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.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

# 80 - Facebook Advice

I posted my previous blog, #79 - Taking the Vegetable Challenge - to my Facebook page. I told my Facebook Friends the truth. I am vegetable-y challenged, and as I seek a healthier lifestyle, I need help in coming up with ideas to incorporate more vegetables into my life.
Their help was almost instantaneous - sending me everything from advice to recipes to articles that might guide me along.
Judy Simon wrote the praises of Kohlrabi. "It has that crunch of water chestnuts when eaten raw, and a very potatoey feel when cooked. Also, I have a recipe for kohlrabi kugel which tastes exactly like cauliflower kugel, but it's much cheaper and no bug issues."
And she sent me a recipe:
Judy's Kohlrabi and CarrotsPeel 1 large kohlrabi, and slice and slice it into sticks. Peel 4 carrots and slice into sticks. Toss veggies with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tsps salt and 1/2 tsp basil. Let sit in fridge 1/2 an hour before crunching away. Keeps in fridge for a day or 2. Also, I add a small kholrabi, chopped into cubes, into a regular salad. It adds a great crunch!
Nina Sapir suggested that http://www.facebook.com/ohsheglowsblog has tons of recipes.
Miriam Goodman sent me a recipe for eggplant from her Miriam's Kitchen blog - http://miriamsrecipes.blogspot.co.il/2012/04/eggplant-eggplant-eggplant.html. She said that eggplant is fun. I've never heard it described quite like that.
Yocheved Golani shared a guest column that she wrote about Healthy Comfort Foods - http://nonrecipe.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/healthy-comfort-foods.html
Rochie Hurwitz suggested making some basic salad ingredients, bagging them, and keeping them in the fridge to take out whenever the salad mood struck. Then I wouldn't have to peel, chop and shred all the time.
I received more responses and ideas. I thank everyone for helping me include more veggies in my day. You're not just good Facebook Friends, you're good friends, because you're helping me along my journey to good health.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

# 79 - Taking the Vegetable Challenge

I know I am vegetable-y challenged. I know it. If you've read my Aim Well Blog # 76, you know it. And from our round table discussions, all the women of the Efrat Women's Health Center know it. 
I have made many positive changes on my road to better health, but the most difficult one is eating more vegetables.
I try to have a giant salad most every day. I've given up Shabbat potato kugel - replacing it with different baked vegetables. But that's just too little. My nutritionist Judy Kizer would really like me to eat about seven servings of vegetables every day. SEVEN?? 
I've finally gotten up to about seven fruits a day, which is TOO MUCH. I know. But I'm eating fruit instead of cake, instead of cookies, instead of something less healthy.
When I eat a fruit, I feel sweet, tingly, happy...fruity. When I eat a vegetable, I feel a bit green and sometimes mushy. Not amazing, like that fruity-feel.
But Judy wants me to switch some of the fruit for some vegetables.
So, this week at the Women's Health Center, I decided to take THE VEGETABLE CHALLENGE.
BTW, I'm the only one participating (unless YOU join me :) ).
Judy and our Social Worker Alizah Shapiro had asked us to write down our goals for the next three months, and then share them with the gang.
I wrote - Eat more vegetables instead of other things.
Then we had to break down our plan. 
I wrote: 
* Prepare veggies in the morning (in plastic bags or containers). Truthfully, this is a task that I hate. I'm not the domestic type and I can't see wasting a half hour of my time, but then again... I want to be healthy, so I'll try.
* Ask husband to make salad if I have no time :) (well, why not? he's great in the kitchen!) My husband has been humongously helpful throughout my journey to good health, and he's always willing to pitch in to help me, so, I guess this one will be easy. 
* Buy more different kinds of vegetables so it's more interesting. Some folks like to make the same dinner every night to simplify things. I usually do too, but I'm not such a vegetable-o-phile. If I can try all kinds of great vegetables, perhaps I'll find some winners and build up a nice vegetable repertoire. (BTW, if you've got any suggestions, please send them to me.)
* Try to rotate vegetables (tonight string beans, tomorrow baked potato, the next day asparagus). 
* Bake veggies at the beginning of the week, so they're on hand at home.
* Buy extra vegetables on shopping trips.
So, I woke up on my first day of my Vegetable Challenge. I wanted to take my sweet daughter and granddaughters to the museum. I was running around the house like a whirling dervish, and I remembered the vegetables. I called upstairs to my daughter, "Would you mind peeling carrots for me?" Well, she did it happily. We put them in a bag and took them along for everyone to share.
Then I had my customary salad for lunch. And when I got home for dinner, I took out all the leftover vegetable side dishes that were in the fridge, heated them all up, and ate Chinese vegetables, sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower. Yum. I was going to put a protein in there, but it was such an interesting vegetable medley, I couldn't think of any protein that would fit. So, I ate my veggies, cleared my plate and am at my desk chatting with you.
Tomorrow, IY"H, I'll try to start the day cutting vegetables again. This time, I think I'll add in some cucumbers and celery. How's that for variety? Well, it's only the beginning.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

