Monday, July 28, 2014

Marion's Update: July 28, 2014

Hi friends! I am going strong health-wise. Here is my update:

1. I am staying within a 5 pound range from my lowest weight of the year. I'm very happy with this consistency--because it means that all of my clothes always fit well. I can take any combination out of pants, capris, blouses, and jackets out of the closet and throw it right on without any frustration. I've been to some sales lately, and I greatly appreciated all of those days/months/years of rejecting fattening desserts and filler foods that now allow me to wear that clothing styles I really like. I feel like a great version of me.

2. I am still food journaling every day. It's still an amazing tool for me for so little work.

3. I am still going to TOPS every week. I deeply appreciate my TOPS friends and the food journaling and related wisdom that they have taught me.

4. My knee is getting better! I've been doing little knee twirls that seem too easy of an exercise to be useful, but they are really helping. I am still a lot slower in my pace than my normal galloping like a horse, but I'm just super happy to be on the upward trend with a knee that was sore for too long.

5. I'm still hitting the gym and loving it. I'm still doing parallel grip chin-ups, bench press, dips, and standing back bends on Sundays.

6. I've noticed many days where I have really great health habits that seem very automatic...the apples I grab for for a snack, the way I portion my food (usually 1/3 to 1/2 of the food) on the plate at a restaurant, with the rest to give to a hungry teen or to take home. New health strategies became comfortable habits. It eventually does get easier, though never easy.

7. I'm still enjoying swing music. If you press the Pinterest button on the right side of my blog, you can listen to the music I've been listening to lately while I wash dishes or do other assorted activities around the house. It makes cleaning and cooking so much classier. ;-)

I am struggling to find anything new or different to post on my blog. I am very motivated with my fitness and health--it's a lifestyle that I embrace. However, that does not translate to being inspired to spend a lot of time writing on this blog. Actually, I've been trying to spend less time on the computer, and more time reading and with my family.

Above all, I hope that my health consistency motivates you to seek consistency for your health. Those good habits and little healthy decisions you make all day long add up.

Happy Day to You!!!

:-) Marion

Monday, July 7, 2014

New Research: Eating Fruits and Veggies to Make You Slim??? and What The Best Diets Have in Common

Here is some new research that may interest you:

What the best diets have in common: 
Judicious versions of Asian, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean, low glycemic, Paleo diets and more exert their shared benefits by virtue of their shared features, reasonably summarized as: real food, not too much, mostly plants. None prominently features meat or butter...; none features highly processed refined carbohydrates or added sugars, either.


My opinion: If you follow these general rules, you can mix and match the foods in these diets to make a diet that you personally enjoy.

Does eating fruits and veggies make you slim?
Researchers analyzed previous research on weight loss and increased fruit and vegetable intake, which included data on more than 1,200 people. The investigators found that eating more fruit and veggies, without also changing the amount of calories from other food sources, did not cause people to either lose or gain weight.


My opinion: Fruits and veggies do have calories (as do the butter, sauces, and cheese placed on veggies), but I find that when I started eating more fruits and veggies that my tummy feels full with less calories.

However... Eating 7 servings of fruits and veggies per day makes you 42% less likely to die for any cause over a nearly eight-year period, than a person who eats just 1 serving per day.


My opinion: Eating 7 servings of fruits and veggies per day is easier than you may imagine. A serving is a pretty small portion.  I personally feel quite happy about eating good tasting fruits and veggies knowing that I am being so loving to my health at the same time.

Have a great week!

:-) Marion

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Different Ways Of Controlling Your Food Intake

One of the main problems with diets is that they generally follow basic diet strategy that doesn't work for most people in the long-run. I personally have not ever been able to follow a diet out of a book--for more than 2 months anyhow. Anyone can do a rather torturous diet for a few months--while holding your breath waiting for something to be over....

But watching your weight --it's never over. It's a lifestyle change. So it has to be an eating strategy that gives satisfaction such that you will keep doing it for months and years. Year after year.

