Monday, May 31, 2010

Take the Stairs!

Isn't this a wonderful way to get people to move more!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Virus Alert

There is a very nasty computer virus going around. Norton will identify it and then tell you it can't do anything about it.

I have no idea how it hit. I haven't opened any iffy attachments.

I am going out of town for six days and so far, my netbook seems OK, but this whole thing is a nightmare. I'll have to get a technician in to see if the computer can be saved. Hubby won't be able to stay home any time this week so the technican can come over. Have I mentioned that this a nightmare?

I hope you are all in good electronic health.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Work Marathon


Starting tomorrow, I will be on a 10-day work marathon, much of it out of town. I'll also be fitting in a high-school reunion. It all promises to be exhausting. I'll have to pace myself as much as possible.

I have actually started practising the "can do" I mentioned in my "Walk in the Snow" post. Since it takes 30 days to really get a habit properly anchored, I should be making my report towards the end of June. What I can say is that up until now, I have only been paying lip service to one of the few things I can (and want to) really do. I think that has changed. I am actually pleased to put my new habit to work every day. Good-bye lip service, hello "really do".

I probably won't be posting for a few days (though who knows?). Until then, let's all just do what we can and leave the rest.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My "Walk in the Snow"

Pierre Trudeau was one of Canada's greatest prime ministers--a man of huge intellect and intelligence. Although I never voted for his party, I respect much of what he stood for and did for our country.

In February 1984, seeing his standing in the polls dropping, Trudeau took what he called his "walk in the snow" and made a decision to leave politics. He continued nevertheless to be a formidable force in Canadian politics until his death in 2000.

Even vaguely comparing myself to Pierre Trudeau is ridiculous, but today I took a walk that I hope will turn out to be my very own "walk in the snow".

I thought a lot about my physical limitations and how frustrated I feel with my efforts to become as healthy as possible. I thought about how trying to fight against obstacles that cannot be changed is actually counter-productive for my health--both physical and mental.

I thought about having the strength to change what I can and having the intelligence to accept what I cannot change. And then I reviewed the "cans" and the "cannots" in my life.

And I actually found one "can" that I really want to do and know I can do, as long as I put my mind to it.

Sorry, I'm not ready to talk about the details of this decision. All I can say is that it's something that's central to my philosophy of respecting myself, accepting my choices and saying "yes" instead of "no". I know this perhaps sounds melodramatic, but I believe that if I can really implement this decision, it will take a weight off my shoulders, literally and figuratively.

Once I make this a real habit, I'll talk about it and tell you about the results...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Birthday



Despite feeling extremely blue over my health, my birthday yesterday was quite enjoyable.

Hubby and I went down to an area called Kensington Market. It's a hodgepodge of a couple of tiny streets in downtown Toronto, full of health food stores (I wanted to buy a product that might help with my knee--ha, ha), hippy-dippy second-hand clothing stores, fruit stores, bakeries, cheese stores to make you salivate, butcher shops, vegetarian restaurants, Italian expresso bars--what a wonderful place.

I put on my best knee brace (is that like a best outfit?) and we walked around for a bit. Then we went over to a large indoor mall called the Eaton Centre to get an accessory for hubby's I-phone. As you can see from the pictures, these two places are worlds apart, despite the fact that there's only about a 10-minute drive between them.

In the evening, we went out for supper at one of my favourite local restaurants. I had grilled asparagus and a huge plate of seafood (mussels, jumbo shrimp and calamari) with risotto. Half the entree came home with me and I had it for lunch today. Yummy. We also ordered one slice of apple pie and one piece of a decadent chocolate cake between the four of us. Double yummy.

It was a nice day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hormones, Pain, Sucking It Up and Other Stuff

Tomorrow is my birthday. I am not aging gracefully.

Today my knee gave me constant discomfort, bordering on pain. The only thing I can think of is that I walked too long a distance wearing the wrong shoes over the past couple of days. Wearing athletic shoes, not high heels. Wearing what for a normal person would be good, "sensible", ugly shoes. I felt depressed. Almost cried. Sucked it up and didn't cry. Realized that there are probably some nasty peri-menopausal hormones in the mix. Hubby agreed.

