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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

QUEENLY QUOTES: How to Lose Weight in Simple Terms

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
--Michael Pollan, author of IN DEFENSE OF FOOD.


Why Do We Give Kids Foods We Know Are Bad for Our Own Struggling Selves?

With the holiday season in full swing, I've been a bit concerned about how entrenched unhealthful foods are part of the gift-giving tradition. Fatty cakes. Butter-laden cookies. Sugary treats in huge portions in pretty cans and jars and boxes.

As people fighting the fight against fat, we know that cookies, candies, and cakes are things that ought to be RARE treats (or, in the cases of those with bad triggers, banned altogether or modified significantly into less-dangerous versions).

But what do I see, including from women and men as big as I am (or bigger)? People with kids...

They stuff them with candy, cookies and cakes. Not just once week or once a month, but regularly. And moreso in this holiday time.

With childhood obesity a major health concern (some call it an epidemic) in the US (and other nations), we really need to take a look at this. A good hard no-excuses sort of look.

Imagine if we had grown up with our parents more disciplined about what cereal we ate in the morning (no KABOOM or Cap'n Crunch, but whole grain and no sugar--fruit instead?). Imagine if a candy bar or pack of animal crackers was a special weekend treat, and not a regular afterschool yumsy, if the daily treat was apples and oranges and carrots with hummus or celery with Laughing Cow light or a whole grain role with peanut butter. Imagine if our parents stocked the pantry with stuff that was clean, nutritious, no to low-sugar, high fiber, and fresh.

Would we be where we are?

Maybe. :)

But I think we train kids to like what they like. I love fruit because my parents loved fruit and had plenty of it around and made smoothies before smoothies were a commonly enjoyed commodity around town. They used olive oil and vinegar, not bottled dressings. They offered us beans almost daily, so we were all bathroom regular.

But I was the one who grew up from age 2 in this country, so I got the junk cereals that were mostly sugar and refined grains. I got candy bars after school. Sno-cones daily in summer. Pocket money for potato chips and other crap.

Of all my siblings, I am the ONLY one who got superobese (or even obese, for that matter). My brothers and sisters, who grew up in another country, much more physically active and eating more natural foods and much less junk--they didn't develop the crazy food relationship I did. They didn't grow up with junk food commercials on television sending them off into cravings for Milky Ways and pizza and burgers and fries and Starburst and cupcakes and whatnot.

So, when I see someone, especially a parent with weight issues, struggling, on diets, struggling to lose, that same parent buy candy and cupcakes and sugary cereals for their kids, I wonder about the dissonance. Why give them the taste habits and food issues we have? Why not hand them pears and grape tomatoes and mango slices and low-fat string cheese and almonds and raspberries? Why not end the crazy food cycle NOW?

I've begged a particular family member not to inflict our curse on her own kids. She and I are both obese. She has two kids who are currently normal weight. When I see the kids fed crap, it hurts. When I see kids catered to (ie, they don't want to eat the wholesome fair, and just pick at, say, white bread and then rush to eat a handful of candy), I want to cry.

In 20 or 30 years, they'll be where we are. Oversized and health-impaired.

It frightens me, and I don't even have kids.

I, both my nieces and both my nephews are overweight to obese. (Three of us obese, one overweight.) Five out of five of us born in the sixties and seventies in the immediate family--all too big. I don't want the next generation to have this curse. I want them to radiate good health and love good, clean food and be active and be happy and live vibrantly.

If it's not good for us to eat, big as we are, then it's not good for kids to eat, especially in their formative years, when they need the BEST nutrition to build bones and spare teeth from decay and develop the strongest neuromuscular system.

Junk ain't for us. But junk ain't for kids, either.

Why do we not see that?

Maybe it's long past time to tax the hell out of junk foods and treats. How many cupcakes will a kid buy if they're 5 bucks each? How many candy bars if one uses up their whole allowance? I'd rather tax crap that does nothing for one's wellbeing and use that money to subsidize fruit and veggies, so they're more affordable for a family's budget.

I am vowing not to buy junk for the kids in my family anymore. (This will be sooo hard. Habits die hard.) And I'm gonna work hard to break the holiday junk-food giving tradition. I'll find alternatives--sugarless, low-fat, or just plain better treats--like dark chocolate (I've tasted excellent sugar-free varieties) or dried fruit or nuts.

I want the people I love to be healthy and live a long, long time. And I want to be healthy and live longer, too, so I can enjoy their company for years and years.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Regain, Recommitment, and Retracing Steps to Better Habits--aka/WHERE IS MY FIRE?

The news is not good. But, hey, I knew it was coming for weigh-in day.

