Archive for August, 2010

Gut Check

August 31st, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Monitoring your weight is one behaviour commonly done by successful weight losers. Whether they hop on the scale or yank on those tried and true blue jeans, keeping track of your weight and physique is a key to success.

Researchers have found another way to assess our physical status and that’s taking your waist circumference measure. This involves measuring your waist around “your equator” by your navel. You can do some navel gazing while you’re measuring!!

A girth greater than 94 centimetres (37 inches) in men and 80 cm (31.5 inches) in women significantly increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes and should be considered a “new vital sign” as important as taking your blood pressure and heart rate, according to the Canadian guidelines on the prevention and treatment of obesity.

I may have already mentioned that I don’t own a scale. I get my annual “weigh in” when I have my check up with my MD (colourfully described on June 25). I do however gauge how my clothes fit as my way to monitor my dimensions. Doing a quick measure of waist is another quick way. I don’t believe in being obsessed with taking any one measure but keeping an eye on where you’re at makes a lot of sense. Too much can get out of hand if you monitor your status too infrequently.

Whenever it’s someone’s birthday, I always joke and ask “How many rings are around the trunk??!!” Meaning, how old are you, using a tree analogy. Ha Ha. Now we should keep an eye on the “rings around our trunk” literally, so doing this gut check is a good idea.

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Follow the Loser – Do the Sabotage Shuffle…..

August 30th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Ok let’s face it, sometimes when you’re trying to do your best some people, well just aim to block you. I call it sabotage. Whether they feel threatened, jealous or whatever the circumstance, it’s as important to deal with these hurdles as it is deciding what you’re going to eat for breakfast…..As if you don’t have enough challenges just trying to succeed without all of this nonsense.

You may be in the situation you’re in BECAUSE you’re a pleaser. It’s as if “Ok I’ll make everyone around me happy eating their stuff except me.” Really, that’s what it boils down to, isn’t it?? So you’re not caught off guard get your head around who these people might be and how to handle the various situations.

Our successful losers weighed in on this, as usual with helpful tips and strategies to help reset your mindset:

  • Yes — stick to your guns! You’re an adult and can make your own decisions. If people don’t understand why you don’t eat white pasta, tell them. In the end you are the only one responsible for your health
  • Deep breathes and ignore them
  • I’d rather live longer than eat that piece of cake :P know that you’re doing something healthy for yourself. Eventually friends and family come around, they need a period of adjustment to your healthier lifestyle just as you did. You live it everyday, they don’t.  Know what works for you and don’t get sucked into defending it – just not and let the advice wash over you.
  • Ignore them all….who is important on this is YOU…think about YOU and YOU only
  • People around us could be very well jealous of our accomplishments
  • Go for it and don’t listen….SUCCEED. Family members and friends sometimes don’t like you to change because they don’t know how to deal with a skinnier version of you! Just know that you are on the right track and don’t take what the say or do personally…it’s their issues not yours!
  • My trainer told me to assume I’m the role model for these people. When they can’t shake my foundation they begin to respect what I do and why I do it. It’s a weird twist of human behaviour but it does truly work.

Have you done the sabotage scramble?? I’d like to know…..

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One Ring to Rule Them All

August 29th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Congratulations to us, it’s our 24th wedding anniversary!! I remember when I was young my parents would tell my sisters and I that a good marriage is hard work. I would think “ya whatever”…. because my parents made it look so easy. Having reached their 55th year of marriage melding into a combination of the Seinfeld’s with a dash of the Castanza’s, they’ve kept our lives interesting as fab examples to follow…. for their generation.

With the build-up to our family wedding soon, I have been pondering what makes a modern day marriage work. So over the past weeks I have jotted down my list. What started as a David Letterman-style top 10 list has morphed into, well something much longer. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure!

I must say that my  hubby-boy is “good material” which helps!! To me he is a combination of the adventurous Indiana Jones, mixed with the kindness and integrity of Addicus Finch with a sprinkle of Jimmy Connors’ zest – with the dashing good looks of all three combined!!. Eat your heart out ladies!!

