Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cleaning Up My Eating (But Not My House!!!!!!)

Sometimes I feel like I get signals from the Universe. For example, I've been hearing A LOT about clean eating over the past few years. I tried it at one point, only to rebel soon after. As in, about 5 hours into it. But lately it seems to be everywhere.
So I'm trying it again. The difference is, I'm not treating it like a diet. I'm not trying to go all-or nothing. My experiences with intuitive eating and non-dieting have led me here. I want to feel good. I'm tired of being tired all the time. My cholesterol is slightly elevated. I don't want to get heart disease or cancer. I want my kids to learn healthy habits. I don't want my husband to get diabetes, like his dad.
And, yes, I want to lose weight. Really want to lose weight. I know, I know, I *should* accept myself and love myself as I am. But it's my business, isn't it? This body of mine? I'm not trying to go all Valerie Bertinelli and get into a bikini, or get super-skinny. This time, for the first time ever, I'm not trying to fit my body into anyone else's "ideal." And I don't think anyone else has the right to tell me how to feel.
So there.
I'll be taking this slowly. As far as I'm concerned, there are no RULES to follow. Advice? Sure, I'll take it. Especially if it comes from the indomitable MizFit (who had a great post about this very topic the other day)!
But no rules. And if I decide I want a cookie or some sourdough bread, I'm gonna have it, darn it! 'Cause life is too short to eat ONLY healthy stuff!
And while I may be cleaning up my diet, I REFUSE to clean my house any more than is absolutely necessary! There! I said it! I'm FREE!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Great TV Experiment (A Rant in Many Verses)

Inspired by Charlotte (who doesn't watch TV, but nonetheless gave me the inspiration).
First off, though, I want to say Happy St. Patrick's day! (Note the cool green background!) I meant to post yesterday, but I was a little distracted. And by "distracted" I mean, of course, CRAZED.
So, a couple of weeks ago I did an experiment. I subjected myself to a few hours of daytime television. (Yes, I know. The Sacrifice. You can thank me later.)
My first thought was "These people who live in these fictional towns where all the soap operas take place should seriously consider moving. I mean, I realize the housing market is crappy, but REALLY! Go move somewhere where there's considerably less drama! And where your neighbors have heard of phones, and don't make a habit of showing up at your door at inconvenient moments (like when you're about to sleep with your estranged husband's brother, who is the father of the child his sister-in-law recently gave birth to, after she lied to his OTHER brother about having a drunken affair with HIM and getting pregnant, forcing him to leave his beloved fiancee to marry her. Whew!) Or where people don't make a habit of talking to themselves, saying things like "I just hope my husband never finds out that he's not the father! That I was abducted by aliens and held captive on the mother ship, where I met Elvis and just couldn't help myself! He is The King, after all!" only to have said husband walk into the room AT THAT EXACT MOMENT and overhear everything!
(I don't know if the latter is an actual soap opera plot, but the former TOTALLY is!)
The point of this experiment was NOT to catch up on my soaps (is that even possible?!?!?!), but to take a look at the ads.
Daytime ads are targeted towards women. The assumption being, I guess, that we little women are at home all day while our studly husbands go off to conquer the workplace and bring home the bacon. So the ads are for haircare products, makeup, moisturizers, tooth whiteners, hair removal products, weight loss pills/services/foods, "Womens' Hygene," yeast infection meds, cellulite removers, callus removers, and many others. Then there's the anti-depressants, migraine meds, cleaning products, varuois foodstuffs, etc. There are MANY more products geared primarily or solely toward women, but these are the ones I remember. (There's also yogurt, but Sarah at "Target: Women" tackles that one so much better than I ever could!)

