Archive for the ‘Health, Fitness & All That Jazz’ Category
Friday, April 6th, 2012
There they are! The sheep I saved from possible death and destruction! Exaggerating? Maybe a little.
I headed out for my walk this morning with just enough time to get some exercise in before leaving for work. In spite of the sunshine it was a brisk morning with temps in the 30’s. Brrrr… There had obviously been frost overnight as the Daffodils and Forget-Me-Nots had a residue of ice crystals still clinging to their leaves.
I made sure to bundle up then grabbed my walking stick (to beat off wild animals) and reached for what I thought was a pair of gloves that ended up being a dark pair of socks. No worries, I’ve worn socks as gloves before in my childhood so as I headed out the driveway I slipped the socks on my hands. In spite of the cold temperatures it felt good to breathe in the fresh morning air and while keeping a steady pace I reach the top of the hill a little less winded than usual making a mental note that my regular daily exercise seems to be getting easier.
My workday mornings are busy starting with reading the Bible using the Bible App I found for my iPhone (it’s pretty cool – I’ll tell you about it later). Then there’s breakfast for me, the cats and my lone fish, doing my hair, figuring out what to wear and then driving nearly an hour into Downtown Albany. Squeezing in a morning walk is sometimes a push but I’m committed to exercising and the morning seems to be the best time.
This morning as I walked back toward the house I noticed some large animals in the road ahead. There were three, they were large and round, not deer-like. It took me a minute to realize that these animals were my neighbors sheep who had escaped their enclosure and they were heading right toward the main road that is frequented by large trucks and lots of automobiles going very fast.
For a moment I wasn’t sure just what I could do to keep them out of the road or what could be done to encourage them to go quickly to the other side. That’s when I decided I would need to run toward them and force them into safety across the road. I didn’t break any land speed records but I did move pretty quickly for an overweight, 50+er and the sheep did indeed scoot quickly toward safety.
I think now how much I would have missed if I’d decided not to go for a walk this morning and whether the three sheep would have meandered into road, which could have catastrophic for the sheep and the drivers. I can see that my morning walk is way more than just a walk. I’m getting healthier, I’m running, I’m saving animals from some unknown fate. Knowing all this how I can stop now!? I can’t! I won’t! I have a mission!
Thursday, March 15th, 2012
Downtown Albany - That's the Education Building on the left and the Capitol Building on the right.
Since I haven’t had a chance to work on my Adirondack Sketch I thought I share a glimpse of the city where I work. I know that I’ve mentioned a few times that I work in Downtown Albany. Albany is the capital of New York, was first settled in the early 1600′s and is impressive in its own right.
The heart of Downtown is on a fairly steep hill and so today when my job required a trek up the hill I found myself panting and puffing and was glad I’d begun an exercise program in earnest. Just a week or so of exercise has improved my wind but that hill was a real challenge. Once I arrived at my destination and turned to head back to the office the view of these old stately buildings impressed even me once I caught my breath!
Monday, August 15th, 2011
Temptation..Temptation… life is filled with lots temptation and my most powerful Achilles’ heal is food. All kinds of food that is not green and some food that is green, but only when mixed with cheese, of course.
I do not discriminate about what passes through my lips most of the time lately. There in lies the problem, a big problem. Since I quit Weight Watchers a couple of months ago I have trapped myself is a pattern of overindulgence. In spite of all the help extended by others I persist in this bad behavior.
I believe there is something else wrong, something deeper that drives us to food, drugs, alcohol and the like. Something is missing. Some part of our soul is damaged or searching and we constantly reach out for all the wrong things, which in turn take us further from our true answer.
I joke about the struggle primarily because it is hurtful and looking at the truth of it all will make me cry. For now I need to clear the house of tempting foods making it difficult to reach into the cabinet for handful of this or a bag full of that.
The truth … it does feel good to use self-control, exercise your muscles and fuel the body with healthy fare and I’m not giving up no matter how many times I stumble and fall into a vat of cheesy, spinach dip with artichokes.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Just when the winter snow is nearly gone...
I’ve decided it’s time to add exercise to my daily routine and realize that even a 10 or 15 minute morning walk is better than nothing at all.
As I headed toward the woods this morning I noticed our winter snow cover is nearly gone. It’s been a long, cold and snowy season around here and I’m more than a little bit weary of it all. The winter temperatures seem to have spilled over into our spring and now adding insult to injury our weather forecasters have – all day long – been warning us a “Nor’easter” was most certainly headed our way. When that northeast wind begins blowing up the coast at this time of year with moisture and low temps we typically get dumped on with snow… lots of snow.
