sarahmichigan: (fitness)
Remind myself that it's not selfish to make time to exercise, and things that need to get done will get done, even if I spend an hour on "frivolous" things like exercise.
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I was really excited to see Judith Matz, director of the Chicago Center for Overcoming Overeating, writing an article for Psychotherapy Networker about intuitive eating and non-dieting, especially since psychologists and other mental health professionals have just as many (or more) prejudices against fat people and misconceptions about why people are fat and/or overeat as the general public.

In Consultation: Beyond the Diet Mentality

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] no_more_diets
sarahmichigan: (Default)
Food politics really can get me riled up. I totally am down with eating local, supporting people using organic practices, etc. but I hate seeing people use these movements- which should be positive- to beat themselves up for not doing enough. Especially women, who already have a lot of pressure on them to "eat right" in a society where there are so many different definitions of that phrase.

First, my creds:

My parents grew gardens that I helped out in as a kid, and my dad taught me a bit about wildcrafting, though I didn't know it was a word for it then and just thought of it as "eating wild things that scare other people who only eat food from a supermarket." I'm a mostly vegetarian- I eat a bit of fish a few times a month, but otherwise eat lacto-ovo vegetarian. We buy free-range eggs and organic produce as much as possible. I purchase from local farmers markets and local produce stands as much as I can. I pick produce at local U-Pick farms. I got a CSA farm share last year and am doing it again this summer. I've grown pots of herbs or a small (organic) garden nearly every year I've owned my own house (since 2000).

So, believe me, I'm not some reactionary that doesn't believe in eating local, organic gardening, etc.

However, I also don't deify the celebrities of the local foods/food politics movements. I like Michael Pollan, but I think he's overhyped. I never got why people were so hysterical about gentically-modified foods. After all, we've been modifying plants and animals for centuries (one of my commenters notes it's milennia, really)  with selective breeding/planting. But, Pollan explains in "The Botany of Desire" that the new GM foods aren't anything that could happen by natural or human selection- these GM plants often include genes from bacteria or animals, crosses that wouldn't happen in a traditional farmyard or garden. So, I can see why we should be cautious.

Still, he's kind of a hypocrite to fear offering a potato salad made of GM potatoes at a potluck when he's totally OK with smoking pot- we know for a fact that human intervention has changed the marijuana plant DRASTICALLY from its ancient form.

And Barbara Kingsolver?

I listened to "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" as a book on CD over the last week. As per usual with much of this sort of writing about food and food politics, I LOVE the specifics but get cranky with the more philosophical/political passages. I like her food experiment of eating mosty local (with a few exceptions) for a year, and I'm making plans to eat more locally, especially in the summer when that's easier and less expensive.

However, I had -- let's say 'issues'-- with several parts of that book. 

1. I didn't buy her rationalization for why we should speak of 'harvesting' animals rather than use "slaughter" or "kill." Please understand that I'm totally OK with her eating chickens she raised herself, but 'harvesting' is still a euphemism.

2. She repeats, not just once but TWICE, the now-debunked assertion that the "childhood-obesity-crisis-OMG" means that this generation of children will have shorter lives than their parents. This is, to put it plainly, bullshit nonsense.

3. Her husband, who co-authored, also references the "obesity crisis" once too often for my taste.

4. Her daughter contributes sidebars about nutrition and made an error in referring to LDL as the "good cholesterol." It's not. The "good" cholesterol is "HDL" and that is an embarrassing mistake.

ETA: 5. Kingsolver uses embarrassingly sloppy shortcuts for some ideas. For instance, she refers to an organic farmer as "not wanting to put chemicals" on his land. Uh, Barbara, as someone with a degree in evolutionary biology, you should know that all life, including organic cow manure, is made up of "chemicals." That was an ignorant thing to write, and should have been phrased something more like "synthetic herbicides and pesticides."

Don't get me wrong- I'm glad I read the book, and I really do believe in eating local and many of the other greater goods that progressives preach about. But I'm not always crazy about some of the bullshit that seems to come along with food politics discussions.
sarahmichigan: (Default)
About Michelle Obama picking childhood obesity as her Big Issue: Encouraging people of ALL sizes to move and get active and eat their fruits & veggies is good. Making it a war against childhood obesity - not so great.

