Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's all Greek to me...

     When one asks the universe for answers, sometimes an answer is given.
      Take me, for example.
      In my last blog post, I was talking about being overwhelmed and confused about all the different "diets" and "weight loss plans", etc etc that are out there, and how in the world are we supposed to figure it all out? As it happens, I did more than talk about it. I pondered on it, and threw it out there to the universe, and here is what happened.
     The very day that I wrote that blog post, a "Living With Heart Failure" newsletter came in the mail. In it was an article about the Mediterranean Diet, stating that it was excellent for heart health.
     And I already had a book! I hadn't read it, but since it said "diet" on the cover, I bought it for a quarter at a garage sale, many moons ago. Since I am a book hoarder, I still had it! So, I read it. It was very dry reading and a lot of blah blah blah, but I managed to ferret out the gist of it, and had a little bit of an "aha" moment, but didn't give it a lot of energy, because I do have a bad habit of jumping on bandwagons without enough information.
     BUT! The NEXT day, I got a couple of magazines in the mail. I subscribe to three magazines, all of which I am bored to death with and hardly ever even read anymore, but never remember to cancel them.  I just happened to flip through one of them (Yoga Journal) and i'll be buttered and called a biscuit, there was an article about The Mediterranean Diet and heart health!
     There was no choice but to research. Guess what? There is tons of information, recipes, etc. etc. online for free! But, even though I said I was never ever ever ever EVER going to buy another diet book, I did. But it was only 6 bucks plus free shipping (holla for Amazon Prime!).  When it came, it was fun to read, simple, yet informative.
     It is not a "diet" that somebody made up. It wasn't formulated by a doctor or a fitness buff or who ever it is that concocts these diet plans. It is the way that actual people on the coast of the Mediterranean eat, and have eaten for forever! This area is a "blue zone" area, where health and longevity are the norm. A place where the incidents of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancer and Alzheimer's are VERY low, as well as depression/anxiety, and metabolic syndrome. (Too be sure, if I lived by the ocean I would be less depressed, too.)
    It's not a weight loss "plan", but a way of eating that encourages whole body health, which  then encourages excess weight loss! There are no strict rules or deprivation or counting anything. It is also economical. No weird stuff, unless you consider feta cheese to be weird, which I kind of do.  It does not require extreme workouts. It does encourage walking at least 30 minutes most days. There are no recommended supplements.
     Two of my favorite lines: "When eating well tastes like a yearlong vacation, it's easy and exciting to do!" and "The Mediterranean Diet isn't just about healthful living:it's about joyful living."
     I needed a refresher on what places are actually Mediterranean, so I looked it up.
There are several others as well, but I could be Spanish...or Italian...
   OR...i could be Greek!
I actually don't know very much about Greece except for Aphrodite.
I was going to say: "Wait...don't Greek women have mustaches? Oh, never mind, I do too so I would fit right in." But I actually don't know if that is a Greek stereotype, and if so, where I got it from.
So I looked it up. I got a page of Greek women images. Apparently Greek women look like models. Or maybe they were models, I don't know.
Not sure I would fit in after all.
But I do have an olive complexion.
   So i've decided to be Greek, and my Greek name is...Andromeda! You can just call me And.

     If we are going to get technical, the Mediterranean way is not that different than the advice given by health/weight loss moderates...IE, Sparkpeople. But shush....this is my mind game.

     I once knew a Greek boy in high school. I was good at high school (but haven't been particularly good at anything since), and every year I went to State Deca Competition.  This boy was there every year as well. I think his name was John, but he had a very long complicated Greek last name. We sought each other out each year, walking the mall and having lunch together. Not only was he very cute, he was also very nice, and perhaps if we had email or text messaging 30+ years ago, this might be a longer story. I wonder what became of him?

    One more message from the universe: just yesterday "Cooking Light" showed up in my mailbox. I've been getting this magazine for probably 3 years and never have used one of their recipes. But this current issue was chalk full of recipes that fit right in with the Mediterranean Way.

   I don't have unrealistic expectations, unlike my hot mess of a friend Vivian. She is panicking that she is about to be 50 (she has the same birthday as me) and that summer is right around the bend, and is now determined to lose 60 lbs in the next couple of months.
Personally, I have decided that I am going to focus on heart health and see what happens, while mentally living on a Greek island.

   Valentine's day has come and gone.
    I made some homemade peanut butter cups for my fella. Audrey "helped". By that I mean, she sat on the counter and ate ingredients, and then bonked her head on the floor when I took her off the counter and put her down, against her will.  Then I painstakingly shaped the peanut butter mix into hearts, (at the dining room table, not the counter) which took some time, and then Audrey smashed them, so the didn't turn out very heart shaped.  They were kind of hard to dip in the got pretty messy. In the end, they weren't pretty, but they were delicious and well received anyway!

