Thursday, July 29, 2010

Losing Weight After 45 IS a BITCH

Gwyneth Paltrow decided a few years ago to become somewhat of a New Age domestic diva (think Martha Stewart but everything is white, vegetarian-based and lots of yoga), and now puts out a weekly e-newsletter called Goop.

I've been a Goop subscriber for some time because although I find the newsletter somewhat out of touch with reality (the woman moved to Nashville to film a movie and redecorated a loft for the six months she was there then posted the pictures of it in her newsletter), I do agree with her philosophy of yoga, healthy eating, etc.

I may never have the money to move somewhere for 6 months and completely redo a loft to home magazine photo perfection, but I do find much of the information provided by the experts she consults for the newsletter insightful.

In particular, when Goop was delivered to my inbox this morning, there was one item in particular right up my alley. It was all about maintaining a healthy weight after you reach 40.

And, yes, it confirms what I've always believed, once you hit the big FOUR OH losing weight and keeping it off is a MAJOR bitch. It's not impossible or improbable, it just takes a lot more conscience effort to do so.

You can read the newsletter here:

But for those of you who prefer not to rummage around the web, it's here:

“How might a 40 something jump start a sluggish metabolism?”

Dr. Oz Garcia, who I've been working with, gave us his answer:

A:Staying slim and fit is always a challenge but maintaining your girly figure after age forty can be an all out battle. Even maintaining an exact diet and fitness regimen will not beat the penalty of aging.

On average, women gain 25 pounds between the ages of 30 and 60 and it’s not from eating those extra Twinkies. During the course of the natural aging process, women shed lean muscle mass. These lean muscles are the force from which calories are burned even while sitting around and just blinking.

Technically speaking, a pound of lean tissue burns 35 to 50 K’s each day. A loss of just a half-pound of lean muscle could cause you to gain three pounds in just one year, 25 pounds in 10 years, 50 pounds in 20 years and a hefty 75 pounds in 30 years.

So in order for women to stay lean well into their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s they need to maintain those lean muscles. This means working out every day. Yes, every day. Exercise with increased resistance and lower reps will provide increased muscle density and bone strength.

Interval training, when you get your heart pumping at maximum capacity and then slow down for a period of recovery, is great for losing weight in your 20’s and 30’s. Once you’re a bit older, however, you want to regulate your cardio training into a steady bell-shaped progression. Start off slow, work to a crescendo and then work you way back down.

Oh yes, there’s also an eating component. (Don’t act surprised, you knew it was coming.)

•A good cleanse or detox, like Blue Print Cleanse and Organic Avenue, is an incredible way to jump-start your metabolism.
•You need to eat lots of lean animal proteins, like salmon or white meat chicken to help you stay fueled and burn calories.
•Green tea is a metabolic enhancer and natural diuretic that will keep your body flush and lean.
•Lose the wheat and gluten. Wheat can work as a hormone disrupter and alter your appetite to increase cravings. There are enough good and healthy carbs and starches that won’t gob on the fat and cause your metabolism and energy levels to become sluggish.
•Try to eat five to six small meals a day. Micro-mealing doesn’t allow you to get too hungry between meals. By eating every few hours, you keep your metabolism firing, your blood sugar stable, and leave your body in a much better state to burn energy.
•Plan your meals in advance - classic Mediterranean or Japanese are good choice. Also make sure to have ”go-to” snacks such as pistachio’s, fruit, and even eggs on hand at home or at work.

Ready for the good news? Studies show that starting at age 65 the body naturally begins to slowly lose weight. Social Security, here we come!

Dr. Oz Garcia is a New York city based nutritionist. He is an expert in anti-aging nutrition and the author of several books on the matter including, “Redesigning 50: The No-Plastic-Surgery Guide to 21st-Century Age Defiance”

So, Dr. Garcia pretty much confirms my current strategy for post-40 weight management--exercise every day, avoid refined carbs, eat better, and a cleanse now and again is really good.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Won an Award!!!

Sorry for not blogging yesterday, but I started my yoga teacher training and had a full day intensive program. More about that another time.

I've won my first blogging award, and I'm thrilled. I'm now a "Blog with Substance."

Thank you so much to Bloojay for the honor. If I had to win any blogging award, I'm thrilled to know that my readers believe I add substance to their lives.

Now, as part of accepting this award I have to describe my blogging philosophy, motivation and experience in 10 words.

