Friday, May 28, 2010

Jack Sh*t I know How you Feel

Last week Jack Sh*t blogged about seeing a picture of a runner who had a rather nasty "accident" during a race. He didn't post the picture but I'm pretty sure it's this one. It's one I've seen before as well. You can read Jack's post here:
It's a pretty gross picture, but Jack was posting about perseverance--namely his own perseverance under similar circumstances. Jack's training to run in a race, and one day, mid-way through his loop, that old familiar feeling began rattling around in his gut. Rather than stop, he finished up without soiling himself, and viewed it, rightly so, as a major accomplishment.
I had a similar experience this morning. When I work up this morning at 5 am, I had that "feeling" that something was coming. The problem was that it wasn't quite ripe. Now, normally this wouldn't be a problem, but the reason I was up at 5 am was that it was the only time I could get my power walk in.
It was one of those now or never situations. If I waited until I was "ready" it would cut into my walking time. I could use the treadmill and hop off once the need became critical, but it was a beautiful morning and I wanted to enjoy the great outdoors.
So I bit the bullet, put on my Shape-ups walking shoes, grabbed my hand weights and Ipod and headed for the streets.
I'm glad to say I got my full 3.5 mile walk in and there was no repeat of the above photo (although I did have to make a mad dash for the powder room once I got home).
And, I was "rewarded" for my perseverance as well. I found a brand new, crisp $20 bill on the side on the road this morning on my walk.
It was like God was giving me a prize for sucking it up and going for it.
I'll have to think of something good to spend that $20 on.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

There's Always a Price To Pay, When You try To Do Things the Easy Way

Turns out those popular weight loss drugs might give you liver cancer:

and :

Once again proven. There is NO easy way to lose weight. You have to suck it up, exercise more, eat less, and clean up your eating habits.

End of story.

Almost Meatless Meals

One of the first thing I realized when I started trying to lose weight was that I could not do it alone. For me to lose weight and keep it off, I had to change the whole family's eating habits.

Let me tell you, the biggest struggles I've had with weight loss was not actually losing the weight--it was getting my family to accept a new and different way of eating.

And, one of the most important changes I made was to dramatically reduce the amount of meat in our diets.

Now, I come from a large Italian family where meat was no-where in sight at many family meals.

My husband, however, was raised to believe it wasn't a meal unless it was mostly meat (and fish doesn't count).

So, when I started to introduce vegetarian meals into the family diet, there were some pretty bad knock-down, drag out fights. My husband was very resistant. But, I persisted. I explained the health benefits over and over. I also pointed out that his own doctor recommended the changes to confront his high blood pressure and a congenital heart condition.

Persistence pays. We know eat fully vegetarian (and often vegan) meals once or twice a week, and eat fish at least once.

But to further reduce meat consumption, I've developed a number of "almost" meatless meals. These are meals that contain meat, but only as a flavoring factor.

Pancetta, an Italian version of bacon that's cured instead of smoked, is a great for almost meatless meals. Just a little bit can infuse a pasta dish with that "meat" taste that satisfies my husband.

Last night I made one of my "Mostly Vegetables" fritattas by starting out sauteing a little pancetta in a pan. I then added tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, arugula and peas. Then I added just enough eggs and egg whites to "bind" the vegetables. The fritatta was finished off in the oven.

I got the idea for the "mostly vegetable" from Mark Bittman--the New York Times Food writer. It's simply a fritatta that's mostly vegetables with a little bit of egg, instead of one that's mostly eggs with a little bit of vegetables. To further"health it up" I use half egg whites and half whole eggs.

It's a healthy, quick to make dinner that satisfies my husband's meat cravings.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Benefits of Almond Milk

As I previously written, after I turned 40 I not only started to put on a great deal of weight, I also became rather "bubbly." So bubbly, that it became an embarrassment in social situation, particularly when the "bubbles" where odorous.

My allergies also became worse as I aged, and I developed a permanent post-nasal drip.