Here is a great essay that explains why. Honestly, I didn't read the whole thing because it was too painful. I, too, have diaries from when I was young and also thought I was a huge cow. I know for sure I was dieting by age 11 (if not earlier) because I wrote about it in my journals.

Also, despite what you may have heard, childhood obesity rates have been standing still for many years, and in an overview study, there was no major change in child obesity rates between 2001 and 2006. But that doesn't make for a very compelling story or cause.
sarahmichigan: (fitness)
My activity update is that I don't have an official one. I came to the conclusion that I'd been aggravating the bursitis in my hip by not giving it a rest. I've been exercising, but less frequently and at a lower intensity and really took it easy while visiting my Mom, other than taking a long walk one day.

I'll resume more intense exercising (easing into it slowly) and tracking more closely later this week.
sarahmichigan: (fitness)
1. I've mentioned we did some house renovations/fix-ups in previous posts. J. did a nice post in words and photos, with bonus pictures of the Cutest Cat in Our House here.

2. I enjoyed the inauguration party some friends hosted last night. They had hamburgers, hotdogs and apple pie for an all-American meal. We brought veggie burgers and potato salad and many other yummy side dishes were contributed by others. And champagne while we watched the re-play of the ceremony.

I can understand why my conservative or libertarian friends and acquaintances might not be thrilled with Obama, but I have a harder time understanding the bitter criticisms from some of my progressive friends. I don't think Obama shoots rainbows out of his butt or anything, but he's a big improvement. I'm not crazy about some of his picks for cabinet, not crazy about Rick Warren to lead a prayer at the inauguration and I have other nitpicks. But I don't want to hear any bullshit about the political parties all being the same, because they aren't. "Not different enough as I'd hope for" is not the same as "No difference." I listened to a bit of Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" as a book on CD, and it made me optimistic about having a Constitutional scholar in the White House. I imagine I'll disagree with him from time to time in the next 4 years, but overall, I'm pretty freaking thrilled.

3. Freelancing just picked up in a big way this month, and now, my office job may want to offer me some additional hours. Someone who had been working the web content part-time quit for a full-time job, and I may be able to pick up additional hours and additional pay while being able to do it from home. That'd be sweet. I'll take what I can get while things are flush, because you never know when those kind of opportunities will dry up...

4. A friend asked on her journal, "What does your weight mean to you?' It's something I've been thinking about a fair amount, largely because it's New Year's Resolution time, and there's stuff about getting rid of your belly and finally finding that right diet for you in the media, plus some friends and acquaintances (real life and LJ) are starting new diets of various kinds. This is what I said in response to her question:

"Rationally, my weight is neutral info. It indicates if I'm stressy or if I'm working out a lot. Unexplained weight loss/weight gain *may* indicate an underlying medical condition.

Non-rationally, my weight is an indication of whether I'm doing it "right." If I'm on the low end of my usual weight range, I'm being righteous. If I'm at the top or go over the top of the usual range, I must be doing something "wrong." Years of conditioning are hard to overcome, even when you're a dedicated fat-pozzer."

I've been about in the same weight range since I stopped dieting about 7 years ago. Since leveling off, I would swing up about 3 pounds, then down 5, but I was always somewhere between 201 and 208. Occasionally, like when I was having a rough time with hypo, I'd go above the range, and other times when I was super active, I dropped down to 199 or 200. But I was fairly rock steady 99 percent of the time in that range. Then, last year, I had 7 or 8 pounds creep up on me, above the top of the range. My weight started fluctuating in a higher range, between 212 and 217.

It's been hard to not see that as a "failure" on my part. I wanted to blame it on some underlying health condition, but all my labs are fine and I'm actually feeling pretty good in general. Then, I blamed it on being less active after the cold weather set in, but the initial gain happened in mid 2008 when I was the most active I've ever been in my life.

Instead of deciding I need another weight-loss diet to "fix" the problem, I've finally decided to get back to fat-acceptance/body-positive basics though. No scales for the last 2 months or so. I even turned backward on the scale at the doctor's office and asked not to be told what I weighed. A few of my pants are a little tight, and I plan to pick up one or two new pair on clearance or from a second-hand store. I want to get back into a regular exercise routine, not in hopes of losing weight, but in hopes of managing stress and anxiety and improving my health overall.

