Ooh! Can’t wait to see this, but probably won’t take the toddler grand babies.
So I’ve been having neck and shoulder issues lately on my right side. I’ve had such great success with Robin McKenzie’s books, “Treat Your Own Back” and “Treat Your Own Neck”, that I bought “Treat Your Own Shoulder”.
I began reading it today at lunch. Here’s my problem. After doing a self-test (suggested in his book) to see if it really is my shoulder or if it might be my neck, I discovered that it is not my should. It is my neck. He referred me back to “Treat Your Own Neck.”
I continued to read “Treat Your Own Shoulder” though, because I periodically have trouble in Yoga with my upper arm and shoulder on my left side. It is always a little stiffer than the right. I was hoping to learn how to loosen up that side of my torso.
I’m glad I continued reading, because he confirmed what I found a few years ago about postural changes that were needed. It seems I needed a refresher. Just identification of the changes needed will help me correct these. For example, several years ago I figured out that I had been sleeping on a pillow incorrectly. I liked to lay on my back with my head on my pillow and my shoulders off. I learned as I got older that I needed to have my shoulders supported, as well as my head. So Mr. McKenzie just reminded me to be more conscious of how I sleep on my pillow.
He also added that I shouldn’t sleep with my arms raised over my head. Darn, that feels so good when I’m falling asleep, especially if the night is a little warm. I guess I need to stop doing this, too, because he says that I’m over stretching my arms.
Also, he talked about postural problems with sitting or standing with your arms in a raised position. I sit a lot at my computer and my right arm is always raised when working with my mouse. I just realized that having my mouse higher than my keyboard may be causing problems for my right shoulder. My right arm is always in a raised position, which probably causes problems for that shoulder. I’ll try to correct this. I should have suspected this, because lately I’ve been periodically trying to maneuver my mouse with my left hand, just to give my right side a rest. Was that my body trying to send me a message?
Also, I’ve noticed that sitting in arms chairs with my arms resting also raises my shoulders. I am of average height, but most chairs today seem to be bigger and made for taller people. I have to rethink sitting in arm chairs, and purposely not using the arm rests. I find that if I let my arms rest down by my sides in the chair, I do much better.
I also like to lean from one side to the other, and this is a serious “no no”. I learned this years ago when I drove an SUV which had a nice console armrest between the seats. I liked to lean on my right elbow on long drives. Consequently, I developed neck problems on the right side of my body. I stopped leaning, and the pain finally went away.
So many of our problems are postural. Looking forward to reading more of Mr. McKenzie’s fine book and then getting back to his “Treat Your Own Neck” book
which I keep in my medicine chest.
I don’t remember any of these aches and pains until I turned forty. I guess before then, we healed so quickly that none of these problems surfaced. Maybe all it took then was a good night’s rest.
“I’m so glad I’m not famous. I would hate to have this guy digging around in my mental attic.”
I’m reading the biography of P. L. Travers, the woman who wrote “Mary Poppins”. I found this quote in the book, “Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers” by Valerie Lawson.
Another quote was from a biographer…
“…biographer Michael Holroyd, who has said,
I discriminate between the rights of the living and the dead…When we are living we need all our sentimentalities, our evasions, our half-truths and our white lies, to get through life. When we are dead different rules apply.”
I have this book and am reading it myself. I’ll review it when I’m done.
I’m planning to write a review of the book “Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers”; but I admit that without this movie, I would never have taken this road. Here is a good review of the movie, which accurately reflects my viewpoint. Why reinvent the wheel, especially if someone else has done it better.
I believe that poems mean different things to different people. In fact I even believe they can mean different things to the same person at a different time in their life.
I’m reading “Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P. L. Travers”. T. S. Eliot is quoted with a few lines from his poem “Little Gidding,” from “Four Quartets”. It spoke to me as a writer, but you must draw your own conclusions. The poem is below.