Last night the snow fall estimate was in the 8 to 14 inch range, this morning that estimate was reduced to 6 to 10 Inches and now I find we can expect a mere 4 to 6 inches! Well hallelujah maybe spring hasn’t forgotten us here in Upstate New York after all.
I’m relieved. . . I can handle just a few inches of snow and still get my morning walk in. I find that walking in nature is the exercise I consider most enjoyable and one I will be mostly likely to continue doing. I’ve found that if exercise is painful or inconvenient I’m just not going to do it more than a handful of times. Walking in my “neighborhood” is pure meditation as I check out each homestead to see who’s doing what or I might add some variety with a trek into the woods.
My hope is that by incorporating an exercise routine that I enjoy into my schedule early in the season by fall I’ll be strong, fit and closer to my weight loss goal. The truth is I’m weak when it comes to physical activity . . . I hope to heck I stick with it this time.
Saturday, October 17th, 2009
Tomorrow these Tees will be filled with people, all of whom have been touched by cancer in some way, raising funds to find a cure.
Cancer. Cancer is frightening, there’s no doubt about it, and there was a time when I avoided even saying the word . . . “cancer.” And then in 1996 we were forced to say the word, “cancer” and deal with the disease. Cancer has touched our lives several times. First my father, then my mother, then me and most recently, my sister.
My father was diagnosed in 1996 after finding a large melanoma on his thigh. This cancer would be surgically removed and only then would we know the full extent of this cancer’s attack on our father and on our lives. I remember waiting with my sister and mother at St. Peter’s Hospital while the surgery was underway, with an unspoken question, “How far had it spread?” Once the surgery was complete, the doctor reported that a large area had been excavated in order to find “clear margins,” but they felt they’d gotten it all. My Dad has been monitored closely since then and keeps yearly appointments with his oncologist without recurrence. Thank God.
After that, again in 1996, my Mumzie, with uterine (endometrial) cancer now more than 13 years ago. We knew it was serious and Ma was scheduled for a hysterectomy. Ma’s surgery confirmed what we had hoped, that the cancer had been found early and that the cancer had not spread. She, too, has been monitored closely by her gynecological oncologist, without recurrence, Thank God.
By the time I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in the fall of 2007 our family had been touch twice before and the word “cancer” had become a part of our vocabulary. My cancer was discovered when I started having some bleeding, hardly noticeable, yet I knew it was unusual. My instincts told me that I needed to get this checked out and I did. Procrastination could have been life-threatening and I somehow knew that I should act quickly. After a full abdominal hysterectomy and three rounds of radiation I too have regular appointments with my gynecological oncologist. Without recurrence, Thank God.
Finally, last year in September, my sister, was diagnosed with breast cancer detected during a routine mammogram. The tumor was small and a lumpectomy was scheduled. Diagnostic tests were required to pin-point the exact location of the tumor, followed by a lumpectomy and a marathon of appointments to administer the eight rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation needed to eradicate this cancer. This cancer was aggressive and would be handled with an aggressive treatment. This past year has been a year of talking about cancer, saying the word and dealing with the reality that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Bet has just past the first milestone in her recovery and followup lifestyle, three months after her last radiation treatment an appointment with her oncologist, without recurrence, Thank God.
Cancer has changed us. Cancer. . . we now say it more easily, but are very aware of the life-changing effect it can have. Cancer has made us more aware of how precious life can be. Cancer has made us appreciate one another more. Cancer has prompted all of us to make life changes, while enjoying the here and now. Cancer has made us activists and fundraisers. No more armchair quarterbacking for us.
With a commitment to find a cure we will don our “Save The Ta-Tas” Tees (that’s our team name) and walk to raise money for cancer research tomorrow at our local event “The American Cancer Society 2009 Making Strides” in Albany, New York. I’m sure a cure can be found and it’s up to us to help in any way we can.
We speak of cancer, we walk to find a cure for cancer, cancer has changed us in profound ways.
Friday, September 18th, 2009
Penny and I both wear trifocals. We must be kindred spirits.
It’s Friday and I’m proud to report that I walked more than five miles this week.
As you may recall, I recently decided that it’s time to add exercise to my daily routine (again). With that, I dusted off my treadmill and got to it. Well, what I really did is rub the dust off the spot that says how far you’ve gone and rub the dust off the spot that says how fast you’re going.
Picture this. Me on a very dusty, seldom used treadmill with my trusty Beagle, Penny sitting alongside barking loudly in alarm. I can only imagine what she’s saying. “Arf! ARF!” Translation, “What the heck are you doing? Is that thing going to eat you alive?” Or maybe, “Come on. What about me?!”
