Tag Archives: Health

Yoda’s Yoga

images (5)“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Oh, if only I had a little green linguistically challenged trainer who could hang on my back, spouting guru encouragement and inspiring me by lifting spaceships out of ponds. Instead, I have four little beige people I must dress and cobble and herd out the door like protesting cats. I feel like Luke when he sizes up that spaceship: I don’t think I’m strong enough. herdingcatsAnd why am I herding booger spurting beige cats wearing Spiderman masks into the spaceship stuck in a pond? To exercise. Be it rounding the block or driving to the YMCA, I am determined to burn a few hundred calories.

But I must be my own Yoda. “Use the Force, Katie.”

It’s great advice, actually: Do or do not, there is no try. Don’t think about it, just do it. When I think about going to the Y, I often talk myself out of it. I’ll go later. I’ll do some crunches while I watch TV tonight, I promise. It might rain. It’s raining. It did rain. Ooo, my weekly StumbleUpon email just arrived. I should probably clean instead. Pitiful.

There was one day just before Christmas when I finally tired of the filth that was my house (why clean in December when you can shop for presents?) and I cleaned for 3½ hours straight. That was a good workout. “The Force is strong in this one.” Unfortunately, that kind of cleaning bug only hits me on a solstice.

bigyoda2So I try not to think about it. Just do it. (Yes, Nike, I will accept sneakers as payment.) There is always something else I could do with that time, but nothing else I should do. And all of the stuff that needs to get done still gets done because exercise increases my energy. It’s kind of magical. Like Yoda.

“He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

He is the REAL Force.


Images are from:




Be A Better Loser

I’m a pretty good loser, but with help, I’m a great loser.  Help can be an app, a website, a book, an accountability partner, a support group, or a lock on the fridge.  For me, it was Loseit.com.

2013 Summer 605When I first started losing weight, I didn’t want help.  Don’t give me a list of rules.  Don’t tell me any foods are off limits.  Call it stubbornness, call it arrogance, call it refusal to let go of a baking addiction…the point is, I wanted to do it on my own terms.  Also, on my bad days, I did NOT want to have to tell someone how bad I was.  My shame is my own, thank you very much!  But after four months of losing weight and two months of plateau-ing, (P.L.A.T.E.A.U. stands for Please Let my Attempts Take Effect…ARGH!! U’ve got to be kidding me!  Really body?  All this effort and the scale doesn’t budge?) I was ready for help.

P1010980Loseit.com is a free, easy, online calorie diary of sorts.  You know it’s quick and easy if a stay at home mom with four computer-crazy little kids can use it.  When I sit down at the computer, I have about 70 seconds before the boys swarm all over me, asking for a turn.  One of them will actually climb up the back of my chair and onto my shoulders.

Anyways, you create an account, telling them how much you weigh now, your weight goal, and if you want to lose 1, 1.5, or 2 pounds a week.  I love the realism here; notice that you may not choose to lose 20 pounds per week.  They calculate how many calories you should eat each day to reach your goal.  You type in a food and it tells you how many calories that food has and adds it all up for you.  So easy!  No math skills needed!

P1010979You can also create custom foods (such as a favorite homemade soup recipe or how you take your coffee) and name them.  Whole meals can be repeated with one click; useful if you eat the same thing for breakfast five days a week (like coffee, juice, and oatmeal), and previous meals are automatically saved and available to add; useful if you have leftovers for lunch the next day or you cook similar dinners every week.

You can also enter any exercise you do which ADDS calories to your daily allotment.  They even include housework and gardening.  If there’s chocolate in the house, my home gets a good cleaning!

Loseit even has a community feature where your friends and family can join as friends and see one another’s progress and leave comments.  It’s a great way to stay encouraged and be held accountable….as much as you want to be!

P1010981By the way, I am not being paid to talk about Loseit.  I wish I were.  If anyone would like to pay me, I would enjoy that.

So, how does this help?

Imagine that you’ve lost fifteen pounds and need a new outfit to go out with your girlfriends.  You have $80 to spend on clothes and your favorite brand of jeans is on sale for $40. At the store you find a fabulous shirt that you love, but it costs $60.  If you buy the shirt, you can’t buy the jeans.  So, you have to choose: marvelous shirt and mediocre jeans OR spectacular jeans and second rate shirt.  No, put those credit cards back in your pocket!  In this metaphor, debt turns into love handles!

That’s what Loseit does for me; it helps me budget.  I want to eat marvelous everything, all day, all the time.  But that’s how I gained my weight in the first place.  So, a budget example: After entering my breakfast, lunch, dinner, and exercise, I have a whopping 150 calories left for snack time.  I want to have a brownie and a cappuccino, but I can’t do that and stay within my calorie budget, so I have to choose: a brownie and tea OR carrots and cappuccino.

