If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time to "dabble" in politics

I've been watching the reaction to Christine O'Donnell's victory in the Delaware Primary, and reminded of the real dilemma we voters face nearly every election: Is ideology or personal character the most important? Can a leader who's character is flawed still be a great leader? We've had some very flawed leaders in the past, if the stories are true, that nonetheless did great things for our country: John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King are 2 of my flawed favorites. Most Democrats feel the same way about Clinton -- a very flawed man, whom they believe did great things -- and many were quick to point out that being a good Christian isn't just about sexual morality; it's also about doing good to people and for people.

So what are the choices in Delaware? On the one hand, A woman who seems to be flawed in the sense of having "dabbled" in witchcraft, getting behind on her taxes enough to get a tax lien, and having her home foreclosed. The first appears to be a teenage thing, and she didn't join any Wicca or other covens. So that should be a non-issue for any reasonable person.

The taxes and home foreclosure are more important because they "might" indicate poor money management or a willful disregard for financial commitment. Or, they might simply indicate a run of bad luck, which a lot of people can identify with. Have you caught the new Season of Apprentice yet? The 16 candidates are currently ALL very successful people who are currently unemployed. People going from 6-digit incomes to selling cupcakes in a mobile stand.

On the other hand, Coons is pretty much a declared Marxist. Maybe he's never dabbled in witchcraft, or gotten behind on his taxes, or lost a home or any other property. But do we want another Marxist in our government? Our country's financial problems aren't really about poor money management -- the deficit-building is pretty deliberate, in my opinion. The people in power have been taking us down a specific path for many decades. Some are pushing us along in an effort to get us to the end a whole lot sooner, but even "conservatives" have assisted in the move forward along that path, sometimes slowing it down to a snail's pace, but moving forward nonetheless. What we need is a strong-willed group in Congress that will put on the brakes and turn as around, so we can start the journey back to what we should be.

If I lived in Delaware, I would vote for O'Donnell.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Speed Bumps!

I'm a very big fan of The Biggest Loser, on NBC. This season has presented an interesting situation. Melissa (the red team) lost 19 lbs one week, which is not that much for the really big people, but quite a lot for a woman of her size. The next week, she and her husband Lance won immunity, and Melissa gained a lb. Many people thought she waterloaded, which is to drink a lot of water before the weight in. It's a harmless way of "saving" your weight loss that week for an even bigger loss the next week. But it is risky, as they don't have scales so it's difficult to judge just how much water to drink. When accused by Jillian and Bob, she denied it.

The next week, only Lance's weight was to be judged because of the particular challenge they had that week, and she lost only 1 lb. Again she was accused of waterloading, and again she vehemently denied it. I concluded she was waterloading.

The third week, she lost 11 lbs. So that seemed to seal the conclusion that she had waterloaded those 2 weeks.

Now to this week. She had no immunity. She gained a lb. So she is looking now like she told the truth, and her body just loses weight differently. She lost so much that one week, perhaps her body just went into protection mode. Some times our bodies do know what is best for us -- so hers slowed down for a couple weeks.

She was eliminated, and in her message to us she addressed this issue, and spoke these words of wisdom: Just give it time. We can't give up healthy eating and activity just because the scale isn't patting us on the back. That's when we need to honker down and stick with what we know is healthy. I call these lags in weight loss speed bumps -- our bodies just slowing things down.

I've made a change in my activity regimen. I noticed again that Kim's routine is only 10 minutes; and Bob's routine is only 15 minutes, whereas Jillian's is 20. I like Jillian's better than the other 2, so I am just going to stick with her routine and increase the weights. So next week I'll start doing Jillian's routine with 5 lb. weights.

I've been walking outside for the last few days, as the weather has been very nice. We have a walk route marked off right in this neighborhood. Yesterday, as part of my walk I walked to the grocery store and carried 8 lb bags in each hand on the way home, so that added an element of difficulty to the walk. Today I timed the entire 2 mile walk and did it at 41 minutes. 40 minutes for 2 miles is the same as walking at 3.0 mph on the treadmill. That's a brisk pace for me because I am short and have a very short step. I push my granddaughter in her stroller and the dog goes along with us, on a leash, of course.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Next Step - Increase Activity

It's been 4 weeks tomorrow since I got back on the wagon, and I am very pleased with the results. I'm down 11.6 lbs., almost half-way to my goal of 25 lbs by March 31.

