Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Can't Even Write About It

Well, the FDA has now completed it's investigation, and concluded that filthy, deplorable conditions are to blame for the outbreak of 550 million "bad eggs".

I'll spare you the grotesque details here in Detach, just reading the report made me sick at my stomach. If you care to know more, it's easy enough to google the findings and read them for yourself.

I'm just going to leave you with the idea of getting to know your food, and supporting your local farmers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

School-A-Phobia Part III

So there really is something called "School-A-Phobia". Well, sort of. It's "School Phobia", and the scientific name is something I don't care to take the time to copy and paste.

What it boils down to is an anxiety disorder. In fact,it was the same anxiety that haunts me today. The same one that makes my mind swirl like a tornado, full of irrational thoughts. The same one that makes me worry (sometimes incessantly) about my children, my Dad, and my husband, the same way I worried about my mom and my dog so many years ago.

This raises three questions in my mind. (1)Is this related to codependence? I'm guessing yes. (2) Is this anxiety something I was just born to deal with my whole life, or did this childhood anxiety go untreated to the point that I never learned to deal with my fears and feelings and I'm still suffering with them today? I'll probably never know. (2) Have I passed this on to my daughter? Probably so.

The good news is, I'm working on controlling my anxiety. Make no mistake, it's still there. But when it blankets me, I have the tools to combat it. As for my daughter, the teachers and counselors at her school are obviously very well trained. They don't just put the anxious child in the back of the room and have them put their head down on the table. They take action and offer techniques and advice that helps the child learn to cope.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School-A-Phobia Part II

Note to readers: If you've not yet read "He Had Yellow Eyes!", you may want to do so before reading this entry.

First thing this morning I got a phone call from Sally, who immediately burst into laughter. She got a huge kick out of School-A-Phobia. All day we sent little emails about it and it just got funnier as the day went on. I told Sally that the best part was that the story was true; you can't make stuff like that up! By this afternoon we were even clowning around with "WORK-A-Phobia"! But then, an odd thing happened. Sally emailed me this article she found online. I edited it a bit for content, and I'll discuss it in the next journal entry. I need some time to digest it first:

School Phobia (Didaskaleinophobia) is itself a symptom of anxiety disorder in childhood. It is also known as separation anxiety, which is an inappropriate fear of leaving their parents, a person or place of trust or home for example.

Most children find going to school exciting and enjoyable although of course nearly all children have times when they don't want to go. This happens commonly at ages where children are faced with tougher school activities or exams or may have fallen out with friends. All of this is a normal part of growing up.

Children who develop school phobia, however, become terrified, trying every avoidance tactic in order to stay away from school. Parents should be aware if their child regularly say that they are too sick to go to school, they could be doing so in order to avoid anxious feelings.

School phobia can present itself in a number of ways:

Constant thoughts and fears about safety of self and parents
Refusing to go to school
Frequent stomach aches and other physical complaints
Extreme worries about sleeping away from home
Overly clingy
Panic or tantrums at times of separation from parents
Feeling unsafe staying in a room by themselves
Clinging behavior
Displaying excessive worry and fear about parents or about harm to themselves
Shadowing the mother or father around the house
Difficulty going to sleep
Having nightmares
Exaggerated, unrealistic fears of animals, monster, burglars
Fear of being alone in the dark
Severe tantrums when forced to go to school
This period of a child's life is not only disturbing and scary for the child but also frustrating and worrying for the child's parents.

What Causes School Phobia?
School phobia develops in much the same way as an adult anxiety disorder. It is always difficult for a child to break away from home after an extended period of being at home, such as the school holidays or time off sick.

Factors such as moving to a new area, a divorce or a bereavement can cause immense stress to a child and set off disturbed, anxious behavior that can escalate into school phobia.

Additionally the child's family often unintentionally reinforces school phobic symptoms. When a family undergoes a major stress such as moving house or a bereavement it is common for a child to express mild refusal to leave the primary caregiver (who may also be anxious, distressed, depressed.)