When I decided to get serious about weight loss, I began reading every weight loss book I could get my hands on. One of the most influential was Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin,

Now, Freedman ad Barnouin's approach to weight loss was a little too radical for me. They preach a strict vegan approach to weight loss. But the book overall was very well researched, and one chapter I found particularly interesting was entitled "The Dairy Disaster." Cow's milk, they pointed out is designed to grow a 90-pound calf into a 2,000 pound heifer in two years. Calves can double their birth weight in just 47 days.

If cow's milk can do that to a cow, then imagine what it can do to a human?

Moreover, they pointed out, the human body was just not designed to digest cow's milk, and the result of consuming is disease. What's more, all the information you've heard about why you NEED to consume dairy products is pretty much all just propaganda put out by the dairy industry. The countries' with the highest rates of osteoporosis, are those in which the people consume the most dairy. Of the 40 tribes in Kenya and Tanzania, only the milk-drinking Masai suffers from osteoporosis.

The Skinny Bitch anti-dairy argument was intriguing but I still wasn't ready to reduce my dairy intake. It took a naturalpathic physician's recommendation that I try to eliminate it for a few weeks to get me to do it.

Once I eliminated dairy from my diet, my gas and mucus problems cleared up, and my allergies pretty much disappeared.

I'm not totally dairy-free, I do enjoy a piece of cheese now and then, or cream cheese on a bagel (and let's not forget an occasional dessert), but whenever I indulge, I do feel the effects for a few days.

Having sworn off dairy for the most part, I, of course, needed a substitute for things like my morning coffee. After fiddling around with various "milk" substitutes, I settled on almond milk. Soy milk, I learned was just as mucus producing as regular milk, and rice milk contained a lot of sugars.

I also just love the taste of Almond milk. It adds a yummy nuttiness to anything you add it too. My son, who's allergic to milk, loves almond milk as well. He uses it on his cereal in the morning, and I'll make him hot chocolate with it in the Winter.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Some things I just Don't Get

One of my closest friends got married this weekend. It was a truly magical wedding held in a restaurant on Long Island Sound with spectacular views of the sound from the covered porch where the meal was served.

Since my girlfriend had been in the restaurant business for years (her first husband was a chef), the food was extraordinarily good, and I'm happy to report pretty healthy. The menu included salmon, pork and grilled vegetables.

But one thing mystified me--deep fried spinach. Yes, the chef took individual spinach leaves, deep fried them then coated them with a decidedly unhealthy dose of salt.

Why take something as healthy and nutritious as spinach, which tastes wonderful steamed or simply sauteed and deep fry it?

The taste certainly wasn't improved. It tasted like ultra-thin, green potato chips.

I only took a couple of bites out of curiosity, but it was definitely something to leave on the plate.

Which was a good thing since the wedding cake was my all time favorite dessert--carrot cake. And, it was YUMMY!!!

What can I say, every so often you have to treat yourself, and for me carrot cake is something you just go to go for.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Going for It

I've been practicing yoga for over six years now. I go to my Shala (yoga studio) at least three times a week, often four, and usually do an abbreviated practice at home on the days I don't go to the shala.

I was never one for "exercise classes" and I never liked lifting weights at the gym. Frankly, I never understood the point of aerobics, Jazzercise or Zumba. I mean you go into a class, you jump around and where does it get you?

Even weight lifting. I tried it, and even slogged through the whole Nautilus craze back in the 1980's. But even that left me somewhat cold. Lifting weights toned muscles, but, again, I'd ask myself where does this get me.

I had always been athletic. I studied ballet until I was a teen-ager, and skied competitively in college. I also loved to bike, hike, play tennis and do just about anything that didn't involve going to a gym. I loved to push myself running, to see how far I could go.

And, I loved the freedom of not being tied to any schedule. If I had a couple of hours free I could grab my bike and take a spin along the Charles River (when I lived in Boston), or around Central Park (when I lived in Manhattan).

