August 13, 2010
You could say we are on a Money Diet- It’s sweeping the country in case you haven’t heard.
My husband and I have vowed to trim our budget aggressively-In two years all three of our kids will be in college (gulp) so each month we cut out a few things out and we look at each other and say, that didn’t hurt too much,what else can we trim. There was an article a while back about shoppers going on a Shopping Diet where they tamed the urge to buy clothes by vowing to cease clothes-buying for one whole year. Well, this is somewhat similar.
I have an small idea to help you on your Money Diet as well. Save the $10 that you might be thinking of spending on the movie, and instead, just start to live by these, some of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat, Pray, Love:
- “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process.”
- “The Bhagavad Gita-that ancient Indian Yogic text-says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly.”
- “You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight”
- “To find the balance you want,” Ketut spoke through his translator, “this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it’s like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.”
-”And then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions. The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are”
and my favorite
-”There’s a reason they call God a presence-because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time. But to stay in the present moment requires dedicated one-pointed focus.
August 10, 2010
Many of you have been inquiring about my recovery from back surgery and I am happy to report that I am pretty much back to normal, whatever that means. Although at my most recent follow-up exam, my magnificent Dr. S did remark that I do have one very serious complication with my spine. Turns out that I have an advanced case of idiot-pathic silly-osis (or was it idiopathic scoliosis?)
He tried to explain it to me. It made a lot of sense and explained quite a bit of my struggles with my teenagers, who do NOT appreciate silly, especially if it is their mom who is the one who’s being silly. As I understand it, my spine is now shaped like the shute on the Candy Land game board.
As my discs have degenerated, they have been thrown out of alignment , thus they not able to support the weight of my spine equally on both sides, which has allowed the bones to shift, which apparently has caused a change in the position of my funny bone (who knew?) so that it is now bearing the brunt of my body weight and movement, which in turn, makes everything that I do and every word that comes out of my mouth sound- you guessed it- Silly.
Dr. S says there’s not much I can do about it and that they will find out more in the autopsy but until then I should just go out and live my life as best I can and to not take the diagnosis so seriously. He says that a lot of people go on to lead productive lives in spite of their silly-osis and that it could be worse. I could have Serio-sis, which would result in me being serious all the time, which would probably mean I’d fit right in at the ol’ Country Club and I could understand how to play Bridge and have meaningful discussions about foreign policy, climate change, soaring unemployment and ending world hunger. That would sure serve my kids right and prove to them how good they’ve got it now with me only having Silly-osis.
So I’m trying to look on the bright side. Silly-osis is very rare in women my age. Often young children develop it but it’s caught by the time they reach school age. Schools have developed an early-diagnosis program so that they can catch silly-osis before it becomes too life-threatening. The nuns from catholic school had all but eliminated silly-osis with the old smack of the ruler to the knuckles but since that’s not allowed any more there’s been an alarming resurgence in early childhood silly-osis.
And although I’ve tried to resist the urge to use the megaphone that I keep in my car to yell cheers at passers-by and to abandon my dear friend, Viola,
I’m not having much success at managing my condition. My family has even attempted an intervention to stop me from bringing my vase-sized martini glass along to most social events, to no avail. I’m ashamed to say I play Taboo and Twenty Questions a lot more than would be considered healthy. And don’t get me started on the irresistible problems I encounter with Karaoke Night. I just can’t seem to get my condition into remission.
But I’m not giving up. Just last month I went to see a production Shakespeare in the Park. It was Othello to boot (although I admit that I left early. I told you it’s a struggle). And only yesterday, I considered attending a lecture on a documentary on the relationship between Art & War. I think that’s what it was about. Now that’s workin’ the program. Of course, I’m not feeling very productive. This illness is debilitating in that regard. Not much gets done, let me tell you.
