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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales & Mirrors (part 10) ©

Scales & Mirrors (Part 10) ©

Today’s Steve’s birthday and I’m going to eat more than usual, because I’m preparing more than usual – or at least I’m going to try with the food I have on hand. This is one of those times when you have to weigh the price you’re willing to pay fat-wise against the enjoyment value of the occasion, because tomorrow and the next day the scale won’t lie for you.

So if you don’t eat all day the day before and the day after it might work for you. People move their food consumption around like they move money around – for the greatest benefit and convenience. Due to tough times we have no extra money so I get creative with the gift too. I already made him a cuff link container out of a cigar box, stained it and lined it with a scrap of burgundy colored velvety upholstery material that I made my valances out of. I recall the woman at the fabric shop telling me I couldn’t make valances out of upholstery material, but that’s the fabric I liked so, ha! Now, what else?

Oh, I know…I’ll iron all his shirts. He’ll like that. The ribbons are already hanging – for a couple of days now. I like to draw a celebration out, even when I’m broke – Steve too. So, I’m going to do an entire birthday meal with what’s on hand – and we haven’t grocery shopped for a while – trying to conserve, since he unexpectedly lost his job and had to scramble to get another one and we lost two paychecks in the meanwhile.

Not to worry. We’ll work something out. That’s the confidence that comes with living a long time. You gain a history of working things out, so when something catastrophic occurs, you know through past experiences that you’ll find your way around it. Circumventing is what I like to call it.

Since I can’t cook, iron and write at the same time, I’ll get back to you tomorrow and let you know how it all turned out. I think I’ll clean the apartment too and have everything sparkling when he walks through the door. Make it look like he’s walking into a hotel suite with a full-service kitchen and his personal animal-free chef.

My plan is to say ‘no’ to second helpings of anything, while keeping the portions small (for me; Steve can do what he wants; it’s his day). I’ll want to savor the occasion however. A party isn’t a party unless one can indulge somewhat. The mild exercise is working to tone my entire body, so I’m looking trimmer than the scale reads. That’s okay.

I’ve never cried over my weight. Don’t you. It’s fixable.

***

Whew…I’m done with about a half hour till birthday boy gets home. I cooked the meal, vacuumed, picked up, sanitized what needed it, did the dishes, set the table, walked Rose, set the lighting, and set up the scrabble board for a birthday tournament. The hors d’oeuvres are by the board along with a small jug of cheap Chianti wine. We three will be our own music tonight.

THE MENU

Hors d’Oeuvre

Roasted pepper, tomato and sweet onion antipasto with fresh basil vinaigrette, served with fresh-baked rolls

SOUP

Creamy sweet pea with garlic, freshly ground black pepper and tarragon

ENTREE

Linguini marinara with fresh basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil

DESSERT

Giant apple and ginger peach preserve turnover smudged with grapefruit, ginger icing with a hint of maple

Beverages

Lemonade iced tea, Chianti wine, fresh brewed Columbian coffee

Simple but elegant. I tried not to go overboard with fat. Last year after his birthday dinner he ended up in the emergency room. Everybody jokingly blamed it on the meal. While I’m here I might as well introduce him to you with a short story, since I think he’ll probably be making some kind of contribution to this book. I’ll tell you the story, then you’ll know what kind of guy he is.

…to be continued






 

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales & Mirrors (Part 9) ©

SCALES & MIRRORS  (Part 9) ©

Your only goal should just be to lose weight. To set how much in a week or month sets you up to fail. You’ve got the scale and the mirror. That’s all you need to make assessments on how you’re doing and where you want to go.

I see handle bars on my hips in the morning. Sure I’m working out, so it pushes the fat outward from my body, making it more noticeable. Still, I know when I see those handles that I don’t want them, regardless of what the scale says. At that point it’s useless to get on the scale, because even if I lost a couple pounds, those handles didn’t go anywhere.

Okay, so I’m discouraged because I’m not losing fast enough. But I’m not reducing my intake by that much either. Yes, I’m eating less, especially during the day, but not a lot less, so I need to eat even less and increase my metabolism even more. One thing I stopped doing is telling myself I’m starving. I got rid of that bad habit pretty fast. Now it’s time to learn to say no to myself. I know, I’m an adult, an old one, so should already know how to do that.

