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What’s Your Relationship with Food

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Kids eating ice cream, each having a different attitude

Question; 

What is your attitude toward food?

Silly question?

Ok, let's try this word association.  Say the first thing that comes to mind.

  • Birthday party…
  • Christmas…
  • Beach day…
  • Date night…
  • Cozy night in…

If your answer was anything close to what mine would be it would be something like this;

  • Cake
  • Turkey dinner
  • Picnic food
  • Nice dinner
  • Popcorn and snacks

In my house, anytime we have a party, we can tell it is a good one when the kitchen is so full of people that I have trouble opening the oven to get more food.  The fridge is open all the time, and there is a cooler full of drinks. The morning after is cleaning up plates, cups, napkins, and food all over. Good party.

  • When we mourn, we send food.  
  • When we celebrate, we eat.
  • When we are bored, we eat.
  • When we are sad, we eat.

Food is in our world so much that whether we admit it or not, we actually have an attitude toward food.

Some people have an unhealthy attitude toward food.  They simply consume to excess and can’t help it. Others do their best to eat as little as possible.  Some even eat and purge just to keep their consumption under control.

The truth is that food is supposed to be fuel.  That’s it, fuel. But we are humans and have learned to attach emotions to the food we eat.  Whether we should or not, most of us do. So when we have chosen to change the way we eat or what we actually eat, it is not as easy as changing the fuel we use.

In my opinion, this is the biggest reason why we have difficulty with ‘dieting’.  It is not changing fuel, it is replacing emotions. We know that intellectually we NEED to change what we eat but our emotions are way more powerful than our intellect so, we struggle.  So we try to do the ‘other things’ that will get the extra pounds to leave. We do a cleanse. We take weird supplements. We wear gear that encourages us to ‘release’ the fat. We may exercise a little.  We try almost anything to lose weight without interfering with what we know is comfortable.

Unfortunately, we are all wired pretty close to the same.  We want to change but don’t want to actually change what we love.  One of the things that we have found an odd relationship with is food.  We love to eat. Sometimes we eat stuff we don’t even like, but not because it is fuel, but because it may give us the feeling we want.  Usually, when I do that, I end up feeling worse. I beat myself up for doing that, it wasn’t worth it, I am such a loser, I may as well eat the rest of the pantry of food I already screwed up.  Sound familiar?

It is time to treat food as fuel.  Sure it is ok to like it. It is better that way, but your body will ultimately let you know when it likes certain food.  If you pay attention. As a kid, I loved peanut butter and honey sandwiches. My mom made her own bread and cut the pieces so thick.  So right now, I can taste that, I am 7 years old again. Not a care in the world. But, the last time I ate that I wasn’t 7, it wasn’t homemade bread, Mom wasn’t there, and if I were honest, I felt really heavy and kind of yucky when I was done.  Sure emotionally I was trying to feel like a kid at home again, but the reality is that I am now a grandma and my body really doesn’t like that much bread or that much sugar.

So, now, I try to listen to my body.  I eat food that I used to think was gross, spinach, but I eat it in a shake instead of cooked.  Choices. I eat only a tablespoon of peanut butter instead of an unknown amount. I stop eating before I explode.  I stop planning to have “eating pants” at holiday meals, I choose wisely.

I have chosen to treat most food as fuel.  I am still human, nobody can resist pie. But it is a treat, and a small piece when I eat it slowly tastes way better than eating to the extreme.

  • Spend some time thinking about how you think about food.  
  • What foods stir up emotions; good or bad
  • Do you eat even when you are not hungry
  • Have you ever even considered that food is fuel

Your eating habits will change dramatically when you have a better relationship with food.

 

Fast food is popular because it's convenient, it's cheap, and it tastes good. But the real cost of eating fast food never appears on the menu. Eric Schlosser

 

Ack, I’m in Menopause!

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I am still hot, it just comes in flashes. Describes a lot of women in Menopause.