    Know what else happened that weekend? The 50 Shades movie came out, and has been the subject of much conversation and debate. (I did not see the movie. Just read the books, and enjoy getting to rant about it.)
    This is all I have to say:
    A.) Why was this wealthy, handsome but messed up guy interested in Ana? Oh, because she was mousy and he could "mold" her. No other reason. Not that plain unremarkable people are unworthy of attention, but really, there has to be something to attract a rich good looking guy, who probably has a choice of, a personality, or amazing character or something. Ana had nothing.
    B.) "My tastes are very singular." BOOOOOOORING!!!!! I bet before too long, Ana would be all "really? The room again? Siiiiiiigh. Ok." and then will proceed to practice the times table or make a grocery list or mentally redecorate until it is over. And she will be saying (even if just mentally) "Get away from me, freak! Let me feed the baby in peace!"
   C.) If I were C's parents, I would be suing a therapist. Evidently, he/she was incompetent, if he was in therapy all those years and still that messed up. Clearly C was born psycho. (I personally know kids who suffered hideously at the hands of their relatives, and then suffered more in the foster care system, were adopted into a loving safe stable family, and are amazing well adjusted kids!)
   D.) If you get involved with a "bad boy", you are going to get stuck with a "bad boy". I did not get the "ooooh, but if you look past the sex, it was a great romance." Um. No it wasn't. It was two messed up people in a dysfunctional relationship, and probably their kid is going to be dysfunctional, as well.Adult people that messed up cannot be saved by "true love"., at least not the human variety. It just doesn't happen and it is irresponsible to pretend like maybe it does.  (Personal experience, right here! It was ugly.)

     And also, I have deduced that maybe this weird story was maybe written by a man and passed off as being written by a woman!
   Because: An absolute innocent and a man with plenty of experience....
                   A whole room just for sex!
                    Teenaged C having "a relationship" with a much older woman (and not being upset by it)
                    That Ana was all worried about ever displeasing him...
                   He was controlling down to what she ate....
That's all "boy stuff".
       The only other explanation is that "we" as women in the collective sense, have taken our liberation to the extreme in that "we" have become men.
     Also, I don't really know much about "fan fiction", but that is what 50 Shades supposedly was, inspired by the "twilight" series.
      Fan fiction sounds an awful lot like trying to rip off someone else's idea, but if that's the case this man failed miserably! Whatever you do or don't think of Twilight, (I was team Jacob all the way!) at least Edward was a gentleman and refused Bella's advances because he did not want to hurt her, and he held out all the way until after they were married.
     I don't really think this is Twilight fan fiction.
     I think it is probably Anne Rice fan fiction.
The only reason I know this is because, having purchased the 50 shades on my ereader, all kinds of wierdo stuff popped up on my suggested reading list, and I am the curious sort. As it happens, Anne Rice wrote an "erotic" trilogy about...guess what...submission/bondage.
  The most disturbing thing about all this is that TEENAGE girls are all over this. We are going backwards.
    And now i'm over it and moving on!
    Pssssh....get on outta here with your "my tastes are very singular."

     In other news,  I'm looking at participating in something like 4 0r 5 5k events in the next few months, the first in April and the last in with inflatable obstacles and one involving someone better get to training!

    Hope you're all having a fabulous fella is home, but he has man flu...


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Come with me now

     I recently read an article about plus size models. Did you know that they wear pads to make them more "plus size" in certain places?? Like hips and bum and boobs. Their waists/bellies are not padded. Therefore, it is not a true representation of plus sized women, and those clothes do not fit actual plus sized women like that. That's pretty bogus, if you ask me, but what might one expect from the advertising world? Never mind actual real people of a certain size that might enjoy looking and feeling nice in their clothes. Let's just manipulate them into spending money on disappointment!

    I also recently read an article (I read a lot of articles) about another diet. It was actually in that one weekly mag that features a different "diet" every week. What surprised me is that this is a diet plan that I have only heard of from one other person, and didn't actually get that it was a "real" thing. So it's the "Fit Healthy Mama" diet, and the premise is: One can eat both carbs AND fat! Just not together.  If  one has a higher fat meal, it should be low carb. If one has a high carb meal, it should be low fat.
      This makes a certain kind of sense, and seems not too complicated. Until you think about it for a minute. What exactly do they call "low carb" or "low fat"? Clearly, one of my favorite breakfasts of rye or sourdough (higher in resistant starch) toast with peanut butter and a banana would be a no go.  Carb, carb, fat. Nope.  My other favorite breakfast of eggs, asparagus, and half a grapefruit seems like it would fit, if the eggs were cooked with a tiny amount of fat.  (Who ever would have thought of having asparagus for breakfast?? Not me, but it was in the meal plan with the Brazil Butt Lift program, and I tried and loved it! Too bad asparagus is so seasonal...and pricey.)
    I will spare you every thought I had, but I was curious and wanted to know more and lo and behold, there is a book on Amazon for this diet plan! I desperately want to read it, but it costs $30.  I have purchased and read SO MANY "diet plan" books, and now i'm over it. I refuse to get sucked into another one.
    It seems to me that this whole thing should not be so complicated! I mean, come on! There are a bazillion different "diet plans" and each one has a compelling argument for it. (Also someone somewhere is making a bunch of money on it.) I have tried many, including good old fashioned calorie counting. I have lost a significant amount of fat twice, and then regained it...twice. (Incidentally, yo-yoing is not good for the heart.)  It stands to reason that the best "plan" would be the one that is actually a change in eating patterns forever! Of course, I have read this a bazillion times. This is what Sparkpeople preaches constantly. But I hate counting calories, and know myself well enough to know that that only lasts a short time until i'm fed up with it.
    The truth is, I have to lose the weight again. Clearly, I am not vain enough to keep it off for appearance sake. It truly is a matter of life and death.
     Once upon a time, I had an hourglass figure.  Now i'm an apple. Or, a pumpkin. One of those prize winning giant ones. Most of my fat lands right on my belly, and that is why I really just need some maternity clothes.
     And, well, belly fat is the worst kind of fat, cardiovascularly speaking.