This can escalate if the child is not firmly encouraged to leave the caregiver; in fact, they are often inadvertently rewarded with extra attention from their parents. The child's anxiety about leaving is reinforced and the child doesn't have the opportunity to develop ways to cope with the separation.

At the age of about 13, I went through a period of what my doctor called 'school phobia'. I became irrationally anxious, depressed and scared. I would regularly seek the assistance of the school nurse, call my mother to collect me and sit alone somewhere, hiding.

Feeling that way at such a young age is dreadful, it is not only scary but confusing too The psyche of a child is very superficial until this age and the sudden realization that life is not all about play and fun and in fact quite daunting, challenging and delicate, comes as quite a shock to a child.

Children discover their mortality a varying ages but this realization too, can cause a child immense distress if not handled correctly by parents or guardians.

Will My Child's School Phobia continue into Adulthood?
The extended implications of school phobia can be far reaching. In the very long term, it can lead to anxiety and panic disorders in adulthood, as in my case, although there is little evidence that these children are more susceptible to serious mental illness.

Research suggests that much more effective treatment is required for school phobia to prevent problems in later life.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

He Had Yellow Eyes!

My daughter has always had a lot of anxiety the first few weeks of school. This anxiety intensifies if she is starting a new school, which she's only done a couple of times in her life. Once when she transitioned from day care to pre-school and again when she left pre-school for elementary school. This year, not only is she starting a new school year, but she's also starting a new school, and she's now in middle school. She's had a big transition. Luckily, the new school has administrators who firmly believe in making the new school year a good experience for everyone, so she's actually been able to spend a decent amount of time talking with the counselor and getting herself acclimated to her new environment.

The poor thing gets it honest. I never enjoyed school. I cried the first few days at the start of every school year, all the way up until 4th grade. That was the year my parents moved into the house where I grew up and I started a new school. I was determined that would be the year I didn't cry....but I did. Only a little though.

But that was a far cry from my earlier days. When I first started kindergarten I cried. This continued on to first, second, and third grades. Only there was no really cool school counselor to give me an in-school therapy session. I remember my third grade teacher sat me at a desk in the back of the room and had me put my head down while I sobbed. When she asked me why I was crying, I told her I missed my dog and I missed my mother. And I was quite sure my mother was missing me! One day, during one of my crying episodes, this evil boy named Steve who looked exactly like Scut Farkus from the movie "A Christmas Story" came up to me and said in his most patronizing voice "Do you miss your mommy....and your doggie?". Then he burst into laughter. I hated that kid. In fact, later that school year he was forced to stay after school every single day for about 5 minutes to give me and my friend enough time to run home. I should look that kid up on Facebook and give him a piece of my mind.

Anyway, in the first or second grade, my mother took me to the doctor. Not a therapist or anything, just our regular family doctor (I'm not sure I was even seeing a pediatrician at that point. They probably hadn't been invented. Please keep in mind this was the late 1960's). My mother wanted to find out what was wrong. Why I cried at school. I guess the answer about us missing each other wasn't getting it for her. The doctor examined me and asked me a bunch of questions, then he gave my mother his official diagnosis. "School-a-phobia", fear of going to school. I'm quite sure that isn't a word, but that's what the doctor told my mother.

In retrospect I guess that was probably my first psychological profile, and the first attempt at finding out what was wrong with me--why I worried incessantly and let that constant worrying interfere with my life. It's a question I still explore all the time. It's just that now I have fancier names for it than school-a-phobia.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Maybe Something Good Will Come From All This?

I don't typically copy and paste stories from other sources, but once in awhile they are just too good to pass up. Got this one from MSN.

Jackie Dearing of Bloomington, Ill., sold all of her 50 dozen eggs at the local farmers market on Saturday, including carton after carton to new customers worried about a large and growing salmonella scare linked to millions of grocery store eggs.

“Almost everybody who came to our booth mentioned it,” said Dearing, whose family runs Dearing Country Farms, a small-scale meat and poultry business. “Anytime something like this happens, people think a lot more about where their food comes from.”

