Monday, February 1, 2010

Need for Change (Part 3)

Let's face it:  I am never (ever) going to be a skinny minnie.  In fact, given how much I used to despise (envy!) them, maybe I wouldn't even want to be...hmm, is that true - not sure.  At any rate, I've taken my health for granted for too long and I need to act in order to give my health the best possible prospect of staying that way.

Here are the most pressing changes I feel that I need to make (in no particular order):

1.  One of the most significant changes I am thinking through is reducing the amount of refined sugar I consume.  Sugar is in virtually everything, it seems.  And, from what I'm reading and hearing, sugar is a big contributor to middle-body, waistline fat...something I could do a whole let less with.  I mentioned in part 1 on this topic (Need for Change (Part 1) that I frequently use agave nectar in place of sugar; that's been a good start and I want to continue to find ways of replacing sugar with it.  I also need to be more conscious of other things I eat that have hidden or barely-disguised forms of sugar in them, and start reducing consumption of those items.  I think reducing sugar in my diet would make a pretty significant my weight, to maintaining a more consistent energy level...and possibly to my waistline.

2.  I need to increase (yes, I said increase) the number of times per day that I eat, and eat smaller portions at each of those times.  One thing that I know about myself, based on years of experience, is that going hungry does not help me lose weight - first, because it simply slows my already sluggish metabolism, and second, because deprivation merely makes me fixate on food and it's then all I can do to stop myself from then over-eating.  Without understanding all of the complexities involved, I believe that eating small, regular meals stabilizes blood sugars, which in turn reduces the need for excess food consumption (consumed to combat low blood sugar levels). Whatever the scientific reasons behind it, I need to eat in such a way as to avoid hunger because it keeps me a bit saner - ie. a bit more capable of rational thought and the critically important ability to say no to food.  I'm also thinking that the majority of these snacks should probably include protein, which will give me energy and help get rid of those mid-afternoon energy must know the slumps I'm talking about.

3.  Though I'm a regular/daily veggie consumer, I need to increase my veggie intake.  I've been bugging my sister and a good friend (thank you Lib, Chris) for ideas in this regard and I'm starting to mobilize on some of those ideas.  More about this in a future post.

4.  Exercise.  Sigh.  Double sigh.  Triple sigh even.  I mean, really, do I need to say more about how unenthusiastic I am about this idea?  We all know the benefits of exercise.  It's probably the most important thing on this list...though I've procrastinated saying it until point #4.  I am aware, also, that there are actually a few people in the world (Chris, Shelley, Liz, perhaps a few others on the planet) who seem, for some reason unintelligible to me, to actually enjoy this activity (dare I say love it?).  Very unfortunately, that is not me...I hate it.  I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it I hate it.  Need I be more clear  about my feelings towards this cursed activity? There have been times in my adult life when I've exercised fairly regularly and, while I liked the benefits I derived from it, I never stopped hating it.  But exercise I must.  I own a treadmill, and for now that's easier than going to a gym, so this is something I need to put feet to...pun intended.

5.  Vitamins. I started taking a good multi-vitamin a few weeks ago, along with a few other things (vitamin d, calcium, etc).  It's amazing to me that I'm already feeling more energy than I have in a while, so there must be a benefit to them.  My only problem with vitamins, and the reason I've been sporadic about taking them in the past, is because I have (I know it sounds childish, ok?) a huge problem swallowing vitamins.  Most of them are so honking big that it feels like a boulder trying to get down my throat - but even those tiny little vitamin d pills get stuck back there.  Yesterday I gagged one of them all the way back out, and had to throw it out and start with a fresh one.  I don't get it:  even though I regularly swallow food that's bigger than my vitamins, it's as if the moment my brain connects the little round thing in my mouth with the word 'vitamin,' my brain is activated with a message to evacuate.  I even bought chewable vitamin c tablets, thinking that this would be one less thing I'd have to choke down whole - but have you ever tried those things?  It's like eating chalk.  Anyway, adding vitamins to my list is a bigger deal for me than it might be for others.  Shoot - I just remembered that I didn't take my vitamins with breakfast this morning - this is what always happens...start a good thing, then forget all about it.