I've never been big on consistency when it comes to things like diet and exercise. I was always one of those, "Oh, let me go on a diet," then last no more usually than two days or two weeks or, at most, two months. Then, blam, back to old habits.

Well, I've managed to exercise regularly for nearly six months now. But the food consistency is eluding me. And for dieters, that is the NUMBER ONE issue. If the food isn't controlled, exercise away, but the loss will be negligible to nil. Eat enough, and exercising can't stop regain. We've seen that even on The Biggest Loser. It's the calories, stupid. :)

Well, I got on the scale after a month plus of just being a slacker. The result: 276.4.

Holy crap. I regained like 5 pounds. In a month. I wasn't even all-out bingeing. Just not vigilant.


Okay, enough of the potty mou--er, keyboard.

I wish I could find the internal button one pushes to get to that BLAM moment that makes on commit intensely. I haven't. So, I've been semi-committed, half-heartedly in the fatfighting game.

And it shows. While I don't LOOK bigger, and in fact, look smaller due to the exercising, I am still firmly stuck in the 270's, which is making me a crazy woman. Really, I'm so sick of being here.

So, why don't I get out of here in the downward trajectory?

Cause I am not on fire. It's all about having this ongoing flame inside that ignites whatever is in a person that makes them consistently do something--be it pursue a career, keep a marriage going, train for a marathon, etc.

This week, I'm gonna be all about rescheduling the activities that got me down from 299 to begin with, cause these activities have gone by the wayside:

1. getting fresh groceries
2. preparing meals at home instead of getting take-out
3. keeping a food journal
4. drinking lots of water
5. praying about my weight journey

Every single one of those has gone kaput one by one over the last couple of months. And the results show it.

What works, works. When you stop working it, it stops working, and regain results.

The same sort of slack happened to Oprah:

In Oprah's case, she admits to stopping her exercise sessions, her meditations and going back to eating higher calorie foods.

Oprah regained 40 pounds.

I'm guessing the same thing happened to Kirstie Alley--stopped the Jenny Craig regimen, started adding her own comfort foods, gave up the working out, vigilance diminishes bit by bit until, what, all gone. She was looking big again this past summer. I have no idea if she's up or down as of this post. But she probably has regained as much more pounds than Oprah.

I had a setback when my organic grocer closed their business (temporarily, I hope, but who knows with this economy). I sort of just started doing delivery and takeout--which means DANGER.

So, that has to stop. Tomorrow, I have to go shopping (which I hate) and get the produce I need to make better food choices.

I have to start making meals again, the way I was when I was losing and holding on. I can control the ingredients at home. I can't in a restaurant.

I've totally slacked on water. I have actually had says when I had NO WATER AT ALL. This is bad. It's too easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Plus, not enough water contributes to bloat and makes number twos uncomfy. Ya know what I mean?

I do notice that when one domino goes, like a food journal (which is a tuchis-painer, but so necessary for me, anyway, to be accountable and aware), the others follow. It's like this cord connecting all the good strategies, and if one part topples, the pull on the others is nearly irresistible. Boom. Boom. Boom. All down.

Weight up.

I have had the BECK FOR LIFE book lying around for weeks. I was supposed to review it for amazon (got it free). So, I want to start into that and apply the system. I don't FEEL like it. I FEEL like napping rather than working out. I FEEL like shoving a pizza in my face instead of an egg white veggie omelette. But we obese folks don't do well following our feelings. They are often self-destructive.

So, here I go again. Five pounds up.

My mood is not dark. It's just a big sigh of frustration that I didn't nip this closer to the bud. So much easier catching 2 pounds than 5, right?

I really need to get my fire mojo back. Where is it? Where did it go? How do I find it again?

Ah, well. The quest starts again this week.

I'm getting to the point of trying the Portion Doctor's plates.
Although, really, how overpriced are those? And kinda homely.

Let me go find my food journal. It's buried under a pile of unfolded laundry, I think?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fushu Daiko performing Fushu

This is the drum group hubby and I had the class with. Our instructor is the third lady of the front trio of drummers (counting from L to R).

If you're in South Florida, and you've wanted to try this, google em up. They're in Broward County.


The Good, the Bad, and the Thumb-Sore Princess!

Well, we did it. We went to a taiko drumming class.

Images of hunky Prince Nuada got me through Taiko tonight. More on that later:

Hubby and I went together. It was coolish and rainy, which turned out to be a blessing, cause it was in a warehousey place with no a/c (just fans). First, 15 minutes of exercise (tough, she even included the Pilates hundred!) and stretches (not as bad). Then 70 minutes of nearly straight heavy pounding on big drums. I thought I was gonna DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! Sweating piglike and what-not, trying to hold the proper leg position, arm position, head and torso straight. OHMIGOSH. Hard! But fun.