That's tough. I need 50 or 60 words to really impart that information, but we do live in an age where people expect short, pithy, catchy blurbs. So it looks like I have to crystallize my raison d'etre.

Here it goes, in 10 words or less:

"I blog, therefore I am." (Sorry Descartes).

OK, now the longer explanation. I blog to provide motivation for myself to stay on my journey to a healthier, saner weight and continue to exercise, and hope to help anyone else on their own journey who cares to read my daily thoughts. There's a lot of misinformation and hype concerning what it takes to get ourselves and our families to a healthy weight and keep it there. So I want to dispel the mythology and replace it with true knowledge.

Blogging motivates me to research daily what's being said and written in the science of healthy living. And, by posting links and commenting on what's new in this area, I'm disseminating that information to you, my readers.

This blog is not about looking like some underage, teen-age model or air-brushed cover photo of a celebrity. It's about living healthy and being happy with ourselves. It's also about providing positive images to our families, to guide them on the path of eating well and exercising for the rest of their lives.

So once again, I thank Bloojay for the honor, and will pass on this award to ten other deserving blogs.

Friday, July 23, 2010

These Chemicals are Making you Fat

A really fascinating article on how some food-borne chemicals can actually be causing you to gain weight and hampering attempts to lose weight:

Essentially, non-0rganic food contains a lot of endocrine disrupting chemicals which the article calls "obesogens." These obesogens disrupt the body's regulatory system for controlling weight, causing weight gain (or failure to lose weight).

If you want to lose weight (or not organic) the rules are simple:

1. EAT ORGANIC. I don't think I could emphasize this enough.

2. Avoid plastic. Don't heat your foods in plastic, drink from plastic, or store your food in plastic.

3. Go lean. Hormones are stored in fat, so the leaner you go the more you'll avoid the hormones.

4. Drink Filtered Water. It's easy enough to do. I have a couple of the Brita system filters, and refill my water bottles from them as well.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why Losing Weight is Like Yoga

Every summer my yoga practice makes progress. My instructors tell me that it's because of the warm weather.

Now, I'm not the most limber person in the room. Hell, I'm not even the second, or the third, or the fourth for that matter.

Truth be told, I'm tight as all hell. It took me two years of regular practice just to touch my toes. I have extremely tight hamstrings and glutes, which just don't want to give.

Still, with steady practice, I make progress. This year, I'm measurably closer to getting my forehead to my shins in forward folds. It may be nothing dramatic, I certainly won't be able to get my foot behind my head anytime soon, but it's certainly closer to it then it was a year ago.

Now, if I was the kind of person who wanted instant results, and frustrated easily, I would have given up yoga long ago.

But, I stuck with it, and I went from somebody who can't touch their toes, to somebody who can sit in Lotus.

Through my years of steady practice, I've actually seen a lot of people come and go through my Shala--many of them the kind of people for whom yoga does come easily. The ones so flexible, they can attain difficult binding positions in months, when it took me years to do the same. They came, they bound, they went, never to be seen again.

Others gave up because they are like me, stiff and inflexible. They gave up because they were intimidated by the yogis who can put their feet behind their heads, or pick themselves up to a handstand from a seated position.

I, however, stuck with it, and next week I start my training to become a Yoga Alliance certified instructor.

It's another case of slow and steady wins the race.

Better to make slow incremental changes to your life that you'll stick with, then grand broad gestures that you won't. Don't focus so much on immediate dramatic results, as the smaller changes that will be permanent.

I stuck with yoga, and saw transformational results to both my body and my life.

In the same way, when I stopped focusing on instant results, and just concentrated on celebrating the permanent incremental changes to my diet and my exercise regime, I finally lost the weight I was seeking to lose.

There was never a dramatic weight loss in a month, but a slow and steady loss of weight as I ate healthier, switched to my fresh fruits and vegetables, and exercised more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More on Anti-biotics in our Food

The links within this link are interesting as well:

I'll Take My Chicken with a Side of Anti-biotics

Here's a good editorial in USAToday about the use of anti-biotics in the meat industry:

It's amazing the risks that the food industry takes with our health in the name of making more of the almighty dollar. What's even more amazing is that while you, as a human, has to get a prescription from a doctor to get an anti-biotic, and show good cause for needing it, factory farms can churn anti-biotics into animals that will be essentially slaughtered for food as a preventative measure---the animals aren't even sick and they're dosing them.

