Tuesday, October 30, 2012

# 87 - I Walked, I Saw, I Conquered

Last night at the Efrat Women's Health Center, we were talking about the ingredients to a healthy life.
Everyone knows he has to eat right. I don't think there's even a child today who isn't aware that an apple is better for him than candy and nosh. The question is whether he'll choose the apple.
I've been choosing a lot of apples over the past year (actually, peaches, plums, cantaloupes, bananas, and mangoes), but even with that I have found that if I don't really move it by exercising, dancing or walking, I cannot become (or one day, stay) fit.

Yes, I spend the majority of my day sitting at work in front of my computer screen. You probably do too.
So, I try to start out every morning with a walk - either on the treadmill or out in the real world.
The advantage of the treadmill is that no one determines the pace but you. You can wear what you want, and do whatever you want (listen to music, watch an old MGM musical, talk or maybe just listen on the phone).
If you walk on the street with a partner, you need a strict schedule. Folks will see you, so you'll have to look presentable and have a good come back line to comments like, "Faster, girls." "Good for you!" "What!! You walk too!", but you get to chat with a friend, hear the latest, see the sunshine, listen to the birds singing, and wave at passing cars.
I feel great after a walk - sweaty, yes, but energized, smiley, a little twinkly in my feet and bouncier.
This week at the end of one walk, I headed up a hill that at one time I would have dreaded. After another walk, I took a flight of steps that once made my blood run cold. But B"H, they were both fine; they felt regular.
I was so happy that when I got home and saw my husband coming outside, I asked him to take a picture of that moment, so that I could remind myself whenever I needed it - that I love walking and walking loves me; I must make time for walking; I feel great when I'm walking...and I walked, I saw I conquered!!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

# 86 - NO New Years Resolutions

The Jewish New Year was recently upon us. It was a family time - full of tradition, kids around the table, singing and lots of joy.
It was also a time of resolutions. Each person mentioned something that he'd like to try or fix or change for the coming year. I think that's great. Telling others your wishes or plans for the coming year could bring you new supporters in your project or goal.Sharing your dreams makes them seem more real.
The only thing I don't think you should tell other people is that you resolve to go on a diet, or lose ten pounds, or get skinny or stop eating cake.
It's great if you resolve to do those things. It's great if you use the new year to try to start things right with the goal of a healthier year. But dieting is never easy, and if you tell folks that you're going on a diet, they'll constantly be checking how you look, what you're eating and how much. Perhaps that works for you, but most people might find that intimidating.
Do you really want someone watching your waistline all year?
You know what I suggest?
The Nike slogan: Just Do It!

Just try to eat healthy. Just try to exercise. Just try to make one small change at a time.
Then won't it be fun after a few weeks to have someone come up to you and say, "Hey, you look great. Whatever you've been doing, keep it up!"
If you need to tell someone to make it official, tell your spouse, your parent, your best friend or me.
But don't set yourself up for the daily examination by others.
Just do it. I'm rooting for you.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

# 85 - Before and After

As the Chamberlain of the Cupbearers said to Pharoah, "My transgressions do I mention today..."
Well, I guess it's appropriate to mention our transgressions during this High Holy Day season. Everyone is looking back in regret, and looking forward hopefully in hope.
In my past life, I worked late, ate late, sat too much, moved too little, neglected vegetables, loved chocolate. That was long ago, about a year back.Today, B"H, I exercise, I move, I sleep, I dance. I go go go. And I don't go to the fridge for a nosh. I prefer a salad - really.
But they don't let you forget. Those "transgressions" do they mention daily, even those folks that you don't know.
Pina Chama Before-After
For the past eleven years I have volunteered faithfully in the Pina Chama Soldiers' Hospitality Hut in Gush Etzion. There, we treat soldiers to a hot cup of coffee and a fresh piece of cake, just like in a USO. Over the years, I have taken hundreds of pictures at Pina Chama and have posted many on my blog http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com .
A month ago, the Jerusalem Post contacted me to ask if they could use some photos from my blog in an article they were writing about Pina Chama. "Of course," I said. "Please just remember to give me photo credit."
So what photos do they pick?
Photos of our soldiers? Of our flags? Of our many volunteers?
Of Israel's Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on his recent trip there?
Well, without knowing it (because they don't know me), they used a many-year-old photo of my partner and myself. No, not a recent one where I look very put together and trim. They used this old "before" photo. At first, I choked, "Aghregrrr."
Then I thought, the photo is great, because it really portrays the feeling behind Pina Chama, even if I don't look my best. So, I'll swallow my pride and say, "Okidoke." (Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I couldn't get it right side up, so you can't really see it, but you get the idea...)
And .... it gives me an opportunity to run a before and after picture.
So, that's before, and this is after. Hooray.

("After" picture of yours truly with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and Gush Etzion Mayor Davidi Perl, courtesy of Gush Etzion Mayor Davidi Perl's office.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

