Wednesday, September 21, 2011

# 26 - Your Mantra, Your Life

Everyone has a mantra. Perhaps we don't realize it, but, yes, we each have a mantra or a motto. And it is this driving thought that keeps us going.
So, if we've already got a mantra, it might as well be something positive that will encourage us to do good things.
Tonight in the Efrat Women's Health Center, we took a break from discussing losing weight or our barriers to losing weight or the benefits to exercise or our lack of exercise.
We sat together and made a photo montage of our personal mantra.
Social worker Alizah Shapiro and nutritionist Judy Kizer gave up examples of inspirational mantras: Live Well; Don't Worry, Be Happy, etc. Then we had to think of mantras that would keep us on the right path in life, in health, in work and in relationships.
Everyone ripped apart Oprah Winfrey magazines and packages of stickers and stars, and created their personal mantra pages.
Some included: Perspective!!; Be Healthy; Watch Your Mouth :). Some were very deep and others were filled with fun.
Mine was Make It Happen!! Everyone's mantra pages included a lot of pictures. Mine included a lot of words. But that makes sense, because I'm a writer. My life is filled with words. Here were some of mine.
Make It Happen. Push. Run. Hope. Drive. Sparkle. Miracle Worker. Joy. Tap Here. Pizzazz. Excitement. Hooray, You. Live Your Best Life. Shine. Brighten Up. Lift Your Spirits. Mom. Bless You. Devotion. May We Help You? Pray. Try. Believe. Together.
I included a woman climbing as high as she can on a great ancient tree, a silly goose dancing with joy, friends helping one another. And right in the center is a united group of Jewish youth proudly holding aloft an Israeli flag. I guess those are many of the concepts that I believe in and try to keep as important parts of my life. Don't just talk about things, or complain or wish. Make It Happen.
How? Push, run, drive, hope...and if you succeed then "Hooray, You". What do you need to make it happen? You need to work together, to unite, to believe, to hope, to drive, to pray, to put in all your devotion. Then, you'll live your best life, you'll lift your spirits, and you'll be blessed. You'll sparkle, be filled with joy, excitement and sparkle.
I'm going to put my mantra page somewhere I can see all the time to remind myself to try my best in life, in work and in finding my way to good health.
Why don't you make a mantra page too? You can do it. Make It Happen.

# 25 - Exercise is the Key

At our weekly meeting with our social worker Alizah Shapiro and nutritionist Judy Kizer at the Efrat Women's Health Center we discussed the key to weight loss.
In fact, one of my friends mentioned a study that she had just read that stated that two groups were chosen for a weight loss experiment. The first group ate 1200 calories a day with no exercise. The second group ate 2000 calories a day and walked eight kilometers daily.
The second group proved to lose more weight, and also have all kinds of other benefits.
The message was clear. The key to a healthy life (including weight loss for those who need it) is to put exercise into your life, and increase its intensity with time.
Judy explained, "If you exercise now and can speak in paragraphs while exercising, notch it up by exercising to the point when you can only speak in short sentences."
We're back to the old adage, "Eat less, move more."
And I'm saying, even if right now you can't eat less, then at least move more!!

# 24 - You Look Good

Having spent two weeks in America, I'm home, B"H. My trip was great and lots of fun. I loved visiting with my friends and family and I even walked the streets of Manhattan.
As soon as I returned home, I attended a friend's wedding. I haven't seen most of my friends since the beginning of the summer. Everyone said, "You look good." Thanks. "You look good." Thanks. "You look good."
That felt fabulous to hear that.
My response to everyone was actually, "Thanks, the Efrat Women's Health Center!!"
They asked, "What's that?"
I explained that it's a new program set up by Dr. Tzipi Morris with a social worker Alizah Shapiro, a nutritionist Judy Kizer, an exercise coordinator Lainie Richler, an exercise instructor Daphne Kupietzky and a Zumba teacher Tanya Richardson.
They work us out and they tell us what changes to make in our lives in order to be healthier and live longer fuller lives.
"Why I listen to them, I have no idea. But I usually do, and this is the result."
So, if my friends can see a difference in me, I guess it's all working. I knew that I felt better, and now I know that I look better. And I'm not finished yet.
Move more. Eat less. Go to sleep earlier. Take care of yourself. You'll look good too.
But better yet, if you live in Efrat/Gush Etzion, join us at the Women's Health Center. And if you live far away, explore your area and find your own Women's Health Center.
Your life is important to your family and your community. It should be important to you too!! Be healthy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