Let me get this out of the way: I hate ads. For the most part. Some are creative and entertaining, but the basic premise is to get us to buy Stuff. And the way they do it, when women are involved, is to first make us feel badly about ourselves so that we will buy Stuff. (For men, it's more about boosting their egos[or other bodily part, thank you Viagra] so that they will buy Stuff.) I also have to say that I know a number of the actors who appear in these ads. I'm happy for them: a national ad will pay A LOT of money, and most of these folks have families. So, good for them.
But I still hate most ads.
After a single afternoon of exposure to these commercials, here are some of the messages I got:
There is not a single inch of my body that cannot be "improved" somehow. (See "Never Say Diet" for a post on EYELASH EXTENSIONS.)
My house CAN be perfectly clean. And, in the case of Clorox, COMPLETELY WHITE. (Which says something, even if it's not overt.) Of course, I shouldn't interact with my kids until it is so. Sorry, guys! Mommy can't read you that story, or help with your homework, or play with you! The dishes aren't done yet, and there's soap scum in the tub! Oh, and let me interrupt you telling me about school so I can run downstairs and add just the right amount of fabric softener to the laundry!
If I'm unlucky enough to have a infection "down there," I'd better wrap myself in ugly gray sweats from head to toe, close the curtains, and stay inside until it's cleared up. Good thing I don't have a job to go to, otherwise I'd be fired after burrowing indoors and shunning company and sunlight for a week!
If I'm prone to migraines (which, fortunately, I'm not) or depression (which, unfortunately, I am), it's better to take a hugely expensive pill (or to add another pill on top of the one I'm already taking) than it would be to use alternative, equally effective methods that take longer but cost less, and don't have side effects like "Death." Don't get me wrong, I LOVE me some (generic) Zoloft, and people with migraines should not be forced to suffer, but sometimes the side effects are worse than the original symptoms. And the cost! Oy!
How do I know if I'm depressed? Oh, that's easy! Out come the ugly gray sweats again (even if I'm not currently suffering from any kind of infection), I stay in bed, I can't eat or sleep or work or BATHE. My cat is ignored. I have no energy.
(Unless, of course, my symptoms appear in the EXACT OPPOSITE WAY: I become an over-achiever, a perfectionist, I over-schedule my day so that I never have to be alone with my thoughts, I'm super-productive, I eat A LOT, and have NO IDEA that I'm depressed because I don't fit the profile from TV!!!!!!!! I only realize I may have a problem when, driving home from work one night ['cause I actually do have a job], I think about driving my car off of the bridge and into the river below so that I can off myself without hurting anyone else.)
Oh, and I should always look like I'm 19 years old, whether I'm actually 12 or 60.
I should be a sexpot, except when the kids are around. Then I need to dress in Khaki capris, a t-shirt, and a button-down, with flat shoes and, natch, a sweater tied around my neck. Unless we're at the beach or a pool, where I'm required to show off my hot bod in a bikini (thanks, diet pill that make me psychotic, and meal delivery program that ensures not only will I never again get to eat what I cook for my family, but that my daughter will soon have a terrible body image too, thus ensuring advertisers more business in the future). And, of course, I need to feed my kids only nutritious foods, but Corn Pops are OK, 'cause now they have whole grains in them.

These are just SOME of the messages received from a total of about 3 hours of TV viewing. Alone. It doesn't add in the billboards, print ads, newspaper ads, internet, or even ads on the sides of buses and cars. We are inundated with these mesages alomost 24/7. Ads have taken over our lives.
There was a recent report that said bad body image is a big factor in teen girls' suicides. (See for more.) And EVERY female I know has at least SOMEWHAT of a negative perception of her body! What the hell are we doing?!?!?!?!
We are, quite literally, killing our girls. We are supposed to be empowering them. But when women focus on all the so-called "flaws" on their bodies, and spend all their time (and money) trying to make themselves phisically "perfect," how can they possibly be empowered? When plastic surgeons tell women that breast implants will make them feel better about themselves, they should be shot.
No, wait. Death's too good for them. They should be OUT OF A JOB. Not allowed to get rich on womens' poor self-image.
The diet industry is the ONLY industry that not only has a 95% failure rate, but blames the consumer AND GETS AWAY WITH IT!!!!!! Diet didn't work? Well, YOU failed! YOU don't have enough will power! You're WEAK! But feel free to try again! (What's the definiton of insanity?)
And don't even get me started on airbrushing, photoshopping, the modelling industry, the entertainment industry, and using 15 year-olds to market anti-aging creams. What the hell is "anti-aging," anyway? Pro-death?!?!
I'm actually quite PRO-aging, myself. Sure beats the alternative!

OK. rant over. I'm exhausted! I gotta go lie down.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things I Love