So, here is my list:

  • What you see is what you get – celebrate who your partner is and don’t expect them to turn into someone else who they are not…
  • Give and take – learn the art of compromise; you just can’t get your way all of the time
  • You don’t always need to be right
  • It’s normal to disagree……respectfully
  • Praise in public and have your “discussions” in private
  • Give each other the benefit of the doubt
  • Pick your battles and play fair
  • Non-trivial pursuit – in a world with a multitude of noise and distractions focus on what’s important
  • Build a bond as a married couple and preserve your individuality as individuals
  • Lift each other up to be the best you can be unselfishly – find joy in each other’s victories and celebrate them
  • Prioritize your priorities – always make time for each other, no matter how busy life gets
  • Find a division of labor you’re both ok with
  • Build your own MO as a couple, don’t live by someone else’s
  • Build a legacy as a team, do something to make this world a better place
  • Only expect perfection if you indeed are perfect
  • The grass is greener on your side of the street
  • Little acts of kindness mean a lot and go a long way
  • Find joy in the simple things, these will make you happiest most often no matter what circumstance you find yourself in
  • Laugh together and laugh often, after all laughter IS the best medicine

We took a nostalgic drive by the home we lived in 24 years ago. We have many fond memories. Cheers to many more to come :-)

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Forever, Back to School

August 26th, 2010 No Comments

What is it about this time of year that makes me do the things I do?? I have been out of school since the mid-80′s. When this time of year rolls around I get a hankering to go buy socks and undies, maybe some tights, a new sweater perhaps, you know, that sort of thing. Maybe all of the advertising does sink in, I don’t know. I really think it goes much deeper.

I go through my closets, cubbies, drawers and reorganize things. Pull items out I haven’t worn to give away. Refold and straighten things up. It’s like I’m waiting for a cold front to move in and I want to be the first one ready when it does.

The other thing I do is get into hibernation mode. Sometimes I think the biologists have it all wrong reporting that humans are descendants of the chimpanzees. This time I year I feel like a descendant of the bear family. I feel like I need to stock up on food supplies. Make a sauce or two and fill up the freezer. Change my routine from Beach-Blanket-BBQ to Brrrrrrrr-chili-con-carne. I swear it must be in my genes or something.

It’s still nice out, but no, here I am with 2 cauldron sized pots on the stove making my eggplant sauce (yes I succumbed, posted on August 3) and pizza sauce as if I were organizing a fundraiser for the church “spaghetti & pizza night”.

Secretly I do enjoy this time of year when August meanders into September. For me it’s like a mini-new year within the year. Time to revamp my exercise goals and take it up a notch. The extreme heat is no longer an excuse I can hold onto with those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Time to try a new vegetable, perhaps, maybe a new soup recipe. Nothing like pulling out my soup pot, throwing in a bone and an old boot and letting it bubble away.

Tell me what you love about this time of year. We can compare notes.

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1,000 Ways to Do the Same Thing Right

August 25th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Through my years of counseling families I learned that there are a 1,000 ways to do the same thing right. Or are there? This theory seems to break down; however, when hubby boy (aka Big Foot) is planning to have people over where serving food is involved. Yes, he had a staff meeting and lunch and yes, we have very different approaches to preparing for this. Guys and dolls are VERY different!!

Oh, did I mention he broke this news to me a few days before the day that he was hosting this at our house…..on the same afternoon as we were having a nice dinner for his boss who retired? At times like these I realize I have a “controlling” gene, positioned near the “self righteous” gene. My brother-in-law Scott says it’s across from the “exaggeration” gene. Somewhere on the Y chromosome is the “I don’t fully think things through” gene he may consider the “spontaneous” gene. This is positioned somewhere near the “absent minded professor” gene leaving some people forgetting to turn off the element on the gas stove or the iron or the radio…from time to time….

The night before the back-to-back day he was trialing a new recipe for the dinner, while I was making the easy-peasy pasta salad for his office lunch (posted on August 11). There we were, working in the same kitchen organizational triangle, better known as the other Bermuda Triangle when spouses work in unison!! For me a recipe is a general guide, for him it is gospel.

I do chuckle to myself as he’s looking for various kitchen gadgets “do we have a peeler?” ” I need a spatula, I think it’s in here, mmmmmm”, “I need to parsley minced…..” The chuckling halts when he’s tasting the creation and the crumbs end up on the floor under his Big Foot….that spreads the stuff around the house.

The morning of all this I whisk around the house, emptying garbages and recycling, folding bathroom towels, wiping the outdoor table and chairs, taking out serving spoons and dishes while mentioning “the bbq sauce is on the fridge door”… He says, do you really need to do that?? Yes, viva la difference…..

Men and women are so different though, aren’t we?? I think deep down our aim to drive each other crazy, secretly, slowly by slowly. The other evening he took a shower after taking a walk. He comes out of there and mumbles “I’m fresh”. Me, being in a different part of the house and going partially deaf says “You’re stressed!! Why are you stressed?” He says, “WHAT?” I bellow “Why are you STRESSED?”. He raises his voice, “STRESSED, I’m not stressed, I’m FRESH!!”. Holy Toledo, we ARE losing it. Blame it on the rain, maybe…..in the winter we’ll chock it up to the cold!!