Here are strategies that are not normally in diets books that I use:

1. Don't eat fillers. 
Don't eat bread, crackers, tortillas, buns, noodles, all of those starches that are filler foods. Every one thinks a 100 calorie piece of bread is harmless. Diet books often include bread and thin buns and noodles. I think of it as a habit that would make me 10 pounds heavier if I ate that extra slice of bread every day. 10 pounds is not harmless. Filler foods add up to major excess pounds.

100 calories every day = 10 pounds of your body weight

2. Desserts are for very special occasions. 
Yes, that means I don't eat cookies, candy, cake, cheesecake, brownies, bakery rolls, pancakes, etc... on a daily basis. Not even on a weekly basis. I do not have a special occasion on a weekly basis. Like the fillers, desserts are nonessential calories that quickly add up to extra pounds and lumps.

3. Getting very hungry after not eating for several hours is a thing that I try to do each day. 
There are many diet books with the rule that you should never allow yourself to feel hungry. Well, I did that strategy for many years, being 65 pounds heavier. I was never hungry but very overweight. Getting hungry is a natural thing and a healthy thing for most of us. Further, not eating for a long time means no calories were consumed during those hours. That means you've saved up your calories for a substantial meal that provides satisfaction.

4. Eat substantial food--not filler food or diet food. 
I eat cheese, meat, eggs, nuts, tuna, sour cream, full-fat salad dressing, fruits and vegetables. I tried eating diet food--bland salads, low-cal yogurt, broccoli to the point of gassiness, etc... I ate so many calories of diet food because it is never satisfying to the taste buds. There is no happiness in eating foods that you resent. Then I quit eating like a diet and started to eat substantial foods that are very satisfying. I found that eating the right foods makes me eat less calories because I enjoy the food I eat. I don't have to go nibbling through the entire fridge and pantry to seek food satisfaction, which necessarily includes experimenting with too many calories of untasty food. It is slimmer for me to eat non-diet foods that I actually like.

5. "Eat like a girl"--who has the weight I want to be.
The amount of calories I average each day tells me what weight I'll be. For example, if I'm hovering around 167 pounds, that means I'm eating about 1670 calories per day, day after day. If I want to be 150 pounds, I'd have to average 1500 calories per day, day after day. Pick your weight you want, and then times it by 10 to get the calories per day you should eat to reach that goal.

ideal weight x 10 = calories

Following this same formula, if you want to know approximately how many calories you are currently consuming per day do this math:

current weight x 10 = average calories per day

When I first did this math--what a shock!!! I ate way too many calories! We all need to eat far less that we imagine to keep a healthy body. I still do this math to keep myself in check.

6. Herbs and spice make food far more enjoyable. 
Herbs and spice make food more satisfying, meaning you need to eat less to achieve satisfaction. Try fresh basil, fresh dill, or fresh cilantro in your salad, and you will probably find that you can skip the salad dressing. A bowl of Spicy soup is much more satisfying than a bowl of bland soup.

7. Eat a little more on weekend days, and have "sacrifice days" on Monday through Thursday.
Diet books try to get you to eat roughly the same amount of food per day, perhaps even per meal. That never worked for me--I always failed with trying to eat the same amount each day. Now, I have days where I eat more, saving some calories for a little extra Mexican food or Indian food on the weekends. But when I do that, I must balance that extra food out with opposite days of eating less. So if I eat 400 extra calories on a Saturday, I need to eat 400 less calories during some of day/days of the week. I honestly don't care what I eat on a boring weekday, so weekdays are excellent days to go lighter to balance out some small indulgences on the weekend.

I hope these ideas help you. I do all of them. Oh, I also food journal every single day too!

What do *you* think? Are any of these ideas something you'd like to try? What strategies do you personally use? What are your current struggles for food intake--perhaps a reader/fellow blogger has a solution for your issue.

Have a Wonderful Day!

:-) Marion

Monday, June 23, 2014

Excessive Exercise & Related Issues We All Face

Hi friends! Today, I'm talking about many people's least favorite topic and other people's most favorite topic, depending upon whether you love or hate exercise: excessive exercise. 

