Tag Archives: health

To Weight or not to Weight

That is the question; at least when it comes to weight loss. Do you weight or measure yourself? Or both?

I like the first option and have been doing so nearly every week for the past two years.  This past week, I hit the scale and discovered that I have lost a total of thirty pounds. There is a chart recording the journey on my frig.

Thirty pounds and only one dress size.

I have told myself again and again that what the scale says doesn’t matter.  But, when it goes down I am ecstatic.  Still there are days when the mirror returns an image I would rather not see or the numbers go up instead of down.  One that I despite the kind things come from friends and family.  Is it society or years of negative self talk?

Or maybe it is being told that people have a problem with my body or that they should have a problem with it. I know that is weird, but dating sites include turn offs like excessively heavy.  Exactly what does that mean. At nearly 5’10″, most folks never realize that I am overweight. They see I am not skinny, but wouldn’t say that I am overweight well at least not to my face.So am I excessively heavy being overweight? I have also been told that my cleavage is disgusting and that I should be ashamed of myself for exposing it.

I am not a size eight, I am an eighteen, yet when I go into shops catering to curvy gals I often find tents on hangers instead of clothes or people looking down on me for not being big enough.  I am serious on the last one.  On more than one occasion, I have gotten looks that I give to skinny folks when they talk about being fat when I have talked to others about my weight concerns. Since that day I have been more cognizant of the looks which I give to others. Size discrimination goes both ways.

It isn’t the size that I am working on shrinking. I am not really trying to shrink anything. The main goal of walking twice daily and watching what I eat is to be healthier.  When I was twelve years old I was injured in an ATV accident. Both my knees suffered hairline fractures.  As puberty progressed other things developed and jogging was not an option for me.  It hurt both my legs and my chest from physical activity.  (Sports bras are your friends, ladies. Always try them on.) I am also severely gluten-intolerant which means that if I encounter gluten bad things happen like my abdomen swelling to the point I couldn’t where pants. Good thing, I have great legs.

The scale is a double edged sword for those seeking to be healthier.  It can mark milestones or cause enough frustration that some people quit.  Thirty pounds seems like a lot of people tell me they can see the difference, but when you are still in your old jeans it is hard to feel accomplished. That’s when I slide into chairs in the school district’s auditorium and didn’t feel like I was in a vice grip.  Seats at the movie theater have also been easier to move in and out of.  The final test for me was when I boarded a plan yesterday and was able to sit comfortable in their seats.

You have to determine how you are going handle what the scale says and remember that it is only a number. My scale is at school and doesn’t come home with me in the summers.   I use it and my chart as a way to remind myself that I have made tangible steps towards my goal.

This summer after I get back from this most delightful break(I’m in Denver), I will be back at finding ways to incorporate healthier habits into my life. When I get home I will be ignoring my scale until the fall and just concentrating on staying on my better me track. Do I have an ideal weight in mind? No, not really, I want to be more comfortable in my own skin, run a 5k and all and all just be healthier.

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Yet Another Manic Monday

Monday Morning comes every week. You would think that I would learn to prepare for it.

Nope, every week it sneaks up on me. Attacking me when I am just beginning to get things done or so I like to think. The truth is as hard as I work, I am afraid at times and like to pass it off as my own laziness. So I dilly and a dally on unimportant things or start projects that I can’t finish.

There is plenty of time to prepare for school on the weekends or in the hours after school.  Maybe not the killer lessons I always want to teach, but a lesson nonetheless.  I would still be working fifty or so hours a week and in theory wouldn’t be so stressed out all time time.

My own self-doubt cuts at me like a knife and I spend time dreaming of what if’s instead of what next.  I collect books and links to help work past these mental blocks and they sit unread and unused.  I fall into psychological traps which my ego tells me that I am too smart for and yet, I am there again and again.

I want to free myself from stuff and have managed only to collect more. It is hard to say good-bye to things when my depression and anxiety clings to them.  This past week during a lovely insomnia fit, I cleaned out two bins in my dinning room which have been sitting there for months since I first got a roommate.

Efforts to meditate have been met with heavy resistance.  The negative aspects of my personality want to live and they fight for it. Day by day, I work on creating a routine that is healthy and rejuvenating.  Some days like today.  I don’t have a plan or don’t stick with the plan.

The plan was get up at six and take Luke for a walk. Get ready for Wacky Tacky day and leave for work about seven just in case they needed help in the cafeteria. If not, go to my classroom and prepare for the coming day and week.  My walking buddy cancelled and I slept in. Luke was delighted that he didn’t have to get up, but not so happy when his morning walk was cut short. I arrived at work late and barely had time to get everything set up. Still I plotted a course in my head and got the students on track.

