Monday, December 31, 2012

Good-bye 2012

I'm not one to condemn an entire year to the dustbin but every once in a while I have a bad one that I'd rather forget. My last really bad year was in 1983 and it was the year that led me to vow never to make New Year's Resolutions ever again but fix what was wrong with my life as soon as I figured it out.

Unfortunately, I knew what was wrong with 2012 before it even happened but there was nothing I could do to fix it.

Basically, I'm going to consider 2012 a "no op" as they say in the computer biz. (Or at least we used to say that back in the days of Assembly programming.) It's the year that never was because nothing really happened.

It was the year of no racing, no working out, no benefits with my job...

Monday, December 24, 2012

I blew up like Aunt Marge

Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you need to get something done, but you can't? When I have them, often every time I try to do something, I fall into water. That probably means something, but I have idea what.

I don't always fall into water, though. Sometimes I have a dream where nothing I own fits me. I try on something and it doesn't fit so I try on something bigger and it doesn't fit either. I go through item after item in my closet and no matter what size is on the tag, it doesn't fit.

The other day I had this nightmare only I was awake.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inspiration big and small

On Friday, I attended a concert that was also a fundraiser for the Oakland Children's Hospital that was put on by the Peter Pan Foundation. The founder of the organization, Leslie Noel, was motivated to start it when one of the young actors that she mentored died in a car accident the week before he was going off to college. She talked a bit about helping kids reach their dreams and Stefan's parents talked about how thrilled he would be to know he had inspired such generosity among so many people.

I think it would be nice to be able to inspire that sort of change in the world, but I think most of us won't ever be in a position to do so. I know I've inspired people to do triathlons and take up running and some of them have found a new hobby while others have moved on to other pursuits but continue to stay active. That was, and continues to be, a goal of mine so it's very gratifying to see.

But sometimes you can inspire people when you aren't even trying. It seems that a young girl I've never met, whose mother I work with, liked the cake pops I baked so much that she decided to make her own. She's only ten and her mom doesn't bake so she did it all herself by watching videos on YouTube and getting her mom to buy her a cake pop maker.

It's a little thing, but it shows that people do watch us all the time and anything we can do can be inspiring even if we don't change the world on a grand scale. It's also something I think about whenever I'm about to indulge in less than optimal behavior, particularly bad eating habits, because I know my kids are watching even if it doesn't seem like they are.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Running and writing every day

I decided after NaNoWriMo to write every day. I had been doing a pretty good job of it too. But this week has been crazy. In fact, this month has been crazy but it culminated this week in absolute craziness both at home, with my volunteer efforts, and at work. I did work on my book for about 15 min. on Sunday but that's been about it.

As for running, I was planning to do that every day starting in January. But I am still not headache free. I had a big breakthrough a few weeks ago where I just felt better somehow and my appetite decreased too. But I can't really start running because I still get headaches.

I know, I know. I said after a year I'd just start working out anyway. Obviously I've reconsidered. I also can't go to the doctor until I get another referral. At least I got my PCP thing straightened out so now I can actually get the referral.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Exercise as a fountain of youth

One of the reasons I got weight loss surgery is that, as I got older, I started to get creakier. At first I considered that this was just the price of getting older and there was nothing I could do about it. But then I started to wonder if losing weight would help. My doctor said yes so I added it to the Pro list.

And it did help. I got rid of my lower back pain, my stiffness in the morning and a few other things.

But, it turns out that all the exercising I did had some impact as well. I believe this because, as I've not been able to exercise, some of my creakiness has come back as has some of the lower back pain.

So I decided to look it up and see if my experience was unusual or if I was on to something.

What I found out is that it turns out that exercise can combat a lot of the things we just assume have to happen as we get older including memory loss, gaining weight and losing muscle.

There was this one study where they compared the muscles of a 34 year old triathlete, a 74 year old guy who didn't exercise and a 74 year old triathlete. As expected, the 74 year old who didn't exercise had really wasted muscles. But the 74 year old's muscles looked just like the 34 year olds! Now that I did not expect. I expected them to be better than the non-exerciser but not just as good as a 34 year old.

There are other studies that show that introducing exercise to the elderly can increase their muscle mass, balance and flexibility almost as much as what is typically lost each decade.

By the way, Dr Alicia Arbaje, assistant professor of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins University agrees with me, at least according to WebMD.

As do some other studies.

Oh and exercise is a better predictor of health in the elderly than diet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Truth in Labeling

I am big on knowing what is in my food. This doesn't mean that I never eat junk. But when I do, I want it to be a conscious choice, not an accident. Unfortunately, many food companies engage in deceptive practices that make it very easy to get fooled if you don't read the labels and, even if you do study the labels, it can still be hard to know what you are eating.

This video talks about some of those issues and more and is well-worth watching:


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Muffin Top - It happens

You know how you see those women (and sometimes men) out in public and they're kind of falling out of their clothes and you wonder "what were they thinking?"

Well, now I know.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why I hate the 5 Day Pouch Test

In Weight Loss Surgery circles, there is this thing called "The Five-Day Pouch Test". I hate it.

What it claims to be is a way to "reset" your pouch and get you back on track. What it actually is is a crash diet with a fancy name.