# 84 - Thank Goodness for Old Clothes

On the eve of the Rosh Hashana holiday, I had a long list of errands to accomplish.
* Buy more chicken.
* Make another side dish.
* Wash the floor.
* Go to the cleaners.
* Etc.
Thank G-d, I got everything done with a few minutes before the holiday to spare. But suddenly, I realized that I forgot to go to the cleaners.
I was looking forward to wearing my pretty pale yellow suit for the holidays.
Oh no, it was in the cleaners.
I was suddenly very depressed. I had plenty to wear, but I wanted something special!! I mean, it is the New Year.
I tried to set a good example for my children, and not dwell on the yellow suit, but it was difficult to get pasty disappointment.
On the first day of Rosh Hashana, I wore a nice black and white skirt with a black blouse. It was fine, but Rosh Hashana is a light bright upbeat day, not a time to wear black.
So on the second morning, after I sent everyone to synagogue, I rumbled through the closets in my house - mine, my daughter's and my sons' - wondering if I had hung up a stray outfit in someone else's closet.
And on my fourth closet - BINGO!!
I stumbled across a lovely pink outfit that my dearest mother (may she live and be well until 120) had bought me.
I loved it, but I had grown out of it years ago. Perhaps I hung on to it in distant hopes that one day I'd fit into it again.
I tried it on. It fit beautifully. Hooray, I felt like I was wearing a brand new outfit. I looked lovely (blush) in my old outfit, and every time I got a compliment, I replied, "Thank you. This outfit is ten years old and I can finally wear it again."
Everyone was happy for me, and I was happy too. (I sent the photo at left to my mother. She was the happiest of all.)
Thank goodness for old clothes. I hope everyone who is trying to live a healthier fitter lifestyle will one day soon fit into her old clothes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

# 83 - Creative Cheating

Our recent class at the Efrat Women's Health Center took an unexpected turn for the hilarious.We were discussing thing that were difficult for us in the food department.
And one of my friends said she can't stop eating ice cream. "Oh no, what will you do?" someone asked. "I already figured it out," she replied. "I am working it into my food chart. I figure that ice cream is worth about two dairy products and three fruits. So it's all okay."
Everyone laughed. And I laughed the loudest because I realized that I had done it too. 

Many months ago I took my grandchildren out for pizza. The pie had just come out of the oven, and the strong smell tortured me (I am not often tempted by different foods, B"H. I am pretty much beyond that right now, and I hope I'll stay that way. But when something is fresh and hot and the aroma is incredible, I'm in trouble.).
I had a slice. But that was okay, because I figured it into my food plan too, as a sandwich with cheese and marinara sauce.
Another woman loves cake, but knows it's unhealthy to eat a big piece of cake. So she cuts it into smaller pieces, and instead of eating the entire chunk, she eats little pieces, and that seems to be better.

Creative cheating seems to have become an art in my group at the Efrat Women's Health Center. Someone even figured out how to put a glass of wine on her food chart.
Whenever I think of food dieting, I always remember the Bill Cosby stand-up routine in which he makes his children a healthy breakfast - chocolate cake. It has eggs and milk and whatever. Anyway, it will always be the funniest "healthy" routine I've ever heard:


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

# 82 - Try Harder

When you're exercising and eating right for a year, and folks are telling you that you look lovely, you might feel a little over confident. "I do enough to be healthy." "I try hard enough."
But last night at the Efrat Women's Health Center, exercise instructor Lainie Richler told us it's time to try harder. "If your exercise comfort level is at a 6, it's time to push more and try harder. Push yourself to an 8."
Now, you tell me, who wants to push to an 8? Who wants to pant from exertion or work so hard that you can't talk? Well, not me.
But you know what? I want to be healthy, and healthier. So, I'm willing to try.
After Lainie's try-harder speech, I did pick it up. I raised my knees higher. I jumped a little higher. I raised my hands a little faster. I started flinging beads of sweat around the room. That kind of made me feel happy, although whoever received a little bead was probably not so thrilled.
It's hard to bring up the exercise level when you're alone, but I am determined to listen to Lainie. I'll try to walk faster on the treadmill, and put more sincere energy into my Zumba classes and our exercise sessions.
I'll keep you posted.

Photo by FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

# 81 - Breaking Down Barriers

We all have barriers to being healthy and losing weight. A barrier is a kind of wall that seems to stand in the way of our good health goal.
My biggest barrier is eating late at night.
It used to be worse. I used to stay up until 1, 2 or 3 AM every night working. Now I do my best to go to sleep in the 12s. But that's still pretty late, and by 10:30 PM, I usually head to the kitchen for a snack.
Worse than that, when I come home from rehearsal for one of my theater productions (I'm on stage very soon in Esther and the Secrets in the King's Court), I am starving. It could be 10 PM, but I get the just-practiced-all-night-hungries.
To make matters worse, usually I walk through the door and my husband and/or daughter are also in the kitchen - chatting, munching, warming up some yummy food.
So, who wouldn't want to join in the fun together time?
I discussed this barrier last week at the Efrat Women's Health Center, and from my description, our nutritionist Judy Kizer charted out my barrier and how to overcome it. [That's the diagram above left. Sorry that it's on its side. It won't straighten out....Strange.]
Try to follow on the chart above.
* My goal is NOT to eat late at night. Why do I do it? Social pressure (everyone is sitting and shmoozing and noshing together), or I am famished after a good work out, or I'm working late and that makes me hungry.
Here are some solutions that Judy and social worker Alizah Shapiro helped me come up with.
* Don't miss socializing with the family, but CHANGE the location. "Tell everyone, let's sit in the living room", or "The weather is so beautiful, let's sit on the porch." That will get me out of the kitchen.
* If you can't change location, then I have to keep my hands busy. Sitting at the table for a long time makes it very easy to keep reaching for nuts or pretzels or any other food. So, Judy and Alizah suggested that I keep my hands busy - do my nails, write a shopping list, even doodle. I have to reach for a pen, not a piece of pizza.
* I'm up late and I'm hungry. Am I really hungry? Many times when people start yawning and feel the "tired-s" overcoming them, it's a drink of water they need, not a meal. So, next time it's late and I feel hungry, I'm going to get a drink before I reach for a plate.
It won't be easy for me. That's why it's a barrier. :), but I'm going to try to cut out night eating. I'll let you know how it goes.