But exercise classes and lifting weights were just not my "thing."

Even yoga did not appeal to me initially. My first forays into yoga where found me lying on my back counting ceiling tiles. But, then I wondered into an Ashtanga yoga studio.

I was having back problems and a physical therapist suggested I try yoga. So, one day after I dropped my daughter off at her pre-school I wandered into a nearby yoga studio which was an Ashtanga studio. I never heard of Ashtanga yoga before. After my first class I was sore for four days. This, I realized was a yoga program I could sign onto. Ashtanga yoga is fast moving, vigorous and physically challenging.

And, there are "goals." And Ashtanga practice consists of an opening sequence, a closing sequence and then you work on one of six series in-between. For the last six years I've been working on mastering the primary (first) series, and I've done some venturing into the second.

More importantly, I've seen how my body has changed because of my practice. When I started practicing yoga I couldn't touch my toes. Now I can hold onto my foot and get my forehead on my shin. I can sit in a lotus position, and do a head-stand. Asanas that I initially thought I'd never accomplish have been accomplished, or are near being accomplished.

So this week the Shala I attend announced that they will be holding a teacher training program. After the completion of the program (which will take five months), I'll be a certified by the Yoga Alliance to teach at the 200 hour level.

I've given it some thought, and I'm going for it. I don't see it as a money making proposition, but as a way to expand my knowledge of yoga.

Six years ago, I never thought I'd reach this point but here I am, moving from student to teacher.

Sometimes when you start a journey, you think you know where you are going, but the path you embark on takes you in a direction you may have never seen yourself taking.

Weight loss is a lot like that. You get yourself on a path, and if you keep on it, you probably will wind up someplace you may have never seen yourself.

But, it's important to stay on that path, no matter what road blocks emerge, and how scary the curve ahead seems.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why Cleanse?

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I'm gearing up to start a cleanse next week. I understand that the whole issue of detoxing is rather controversial, and many doctors view it with skepticism, but all I can say is that it works for me.

Three years ago when I started to try to lose weight I cut calories and began exercising diligently. But few pounds came off. Then someone introduced me to the idea of cleansing as a weight loss technique, and I was intrigued.

The theory behind cleansing (and I'll admit that there is zero scientific evidence to back this up) is that the toxins you absorb during your life, from foods sprayed with pesticides, to toxins in the environment you've been exposed to, are stored in your body's fat. Thus, your body is unwilling to release the fat as long as the toxins are stored there. By cleansing the body of toxins, your body becomes more willing to shed fat.

Now, I have to admit that some of the cleanses you read about sound extreme--and they are. Consuming nothing but water laced with lemon juice and cayenne powder for ten days is probably beyond the ability of anyone but the most dedicated cleanser (and not something I'm inclined to do). But there are a number of cleansing regimes out there that are quite sensible.

Three years ago, for one month I ate nothing but organic, raw fruits and vegetables, and during that time I did a few short juice fasts. I got a couple of colonics (recommended during cleanses), and practiced yoga and other exercises daily that were supposed to help with toxin release.

I lost 10 pounds in that month which never came back. But, more importantly, I finally began to shed weight. For the next several months (until the holidays hit), I started dropping one or two pounds a week (previously it took me a month to lose two pounds).

Since then, I haven't done as extreme a cleanse, but I have done a number of short term juice fasts and periods of going completely raw. Every time I find that weight starts creeping back on and refuses to come off, I find that if I do a cleanse, the weight soon comes off.

There are numerous ways to cleanse, but the basics are easy.

  • Drink eight to ten glasses of filtered water a day to flush your system
  • Don't eat anything containing sugar
  • Eliminate all refined carbohydrates (e.g., white flour) from your diet
  • Eliminate caffeine from your diet (that includes chocolate)
  • Avoid saturated and hydrogenated fats (that means that McDonalds and just about anything in a box is out)
  • Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables
  • Eat less meat and dairy, and when you do consume it, make sure its organic and free from hormones and anti-biotics
  • Limit your exposure to environmental toxins. Explore replacing your household cleaning supplies with less toxic "natural" products, and take a good look at the soaps and cosmetics you use.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Caffeine Withdrawal

I decided that I really need to do a cleanse again. Despite cutting calories further, and doing more exercise, my "winter weight" is being persistent and just not coming off. I always find that the weight seems to come off more easily if I do a cleanse first.