# 23 - Oversized America

AMERICA is a big place!
And everything about America is big, more correctly, supersized! EVERYTHING!! The cars are giant monster vehicles. Everyone has this giant vehicle bigger than the next. In Israel we sometimes see SUVs but they are nothing compared to this. It is normal here to drive a car bigger and higher than a hummer. I don't even know how folks climb in. And of course their parking spaces are supersized here too. No squishing like at home.
Yes, America is supersized from the cars to the food to the people. I mean do you blame anyone here for being giant when the country's culture is actually telling then be giant. Nothing in America is ever done in a small way. So, even in the food department - the soda and iced tea bottles are so heavy that you have to work out in a gym for a month in order to lift them.

There are thousands if variety of cakes and candies and they all look scrumpdiddily-icious. Besides that they're all on display right up front screaming, "Buy Me, Eat Me." Anyone who can resist them is made of steel.
Supersized is everything in America. It's the reason people make giant opulent weddings they can't afford and buy houses that are too big for their pocketbooks or their needs. In fact I believe I can clearly state that

the entire crash of the American economy is because over the past 60 years post World War II America was conditioned to be bigger in every way.
Hope for the Supersized

Therefore in an overeating obese society it is funny and hopeful to see a new trend - the 100 calorie snack box. They've trained you here to eat every CHAZAREI possible, but folks are finding out here that their supersize is killing them. Since everyone wants to live long they're trying to figure out how to have all the good stuff but lose weight at the same time.
So some brilliant genius came up with the 100 calorie snack. Does anyone remember LAYS potato chips? They used to say, "Lays - no one can eat just one." How true that is. But here they have Lays and every other kind of potato chip in 100 calorie snack packs.
Cookies, candy, chocolate, chips, nuts, everything in 100 calorie packs. Now I guess that works as long as you don't eat 10 100 calorie packs a day. I hope in addition to those 100 calorie packs, they're also eating fruits and vegetables too.

But, then again, I can't worry about all Americans, I'm too busy worrying about all Israelis.
Good health to all!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

# 22 - Support from My Biggest Supporter

Our week in the Golan was full of challenges, but it made me realize that diets are not just for days when you're sitting in your house and making your salad. It's also for challenging days - days of traveling, days of visiting friends, days of simcha (joyous occasions).
You can't really even call "working toward a healthy life" dieting, because it's so much more.
As Efrat Women's Health Center's nutritionist Judy Kizer said, "You have to anticipate the challenges and think about how you will handle them."
Actually I discussed our Golan trip with her, and she had some good ideas.
When everyone ate treats and desserts, I had fruit and nuts, and you know what...I felt fine about it. While they ate pasta, I had a can of string beans. It was actually good.
I was standing talking to my children and I announced the next day's itinerary. My eight year old granddaughter Shir Tehilla was so excited by it all, she threw her arms around me to give me a hug.
Suddenly she screamed!! What???
"Oh, Savta," she said. "I am so excited. I just hugged you and my hands closed around you in the back. I have never been able to do that before. I usually hug you and my hands don't go all around. And look, now they do."
She was so thrilled, she made me very happy too, and even my kids applauded at this great news.
That wonderful encouragement enabled me to face the Golan challenge every day.
Giving up the chips in the car and the ice cream at the Magic of the Golan center every day seemed bearable because of an eight-year-old's hug.