# 78 - I'm Not Lazy, But...

I'm not lazy. Really. I exercise when I can. I dance when I can. I walk when I can. Really. I do what I can. Of course, I wish I could do more, but such is life.
Today is one of my sitting-still-and-hardly-moving days. I am trying to finish this issue of Voices, a monthly publication of which I have been lucky enough to be editor for the past 16 years. I've got a lot of pressure on me today. So I'll be mostly sitting at my desk for many hours until I can finish my work.
Okay...I walked for 50 minutes on the treadmill first thing this morning, but I've been at the computer today since noon, and I'll probably be here until about midnight (with a short exercise class and a session of learning with my granddaughter in between).
In the background, I am listening to Fox News - www.foxnews.com - and suddenly I hear a news item that has made me stop my work and write to you.
Fox reporter Shepard Smith just said, "Laziness is killing you. A lack of exercise can lead to as many deaths as smoking. More than five million people around the world die every year of laziness. One in three adults is not getting enough physical activity. That results in deadly health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer."
An expert that was interviewed said that there's even a link between inactivity and breast cancer and colon cancer. The doctor said that we need cardiovascular exercise of least 20 minutes three times a week to raise our heart rates.
Of course, it's not just about activity, there's also eating well, having less stress, etc. But Shepard specifically spoke about physical inactivity.
So, folks, after you finish reading this, please get up and walk around a bit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

# 77 - Out of the Box Exercise

I literally jumped out of mine and into the exercise box of the other class at the Efrat Women's Health Center. The teacher Lainie Richler was great, smiley, filled with fun-ergetic routines, encouraging banter and equally important, florescent green shoe laces on her sneakers. Their group exercised, if you can believe it, to opera. That caught me off guard for a few minutes. I'm not used to pony-ing to La Traviata, or whatever it was. Hm, I wonder what Verdi would have thought about it. 
Lainie said that the group alternates ever week between Sixties Music and Classics. Today we sashayed and cha cha'd to all kinds of songs that I know, or that I should know. I hummed along in my heart, but I have no clue what they were. Then suddenly, "Orphee aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld)" came up and we jumped around a little to the Can Can (one of its music themes), and I found myself in my element. 
One of the ladies suggested we swish our skirts, and we were Can Canning, kind of, up and down the room. 
Meanwhile, Lainie kept calling out steps and instructions without a pause. At our rehearsals for our newest Raise Your Spirits theater production of ESTHER and the Secrets in the King's Court, we're always wondering how we'll dance and sing at the same time. Well, if Lainie can do Jump Squats and Grape Vines one after another without stopping her Exercise Dialogue, then dancing and singing should be a piece of cake. We shall see. 
Thanks to Lainie and her class for giving me a warm welcome.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

# 76 - Learning from Our Mistakes

I am correctable, I HOPE. I do some things right, and I want to fix things I do wrong.
So, on my way to a healthier life, I have made many positive changes, B"H. I have added exercise into my life on an almost daily basis. I have cut out junk food and super-unhealthy foods. I have self-imposed an earlier bedtime and an earlier morning-alarm time. I have ditched most calorie heavy kugels from my Shabbat menu.
I have also tried to make healthier foods, but I don't cook or bake too much ever.
I'll cut my salad for the half hour it takes, but I don't spend too much other time in the kitchen on a daily basis.
In my own way, I might have thought I was doing my best to be healthy, but you know what...I really wasn't.
Correcting Nutrition Mistakes
Since I began my journey on the road to good health, I have posted all kinds of wonderful positive hooray blogs. Today I am posting the corrections that my nutritionist Judy Kizer of the Efrat Women's Health Center made to my weekly Healthy Living Food/Exercise Log.
Yes, every week, I send Judy Kizer my fitness log. It includes how much I exercise every day, and exactly what I ate. She goes through the list, and makes comments. Thank you, Judy. Today she made more comments than ever. (I think that's because, while I am eating lower calorie menus, I have started not doing my best to make the right food choices.)
* Every day I try to eat a big salad. Judy pointed out that one salad is not enough vegetable intake for a day. Judy wrote, "That doesn't mean eat another salad necessarily. It means incorporate more veggies into the day. Ex: butternut squash in the microwave, veggie sticks, sliced tomato or pepper or lettuce with your cheese and rice cakes (I love cheese and rice cakes), baby carrots.
Okay, Judy, I've heard you and will try to incorporate more veggies into my day. (I'll let you know how it works.)
* Some days when I'm on the run, I don't eat real meals. I just grab. Yes, I grab lower calorie foods, but sitting down for a meal is a very important part of the day.
Okay, Judy, I will do my best to spend time at the kitchen table honoring my food and having a real meal.
* Sometimes I grab a fun food - yes, with lower calories, but fun anyway - a 67 calorie Free bar, a less than 100 calorie Skinny Cow ice cream, or other diet ice cream.
Judy said that some of my processed food choices may be low in calories, but they're also "low in nutrition." She suggested, "To get more nutrition, increase vegetables, also increase some nuts and seeds instead of a Free bar or a diet ice coffee drink. Try three times a week to have six to ten walnuts or cashews; 12-15 almonds, 30 pistachios with a fruit, vegetable or alone. They are much more nutritious, and if you limit the number of nuts (as I recommended), you stay under 100 calories).|
Okay, Judy, I'll do my best to grab a fruit or nuts instead of another under-100 calorie snack food.
I already had a nectarine today. You see, I am trainable.