As a recall of more than 550 million eggs tied to two industrial manufacturers widens , small egg farmers across the United States are echoing Dearing’s experience. Sales of eggs at farmers markets, co-operatives and roadside stands reportedly spiked over the weekend as news of the outbreak linked to at least 1,300 illnesses reached shoppers.

“I think this is the consumer’s way of saying, ‘Until this blows over, I’ll get my eggs from another source,’” said Susan S. Joy, general manager of the Nebraska Poultry Industries, an agency based in Lincoln, Neb., that represents all branches of the turkey and egg industry including both small growers and large farms.

At a farmer’s market in Redmond, Wash., Sue Martinell of Sky Valley Family Farm sold out of 80 dozen chicken eggs on Saturday, leaving only duck eggs to buy.

Customers lined up for eggs at stalls at the Inner Sunset Farmers Market in San Francisco from the time the market opened until they sold out, said Elizabeth Howe, regional manager of the Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market Association.

“People are realizing that it’s not the safest decision to buy eggs shipped from huge factory farms in the Midwest, where traceability and accountability is limited,” she said. “At the farmers’ market, you can shake the hand of the farmer who collected your egg that morning and I think that is much more reassuring.”

Across the country, in Arlington, Minn., customers at Bar-5-Meat and Poultry wiped out a supply of 165 dozen eggs by 11 a.m., said owner John Wemeier.

“Instead of buying one dozen eggs they were buying two dozen to three dozen,” he said. “It looked to me like they were kind of stocking up.”

It’s a trend that could well increase as federal officials struggle to identify the source and scope of the massive recall. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on Monday said that it could take weeks or months to complete investigations now centering on two Iowa farms, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms. The firms share suppliers of chickens and feed as well as ties to an Iowa business with a history of violations.

In the meantime, mom-and-pop producers could step in, said Karen Blakeslee, a food scientist with the Kansas State University Research and Extension Service.

“This is making consumers more leery of what’s happening with the big manufacturers,” Blakeslee said. “I think the small farmers are really going to pick up business.”

At least one official with the egg industry cautioned consumers to put the issue in perspective. Krista Eberle, director of food safety programs for the Egg Safety Center and the United Egg Producers, said that the recall of 550 million eggs affects only a fraction of the 80 billion eggs produced in the U.S. each year.

“It may seem like a lot of eggs, but it’s actually less than 1 percent,” said Eberle, noting that non-recalled eggs are safe to eat.

That argument might not sit well with shoppers like those who flocked to buy eggs at the Willy Street Co-op in Madison, Wis., said Lyn Olson, director of the store’s cooperative services.

“Over and over I heard, ‘Thank God I already buy organic.’”

My sentiments exactly.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Get To Know Your Food

Headlines for the past few days: 550 million tainted eggs. A business man who has been cited for numerous health, safety and employment violations over the years, and at least 1000 sick people (personally, I'm thinking this estimate is conservative and wonder how many other people, like my 80 year old father, have suffered with diarrhea and abdominal pain all week after eating at a chain restaurant last weekend).

These tainted eggs come from places called Sunny Farms, Sunny Meadow, and Wholesome Farms, but if you've been brave enough to watch the reports on television, you know there is nothing sunny or wholesome about the chicken factories where these eggs came from. My husband literally has to look away every time they show these dark, filthy places on the news.

Who doesn't like paying less than a dollar for a dozen eggs? It's Cheap and Convenient! But the method in which these cheap eggs arrive at your neighborhood grocery store or mega mart is disgusting, it's often inhumane, and as we've seen this past week, there are often consequences.

The eggs I buy are not produced by a business man, they come from a farmer. A farmer who recognizes me and knows my name. I've seen the chickens that lay the eggs I buy. They are free range, and really do live in sunlight, they have not been given drugs, hormones, or antibiotics, and they are treated humanely. Their eggs aren't cheap, I pay $4.00 a dozen. To me, an extra $3 every couple of weeks is a small price to pay to know my food source, and feel good about what I'm eating.