I will start off with saying:

1. I love to exercise, and I'd exercise countless hours if there was nothing wrong with that because--It gives me zing. You could call it runner's high, except that I'm not a runner. But exercise is definitely a chemical high. I'm exhilarated the entire time I exercise during most exercise sessions. So it is extremely easy for me to get myself to exercise--but extremely hard to say no to exercise.

This is a serious problem that some of us exercise enthusiasts have, and others of us exercise haters may never have. 

But this leads me to the problem--

2. I truly believe that many people exercise excessively to their body's detriment. Once a person starts to be hooked on exercise, it is really difficult to find any way to stop exercising so many hours or doing difficult exercises that other people can't do. Why? The chemical high, the sensation of mind over matter, noticing great character traits of never giving up during exercise--traits that are often unmeasurable in most other aspects of life....

3. I believe that I've done reckless and unsafe exercise in order to meet excessive exercise goals. Why? Back to step two, it was excessively gratifying to see my positive character traits shine, especially with very difficult goals. And the chemical zing is ama-zing.

What problems result from excessive exercise? Well, if you talk to my older gym buddies who are exercise enthusiasts who spent many years excessive with exercise, they are constantly talking me out of crazy fitness goals, citing to their own injuries from excessive joint use. Specifically, they tell me about their joint pain. Pain.

Recently, I read a research article about blue collar workers wearing out their bodies many years earlier than white collar workers, due to excessive joint use in their jobs. This correlates with those of us who excessively exercise in the gym versus moderate exercisers. Whether the excessive joint use is from a job or is from recreation--makes no difference at all.

I do not believe that everyone should be vigorously exercising an hour per day. In fact, I think that most people should not be doing that. For example, very overweight people put excessive stress on their joints when exercising, due to excess pounds. Some exercising is good for everyone, but anything excessive--is excessive.

I've always preached exercise moderation and exercise variety. Exercise moderation means less excessive stress to the joints. Exercise variety is about doing more types of exercises a few times each, rather than excessively exercising the same thing over and over, causing repetitive stress to the joints. I also try to avoid side movements, weird movements, and anything else that could twist my knees, such as found in certain step/aerobic classes. I already have many safety rules for exercise, but apparently, I need a few more safety rules.

Last year, friends talked me out of very fast cardio, explaining that the faster a person goes for cardio, the more prone the person is to injury due to moving almost uncontrollably fast--which is true. So I stopped very fast cardio, since I wasn't so in love it anyhow. Not a huge loss. But for some of us, it would be a very sad loss.

Last year and this year, my bench press max was lower than previous years. It is probably stems from a combination of weight loss with a bit of muscle loss involved. A smaller body needs less muscle, including my own body. Further, I quit doing excessive amounts of push ups, having previous years where I did about 300 to 500 push ups per week, but had sore shoulders (from excessive shoulder joint use) most of the time. My husband asks: Do I "need" to keep my bench press max the same--or could I just be happy being fit and very strong, even if not in the competitive range of strong. This year, I've gotten a clearer answer to that question. 

This year, I made new exercise goals for the new year, which were totally unnecessary. I am already very fit, and I don't need to get more fit. Still, I ramped it up a bit. And I quickly injured myself by March 2, 2014. The doctors who examined my knee think that it had been injured prior to that date, but that day was the last straw. Many of us do not need to improve for fitness, and to that attempt to improve unnecessarily could injure some of us.

Since March 2nd, I've had a lot of time to reflect about the thoughts in this blog post. I don't feel these are inspirational thoughts, but probably ultra serious things you should consider for your health. I've had a swollen knee for several months now.

During that time, I've realized that I'd rather have a recovered knee than do yoga! Wow. Huge revelation for me! Though some part of me *really* wants to go do yoga, and I've had to talk myself out of it *many* times, I also really want to walk without a swollen knee, soreness, and limping. I've been limping for months now. It is worth sacrificing many exercises in the gym that I enjoy so that I can enjoy just walking normally again.  