Monday, July 9, 2012

# 75 - I Won a Prize

Two weeks ago at our meeting of the Efrat Women's Health Center, our nutritionist Judy Kizer and our social worker Alizah Shapiro gave each of us a test. They pointed out our individual most difficult health challenges, and then dared us to take on that challenge. Whoever succeeded in confronting her challenge and overcoming it would win a prize.
One of the women found it just about impossible to add in more exercise time. Another had trouble making a food journal. My trial was planning ahead.
Because of my busy schedule, I am always wondering, not even, what will I make for lunch today/dinner tonight, but what will we eat in two minutes. I am plan-ahead-challenged.
Judy and Alizah told me that I had to plan ahead for at least two meals, or was it two days. Well, let's say it was two meals, because you know what....I did it!!!
I planned ahead before Friday afternoon when we were all going to my son's house for a get-together, and I planned ahead before Sunday night when we were going to break our fast after the sad-holiday of 17 Tammuz. (Of course, I plan ahead for every Shabbat, but that's more or less a given in my crowd.)
So, tonight at the Efrat Women's Health Center, I excitedly accepted my prize. I just love winning prizes. But my biggest prize is finding out that even though I have a super-busy life, planning at least some meals is a possibility.
A) That makes me feel more in control of my life.
B) It makes me proud, because my family thinks that I'm a very competent home-maker. And maybe I really am getting there.
All good things.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

# 74 - Grab It!!

One of the downfalls for me of keeping up a healthy lifestyle has always been the running-out moment - running-out to carpool, running-out to a meeting, running-out to a rehearsal, running-out to shop.
You're running late and you're running out. Oops, but you forgot to eat. Suddenly, as you take the keys to the car in your hands, you are starving!! You've got to grab something for a running out moment.
There's no time to make a salad. Besides, think of how impossible it would be to eat a salad behind the steering wheel.
You could stop at a take-out food store, but what would you get? Fried chicken, a bagel. Um, no.
So, the only thing left is to grab something from the fridge, freezer or closet that can tide you over without weighing you under.
Now the really good-girl/good-boy health-conscious person would have something prepared in the refrigerator for just those moments!! But, let's be real. Most of you are like me, Last Minute Lil.
I don't know what the experts say, but here's what I grab for those running-out-moments:
** rice cakes and 9% cheese slices (I could take rice cakes and natural peanut butter, but this is a moment, when I can't even stop to spread the peanut butter)
** a bag of midget cut carrots (I could take carrots that I peel and cut myself, but this is a no-time moment)
** 67 calorie FREE bar
** a 100 calorie SKINNY COW ice cream
** a nectarine, peach or yummy fruit in season (they tell you to keep these in your bag, just in case, but they kind of mush, unless you've got a little square box that's fruit sized - hmm, maybe I should look for one)
** a yogurt (that you can drink with a straw, so you don't have to fuss with the spoon)
** a coffee (that you can put in the car holder - although this is probably not the healthiest options, what can I do, I love coffee)
** a bag of apple chips
** nuts and raisins, or nuts and craisins, or nuts and seeds
Hey, I've got to run right now. No time for cooking or baking or peeling. I think I'll grab a peach and get on my way.
Have a healthy day.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

# 73 - Pretty Picture

I took an ultrasound this week to try to figure out why I felt that I've been punched in the stomach.
My doctor told me that I had an inflammation of my abdominal wall, and he wanted to make sure I didn't have gall stones or kidney stones. So I was off to get an ultrasound.
While lying on the table, I heard the doctor say, "Wow, look at that." "Ooh, can you imagine."
She asked, "When's the last time you ate?"
I replied, "Don't worry. I know I wasn't supposed to eat for seven hours, and I didn't."
"Yes," she said, "But did you eat before that?"
"Of course, I ate before that," I said. I probably hadn't eaten tons, but I'd eaten good healthy food.

"Well, your ultrasound looks like you haven't eaten in a week."
Maybe I ate such healthy stuff that it was all absorbed into my body. :)
Then she asked, "Have you lost a lot of weight?"
"Yes, I have. Why do you ask?" 

She said, "Your organs show everything."
Then the doctor said something that really surprised me. "You know, it is much more complicated to do an ultrasound on an overweight person." 
It's harder for the beams to penetrate the tissue when there's a lot of fat in the way, or something like that. (Of course, when I was more overweight they didn't tell me how difficult an ultrasound was on me, and how much harder it would be to see important things inside my body.)
She said, "If people knew how much easier it is to do an ultrasound and diagnose illnesses on a thin person, they'd be motivated to change their eating habits."
"I'll tell them," I said. (This was telling you!!)
"You're organs are picture perfect," she said with a smile.
"Then what's the pain in my stomach?" I asked.
"Well, you've got no kidney stones or gall stones, B"H!" she said.
Hmmm....Maybe someone really did punch me in the stomach, or maybe I got jabbed and I just don't remember. Meanwhile, B"H, I'm feeling well. The pain is gone, and I'm thankful I have picture perfect organs.
Change your eating habits and you can have picture perfect organs too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