I'm pretty clear that losing weight and keeping it off long-term is not the right focus for me (or 98 percent of other humans). So, it's back to the basics of HAES. I want to focus on eating in ways that makes me feel good (from scratch, lots of fruits and veggies) and putting some fun back in my workouts. Not really a resolution, here, just a re-focusing.

sarahmichigan: (fitness)
I have an appointment with a new dentist for early in the new year.

That was almost too easy. I feel like I should challenge myself a bit more, so I'm adding the optional goal of taking one MORE new class at the health & fitness center before the end of 2008.

Goals starting Oct. 8 and ending on Dec. 31, 2008:

1. Establish a relationship with a new dentist and set up an appointment. I fired my last dentist and have been having trouble finding a new one that has decent hours. I'm behind on regular maintenance visits. (Set appt. on Nov. 20)

2. Do a full upper/lower body stretch EVERY day, consistently, for 2 weeks in a row. If I do a yoga DVD, this can substitute for a stretching session. (Wed. Oct. 8 -  Wed. Oct. 22)

3. Take one new class at the Health & Fitness center (one I haven't tried at this location, anyway). Options include (but aren't limited to): water aerobics, cardio kickboxing, Mat Pilates, Tai Chi, Cardio Fusion, Basic Step & Conditioning, or Meditation. Hour-long Pilates class on Nov. 19.

4. Schedule my yearly physical and come up with a written list of concerns & questions. Appointment set mid-November, list started Nov. 20).

5. Learn one new recipe, incorporating at least one vegetable and mostly or all from scratch, and make it.
(beans & rice with veggie sausage on Oct. 19, roasted Brussels sprouts Oct. 23).

sarahmichigan: (fitness)
Two more goals down.

Goal 3: I have done Pilates DVDs before, but I've never taken an instructor-led class in Pilates before yesterday. It was pretty fun -we got to use lots of toys, from stretchy bands to an exercise ball to a foam cylinder. I'm sore in some odd places. Surprisingly, I'm not that sore in my abs, but I actually work them out on a pretty regular basis- there is some muscle under the padding. I'm sore on the top of my thighs, in my obliques, and I've got some bicep soreness. A lot of the moves were familiar to me: I've done cat/cow and some other stretches in yoga classes, and some of the Pilates moves were familiar from my DVDs. A couple of the things we did with exercise balls were familiar from the "Total Body" classes I've taken. I don't feel any burning need to take Pilates class on a regular basis, but I'm glad I gave it a try. Even though I've met this goal, I still want to try a few more new classes. I'm particularly interested in Tai Chi and water aerobics. J. and I used to do water aerobics on a regular basis when we lived in Kalamazoo, but I haven't taken a water class at all at this new facility.

Goal 4: With the help of my wonderful husband, I got a yearly physical scheduled for December. Today, I started a list of questions or concerns I want to bring up during my physical.

My remaining goal: I've been procrastinating on finding a new dentist, even though I have a couple good leads. I need to follow up on that soon.

Goals starting Oct. 8 and ending on Dec. 31, 2008:


1. Establish a relationship with a new dentist and set up an appointment. I fired my last dentist and have been having trouble finding a new one that has decent hours. I'm behind on regular maintenance visits. (I'm planning to follow up on a couple of suggestions from friends/LJ friends.)

2. Do a full upper/lower body stretch EVERY day, consistently, for 2 weeks in a row. If I do a yoga DVD, this can substitute for a stretching session. (Wed. Oct. 8 -  Wed. Oct. 22)

3. Take one new class at the Health & Fitness center (one I haven't tried at this location, anyway). Options include (but aren't limited to): water aerobics, cardio kickboxing, Mat Pilates, Tai Chi, Cardio Fusion, Basic Step & Conditioning, or Meditation. Hour-long Pilates class on Nov. 19.

4. Schedule my yearly physical and come up with a written list of concerns & questions. Appointment set a week or two ago, list started today.

