. It's not a race with anyone else. I'm not training for any marathons - I'm just out to improve myself and my health.

Get well soon! Blessings, Cyndy

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MTER67 8/17/2008 7:02PM

    Oh, I hope you feel better before you go! Get some rest. I am channeling vitual antibodies and chicken soup your way!

Go Dara! She rocks!

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KEYWEST3 8/17/2008 6:36PM

    great minds think alike, lol. I entered a similar blog a few days ago about running my own race.
If you run out of Matzo, then wonton soup is good too. yum.

Here's warm fuzzy thoughts to help you recover before leaving :)

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Choose your hard

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I ran across this on someone's blog, and she attributed it to www.sparkpeople.com/mypage.asp?id=BE
CA63
, altho I couldn't find it.

Still, I'm feeling under the weather today -- plus I thought it was brilliant! -- so I'm stealing it.

Choose your hard:

1. Being fat is hard
2. Losing weight is hard
3. Maintaining a weight loss is hard

So choose your hard. Weight loss isn't easy, as we all know, but it's all about the choices. We can choose to give up and go back to what we were -- but if you do what you always did, you get what you always got.

We can choose to do the work. It is hard, it takes dedication and perserverance, and it's never as fast as we want (which is overnight). But the rewards are many, if only you stop to notice them.

And when we get to our goal weight, we can choose to maintain our loss. We can continue our healthy new lifestyle -- which isn't always easy, especially when you no longer have the high of those pounds rolling off -- or we can choose to revert to our old habits.

Choose your hard.

And on a personal note, I could use a few vibes. I had a raging sore throat last night, which often precedes a major cold coming on. It's a little better this morning, but I'm still achy, tired, and slightly congested. I would definitely much rather be sick now than on vacation, but if you've ever flown while congested, you know how terribly painful it can be. So I'm just hoping I'm not real congested by next Friday.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/18/2008 5:27AM

    Being fat and losing weight are both hard, but they are definitely different. For me, being fat comes with a lot of regret and low self-esteem. Losing weight is no walk in the park, but with it comes improved self-image and great amount of pride as I transform myself.

I hope you will feel 100% by the time you leave for your trip. I am sending you lots of healing energy, my friend.

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CITABRIA 8/17/2008 10:51PM

    Interesting concept. Thanks for sharing this.

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WOODLANDMYST 8/17/2008 9:36AM

  Sending healing energies your way - feel better soon! Great borrowed blog ~ blessings, Cyndy

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MTER67 8/16/2008 9:49AM

    Uh oh, start pumping the cold-eez and "Airborne" stuff. I hope that it fizzles out before your flight and cruise. Another interesting blog, no matter where it originated. Nothing is as easy as we'd like, huh?

Thank you so much for your comments on my blog today. I had to sit and digest it a little. I am like you in a lot of ways. I like predictable routines--once I am set doing something, I don't want it to change. For example, my kids start school on the 25th and I am totally dreading it. The change in our routine will throw me off and stress me out until we have lived it for a few weeks.

I have always wanted to see the world and I have never regretted "getting away". Some of the "riskier" adventures we've had are the ones I remember most fondly. You are already pushing your limits by embarking on your weight loss journey. You might surprise yourself by what you will decide to try next!

Comment edited on: 8/16/2008 9:50:39 AM

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Every journey deserves rest stops

Friday, August 15, 2008

If you're in this journey just to lose weight, you may or may not be able to complete your journey -- and sustain it; especially if you're trying to lose weight for a specific event. Events are great motivators, but what happens after that event has come & gone? Do you let your healthy habits slip away?

If you're in this journey to become healthy, you're more likely to sustain your weight loss. It's hard to keep up your motivation simply to fit into a certain size of clothes; it's much easier to keep motivated when you can breathe easier, put on your jeans without having to lay down, and when your joints don't ache with every movement because you're carrying around _____ extra pounds.

But it's a long and winding road, isn't it? It's okay -- no, it's imperative -- to take rest stops along the way. Just as you would if you were taking a long road trip. Because if you don't rest, you either fall asleep at the wheel or run the risk of running out of gas.

So what do I mean by rest stops? I don't mean giving up your healthy habits. We all know where that leads us. I mean hanging out at a certain weight for a while, instead of killing yourself trying to break through a plateau. See if this is a weight you can comfortably sustain. Eat a little bit more *healthy* food (not treats, but more whole grain carbs, more lean protein, maybe more fruits & veggies -- actually, sometimes eating more healthy food can help you bust through a plateau). See what it feels like to maintain your weight, because that's the hardest part of all.