Truly though everything worked out just swimmingly after all with the back-to-back entertaining. It was nice to chill and break bread with friends. This moral is so true – that there ARE many ways of doing the same thing right. Whether it’s eating right, exercising, hosting a luncheon or dinner party, keep an open mind a relaxed attitude and everyone will enjoy it all every step of the way :-)

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Banana SPLIT

August 24th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Ok the words out, Tiger and Elin split. Who didn’t see this coming? Helen Keller, maybe. Well the world’s greatest sports figure brought the act of spousal humiliation to an all time high then took a tumble off his pedestal up in the stratosphere down to mere mortal ground….whatever…

We common folk should get a life I think because we have it all wrong. We put the likes of people who can do such unimportant skills up on the highest of ground, it’s ridiculous – golfers, baseball players, football players, hockey players, boxers. Nothing like a good 1-2 punch and knock-out to bring up your popularity. I nearly gagged the weekend that Tiger was in the running for a brief while in the US Open…. on Father’s Day no less. Talk about poetic injustice.

You know I wrote about finding role models in life August 17 and I meant it. The likes of Greg Mortensen from Three Cups of Tea or Randy Pausche from The Last Lecture SHOULD be the pillars in our society, not these yahoos we’ve levitated higher than high because they know how to score….now don’t get me started on that…..

I vividly recall the sad week that Lady Diana perished in the car crash. That was the same week Mother Teresa passed away. I remember thinking that God was testing us. And sadly as a society we failed miserably. Who didn’t see the remnants of the car, the zoom in of the ring, or the boys, Elton John’s Candle in the Wind rendition umteen times. Do any of us remember many or any details from Mother Teresa’s funeral?? Perhaps not.

Ok I’ll admit I was a fan of Lady Di from a fashion perspective. Yes she had good causes she led. But really, when you live in a castle, don’t pay taxes, have a multitude of hired help, have a lot of free time I don’t think you have an excuse NOT to find a cause. Do you think?? I’ll also admit that Mother Teresa was a role model of mine. In fact I was in a job interview and was asked who my role models are and I replied “Tina Turner and Mother Teresa!!” Ok, so I like to mix it up a little…..

Really folks, we are surrounded by role models in our midst who may not cut the mustard on our mixed-up social scale, but they should. I used to work in a hospital and worked with many professionals who would go that extra mile for their patients when no one else in the world would know. Now that’s the making of a REAL role model.

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Follow the Loser – More Quick Tips For Inspiration

August 23rd, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve read the book Good to Great you’ll relate that in business there isn’t any one strategy that creates a successful company. Well the same thing applies to weight loss success – there is an artillery of strategies people use in this arena too. When I read about any one kind of diet and how they try to convince you “this is the one” I usually end up scratching my head in disbelief, because I’ve been there. The food and diet are only one aspect, but it’s application and prolonged adherence intermeshed in your life facilitates success. Trust me. So, here are more quick tips to be inspired by, offered up by our successful weight losers, reported on weekly since July:

  • Plan ahead
  • Talk to my friends and family when i need help
  • Allow yourself to have treats, just don’t over do it
  • Put my jeans on at least once a week
  • If you fall off, get back up
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Perseverance
  • Love myself
  • Be gentle with myself, but honest
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Try new foods and recipes
  • Not eating on the run, sit at the table and make my meal an event
  • Try different exercises
  • Monitor intake in a journal
  • Keep low-cal/low-fat snacks around
  • Make a list before going to the grocery store
  • Do yoga for mental and physical well-being
  • Learn to know your food
  • Reward weight loss milestones with none food items
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake
  • Stop eating when full and take remainder home

I wrote “One Plan to Rule them All” back on May 3 that’ll serve as a good reminder about this topic as well. Do you have any tried and true tips that help you?? We’d all like to know…..

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New Age Prevention Apprehension

August 22nd, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I am all for prevention. In fact, it should probably be my middle name. In school I took many science, health and nutrition courses, one of which was community health and nutrition. It was all about building healthier communities…the old fashioned way. I preach about many lifestyle factors helping get your RealAge as young as possible and to be as healthy as possible. I don’t know perhaps there’s an “old fashioned prevention” and a “new age” one and well, I’m from the old school where we aim to influence others to establish good health behaviours.

A few days ago, I read about a British scientist who suggested that cholesterol lowering drugs be given out with fast food orders to offset the negative heart risks. Oh boy Einstein!! You’ve heard of the saying “they’re so smart that they’re stupid”. Well that old adage applies in this case it would seem. On July 22 I wrote a post on my disagreement with using an anti-obesity drug. I stand by that, to today. When I thought this world couldn’t get any dumber, this gets proclaimed. Good grief…..