OK, there are the obvious ones, like my husband and kids and the dog. And my in-laws' dogs. And my brothers' dogs, even though I haven't actually met them. (The dogs. I've know my brother quite well.) And the neighborhood pets. And the geese and ducks just outside, who waddle up to me every time I set foot out the front door, in hopes of getting some old bread.
I love NoCal. That's "Northern California." I like SoCal, especially San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ojai, but I LOVE the Bay Area! I'm SO GLAD we live here now! (I also love Tahoe, especially in the spring and summer.) On Tuesday we took the kids to Golden Gate Park for a hike. We walked around Stowe Lake, which is beautiful and has waterfalls, water fowl, paddleboat rentals, and a Chinese pavillion. It also has many people walking with their kids and dogs. OUR kids had a great time! We might go back tomorrow.
I love coffee. I really do. I never touched until I was 25, in grad school. I was exhausted all the time, and a Starbucks opened right around the corner from our home. This was early 1995. And that was the end of my caffeine-free existence. I don't NEED it. I can go without and not get the headaches or fatigue, but I just love it. My hubby makes the coffee every morning, and he likes it strong. Like, NASA-approved, rocket-fuel strong!
I love teachingPilates. Sure, there are days when I just don't wanna, but for the most part, I really love it. I love my clients, I love putting my classes together, and I love the way I feel afterward. And I REALLY love my Friday morning ladies! This was my first class ever, and we're still going strong!
Riding my bike. We live right off the San Francisco Bay Trail, and I hadn't ridden my bike in YEARS. (Riding a bike in L.A. was, for me, an extreme sport. Or a death wish.) I have a cruiser and a mountain bike, and I love riding both. But the cruiser has a nice wide seat, and it's red and reminds me of the red bike I had when I was six and tore around the neighborhood like a little terror. My mother visited last month, and she rode the cruiser. She's 71, and SHE looked like a 6 year-old terror!
Lunch. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it's my favorite meal of the day. Breakfast is something you HAVE to have, 'cause you haven't eaten in 12 hours. Dinner is sometimes kind of a pain, 'cause there are so few things that everyone will eat. But lunch? It's informal, it seems easier, and the possibilities are endless. Plus, I sometimes have potato chips. I love potato chips.
Walking. The best workout, for me, is going outside and taking a walk. I don't do it as often as I used to, which is odd. Our old house was at the bottom of a hill, and all I had to do was walk outside to get my heart pumping. Our new place is on flat land, but if I put on my WalkVest and my MBT shoes and walk at a steady pace, I really feel it. (The last time I went walking I had "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria" from "The Sound of Music" stuck in my head. It drove me a little nuts, but it was a good beat for walking, lol!)
There are many, MANY more things, but these are the ones I thought of off the top of my head.
How about you guys? What do you love?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ah, Monday!

Most people don't like Mondays. When i was younger, and Monday meant the end of the weekend and the beginning of another week of school (or work), I didn't like them. Then the kids came along, and Monday meant a couple of hours to myself in the morning while the kids were at school, and I started to LOVE Mondays, lol! Now I'm working again, and it's a combination of both.
Most Mondays I teach from 9-10, go grocery shopping, come home to clean the house, get my daughter off the bus, feed her, have occupational therapy for 45 minutes, followed by 60 minutes of ABA (another type of therapy), then pick up my son from school. Then Hubby leaves for HIS school, so i hang out with the kids, make dinner, do y own workout, and fall, exhausted, into bed.
But my clients canceled this morning, and I ordered my groceries online. I was going to work out, but I'm tired. I'll have more energy tonight. I tend to have more energy in the evenings. I think it's left over from my days of doing theater, and starting performances at 8 PM.
So, I'm sitting here in our comfy living room with my husband and the (snoring) dog. I'm watching other folks in the neighborhood run, walk, and cycle past. It is a BEAUTIFUL day. Do I feel guilty?
HELL, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yesterday I took the kids to Target with me. trust me, that is a workout! Later, we all (Hubby, kids, dog and I) went out for an hour-long walk. Tonight I'll do my workout. Probably lifting weights with Jillian Michaels. Tomorrow morning, I'm thinking of riding my bike to the gym, taking a spin or yoga class, and riding home. Which would amount to about 2 1/2 hours of exercise. Wednesday, I have 2 hours of Pilates.
I get A LOT of exercise, lol! I'm realizing I don't need to worry about it. It's gonna happen. I LIKE exercise.
I also got a copy of "Intuitive Eating" on CD. I listen to it in the car. (It's a lot easier than trying to read while I'm driving.) It inspires me, and it makes me feel good. It also keeps me calm, so I have less road rage.
Always a good thing.
Last night I ate pizza. And enjoyed every bite. I didn't feel guilty, or like I had to "work it off" by exercising more. After dinner, we all hung out in the bedroom and watched "Harry potter." Well, Hubby and I watched, in between giving the kids piggyback rides.
It was a GREAT day!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

OK, I Give!

"If at first you don't succeed, try try again."
Um, no.
After 4 attempts at P90X, I've come to the conclusion that doing the program, as mapped out, just isn't going to work for me. It works great for some, but right now, I'm not one of them. After being injured twice on the program, being exhausted, sore, and unable to get a good night's sleep, it's just not worth it.
I'm the type who likes to get in a good, full-body workout when I lift weights. I don't want to work one body part one day, another the next, etc. And I don't do as well with "power" yoga. I like to hold the pose and really feel it before moving on, rather than trying to "muscle" my way through (which is what I end up doing during YogaX).
I also tend to work my clients pretty hard in my classes. And I'm working right along with them. I don't want to over-train. I've done that before, and it's NOT pretty!
So, after much consideration, I've put P90X away.
Part of me felt like I was quitting. But you know what? I got over it. Especially after I brought out my "Squeeze" DVDs and my Jillian Michaels DVDs. 'Cause they ain't for quitters, lol!
I also thought about selling my P90X on EBay, but I'm gonna keep it. Just in case.
'Cause you never know.