As I sit and write today I can’t decide what to write about.  I can once again talk about my gym, what I do and why I love it.  I can talk about motivation, how to get it and keep it, again. I can talk about any number of foods that we should eat, could eat, do not eat, should avoid eating.  Recipes that look amazing and taste even better. Then it occurs to me that one of the reasons why I can’t decide is because my brain has gone on summer vacation like the kids from school.  But, I don’t have kids in school and summer is a great time of the year, but it really doesn’t change much in my world in regards to my task list.

So, why is my brain on break?

My brain is on a break because I am no longer living with pregnancy brain, or mom brain, my brain is going through menopause with the rest of my body.  Until recently I had no idea what menopause actually meant to my whole body. I knew about the end of my periods, but I had no idea how it would affect the rest of me.

The biggest reason I had no idea is pretty simple really.  Our medical system is still pretty much run by men. I am no expert on men but from the ones that I know, they just don’t want to talk about how women’s bodies function.  Even the medical community seems to want to ignore what we all go through.

Menopause is no big mystery, or at least it shouldn’t be.  It is simply another phase in our lives that happen as we age.  Just as we all go through puberty, we also age out of that part of our lives.  Contrary to what Hollywood would have us believe, we do actually all age and the only way to avoid it, is to stop getting older.  Period….

So what does our body do during menopause and what does it really mean?

Menopause is the stopping of menstruation, so you can no longer get pregnant. But just like puberty and/or pregnancy it is just not about that, it is way more complicated.  It seems that until recently there have been very few studies done on the vast number of ways our bodies change as we go through this phase.

We, women, start in something called perimenopause which in a nutshell is all the great bonus side effect of our hormones completely changing, yet still having our periods.  Unlike men when they go through their mid-life crisis’ which typically means a sports car and valiant attempts to appeal to the twenty-something crowd, women’s changes are way more challenging and ever-changing.  

There is also an enormously long time frame that this can all start.  Kind of like when the cable guy is going to be at your house anywhere from 12-4, perimenopause can begin as early as your mid-thirties or mid-forties.  Or as a bonus, later. Who knows?

Typically women will go through 2-8 years of ups and downs, hot and cold flashes, sleep or not so much, mood swings, and weight fluctuations and many more fun things.  Once you have gone a year without a period, you have officially arrived. Hooray! Maybe?. Because you may still have crazy side effects for many years to come. Oh, Joy!

The thing about this is that it can’t really be avoided.  It can’t be predicted, not really. You can look at the other older women in your family to use as a guideline, but then again, it may not mean anything.  It has no reference to your puberty experience.  

There are a few things that you can do to help you go through all of this.

Know that you are not alone.

  • There are a lot of groups out there if you find that you need a support system.  The awareness is growing, so it won’t be hard to find women who are going through it with you.

 There is nothing to fear.

  • It may seem strange, but your mother went through it, so did her mom, and so on and so on.  It is natural.

Talk to your health care provider. 

  • There are all sorts of hormone therapies out there that may apply to you.  You won’t know until you get some testing done.

Exercise.

  • Believe it or not, it truly helps to stay active to some degree.  Your body will function better anyway, but getting a sweat on will actually help.  As your hormones change, your metabolism slows down.  

Look for symptomatic relief.

  • Something that helps me is something that I get from Saje. It is essential oils that actually make me feel some relief when I am having hot flashes.

Do your research.

  • This is your body, do some research on what your body is telling you.  Pay attention to what your body is doing and how it feels.  
  • Menopause Basics

Try natural remedies.

  • Generally your doctor won’t recommend herbs or natural remedies, but in my opinion, and only my opinion, why not try natural supplements.  Personally, I found that Maca works for me. It is a root that you can take as a powder, gel cap, or even a liquid. For me though, it works best when I also take black cohosh.  I found that taking these supplements together, my symptoms are manageable. But there are many options out there and like me, you may find that some work better when you take them with something else.

If you are going through this very special time in your life hang in there. 

Put a smile on and just keep on keeping on.

It will end one day and in the meantime, do what you can to be the best you can be.