Six Week Challenge - Week Six

I have an aunt who tells this story. Every day she walks out back to check on her flowers, water the tomatoes, and just get some fresh air. And every day her next door neighbor waits for her to do this, and comes outside for her daily dose of fresh air and a little "fence talk". The strange part about it is that during this neighborly chit-chat, the neighbor tells my aunt how much she weighed that day. I understand that is her way of being accountable and staying on track, but my aunt thinks this is the craziest thing she's ever heard. She's talked about it for years. I'm glad this Six Week Challenge is over. I'm starting to feel like my aunt's neighbor, and I'm guessing my readers can sympathize with my aunt.

So that was a long, drawn out way of getting to my point. The Six Week Challenge is over, and I won't lie....I'm very glad.

I managed to squeak out one more pound this week so I had a total of 8 pounds. One pound short of my "revised" 9 pound goal. Miss Pamela tells me this is nothing to scoff at, and she's right, but I must admit this is far from the goal I had in mind when I started this thing.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about why this is. I get high and low. I was so stoked in the beginning of this challenge, and I envisioned myself triumphant on the scales at the end of the six weeks. I envisioned myself with strong, flab-less arms, I envisioned Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. And while I'm pleased with removing almost all the extra weight I packed on this spring, I was far from attaining those types of results. So why didn't I? I can't blame the time frame; six weeks was plenty of time to see some big results. Like always, I started out on fire and then hit one snag and gave up. In this case, I got pretty sick with bronchitis and instead of allowing myself a few days to get better and then getting back to it, I petered out and pretty much stayed there.

I had the pleasure of spending a little time yesterday with Madison. She was talking about this same thing happening to a friend of hers. You just get to a point where you hit a wall, get depressed, and then it's hard to get started again. But sometimes it's a series of getting started again; over and over. You can't just give up when you veer off track.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body is elusive to me, and has been for a long time. I can wrap my head around it for awhile, then it slips out of my grasp and is very hard to catch again.

I'm not giving up my quest.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Don't Worry....We Have A Plan

Last night my friend Puddin attended an Ovarian Cancer awareness dinner. The dinner was held at a lovely hall that sits on the campus of the Masonic Home here in our town. When she told me where she was going, I got a funny feeling in my stomach. I've been to the place several times. Our company used to have a dinner there every year. Since most of our clientele is elderly, you could count on at least one person falling down the big staircase that leads to the main doors of the facility. There was an elevator lift that we tried to get them to use, but most of them would refuse, and almost every year there was at least one fall.

But that's not the thought that creeped me out when Puddin mentioned going there. No, the thought that makes me shudder when going to or passing by that area is something else.

My father has always been a Mason, or Free Mason. He doesn't attend the meetings, and hasn't for years, but he's always kept his dues current. And my mother was a member of the ladies version, the Eastern Star. Now I'm still not 100% sure exactly what the Masons and the Eastern Star do. I don't think anyone is; it's a secret. The movie "National Treasure" implied some things, but I don't know how accurate that may be. When I was a little girl my parents would matter-of-factly say to me, "Mary, if anything ever happens to us, you will go and live at the orphanage at the Masonic Home". "WHAT? The orphanage??? Have you seen Annie?". The thought of losing my parents and moving to an orphanage with a bunch of secretive, ancient old men who run the fish fry on Saturdays was horrifying to me! Truth be known, it still is, but at my age I guess I can stop worrying about it now.

But to this day I get a woozy feeling every time I drive past that place.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Adventure At The Hair Salon

I had looked at the school calendar at least two dozen times. I had "First Day of School, August 18" practically tattooed on my arm. It was on my calendar at work, it was on my calendar at home. On Monday night I went to Open House. I met my children's teachers. As we left, all of them said "See you on Wednesday". But on Tuesday when I went to get haircuts for the kids, every bit of logic and reason I knew flew out the window. My hairdresser asked why the kids weren't in school. I told him they started the following day. He said "Really? Are you SURE about that? My son goes to Catholic school and they started today. I'm pretty sure ALL Catholic schools in the district started today". Then he questioned my son's haircut, coming back with "My son has to have his hair cut above the ears. Are you SURE you know what you're talking about with this longer, Justin Beiber-like cut?".