# 72 - Mindfulness

Last week at the Efrat Women's Health Center, we discussed "Mindfulness" - being aware of our surroundings, paying attention to anything we do. There's even a concept of Mindful Eating. 
When you're really mindful you appreciate your food more and eat less. Our social worker Alizah Shapiro told us that if we think about the food we put in our mouths - its taste, its texture, the feelings associated with it, the food will become more satisfying. The mindfulness will allow our body to register the food more. We'll be more aware of everything we eat and even how much of everything we eat. 
There's a popular saying out now, "When you drive, just drive." Don't dial on your cellphone or send an SMS. Just drive so that you can be mindful of what is happening inside and outside of your car. 
Well, Judy told us, "When you eat, just eat." Don't read and eat. Don't do puzzles and eat. Don't watch TV and eat. Just eat. Think about what you're eating, how it tastes, how much you're eating and when you feel you've had enough. Mindfulness is the next step in gaining more control of your food. Think about it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

# 71 - BMI - More Work to Do

Last week when I got on the scale at the Efrat Women's Health Center my BMI popped up as 32.
I didn't remember if that was good or bad. I've been spending the last ten months of my life learning to: eat better, exercise more, develop healthier habits and live a fuller fitter life.
I remember seeing my BMI when I began, and checking to see what it meant. It was 38 - humongously incredibly pathetically overweight.
Oy vey. Scary!!
I never wanted to see that number again, so I've done what I could under the guidance of the Efrat Women's Health Center to get my physical life in order.
This morning I had a minute to look up the meaning of my BMI: 32.
Well, see the chart below -
BMI Categories:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
With a BMI of 32,  I guess I still have a long way to go. I'm not discouraged and I'm not sad. I never aimed at being skinny, just regular and healthy. I wanted to be able to try on a One Size Fits All blouse and have it fit me. I wanted to be an active energy-packed woman/mother/grandmother.
I have B"H achieved all that and more. I feel better, dance better, run better and all-around function better.
So my BMI is 32. Not so good. But, I won't sweat it. I'll just sweat some more on the treadmill and on the dance floor.
BMI goal one day, IY"H - 29.9!!

Photo by Rebecca Flash Kowalsky, www.imagesthroughtime.com

Saturday, May 19, 2012

# 70 - First You Sigh and Then You Walk

I have had the most personally amazing two months of my life in Israel. No, in the past two months I didn't win any awards, or take over any hilltops or star in a show. I had a solid two months of family. That has never happened to me in almost 20 years of living in Israel.
The two most precious people that I tearfully left behind in America - my dearest Mother ad 120 and my dear sister - each came to spend solid time with me over the past two months. So I put work on hold (I'm on good terms with the boss), cut back on just about all my responsibilities, and kept phone calls with friends to a minimum. I spent as much time with my family as I could. That was great.
The only thing that wasn't great was that a lot of our socializing time we spent surrounded by food. We went out to restaurants. We sat around the table for hours - talking and noshing. I never ate candy or cake. I never had ice cream with the gang, but I did overdo it anyway.
In addition to all that, I was off my routine. So I talked more and walked less. My exercise was down to a minimum.
When my mother, and then my sister and brother-in-law left, I cried my eyes out because I missed them so much. Then I got on the scale to see the results of two months of company, and I cried some more. Aghhhh!
But you know what? I wouldn't have traded the past many weeks with my mother and sister for anything - even a few pounds less on the scale. So I sighed, looked in the mirror :~/ and ... got on the treadmill. I can't knock off my "company weight" overnight, but I didn't put it on overnight either.
B"H I have learned good eating and exercise habits at the Efrat Women's Health Center that will help me get back on track. I'm excited to start again. Really.
So, if you ever find yourself slipping, don't panic. It happens to the best of us. Just remember: first you sigh and then, you get up on the treadmill and start walking back on to the road to good health.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

# 69 - Walking with Doris Day

I made it to "6 kilometers" on the treadmill today. Six!! That's the most I ever walked. Usually on Tuesday mornings I walk outside in the fresh air with my friend, but she got out early and I got up late. So I made a real effort to get on the treadmill today. It's kind of boring sometimes to walk on and on alone. But my sister (who always thinks of these kinds of things, and is very encouraging) sent me a bunch of MGM musicals for treadmill time. So with Doris Day happily dancing more in Lullaby of Broadway than in any other movie, I walked onward. 
I almost quit at four kilometers, but I've gone quite a few days without any exercise (B"H, I have had lots of company lately), and I really needed the exercise. Besides all else, Doris was singing "Somebody Loves Me" adorably with Gene Nelson, so how could I stop? Five kilometers was another benchmark for me. But I didn't quit because Doris was just about to be reunited with her mysterious long-lost mother, so I walked through their tearful meeting. 
I started to wonder how long I could go on at the pretty good clip I was doing on my treadmill, and I made it 'til Gene and Doris (who had broken up a few songs before) got back together again and took Broadway by storm. In a gorgeous golden lamee dress, Doris and Gene did an incredibly difficult routine up a flight of stairs. And I kept them company from my treadmill. 
It was a great finale for all of us. Boy and girl dance into each others' hearts, and I did six kilometers on the treadmill, and feel like dancing myself!