I live in a multi-level home, so there's lots of stair-climbing during the day, and that keeps me from being sedentary. However, the time has come to add some exercise for fitness. My motto is: Eat to be healthy; exercise to be fit.

Starting tomorrow, Monday February 1, I will be doing a combination of walking and weights. For walking during these winter months, I am using Leslie Sansone's "The Walk Diet," which is an indoor walk program. For weights, I'm using The Biggest Loser's "Power Sculpt 6-week program." This is my workout plan, 6 days a week. I chose 2-week intervals because that's the way Power Sculpt is designed.

1st 2 weeks:
weights: warm-up + Jillian's segment, using 3 lb weights + cool down
walking: 2 miles

2nd 2 weeks:
weights: warm-up + Kim's segment (5 lb. weights)+ cool down
walking: 3 miles

3rd 2 weeks:
weights: warm-up + Bob's segment (8 lb weights)+ cool down
walking: 4 miles

4th 2 weeks:
weights: warm-up + Jillian's segment (10 lb weights) + cool down
walking: 5 miles

I plan to do the walking and weights as separate activities, not as a single session.

Those 8 weeks will bring us to the end of March. I'll score myself a point each day for weights and a point for walking -- so the goal is to earn 12 points per week. I'm making another ticker to show my progress towards the 96 potential points to earn. We'll see if I can make it all the way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown's win in Massachusetts

There is much danger that Republicans are going to misread this outcome in MA, and assume that being a Republican is going to be enough to get one elected.

Not so. The tea party movement isn't party-identified. It's against all politicians, be they Rs or Ds, who vote irresponsibly on budget matters and foster big government. Many Rs are almost as progressive as many Democrats, the only difference is big government compared to bigger government.

Right now fiscal responsibility and limited government is the focus of the tea party movement -- because we are in dire straits economically. We could see the total collapse of our economy if we don't put on the brakes and keep them on. Not slam on them, as that itself will cause a mega disaster, but slow steady pressure over an extended period of time. Do we have enough people that are willing to do that to fill Congress? Do we, as Americans, have the fortitude to go through some tough times now in order to save us from much tougher, even disastrous times, in the future?

So it really doesn't matter, at this point, if they are Rs or Ds -- they just have got to be committed to reduced spending to balance the budget, reducing the deficit, shrinking the size of the federal gov, and returning more powers to the states.

And they have to be committed to open debate, with plenty of opportunity for the people to weigh in. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and so the politicians have to openly discuss their suggestions.

They need to do what Obama promised they would do -- full disclosure of all bills 3 days before he signs them, but even before that, full disclosure before the bodies of congress vote on passage. Full disclosure of all pork-belly projects that benefit only one state, and often only a very small section of that state -- BEFORE the bill is voted on by the two bodies. Just as NE has rejected Nelson's back-room deal for their sole benefit, I believe many states will do the same, if they are informed in time to let their wishes be known before the vote is cast.

And we need mainstream media to honestly report on these debates.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Setting Fixed times for Lunch and Dinner

I've made a slight change in my regimen. I suffer from insomnia, and I've learned from past experience that a good routine is one of the best cures for that plague. However, getting into a routine that I can stick with for more than a few days or a few weeks has been my vexation over the last 2 years. But over the weekend I felt ready to make another try. It's a simple routine for now, simply setting my lunch time to 12 Noon and dinnertime to 5 p.m., or as soon thereafter as possible. I don't set my breakfast time because of the insomnia -- I simply don't know when I'm going to wake up, and right now getting sleep is more important than eating breakfast at the same time. So breakfast and lunch are sometimes quite close together, but I have up to 5 hours between lunch and dinner, and between dinner and bedtime. This is the routine I was on a couple of years ago, and it worked well, and is working well this time, too. At least so far. By eating dinner at 5 p.m., my body and mind seem to be ready to go to bed earlier than before.