Believe me when I tell you I became an obsessive compulsive train wreck. It didn't matter that I had read the haircut guidelines OUT LOUD....TWICE the night before. It didn't matter that everyone in the school said "See you Wednesday". At that moment, sitting at the hairdressers, I was the new Baptist mom starting my first year of Catholic school and I didn't know anything!!! Why oh why didn't I have an iPhone??? At one point I almost called Scarlet's office and asked her to throw all her work aside and bring up the school's website to verify both pieces of information for me....but I didn't.

I forced myself to trust myself for once. I forced myself to ignore the overwhelming irrational fear I was having and just trust myself.

School did start on Wednesday as I thought, and the haircut was fine. I don't know what part of me is so insecure that I want to think everyone, even the hairdresser knows more than I do. I'm pretty sure Dr. Eve would say it's my Child Self, and well....she just needs to go take her nap.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This And That

I'm very proud of myself for something. I was finally able to communicate something to someone last night that I've been having a lot of trouble getting out of my head, let alone my mouth. Dr. Eve is going to give me an "A+" today.

Good Luck to everyone who is starting back to school this week. To my wonderful children, who are both starting a brand new school, and to Scarlett who resumed her classes this week.

Thank you to my wonderful mother-in-law Cher, for spending two days a week this summer, driving out to our house to watch my children. It enriched all our lives, I believe! I will miss our Monday and Wednesday dinner/rap sessions.

Thanks to my Dad for taking the kids two days a week all summer. You are a very important part of our family and we are thankful for all that you do for us.

Congratulations Miss Pamela, on conquering the "comments"!

Enjoy your week, friends.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Six Week Challenge - Week Five

Last week I was feeling pretty defeated, but a smack on the hand from Miss Pamela brought me back to reality. Even though I never posted a goal, I had one in my head, and I think I set the bar a bit too high. Now I have a new goal, which is much more attainable and I'm feeling a little better about things. I'm sick of this challenge however, and am glad there's only one week left. I wonder why that is? I hope it's not because I'm going to start eating anything that's not nailed down afterward...

I'm down 1 pound this week, for a five week total of 7 pounds. After last week's weigh in, I immediately found a gourmet cupcake shop and put an end to the insatiable craving I was having. I had a lot of cravings this week, but somehow managed to stay strong.

Only hit the treadmill once this week. It felt great. It rejuvenated and refreshed me. So why did I only do it once? Beats the hell out of me.

Mental Health:
Feeling good and feeling strong. Since I'm not really working out, I certainly cannot blame this on exercise. I guess there's just nothing going on right now. The kids start school this week and I'm a little stressed about that, but that's about it.

Aside from the cupcakes on Monday, Friday night pizza once again became the week's biggest temptation.

I'm ready to wind this thing down. I want to get rid of the nine pounds I gained this Spring. I'm only two pounds away from that goal. I'm quite confident I'll make it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kindly Step Aside

Oh, Codependent Mary--please just step aside today and let your Wise Self do the thinking and the talking! You'll have a much better day if you do!

You would think that by the middle 40's, people would stop feeling the need to throw birthday parties for themselves, with the exception of milestone birthdays perhaps. But not only have we been invited to a birthday party tonight, but the invitation specifically said it was a "keg party". Seriously? Isn't a keg party something you have in college? Then the invitation went on to say "things shouldn't get out of hand, we're all old now". Interesting.

Of course reading such an invitation immediately set the codependent side of me in to motion. At first I decided not to tell my husband about the party, but the birthday girl contacted him directly after she didn't get an RSVP from me.

I can't help it; it makes me angry when people invite my husband to drinking events. In my mind I feel they should know what alcohol does to him, and how every time he comes off of a drinking episode, there is a wasted day (or two, or three) of rehabilitation, followed by several days of remorse and guilt. I feel like they should consider how many tens of thousands of dollars we've spent on rehab. I feel like they should respect what alcohol has done to our family, our marriage, and our lives--but that's not how it works.