I've also been a bit "sluggish" if you get my drift. I need to get things "moving" again.

So, earlier this week I decided to start a cleanse on next Monday. Nothing too dramatic, just eating and drinking right and taking a colon cleanse product.

Why put off the cleanse to Monday? Well, I have to get myself off caffeine first. I happen to love my cup of coffee in the morning, but I totally eliminate caffeine (along with sugar and alcohol). So, this week I switched from Coffee to green tea in the morning. The green tea still has caffeine, but a lot less then coffee.

Monday, I'll start the cleanse and will be caffeine free.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Stages of Weight Loss

Jack Sh*t has a great post which I think just about anybody who's put on more pounds then they care to acknowledge can relate to. You can read it here: (note that Jack calls it the stages of "dieting" since I really don't like that word, I did a bit of editing.)

Like Jack, I went through the same journey until I finally owned up to myself about what I had to do.

First, of course, there is DENIAL. For me, this was done by just avoiding mirrors, never letting myself be photographed (there's basically no pictures of me from ages 42 through 46) and if I did let myself be photographed, I'd stand behind someone else. I also never let myself be seen in a bathing suit. I also never stepped on a scale unless forced to in a doctor's office.

Second is ANGER. Like Jack, I'd start all these crazy diets looking for a quick and easy way to drop the 40 pounds, and then got angry when they didn't work. I was also angry with myself for letting myself get so out of shape and I routinely cursed my body for not letting me eat as I had always eaten in the past.

Third is BARGAINING. I'd bargain constantly with myself that I could eat this or that and I'd work it off later (which of course never happened). Like Jack, I was always promising myself that I'd work out more and eat less, but for some reason couldn't do right then and there. I was always putting off the hard work.

Fourth is DEPRESSION. Yes, I was really depressed, not only about the way I looked, but the way I felt. I was always tired, couldn't do the things I had always done for the length of time I used to. If I went out in the yard to garden, I was wiped after about an hour, when I used to work the whole day in the yard (and loved it). I was depressed that I couldn't wear the clothes I liked (without looking ridiculous), and that I could grab huge wads of fat all over my body.

Fifth is ACCEPTANCE. One day you wake up and realize that you have to get real. You have to realize that there is only one way to lose weight and keep it off. You have to EAT LESS AND EXERCISE MORE. And, you can't just eat less, you have to eat better. You have to cut out the processed crap and stick to wholesome, natural foods. I think my wake up call came after I went to a plastic surgeon to discuss liposuction. After I got a price to have fat suctioned from my stomach, hips, thighs and arms, I drove home, took off my clothes and really stared at myself in the mirror. Even if I spent the $15,000 to have the fat removed from those areas, I realized, I still wouldn't have the body I had before I turned 40. The next day I started shopping for treadmills, and began researching what I really needed to do to finally drop the weight.

Needless to say, the $2,500 I spent on the treadmill was a better investment then the $15,000 I would have spent on liposuction. It still wasn't easy to lose the weight after that, and in the first three months I had the treadmill, I actually only lost five pounds.

But, it was a start, and the more I got into my weight loss journey, the more I learned, and the more weight came off.

It hasn't been easy, and, in fact, it's been damn hard.

And, its still hard. I constantly struggle with not gaining the weight back. Even with my new exercise and eating habits, pounds still want to creep back on (it's a function of hitting menopause).

But, I've accepted the struggle, and fight on.

Thanks for the great post Jack.

Exercise is King, Nutrition is Queen

We should all look this good at 95!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let there be Light!!