Everything was going well until third period. Then one of the girls upset with her feedback didn’t listen and in frustration I let the paper fly from my hand she became in-sensed, claiming I was aiming for her head despite the physical impossibility given that I was seated and she was standing, threatened to beat my ass.  I don’t believe that she really meant me harm, still her words could not be ignored and a report was written. She earned herself a four-day suspension.  At lunch another student locked herself in the bathroom and was screaming in English and Spanish at her boyfriend or at least that was the gist of the conversation I overheard.  The big problem was that she left her baby in the cafeteria unattended, a sweet toddler who had no idea what happened to her mother.  My lunch was spent listening to and attempting to get her out of the bathroom. She came out when the other party hung up and received her only special invitation for an exclusive vacation. Two days.

Frustration and fear leads us to act out. I tend to work myself over the coals daily for things that are truly out of my hands, spending so much time worrying that I don’t take care of things that are in my control and then when they veer wildly into chaos add them to the list of things to torture myself with, opting for a more internal approach that causes less outward drama.  Like my girls, I avoid criticism and try to do better with as little effort as possible. Then fed up with the negative cycle, I dive back into life and get things done at least for a little while. Sometimes to be honest, I bully myself into getting up and going to work or starting/finishing a project. Asking myself again and again why am I not doing what I should and want to be doing. This is the reason that I finally finished the grad school application and applied for five adjunct teaching positions over the weekend.

Still days like today exhaust and send me into spirals of self-reflection.  I vow to do better or at least attempt to do better the next day and work on a plan. A real one with contingencies and oh, yes, I promise to write those lesson plans.

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My New Challenge

Thirty days without soda and so far I haven’t retreated to the comforts of carbonation.  I feel better and today, my jeans glided on instead of being pulled and tugged while I contort myself into them.  I have been trying to think of what to work on for my next thirty day challenge.

I want to bring something into my life.

Saturday, I said goodbye to my friend, Krista, along with about sixty other souls.  We cried and laughed remembering the woman who touched each of us.  She was one of my mentors when I began teaching and the first to really get to know me and like me. I inherited her classroom and my magnificent classroom library got its start with the books she left behind.

She was a unique soul whose passion for life was undeniable. She loved to sing and at one point worked as a magician’s assistant. She gave up the road to provide a more stable home for her daughter and became a passionate advocate for students who found their way into her classroom.  I missed her last outing because I was tired.  Mentally tired. Exhausted. It really hasn’t gotten any better.

Once a upon a time, I wasn’t like this. Well not so much, but I had a better grasp on things and was able to flow more easily with life.  I don’t believe that life’s ups and downs should be label drama. Things maybe dramatic from time to time that doesn’t mean that they need the label  of Drama with a capital d.  Drama is for the stage not to manufacture by human beings when they feel bored or don’t know how to act.

Working with teenagers, I see and hear a lot of Drama on a daily basis. My former roommate was also fond of it.  Instead of talking to me about getting some of her rent or deposit back she has been getting others to talk to and threaten me.  Drama.

Drama. Drama.

Saturday, I was reminded that I also believe in living my life differently that beat of my life isn’t to be found in reacting but in acting.  Krista took mediation classes with me.  She listen to me. Now is my turn to listen and return to the beat of my heart and the rhythm of my breath as I take my place on the meditation cushion again.

Everyday for the next day thirty, I will be taking time to meditate. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Downward Facing Dog Day

6 A.M. ~ Sunday Morning and I am falling off my yoga mat in my living room.  Literally.  Thankful that it is just me, the puppies and my friend, Sonia.  It was Sonia’s brilliant idea to wake up and early and work out.  She also took mercy on me and ended our experiment shortly the warm-up.

I love yoga and have always dreamed of being able to attend classes on a regular basis where I could glide with pride to the back of the class.

The downward facing dog pose doesn’t look hard, but my muscles seem to reject it as soon as maneuver myself up.

Kermit the Froy

Kermit the Frog showing me how it is done.

The day went south as I raced off to work only to have the check engine light come on with a wicked engine rattle.  After work plans were canceled thanks to the rain or should I say  mini-monsoon, which closed rides at park for nearly two hours. Dropping my car off at the shop, I came home to find my new roommate sitting in a tub on the front porch with the door wide open talking to guy with pants down to his ankles. I felt like suddenly I was the parent of a teenager when the young man skidded off the porch.  It was a bit weird.  Especially, when you are used to either living alone or with a quiet sedate roommate who keeps to himself.

The day was just like the pose, a tumble of events with laughter intermixed.  Today, I am going to downward facing dog again and everyday until I get it the form right.  I am also going to work on keeping the philosophy that my days will always be right so long as I continue to mix them with laughter, gratitude and humility.

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My First Thirty Day Challenge

081Currently, I am on day eight of no soda for a month.

So far, I have only been tempted once. It feels good to be accomplishing something, even if it is something so slight.  Everyday for the last eight days, I have been successful. I know there are a lot of folks out there that have ceased drinking soda a long time ago and don’t look back, but for me the ties to soda go deeper than just a sugary choice.