“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
And every phrase and sentence that is right
(where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together.)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning.
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Eliot,
I found that this is just an excerpt from the end of a much longer poem. I also found the following on Wikipedia when I looked up the poem to find out what others thought it meant. Wikipedia says, “The end of the poem describes how Eliot has attempted to help the world as a poet. He parallels his work in language with working on the soul or working on society.”
I’m no Angelina Jolie fan, but this looks like a movie I want to see.
Have you ever met an Aquarian who doesn’t like water? Actually, I love it for swimming, skiing, and viewing but not so much for drinking. Frankly, I’m a fish out of the water.
My parents pleaded with me to drink it. I didn’t see the need, but now I do. Water is what makes our skin healthy, not to mention our insides, our organs. So I’m always trying to remember to drink water.
The other day I read that as we age, we lose our ability to gauge our thirst. I’m not sure I ever had that ability, to begin with.
If you’ve been reading my blog lately, then you know that I’m thrilled with this new lifestyle change that I’ve been practicing. I’m talking about the book called “The Skinny Rules”; and how it changed how I live my life, as it relates to nutrition.
I wrote about this last week–about my biggest challenge, my quest to eliminate the added sweeteners in my foods. I continue to practice this every time I buy a groceries. If I’m not familiar with the product, I read the label and look for a sweetener in the first five ingredients. If it is there, I put the product back on the shelf.
There is also another big change that I’ve embraced. Rule 1 in the book is to drink a large glass of water before every meal—no exceptions. If he placed it at #1, then it must be the skinny rule that matters most. There’s lots more about it in his book.
I’ve always wanted to drink more, but I forget. Plus, as stated before I don’t really like to drink it anyway. I believe that my forgetfulness has to do with selective memory. My mind keeps telling me that it isn’t that important, but I know it is.
The author Bob Harper says, “Just by drinking water, your body increases its burning of calories. The scientists estimated that, if you just do this, you’ll burn off an extra three pounds over the next year.”
Let’s see! Nicer skin, better digestive system, and weight loss! Sold!
I don’t always remember to drink water before each meal, as suggested; but it helps me remember to drink it either before, during or after the meal. That is half my battle.
I am drinking more—lots more. That’s a good thing!
I love this book.
We see sugar everywhere. For example, have you noticed all the rolls of fat and puffy skin we carry these days? And I’m not just talking about middle-aged and older people, like myself. I see it on everyone—young and old alike.
Just walk through the mall! It wouldn’t be so obvious, but the young girls and women like to wear their shirts tight. I’m not sure if they think it is sexy or if they simply cannot afford to buy new clothes. What I do know is that it is caused by all the added sugar in our diets. Sugar turns into fat, and it settles around our middle.
Chuck has always been a slim man, but he has been fighting this battle of the bulge lately, too. It concerns him that his love handles may be here to stay.
The man never eats dessert. He always buys low-fat products. He exercises. In a restaurant, I order the meal with the plum sauce and he orders the plain grilled salmon. He is better at this than I am, so why is he having this problem?
A Book called The Skinny Rules
I read a book called “The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin.” Written by Bob Harper with Greg Critser, it contains rules for losing weight and for maintaining. A hard copy edition of the book can be bought below,
or you can purchase it for your Kindle here.
Printed in 2012, I discovered the book when Chuck and I dined with a friend of his. We noticed that he lost a lot of weight. I mentioned it, and he told us about this book that he said changed his life.
My Life with Diets
I’m no novice when it comes to diets. Years ago, when I was in my 40s, I gained about fifteen pounds over about fifteen years. Finally fed up I decided to do something about it before I went over the 150 lb. mark.
I tried the Atkins Diet, but I didn’t like the way it made me feel. It left me always hungry—no, not just hungry, ravenous. I tried the South Beach Diet, but I still had problems and felt hungry all the time. Finally, I went to see Jenny Craig, and the ladies there helped me totally change my eating habits.
