Friday, October 28, 2011

Remember the Magazine Study I Participated In....


I survived. I can also tell you more about it because it's out on the newsstand and I'm quoted in it. Actually, I noticed my results helped comprise part of the headline on the cover of the magazine.

It was a Prevention study for pre-diabetes. The article is the Wonder Workout in the November issue and I lowered my triglycerides by 44 mg/dl.

I picked up the magazine yesterday and finally had a chance to look at the cover tonight when I noticed the headline of "Real-Woman Tested Drop Two Sizes Lose 4 Inches in 4 Weeks! + Lower Cholesterol by 30 Points."

The article and program are really good. I admit after getting the heat exhaustion in week 3, I stopped logging food, but I really wasn't eating or exercising. However, I would follow this program again, and, in some ways, still do. I really try to incorporate more fiber into my diet and have become a big fan of Chobani's pineapple greek yogurt. I find it yummy, high in protein and keeps me full for a long time.

Prevention did a great job with running the study. They set up a Facebook page for fellow participants to connect with one another or ask Martica Heaner (our Prevention contact, who designed the workout plan and walked us through the program) any questions or voice concerns. I was ALWAYS asking for suggestions on high fiber foods that would keep me full for a long time and under our 1500 calorie limitation. I discovered many ways to cook bean dishes, got some great suggestions from fellow participants and learned that jicama is incredibly high in fiber (my discovery which I also created a great dressing with the group and posted - if I find it I'll post on blog).

Prevention also gave us the tools needed to do the resistance training and were incredibly accommodating when I would ask to come in after the last time slot for the follow-ups because the non-commuter train(within my budget) wouldn't get into Grand Central until after the times they posted.

If you do the program, let me know how you did. I'd be curious.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Energy of Others

No. This isn't a Halloween post. It's actually about the energy a person can give off even when they don't know it.

There are people I've come across that just rub me the wrong way. I can't explain why, I don't wish them harm, but I just don't want to be around them. With friends and classmates from decades ago coming out of the woodwork on Facebook, I have chosen not to pursue some of the people my friends have reconnected with because of my experience with them -- or their energy.

I don't know why, but I've been thinking a lot about how the energies of others impact a person. I don't often share this thought with others because I'm not sure people would get it or think I'm a bit nuts. However, yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation during a care meeting with the staff of the nursing home my mother lives in.

My mom has Alzheimer's. She hasn't recognized me in over 2 years, and really doesn't know anyone at this point. She may know my dad, but can't remember if he's visited her 5 minutes after he's left. During the meeting I found it interesting when I posed the following question to the 3 staff members: "Is my mom more lively when she participates in activities by herself or when my dad is there?"

The 3 staff members looked at one another and the response I got fascinated me -- I was told she is lively when alone. In fact, she becomes docile and quiet if my dad is with her. It was interesting to me because as I grew older, my mom HATED to participate with my dad in activities (e.g., church groups, senior center) because she said my dad over took the whole room. If she signed up for something and he tried to join her, she'd quit. She told me she hated how he had to be the center of attention.

I began to wonder, if my mom doesn't always remember my dad when he visits her, how does she know to be non-responsive when they are at an activity together? I wonder if her intuition takes over and has her know there's something about this man she doesn't appreciate in group settings. I wonder.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Only Title I Can Come Up With: My Father Cornered the Canned Tuna Market

I am the youngest of 5 of a very spread out family. By the time I was 11, 2 sisters were married and my brother moved to Arizona never to return East.

YogaGirl and I lived under the same roof until I was 13 and one thing I remember is my father's trips to the grocery store. Every week my mom would painstakingly create a grocery list off her menu plan for the week (I don't know why I chose the word 'painstakingly' because I can remember we had the same weekly menu throughout my years in high school)....Anyway, dad would go off to the local grocery store and ALWAYS forget something on the list. Oh. My. God. You think he'd learn for sanity reasons that missing something off the list would send my mother into a tailspin. They would bicker back and forth about the stupid list and why couldn't he remember the chicken. I have to admit, after looking at the list when I was about 6 years old, I couldn't understand it either. It was right there - chicken. To this day, I wonder why he always forgot one thing, but always managed to replace it with cans of tuna fish.