This morning when I woke up at 5:15 am for my morning power walk, I realized it was now light enough for me to walk outside.

Normally, for most of the year, getting up at 5:15 to do my walk three times a week (because that's the only time I can fit it in when I know I'll do it), means it's pitch black outside, and I'm consigned to walking inside on my treadmill watching DVRed recording of Mad Men, True Blood or whatever else strikes my fancy.

But every year, at the end of May, something magical happens. I wake up to light!!! That means I can go outside.

Now I enjoy my walk either way (especially when you consider all the male eye candy available on Television these days), but I have to admit I prefer being outside.

When you're out walking at 5:30 am it's just me, the robins and lots of deer (who generally look at me as a pass by with a great deal of curiosity then continue munching on my neighbors' azaleas).

I'll have to enjoy it while I can, because in a few more months, it will be dark again.

And, besides going outside, the light just makes it so much easier to get out of bed in the first place. Once it gets really dark, all I want to do is cuddle under the covers and sleep. But, I see that light in the morning, and I'm ready to roll.

Friday, May 14, 2010

There Are no "Magic Bullets" When it Comes to Exercise

I found this post interesting because it's a question I get asked a lot:

Since I've lost my weight, people are always asking what's "the best" exercise to lose weight.

My reply? "The one you'll most likely stick with for the rest of your life."

It does you no good to run out and buy a Stairmaster because you read it burns the most calories in an hour if getting on the thing makes you want to puke.

You have to find ways to incorporate exercise into your life that you'll like and will want to continue doing for the rest of your life. It may not be the most efficient exercise, calorie burning wise, but it has to be something you'll WANT to do.

Earlier this year I discovered Tai Chi. It's a slow moving Chinese Martial art, which I'm just totalling loving. It only burns about 230 calories an hour, but the bonus is that I do it every day, even if it's just for 10 or 15 minutes. I love practicing the forms. And, this practice is on top of my normal power walking and yoga routines. While practicing Tai Chi 10 minutes (in addition to the two one hour classes I take every week), may not burn a lot of calories, over time those extra burned calories do amount to weight lost or not gained.

Yoga is another one of my exercise staples. I use it for strength and toning. I would probably see faster results if I lifted weights (and burn more calories to boot), but I positively loathe lifting weights, and really can't stand the whole gym atmosphere.

Yoga, however, is something that fits better with my personality. I've been doing it steadily for six years now, going to the studio at least 3 times a week and practicing at home regularly as well.

So find an exercise you love, and (to steal Nike's thunder) just do it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Biggest Loser Versus Reality

Like the majority of Americans, I've watched the Biggest Loser--absolutely awe-struck at the weight loss the contestants experience. But, even though it is a reality show, the reality is that the Biggest Loser is not reality. As this story shows, the weight loss many contestants experience is actually illusory:
Erik Chopin, who lost 214 pounds on the show and won, now has gained back 184 pounds. He's within 30 pounds of the weight he was at when he started the show back in 2006. In four years he's pretty much back where he started.
Anyone could lose weight if we had the time to exercise 6 to 8 hours a day and lived on a compound completely sealed off from pizza, gooey desserts and greasy fried foods.
Really losing weight means making life-long decisions about diet and exercise and sticking with them forever. Temporary changes to diet and exercise only leads to temporary weight loss. It means learning to have the will-power to say "no" to over-processed, processed foods or passing up a McDonalds in favor of going to a grocery store and buying a banana when we're hungry.
Losing weight and keeping it off means never going back. It's only by moving forward and leaving the past behind that we ultimately succeed in reaching our goals.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Confronting Comfort Zones

Losing weight is all about confronting our comfort zones. We get into routines that are comfortable, and don't want to leave. Whether it's stopping by Dunkin Donuts every morning for a breakfast sandwich and coffee, ordering in food every night instead of making dinner or sleeping until we only have enough time to dress and get to work, we all gravitate to what those routines that are easy and comfortable for us.