When I was a child I noticed that adults didn’t say no to themselves very often; it was always no to the kids. I liked that concept of them not having to say no to themselves. Though I didn’t use with word ‘concept’ in my thoughts so young, I couldn’t wait to become an adult so I could do what I wanted instead of what my parents wanted for me. I imagined what it would be like to open the refrigerator and take whatever looked good without regard to Mom’s menu planning. Don’t touch this, don’t touch that. Mom was very organized. If somebody took something that was designated for the supper meal, that meant somebody got less at supper. That never happened, because we all knew better. Some foods were designated as snacks or between meal beverages and others clearly were not.

When I met Steve’s family I was shocked how everybody in his Mom’s and Dad’s house just helped themselves to whatever was in the refrigerator. His mom shopped every day for supper. My mother shopped every two weeks for meals for two weeks, and as needed in-between for bread and milk or for snacks on a week-end night. She always said the same thing on payday, which was grocery shopping day, when she’d buy a big package of cookies, “when they’re gone they’re gone”, which meant we could eat as many as we wanted. There wouldn’t be any more till next payday, unless of course she baked some, which in the early years, she did.

Well, now that I’ve been an adult for a very long time, I realize that those adults – all adults in fact – should have been saying no to themselves and showing their children how to do it in the process – you know, the lead by example maneuver. But back then everybody was too busy to think about stuff like that. Just do what you’re told translated to somebody else making decisions rather than you making them.

So, that’s on the top of my to-do list: learn to say no to self. Don’t wait for somebody else or something else to do it.

Some people complain that when they exercise they don’t lose weight, myself included. The reason is now clear. When scaling back on the food or altering dramatically the intake, the body lowers its metabolic rate to conserve fuel: fat. Okay, you already know this. But when you exercise vigorously to lose weight, an alarm goes off in your brain, because your body is working extraordinarily hard, which means something must be happening in the negative category. Alert. Alert. Alert. Conserve. Conserve. Conserve. You get frustrated because you’re not losing weight while you’re exercising off the charts and eating like a bird and still, not much loss.

So everybody tells you your fat is turning into muscle and muscle weighs more than fat and that’s why you’re so fat? Because all that excess baggage you carry with every movement you make is really muscle? Come on. Listen up. Fat cannot turn into muscle. The two tissues are totally different from one another. There’s no osmosis or transformation of tissue going on. Fat can no more turn into muscle than a bone can turn into blood. Need a blood transfusion? Just break open a bone.

Okay, so you build muscle tissue and you lose fat and some of the fat runs through the muscle like a well-marbled steak, but they’re still separate tissues. Now, you’re essentially all muscle, so what are you complaining about? Because the scale reads fat? You’re giving the scale too much credit for having a brain smarter than your own. Look in the mirror; do you see fat? You can see fat, you know. Even the fat surrounding all your internal organs leaves an impression on the outside of the body – that really thick, dense look in your trunk? Fat takes up space, so everything around it gets shoved aside, literally. Even if you’re blind you can feel the fat. You know what’s fat and what’s muscle so don’t play dumb.

If you want the optimal benefit of weight loss, don’t do anything dramatic to set off alarms. Eat less and less often and exercise mildly in the beginning.

Every now and then throw in a challenging exercise routine, then back off so your body doesn’t raise its flags. In other words, stop before your body tells you to stop.

Increase the exercise by small increments and do the same with food: Decrease  consumption in small decrements. Remember the size of your stomach. No. Not your abdomen. Your abdomen is your girth; sure that’s big and you think you have to eat to fill the girth, which you mistake for your food tank. Stop thinking your stomach is your abdomen. Your stomach is this little tank. Stretched though. Like a tank top or like underwear that stretches to cover your fat butt.

The fat you store all around that little tank is your girth, your stash. So why hoard all that fat? Once again, you’re setting off alarms. When anybody starts stockpiling it spells trouble coming, which in turn signals to conserve by saving up, so your metabolism slows to accommodate the anticipated crisis.

Yet the crisis never comes, but still you’re on high alert, stashing more and more. The only way you’re going to come down from high alert without sending out the signal that the catastrophic event just arrived, because now you’re starving yourself on somebody else’s diet, is to decrease gradually – ease off- ease up – slowly.

Increase exercise slowly, showing everything is AOK, then simultaneously decrease your intake slowly and your frequency slowly, then stay consistent, till your body’s alarm system is off and you’re cooling down, losing that extra fluid, moving more efficiently, saying no where appropriate and not gnashing your teeth over it, but delighting in the self control you exhibit on cue, whenever necessary.