Chicken wasn't tuna fish. My dad didn't bring lunch and even if I hadn't made my own lunches from 1st grade on, I never would have brought tuna fish to school. It stunk up the whole locker. Fitting in is hard enough, but imagine if you set yourself up to smell like tuna all day long? That is just ridiculous.

I can't speak for any other siblings other than YogaGirl, but I remember always having cans of tuna on hand. Not just one or two cans, but like 10 or 12. I swear that stockpile never went down.

As an adult with my own home, I have a pantry and have noticed, I inherited the stockpiling of the tuna fish gene. I have cans and cans, but no damn mayo!

I swear, I'm always running out of mayo. I wish I didn't because a tuna fish sandwich on toasted bread is pretty tasty.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Concept of Tethering and Untethering

It could be that I'm writing this entire post because 'tether' is one of those words I like saying. It's one of many words I enjoy using because I like the way it sounds or it's definition is perfect for a particular situation, but that's not the point of this post.

I always think of tethering as being connecting to a laptop/computer the old fashion way (without wifi or wireless modem) and untethered as getting your email via a wireless device such as your blackberry. Either case, you're still till tethered to something because you're attached to your device like it holds all the answers to your questions, when it really doesn't.I think it's getting harder and harder to walk away, or 'untether' oneself, from an electronic media device.

I grew up in the 1980's, prior to the electronic age. Call waiting and 3 party calling was the latest gizmo and if the phone rang, you ran to get it before your mom picked it. I watched the introduction of cellphones take off and remember how exciting (yes, I used the word exciting) when I would hear my phone ring.

As one gizmo is replaced with another, my fascination for the current device fads.

However, the availability of internet service, has lessened my demand to always wanting or having to be in the know. Recently, I started to acknowledge just how much time I kept my laptop on, how often I checked my friends' status on Facebook and how often I'd open my inbox to scan the new message I'd just received. I guess I started acknowledging it because my husband is not an electronics gadget junkie. In fact, I don't think he turns on his laptop, outside of work hours, more than once or twice per week. I also noticed, as many articles have suggested, computers can suck the life out of someone. Between social media, games, and just searching the web for random information, I realized I was dropping time. I'd gotten out-of-control. I decided to take back my life and walk away from the computer.

Now, I go on in the mornings for about 1 to 2 hours, and again in the evening for about 2 hours. Otherwise, I shut it down and put my laptop away.

Oddly enough, I haven't missed a thing. In fact, I've started catching up on the stack of magazines I've ignored for so long.

I wonder.....will I have self control when the next new gizmo is invented or will I be sucked in as I have in the past.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Wives' Tales.....

The past few days in Connecticut have been glorious. I mean they've been the type of days you only see in movies, but rarely in real life.

As I was driving around with the sunroof open, all I could wonder about was how long it would take for a bird to shit on me.

Why couldn't my brain wonder off to think about the beautiful sunny, blue skies? Instead, I zeroed in on the fact this was perfect weather for a bird to shit on me.

Before you start thinking she's crazy, let me explain.... On 3 different occasions, I've had a bird shit on me. All 3 times, the days were just as beautiful and sunny as yesterday. Only difference is that I was alone.

In the past, birds shat on me when I was standing or sitting next to another person. So very odd. But, I guess if the bird is going to hit its target, it probably wants witnesses to see how talented he is.

Just to be clear: When a bird shits on you, it's gross, but not the end of the world. However, I don't believe a bird shitting on you brings happiness.

Nor do I believe rain on your wedding day brings a long and happy marriage. It rained the day of my first wedding (notice I use the word 'first'), so that wives' tale isn't true.