Not so bad, is it?1

Loseit has shown me where my calorie bombs were hiding; those foods that seemed innocent, but in reality have a lot higher count than I imagined.  Muffins, for example, and spaghetti.  The first time I entered my breakfast of muffins into Loseit, I cringed: the muffins used up almost half of my allotment that day!  Score one for the learning curve.  And over time I’ve learned which foods I can fill my plate with and still have room for treats.  (Vegetables!  Not surprised?  What, have you been reading my blog or something?)

Loseit is not the only website out there, but it’s the one I know.  The point is, at some point most of us will need some help, be it encouragement, accountability, or a dose of reality.  So, when you’re ready, don’t be afraid to get help!

“Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone…and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me, and lives!” Habakkuk 2:4

How To Force Your Spouse To Lose Weight

You can’t.

End of post.

Why are you still reading?

Unless HE chooses to lose, it’s not going to happen.  You can lead a spouse to water….

So, if you can’t sit on his chest and force feed him carrots, what can you do?

2013 Summer 603There are a few things you can do to help him get healthy, just remember to treat your spouse like a grown up and not a child who can be tricked into eating asparagus because you call them “magic wands”.

1. Read this blog to him.  (Not necessarily today’s entry unless he’s familiar with me; start at the beginning with Sex, then move on to Soup and Two Fisted Eating.  Starting any conversation with the word “sex” makes your husband already like where the conversation is headed.)

2. Get him to bed on time.  It’s very simple and similar to the method we discussed for getting yourself to bed on time.  An hour before he should be asleep, step between him and the TV and strip.  Then smile and walk upstairs.  He will follow.  If you have “wobbly bits” (best Bridget Jones’ Diary quote ever) that haven’t seen the light of day since birth (yours or your childrens’), it’s okay to remove one or two selective articles of clothing to give him the general idea.  For some men, this can be as little as a sock.

3. Stop buying donuts.  And any other junk food he can’t resist.  If he asks you to buy a certain item, buy it, but buy the smaller package.  Men thrive when they are respected; treat him like the grown man that he is.

If your man is overweight, there’s nothing wrong with having an “I’m concerned for your health and I want you to join me on this weight loss journey” conversation; in fact, you probably should have one of those.  But if he’s not ready, don’t push it.  No one wants to live with their personal trainer.

2013 Summer 6104. Exercise together.  Ask him to take a walk with you.  If your spouse doesn’t exercise often, keep it simple, sweat-free and short.  Ten minutes, maybe twenty.  After dinner walks are also a great way to release some gas without him noticing.  Or perhaps it’s without you noticing his.  Either way, it’s great.

If he’s competitive, ask him to hold your feet while you do sit ups while watching TV.  If you brag a little, he’ll probably try to beat your record.

5. Add more vegetables to his meals.  He won’t fall for the “magic wand” gimmick, but neither will he notice if an extra veggie is added to his casserole.  Speaking of casseroles, try making it in two small pans and freezing one for later.  It’s hard to go back for seconds if there are no seconds.

6. Offer water.  Don’t take offense if he doesn’t drink it; he’s not rejecting you.

7. The Number One best thing you can do (which is, of course, why it’s listed as #7) is to be a good example.  When I began to serve myself smaller portions at dinner, I also began to serve my husband smaller portions.  It was easier to dish up two identical plates and if he wanted seconds, he went and got them.  He discovered that he liked the smaller portions, re-started his habit of working out in the mornings, and dropped twenty pounds in three months…less than half the time it took me to lose twenty pounds.  SIGH.

2013 Summer 607But the point is that my example helped get him started, and now his example helps keep me on track.  If I’m on my way to the kitchen at 9:30pm for a cookie and pass by my husband eating an apple, I think twice about that cookie.  If he’s playing badminton with the kids, I’m likely to join in.  If he offers me a drink of his water, I find that I’m thirsty.

Do what you know you should do, and let him follow at his own pace.

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7a

Fun Exercise and my friend, Ox E. Moron

2013 August 106       Children are the best exercise motivators in existence because they trick you.  If you don’t believe me, go for a simple walk with a few small children.  They enthusiastically skip and talk and explore the first quarter mile and you think, “Yes, this is nice! My body feels good!”  They wait until you’re at the furthest geographical point from the house to fall apart and then you get a surprisingly good workout carrying, dragging, or threatening them all home.