Once you've taken your rest, you can decide whether or not you want to continue on with your journey. There is no clock ticking saying you must lose weight by a certain date, and don't worry about how much others are losing in what amount of time. We are all unique, and we all have our own unique way of losing weight -- and our own unique goal weight, for that matter.

Believe in yourself, and it will happen; in the words of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect:

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/16/2008 6:42AM

    You made some excellent points. To go without rest for too long is too difficult and would make one want to give up completely. After a meaning rest, one may feel refreshed and can focus with more clarity. Thank you for another brilliant blog!

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SQUIRTZIE 8/15/2008 10:42PM

    Great!

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KEYWEST3 8/15/2008 3:15PM

    I wholehearatedly agree, which is why I didn't get upset that I am hanging around the -20 pound mark for a few months now.

I call it "acclimating to my new set point."

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LSFBOOK 8/15/2008 12:40PM

    Hi there! Are you a nutrionist? You write such great blogs. It's like you know what we all need to do. Thanks.

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MTER67 8/15/2008 10:01AM

    I like that quote. I think this is very sage advice. It has to be very difficult to lose, lose, lose all the time. Everybody needs to rest and reqroup a little. Excellent point!

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High expectations & flexible goals

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympics just holds so much for us to learn from. It's sort of funny, when you look at all those beautiful, toned bodies & realize that their struggles actually mirror our own.

Take the US Women's Gymnastics team. They had the opportunity to win the gold medal, but the Olympics Gods were not with them and they won the silver.

It's funny when you think about it -- the men won the Bronze, and were overjoyed to do so; the women won the silver -- meaning they are the second best team in the world -- and felt they fell short of their goals.

There were a lot of expectations and pressure laid on their shoulders. How often do you feel you fall short of your goals? Are your expectations of yourself too high?

I don't think the expectations for the women's team was too high, but it's a good lesson to all of us that no matter how hard we try, sometimes we just fall short; and we must still celebrate how far we have come and how much effort we have put into ourselves.

What do you think the gymnasts will do? They still have to compete in individual events; some of them, anyway. They will pick themselves up, again, and try their hardest. Maybe this time they will reach their goals; maybe they won't. But no matter what, they will keep trying. And there's a lesson for us in there.

I can't resist adding that the dogs are really enjoying the Olympics, too (the cats, self-absorbed animals that they are, could care less -- but then, they're already gymnasts -- when they want to be).

When I shout "alright!" they think they're going to get food and go running off. When I gasp, they turn around and look at me with concern. And they like the fact that I'm sitting down watching tv more than usual, so they get to snuggle with me more than usual.

I'm still getting my workouts in. Probably not the little extras I would sneak in if I weren't watching the Olympics, which is ironic, but exercise is just a given in my day. I tape the Olympics, fast forward through some of it, and definitely skip the commercials. I can boil down about 9 hours of taped coverage to maybe 2 hours of viewing (which is way more tv than I normally watch).

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KEYWEST3 8/14/2008 4:07PM

    nice blog. thanks :)

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STARTSPARKING 8/14/2008 3:21PM

    I've been behind on SP because I've been spending more time enjoying the Olympic games. Usually I can multi-task, but not when these games are so exciting. At times, it's been downright nail-biting!

Oh, your blog really speaks to me today, my friend. I am going to fall short of my ultimate goal as I celebrate my first Sparkiversary tomorrow. I will not reach my goal weight. Worse yet, I've done quite a bit of self-sabotage over the weekend and have gained quite a few pounds back. However, you're right. Maybe I've put too much stress on myself to succeed and ended up faltering instead. Instead of being upset of backsliding, I still need to celebrate all that I have accomplished so far. Maybe my expectations of myself were too high, but I don't think so. I just need to clear my head and focus. I know I can do this. I need to remind myself of what I am capable of.

Thank you so much for another brilliant blog.

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WOODLANDMYST 8/14/2008 10:05AM

  We've been watching TV much more now that the Olympics are on. We're getting pretty good at judging the synchronized diving LOL

Great blog - we do often set our own expectations too high then get so discouraged with ourselves. Due to an ankle problem, I've had to cut back my walking to 4 days a week. The alternate days I do strength training - something I had let slide the past couple months. The main thing is to never ever give up!

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