Taking the Die Out of Diet!

Taking the Die Out of Diet!

“Hey, I’m depraved on account I’m deprived.” Dear Officer Krupke, West Side Story

You’ve decided it’s time.  You’ve literally eaten your way through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s.  If that wasn’t enough — you consumed enormous quantities of calories attending all those holiday parties.  You are left with a widening waistline, little or no energy, and quite often a dip in your self-esteem.

When you think of the word “diet,” what comes to mind?  How about:

  1. Low fat (or no fat)
  2. No pasta, no bread, no sweets –NO CARBS
  3. Limited calories
  4. No Alcohol
  5. Salads, salads, salads (OMG, I hate green food)
  6. Gluten-free foods — What the hell is gluten?
  7. Starvation

If you can say “Yes” to one or more of the above, you are in deprivation mode.  Trust me, that inevitably leads to becoming depraved.  An example of this kind of depravity is simple.  I do not like coconut.  I’m not fond of the aroma, the taste, or the texture of those shavings placed on top of desserts.  If I am told I cannot have coconut, I will begin to crave it.  In anticipation of expected deprivation, I become depraved!

Like many of you, I’ve tried so many weight loss plans and had little or no success.  Maybe I lost some pounds, but stop the diet, and they would miraculously reappear.  In surrender, I’d thrown my arms in the air figuring, I’d never win in the diet arena.  As I stated in my previous blog post, what finally got my attention was a heart attack.  This weight problem was no longer a vague idea of looking better, my life was on the line.

My life is so often serendipitous.  It took 2 years to find my primary physician.  Incredibly, she is board certified in obesity medicine and has more than a nodding acquaintance with nutrition.  She provides seminars for her patients which include professional dietitians, psychologists, and physical therapists.  She started me on the path of my weight loss journey.  To date, I’ve said goodbye to 35 pounds.

In addition, I’ve taken on-line nutrition courses through edtogo.com.  This does not make me an expert, but I’ve found some things that have worked for me — and that may work for you.  Perhaps you can share some of your experiences that will help other readers.

There is no “one size fits all” diet out there.  Wish there was — bet you do too.  However, sharing what’s worked and what hasn’t might give someone else a “leg-up.”

The “Food for Thought” section of my blog will include suggestions, ideas, recipes (if from another source, there will be links to them).  I hope you are as excited about this section in my blog, as I.  Let me hear from you.

 

HAPPY 2019

HAPPY 2019

Hello there, readers.  Here we go again.  I don’t know about you, but the year 2018 seemed to be on a race to get to the finish line.  Wasn’t it just yesterday when we were ringing in “18, “and now it’s history.

Who out there has resolutions for 2019?  How many have already broken them?  How many of you have at the top of the list something to do with “diet?”  I heard on the news that approximately 80% of us are stressing over losing weight.

In the past couple of years, I’ve lost more than 35 pounds.  Someone asked me,  “how did you lose all that weight?”  My response was, “Well, I think it was the heart attack that got my attention.”   That’s a bit extreme, so during this year, we can explore what’s worked for me and also for you.  Keep in mind, there doesn’t appear to be a “one-size-fits-all” diet out there!

I’m thinking about a new Vision Board.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a collage of words, pictures, and aspirations for the coming year.  Once put together, it should be placed in a prominent place as a reminder of what you wish to gravitate towards.  As opposed to a “New Year’s Resolution,” this adds greater intent and resolve.

I plan to spend much more time writing…both on my blog and other venues.  Hopefully, I’ll be posting weekly, and plan to spend more time on health and wellness.  That being said, I’ve embarked on a “Dry January” challenge, the purpose is to enhance your health. It is said when doing this you are more focused, your skin (the largest organ of the body) is healthier, and you sleep better.

Those of you who know me well, are aware I love my wine!  I’ve written before, that I was born in Milwaukee, raised in Chicago, but grew up in the Bay area of California — next door to the wine country!

So here I am, with no wine in the house.   As I write this, we are only on day 7, and I can say I’m more focused.  Once the challenge is completed, I’ll let you know my results.