A friend of mine from church – let’s call her Lean Jean – is the most creative gym teacher I’ve ever met, so I asked her for some exercise ideas.  She suggests riding bikes around the neighborhood or jogging together.  I’m not a jogger, but jogging with my kids might work; I mean, how fast can they go, right?  I hope I have enough pride to pump my legs faster when my three year old passes me!  In our family we make the kids earn their ice cream or popsicles by riding bikes around the one mile loop of our neighborhood.  (Bribery you say?  Yes, yes it is.)

10           Her next suggestion is Mailbox Races.  Start at your mailbox and race to the neighbor’s mailbox, then back to yours.  Let the kids choose a different movement each time: hopping, skipping, ski jumps, walking backwards, sashaying sideways, galloping.  “The kids love to pick silly movements. Keep it fun.”  She makes the point that you’re in front of your house the whole time, so if one kid needs a break or a bathroom, they can take a rest on the lawn.  And when Mommy lies gasping on the grass, the kids can fetch her water from the house.

I was put to the test yesterday evening.  My children drew a big wobbly race track on our driveway and wanted to run races.  SIGH.  The very thought of running made my legs and arms turn to lead.  But this week’s blog was echoing in my head and I thought, “Am I going to talk the talk only or am I going to Nike it up and Just Do It?”  The races were fun once I started!  I felt a little silly, but what are the neighbors going to do, move away?  Not in this market!

2013 August 121Some other great ideas she had are to make an obstacle course or to crank up the music and dance.  Ever dance like a toddler?  It’s all jumping and wiggles and kicks and some pretty cool hand motions.  Lots of fun, but suddenly all of the songs feel so loooooooong!  Let the kids lead the dancing and copy their moves; you’re guaranteed not to be stuck doing the awkward head bop I pull out at every wedding.

No “good” time for crunches or weights?  Do 15 pushups leaning on your vanity before your shower, says Lean Jean, and do lunges when you’re on the phone.  “Just remember that if it’s not fun, you won’t want to keep doing it. Change it up, interject it in small doses throughout your day.”

If you don’t have children readily available or you don’t feel comfortable borrowing some, I recommend you try a KISS walk, Keep It Simple Stupid.  Throw on some sneakers and go.  No special outfit, no gear, no reason to wait.  Ten minutes here, twenty minutes there; it all adds up.  How does it add up?  Let us count the ways!

2013 August 122Walking briskly for 10 minutes: 45 calories

Dancing for 10 minutes: 90 calories

Jogging (12 minute mile) for 10 minutes: 100 calories

Push ups for 10 minutes: 40 calories

Bike riding for 10 minutes: 95

House cleaning for 10 minutes: 30 calories

Carrying, dragging, or threatening children for 10 minutes: 50 calories

“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
though they cannot compare
with the wings and feathers of the stork.” Job 39:13

We may not look graceful or athletic when we exercise, but we can move our bodies with joy!

Am I There Yet? Goal Setting 101

P1010303We’re sleeping more, exercising more, eating more vegetables, and eating less of everything else.  Our initial motivation is wearing thin and the looming question is: how long to I have to do this?

Forever!  (Bwa-ha-ha, I have you now, my pretties!)  No, wait! Come back!  I’m half kidding.

The healthy habits we’re forming should be for life.  You want to be healthy when you’re 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, right?  I’m going to be one of those cool grandmas who roller skate with snow white pig tails. And my grandkids won’t be embarrassed at all.  The healthy habits you form now will help you stay healthier longer.

So how long do I have to keep this up?  The VERY good news is that once you reach your weight goal, you can stop losing and just maintain.  Losing is hard; a “low calorie” diet for women is 1200 -1500 calories per day depending on how quickly you want to lose the weight.  You can eat more when you maintain; around 2000 calories per day to maintain a weight of 150 pounds. That’s why portion control, vegetables, and general taking care of your body works so well…it’s a “diet” that you can live with forever.  (Forever…bwa-ha-ha!)

So what should your goal be?  A number on the scale?  A pant size? (Based on which clothing, brand, right?  I can be three different sizes in one outfit!)  Let’s explore our options and choose the goal that fits us best.  We’ll start with the scale; pounds, kilos, or stones.

Confession time: I hate the weight chart doctors use; always have.  I never fit into them the way I should.  Even at my thinnest in high school, with sports practice five times a week, I was “overweight” on the chart.  Could I have been thinner?  Probably.  Did I look overweight?  No.  Let’s check the chart.

Click HERE for the surgeon general’s chart; I tried to include it, but technology failed me.

So, at 5’4” tall, when I reach my weight goal of 150 pounds, I will still be “overweight”.  Yup, I still hate that chart.