Did you know this is heart health month? Red Dress and all that. Since this has recently become a subject of great interest to me, let's talk about that!
     I'm a woman. I'm 49 years old. I have spent the better part of 4 years attempting to outrun my genetics, which leans towards heart disease. Losing weight, working out, etc etc.
I have a strong immune system and hardly ever get sick. When I do get sick, it's pretty mild. For example, if everyone else in the house is puking up their guts, I feel a bit nauseous.
     But I have heart "disease".  I didn't even know until it almost killed me! I mean, who would of thought??? I didn't have a heart attack. I don't have high cholesterol or clogged arteries. I actually thought I had pneumonia which my doctor was treating me for. So when I could not breath, I just waited for the antibiotics to work.  If my daughters had not insisted that I go to the ER, I  might well have died. Turns out my heart was not pumping effectively, and all of me was filling up with fluid, including my lungs and around my heart.  Boom, congestive heart failure. The very thing I was working so hard to avoid. And GUESS WHAT? The whole event was likely exacerbated by all the water I was drinking!!! As it turns out, the more fluid I drink, the greater my blood volume, and the harder it is on my heart. So, i'm on fluid restriction. Really!! Opposite of what we are told for healthfulness!!
    I had pre-eclampsia with baby 3.
    I tried to take birth control twice, and was removed from it twice, because it caused high blood pressure.(Hence, 5 children.)
    Did you know that these are indicators of future heart disease?
    I did not.
    Apparently, i didn't read enough articles about it.
     Incidentally, the fact that I had gestational diabetes is an indicator of future diabetes that I also have to watch out for.

This is my life, and why it is imperative to lose this belly fat.
If we're going to be real and honest, let's just say that cake is not allowed in this house from this day forth. Not that I can never have a piece of cake, but it can't live in my house, because I will eat it until it's gone.
Also, Burger King runs must cease. Often, after running around after Audrey all day and then needing to clean up after her and do my own stuff,  i'm not overly enthused about cooking dinner for 2 or 3 people. It is far easier to get fast food, and if you know i'm on a tight budget, it's less expensive for two people than my random grocery shopping.
Clearly, those two skill sets needs for two (or three) people, and efficient grocery shopping.
My plan is to nourish my body moderately and normally, without excess thought about this or that or whatever, with food that contains actual nourishment and in reasonable portions and get the exercise in, and not eating out of boredom or for emotional reasons.
We will see how that goes.

And now you know the real root of my weight issues.
And I do too.

And i'm almost 50. 5-0. FIFTY!!!! Whaaaaaat????? How, what, when??? 50???
It's not that I mind growing older. To tell the truth, the forties have been my best decade yet. (As far as being comfortable being me and whatnot...)
But 50?
I'm pretty bummed, because four years ago I was certain that I was going to be one hawt fit granny by 50, but i'm actually nearly right back where I started from, and it's only two months until the big 5-0.  That makes me irritated with myself and also discouraged.
Also, I can pretty much guarantee that I am PASSED middle age. I mean, barring random accidents or catastrophic illness, it still is unlikely that I will live to be 100.
Certainly not, if I don't get heart healthy.
It's not that I mind aging, it's that I am forced to face my mortality and to think about all the things I have wanted to do that I haven't done, and the clock is ticking. My life has not gone at all how I meant it too, and i'm running out of time to change course.
If I had it all to do over again, I would have done something useful with my brain and been the Chief's sugah momma.
Is it too late for that?

 We are thinking of looking into getting a treadmill for the house. That way, we could go for a walk only wearing sneakers if we wanted too! I mean, I wouldn't want to, but it would be an option! I might like to see the Chief do it, hahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!!! Anyway, we will see how the job and the budget go, but it's a thought.

   It has been beautiful and sunny and warm the last few days! It is just sooo glorious to feel the weight of dark and dreary lifted up by one ray of sunlight!

     Sun hits you, Hallelujah!
     Sun hits you, Hallelujah!
'Cause summer funk gonna give it to ya!

That's a paraphrase.

It is amazing to me how warmth and sunshine changes the whole landscape of my thoughts and feelings, and I know that another freeze and probably more gloom and cold are somewhere in the near future, I have seen the light and i'm ready to take on life again!

How 'bout you?

  Whoa, come with me now!
  I'm gunna take you down!
   Whoa, come with me now!
  I'm gunna show you how!

I don't really know what that means, but that's my jam.