I’m excited about the prospect of 2019. Until my next post, have a great week and keep the “Happy” in your days!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Word came down from the Oval.  We shall no longer be PC when it comes to holiday greetings. However, when your family covers many different religions, and you send out a generic letter, it’s much easier to wish everyone a Happy Holiday.

How has your year been?  All in all, mine has been pretty good.  No cardiac events (I’m knocking on wood as I write this — the year isn’t over yet).

PAWS AND MEDITATION

The paws are getting older.  Gatsby and Scarlett are somewhere around 100 years old.  Gatsby is no longer a Black and White Tuxedo Cat.  He’s more charcoal grey and white.  Scarlett, who has been known to catch a bird in flight has become a couch potato.  Daisy is only in her 90’s — imagine being 90-something!  I’m relatively close, but can’t begin to picture myself at that age.

The remaining paws belong to Teddy and Gabrielle – the youngsters.  Incidentally, I wrote about Teddy’s resemblance to a Koala (see: A Rose by Any Other Name at SharondipitousMoments.com).  Actually, I discovered he’s at least part Maine Coon, a breed known for its VERY LARGE size.  Heaven only knows how he found his way to Florida.

I’ve been trying to practice meditation every day.  It seems that Ted found the activity particularly soothing.  As I walk through the house every day, I see him in deep meditation.

 

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’

My brother, Harlley and his wife Betsy decided to migrate to California.  Years ago, he and I moved to the Bay Area but then (nomads that we are) traveled around the country.  The two set out from sunny Florida to sunny California.  Yes, that IS redundant — why not snowy New York or Windy and Snowy Chicago, or freezing Minnesota?

They settled into beautiful Calabasas – just across the freeway from Agoura Hills, where Kerry and Todd (their kids) live.  Then November arrived on the tail of Santa Ana winds.  Kerry and Todd vacated their home going to my brother’s place.  A few hours later there was pounding on the door followed by shouts of, “Evacuate!”   As mentioned before, my brother has some nomadic tendencies — Betsy, on the other hand, does not.  I’m happy to say everyone survived — maybe a little the worse for wear.  Better yet, their houses remain standing.  I’m knocking on wood again — the rains have commenced.

WHILE BACK IN FLORIDA

The Florida Panhandle barely survived Hurricane Michael.  Miami was much luckier, no major storm here.  I did get hurricane impact windows.  Three smaller windows and my utility room door are yet to be installed.  I hated the feeling of entombment when I used my old shutters, but don’t know that I want to see trees falling and all kinds of debris flying through the air. But, au contraire, if we have another hurricane in our area, I’ll be able to see the Wicked Witch fly by on her broomstick!

First, it was “chads,” now it’s counting ballots, losing ballots, finding ballots.  I recognize there are a large number of retirees in Florida, but it isn’t us!.  It’s the people who manage elections, who can’t seem to get it right.  We finally found out who our elected officials were more than a week after voting closed.  Maybe in 2 years, we can get it right.

Hope to hear from all my friends soon.  Last year I announced, I wouldn’t be sending my holiday letter out anymore, but would post it on my website.  I received complaints.  Therefore, I am sending some letters out with information on how to subscribe to my blog. This will be the last year of a post office mailing.

Until next year, my hope is you all have a great holiday and a new year filled with good health, happiness, and joy.

  Love from,

Gatsby, Scarlett, Daisy, Teddy, Gabrielle

and, of course, Me

 

 

 

 

Vintage

Vintage

My Mac’s speed has slowed, so I made a call to Apple Support.  I believe most of the techs are considerably younger than I, and therefore expect their frame of reference might be different from mine.  After accessing my computer, the technician looked at various potential problems, made some changes, rebooted my computer in safe mode, and then back again in regular mode.  As we were discussing the issue, the young lady said, “Of course, yours is a vintage Mac.”

I have a friend who has (what he calls) a vintage car.  It “came off the line” in 1960.  Many car enthusiasts would insist it is not old enough to be vintage since it’s post-1930.  I have some beautiful old jewelry, but it’s not 100 years old and cannot be defined as vintage.  I, too, have made it to my “golden years,” and I’m definitely not vintage!

How on earth did my 6-year-old Mac become vintage?  Should I ship it off to the Smithsonian?