Why do wives' tales exist? Why don't people just say "It's raining, get over it" or "Get away from me, I don't want bird crap to get on me?"

I never had children and wonder if they tell a mother-to-be that a really hard and long labor means you're going to have the best behaved, beautiful, brilliant and considerate child?

If not, I want to add that into the collection of Old Wives' Tales. Why not? I'm married and I often wake-up feeling like a 110 years old.......

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Do You Think About When You Try to De-stress?

Yesterday's post I alluded to having some health issues that popped up over the summer, and for me, it's all tied to stress.

From August to September, my blood pressure went from normal to pre-hypertension and I've been having trouble swallowing food. Sometimes it gets lodged in my esophagus and I either lose air and cough for an obscene amount of time or have to drink a tremendous amount of liquid to get it down or cough it up. This doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, it's a bit painful and scary.

Turns out, after a throat x-ray and endoscopy, I have the beginnings of an inflamed stomach (not sure how this correlates to my food passage, but that's what I have). One of the major causes of inflamed stomach is stress. I have to admit, for the past month, I've been feeling my blood pressure take a hold of me and turn me into "Angered-Stress Girl". It's a very odd and uncomfortable feeling, but it wasn't until I got the results of the inflamed stomach did I really take action.

I meditate, not daily, but knew I needed more. I've begun to slow walk for a 1/2 hour daily. I look at my to-do list and if I have too many things on the list, I cut one item and am learning to put this walk as a priority (something that would typically drop to the bottom of my list).

Walking slower than normal is harder than you think. I'm finally getting into a groove and remembering I'm not walking to beat my personal best, but walking to lower my blood pressure and de-stress. I listen to music with a slower sound (okay, a lot of Dave Matthews and Matchbox 20) and as I'm listening to music, I try to focus on a topic that has nothing to do with my worries. Yesterday, it was the snack chip.

I think the death of the creator of Doritos has been having people ask that question lately and I began to mull it over as I was walking. What I discovered is that are a lot of snack products that have been added over the years, and although I love Salt & Vinegar chips, I'm going to have to stick with my Fritos.


Maybe because they've been around before I was born, or I believe them to be healthy because they are gluten-free, but I think it's because they're just tasty.

What's your favorite snack chip?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What I Did on Summer Vacation by LMB.....

Remember when you were in elementary school how the teacher would start the first day with having you write an essay on what you did for Summer vacation. Every year the amount of words that you had to have on the page had to increase. This task became trickier and trickier because I could never figure out a way to expand upon what I did. Basically, if I wasn't swimming in my friend's pool, I was sailing on a small sunfish or climbing trees. Occasionally, I'd go down to the beach, but as a kid I enjoyed swimming in a pool. As a teenager, well, the beach was a preferred choice.

If I were back in school today and had to write a similar essay, I think I'd put the professor to sleep. My summer was lackluster and at times not a lot of fun.

After 3 years of unemployment, the money has dried out and I've been scrambling a way to find a way to keep my home of 15 years. I knew in the Spring this may happen and started calling various agencies and am working with the banks now. We'll see.

But, no money = no trips. Well, I did take a day trip to Rhode Island this Summer and it was great to just get away even if it was for just one day.

Some might argue and tell me I went on a safari with my continuous battle with the wildlife that attacked my garden. I think all the animals (except squirrels - I really hate them) were adorable, but should have manners and sit on the outside of the fence and not touch the growing veggies. But they obviously weren't given proper etiquette lessons from Emily Post.

After giving up on trying to outsmart the animals in the garden, Hurricane Irene came and flooded my 89 year old father's house. We're still finishing up getting his life back together, but I learned that screaming for extended periods of time because your father won't wear his hearing aid is just crazy. Blood pressure goes up, headaches start. I've now stopped screaming. I'm learning my health is too valuable.

A couple of other discoveries happened for me, but this post is becoming a bit of a downer, so I'll leave you with this last thing I did: Pig Chases. Yup. I saw them and can cross them off my bucket list.