5. Learn one new recipe, incorporating at least one vegetable and mostly or all from scratch, and make it.
(beans & rice with veggie sausage on Oct. 19, roasted Brussels sprouts Oct. 23).
sarahmichigan: (Default)
Haven't you always wanted to see the guy who does the web comics Toothpaste for Dinner and Married to the Sea demonstrate how to use (and abuse) a neti pot? You know you want to watch it.
sarahmichigan: (fitness)
I've already marked off two on my list of goals starting Oct. 8 and ending on Dec. 31, 2008. I just buckled down and committed to doing the stretching, even if it was at 10 p.m. at night, and did it consistently. It's good for me, so I'm glad of that.

The cooking thing was easy. Earlier this week, I made a recipe I found on supercook.com for Cajun-ish red beans and rice with sausage, only subbing in white northern beans and vegetarian soy sausage. And tonight, I roasted Brussels sprouts in the oven based on a recipe suggested to me by [livejournal.com profile] apis_mellifera . The flavor was really good, but the texture was a little mushier than I'd have liked. I think this was because I used thawed frozen Brussels sprouts. I'd definitely like to try it again with fresh sprouts. Yum!

Goals:

1. Establish a relationship with a new dentist and set up an appointment. I fired my last dentist and have been having trouble finding a new one that has decent hours. I'm behind on regular maintenance visits. (I'm planning to follow up on a couple of suggestions from friends/LJ friends.)

2. Do a full upper/lower body stretch EVERY day, consistently, for 2 weeks in a row. If I do a yoga DVD, this can substitute for a stretching session. (Wed. Oct. 8 -  Wed. Oct. 22)

3. Take one new class at the Health & Fitness center (one I haven't tried at this location, anyway). Options include (but aren't limited to): water aerobics, cardio kickboxing, Mat Pilates, Tai Chi, Cardio Fusion, Basic Step & Conditioning, or Meditation.

4. Schedule my yearly physical and come up with a written list of concerns & questions.

5. Learn one new recipe, incorporating at least one vegetable and mostly or all from scratch, and make it.
(beans & rice with veggie sausage on Oct. 19, roasted Brussels sprouts Oct. 23).
sarahmichigan: (fitness)
Because "health" is more than just about eating and exercising, I have a short but fairly eclectic lists of health & fitness goals starting now and ending on Dec. 31, 2008.

1. Establish a relationship with a new dentist and set up an appointment. I fired my last dentist and have been having trouble finding a new one that has decent hours. I'm behind on regular maintenance visits. Suggestions for a new dentist welcome.

2. Do a full upper/lower body stretch EVERY day, consistently, for 2 weeks in a row. If I do a yoga DVD, this can substitute for a stretching session.

3. Take one new class at the Health & Fitness center (one I haven't tried at this location, anyway). Options include (but aren't limited to): water aerobics, cardio kickboxing, Mat Pilates, Tai Chi, Cardio Fusion, Basic Step & Conditioning, or Meditation.

4. Schedule my yearly physical and come up with a written list of concerns & questions.

5. Learn one new recipe, incorporating at least one vegetable and mostly or all from scratch, and make it.
sarahmichigan: (fitness)
I finished Goal #2 by taking a Hatha yoga class with a different instructor. I really liked her a lot better than the instructor I used to take yoga with at the Fitness Center. The new instructor had us hold poses for a really long time, and I felt fantastic-- all loose and relaxed-- when I finished. I've actually been pretty adventurous this spring and summer in terms of variety in my activities. There are only so many classes that fit around my work schedule and around the days I have my weight-training scheduled for, so I mostly just took classes with new instructors rather than trying whole new kinds of exercise, but that's OK. I actually ended up taking the "Total Body" class with 4 or 5 different instructors over the last few months, and while some moves are similar, it's a pretty different class from week to week when you take it with that many different instructors.
My full Spring/Summer goal list:

1. Weight lift consistently 3 times a week from now (April 15) until the end of August, barring injury or illness (a bad cold, the flu, etc.). [Note: I will consider it a success if I take no more than 3 passes on a workout day by the end of August. So far, I've already taken 2 "buys" so I'm going to try to be a little more consistent for the rest of the summer.]