This practice has a particularly acute impact on me. As I explained before in previous posts, because of an overzealous dermatologist who prescribed anti-biotics for my teen-years' acne, I now have severe resistance to anti-biotics. Now, when I have any kind of a bacterial infection, the doctors must prescribe larger then normal dosages of anti-biotics, or newer exotic forms of anti-biotics, for them to work.

So the last thing I need is to fuel my resistance further by getting doses of anti-biotics in my food. I try to buy meat that hasn't been treated with anti-biotics, but it's not only possible.

I really wish that our government would step up to the plate and regulate this practice.

Monday, July 19, 2010

But, What if You Don't Have a Husband????

I found it rather interesting that the primary way that people dealt with the inflated portions when they dine out was to split an order with their husbands.

To me, that doesn't really solve the problem. What if the two of you really don't feel like eating the same thing or one is a vegetarian and the other isn't?

For instance, my sister always laments that she never gets to eat salmon any more. Her partner hates salmon, so she can never make it for dinner, and, because they split an entree, she can't get it when they dine out either.

And, what if you don't have a husband (or wife), or happen to be travelling without them? I know that I find myself traveling without my husband a lot, and the portion size thing is always a problem.

Why can't restaurants just offer things like half-portions? And, why can't you just buy half a sandwich? Is it really that difficult to cut a slice of bread in two?

And, while we're on the topic, why can't movie theaters sell air popped pop-corn in addition to that calorie-laden, artery-clogging crap they sell or at a minimum just let you bring in your own since they refuse to do so?

The argument I keep hearing from the food service industry is that Americans want these humongous sized portions (despite the fact that it seems a good quarter of the country is splitting them), and wants stuff drenched in fat, salt and every unhealthy substance known to man.

If that's so true, then why be afraid to just offer a smaller-sized, healthier alternative, that's priced a little cheaper?

Which gets me to another rant. Restaurant dining has gotten to be far to expensive, even a jaunt to a "moderate" priced restaurant for a family of four has gotten to be financially excessive.

Cut back on the damn portion sizes and cut back on the prices. We don't need the extra calories, and we can sure as hell can use the extra money in our pockets.

Friday, July 16, 2010

No One Ever Wound Up at Weight Watchers by Eating Carrots

Bitchcakes has a really great post on portion sizes which you can read here:

It is indeed true that you can eat too much of a good thing.

Portion sizes in this country have gotten completely out of control. We need to shrink our expectations of just how much food we should be eating--even if its carrots.
But more importantly the food industry has got to start paying more attention to those of us who are trying to watch our weight.

I, myself, would like to see, among other things, muffins, sandwiches and bagels slimmed down significantly. I now feel that I can never eat a store bought muffin or sandwich anymore because the portion sizes have grown to the point that I pretty much blow a significant portion of my caloric "wad" for the day if I were to indulge.
As for bagels, I limit myself to "mini" bagels (which are the size of the regular bagels I ate as a kid.) The problem with this strategy, however, is that it pretty much limits me to plain bagels since that's the only flavor that mini bagels seem to come in.
Now, I understand that there are quite a few people in this country who feel that they're getting financially ripped off if their sandwich doesn't contain enough meat to keep a whole village in Africa alive for a week, but what I resent is that there are absolutely no options for those of us who want to keep our BMIs within acceptable, healthy levels.
Why is it that if I'm skiing with my children and want a turkey sandwich, I can't get half a sandwich with just a few slices of turkey and one slice of Swiss cheese? That's all I need to be completely filled up. Why is the only option available a whole sandwich with half a pound of turkey and a quarter pound of cheese that costs $9?
I resent the fact that I can't get a Poppy seed or onion bagel unless its some doughy behemoth. For Christ's sake, a bagel is supposed to be chewy with an actual hole in it.
Now when I make this complaint, the retort I always get is to just not eat the whole thing. But, why should I pay for these huge portions when I don't want them?
And, let's face it, often it's is just not convenient to wrap up something and take it with you. If you're not heading directly home, then what are you supposed to do--walk around with half bagel and cream cheese with lox all day?
Am I somehow supposed to fit into my ski jacket pocket the half of sandwich and quarter pound of meat I pulled out of the other half and hope that no wild animals are lurking close to the trails as I finish up my day skiing? What if I'm staying in a hotel with no refrigerator?
Why is it that portion sizes have grown so large that for those of us desiring to keep our weight at certain levels have to forgo foods we enjoy because their bulked up sizes mean too many calories.
The food industry is pushing food on us we don't need and don't want, and I'm just plain old sick of it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just Desserts

On Saturday I'm having friends over for a BBQ. The main course is going to be my grilled tuna Nicoise salad platter. It's always a big hit.