I did a bit more reading on what's going on with my knee. It's not pleasant. Even my yoga teacher--who is always telling me that we can make things better--admitted that I might need a sports medicine therapist who REALLY knows his/her stuff to get me working on weight machines. The thing is, if I go to the wrong person, I could end up flat on my back or worse. A bad suggestion from a well meaning therapist/trainer could leave me unable to do even the little bit that I do now. And my yoga teacher had to admit that was true. The last time I started doing the exercises that a physiotherapist recommended to strengthen the muscles in my leg (in order to stabilize my knee), my operated hip began to do some very worrisome things. I still haven't recovered totally and that happened back in September.

I have a very narrow "margin of error": working on improving one part of my body usually brings on pain (and not the good "wow I'm getting my muscles moving" kind) in another part of my body. I'm always bringing myself back from the brink of serious my back, my knee, my operated hip...just from trying to do a little extra exercise or from adding something new to my exercise routine. In a nutshell, I'm screwed (pardon my language).

The more I think about it, the more the idea of visco-supplementation in my knee seems like a useless and possibly downright bad idea. Visco-supplementation won't make my kneecap track properly and that's the problem.

Today is one of those days when I feel beaten. I'll pick myself up and go on, but it's not fun.

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Am Not MIA--Just Pondering

I haven't posted anything in a while, but I'm not MIA. I've been going through one of my frequent periods of questioning everything, rejecting most things and trying to find peace with myself. I recently came upon this video (see below) thanks to Lisa at The Skinny Online. It's not the kind of video that weight loss warriors want to see.

If you frequent the weight loss blogosphere, it looks like a significant majority of people are wildly successful at losing weight. They are single-minded, extremely hard working and able to tap into a seemingly limitless source of willpower for the rest of their lives. They have, or are in the process of, reaching their long-cherished goal of losing weight.

They are winners.

But in actual fact, well over 95% of people either never reach their goal or eventually gain all or much of the weight back. They are depressed and full of self-loathing.

In the war on overweight, they are losers. Most people are losers.

Enter the somewhat charisma-challenged Dr. Linda Bacon--a woman who nevertheless speaks the truth in a way that few people want to hear.
I find Dr. Bacon both refreshing and inspirational. To my mind, she is putting the emphasis back where it should be: on HEALTH. OK, I can hear you all protest: "I'm losing weight for my HEALTH. I'm on a diet to be HEALTHIER, to see my children grow up, to rid myself of weight-related illnesses and conditions, to enjoy life more."

Maybe you're telling the truth. But there are many more people (and most of them are women, let's be honest) out there who would gladly give up years of their lives (yes, years) to fit into a size 0; who would gladly lose all their muscle tone, wreck their metabolism, rot their teeth...just to be skinny.

What if we started out by asking ourselves what we can ADD to our lives to be healthier? Maybe it's just one thing, like going for a walk several times a week or parking your car at the other end of the parking lot rather than by the door. Maybe it means making peace with who you are today and enjoying life in the body you have today. No, I don't think enjoying life means gorging on chips or candies while sitting in front of the TV. Please be assured that that's not what I'm advocating.I strongly suspect most people who say that that's what makes them happier are actually profoundly sad.

But I'm deeply tired of SUBTRACTING things from my life: calories, carbs, gluten, chocolate, raisins, cheese, meat, bread, food...

The 95% of people who are not weight loss warriors need to add more to their lives, more joy, more peace, more self-acceptance. That's all they can do. That's all I can do. And maybe, just maybe, they'll lose a few pounds...or maybe they won't. But if they've breathed a little more fresh air, enjoyed that walk in the park, had a refreshing swim, then that's OK.