Monday, May 7, 2012

# 68 - A Running Victory

I ran home a quarter of the way from the Efrat Women's Health Center tonight. Okay, that's no big deal. You'd know that it's really no big deal if you saw how close I live to the Health Center. But I don't usually run. Sometimes I've walked at a nice clip on the treadmill. I tap dance. But I don't usually run.
So, tonight the weather was beautiful. I was all energized from our exercise class with our trainer Daphne Kupietzky, and I felt very inspired by the Mountain to Valley Run that Daphne and zumba teacher Tanya Richardson had just done in the north of Israel. They ran for 24 hours (on and off) up mountains and through fields, over all kinds of terrain. I just had to get home, up the block, and I thought, "I'll try it."
I started running. I ran to the corner. Then I walked. I ran half a block, and walked. Then I ran a bit more, and walked. 
Someone called out from a car across the street. "Sharon, do you need to get somewhere?" "No," I replied. "So, why are you running?" "Because I want to see if I can," I said. And off I went. B"H, I guess I can.
So, this week I made it a quarter of the length running. Next time, maybe, I'll try for five-eighths, or at least five-sixteenths. :)
I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 4, 2012

# 67 - Turn Back the Clock

I woke up this morning the same weight I was when I was nine months pregnant with my daughter. You might be saying, "aghhhhh, oh no!!!" But actually I have almost never weighed as little since then. My now nineteen and a half year old was born just before we made Aliyah, and I brought my newborn and all my weight along to Israel. 
I never found the food I liked or that I had been used to in America, and I was so busy with a new baby, and confused by a foreign life that I never had the ability to organize myself enough to take off the "baby fat" (mine, not hers)
Well, finally after 19 years in this blessed land, and almost two decades of doing solely for others, I finally found the time and the desire to do something for myself. I made my husband buy me diamond earrings, :), I learned to tap dance, and thanks to the persistence of my tap teacher Judy Kizer (she's also my nutritionist) and the support and brainwashing of the Efrat Women's Health Center I am finally turning back the clock - at least where the scale is concerned. 
And guess what I am wearing to my youngest son's upcoming wedding? The dress I wore to my oldest son's bar mitzvah 18 years ago! And you know what? B"H, poo poo poo, it looks really great!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

# 66 - It's Still Eat Less, Move More

Since I began the Efrat Women's Health Center eight months ago, my thoughts have evolved to the words of nutritionist Judy Kizer and social worker Aliza Shapiro - Eat Less, Move More. Well, they didn't actually say that, but they've guided us into making healthier eating choices and making up our minds to get exercise. I once wrote, "Exercise is the key," and it really is. It's the key to losing weight and to preventing a whole slew of diseases and health issues.
Today I read an article in the Jerusalem Post that validated everything we've been learning at the Efrat Women's Health Center.
And what's more, although fad diets claim the loss of tens of kilos in only a few weeks, the study by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center written about in the Jerusalem Post confirm, "...the old tried and true methods of eating less fat and exercising are some of the most effective paths to weight loss success."
Furthermore, the study explained, "Additionally we found a correlation between joining weight loss programs and greater reported weight loss, which may speak to the importance of structure in a weight loss regimen."
So, I guess the members of the Women's Health Center are on the right track, B"H.
Diet and exercise, and a terrific framework of support, encouragement and good fun.

# 65 - Exercise Aids Patients Undergoing Cancer Treatment

This article was written by a reader of this blog, Mr. David Haas. Thank you, David, for sharing your words on diet, exercise and cancer treatment. May it benefit others.

Keeping physically active and eating a nutritious diet are the best ways to stay healthy and prevent many infections and chronic conditions. But what about if you are already sick? Most medical doctors will say light exercise can be productive when experiencing flu-like symptoms, but it can actually cause damage during fevers. The common wisdom has been to exercise only if the body feels up for it, no matter the illness. Research, however, has shown definitively that a regular exercise program can offer benefits for patients with many chronic diseases, including cancer.

How Much Exercise is Best During Cancer Treatment?

With exercise and diet, the optimum routine varies between individuals and treatment types. One study shows the 
efficacy of establishing a walking program for breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. Walking was found to help manage common symptoms, such as emotional distress, fatigue and insomnia. This is comparable to what is known about the effects of exercise on healthy individuals, namely stress reduction and metabolic regulation through building lean muscle.

Patients were observed during a 14-week endurance-training program following surgery for non-small cell lung cancer. Contrary to popular belief that lung surgery greatly inhibits the amount of exercise possible, patients in the high-intensity program received the same benefits attributed to exercise for healthy adults. A physical fitness expert who tailored the program to each individual encouraged the safety of patients, and their motivation to stay with the program, with supervision.

Though the research is lagging on the many types of cancer, most research organizations agree that establishing an exercise program is important for every cancer patients. Even terminal patients with mesothelioma or brain cancer will see improvement in quality of life and reduction of symptoms from the cancer and treatment.

What Type of Exercise is Safest?

Though everyone says exercise is a good idea, most research has focused on either walking or endurance training. Few studies have been performed to determine whether benefits extend to other forms. There has been an increasing call for fitness experts to be included in cancer treatment programs, because this is the best way to maintain patient safety and maximize exercise effectiveness. Fitness experts working with mesothelioma doctors, for instance, are in the best position to make safe programs available, from range-of-motion therapy to water aerobics. All types of exercise offer benefits, and the choice ultimately depends on collaboration and personal preference.