This is simply ridiculous. Fast forward to today and we live in a society with multiple epidemics. Obesity and diabetes come to mind. Take a closer look at what has been cut in schools – physical education and home economics. The art of cooking has sunk to the depths where taking out your can opener and heating up some Chunky Soup is regular weekday din-din for some. Oh and we’ve already heard about salt in the diet reaching levels so high even governments are taking notice. Why not dole out blood pressure tabs as well?

I can just see it – Colonel Sanders offering side orders of creamy coleslaw, macaroni salad and Lipitor – “I’ll have 2 sides with my bucket of chicken and one will be the easy to swallow Lipotor“. Ah yes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention we’d find the same thing in the kiddies Happy Meal. Along with the Shrek toy you get a chewable tablet for the youngins.  Tell me, am I old fashioned or is this really turning into a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World folks? Come on, break it to me, I can take it. If this suggestion comes from the intelligentsia in our world what will they dream up next?

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Back to School Brainwave

August 19th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Everything’s so “back to school” these days isn’t it? Everywhere you turn are advertisements, articles in mag’s and newspapers, features on the radio. I don’t know but it’s all so last year, and the year before that and well 10 years before that. Even older.

It seems all I ever read about is our society being so time starved coupled with kids who are enrolled in too many activities yet don’t know the basics of life when they emerge from the teenage wormhole. I read for the  umteenth time today about “back to school lunch ideas”. Ho hum. Well do I have a lunch idea for you. Let’s get kids to get back to preparing their OWN lunch. How does that sound….are you with me??

I have written about my Mom many times and her wondrous ability to set limits and teach us life skills, right? I remember going to the grocery store with my Mom (written about on April 11), cooking and helping in the kitchen with my Mom and even making my own lunch. Really parents, it’s not a big deal. Calling Children’s Aid never crossed my mind all those years ago. Look at us in this photo, we still get along swimmingly!!

I think there needs to be a paradigm shift getting kids involved in household functioning again, don’t you?? Parent’s are running around driving their kids to so many activities and sometimes TOO many activities there’s very little time to just connect with each other and catch up.

Well parents this fall is a new chapter. Why not start a new trend getting your kids involved in the household chores? No, you’re NOT mean by taking this step. Actually you’re short changing your kids by NOT getting them involved. Sure, they might be able to play the trombone by the time they reach the ripe old age of 20, but they don’t know how the washer works or how to toss the washed clothes into the dryer, fold them…… I can hear the gasp from coast to coast across North America now. Just like we teach our kids their ABC’s, we also need to teach them how to make a lunch, and oh, not one you order at the drive through.

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Eat, Pray, Love then Have a Good Cry

August 18th, 2010 No Comments Tags: , ,

Yes, my family’s putting on the sequel to the movie. Remember, my benchmark nephew is getting married in a few short weeks. We’ll be eating, praying, loving and crying, perhaps not in that order though!!

I was feeling off this morning. You know that niggling feeling that you can’t quite put your finger on. During my daily walk I did some soul searching to try to figure it out. I feel almost numb. Last night we connected with my sister and brother-in-law who admitted to having feelings begin bubbling up all of a sudden. Well hubby-boy who has the wisdom of Yoda said “let the feelings floooooowwwww”. Well I do believe they are. You know I’m Italian right? When it starts to flow it’ll be more like the gushing of Mount Vesuvius combined with the force of Niagara Falls. I guess I second that emotion!!

Where has the time gone anyhow?? It seems like only yesterday I was peering in the nursery while baby Cricker’s melon head and body were wrapped cozily in the incubator. He got passed around, squeezed, hugged and kissed more than any 10 new babies I know. The first sentence he uttered was “more soup Sassy” and he cracked us up with the opening line of his first speech “I’ll have my martini shaken not stirred”. He earned the title “Resort Ambassador” for one summer job. Ya, that’s the little munchkin in the photo. He was my ring-boy 24 years ago when I got married. Now this. Oh what joy…..Oy, my bridesmaid dresses doubled, well for a Halloween costume…. I digress.

We celebrated this past Sunday, this time at my new niece’s bridal shower. It was heart warming to meet more of her relatives and friends. How welcoming!! Her Nana, a soft spoken Irish lassie is as innocent and pure as early morning dew in the Swiss Alps. Accent and all. I know I’ll be wearing a bonnie green outfit next St. Patrick’s day to celebrate with my new extended family.

You know a lot has been criticized about “this generation” though. However, with the union of these 2 lovebirds our future will be bright. Trust me. They are carrying on strong family values – love, respect, hard work, plus have a new level of social consciousness that’s impressive. Not your average couple, that’s for sure. They are leaders as individuals and will be titans as man and wife…. how about woman and husband…..

Let the countdown to the big day continue. Bring it on. The family tree is budding a new branch as we speak. Bring on the food, bring on the songs, bring on the affection and for goodness sake let’s all just let the feelings floooooowwwww.

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