Thursday, May 10, 2012
One summer when I was somewhere around 12 years old I was visiting my Grandparents for a week and My Uncle Freddy, 3 years older, got the idea that the two of us would camp out on the farm for 3 days. We would hunt for our food and live off the land. He had a canvas tarp that would be our shelter and we took a pack with a few basic cooking tools and off we went. Grandma's rule was that we had to stay on their farm - 140 acres. Then, with the wisdom of a saint, she handed us a bag of her biscuits to take with us. We couldn't say no.
We took our 22 caliber rifles figuring we would get squirrels for meat and the wild berries were ripe so we were in great shape. Ahhhh the ignorance of youth. Covering 140 acres we never found a squirrel in 3 days. After just eating biscuits and Gooseberries the first night we set off on the second day with a biscuit and berry breakfast. By lunch time we were hungry so we went to the creek and found some bullfrogs and cooked frog legs over an open fire. That was lunch, and then more frog legs for dinner - with a biscuit and berries. For breakfast the next morning we got more frogs, and then for lunch, and then for dinner. We spent the third night in the woods very close to the house and hurried in for breakfast. Grandma fed us a huge breakfast and we ate like there was no tomorrow. The crazy thing about that experience is that I still like frog legs - but they were much better when Grandma cooked them.
At an early age I had learned that a severely restricted diet sucks but if it has biscuits it's tolerable. However, the minute we were off that diet we went right back to our old eating habits. Sound familiar. There wasn't anything fried in our diet and it was sort of balanced but it was a flawed idea from the start. We had sold that snake oil to ourselves and since I have already tried it I'm not buying any more. So, when anyone tries to convince you that a "diet' is better than the Sparkpeople approach then it's your call. Me - - I'm saying "no thanks" to the frog legs.
Enjoy the ride,
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
There's a saying, at least where I grew up, that goes like this: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". I'm going to try to dispel that myth. After 7 decades of learning I may qualify as an expert on the subject. Wellllllll, maybe I know a little about it. When did I get to be an old dog. According to my body it happened about 20 years ago - give or take 15 years.
Learning is not the exclusive domain of the young and "set in your ways" is not exclusive to senior citizens. That "set in you ways" thing is the biggest obstacle to learning new tricks.
I grew up eating meat and back then, in the Midwest, steaks were cooked well done. I went to college on the east coast and after flight training I joined a squadron on the east coast. We found that a lot of those folks ate their steaks RAW!!! At least it looked raw to me. My wife grew up eating the same dry steaks that I did and one night we decided to try a steak medium. Son of a gun - it was GOOD. From there we tried medium rare and really liked that. I have an Uncle back home and he has never eaten anything but a well done steak and won't try anything else. Come on - you don't learn new things unless you either try it or educate yourself. My Uncle is 3 years older than me but definitely "set in his ways".
I learned my multiplication tables by sitting down and memorizing them. The teacher gave me the sheet of paper and all I had to do was learn it. It was 1948, I was 7,definitely not "set in my ways", and eager to learn. Now I'm 70, wanting to change, eager to learn, but, I'll admit it, "set in my ways" and have been for a long time.
Changing my eating is requiring me to eat a lot of new things and replacing some old friends. Well, I thought pizza, cheese, pie, cookies, and snack crackers were my friends until I couldn't bend over and touch my toes. I don't visit those friends much these days but I'm making new friends. My old "way" was eating Oatmeal cookies but now I learned a new trick. I can make a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal, toss on some fruit, have a cup of Yogurt, and enjoy my breakfast. It's only one step in learning how to eat better but one of many steps that I need to take. My teacher for this is Sparkpeople. It's all laid out here for me but I have to put in the work to learn it and to do it. I'm starting to understand that I do have to deal with stress eating. I thought that was other people. Wrong! I thought it would be easy to go back to exercising regularly. Wrong again. I have to push myself every day and understand that the TV is not my friend. In fact, I thought this whole thing would be a piece of cake. I was obviously delusional.
This change is definitely not a diet. My weight was the catalyst for change but I finally figured out that it isn't the true measure of the change. This old dog is learning a lot of new tricks - and some things about myself that I'm not happy with.
Enjoy the ride,
Monday, May 07, 2012
The year was 1959 and my High School basketball team was playing in the regional finals. I was a starting forward on the team. When our opponent took the floor it was obvious we were in trouble. At 6 ' 2" I was the second tallest guy on our team. The shortest player on the other team was 6' 2". Not only were they tall but the were good players. By halftime we were down 15 points but still full of fight. Starting the second half the teams switched the basket they were shooting at. To start the second half the two centers jumped up to tip the referees toss. Four players scrambled for the ball and I came out of the pile with it. About 4 dribbles later I was soaring high for the layup and realized that I was so high I could dunk the ball so I slammed it through the net. Well, it wasn't quite a slam but it was a dunk. Remember, this was 1959 and dunks were rare then. There was a brief roar and then stunned silence. Remember what I said about switching ends. OOPS! When I realized that I had scored for the other team I was mortified. Remember when you were 17 and every embarrassment was the end of the world. After a pep talk Coach Mitch left me in and we lost the game by almost over 20 points. The next day at school was brutal on my shattered ego.
Fast forward about 5 years and I'm at my parents house on leave. My wife and I joined my parents at a big picnic and a lot of the parents that saw the infamous game we there. My mortifying mistake had totally changed their memory of the game. All they talked about was how we lost by 2 points. The 2 points that I scored for the other team. I never disagreed with them because it didn't make any difference by that time. By then it was just something else to laugh about. My perspective had changed.
As I work on this change in lifestyle I find that I have to keep reminding myself to keep things in perspective. God, family, friends and duty first. I need to talk to God when things upset me and that settles me down. Those talks remind me that no one is trying to sabotage me. If my wife or daughter want snack foods in the house I don't have to stuff them in my face. If I track my nutrition I know when I can have a goodie and when not. That's my job - not theirs. I find that I can pretty much work around anything if I think before I eat. If we're having a birthday party for a family member there WILL be cake, Ice Cream, and other foods. My three older grandsons eat like horses. The food is part of the fun for them so I work around it. If I go a little over on my calories I can pick it up later but the family comes first. I'm afraid that some people read this as I have great willpower. Not on your life. I need to change old habits so I can take care of my family and that's what motivates me. I need to weigh less than 180 pounds or my back can put me in bed for days. It did when I weighed 205. It's not willpower, it's a duty. That's me and things may be different for you.
My ego says that I should be using heavy weights when I work out but my shoulders can't handle the strain so I use light weights and work and work. It's not manly but it keeps me the use of my arms. I look at my body and I want more muscle and I want it fast. Forget about it. This is going to take a long time but I will, eventually, get enough to do what I need to do. Will I look like the P90X guys? Do I care. Nope!
Keeping everything in perspective prevents the deep lows and unrealistic expectations. Five years from now I will not remember that piece of cake I ate at my Grandson's 18th birthday party but I'll remember him.
Enjoy the ride,
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I lost 1.5 lbs. this week so I'm working the program and it's working for me. For the last two nights the computer has eaten my blog when I tried to post it but I'll figure out that problem.
I'll be on here but less than normal so I can deal with two sick women in the house and stay on track with everything. Basically, I'm moderating my computer time. It's that or not work out and that's not happening.
Enjoy the ride,
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