Monday, April 16, 2012

# 64 - Passing Over the Nosh on the Holidays

We were back in the Efrat Women's Health Center tonight after having been away for about two weeks for Passover vacation. It seems like it's been forever. After our exercise class with Daphne Kupietzky, we sat down with our nutritionist Judy Kizer and our social worker Aliza Shapiro to evaluate how we did over the Pesach holiday.We all agreed that Pesach had been difficult. Our family members were eating all the time, and while we were sitting around with our gangs, everyone was munching Pesach cookies, cake, nuts and junk. The worst days for me (and probably everyone else) were the last two - two days in a row of non-stop holiday/Shabbat meals. It was very difficult...actually, nearly impossible not to reach in for those Pesach chocolate bars, among other Passover favorites.
Although it was indeed not easy to eat healthily when the kids were opening their tenth bag of potato chips and cousin Chaya was smiling over her Pesach-cheese cake, we all noticed that we had done our best to realize what we were and were not eating.
Judy and Aliza were thrilled. "Look at last Pesach, and compare it to this Pesach," they said. "There was a big  change. Last Pesach you weren't even thinking about whether something was a healthy choice or not. And look at your list of abandoned foods. No chocolate. No margarine. No candy."Pesach wasn't easy for me or my buddies, but suddenly I felt very proud that in the last eight months I had made so many changes in my life that my Pesach really was healthier and more successful (in the food department).B"H, it is indeed possible to keep healthy over the holidays. We passed over the nosh for the fruits and vegetables, and we're feeling pretty good about it.If you succeeded too, give yourself the credit you deserve (and maybe some cash too for a great reward).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

# 63 - Oh, Nuts!

While I didn't eat one piece of cake over Pesach (kol hakavod...thank you), it was torturous to sit at the table to hours as everyone nibbled on Pesach cakes (which it seems, aren't that bad). It wouldn't have been so bad if I could have taken out a rice cake with some jelly, or something else to munch on...but I had nothing to compete with the brownies and coffee cake and cookies.
So, I tried nuts. I know I overdid it with the nuts (they're not calorie-less), but I feel at peace with my decision to eat nuts while everyone else was eating cake. They may not have been so dietetic, but they were surely healthier than a chocolate torte, and they made me feel that I was in control. I knew I was eating a bit too many nuts, but I was proud that I passed over the cakes and chocolate bars.
When I get on the scale on Monday, I may say, "Oh nuts!", but I'll know that I did my best to keep control of my health on Passover. That makes me feel good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

# 62 - Motivations to Keep Going

Passover has not been an easy holiday for me. Okay, I've kept away from the matzah, but I'm having a real hard time finding something to chew on. Rice cakes are out on Passover (unless you're a Sephardic Jew, which I'm not), and that doesn't leave much stuff that's crunchy. So every night, I've had walnuts and dates. The walnuts give the crunch and the dates add some sweetness.
But tonight I must have looked in the fridge, freezer and pantry a dozen times, looking for a crunch.
I could have given in and had a brownie or some cookies or washed my hands to sit down to matzah with cream cheese and jelly, but I kept control, B"H, and stuck to my walnuts and dates, then drank a cup of lemon tea.
I've had to think several times during this holiday about what it is that motivates me to eat healthily.
Here's what I've been thinking:
** When I eat healthily, I feel fitter.
** Since I've started losing weight, I look better.
** Since I look and feel better, I smile more. I act more confidently. I actually feel proud of myself.
** Since I have shown myself that I can change my life habits in a positive way, B"H, I realize that many other dreams that I have can come true. That's a very empowering thought. 
** Since I've lost weight, I have to plan on buying some new clothing. And new clothes make everyone happy.
** Getting fit makes me feel younger, and act younger (not too young). I like being able to run and play with my little grandchildren, and I like hearing that my children's friends think I'm very with it.
** Feeling fitter prepares me to gather my strength to take new challenges.
I just figured out what motivates me to stick with the Efrat Women's Health Center program - I want to be the best and healthiest me possible.

Monday, April 2, 2012

# 61 - Being Good at the Pina Chama

Pina chama (literally, warm corner) is our name for the Gush Etzion Soldiers Hospitality Hut.
In the Pina chama, men and women from all over Efrat and Gush Etzion volunteer to spoil our men in uniform - members of the Israel Defense Forces. We serve coffee, tea, cocoa and hot soup in the winter. In the summer, it's cake and coffee or chocolate milk or slush. We're most famous for our cakes - baked fresh every day by different women in kitchens all around Gush Etzion. Brownies, maple walnut, marble, chocolate chip, honey cake. We've got it all, and it's all delicious.
We're pretty busy on our  Pina chama  shifts, serving between 50 and 80 soldiers in two and a half hours. We chat with the soldiers, ask where they're from, tell them about Gush Etzion, and also clean up in between and cut cake platters. But there is some down time. When that happens, most volunteers sit down behind the counter with a cup off coffee and a piece of Gush Etzion's famous  Pina chama cake.
It is very difficult NOT to take a square of brownie or Blondie crunch cake - especially when it smells incredibly chocolatey good.
But I come to 
Pina chama armed - not with rifles, like our soldiers - but with Cheerios, a banana and a pack of raisins.
I start my shift with spoons of cereal in between my servings of Turkish coffee and instant (one and a half sugars) Nescafé. On my break I sit down for my customary cup of coffee, but I eat a banana instead of a cream cake, and instead of munching, I chat. It's just about as satisfying.
And honestly, since I consciously know that all the cake and cookies are bad for me, so far I have been able to resist. I hope I will still be able to say that next year.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