 

It's really important that we don't hang up the membership to the human community at menopause. – Valerie Harper

I’m Not Made for Exercise

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Some people avoid exercise because they think they are made that way. Not so

I have been a pretty active person in all of my life.  As a kid, we were always to go play outside, then, I played on almost every team at school.  As I got older, I still played on a lot of school teams but my extra time was spent on just a few sports instead of all I could make time for.  As an adult, well, it hasn’t mattered what I wanted to do at times, with kids, a dog, house, husband, my activity took a back seat.

Now that I am almost an empty nester, my time is mine.  I get to do what I want with my time, sort of. I choose to spend time in my gym, my garden and hiking, and other outdoor activities.  But that is me, I have friends that truly believe that;

they are not wired for exercise.

I am calling them out right now. That is a lie we have learned to tell ourselves and others and therefore completely believe.  

It is not true.

I totally agree that we are not all wired to love playing rugby.  Having three kids, we encouraged them to be active. Two loved most sports, the third loved to dance.  One day she came to us, the third child, and pleaded with us not to make her play rugby. Both her brother and sister did, so she assumed that she should.  I would never have encouraged her to play rugby unless she wanted to, she is way more suited to what she loved, dancing.

Three kids, same house, same upbringing, totally different levels of activity.  But active nonetheless. Take a step back and think about when your babies were babies.  Currently, we have two grandkids. They are the most amazing people on the planet. The youngest is nine months old right now.  So, think with me a moment at that age. When you hold him, be prepared. He never stops moving. He wiggles and squirms. He is constantly watching everything he can all at the same time.  He wants up, he wants down. Leave him alone, don’t leave him alone. His arms are flying everywhere. His legs are kicking endlessly. But the only time he is still is when he is sleeping.

We were all the same once upon a time.  Somewhere along the line, we stopped moving.  We thought that sitting still was the norm and being active was ‘work’.  Not sure when that happens but it needs to stop. Although all schools encourage gym class, it is so forced and structured that even active kids are told what to do and how to move their bodies.  In between gym times, we are told to sit still, stop moving, stop fidgeting learn to conform.

Eventually, schools turn the movement into competitive events and we discourage kids that don’t move the same way as others, to feel less coordinated and we begin to live the lie that ‘sport is not for us’.  It’s about that time that square dancing comes to gym class, hhmmm.

Our bodies are made to move

  • Our bodies are made to work better when we move. 
  • Our systems flush out waste better when we move.
  • Our minds work better when our bodies move. 
  • Our mood improves when we are not made to sit in a box on a chair for hours at a time.
  • Our skin glows when we sweat. 
  • Our endorphins are pumping when we raise our heart rate.

If you look at studies regarding people with Alzheimer's and physical activity, they have been able to prove that physical activity both helps prevent the disease and helps stop its progression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4812200/

But the last thing we should do is wait until a doctor prescribes activity for us.  If we wait to be told what to do and when to do it, we might as well be back in school.  We might as well be forced to conform to somebody else once again making us play flag football, climb a rope, endless sit-ups and push-ups with everyone else counting for us.

It’s time to find something that you like to do.  Start looking into what you have done in the past that made you feel good.  Was it paddleboard, badminton, riding a bike, simply walking. Think back, what physical activity have you enjoyed?  If you really can’t find that thing, start a new search. Find a dance class, look for a pickleball team, join a hiking group, train for a run, do a little boxing, lift some things.  You simply don't know what you like to do until you do it.

Movement is the key to staying younger, so do all you can to make that happen.

 

“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the heck she is.” 

Ellen DeGeneres

 

My First Weightlifting Competition

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Doing my best to squat low in my snatch lift in the gym.

One of the main things that I have tried to do when I write this blog is to help you learn something, understand something, question something, and ultimately it would turn into having a better understanding of what it means to be a healthy well-balanced human.

Today I am not going to do that.  Today I am going to blog the way a lot of other bloggers blog, I am going to just talk about myself.  Not totally in a selfish way but to share something that I did and how it made me feel.