I was raised with it. I am not lying.  When I was sick, I was given a soda. When I was upset, I was given a soda. And so on and so on. There are pictures of my mother and grandmother sitting by a Coke sign with coke in my mother’s bottle. Once on a family trip, I suffered from horrible gas and bloating after eating too many clams that left me crying.  The first remedy tried was a coke that had gone flat.  Drinking all of my mother’s Cokes was a felony offense growing up. One I committed on multiple occasions.

My heart has not been in the anti-soda fight for a while thought I have tried in the past to cut back.  I reasoned that since I don’t eat anything with gluten further restricting my diet would be a burden.  A silly and definitely immature reason, if something isn’t good for you then not giving it up based on other things given up for health reasons makes no sense.

So here I am, the first day back to work after Daily Light Saving time, with my morning coffee haven’t successfully dodged the urge to get a coke for the caffeine and sugar rush to get me started. It was hard to go to sleep last night and then my sleep was interrupted by a friend in need.  Not a problem, it happens, but the result was less sleep than my body commanded.  So walking into my beloved 7-11,  I was tempted to go for the quick fix, a soda and coffee, to solve my exhaustion dilemenia.   I settled for a banana and some pomegranate juice along with the coffee.  My fuel for this morning is sitting in my purse uneaten, but I made it through the day without a soda.

The decision to undertake a thirty-day challenge was inspired by watching the following TED talk video.   

After watching Matt Cutts, a co-worker of mind decided to join me on my quest.  Next month, I am toying with several ideas from biking to work to returning to daily meditation.  I love the idea of breaking the stagnation that had settled into my life with small sustainable challenges. What would you try new for thirty days? Seriously, what would you try?

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Sick Day… oh Sick Day

It’s Monday and I am sick.

By some strange miracle, I stayed home.  A rare occurrence.  Normally, I would have pushed myself to get to school in order to do my job and be there for the students.

And I would have been horrible at it. So instead I have trusted my classroom to a substitute.

Good luck, kids.. see you tomorrow.

 

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Gratitude Day 1 – Life

There have been a lot of complaints sliding past my lips these last couple of weeks. It has been draining and emotionally, I feel like I have been run through the ringer.

Looking over my previous words, I know they reflect a flaw in my own thinking. No one has run me through anything, but me.  I am responsible party in my tales of woe.

I can not control everything that happens. Hell, I can’t control most of what happens.

But, I am here and I am thankful.

Thankful for every ache and pain.

Because I am here and I am grateful for everyday.

Each new dawn, a change to make my world a little better.

I am grateful.

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Life Does Not Stop

It does not slow because we are having a bad day or just can’t deal.  Forward, always forward. That is the way we have to go.

We can not look back to the good old days.  They really weren’t that good for everyone other than those at the very top.

We need to stop lying to ourselves. We must stop believing that we are weaker than we truly are just because people say that they couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to handle our lives.

Life goes on and on.  Even in pain and grief; time to regroup is not giving up. It is time to find a new way to move.

Forward always forward that is the way to go, even if we move a little slower than others or are unsure.

Life moves on with or without us.  We can either go with it or be dragged behind it.

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Cheeseburger Cart

Once upon a time, I joked about getting a food cart and taking it downtown to feed skinny chicks.  Girls who clearly needed to eat, who were an unhealthly kind of skinny.  It wasn’t a very good joke.  It implied that I have a problem with slender women.  I don’t. There isn’t a rivalry between skinny and curvy women.  Or at least there isn’t one on my end.   We should all be trying to be the best the healthiest people we can; mentally and physically.

We live in a world where Olympic women  are being criticized for their weight and hair styles.  Seriously?  These women are literally the best of the best and we are after them because they don’t fit our ideal of beauty. Wow.. 

So, I am retiring my cheeseburger cart joke because I don’t really know what is behind those ultra thin women I see downtown.  If they are unhealth then me critizing them isn’t going to do damn thing to help them.  And it doesn’t help me with my self-image issues. I love my curves, but sometimes I don’t act like it.  The people that critize the Olympains share some of the same body image issues that I still struggle with. Except they are still stuck on the idea that there are only certain people who can be beautiful. 

Beauty as any good English teacher knows is an abstract noun and can’t be narrowly confined to just one group’s standard. If you don’t believe me check out this blog by another curvy diva – Georgina.

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Missing Something….

Yep, no Friday book review.  I fell short of my goal.

Normally, I would be kicking myself  and re-examining the last week so I could do better the next go round.  With this failure however, I realize I set myself up with a task that was unrealistic.

Yesterday, when I would have been finalizing the review, I was in a doctor’s office trying to fight with the insurance company.  Before that I was reconnecting with one of my best friends sleeping due to neck pain and celebrating my sister’s birthday. None of those were things that I regret or would change.

Then there is the matter of my own novel which has sadly been neglected.

All of this, including my own professional work, has lead me to realize that I, myself, set up a fail.  I love reviewing books, writing and teaching are my passions.  It is in those two areas where I will be sinking my energy.

As a result, the schedule will be modified, so that you, my dear readers,  get what you like and I can work on my goals.  Book reviews will be published bi-monthly at a minimum; more as life allows.

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