To make it I grill fresh tuna steaks on the grill making sure not to overcook them (I like them rare in the center), then arrange them, along with arugula, steamed green beans, hard-boiled eggs, cured olives, tomato and red onion into a huge composed salad. I serve my lemon vinaigrette on the side.

It's a perfect main course for company because you can essentially get everything ready ahead of time. So, instead of running around frantically and miss out on the fun, you can sit and relax drinking a little wine with your friends.

The appetizers will be crudities, grapes and a raw goat's milk cheese with whole grain crackers.

Since I'm entertaining I'm serving dessert. Unlike most people, I don't think you should forswear dessert forever to lose weight and maintain it, although I think you have to be smart about it. Dessert is for special occasions, and if you're going for it, make sure it's worth the extra calories. Twinkies, Ho-Hos and 100 calorie packs of chocolate chip cookies are definitely out.

If I'm going to indulge in dessert, I certainly don't want something too calorie-laden or full of bad fats etc. And, I want it to be the most delicious thing I can eat bite for bite.
A few years ago, I learned that any fruit that you normally bake into a pie, can also be baked into a tart. This gets rid of the top crust which saves a bunch of calories. Furthermore, since the tart is thinner, you also get fewer calories from the filling.
Since the dessert is primarily fruit based it has some nutritional value (and with all the local fruit now available why wouldn't I make dessert fruit based?). Any sugar I use (and I try to use it less of it then usual) is raw, organic sugar which is surprisingly tasty. It has a complexity of flavor that white sugar doesn't have which makes up for using less of it.

Furthermore, since I make my own crust, I try to make that as healthy as possible as well. A few years ago I discovered whole wheat pastry flour. I swear to God, other than the fact that the crust comes out a little darker than usual, it's still as tender and flaky as anything made with that bleached, white stuff. The crust actually also has a little bit more flavor then usual, and people always seem to comment on how good my crust is. Since you have to use some kind of shortening, I stick to organic butter. The good news is, as I pointed out above, is that there's only one crust.

So, last night I made a strawberry-rhubarb tart for my company on Saturday. The strawberries, which came from the farmer's market, had the kind of intense flavor that you never get from supermarket strawberries. The rhubarb came from my garden.

It came out so pretty, I snapped a picture for you. What do you think?

Now, this is just Gross

Sandwiches in a can. Definitely something to be avoided. Read about it here:

How about eating an apple or banana instead??? Either is more likely to provide better nutrition, fewer calories and fewer chemicals then canned sandwich frankenfood.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yet Another Reason to Watch Your Weight

Excess weight correlates with declining cognitive ability as we age:

One of the things I noticed was that as I lost weight, not only did my energy levels rise, but my mental clarity did as well.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Extinction Bursts

Why dieting is so hard, and why giving in to your inner two year old is the absolute worst thing you can do:

This is pretty much the meat of the nut, although the whole article is worth the read:

"So, back to that diet.

You eliminate a reward from your life: awesome and delicious high-calorie foods. Right as you are ready to give it up forever, an extinction burst threatens to demolish your willpower.

You become like a two-year-old in a conniption fit, and like the child, if you give in to the demands, the behavior will be strengthened.

Compulsive overeating is a frenzied state of mind, food addiction under pressure until it bursts.

Diets fail for many reasons, much of them associated with your body trying to survive in a situation where surviving starvation is much less of an issue.

To give up overeating, or smoking, or gambling, or “World of Warcraft,” or any bad habit which was formed through conditioning, you must be prepared to weather the secret weapon of your unconscious – the extinction burst.

Become your own Supernanny, your own Dog Whisperer. Look for alternative rewards and positive reinforcement. Set goals, and when you achieve them, shower yourself with garlands of your choosing.