My knee is far more important than any exercise goals. Today, I got a new anti-inflammatory/pain medication, which the pharmacist told me should make my knee less swollen within 3 days! I am extremely hopeful! And I'm feeling less sore too, the soreness I had gotten so used to that I only notice the absence of it, which feels great and so happy.

So I am still babying my knee. I'm resting my knee right now. I've been turning down fun stuff to do with my family, due to resting my knee. It's boring but very worth it.

So the morals to this story: Excessive exercise is not a good thing. People will try to convince you that it is, but you should spend equal time talking to the previously injured people who wore their joints out. They have a vastly different viewpoint.

Also, if you have an injury, stop exercising that injury. Really, stop exacerbating that injury, even if it kills your exercise joy. Most of us have more decades to live, during which we will need the best joints we can muster.

Finally, I've been able to keep my weight low with minimal exercise of 2 hours a week for most of this year--because body weight is mainly about calories consumed. So don't allow your body weight to trick you into exercising excessively, because it is a myth that a person needs to exercise like a crazy person to keep a normal weight.

I know this doesn't exactly sound positive, but I am, in fact, feeling very positive. My priorities for my body are clear. I want this knee to get better and it is a great health goal that, ironically, involves a lot of sitting on my butt and resting this knee. And I truly hope that my experiences make you wiser about your own health goals too.

What do *you* think? Do you relate to my own story about wanting excessive fitness that may not be good for us? Have you made hard choices to protect your joints? Have injuries changed your viewpoint about what fitness should mean to your life? Is there anything that I've said that has changed your mind about your own fitness pursuits and goals? And of course, anything else you'd like to add. Your experiences regarding this topic are valuable to others.

Have a fantastic day! Husband, son, and I went to hear another big band play last Thursday--it was super fun and truly excellent music!

:-) Marion

Friday, June 13, 2014

What I've Been Doing...Big Band Music

Hi! I know some of you were concerned about me, but I'm fine! I'm just been super busy. I've had overtime work hours for the past 6 weeks. I went to Pittsburgh to see middle daughter K graduate from college.  And today, I'm busy getting youngest daughter T packed to be gone nearly all summer.

Last night, my husband and I went to a big band concert in downtown Milwaukee, which was really fun! As you may or may not know, I love listening to big bands. If you go to my Pinterest page, go to Easy Listening and Instrumental Music, if you want to hear what music I've been listening to lately.

Selfie of husband and me at the concert.

 The Milwaukee band Swing Noveau. If you click the link, you can hear the music they play. They were AWESOME!!! Best concert I ever went to in my life!


Some of the best swing dancers I saw last night. These dancers made my husband want to take swing dance lessons! We did actually get on the dance floor and learn some steps of the Charleston. Pretty fun! And we actually talked to someone about lessons for Tuesday nights. Yay!

What do *you* think? What have you been doing this summer?

Have a Super Day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Back From Pittsburgh! No Weight Gain From Work Stress, Vacation, Lack of Exercise

Hi! I'm back from Pittsburgh, where I watched daughter K graduate from college! It was a very wonderful time!

I'm saying something funny and K is laughing at it. 

I went to TOPS last night, and I weighed just a pound over my lowest recorded weight.

Why is this significant? 

1) I've been working stressful long hours and have not gained weight over it. 

In past years, I used to gain up to 10 pounds during a very stressful month at work, because of take-out food and candy to soothe the nerves. Guess what? Comfort food does not make work easier but it does make a person get fatter. Now, I eat mostly fruit and celery, and chew gum when nervous. That has kept me from gaining any weight.

2) I've been exercising for only 2 hours at the gym per week since the beginning of March and have not gained weight from lack of exercise. 

Friends at TOPS have learned a new lesson from me during these past 2 months of very little exercise due to trying to heal up my bum knee--Exercise does not control your weight! Eating does. I've been exercising only about 2 hours per week this past month and I didn't gain any weight from it. This is because I have been eating within my calorie range to keep at this weight. This should be viewed as concrete evidence that you cannot exercise off bad eating habits. Deal with bad eating habits by eating better.