Truth is, the walking I need to do would not be compatible with what Penny considers a walk these days. Since Penny will be turning 12 in early October (that’s 84 in people years), she has two speeds, slow and sniff. Neither of which would be considered a good cardio workout.
This exercise thing has invaded my life again for a couple of reasons. First, I need to get some weight off to become a healthier me; and second, because I’ve done all the food depreciation I can tolerate without significant results.
What they say is ringing true with me. As I’ve gotten older it really is much harder to lose weight. I suppose one reason may be that I’m no longer caught up in the hormonal frenzy that is called hunting and dating. That urge to find a partner and procreate takes loads of energy.
Think of the hours spent in front of the mirror to perfect your presentation, then taking that presentation “on the road,” and then keeping late hours to market your stuff. All done with precious little sleep. Who needed a treadmill back then?
Today at 50+ things are different (thankfully). My priorities have changed and my goals are more defined. The problem is when it comes to this thing called “exercise” I continue to struggle. Somehow a consistent, long-term commitment to physical activity seems to elude me. I start then stop. Not surprisingly, this behavior has netted no results. But, as I’ve said before, I’m no quitter!
So while I take my walks to nowhere, I can feel my muscles remembering their use, and as those muscles become stronger, the hope is my resolve to exercise everyday will do the same.
Thursday, September 10th, 2009
I’m here to do a little more confessing (see previous confessions on March 16, 2009, June 9, 2009 and July 29, 2009). But first I want to be inspiring, or more accurately, convey an inspiring story.
I worked with a woman a few years ago who went onto gainful employment with another firm. I hadn’t seen her in quite sometime and while strolling through the Farmers’ Market in Downtown Albany a few Thursdays ago, our paths crossed. Honestly I don’t think I would have recognized her until she said, “Lorraine. . . !” She’d lost 110 pounds since last October!
Of course, I asked how she’d done it and the only thing I really remember her saying is that it was, “Torture!” or something to that effect. I gave her a “once over” and a “twice over” while asking more questions, following up with an email full of more questions. She told me she lost the weight with the help of one of those “programs.” You know, the ones that cost buco bucks and advertise “Results Not Typical” with every success story. She said that if I was interested. . .
Anyway, since I’d fallen off the wagon, yet again, in my most recent attempt to lose weight and exercise (my confession) her success began to inspire me. Maybe the time has come to restart, recommit and renew. For real this time.
I have a question though before I begin. Does the fact that I know a successful dieter mean my odds of losing weight myself become less likely? You know. . . kinda like the lottery. Once you know a winner. . . Should I just quit now and accept all this extra baggage? After all I’m not looking for a man and my breeding days are behind me.
You’re right. . . No giving up.
As I begin to rally my internal motivation I realize the real “torture” is in having an unhealthy relationship with food. God provided food to nourish our bodies and keep us healthy. I believe my overindulgence points to a deeper spiritual issue, an attempt to fill a void in some area of my life. The key then becomes trying to determine just what is missing and then to start filling that emptiness with something else. Something healthier and more satisfying, something that doesn’t assault my body.
While I try to figure out just what maybe missing, I will begin again. I know that “results not typical” does not mean that I am doomed to fail. It just means that this problem will require a real commitment from me.
Am I ready this time? I know one thing for sure, I’m not ready to give up. So, yes, I’m ready for untypical results that only I have the power to produce.
Friday, July 17th, 2009
I woke up with a black tongue. It was alarming. The first time it happened a couple of weeks ago I dismissed it because I’d had red wine the night before and even though I’d brushed my teeth, I felt sure that’s what it was. And then the other morning. . . black tongue again. I don’t mean to disgust you, but that’s what happened.
Anyway, I thought it might be something serious so I, of course, didn’t consult the doctor. Denial always makes things less serious. Also I’d consulted with a knowledgeable friend. No, she’s not a doctor, but she’s really, really smart. As a matter of fact I consulted with several friends who consulted with other friends and then there was the Internet research. Consulting with a doctor just didn’t seem necessary.
By the time my one friend hooked me up with a telephone consultation with an actual medical professional I had myself dead and buried, but still no call to my doctor. I found out from this really nice RN that the Pepto-Bismol I’d taken was the likely culprit, but only after a minor medical interrogation and a scary suggestion it might actually be “black hairy tongue.” Oh NO! What’s that?!
Of course, this minor medical emergency got me thinking about “side effects.” We all know the medications we take can have side effects and it’s always prudent to read them and be armed with that information – just in case. But how about the side effects that are a result of the things we do, don’t do, say or don’t say?