The good news? Well, the good news is that silly-osis is not terminal. It’s manageable and eventually I hope to contain my outbreaks to the occasional situation where I trick my husband into taking me somewhere that has a DJ. This is where my inner-sillychild raises the roof (oo-ah, oo-ah-ah), donkey kicks (which in dancing-for-dummies terms is sort of like the cha-cha. Hands in the air while alternating horse hoof kicks- You know. 1-2-3 kicka hoof, 1-2-3 kick the other hoof, ) and I even find myself Moon Walking (even though I can’t do it which qualifies it as silly as opposed to impressive) in honor of The Man in the White Glove. So if you see me on the dance floor you’ll know that my hips are good as new, and that my back is better but that I am definitely a woman prone to the occasional relapse.
Call me Silly.
August 6, 2010
How’s your fitness level? I thought mine was pretty good. Then a few weeks back some shocking studies came out about the detrimental effects of sitting.
I don’t remember the exact details but I think the bottom line was that all of us exercisers are going to end up dying just as early as we would if we’d never exercised at all if we don’t stop sitting around so much.
According to these studies, because I sit for a good portion of my day it’s a wonder I’m still alive. The thing is when I’m moving, I’m really, really moving but when I’m done, I’m really, really done. And it turns out that all of the sitting I’ve been doing for the rest of my day, at the beach or on the back porch can undo all the benefits of exercise. My chair is my enemy.
These recent studies have found that even if you exercise for an hour a day, if you sit for most of the rest of the day your risk for many age-related illnesses skyrockets. If you sit a lot, you’re likely to be as fat as you’d be if you didn’t exercise at all. You’re likely to die sooner, get cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
Now I’m still not convinced that the state of my health is all that bad. It’s not like I’m lazy, between cycling classes and yoga and intervals and laundry and kegels and flossing and rolling on the floor with my dog. But according to these studies there is a “physiology of inactivity” that when you sit for long periods your body stops producing as much of a molecule called lipoprotein lipase which plays a key role in how your body processes fats. And when we have less lipoprotein (you’d better sit down for this) we not only get fat, but we tend to get muffin-top fat- gaining around the waist. Ugh.
The good news is that just by standing, which forces muscles of the legs to contract, you can keep your metabolism revved up.
Scientists studied active men (who walked as average of 10,000 steps a day, measured by a pedometer) and asked them to cut back to 1,350 steps a day by doing what I do- taking the elevator, driving instead of walking, etc. And in two short weeks all the men became worse at metabolizing sugars and fats and they had all become fatter around the middle. Don’t panic, though. The study found that just by taking frequent breaks- standing and stretching or walking a few steps- those same men had smaller waists and better sugar and fat profiles than those who sat uninterrupted.
What to do? Besides getting a high desk and standing while doing desk work, or putting a treadmill in your living that powers the TV, a more realistic option is to watch TV in a rocking chair. Rocking takes energy and involves a continuous gentle flexing of the calves, which is enough action to stave off lipoprotein suppression. You could also sit at your computer on a big physioball which also uses muscles to support your back and keep from falling off. And bring on the fidgeting.
I also recommend getting a pedometer and challenge yourself to walk 2000 more steps (which equals one mile) each day.
The one thing I can’t help but notice as an aging fitness boomer is that even with vigorous gym-goers, weight gain is stealthy and surreptitious-
two pounds per year can leave us flabbergasted by the time the next class reunion rolls around. And we WILL all gain two to three pounds each year if we eat just 30 more calories per day than we burn. Thirty calories is a pittance. It’s about 4 potato chips, or a swig of Gatorade or two lifesavers.
These small bites of food can add up to morphing from a 125 pound 30 year old to being 25 pounds overweight by the time we are 50 years old.
It’s that darn butterfly effect of small changes making a difference over time. Not good.
You might not think you will be able to change how much you sit, but think about it- if you sleep eight hours a day and exercise for one hour per day, that leaves fifteen hours in which you can make small changes that cumulatively add up to winning the battle of the bulge.
And the battle of age related diseases.
Thanks to technology you might consider taking a walk while you take that conference call or moving around while you chat on the phone or text.
Okay it’s time- just stand up and get moving!