I have to say, this has not been very hard. I have not felt sorry for myself, so I've not given into excess comfort food. And I know that calorie-dense junk food is my enemy, so I've focused on making good food choices of lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

What do *you* think? Are you surprised that my minimal exercise did not make me gain weight? And of course, anything else you'd like to add.

Have a Splendid Day!

:-) Marion

P.S. I'm sorry if I have not been over at your blogs lately. I've been working 10 hour days at work on most days, and I'm just quite tired.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Reading Fitness/Weight Loss Blogs To Get Results

What fitness/weight loss blogs are you reading? Are you getting the results you want? Are they helping you...or wasting your time?

This blog post is about my dear blogging friend Loretta's comment on a recent post.  She said this:

...I used to run with a wt loss online crowd that was a little... well, for lack of a better word, judgmental at times. When I first started blogging, I used to plan similarly, and it seemed to work for me. But my then "friend" would slam it, saying I was still "using" food inappropriately. That I shouldn't plan that way, as if I was planning to overeat, and making excuses for it. Needless to say, you can look back over my stats and see my progress grind to a halt as I slowly tried to do things the way others thought were right, instead of what had been working for me. I thought they knew more than I did, were more mature, were more spiritual, .... 

When I first started reading fitness/health blogs, I read the more popular ones because they were the ones that I found first. The writers of these blogs are super great writers. They spin health into gold words. And they were beautiful and/or amusing to read, more than anything.

Then I tried the more spiritual types of health bloggers. Bloggers claiming to be at peace with the world. I thought I wanted peace with my body. I thought I wanted mindful eating. I was sort of hoping to throw my vices out the window.

I also tried the moralist blogs. Bloggers who felt they took personal responsibility and have more willpower. There was a right way to do eating and the rest were wrong ways. 

I read the liberated blogs. Bloggers who threw away the scale, stopped calorie counting, and felt okay about eating large cupcakes any day they felt like. They prescribed a way of living that was free of rules that weight people down. 

What did I end up figuring out? I figured out what Loretta said above. Bloggers may write very elegantly about fitness and weight issues, but may not have figured out how to lose their weight or get fit. Bloggers may act spiritual, and I'm not saying they are not, but this way of living doesn't made them lose their weight or get fit. Bloggers may act mature, but may not have figured out how to use that trait to lose weight or get fit. Etc...

Blogging personas and elegant writing does not make a person get fit or trim. Actually, getting healthy is more of a scientific process. So I am less worried about writing style of blogs I read, but more concerned about blog content. 

Here are my 2 criteria for fitness/health blogs I read:

1) Are my blogger friends helping me recommit to good health habits each time I read their blogs?

2) Are my blogger friends actually successful with their weight and/or fitness? 
(or steadily going in the right direction?)

If those two criteria are met, I believe that these are the best fitness/health blogs, regardless of readership statistics. 

In blogging, we sadly have too many false prophets. A "false prophet" is one who falsely claims the gift of prophecy or divine inspiration. They talk beautifully and have the spiritual persona going better than anyone you'd ever know, their actions are not nearly as healthy as their words imply. However, health and fitness are about little daily actions taken in a scientific process. It does not require special spirituality--not any more than us normal people already possess. Don't get caught up in the blog wording, but do focus on whether the message literally makes you more inclined to be healthy. 

I'm not sorry that I don't make my blog writing more elegant. I write professionally for my career, so I definitely could make this more formal, but it would not make sense. I write practically because fitness and losing weight is a very practical process. Eat less calories, no matter if you are spiritual or not, and you will lose weight. Go to the gym, regardless of your maturity level, and you will get more fit. The "right" way is whatever gets you moving in the right direction and further away from unhealthy destructive habits. 

And my last advice to you, again echoing Loretta's sentiment: Never let people disparage you about your weight or fitness. I don't care how great, spiritual, mature, evolved, moralistic, they think they are. That destructive attitude will never help you. 

What do *you* think? As always, I am interested in your viewpoints and experiences. Several readers say that they like your comments the best of all--which is fine with me! We hash out important health topics here. :-)

Have a gorgeous day--you gorgeous person! 

:-) Marion