Where we get fit and spin (wool)

Archive for January, 2011

Hooray for small victories!

I don’t sit here and critique other peoples lives, at least not out loud. I certainly don’t focus on one single person’s weight loss or need to lose weight. However, if someone approaches me…. and that happened yesterday. Most of the time people don’t give me an opening on the subject of health or fitness, they know me too well.

One of the ladies in our church came up to me and asked me about a class I used to help teach on nutrition and fitness. I said it had folded a while ago. She said she had been going to the gym, and had a personal trainer. She had lost 22 lbs so far! Can I tell you how happy and excited I was? She is extremely heavy, and I worried both about her longevity and what impact that was having on her children. The whole family is going to the gym.  It is like seeing a physical redemption. I see a lot of analogies between the physical and the spiritual.  Once more, if you do the right things, the right results will happen.

The power of words

I use this space for all my most controversial opinions, although from the response, I must be the only one who finds them incendiary.  I can’t help but think when I hear all the furor about words having incited the shooting, words from people that the shooter apparently never listened to, that there is a glaring double standard.  I have never heard anything on the radio, either from the left or right, that even touches on what I hear from modern music, movies and books. Every so often, I get exposed to rap music, what I would assume is gangster rap, and the attitudes, opinions, and thoughts that I hear expressed are so depraved and violent that I cannot believe there is no outcry against them, especially the blatant misogyny. While I do think that they represents some of the worst, there are a number of video games, movies and books that aren’t a whole lot better. If we are going to say that expressing anger over the current political situation can cause violence in unstable people, why has that argument been thrown out for the rest of media and entertainment?

Having said that, I don’t think that whack-a-doodles need any external force to incite them. The rambling  video that the shooter taped showed a disassociation from reality that had nothing to do even with common urban myths or conspiracy theories.  Most shooters are far more concerned with what is going on inside their own private narrative than any outside outrages. You want to track a killer? Follow people’s love lives. How many people (men) go off the deep end when their wife or girlfriend leave.

I know we would love to stop people from doing bad things. This current killer, Jared Lee Loughner, scared people and was obviously mentally unstable for the last few years. The obvious question is, why didn’t anyone do something about it? But in a free society, can we lock someone up for being scary? There have been numerous cases of mentally ill people killing either other people or themselves. Our society has decided that risk is worth taking, to prevent the abuses that have occurred in the past. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. A free society is a risky society. The only way to control risk is to control behavior. Maybe the discussion now should be, if we don’t want this to happen, who’s rights do we take away? We either lock up crazy people, or lock up the guns. Or both. I would compare this with drinking and driving. We don’t put breathalyzers in our cars, and we don’t ban booze, so we have alcohol induced car accidents.

If it seems like I’m not saying where I fall in this, your right. I don’t want my freedoms infringed on, so I can’t say “take away someone else’s.” On the other hand, if I see someone who is obviously not in touch with reality, I get nervous. I would rather protect myself, than trust someone else to take care of the situation. Getting back to my original point, if we are going to blame anything other than mental illness, how about doing something about society glorifying all that is wrong with human nature, rather than uplifting the good?


I choose to ignore New Years resolutions, and all they entail. Has anyone ever made life changes based on New Years resolutions? However, the temptation to comment is overwhelming, as two of the podcasts that I love, the fitcast and Nutrition Diva, both had excellent articles on the subject.  Why should I repeat what they said? Because no one I know listens to podcasts, in spite of my endless droning on how wonderful they are. I just hope my love of podcasts isn’t like 1980’s era fashions, where we all thought we were so gorgeous and now we say “what were we thinking.”

big hair from the 1980's

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

In any case, people I listen to and respect are all over the topic of New Years resolutions, and if I can’t make you listen to them, I’ll repeat what they said and get you that way. This is a broad distillation of their words, based on memory. (No comments from the peanut gallery!)

The first point is to start small, but start. If your goal is to lose weight, just by switching from half and half to milk in your coffee, you can lose 5 lbs in a year. Anything is better than nothing. Don’t set grandiose goals, like losing 25 lbs by Easter. We, as humans tend towards “all or nothing”, so if you aren’t on track by February, you’ll probably quit altogether. Make and stick to goals of changing your life, not in achieving results. The results come from sticking to the efforts.

Second, be specific. Don’t say “I want to exercise more.”  That doesn’t mean anything. Say “I’m going to go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:30 -6:30.  Wishes don’t get anything done, plans do.

Be positive.  Quitting smoking is tough. Taking something away does not feel good. Replace it with a positive. Put something in the cigarette hole. (no, nothing like a pie hole.) Rather, treat yourself to supplies for your favorite hobby. Save the cigarette money for a vacation.

As alluded to before, focus on the process, not the results. Results may come and go. If you stick with the process, overall you’ll get where you are going. I tried quitting smoking dozens (hundreds) of times before I succeeded. I got better at quitting at every attempt.

I think one of your resolutions should be to try one new podcast this year. You don’t need an I pod, you can use any mp3 player or even listen on the websites. You can throw this in my face in 30 years, when this advice seems hopelessly dated.


Technically They’re Right?

I just saw something on tv that made me so mad I started talking to the tv. That isn’t unusual. In any case, it was an ad for Chef Boyardee  ravioli, with the claim being made that it had a full serving of vegetables in it. As my title states, they may fit in the broad definition of a vegetable, that sugar laden sauce does have tomatoes in it, at least it did at some point. However, for a parent to look at that as a good serving of veggies, or in my opinion, to even feed that to a kid is wrong, so wrong.

By the way, I finished Michael Pollen’s book, “In Defense of Food”. While I still quibble with some of his points, his overall point is so good, that I will let it lay for now. To get back to this ad for canned ravioli, that is exactly the kind of food we should be avoiding. Ok, there are tomatoes, but there is also a list of ingredients as long as your arm, and sugar in one form or another. I went to their website to find the ingredients but they aren’t listed. The nutritional content is, and most products contain between 7-10 g. of sugar. White flour is another culprit, with it’s empty calories.

I’m not saying you can never eat  canned ravioli. I am saying if you look at that as satisfying your need for veggies, keep looking. My son loved the darn things. Back then, I didn’t know better and I fed them to him. Even then I didn’t think of them as veggie laden. If it comes in a can or a box, and is making health claims, be wary. Canned green beans are technically a vegetable, but they would be my last choice to fill that role on my plate.

To sum up, I would recommend Michael Pollen’s “In Defense of Food”, and I would avoid canned dinners. Yes, those two are linked, read the book.

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