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 - - 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!!!