2. Try three new classes at the fitness center and/or a class I've already taken but with a different instructor. Took a "Total Body" class with a different instructor Sunday May 4 (and with several other instructors in June/July).  Took AST (aerobics and strength training) class Tuesday May 20. Took 1.5 hour Hatha yoga class with a different instructor Aug. 13.

3. Sometime in August, re-take the fitness assessment at the fitness center. Attempt 17 or more "girly" pushups.

4. Try three new fruits or vegetables (they don't have to be completely new- they can be just a different variety, for instance a different variety of apple that I've never tried before) I haven't eaten before and/or have never tried to prepare at home. (in process: Cooked snow pea pods Saturday May 17. Bought/ate parsnips Tuesday May 20. Sprite melon, Aug. 6.)

5. Run a mile in under 13 minutes (ran a mile in 12:53 on May 12).

6. Bicycle an unfamiliar trail and take a ride of 15 or more miles. (19+ miles of the Washtenaw B2B trail on Aug. 3.)

7. Barring illness or injury, get in 3 hours and 15 minutes *minimum* of combined cardio and weight-lifting per week, and average at least 4 hours per week of cardio & weights (and yoga will qualify as well) between now and the end of August. (in process. I blew the 3:15 goal two different weeks, but mostly, I've been doing really well on this one.)
sarahmichigan: (Default)
So, I just noticed that I'm doing that thing again where I get off-track with self-care activities just when I need them most. It's been kind of a hectic week. I was gone all last weekend, which means I didn't get to take care of the household chores and such that I normally get done on the weekend. Then Wednesday was LONG and I didn't get stuff done that day, either.

Thursday, I just couldn't face going to the gym, so I've already blown one of my fitness goals I set for this spring/summer. I took a buy, and by that, I mean I took a brisk 30 minute walk instead of going to the gym for a vigorous cardio and weights workout. On one hand, I think it was a legitmate "pass." I wasn't sick in the sense of having the flu or injured in the sense of having a sprain, but my repetitve strain was flaring up and I was so exhausted. So, in that sense, I was doing self-care by skipping my workout. On the other hand, I also have been slacking off on other self-care things I could still be doing, like stretching and flossing. I could probably work in some extra ones, too, like scheduling a professional massage or at least a home foot spa (scrub, massage, moisturize, pedicure).

On the plus side, at least I think I'm beginning to catch this pattern earlier. I used to let things spiral until I was so stressed and anxious tht I was bordering on panic attacks or chewing my hangnails so bad that my hands looked like hamburger. I think some extra sleep this weekend and perhaps some socializing will put things right with my world. I also need to start taking decongestants again, I think. I'm getting to that point in my spring allergy season where my head is sloshy with sinus issue.

I just need to hang on for another hour and it's the weekend. . .
sarahmichigan: (fitness)
Yesterday was my last session, and I'm glad to be done with formal PT sessions, though I'll continue the stretching and strength exercises they gave me at home and at the gym. It just ate up a lot of time and made me have to adjust my work schedule, so it's a relief not to have that to deal with anymore.

The experience was really useful- my range of movement is improved, and while my shoulder and arm are still twinging on occasion, I'm much better overall. Having to set up these sessions was a good reminder that I need to take more frequent work breaks to move around, change my position, and stretch, too.

I'm glad I didn't have to pay out of pocket. The typical physical therapist is usually juggling 3-4 patients at a time, setting one up on a machine, then moving to the next to give them hand weight exercises, and then rotating to a third client, and so on. And they're charging my insurance $154 an hour just for ME, plus $39 extra if they give me a hot- or cold-pack during the session. I can make my own ice pack, thankyouvery much.

If anyone on my FL ever needs PT through the U of M Health system, you can feel confident about the treatment you'll get at MedSports. Without exception, every physical therapist I had working with me (they work in teams, so you could get any of about 6 people on that particular team when you come in for a session) was really nice. Sure, they're mean in that they'll kick your ass and leave you feeling like jello when you're done, but it's for your own good. They're all personable and concerned about your comfort level, though, and treated me exceptionally well. I have nothing but positive things to say about the actual therapy I received.

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