I have been doing Olympic Weightlifting as part of my gym routine for several months now.  

It was suggested to me through my Crossfit gym and I have become totally addicted to it.  I thought I would give it a try, learn something new, but figured that I would find it boring but useful and ultimately just go back to my Crossfit classes.  I was totally wrong. I don’t find it boring at all. Although there are generally fewer movements to master, I now know that I will likely never actually master them.  It will be a continual growth exercise.

Going to the gym generally comes with certain goals.  We, as people who go to the gym, have either weight goals in that you have a certain weight that you want to move. You may have goals based on your appearance, smaller waist or bigger biceps.  For me, it has almost always been about losing weight and being a smaller size. That is, until recently.

I know how important it is to have goals.  I set all sorts of them. I rarely achieve them, but it doesn’t stop me from setting them and working towards them.  I did actually manage to lose some weight a few years ago. I worked really hard, ate super clean, worked out a lot, ran, hiked, was really focussed.  But ultimately, without keeping up that strict routine, some of that weight has crept back. It is not only typical, but it is the majority of people.

When I started at this Crossfit gym, I told them that weight loss was my goal.  The response from one of the coaches was“ what if your goal was to get stronger and weightloss was just a byproduct of that”.  Those words have haunted me, yes haunted me for months now. I am now in agreement with that trainer and am coming to terms with goals in the gym,  that are more concerned with lifting heavier and achieving some pretty ambitious weight goals for a woman of my age.

Having said all of that, I have done my first ‘mock’ weightlifting competition.  Our coach for Olympic Weightlifting is somebody who has trained for the Olympics. Yes, an actual Olympic trained athlete.  He is so particular with form. Just the smallest detail he notices and does his best to correct it in us. There are so many different stretches and warm-ups before we pick up a weight.  Now admittedly, Doug and I are the oldest lifters that he has trained. So our program is a little different from the others that we see lifting. But, he actually sees progress in us.

So, when I got to the end of the last series of program notes, to my surprise was a page I hadn’t seen before and didn’t really understand.  It was a competition page. Andy, our coach, wanted to see how we would do in a competition setting. YIKES! Something I had never considered before was competing in weightlifting.  This, in my mind, was a young person sport, not for a person my age. Apparently, I was wrong, there is a Masters category. Who knew?

 

Friday was the day, competition day, well MOCK competition day.

 

I showed up and before I did anything more than put on my lifting shoes, Andy explained how the day would go.  I was given a lifting platform and told to warm up, make sure I was really warm. When I was, Andy would ‘call my name to the platform’.  I would then have one minute to complete my lift. When the bar was lifted to the appropriate position, I would get the signal to put it down.  Then, wait for my turn. One thing I had to learn was to rest well between sets. There is no room for rushing, that is where injuries happen. So, I wait until I am ‘called’ again.  

I will get four attempts to increase my weights.  Then there will be about 10 min to rest, reset, and get ready for the next type of lift.  The first lift is a snatch, the second is a clean and jerk. When my name is called again, I approach my bar and lift.  At the end of each lift, I choose to add more weight and wait for my turn again.

Andy tried really hard to make me understand how it would work in a real competition.  Including telling me to wait as there is another competitor lifting. Not really, but it is a competition after all, lol.  I am told of rules like don’t move your bar with your feet, you will be disqualified. Ok, time to lift again.

Once I have completed both lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk four times, my heaviest weight of each is added together and I have a total.  BOOM, done.

Phew, that was actually stressful.  Andy was both coach and judge. Although he is always judging my form, this time it was different.  And at the end of all of that…. Ok maybe I might consider possibly think about one day far far away competing.  WOW, that is scary! But as I have heard, if your goals are not scary, they are not big enough.

So, Olympic Weightlifting, something I never considered is something I am not only doing but considering competing in.

Stay tuned, I have a lot of training ahead of me.  

By the way, I lifted 32 kilograms in the snatch and 43 kilograms in the clean and jerk with a total of 75.  

We shall see where these numbers go from here.