People, especially other alcoholics, love to drink with my husband. And because he is unwilling or unable to make the absolute commitment of never drinking another drop (he still thinks he can be an occassional social drinker), he is often handed alcohol by people close to both of us; sometimes even by people who have supported me through the roughest, rock bottom, drunken times. One night he went to a party and made the decision not to drink. A woman, who I consider to be my friend, kept pushing the icy cold beer bottle into his face. He kept saying "no". At one point, this friend actually took his hand, pryed it open, and placed the bottle in it.

Codependent spouses take things like this personally. "How dare you disrespect me by inviting him to a party?". Of course, it isn't about me at all. It's not even about the pushers and the other alcoholics, you can't blame them. It's only about him and what he chooses to do. And if you love or live with an alcoholic, that's the absolute hardest thing to wrap your head around.

Alcohol is a demon. Not for everyone, but for many. Fortunately I am in a good place today. If he makes the decision to go to the party and to drink, it's on him, not me. I've got things to do today and I refuse to spend the day consumed by "what if".

Friday, August 13, 2010

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

A couple of weeks ago I picked up my crop share box, and I noticed there was a small watermelon sitting next to it. I brought it home and sat it in the kitchen. A few days later my son (who loves watermelon) asked if I would cut it. Imagine my surprise when I noticed the flesh inside was yellow!

I cut a slice for my son, then one for myself. It just looked funny, so I was not really expecting much. I would like to report that I was very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I'm hooked! The yellow watermelon is seedless, sweeter than traditional watermelon, and less messy to eat. The texture is a little more dense and it was less watery.

If you like watermelon, even a little, I highly recommend trying the yellow version. You can pick one up at a farmer's market near you!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ooooh, Let's Go Shopping!

I'm off from work today, and among other things, I plan to take my kids shopping to buy school shoes. The other night I was talking with someone very close to me about all the "back-to-school" tasks, and I made the comment about how much I loved going shopping for school clothes when I was a kid. Mom and I would make a day of it and I would get several new outfits and a new pair of shoes. Usually we'd have lunch at a restaurant, and then when my Dad got home from work and the dinner dishes were cleared, I would have my own little fashion show and model all the new things for him. Even though I never looked forward to going back to school, it was a very fun day. I noticed the person I was speaking with got a strange look on their face. There was a very brief silence and that person said "I hated that time. We never had any money for new clothes or shoes and we had to rummage our closets for old clothes that would still fit. It was very embarrassing to start the new school year with old, worn out clothes and shoes".

This was sobering to me. I grew up in a home where we had everything we needed, and most of what we wanted, but it's clear to me that is not the case with many kids. Last night Scarlett's church held a backpack fair, where families from a local school could come and get donated backpacks and school supplies. Scarlett volunteered her time to work there. We don't always know the situation of the families around us. Even the ones very near to us. So I commend Scarlett for volunteering, and even though I took it for granted way back when, I thank the Good Lord that I was provided for, and that my husband and I are able to provide for our children.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Just Decided This....Just Decided It This Very Minute

I was watching Laura Bush talk to Oprah about her new book "Spoken From The Heart" the other night, and I couldn't help but think how beautiful, articulate, and engaging she was. I found myself intrigued with what she had to say, and thought how much more interesting and intelligent she seemed than her husband.

In fact, I feel the same way about Barbara Bush, Michelle Obama, and in some ways, Hillary Clinton.

Throughout history, many women have been powerful rulers over great nations. Contrary to what most Americans may believe, it is not a new concept. Nefertiti, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Golda Meir, and Indira Ghandi are just a small sampling of them.

After watching the last few men this country has had in office, I've decided it's high time we put a woman in charge.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Six Week Challenge - Week Four

Right about now I wish I'd never accepted this challenge from myself because I'm feeling defeated.

I'm up one pound which totally SUCKS. This gives me a pathetic four week total of 6 lbs. I didn't follow the plan, I gave in to a couple of temptations and it shows. This is a perfect example of how every calorie counts. Most meals I ate this week were from the plan, but all it takes is throwing in an item or two every day that isn't, and you've sabbotaged yourself.