Now, whenever I say this online, I get a lot of flack. The first saying "it is not a crash diet!' To which I say:

Oh really? If a friend came to you and said, "I've found this great diet. You consume nothing but liquids for two days, then soft proteins for a day, then firmer proteins, then the last day you do hard proteins."

Would you think that sounds like a well-balanced diet or some sort of gimmick? To me, it's a gimmick and not a healthy one.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Learning to let go

When I was a kid, I had a very definite idea of how things should be and I got very upset whenever things went differently from how I thought they should go in my head. It would particularly upset me if I thought people were behaving poorly.

Even as an adult, I have had this tendency. I remember being at some sort of bridal shower back in the 80s and we played some sort of stealing game with prizes and this mother and daughter duo conspired to steal all the good presents between them. I was incensed! The fair thing to do would be to make sure the prizes got spread out as much as possible. It really took away my enjoyment.

This year I have participated in two White Elephants, a party game that also involves stealing presents. In both of them, I chose to open a present rather than steal one most of the time and in both of them I opened some pretty great presents that got stolen and ended up with some pretty "meh" ones. Not only that, but in one of them someone broke the rules.

And I really didn't care and, not only that, I had a great time.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Taking a look back - beginnings of the blog

I've been going over my old blog posts to turn them into Chapters in my book and it's been very interesting.

The first thing I noticed is that my very first blog post had several typos in it. In the first six months of blog posts, I've seen typos and misspellings in almost every post. Here I thought I was being so careful and doing a good job proof-reading. Apparently it's not just my memory that's suspect. How embarrassing!

Second, it makes me squirm a bit, to see some of the stupid things I wrote. I'm reading blog posts about how I have to give up carbonated beverages forever and it's amusing because of course now I know that this advice is questionable. I've had no issues with champagne the few times I've had it but beer and sparkling cider still bother me. Diet soda goes either way but it tastes too chemically to me now to want to drink it, bubbles or no.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting Sick == Losing Weight

Remember that scene from The Devil Loves Prada where Ann Hathaway's character gets complemented for looking thin and follows it up with I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight." Because apparently when she gets sick, she loses weight.

Raise your hand if that happens to you.


Yeah, me neither.

Until this year.

Random thoughts on addiction

I have a friend who is trying to quit smoking right now and having a hard time of it and, for my book, I wrote about my own mother-in-law dying from lung cancer as a result of smoking. This has got me thinking. I look at our attitudes towards addiction and realize that addiction and obesity have a lot in common, both in how the person dealing with them experiences it and how outsiders view it.

I know that at times I have been judgmental towards smokers. “Why don’t they just quit?” I think to myself.

“Um, why don’t you just push yourself away from the table?” I’m sure some of them would have fired back.

“It’s not the same!”

But is that true?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My CSI Tweezers - Kickass Defined

I bought a hair trimmer the other day, the Philips Precision Perfect Trimmer, and it came with these elaborate tweezers. I didn't really need another pair of tweezers, but the other choices without tweezers actually cost more and weren't as nice.

When I got home, I found out they weren't regular tweezers, but had a built-in light. I was shocked at how much difference having a light means.

It was just like on CSI when they shine a light on the carpet and they see a hair that you couldn't see without the flashlight! I could see so many more hairs even though I have a high-powered make-up mirror with a built-in light and a magnifier side. The CSI tweezers make my expensive make-up mirror look sick.

On the show, I thought they worked in a dark room with flashlights to look cool. But the flashlight works better the darker the room is. So TV got something right for once.

The holder has a mirror in it for hair tweezing on the go. Because we all tweeze our facial hair on the go, right? Yeah, I don't use that part. I just use my make-up mirror and grumble that it doesn't work as well as these cheaper tweezers. Oh and that the magnification makes my nose look weird.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Experiencing hunger

Hunger is a funny thing because so much of it is mental.

Yesterday I was in San Francisco for a party. An awesome party that I had a great time at. But this party had no food. There was drink - beer, wine, soda and water - but nothing solid. I knew this before I arrived and I knew I should have eaten a good dinner before leaving the house, but I've been experiencing food apathy lately and I just didn't feel like eating. I made myself eat two cheese sticks before I left so I wouldn't be starving at the party, but I couldn't make myself eat more.

When I got to the party, I proceeded to enjoy myself. During the course of the evening, I consumed two 1 liter bottles of water and a Diet 7Up when I got sick of water. Then, the party was over so I went home.

I am someone for whom thirst and hunger signals often get confused. This means I eat when I'm thirsty which is not good, but it also means I can sometimes get rid of hunger signals by drinking which can be good. It was good last night because there wasn't food.

Unfortunately, I forgot to use the facilities before I left the party and now I was sitting in the 16th and Mission BART station after having downed 46 oz. of liquid during a 3 hour period having to pee.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Losing yourself a little at a time

One of the things that struck me as I worked on my book was how I had managed to lose large parts of myself without even realizing it and how much my life was on hold because of my weight. If you had asked me seven or eight years ago if I was putting life on hold because of my weight, I would have emphatically said, "No."

I would have been wrong though.