I'm at the 2 week marker, and have lost 7.2 lbs. I'm quite pleased with that.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fighting the Devil of food addiction

The first few days of this new regime, I felt no hunger at all between meals. I guess my body was still emptying out my stomach from the binging. Then the hunger between meals began, but very manageable. But on Wednesday night I had a serious bout with temptation. I was in one of those eat anything in sight as long as it's not poisonous moods. I talked myself out of it, reminding myself that I was not going to die and the morning would come soon enough so I could eat again. Then I got chilled, and thought how good some hot chocolate would be. I talked myself out of that, too, reminding myself that it would warm me up for only a little while, and would my hunger only temporarily. But I also prayed for help, because this food addiction is a real devil that must be destroyed, and I do not have the power to do it on my own; I need divine help.

I passed the night without eating. Now I am okay again.

Some feel it is not good to be too regimented on a diet. But this isn't just a diet; this is fighting food addiction. Years ago in high school one of our teachers was a tall, rather thin man. One day he sat down to join us for lunch and he had hardly anything on his plate, much less than even us girls had. We teased him that he was going to starve to death. He told us, I eat to live, not live to eat.

In the past, food has been far too important in my life. I'm a much happier, much more productive person when food is demoted to its rightful place.

The portion control, rather than counting calories or points, is working rather well. In addition to a steady weight loss, I get to enjoy some of my "bad" favorites. I love fried eggs, fried potatoes, and toast. Before I would have 2 small red potatoes shredded, 2 eggs, and 2 slices of toast. This week I had this "bad" breakfast but just 1 small potato shredded, one egg, and 1 slice of toast. Bingo -- 50% less calories. I don't indulge in fried foods very often, but it's nice to be able to indulge once in awhile and still keep on the regimen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back on the Wagon

We all know that Oprah Winfrey has gone up and down in her weight. The Biggest Loser Season 3 winner Eric Chopin has put all but about 50 of the 222 lbs. he lost back on again. It's just very sad that some of us cannot get a permanent control over our weight. Yes, I've gained back weight. It took 2 years to get it off, and then over another 2 years, much of it has come back on, about 45%. Why? For the same reason alcoholics fall off the wagon; why drug addicts keep going back into rehabilitation. This is a very difficult devil to defeat.

My Stake is having a Weight Loss Challenge, and I've gotten involved. Those who choose to participate are grouped by sixes or sevens, and we had group weigh-ins. Our group is called the donettes, after our collective love for donuts. The Challenge will last 3 months, so I've set 25 lbs. as my goal, and that will get me about halfway back to where I was before I started to gain the weight back. It's been a week, and I've already lost 4 lbs. Yeah!!!

My method this time is simple: Use a smaller plate, fill it only once, and no between meal snacks. That's the golden rule. I am focusing some on getting back to a more wholesome diet, but right now, my primary objective is to get control of how much I eat. Yes, I get hungry between meals. And to be honest, that feels good, as it tells me that I am in control of food, not the other way around. I do have treats -- but they are eaten with meals, and they must fit on my plate with all my other food. Some things obviously do not fit on a plate, so when a bowl is needed, I make sure it's a smaller bowl so I get the same portion control. I DO NOT count calories or points.

Nutritionally, my preferences are whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Very little meat, rarely more than once a day. I love to make fruit smoothies, and I have a Vita Mix so I usually have one a day, and that is part of one meal, usually with 1/2 sandwich. One of my favorites is an orange (peeled, but leave as much of the white as possible), a banana, and about a cup of ice. It makes a tall glass of smoothie.

I've made a ticker to show my progress during this weight challenge, which will automatically update each time I record a new lower weight.

I know family and friends want to help, so I'm going to give some pointers that might help you be a support instead of a hindrance.

1. Recognize that we are individuals, and what works for one, does not work for others. So make your suggestions, but don't be surprised if that terrific diet you or someone you know lost tons of weight on is a flop for your friend, neighbor, or family member.

2. Offer a treat once, then move on if the person says No. Dieting takes a certain amount of rigidity to be successful, at least in the beginning, and some of us have food addictions - we CAN'T eat just one. So take "No thank you" for an answer and don't pester us to eat what we know we shouldn't be eating. It is really very rude for anyone to tell a dieting person, "Oh just one won't hurt you." Would you tell that to an alcoholic or a drug addict?

Other than that, just be a compassionate friend and don't be judgmental if the dieter falls off the wagon now and then -- just lend a hand and help them get back on.