I got on the treadmill one time this week, and once again, I'm paying for it. I felt awesome after I walked earlier in the week, but I allowed some weeknight obligations and the "I'm still sick" card to stop me. Once again, this illustrates how one piece of the puzzle knocks the whole picture out of whack.

Mental Heatlth
I'm feeling good, other than one unresolved issue that is looming over my head. I'm in a good place mentally, so I should be able to stay focused.

I was way too hungry when I picked up the family's Friday night pizza. I ate four pieces. Last Sunday I watched "Cupcake Wars" on Food Network and I've been craving a cupcake ever since. When I say craving a cupcake, I mean I think about it every day and I even dreamt about it one night. I was pretty weak against food temptations this week.

I'm not giving up on this challenge. I've got two weeks left, and now I'm pissed with myself, so maybe I'll get off my ass and do something about it instead of sitting around thinking and talking about it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

10 Reasons To Exercise

This came from my Biggest Loser newsletter. I thought I'd pass it on.

10 Reasons to Exercise
It's not just about losing weight...

If you're like most people, you start exercising with one or two goals in mind: losing weight, or shaping up. But there are many more benefits:

1. People who exercise live longer, on average, than people who don't.

2. Active people have a lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, and they're less likely to get high blood pressure.

3. The more active you are, the lower your risk of colon cancer.

4. The less active you are, the higher your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. If you already have type 2 diabetes, exercise can lower your blood sugar levels.

5. In people with arthritis, moderate exercise helps reduce joint swelling and pain and improves mobility.

6. Strength-building exercise helps counter bone loss (osteoporosis).

7. Exercise makes you functionally fit, meaning that it's easier for you to carry groceries, do chores, and independently perform many other activities of daily life.

8. Because of the calming effect of exercise, active people are less depressed, and depressed people often feel better after they start exercising.

9. Exercise can save you money. If you can prevent serious and costly medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis, you will have more money for your other needs.

10. Exercise can be fun! Many of the activities you did for play as a child count as exercise. Dancing fast, walking your dog, bicycling, and gardening all strengthen your heart and lungs.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

House Key, Truck Key, Firebird Key

I love to watch the television show "Obsessed". It spotlights people suffering from various types of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). But sometimes when I watch shows like that it makes me wonder "Do I know people like this? Are they out there interacting with me every day?". Well, they are. On two occasions recently, I've had customers come in to the office exhibiting these types of behaviors. In the past I would have probably just thought they were crazy, but after learning more about OCD and how many people are affected by it, I know these people are suffering inside their own minds.

The first happened a few weeks ago when a lady came in to get some books and maps from us. When she first walked in to the store she sat her purse down and looked at her keys. Before she even told us what she needed, she mumbled under her breath "House key, truck key, Firebird key". I asked how I might assist her, and while I was filling her request she said it again, very softly, "House key, truck key, Firebird key". It only took me a moment to complete her order. I thanked her and she gathered her things. But before she left, she said it one more time, "House key, truck key, Firebird key". I know this poor woman was tortured by the thought that she may misplace one of those keys. She needed constant confirmation that she had them all with her. I had to wonder how many times in a day the poor thing had to reassure herself.

Then yesterday an older couple came in and asked for some assistance. At first they seemed quite normal, like every other senior couple we help. But when they got seated at the desk with a counselor, the woman kept saying to her husband, "Bob, I'm scared". The first couple of times she said it, he didn't respond. After about the third time, my employee said "Are you scared of going on this trip?". The lady replied "no". In a moment she said it again, "Bob, I'm scared". Finally, Bob said "It's okay to be scared sometimes. Everything is okay". That seemed to satisfy her, plus the counselor had completed their request, so they left.

There are people out there among us with all sorts of mental disorders. They may not be so visible on the surface, but many people are tortured with compulsions and fears. I'm glad shows like "Obsessed" are able to show the rest of us what's going on in these people's minds. Maybe it will help us understand them a little bit more, and help us to be more compassionate.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

Ask any elementary school child what a cow eats. The answer? Grass of course. It is not natural for cattle to consume grain, yet that's exactly what most of the cattle in the United States are fed. It's cheap and convenient. And let's face it, when there are thousands of animals packed shoulder to shoulder in to one area, there just isn't enough grass to go around.