My decision not to call the doctor could have been life threathening had the “black tongue thing” been something really serious. Ignoring changes in my body, mind or disposition isn’t a remedy. It isn’t even a smart approach. The fear that keeps us from getting answers can be the fear that turns some minor thing into a major thing.
We are our doctor’s best diagnostic tool, we should be in tune to our bodies and watchful of changes. Remember . . . “Your Doctor is Your Friend” and going to the doctor can be fun (check out my post on March 18 for more details)!
When it comes to our health, we need to be our own advocate, our own squeaky wheel and should find a doctor we feel comfortable spilling our guts to. It might also be good if your doctor listens. I do intend to contact my doctor and will spill my guts about the black tongue incident. My doctor will listen, write everything down and come up with a plan to improve my health. The rest will be up to me. Oh no. . . Isn’t there a pill for that with no side effects?!
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Okay I’m going to admit that I’ve fallen off the wagon. I haven’t taken the stairs at work in almost two weeks AND I haven’t taken my trusty Beagle, Penny, for a walk in more than two weeks. I’m still not smoking though, if that’s any consolation (okay, you’re right I never smoked).
Now for my excuses. Let’s see. . .
Excuse #1 – I’ve had a cold. Okay that accounts for the last few days.
Excuse #2 – I’ve been too tired lately. Hey, I was probably getting this cold.
Excuse #3 – There’s just not enough time now that spring is here.
Excuse #4 – I’m gardening, isn’t that considered exercise? “Sitting on the ground weeding isn’t considered aerobic exercise,” you say.
Excuse #5 – I’ve never been athletic. “What’s athletic about taking the stairs,” you might ask?
Excuse #6 – It rained today… #7 – It was cloudy yesterday… #8 – It was too hot… #9 – It was too cold… I could go on.
Truthfully, I’ve never been an avid exerciser and I suppose that’s why all the excuses come so easily. Let’s face it, when it comes to that exercise commitment I’m just plain weak.
What’s more, I knew it was a risky proposition posting a commitment to exercise and eating well on my blog. Now I’ve got to fess up publicly, well… Internetally (is that a word) that I’ve fallen off the wagon.
I looked back at my post of April 23rd, Gettin it Together a Step at a Time, to see if there’s anything I’ve continued to do right and am surprised to find that I’m not a 100 percent hopeless case.
What I intend to do now is pack my excuses away and start again. I’ve fallen down, it’s not the first time and likely won’t be the last.
What I know is that there are real benefits that come from exercise and these benefits are things I really need. So… I’m back at it tomorrow. Slow… probably, but I’m going to show up and give exercise another go.
Sunday, May 24th, 2009
- “All Ears” (Photo) – My Husband, Tom, has consented to provide a “Photo of the Week.” This is the first and our first barbecue of the season. Delicious!
Today was not our typical Sunday routine. I needed to go into work for a few hours this morning – a very unusual occurrence for me. After I got home, in the early afternoon, Tom and I headed out to get provisions. Tomorrow is Memorial Day and we’ve invited my mother and father over for a barbecue.
Nothing complicated, but I’m trying out a couple of new recipes on them. Recipes that don’t include cheese. Let me explain. Cheese is my main food group. When scouring my cookbooks for a new recipe, if cheese is on the ingredient list I’m on it. What’s more, I never met a cheese I didn’t like. My name is Lorraine and I am a cheese-a-holic.
Unfortunately, moderation is not my “watchword” when it comes to cheese. I can undo a full day of healthful eating in just a few minutes by grabbing a few (quite a few) big chunks of cheese. So my goal is to find recipes that are tasty and don’t include cheese. I’m feeling a bit sad about our breakup – we’ve been so close.
So tonight when Tom called out from the barbecue, “Honey, do you want cheese on your hamburger?”
I immediately replied. . . ., “YES!” I know. . . I’m weak. In my defense it was a thin slice of cheddar and I resisted the temptation to gulp down a couple of extra chunks before dinner was ready.
Truthfully, when I do such things it ruins my appetite and makes mealtime less enjoyable. Tonight’s menu, corn on the cob and cheeseburgers compliments of my Barbecue Master, Tom. I realized later that the flavor of the cheese was hardly noticeable after I applied ketchup, mustard and dill pickles.
As I try to salvage this old body from my past abuse, I realize that healthy, moderate eating along with exercise is the best plan. I admit that it is a struggle to break bad habits and stop old patterns of behavior, but I’m in charge. My choices matter.
My name is Lorraine and I am a cheeseaholic, but I am not powerless. So ask me again, “Honey do you want cheese on your hamburger?” and quickly I will reply, “Naw, hold the cheese!” No intervention required!