I lost weight, all the way down to what I weighed when I was 32 years old. It took me months, but I loved my old/new “me”.
I weighed 127 lbs, but I felt I was too thin so I allowed myself to gain back to about 133 lbs. The most important lifestyle change I made during this time was watching my intake of fiber, making sure I was getting the amount my body needed.
I loved vegetables and fruit, so I just increased them in my diet. I also stopped drinking sugary beverages. No more sweet tea or Cokes. This last one hit me hard, but I lost 8 pounds just by doing this alone. By the way, it is one of the skinny rules.
I learned many of these diet lifestyle changes while on the South Beach Diet, but what I learned from the Atkin’s Diet was that this food, weight and exercise thing is all about chemistry. The Atkin’s Diet, though, didn’t give me enough information to figure out the puzzle.
Jenny Craig used all these lifestyle changes, and they taught me one more extra important change—portion control. I learned to gauge how much food to eat in comparison to the calories I received. I learned that I got enough calories to keep me satisfied with a very small portion of certain calorie-rich foods.
I retrained my mind to understand this and to stop the cravings. It worked. That is, until about two years ago.
I have fluctuated from about 134 to 137 lbs for the last two years. Lately, my weight crept up to 138 to 139 lbs. I cut out all bread and alcohol, and it took me about three or four weeks to get back to 133 lbs, but then as soon as I went back to eating regularly the weight roared back. So I decided to try “The Skinny Rules”.
These writers certainly do understand the chemistry involved in eating.
Let’s talk about one of the rules!
One of the rules involves learning to read labels. I read labels for years. My biggest pet peeve, or so I thought, was bread made of wheat. I was as aggravated as the next person with the many, many different ways food manufacturers tried to trick us into eating bread that was not a whole grain.
It seems that most of the country thought and probably still thinks that “unbleached, enriched wheat” is better for you than “bleached flour”. The fact is, neither of them is good for you. If it is wheat bread, the first ingredient must say 100% whole wheat; or it is not nutritious.
In fact, I’m certain it is like eating glue. My best way to check their claims is to look at the grams of fiber in a slice. If it has one gram of fiber, then they have stripped out the good and left the glue. So I’m already pretty good at reading labels—or at least I thought I was!
“The Skinny Rules” just taught this old dog a new trick.
But what I missed was all the clever ways they add sugar to our foods. Here is what changed my lifestyle again. The authors of “The Skinny Rules” say that if sugar appears in the first five ingredients, then “keep walkin’”. So for the last several weeks, I’ve been walking the shopping aisles reading labels on foods that I thought were good…until now.
Oh my gosh! I had no idea. It is amazing how many foods I have to put back on the shelves and in the freezer cases. I had no idea (sorry, I just had to say this twice). Frankly, I believe the authors should make this a rule all by itself.
Rule 21: If the food product has any type of sugar in the first five ingredients, don’t buy it! (Unless it is a dessert or candy. Sorry I just cannot help myself.)
Here’s an example of how we’re fooled. Chuck was making one of his casseroles last Sunday evening. As I passed through the kitchen, I picked up one of the cans of corn that he was using as an ingredient. It was a low sodium version. On the label, though, the third ingredient was high fructose corn syrup.
Chuck was shocked and upset. He thought it was just corn. We started going through our pantry, and you wouldn’t believe the cereals, canned vegetables, and soups that were laced with sugars of all types.
I went on “The Skinny Rules” diet, and in about a week and a half, I lost all the weight needed. Back down to 133 lbs I lost down to 135 lbs within the first five days. I have never had weight fall off of me so quickly. The recipes were great, and I couldn’t eat all the food offered.
So remember! It isn’t the fat in our diets that are making us fat, it is the carbs–the sugar!
I love this lifestyle change brought on by “The Skinny Rules” and will continue to read labels looking for sugar. I count it right up there with my zero calorie beverages, whole grains, fiber, and portion control.