In this wonderful age of technology, things age extremely fast.  Computer chips appear to age faster than anything.  The computer chip in my dryer died at the age of 3, and the chip in my electric range had to be replaced before it made it to one year.

Although advances in medicine have expanded human life expectancy,  this does not hold true for computers.  Fortunately, the techie was able to make my Mac function better.  It’s slower than it was a few years ago, but what the heck, so am I.

Remembering Cari

Remembering Cari

I was attending my first WomenHeart meeting two years ago.  The meeting was starting, and I quickly found a seat, sitting next to Caridad (Cari).  There were maybe 25 – 30 women present and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Sometimes, the meetings have speakers or activities, but this evening was dedicated to sharing.  I was to learn that taking the time to listen and learn from other heart patients, is an invaluable tool for all.  As it came time for Cari to share, she started to tear up.  In addition to heart disease, Cari had several other serious health issues.  Having an opportunity to express her problems was difficult, yet she did so with profound dignity.

She told us about her Vision Board. It had words of encouragement, pictures of loved ones, and a photograph of the beach – a place she associated with peace and serenity. The first thing every morning she would look at it.  It would lighten her load and help her start her day with feelings of thankfulness.  At the end of the meeting, I spoke with her and our group leader, Annie, about having a Vision Board party for our WomanHeart group.

In January 2017, we had our VB party.  What a great time.  After working on our boards,  we shared our completed projects with everyone.  Here is Cari with her Vision Board along with Annie de Velasco, Andee Weiner and me.  What a happy moment.

As I look at Cari’s Vision Board, I see pictures of her family and of course her beautiful beach.  Most prominently we find the word, GRATITUDE, something integral to her well-being.

Cari passed away early last week.  In the song, Seasons of Love, from the musical, Rent, we are asked, “How do you measure the life of a woman or man?”  The answer is, “Measure your life in love.”  Cari exuded love.  I am so grateful I had the opportunity to know her, if only for a brief time.

THE GOLDEN BOY

THE GOLDEN BOY

When he was young, he would tag after his big brother to a vacant field, where the neighborhood boys played softball. A towhead, he always seemed to end up playing outfield. Inevitably a long drive would head to the outer reaches of the park, and he would race after it. That is until he suddenly vanished.

Face it! It wasn’t the best ballpark in the world, and the “outfield” was a composite of high grass and deep holes. The last anyone would see of the young boy as he raced after the fly ball, arms outstretched, was his blond hair literally disappearing from view. It was no accident he played outfield. Yes, it was tough being the younger brother.

Years later, as Ted told this tale of his brother’s softball prowess, he bestowed upon him the moniker, “Golden Boy.” It stuck.

Good things happen to those who wait. As he was about to enter his teens, along came a younger sister and the Golden Boy began to nurture a side to his personality he had never displayed before. Now, he was the oldest and teasing his younger sister was his right of passage. While at the movies watching “The Wizard of Oz, he pestered her, pretending he was a winged monkey ready to fly her away. The theater was filled with a child’s voice yelling, “Stop it Harlley!” He enlisted a pal to pull dollars off our “money growing” elm tree. Do you have any idea how disappointing it was to find out that was not true? I’m still suffering.

Our lives were woven together loosely as many years were spent apart. During the 1950’s and early 1960’s, he was at Cornell, followed by graduate school at Purdue. I was in high school, then college and later working in downtown Chicago.

However, our lives intersected again in 1968. We both moved to California, he was up in Berkeley, and I was down in Palo Alto. While there, we visited often. Sometimes we went sailing in San Francisco Bay, on other occasions we enjoyed the pool at my apartment, and of course, there were visits to the wine country. We relished the freer culture that was northern California. Even after he moved back to Purdue, we managed to meet up for the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena.

We’ve had many adventures over the years – living both near and far apart — but we’ve always remained close. It’s been a long road from childhood to today. There have been wonderful happy times, and as life would have it, there were times of sorrow as well. Through it all, we’ve been each other’s support and may not have physically carried one another, but we did indeed lift one another emotionally.

With our long journey in mind, I’m reminded of Bob Russell’s lyrics.

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRO’

The Quality of Bending Easily Without Breaking!