# 60 - Oh, Ya Gotta Have Friends

Remember that Bette Midler song from who-knows-when-ago, "Oh, Ya Gotta Have Fri-e-e-ends."
Well, the idea behind the song is that friends get you through all kinds of life's situations. And it's really true. Things just don't seem as difficult or as bad when your friends are around. In fact, with the encouragement of their friends, folks can accomplish just about anything.
So, when our group graduated from the Efrat Women's Health Center first semester of Healthy Living, we went to Stage Two. We exercise together only once a week, and we were to meet together as a group only once a month.
We completed one month on the new schedule, and found that we really missed and really needed to spend more time together. In the past six months, we have become very attached to one another. And even though we are all very different, and our lives are very different, we feel very close to each other. We have spent six months journeying together, searching for the path to a healthier life, and we are tied to one another.
At the last group meeting that we had, we all agreed that in order to keep up with our healthier lifestyles, we need to spend more group time together - we need the support and encouragement of the others. Our nutritionist Judy Kizer and our social worker Alizah Shapiro looked at each other, and then at us, and said, "Okay! We'll have a group every other week."
Do you think it makes a difference? Yes, it does. 
We feel better knowing we'll be sitting together every other week, instead of once a month. It's not as often as it was, but it's often enough to keep the connection going.
I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

# 59 - What I Ate & What I Didn't

I went to a lovely Sephardi wedding tonight. Mazel tov. The tables were stacked with food - kubeh, spicy cigariote, stuffed thises and thats, and all kinds of other Sephardi delicacies. I entered the reception and studied the smorgasbord. Everything looked yummy, but I decided that I'd stick to stuff that wouldn't make me feel sorry in the morning.
So, I decided immediately there would be stuff I'd eat, and the rest that I'd leave to the other guests. I focused in like Cam Jannsen and just about said, "Click, this I'm eating." Then, "Click, this I'm not." And it worked. No matter how long we stood around chatting, I didn't reach for the "not"s.
Maybe that's a good idea anywhere, not just at a wedding. When you open your fridge, or sit down at a table filled with delicacies, say clearly to yourself, or anyone else. "This I'm eating." "This I'm not."
Top left, what I ate.
Bottom left, what I didn't.
B"H, it worked.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

# 58 - Living in Fear or Living in Hope

When you buy a new car, you seem to talk to folks about new cars. When you buy a baby stroller, that's what's on your mind in every conversation. So it has been lately with health and fitness. Folks seem to talk to me a lot about dieting, eating healthy, and eating unhealthy.
Some folks seem somber. "I will always be fighting the battle of the bulge." "I will always have to be on guard every day, from meal to meal, or I will fall."
I can't think that way. I can't live in fear of tumbling out of the Health Zone. The fear itself will push me over the edge. I have to live in hope that I'll be able to remember everything (or most everything) I learned at the Efrat Women's Health Center. I prefer to live in hope that I'll be able to keep healthy eating and exercise a part of my life forever. That is the way the folks at the EWHC taught us to live. I love healthy habits (yes, I'm brainwashed - hooray). I love healthy food. I love salad. I love exercise (except "three squats and a jump"). I love walking. I love zumba. 
And that's all so amazing, because when I started at the EWHC, I told our nutritionist Judy Kizer that I couldn't stand salad, unless it was drowning in salad dress to give it taste. Now I can't wait to eat a great salad. And I remember telling Alizah Shapiro, our social worker, that I just could not find any time to any exercise. And she told me, "At least walk up and down the steps in your house a few times." Well, now I don't want to start my day without time on the treadmill. And now that we only have one session of exercise a week at the EWHC, I am beside myself.
Sometimes I get a flinch of fear. "Don't let me fall out of the zone." But then I catch myself and smile. Yes, I make it my business to go to the mirror and crack a big smile. And then I say, "I love being healthy. I hope I can stay this way." I wink and I go about my life - living in hope for a healthy always.

# 57 - Don't Get a Swelled Head

Last week I graduated from the first level of Health and Well-being at the Efrat Women's Health Center. I worked really hard to become healthier, and they worked really hard to teach me to become healthier.
For the past few weeks everyone from my dearest Mother (ad 120) to the lighting man on my newest show - http://www.damesofthedance.voices-magazine.com/http://www.facebook.com/damesofthedance - said I look great, B"H. I started feeling, "Hey, I look great, B"H. Hooray for me."
Well...Never get too cocky or full of yourself. We should have learned that in our weekly meetings.
But don't worry. I learned my lesson.
I went today to get measured for a costume for my new show. The seamstress took out her tape measure, wrote down my measurements, looked at the chart and said, "I'm sorry. You're off the chart. I'll have to improvise."
Off the charts???!!!! Carumba, if I thought I was just one-of-the-gals now in the size department, I guess I have a way to go.
That's okay. I had a twinge of sadness after she said that today, but then I realized, I'm in this for the long haul. I don't have to be skinny today (just because I'm a Wellness graduate). I don't even have to be skinny tomorrow. In fact, I never have to be skinny. I just want to be healthy. And if I'm a pinch-able healthy lady, that's okay too. My seamstresses will have to come up with a new pattern for me. I don't think they'll mind.