The best result of all, the puffiness around my waist is gone! No more muffin top!!! Even over a month later!
The Memorial Day movie “Lone Survivor” is about four American military men in Afghanistan who were given an order to capture and kill a Taliban leader. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell one of the four men. Their mission goes horribly wrong.
Chuck and I went to see the movie in 2013 when it was first in theaters. Ironically, I was the one that insisted we go. This surprised Chuck because he knows that I don’t like extremely tense movies, and he knew that this one was exactly that.
But We Went Anyway
Of course, the movie was extremely intense. Most of the people in the theatre were young men. A row of them to my right were all with very short haircuts. They all set like they were sitting at attention if that is possible. They were stoic and very quiet.
The movie was excellent, as was the acting.
Well, why did I go?
I truly believe that freedom in America is not free. We all owe a debt of gratitude to all the men and women who have fought or are fighting for our freedom. These four young men did just that.
The War in Afghanistan was and still is a direct result of the attacks on the Trade Center buildings in New York, our Pentagon in DC, and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. This battle in Afghanistan took place within five years after those attacks. At the time, there was no doubt in our collective minds that we needed to be over there. To do nothing was not an option for our nation.
“Lone Survivor” is about Operation Red Wings. The operation was one of the worst military disasters in US history. Nineteen men lost their lives. Four men were sent in for reconnaissance, and surveillance centered on a leader in the Taliban.
The operation failed because of several reasons, the biggest of which was their accidental discovery by some Afghan goatherders. They captured the three goatherders but regretfully had to let them go even though they knew that there was a good chance that the Taliban army of men down in the village would be alerted. Later, it was their virtues that led to the disaster, not their vices. The Seal team of four followed the rules of engagement and did the honorable thing.
I heard enough of this story to feel the tug of my own calling. If these men could put themselves into this situation for the people in this country, then the least I could do was to see their story. I felt the ‘lone survivor’ wanted to make sure these men were not forgotten.
There is really so much more about this movie. You’ll find yourself proud of these young men and their call to duty, and you’ll be amazed by some Afghan villagers in the story. You’ll leave the movie as quietly as the young men I sat beside. Much thought will crowd your mind.
Is War Senseless?
Some time ago I heard that a reporter called the deaths in this operation, senseless. I just wonder if he felt the same in 2005 when this happened. Time makes us forget, and it is easy to look back ten years and make generalizations.
Senseless? I think not. If anything, it was a very conscious decision that was valuable, smart and sensible at the time. It was not perfect, but it had to be done. Thank goodness, these professionals knew their purpose; and they did the best they could under the circumstances. They understood that a dedicated life is a life worth living. They gave with their whole heart. Let’s not forget these young men on Memorial Day.
A Yellow Ribbon to Remember Those Still in Harm’s Way
Ever since the first men and women were sent overseas after 9-11, we tied a yellow ribbon around a tree near our street. Several times over the past dozen or more years, we replaced it because it lost all its color and was almost unnoticeable. This Memorial Day we will re-wrap the tree for the rest of the men and women who are still over there doing their best to keep America free.
We plan to read the book by the same title because there are still questions unanswered. Most important of all? Let the politicians, reporters, and pundits argue; but let us not forget our military.
And let’s not forget our children. I am not sure that our children are learning American history like we did. Our schools seem so intent on teaching them about the bad in our American history that I’m afraid they leave out the consequences and importance of what we did that was good. I believe it may be up to all of us outside of the schools to teach our children about this great nation and what it really stands for.
That is why Chuck and I have been taking the kids to battlefields, museums, and monuments. We cannot depend on our schools to teach our children and grandchildren what we feel is important. We need to pick up that job ourselves. This summer get to know your offspring better and learn about America’s history first hand.
And don’t forget that all of us need to update our lessons. “Lone Survivor” whether you decide to see the movie or read the book is a good primer.