Please take a look at what Dr. Bacon has to say. She may not speak to you, but I think her message can be hugely helpful to the many self-flagellating fatties amongst us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not the Bee's Knees


Today I saw the rheumatologist, a nice older and very religious Muslim gentleman. Out of respect, I did not shake his hand. Though very business-like, he took the time to carefully look at my x-rays, examine my sad knee, make some suggestions/comments and answer my questions. Of course, I had more questions once I left his office, but that's normal and in fact, I left the office feeling I knew a lot more than when I had entered.

I was suprised to learn that my problem is with the kneecap, which is not tracking properly. He asked me to bend my knee while he tried to hold the kneecap in place, but was unable to do so. This means that even if I got a super-duper, massively expensive knee brace, it would not really do the trick. Ultimately, I will need either to have surgery to reposition my kneecap, or put in a shiny new one.

In the meantime, the doctor thinks I should give visco-supplementation a try. He has suggested a product that has been authorized for use in Canada and in Europe, though not yet in the States. It's called Durolane and it only requires one shot, as compared to several for Synvisc. There's no guarantee that it will work and it could likely be a very painful procedure, but I'm seriously considering it. I have to find out if my husband's insurance will cover the product. The doctor's time is covered by our provincial health care system. We can afford to try it, even if we have to pay out of pocket. I just have to make the decision.

All I want is to be able to hop on the elliptical trainer a few times a week. I'm not asking for too much. It would be awesome.

Has anyone heard of Durolane? Any comments?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Conference I Can't Discuss

A few days ago, I happily announced that I would be working at a conference that might be of interest to my readers.

Well, I went and it was extremely disappointing. Since it would be highly unprofessional of me to comment extensively and negatively on an event that I was paid to work at, I have removed the original post and will not make any comments here.

I thought that at least I would leave you with a joke as well as a comment from an academic I know (who did not tell me the joke). Together, they might have given you an idea of my disappointment. And then I thought that even the joke and the comment might be misconstrued. Darn.

I can say one thing: Bravo to every single one of you for realizing that you need to move more and actually doing it!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Protein--A Quick Note

Source: Encyclopedia of Health

Cottage cheese!

Why didn't I remember it? A small bowl of cottage cheese, packed with protein, is a wonderful way to satisfy true hunger.

How could I have forgotten it for so long?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Connecting...or Not

There are some fine, fine bloggers out there in the weight loss world and I have great admiration for them. There are a few blogs I read every day, others that I read from time to time. Here's what they all have in common: they are honest and true to themselves and they walk the talk.

However, I find that in most cases, I just can't connect with what I'm reading.

Most weight loss bloggers are coming from a completely different world from mine. Their world was populated in the past with gallons of ice cream, Big Mac attacks, mounds of doughnuts, economy packs of Hershey's kisses, litres of Coke for breakfast. Then these valiant people started turning their lives around. They discovered oatmeal, whole-grain bread, grilled chicken, luscious asparagus, cherries fresh from the tree. They discovered real, unprocessed foods, dusted off their bikes, parked the car at the farthest end of the mall, went for a walk every day...

...and miracles started happening. They felt better, their blood pressure went down to normal, the weight started dropping away.

I am incredibly happy for these people. They have realized that the so-called "obesity epidemic" in North America is actually an epidemic of not eating real food and not moving. In a sense, our society doesn't need to tax or ban junk food. We need to ignore it.

But I digress (what's new?)...

I have yet to find, however, many people like me. I'm talking about people who don't and never have lived on junk food; people who grew up knowing and appreciating the value of real food; people who have the same obstacles and sadness in their lives as everyone else but have never felt the need to drown them in a couple of iced, mocha-choco-ccinos with a big cinnamon bun (or three) on the side; people who wouldn't know a binge if it bit them on behind.

People who eat good food, but obviously just a wee bit too much for their bodies. People who are near and dear to my heart who take a least a 1/2 hour walk every day, who almost never eat sugary desserts, who care about the quality of the food they eat...and who still, year after year, gain a couple of pounds and are starting to look rolly-polly.

It seems like it's almost easier for people who have to radically turn their lives around than for those of us whose "missteps" aren't even worthy of the name.

Weird, isn't it?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Post removed

I have had to remove this post for professional reasons.