Don’t freak out when it turns out to be difficult. Habits form because you are not so smart, and they cease under the same conditions."
This is why I don't like "diets." As any of you know who read my blog regularly, I believe that dramatic changes to your regular eating habits are unsustainable. If you normally eat 2,200 calories a day of fat laden food and suddenly switch to 1,600 calories of nothing but raw vegetables, your body essentially says "what the fuck" and revolts. The "revolt" is the extinction burst described in the above article. Your diet ends in a catastrophic binge because your body normally accustomed to the "reward" of 2,200 calories a day of high fat food essentially got pissed off when you took it away from it and had a little tantrum.

Instead of a "diet," focus on making small, gradual changes to your eating habits that you'll sustain for life. Start by cutting back maybe 50 calories a day by substituting some grapes for that bag of potato chips you normally have around 3 pm, and start doing a little exercise. After a week or two, cut back on more calories, and have a salad instead of a burger for lunch twice a week.

Keep adding small changes over time and exercising more, and the weight will come off and stay off.
By making gradual changes, you short-circuit your body's desire to have an "extinction burst" and up the chances that you'll have a permanent improvement in your overall health.

No, you won't lose 30 pounds in a month, but you may lose 30 pounds in a year.

And, in the end, the 30 pounds lost in that one year will lead to overall better habits that means you won't have to worry about going on that "diet" to lose 30 pounds again.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Little Bit of Perfectionism can be Good

Too much, not so good:

So the message here is strive to stick to a healthy eating and exercise routine as much as you can, but don't completely stress yourself out over it.

It's About Healthy Lifestyles

There's a really great post over at 45+ and Aspiring which you can read here:

This was one of those posts I read with my my head bobbing up and down the whole time. Bobbing because I agreed with everything written.

Trying to just "lose weight" leads to bad habits which means that any weight actually lost is not sustainable. Making positive "healthy lifestyle" changes leads to weight loss (and healthier outcomes) which is sustainable.

In this culture we are constantly bombarded with images which just aren't real. We see advertisements with impossibly thin models. First of all, we were all much slimmer in our teens and early 20's (the ages of these models) and then the unreality is further enhanced by airbrushing them even thinner. Show real women in their 40's and 50's and you get a much "broader" picture (unless there's digital enhancement).

What is it about magazines geared to women that has to take any picture of a woman and make them slimmer, even when they're slim to begin with? Arms in particular always seem to be retouched. Cover models aren't allowed to have any thing other then buff or non-existent triceps I guess.

And, it's these false images that influence ourselves to be unhappy about our bodies, even when we are at a healthy weight for our individual selves.

So the message here is stop looking at pictures of Jennifer Aniston on the latest cover on Woman's Day. Instead start thinking about the ways you can add more exercise to your life, cut out processed food and start eating better.

Oh, and for a photoshop hall of shame, check out Jezebel's list for 2009 here:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tennis and a Walk

I have a friend who also has a son with Autism named Evan. He's older than my son, and loves to play tennis. Several years ago, as a favor to my friend and to get my son a bit more exercise, Evan began "teaching" my son (who also is on the spectrum) tennis in the Summer.

It's more like Evan hits balls directly to my son and if my son feels like it, he hits them back. But as I mentioned, it's still good exercise, so every Summer my son gets tennis lessons from Evan once or twice a week.

I used to sit on a bench and just watch the two play, or sit on a bench and watch my daughter play on the playground (which is next to the tennis courts).

But, because Evan teaches my son at the local high school tennis courts, there is actually a track right there in full view of the courts. The track also is in clear view of the playground.

Since my motto is now "never sit and wait for the kids when you can take a walk," two years ago I started walking around the track while my son had his lesson. My daughter generally plays on the playground, but I can keep an eye on her the whole time I'm walking. I can also monitor how my son is playing as I walk as well.

I bring my hand weights and my Ipod and take a leisurely stroll around the track for the 45 minutes I'm there. I'm probably not burning a ton of calories, but the point is to just MOVE and burn more calories then I would have sitting around on my ass.

I could do a more aggressive work-out, but the lessons are at the worst possible time in the afternoon when the heat is at is worst. There's also no shade to be had around the track, so I'm generally frying. So, I'm lucky I have the incentive to walk at all, never mind trying to accomplish five minute miles.