P1010305Okay, moving on to BMI!  To calculate your Body Mass Index (Body Mass?  Who comes up with this stuff, aerobic instructors with the bone density of a sparrow?) To get BMI, you multiply your weight in pounds by 700. (For me that’s 167 pounds x 700 = 116900) Then you divide that number by your height in inches twice. (For me that’s 116900 ÷ 64 inches = 1826.56 ÷ 64 inches = 28.5)  The healthy range for BMI is 19-24.9, so once again, I’m way off target.

If I want a healthy BMI, I need to weigh a maximum of 145.7 pounds.  Not going to happen.

Sigh.  See why I just ignored the scale and my weight for years?  It’s like telling me I’m officially healthy if I become fluent in Chinese.  Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not going to happen in this lifetime.

So how do I choose a goal that’s right for me?

I’m aiming for 150 pounds.  Why 150?  It’s close to where I was back in college (I’m not sure exactly what I weighed; we didn’t have a scale) and it feels reasonable.  As I get closer to that number, I’m refining my goal.  Muscle weighs more than fat, and sometimes the number on the scale won’t budge but my clothing fits more loosely…using only the scale can be tricky.

My new and improved goal is this: to stand up straight and have NO back fat indentations.  I don’t care what the scale says, when I have that smooth contour again, I’ll be happy!

Knowing your numbers (ideal weight, BMI) can be useful for measuring your progress; if you know where you started you can see how far you’ve come.  But you should set your goal based on what’s truly important for you.  Your goal can be a lower cholesterol number, the size of your jeans, or weighing less than your fridge.  Maybe it’s back fat.

When we’re aiming for our goal, it’s important to keep a proper perspective on our progress. This is especially true when we see no progress for a few weeks! When I started dieting, I searched for verses on food, diet, etc.  There’s a lot about God’s provision and blessing, but the Bible doesn’t talk about weight loss because most people throughout history were worried about having enough food to feed their families, not restraining themselves from overindulging.  My favorite verses for inspiration were and are 1 Corinthians 6: 12-13a. 2013 Summer 603

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.  You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”

I paraphrased it like this: “I can eat whatever I want!  But I chose what will benefit my body.  I can eat whatever I want! But food will not be my master.”  When I overeat, I’m not really free; I’m a slave to my appetites and to my body’s limitations.  If “I have the right to do anything”, then I have the right to feel good in my own skin.  This is the call to battle, the challenge to have my body serve me, rather than the other way around.

The last part is the perspective part: someday my body, food, and everything physical will be destroyed.  It won’t matter what I weighed or how slim I looked; only eternal things will matter.  When I’m fat, God loves me.  When I’m thin, God loves me.  When I fail, when I succeed…God loves me.  So why lose weight?  Because I’m tired of complaining to God that I’m fat and tired and have high cholesterol.  I’m tired of my weight getting in the way of focusing on serving Him.  “I have the right to do anything”…so I chose to have a body that’s an asset, not a liability.

Phew!  How’s that for deep and preachy?  Quick, swim up to shallower waters while I think of a joke!

I’m starting a new program, called the Pasta Diet! The Italians have been using it for centuries. Here are the few simple steps:

1)You walka pasta da bakery.
2) You walka pasta da candy store.
3) You walka pasta da Ice Cream shop.
4) You walka pasta da table and fridge.

From KikiPeepers (http://www.youthink.com/jokes.cfm?obj_id=445816).


Naked Veggies

Jenn had a great question this week and I thought I’d pull it out of the comments and post it just in case anyone else had a similar question and didn’t see it.

Jenn: “You said after you are done, don’t go get seconds, but I always thought you could eat as many veggies as you want. So could you go back for green beans but not the rice and curry?”
Great question, Jenn! And the answer is: it depends on your veggies.

If your veggies are naked (no butter, no dressing, no extra calories) and low calorie, then by all means, fill up! Green beans, zucchini, carrots, celery, lettuce, etc are all in this category. (Peas and corn, on the other hand, are high-ish in calories (for a veggie) and can add up fast.)

The problem is in the flavor, the “good” stuff, that we add to the veggies to make them taste better. An extra helping of green beans is no problem, but the extra butter and salt can be.
If you’re maintaining a healthy weight and going back for seconds on veggies works for you, then do it. But if you’re trying to form new habits, then breaking the habit of RE-filling your plate with anything, even veggies, is essential. You can always get the beans out for a snack later on!  When I have the munchies at 10pm and I can reach for leftover stir fry, that’s a good thing.  A better thing would be if I just went to bed at 10pm.  “Oh, Honey…”