But, when we get to the point where we want to lose 20, 30, 40 pounds or more, we have to rouse ourselves to leave the zone of comfort. We have to make ourselves do things we don't really want to do, such as getting up an hour earlier every morning to work out, eating just fruit at home for breakfast, or making dinner every night.

We may have to make ourselves stop eating foods that we like and make us feel good, like french fries, McDonald's hamburgers, and cookies from a box, and eat foods we normally wouldn't such as salads, fruit and raw nuts.

Because if we don't confront our comfort zones, real weight loss becomes impossible.

I have a friend who has been trying to lose weight for years. She's over 250 pounds and needs to do it for her health. But she doesn't exercise. When I ask her why, she says she's too embarrassed to go to a gym and wants to lose weight first.

But, it's impossible to lose weight without exercising, I say. Even if it's just a mile walk daily around the neighborhood you need to do something, I tell her. But, my friend is insistent that she's too embarrassed to do even that. Because my friend won't leave her comfort zone, she not only doesn't lose the weight she's put on, she puts on more weight yearly. No diet alone has ever worked, and no diet alone will ever work. She's gone on every fad diet that has come down the pike and while all have led to temporary weight loss, she never fails to eventually put that weight back on.

Losing weight is a bitch, it's never easy. We have to confront what's easy and comfortable for us, and leave those old routines behind forever.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's National Women's Health Week

I don't have a lot of time today, but I did want to mention that it's National Women's Health Week:

Whether you're a woman or a man, probably the best thing you can do for your health is get your diet in shape. Cut out over-processed and fast food, and try to aim for a goal of the majority of your diet being plant-based.

Exercise is also important, even if it's a non-sweat inducing walk to the store.

Eat right and move. If we all did that, we'd be a much healthier nation.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Ultimate Newsweek Cover Story

"What Would Jesus Eat? The New Science of Biblical Diets Could Be The Secret to Weight Loss."

LOL!!! Check it out here:

Lisa's Story

Prior Fat Girl has a must read post today on her blog which you can read here:

It's quite a compelling story about a girl who went from a normal weight, struggled with what seems to have been some form of anorexia, then went to being too heavy, and then back to a normal weight.

This young woman (she was just 22 when her eating problems began), had self worth issues and used not eating, then over-eating as a crutch.

One thing yoga has taught me is to be mindful about what I eat. To not just focus on the pleasure eating brings, but the health and ethical aspects as well. Mindfulness in our eating, should also lead us to analyze why we eat. Is it out of boredom? To fill some emotional need?

Sometimes we need to analyze not just what we eat but why we eat or don't eat.

Lisa did that, and now she seems to be on a healthier road.

Way to go Lisa!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quiche for Dinner

At least once a week, to my husband's dismay, I try to make a completely vegetarian or vegan dinner. Vegan is harder to do, of course, but a dinner made with no meat, fish or poultry is easier.

Tonight I'm making quiche. One of my girlfriends started raising her own chickens, and she dropped off these farm fresh eggs the other day. Some of her hens are the Martha Stewart Easter egg layers, so in addition to brown and white eggs, I got these cool light green and blue ones.

To make the quiche I tossed some steamed broccoli in the bottom of a store bought pie shell and tossed in some cheddar cheese and fresh chives from the garden. I then cracked open eight eggs, and mixed them up with a bit of skim milk, salt and pepper. The egg mixture was poured into the pie-shell and the whole thing baked for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. It's now sitting on my counter cooling.

To go with the quiche I made a big salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and red onion. It's the perfect quick easy to make dinner. Assembling the quiche and salad took less than 15 minutes, and I got to work for the 45 minutes the quiche baked.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Get Outside and Exercise!!!