(Pilates training for five months got me through it. Before Pilates, I would have pooped out 15 minutes in or sooner, I swear. Having a better core control/strength was essential for holding the stance/posture.)

My left thumb is still numb--must be holding it wrong in that hand--and I couldn't hold my drink at supper. My hands were shaking and weak. My shoulders are burning. My thighs are exhausted. And my ears felt right after the class like on a plane--all sort of clogged up. I'm still a little ear-stuffy. heh.

Toward the end, when I just was totally about to just give up, I called upon that image of Prince Nuada training hard in the sewers of NYC, and heard him tell me to stop being a wuss and get on with it. A psychological tip, yes, but it worked. There was one rhythmic thing I just didn't nail, but for a first class/total beginner, I done good.

I'm gonna think about whether I'll continue. I don't do well in hot places (I get hot flashes and have heat intolerance issues due to medications I take plus the obesity). Hubby wants to. We'll see. It will interfere with my Friday Pilates. (I went sore to drumming from Wednesday's workout.) If I do it, I'll go to 2x a week Pilates, and only drum during the next two or three cooler months.

I am so going to be killer sore tomorrow. But I got exercise and learned a new thing. Pretty cool.

Too bad I had a Whopper right after. We didn't have supper before, and got out at 10pm, so I was like, "First drive-thru, we're going in." I'll have to plan better and nix junky food, or I'll undo all the good work.

So, anyone up for trying some unusual new exercise? :)


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Kinda Drumming the Princess--and her Prince--Are Thinking of Taking Up

You can see why this would, er, burn calories and build fitness. :)

If you drop by YOUTUBE and search under Taiko or Taiko Drumming, you can see some of the incredible troupes at work--they will blow your mind. I tried to find more of a "class" type one. I love how the people shout out in performance (like the video with the women in red and white outfits and shorts), cause they're clearly having fun.

If you have time, do not miss THIS PERFORMANCE which is just astonishing--a combo of taiko drumming with some hip-hop moves. Such energy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Done Went AWOL Again, Didn't I?

So, nearly a month in absentia. My bad.

I really at first just got busy. Then I got lazy. Then I got scared. I mean, I haven't been on the scale in two weeks.

Today, at my Pilates class, the teacher said I looked great and have I been on the scale lately. I said, "No, cause I think I gained." She says I look slimmer, but that may just be the tightening effect of exercise. I know I have been eating way more than I should, and I have not been weighing, blogging, journaling, or anything other than being slacker-bad.

But, here I am. Before Christmas, hoping to manage the upcoming feasts with some fatfighting panache.

My weigh-in day is supposed to be Sundays, so I'll post a number then. I'm really just not up to weighing tomorrow. I still feel anxiety. :P

On the plus side: I've been--weight anxiety aside--very chipper, happy, up. I mean, one day I actually woke up SINGING. Just so happy, I was singing. I dunno what my hormones are doing, but I hope they keep this up. (And it's doing wonders for my sex drive, too.) It's such a relief from the previous years of depression. Even when the depression lifted in January, I never woke up singing. :)

So, hello, 2009, as you approach. May you be my best year yet!

BTW, on the movement front: I also may take up some Asian drumming. I have always had such a weak upper body, and it shows in Pilates, where shoulder/arm work just kills me, that hubby and I may try to do this together. (He's already a great dummer/percussionist, but he's never done the big Asian drums.) I figure it's a hobby that makes you move, and burn calories. Good.

I also have taken up bowling. We've only gone twice, and I suck beyond suckage at it (think a score of 51 average), but I intend to get better. This is another effort at doing stuff with hubby that makes us GET UP, rather than just sit and snuggle with the television. Movement. I'm after more movement in my life, with the hope that less eating will follow.

Portion control. My nemesis. I will defeat you.

Anyhow, that's my update. I'm moving more. I'm happy. I've added dozens of new lip glosses to my collection (I tend to buy lip gloss when I'm happy. Dunno why? Maybe to accent my persistent grin.) I'm looking forward to making this holiday season a happier and healthier one than last year's.

Over the coming days, I hope to catch up with the blogs of my fatfighting comrades. I have dropped by Lyn's, and I hope everyone goes over to hug her. She's having a major life transition. Let's give her all our support.

I hope the rest of you are doing well. I know that I'm looking forward to January 5, so that I can join Oprah in her quest to lose weight (again). She had gotten down to my own dream goal weight (160), and she looked so great, remember? The abs and all. Now, even at 200, I think she looks very good. But I understand how important it is for her to nip this before she gains it ALL back. Go, Oprah.

And go, US!

(Whoa, sorry for rambling all over the place. I had 4 espressos!)