It seems counter-intuitive that this list is shorter than the list of things I'm already doing well (see Need for Change (Part 1).  I envisioned this list being, like, ten or twelve items long.  The fact that it's only five items long is the good news, I guess. The bad news, the more I think about it, is that each of these things is probably going to kill me in their implementation.  I'm not sure I can do any one of them consistently enough to effect actual change in my lifestyle, weight, or overall health.

So, ok, here's where I need help.  How do I do this?  Do I make the change gradually - one at a time?  Or do I just immerse myself in all of them at one time?  I'm inclined to do the gradual change, but then which do I pick and for how long do I do it before adding another thing to the cycle?  I feel almost doomed to failure just thinking about doing all of these things.  I think it's a really good list, but now how to I get beyond creating a good list to actually changing my life?  This is the million dollar question.  Anyone else out there inspired to work on a plan and, if so, where will you start?  Can you hear my shriek of panic, thinking that this is impossible?  Is that even how you spell shriek?  I'm panicking about that, too, now.  I'm supposed to love words and I can't even spell a word designed to convey someone yelling in a state of panic.  How to you spell shriek?  Shriek? Shreek? Shreke? Shreak?  Does that ever happen to you - you look at a word so long that you begin to wonder about the sanity of the word (and yourself) and wonder how on earth someone put certain letters together to form a word that's supposed to have a particular meaning?  No, you don't?  Well, then, it must just be my panic talking.  Ok, shut up Ruth.  Go collect yourself.


  1. Shriek is a great word. And yes, I often experience that sensation that a word is some meaningless, alien glob of shapes and symbols with an odd sound. Very strange. Ok, so, many of your health goals are similar to mine. I just don't know if I'm really, really ready/able to commit to something like accountability, but at the same time, I need to get a move on! I can enjoy physical activity in the moment, but hate the though of getting started. Hate being sweaty, having to shower & re-do my hair, hate gearing up myself and dogs for outdoor pursuits. I really need a tele-transportation device that suits me up en-route, then I'd be fine. I like Wii-fit for indoor workout, but to put off my day to do it before a shower in the morning...I'd be working until 7:00pm every night, and totally not willing to do that. And while I eat well when it comes to actual meals, there is definitely too much sugar & too few veggies in my house (did I mention I also DESPISE cooking, likely more than exercise - and that includes washing, chopping, peeling veggies...). And I get so sick of healthy snacks like them, and don't eat them. I vote for one change at a time, and will be rooting you on!

  2. Okay Ruth, you are welcome come and live with us for a while...I'd love to prepare your meals for you!

    We were thrown into this healthy way of eating with our twins (from Ethiopia) as they are gluten free/casein free, no preservatives, nothing white (sugar, flour, cornstarch...etc)...after the inital shock....and many tears shed....IT BECAME SOOOO MUCH FUN!!!! And so yummy!

    I never use white sugar...sometimes demura (if I'm desperate) but altering recipes is very simple. Just replace the sugar in the recipe with honey or agave nectar or syrup (which you are doing so well already!). Only use half the amount these substitutes are very sweet.

    I shall send you a recipe for some little fudge balls to pack around with you as they satisfy our cravings for sweets. (and they are sweetened with dates....sounds terrible...I know....but they are so yummy!)

    But seriously.....come visit!!!! We will have so much fun preparing food together!!!!!


  3. just a quicknote..go to your health food store-most vit's are better absorbed in liquid anyway. :)

  4. Hi guys (and Chris, too, who sent a very supportive email in lieu of a comment).

    I just wanted to say that it's so good to have you as friends, and part of a support system.

    Corrie - where do u live (B.C.?? New Westminster or something??) because I'm coming, not to visit, but to MOVE IN! Thank you for the great suggestions - I will incorporate them. And yes, please send the fudge ball recipe and any others you'd be willing to part with that are of the healthy variety - I LOVE variety in cooking and LOVE new recipes. My email address is below. What a big adjustment you must have made when you've twins came home - I don't know how you did it, and seem to LOVE it now, too! Wow, hats off to you. And someday, I hope that I can visit - that would be awesome!!

    Joy, it always strikes me how much you and I have in common (except that I DO enjoy cooking) - thanks for being able to relate on so many fronts. Hopefully we can support each other as we attempt this journey into healthier living.

    And Darci, thanks for the suggestion - I may just try the liquid variety yet!

    Thanks all! Here's to the start/continuation of a new kinda journey!