Turns out that taking time to smell the roses is really good for you, and if you can combine that rose smelling with a little nature walk, you're doing a really good thing for both your mind and your body. A new British study shows that exercising outdoors does marvelous things for your health and well being:
I love my treadmill because it gives me "no excuses" to not exercising, but the reality is that I so much prefer getting outside and exercising. I love checking out what's happening in nature, whether it's the trees blooming, the leaves changing or the leaves falling. I also love to see the bird's and whatever wildlife is around.
But getting outside even to just enjoy nature, is so much better then just staying inside watching TV. You don't need to take a power walk, just going out in the yard and pulling a few weeds is good for your health.

It's National Salad Month!!!

Did you know that May is National Salad Month? I didn't, but you can read about it here:

As if I need an excuse to eat salad??? I love salad. I had a salad for lunch yesterday, and then had one with dinner. For my main course last night, I brushed salmon steaks with a little olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper then grilled them on my indoor grilled. I made a big salad with lettuce, avocado, mango, almonds, cucumber and red onion, then drizzled both the salad and the salmon with a home-made lemon vinaigrette. It was a simple, quick, easy on the calories, but filling meal.

It's almost lunch time, and I think I'll whip myself up another salad of lettuce, cucumber, red onion and shredded carrots with a ginger-carrot dressing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

There's no Trading In this Chassis

I am a new car person. I've heard the argument dozens, if not hundreds, of times about how financially wasteful it is to go into a new car dealership every seven to eight years and plunk down my hard earned cash for a car that reads "0" on the odometer, but I don't care.

I have my reasons, for wanting a new car and it has nothing to do with breathing in that new car smell (which is probably bad for you anyway), or having a shiny new car.

You see, I just like to get in my car, put gas in it, make my monthly payments, and do some minor regular maintenance like oil changes.
Older cars are drama queens--they're always demanding attention and money. While it's probably cheaper to fix a transmission on a car with 100,000 miles then buy a new one, I've made the decision that I don't want the drama of breaking down on a superhighway the first day into a vacation and having an unexpected, unplanned large automotive repair bill.

I've gotten to that point with my current car, but its a rather sad decision for me. I'm currently driving a 2004 Volvo XC70 with just under 80,000 miles. Believe it or not, although it is a station wagon, it's my second favorite car, and definitely my favorite "MOMMobile" since I've had to start driving large vehicles that can haul large amounts of people and stuff.
My absolute favorite car of all time was the 1966 Mustang I drove in high school. No power brakes, no power steering--it drove like a tank, but man it was a cool car.

I love my Volvo, but it's drama queen tendencies have become pronounced of late. In the last two years I've had to spend over $1,500 on the brakes, another $1,300 when a tire went flat and it turned out that the tire had some how rusted onto the axle requiring a week in the shop and four new tires (we couldn't replace just the one that went flat), an $800 tune up, and $2,500 when the computer system that runs the ABS brakes went out (it was in the shop for a week then as well). Right now I've got the "Check Engine" light flashing although the shop is telling me it's just something wrong in the circuitry and I've been waiting for the part to correct that for over two weeks.
So, this weekend my husband and I headed out to the dealerships looking at new cars. It would be simple if Volvo still made the same car I now drive--I'd simply buy another one. But since I bought my car, Volvo has gone a bit downhill. The XC70 has gone from being a luxury wagon to an expensive Taurus, and, Volvo no longer sells it with a jump seat, so I can only get five people in it.

I'm bringing up this whole car saga because our bodies are a lot like cars. They run fairly well with minimal maintenance and care for a number of years, and then all sorts of unplanned and expensive shit starts to happen. But, unlike a car, you can't just get a new one. You have to deal with what you got. So while a car may need new brakes, you may need a new knee.

And, like a car, the kind of repairs that you'll need to do can be minimized with good maintenance. Take care of those regular oil changes, and you'll avoid expensive engine problems later on.

Yes, like older cars, older bodies are drama queens. There's always an achy shoulder, a sore knee or some female or male organ that demanding attention. But, we can minimize some of the drama with good maintenance. The most important maintenance you can do on your body is maintaining an appropriate weight and exercising. Excessive weight can lead to diabetes, cardiac issues and cancer. So watch your weight and avoid the drama.