I actually tried to clock how far I walked and my calories burned on my pedometer. It seems, however, to have been one of those days I didn't clip it on right, and it didn't record either. Well, there's always next time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Calorie Calculator

As I mentioned in my previous post, calorie calculators you can use to determine what your daily intake of calories should be abound on the web. Here's a good one:

It's a good one because it uses your height, weight, age and activity level to determine your daily caloric needs.


An interesting article from USA Today with a survey showing how few of us know the number of calories we can eat in a day, or how many calories are in the food we eat:

As I've written about in the past, one of the first things you need to do when you're trying to lose weight is to determine the number of calories you need to maintain your present weight. There are a number of calculators on the web that help you determine what your daily caloric intake should be, but it's generally based on your height, weight, age and level of activity.

The first time I calculated my caloric needs, I was shocked to find out that it was only about 1,700 calories. Not much when you realize that a bottle of Snapple lemonade has something like 240 calories in it, or that a Whopper has over 500 calories.

First figure out how many calories you can eat to not gain weight, then figure out how many calories a day you actually consume. If there's a discrepancy, e.g., you're consuming more then you should, you'll gain weight. If you consume less then you need to maintain your weight, you'll lose weight.

A few additional notes. As you lose weight, you have to consume fewer and fewer calories to both maintain that weight, and to continue losing weight.

Also, as you get older you have to cut back on calories to maintain weight.

Stoking Your Metabolism

All good advice:

In Short:

First: Gain muscle. Muscle burns more calories then fat does so this is great advice. I like to use my yoga practice as my resistance training because I loathe lifting weights, but whatever works for you.

Second: Keep hydrated. And, by "hydrated" it means WATER, not some sugary or artificially sweetened drink. The more water you drink, the less you'll eat, and I can attest that switching from processed drinks to pure water will do wonders for your skin.

Third: Cardiovascular Exercise. Get up off your butt and move!!! And, I don't just mean a sweat inducing work-out. Find excuses to just move around during the day. Walk somewhere that you'd normally drive. Take the extra walk out to your mailbox instead of waiting until you drive by it. Put on some music and just dance. Take that extra hike up the stairs instead of piling things on the bottom for one big haul up. Take the walk to your co-worker's office instead of just sending an e-mail.

Fourth: Drink Coffee. My favorite, since I love a hot, steaming cup of coffee in the morning, even on the hottest days. A cup of coffee can naturally stimulate your metabolism, but don't go overboard. Drink one or two cups at most. Also, this does not give you an excuse to go to Starbucks and get a double vanilla latte with whipped cream or another similar caloric disaster masking as coffee. A "cup of coffee" means just that. Coffee with maybe a little skim milk or milk alternative. I drink my morning coffee with unsweetened almond milk since dairy now disagrees with me. Plus, I love the nutty taste the almond milk adds.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Know It's Hot When . . . .

Even the cat won't go outside.

We're in the midst of a heat wave here in Connecticut. With the thermometer hitting over 100 degrees yesterday, records were shattered.

Even when I went for my walk at 5:45 am this morning, it was hot--over 80 degrees. In the afternoons, going outside just to move the sprinkler around (which is almost a useless endeavor-the plants are still getting scorched) saps just about every ounce of energy out of me.

And, although we spent $12,000 on a new heating and cooling system ten years ago, and spent additional thousands insulating this place, there is only so much cooling you can accomplish in a house built in 1825. In some parts of the house the temperature is still in the upper 80's.

Needless to say, I've had to dial back my work-outs to accommodate the heat. I'm still walking in the morning, but the heat and the humidity has forced me to slow down the pace. In yoga, particularly since my Shala doesn't believe in air conditioning, I've cut out a number of the vinyasas and am breathing less deeply (the deeper you breath the more you warm up).

Since my treadmill is upstairs, where its hottest, I've either avoided it entirely, or did it slower, with less of an incline and for less time than I normally do.