Since 1993 half a million U.S. children have become ill from E.coli. Feeding grain to cattle is the primary reason.

So what should we do? If you think you are going to solve the problem by going to your local health food store, be careful. Much of the beef sold in health food stores is not "real" beef. Even though it may be organic, the cattle are fed grains and grains are NOT what cattle are designed to eat.

When you feed your family grass fed beef, you can feel quite confident that you are doing the best you can to dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the risk of E.coli, Mad Cow Disease and other infections. And there's no comparison when it comes to taste. Grass fed beef is delicious and tastes much better than grain fed beef. Not to mention it is substantially more nutritious.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what we need to do here. Stop buying mass produced meat at the grocery store. Find a farmer's market or reputable local meat market, then start asking questions. Get to know your food!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Mom

At my office we deal with customers all day. Some on the phone, and some in person. There are two women in my office who very frequently greet customers with "Hi, how are you?". Every single time I hear that, I think of my mother.

It was a pet peeve of my Mother to have a total stranger ask how she was doing. She hated it. If a telemarketer called the house and asked how she was doing, she would frequently tell them, "Honey I've suffered two brain aneurysms and a couple of heart attacks. A while back I had this hematoma on my back and spent six weeks in the hospital. I don't get around as well as I used to; I have these aches and pains. it comes with getting older". Usually they hang up by then, but if not she just went on and on. My mother had no shortage of ailments to discuss.

It didn't seem to bother her too much if someone she knew asked how she'd been, but really irritated her when the question came from a stranger. I'm not sure if it's rude or polite to ask someone how they are doing when you first meet them. I suppose there's some etiquette rule about it. I just know that there have been many times in my life when things were just all messed up, yet when a stranger asked "How are you?" I still responded with "fine, thanks?".

If you really think about it, it's a strange custom and I don't blame my mother for disliking it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Six Week Challenge - Week Three

It was a rough, rough week for me. The "little virus" I mentioned last Sunday got worse. Much worse. I ended up at the doctor's office on Tuesday and found out I have bronchitis. I can't remember the last time I was this sick. I've had no energy at all and worse yet, a lot of trouble getting air. This prevented me from walking on the treadmill all week long and I'm paying for it. I've coughed so much my abdominal muscles are aching. This has really taken it's toll on me, and caused a major set back to my challenge. I finished my Z-Pack on Saturday, but I'm still taking Robittusin with codeine, Mucinex DM, and Zyrtek. I'm hopeful I'll get some energy and some oxygen flowing this week so that I can bounce back from this and return to my challenge.

Stayed even. No loss, but no gain. This gives me a three week total of 7 lbs. I really hoped to be at 10 by this half way mark. I had very little appetite so I wasn't following my plan. Just ate a little here and there, and not everything I ate was good for me. Yesterday I ate fast food, a hamburger from Wendy's. Believe me when I tell you it tasted terrible to me. I've been used to eating ground bison, and when I do eat hamburger it comes from the farm. Both of which taste much richer and more flavorful than the tasteless processed, commercially produced patty I consumed yesterday. Blech.

Did not exist this week. I could barely breathe, and laid on the couch. This was a big kick in the pants.

Mental Heatlth
I had one of the most powerful counseling sessions I've ever had on Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, I believe this set the stage for an unfortunate incident that occurred Wednesday evening. But there's no such thing as coincidence (right, Scarlet?) so I'm sure life had a reason for presenting that particular situation on that particular day. It was a week of highs and lows for me, but mostly highs.

I gave in to a few food temptations this week, probably because I felt sorry for myself, and I wasn't exercising. There was a cookie cake at work on Friday, and Italian food sounded good more than once this week. Don't forget the bread!! Now that I've weighed in, I realize that even without walking, staying on track with my eating could have taken me down a pound or two.

I hope to be back on the treadmill sometime this week. Even if I'm not, I commit to being back on the food plan. I'm working on a homework assignment for Dr. Eve, and I'm feeling exceptionally strong. I can do this.