The Quality of Bending Easily Without Breaking!

A quote by Maynard Webb caught my eye some time ago.  He stated, “Flexibility has become a modern-day value.  But flexibility comes with a cost.”  

It brought me back to a time when a friend and I attended yoga classes.  Rosalie and I were thirty-something, and our instructor was perhaps in her 60’s.  She was amazing!  Just watching the spring in her step, her agility and “stretchiness.” Is that a word?  Whatever!  She had stretchiness!  Watching her was inspiring.  

While I’m not an expert on kinesiology, it’s known that as we age our joints stiffen, and that lovely suppleness of youth is but a memory.  I was experiencing this.

I’m not Elizabeth Gilbert, and it’s unlikely that I will go to an ashram as she wrote about in her book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’  But thinking again of my former instructor, it occurred to me going to a yoga class was an excellent idea.  I googled Yoga and found a Hatha Yoga school not too far from my house.  And surprise, a beginners’ class was scheduled to start in one week!

On day one, I found myself with some ladies ranging in age from twenty to perhaps 60 or 70.  We were told some movements tend to be effortless, while others are arduous.  We were assured that if we’d stick with it, we would see improvement.

The first thing we were asked to do was sit cross-legged, while maintaining good posture, with knees bent and opened wide like a book. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  I watched the others in the class.  Their knees were not only opened wide but almost touching the floor.  Mine were up to my ears.  It was suggested that I sit on some towels, elevating my bum, so my knees appeared to be closer to the floor.  Somehow that seemed like cheating, but at least my “pose” looked more similar to everyone else’s.  Of course, I appeared to be a foot taller than everyone else in the room as well.

We proceeded with several poses.  Funny, I had no recollection of pain during my earlier classes.  Our instructor explained that most of us had spent many years sitting, standing and walking incorrectly.  “As a result, some of these poses may be difficult. But don’t worry, just stick with it.”  Good grief!  I had so many years of lousy sitting, standing and walking to make up for!

And the poses continued:  the mountain, the chair, the triangle, downward facing dog — some more difficult than others.  I don’t recall perspiration dripping down my face in past classes, but I was beginning to feel it now. Thinking back on my earlier experience, we glided almost ballet-like from one position to another.  There was nothing rhythmic in my movements now.   Then we were on the floor again —  I in an un-lotus like pose.  I panicked thinking, “Oh my God, my hips are locking, where is the exit?” 

Perhaps, the instructor saw the look of terror on my face, because she asked us to rise again and that’s when it happened.  When you’re as stiff as I was, getting up can be a challenge.  I didn’t fall, because I was able to catch myself by jamming the second toe of my right foot into the floor.  There was PAIN!  Just as I was about to let out a gasping cry, I saw the sign:

“NO WHINING PLEASE”

“What?  No whining, please?  This place must be run by sadists!

I looked around for an escape.

Our instructor, however, was on to another pose — the ‘Warrior Pose.’  She tried to assist this now wounded warrior by moving my left foot, putting more pressure on the toe on my right foot.  She didn’t understand that I couldn’t do that and breathe at the same time.

The hour was almost over.  The instructor said,“It’s time for the ‘Corpse Pose.’”  CORPSE POSE?  They actually have a designated pose for a dead person?  I figured they were going to put me out of my misery.   Lying on my back, my toe throbbing, I awaited my fate.  Fortunately, the Corpse Pose is a time for meditation.  I would have enjoyed it but was in so much pain, I couldn’t think of anything else.  Then I heard a soft voice say, “Namaste.”  The class had ended.

I hoped my ‘corpse toe’ could be revived.  Too bad there was no video of me leaving the studio.  Limping and appearing to be wearing some kind of body armor, I was the personification of rigidity.

Good old Maynard Webb.  He was right.  Achieving flexibility does come with a cost.  Of course, he was talking about working in the age of the internet.  For me, well it came with a broken toe.  

For my next act, I think I’ll take up Tai Chi.  

Editor’s Note:  You may recall this story from back in 2014.  Last Wednesday, I was asked to fill in as a speaker at Toastmasters.   So reworked the original article to a speech format.  Hope you enjoyed this version.