The only saving grace is that the high temperatures have also completely sapped me of my desire to eat, and when I do eat, it has to be light. Salad for dinner with maybe a bit of grilled fish. Anything that requires too much cooking is definitely out, and there is no way in hell I'm grilling anything outside.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Me, Exposed

A while back I promised to post some pictures of myself to conform with the "Exposed" movement. Generally, when you "expose" yourself, you're supposed to post pictures of yourself in your underwear.
As I explained back then, I spent a little too much time in Catholic schools to feel comfortable posting a picture of myself on-line for the whole world to see in my skivvies. Not only that, but since I live in a 19th century farmhouse in New England, I generally don't stand around barely naked until summer.
Well today it's close to 100 degrees in Connecticut, and the humidity is so bad, they've opened up "cooling" centers in town for anyone who doesn't have air conditioning.
Thank god that we do have central air. I'm not a big fan of using it, but sometimes you just have to.
My yoga studio, however, still refuses to turn on the air conditioning. The shala where I practice is rather hard-core and believes that air-conditioning both interferes with detoxification (the sweat is purifying), and that the extreme heat and humidity makes you more limber.
I don't know about the detoxing, but I can attest that I'm much more flexible in the heat.
But everyone has their limits, and although I still went to the shala and practiced today, I went early, to avoid the worst of the heat, and I wore as little as possible without provoking a scandal.
If it was socially acceptable, I'd practice sans bra and shorts on these extreme heat days (but then I'd still have to get over the whole Catholic school thing).
Since that isn't socially acceptable (and the nuns have scarred me for life), I wore the shortest yoga shorts I could find and just a sports bra to yoga this morning (I did wear a tank top over the assemble to and from).
Since I'd let 20 or 30 sweaty yogis see me like this, I thought I might as well snap a photo and post it for the world to see.
How do I look?
Be kind, remember that I'm almost 50.

Monday, July 5, 2010

What the F@ck????

Every so often something unexpected happens with my weight and I have no idea why. Two weeks ago I weighed in at 127 - 128 pounds. Yesterday I stepped on the scale and it read 131.2. Thinking it might be a temporary water weight issue, I watched my water and salt consumption yesterday.

So this morning I stepped on the scale and it still read 131.2.


It had literally taken months for me to get rid of the last of my "winter weight" and I was actually hoping to get down to 125 or so in the next month or so. I managed to put back on in about a week and a half the weight that it took me 3 months to lose.

And, I really don't understand how I could have put it on. I had just come off my cleanse, and had been maintaining a pretty healthy diet. I wasn't exercising any less, and I've actually doing more chores around the house and yard which should be burning off extra calories. Hell, I spent over five hours in the last week, including time on my hands and knees, scrubbing down my master bath in anticipation of painting (the tile looked so grubby that I thought it would look even worse with new paint).

I had noticed that the waistbands on my shorts and skirts felt "tight" again, and couldn't understand why, but now I know.

It's just all so frustrating. At my age it takes forever to lose a pound, but a nanosecond to gain one.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Navigating the Diner Breakfast

This morning I had to take my 190 pound autistic son in for blood work. As you can imagine, he doesn't like needles, and getting him to sit still for any kind of injection or prick of a needle has become a real challenge. The last time he had to get a shot at the doctor, four of us had to hold him down.

This morning, because he had to fast prior to the blood work, I promised him that if he was good, I'd take him to the diner for breakfast afterwards. It was still a struggle, but between the diner bribe, and threatening to tell his father that he "wasn't good," three of us managed to get the needle in him and the blood drawn.

So off to the diner we went.

Now diner breakfasts can be a caloric and health disaster, both for me and my son, but my son absolutely loves to go out for breakfast at a diner, so it is a very effective motivational tool for us to use on him.

Believe me, when you have a child who weighs 70 pounds more than you, is seven inches taller than you and has the cognitive abilities of a four year old, you need every motivational tool you can lay your hands on.

So this morning I had breakfast in the diner with my son. Not only was I concerned about what I was eating, but what he ate as well. My son is not only allergic to wheat and dairy, but has low muscle tone and a tendency towards being overweight.

So here's what I did. After explaining the wheat and dairy issues, I ordered two scrambled eggs for him made with no dairy and no toast. Instead of hash browns I asked for fresh fruit to be put on his plate, and ordered up a side of turkey bacon for him. He loves bacon and part of the thrill of going to the diner for him is to get the bacon. I discovered a while ago that he was just as happy with the turkey bacon as the real stuff, and now order that instead.

For me, I had an egg white omelet with feta, tomato and asparagus. Instead of hash browns I got steamed vegetables and I ordered dry multi-grain toast. We both drank water, and I had a cup of coffee.

My breakfast was probably still more calories then I would normally consume for breakfast, but I wound up skipping lunch because it was so filling and just had a mid-day snack of fruit.

So mission was accomplished. I managed to get the blood drawn, and still stick to a fairly healthy meal despite going to the diner.