Disciplined people don’t set their alarms off much. They anticipate danger and either avoid it or plow through it, in control of what they’re doing, how they’re handling it. The best you can do is to be in control of your own actions, living by your own code, and sticking to it, not reverting to somebody else’s plan when faced with conflicts.

Don’t wait for a catastrophic event to implement a plan that could avoid it.

You be the master of you and an example to everybody else, who might like what they see as a foundation upon which they can build something great for themselves.

…..to be continued






 

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales And Mirrors (part 8) ©

WARRIORS DO YOGA TO PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR BATTLE

Unleashing karmic garbage through the practice of yoga

vs.

Using the discipline of yoga to prepare yourself for adversity

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales And Mirrors (part 7) ©

I wanted to move mountains not become one. Gluttony is the only sin you can’t hide. It’s right out there, staring everybody in the face. A sin isn’t just an offense against someone else or something else, it’s every bit as much a sin against one’s self. If you can’t control your gluttony, then you’re a danger to yourself. Period. That doesn’t mean that fat people strike out against themselves instead of others. Aggression knows no fat boundaries as we saw in Ariel Sharon, former Prime Minister to Israel now deceased. Once regarded by me as the most violent man on the face of the earth – to others and himself – which means he was a danger to everybody. Out of control, eating a lamb a day, killing ten Palestinians a day, blowing up buildings, bombing schools, hospitals, libraries, bulldozing Palestinian homes to make way for Jewish colonies, taking people’s ability to survive and thrive away from them, uprooting their crops, bombing their police stations, ambulances. I could go on and on, but I won’t. It’s time to diet. I thought Ariel Sharon should lead those who aren’t starving in the world in losing weight. Perhaps if he had shifted his focus from destruction to discipline he would have found the peace he kept claiming he sought. Unfortunately he succumbed to his life style of excess and recklessness. Let him not be the example you seek to emulate in achieving your goals. No human is immune to reckless living.

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales And Mirrors (part 6) ©

Being skinny isn’t the answer.

Young girls who want to stay skinny aren’t prepared for womanhood. They want to keep their prepubescent figures, not ready to accept the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood. Guys who require that of women, want children for girlfriends and spouses, not adults. Forcing women to stay children is common to many cultures where men dominate. It’s a whole lot easier to dominate a child than an adult, so they keep their adult women children, by demanding they barely eat in order to keep the fat that goes along with womanhood off the bones they think they own.

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales and Mirrors (Part 5) ©

Two tablespoons to trim: oil that is. No more than that in any given recipe. Recipe, not serving. Why any? Because I know you won’t stick to none. I won’t either. And at times I’ll go beyond my own rule. Some oil/fat is probably good for you.

It’s not because of all the reasons you’ve already heard: this oil does this and another oil does that and if you take all that’s recommended of all the oils and plans to incorporate them into your diet, you’ll get all the essential nutrients you need that are covered by fat.

It’s because I like the feel of it. I’m supposed to like the feel of it. The fat is what eases the rest of the food down your throat into your gut. It’s an easier chew with fat and an easy swallow. Why do we drink when we eat? To make swallowing the solid food easier.

The result of eating all the fats that restaurants and prepared foods throw at you however is that you become three persons in one.

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales And Mirrors (part 4) ©

Use a mirror and a scale. Those are your two best friends when losing weight and getting fit. Looking at your face isn’t enough. Like many people, I don’t gain a lot of weight in my face, so according to my face I’m thin.

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales And Mirrors (Part 3) ©

So you exercised yesterday and felt good afterwards. Yet today you don’t feel like it. Why, because it felt good? I thought people who overeat are pleasure seekers? Then why deny yourself the pleasure of exercise? Oh boy, here comes the whining again. Just do it. Regularly. Not once every two months. Every day. Not three times a week. Every darned day.

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SCALES & MIRRORS

Scales And Mirrors (part 1) ©

START YOUR ENGINES

God, my god, puts the needs of the individual not the group first. It only makes sense that the stronger the individual, the stronger the group. In any military, the stronger the soldier, the stronger the entire unit, thus the reason for the rigorous training. When I said a while back in a Word Warrior essay that my assignment was to address the plan for the group and leave the individual to other numerous and equally qualified people, I trust that god, my god, would not only delegate that function, but it was my understanding that it already had. In fact, the needs of the individual are addressed in every self-help book on the market, from A to Z, instructing the individual precisely on how to become a better functioning, happy, productive, contributing individual, so why need me?