# 56 - Graduation

Wish me mazel tov. Last week I graduated from the Efrat Women's Health Center "Good Health and Wellness Course." My diploma said "Weight Loss and Wellness". And it indeed has been a combination of weight loss and understanding how to live a balanced life that will give each of us better health, IY"H, and better quality of life.
At our last group session the program's founder Dr. Tzippy Morris, nutritionist Judy Kizer and social worker Alizah Shapiro looked back at the changes we had made over the past six months.
We had all succeeded at changing many unhealthy habits and substituting them for good ones. Of course, that has taken many months of brainwashing, but we all hope and pray that those good habits are now a part of our inner selves (so that their results will show on our outer selves too).
Together we celebrated the changes we have each made in our lives, and our new healthier ideas. We celebrated the changes everyone had made in her life.
Learning to:
** Be good to yourself.
** Love exercise and healthy food.
** Think positive.
** Have positive healthy thoughts.
** Forgive yourself if you stumbled, and pick yourself up again.
** Pray for help and good health.
We are now hopefully on a path for life. We've been trained to be whole-y (semi) independent and to continue making the healthy decisions we've learned to make over the past six months. 
None of us wanted to split up, so we're going on together in a smaller format.
Wish us all luck, and IY"H, we look forward to our Efrat Women's Health Center Wellness Program Part II.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

# 56 - Happy Health

You know how you never notice how many people have Hybrid cars until you have a Hybrid? Or how many people's kids have braces until your child is wired up? You get what I mean.
Well, I never noticed how many people trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle until I tried it myself. It seems that everyone is either on a diet, just off a diet, trying to get on a diet again, or watching herself very very closely (except when she goes out with the girls). It seems that everyone and her neighbor has started walking, jogging, exercising or zumba-ing. That is fantastic!!! A healthier lifestyle is something that everyone needs and should pursue.
Very often I bump into someone who says, B"H, "You look great. What are you doing?" And I tell her all about the Efrat Women's Health Style. I tell her that I work very hard, but I love it.
Too often, she (they, whoever) tells me that she finds dieting torturous. She (whoever) says that it is a battle she'll have to wage her entire life now. She hates exercising. And if she doesn't plan her exact menu for the day, she'll be lost and there's no telling "what" will happen.
I've been thinking about all these conversations, and those little chats made me give the Efrat Women's Health Center social worker Aliza Shapiro and nutritionst Judy Kizer giant hugs.
They have brainwashed us so thoroughly that we don't think we are waging a battle. We are thrilled to be living healthier lives. We don't hate exercise. We love it, love it, love it. Who knows? Half of us will probably end up becoming exercise instructors one day.
We work hard, yes, exercising or making sure we are eating healthy foods. But we're not fighting a battle or suffering.
The EWHC has given us a positive look at a healthy life - how to get there and how to stay there.
I have heard women (even those who have already lost a fair amount of weight) say that they have a bad self-image of their body.
That's another thing that makes me thank Aliza and Judy. Right from the start, six months ago, they taught us to love ourselves, and want to do the best for ourselves. In order to do that, we had to love who we were inside and out.
Through the EWHC, I have learned that a person can lose weight, can run five kilometers a day, can eat bran flakes and light bread, but the best thing she can do to have a happy healthy future is to have a "Happy Health" attitude.
Wishing everyone Happy Health!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

# 55 - Jumping Jack Flash

Our group of women at the Efrat Women's Health Center are going to be graduating IY"H soon from the Healthy Living Program Level I. And our instructors have been trying to get us ready to live in the real world - learning what exercise is like in normal exercise classes (maybe we'll want to attend one), learning how to make healthy food choices and how to get back up if we slip, and much more. The Center is trying to help us become independent, so that we can graduate and feel confident that we can still be healthy without our constant connection to the Center.
Recently at the Efrat Women's Health Center our exercise instructor Daphne Kupietzky introduced jumping jacks into the routine. Jumping jacks, you may say, scratching your head. So what!
Well, when my group mates and I first began the Women's Health Center, there was no way at all that we could get our both feet off the floor, and there was ABSOLUTELY no way that we could even attempt to do a jumping jack.
We used to throw our arms up jumping-jack style. But instead of doing the jumping jack move, we'd alternate tapping each foot to the side. Right. Left. Right. Left.
This was a pathetically-out-of-shape woman's jumping jack. Daphne kindly called it a beginner's jumping jack, but we knew the truth.
So last week when we included the "real" jumping jacks in our interval training, I don't know who was happier or prouder - Daphne or our group.
As we popped effortlessly :-) into the air, she said, "Look at you. Look how far you've come. Look what you're doing. You wouldn't even have thought it was possible almost six months ago."
Boy, was she right!
Then to add to the praise. Daphne said, "When we start the next level session (we're graduating from Healthy Living I to Healthy Living II, IY"H), we're going to exercise with weights."
B"H, we've come a long way, baby.

One more change I want to remember. During our Zumba class with Tanya Richardson, a song popped up on the computer and Tanya quickly went to take it off our Zumba line-up. "No, why. Leave it," we said. It's always fun to dance to a new song.
"No," Tanya explained. "This will be too difficult for you to keep up with."
"Come on," we said. "Give us a chance."
She did, and we zumba'd all the way. Tanya echoed Daphne's enthusiasm. "Wow, who would believe that you could do this music number? I did!!! Good for you."
So, we're doing our jumping jacks and our energetic zumba, and we're feeling, B"H, great!!!