Our 40s were some of our most difficult years. My girlfriends and I, most of which are in our sixties, agreed on this one epiphany.
I had a partial hysterectomy at the age of 43, and within a few years, I went through some major problems. I thought it was the surgery, but I found out it was much more. There were night sweats, hot flashes, loss of hair, loss of sleep, fatigue, aching joints, constipation, and weight gain.
Some of my friends who hadn’t had a hysterectomy were going through the same thing.
I knew I was getting older, but I just wasn’t ready for this. My body changed in my 40s, and I didn’t realize that I had to make some big changes in my life to feel good again.
Good News & Bad News
I visited my general practitioner, who checked my hormones. He said he had good news and bad news. I said, “Let’s do the bad news first”. He said, “You are in menopause”. I asked if 46 was a little early, and he said yes but sometimes after a hysterectomy things just give up.
“So what is the good news,” I said. He said, “You are finished. Menopause is over.” I remember going home and telling my family. They all said that they already knew this. I hadn’t been very easy to live with.
Time to go on a Diet
I weighed almost 150 pounds in my 40s. I began to get really serious about my diet, and so I tried anything I could find. I tried the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, some sort of a carb diet, and even a diet where you could eat anything you wanted as long as you ate it in an hour. The last one was Chuck’s favorite–not. I just about ripped the face off a waitress one night, when she didn’t bring our dessert within the one-hour time limit.
You name it, and I’m pretty sure I tried it. I even tried the pills, but not more than a couple of weeks. They made me jittery as heck. I think I can safely say that my 40s will be remembered as the decade when I was always hungry.
In the meantime, my health in my 40s was going downhill fast. My cholesterol kept inching up, along with my weight. I was in an extremely stressful job, and my waist line was quickly catching up with my hips. I learned about cortisol. I read everything I could get my hands on. “Prevention” magazine replaced “Self”.
Then that Pain in my Back
Finally, I really messed up when I threw out my back. I found myself incapacitated in a world that stops for nothing. With my kids gone, my work had become my life; and now it was costing me my life. I loved what I did, but it was getting harder to do it.
So what did I finally do? I decided that I didn’t want to have back surgery, and I got really lucky because I found a doctor that didn’t believe in back surgery, unless absolutely necessary. He was a surgeon himself, but he also ran a rehab unit.
He ordered an MRI. We could see exactly where the problem was, and then he ordered physical therapy, work with a chiropractor, and a message therapist. The physical therapy was designed to rebuild the muscles I needed in my frame, and he had me work with weights.
I truly had trouble. It was very painful at first, but I got through it. It took me an entire year. In the meantime, my doctor moved away to another city, but he had given me a good head start– information and techniques that I continued to use.
Quite by accident, I found a great little book, “Treat Your Own Back” by Robin McKenzie. It is my little “back bible”. I have thrown my back out several times in the past fifteen years, but I always go back to the guidance in this book to pull me through. And each time my recovery was shorter. (By the way, it has been many years since I last threw my back out. Yoga keeps me in shape, now.)
Speaking of relapses, if I knew then in my 40s what I know now, I would have never injured my back as badly as that first time. I know exactly what to do at the first twinge of back pain. I know what that little sensation means, and I quickly moderate my movements and lifestyle. I’ve learned how to better take care of myself.
Usually, they occur because I didn’t move enough during a long trip or I had been sitting at my computer too much. I get lazy, and I forget about my problem until it bites me again.
Major Changes were Needed
Speaking of changes in lifestyle, I resigned from my job and began working in one that required less travel and offered a less stressful atmosphere. I guess I’m blessed, because the new job paid better, too. It took me over a year to make the change, but it was worth it.
In my 40s I learned to sit better, have better posture, to not lean on the arm rests, and to maintain good alignment at all times. I try not to cross my legs now. In other words, I can no longer slouch like a young person. My body doesn’t heal itself as fast, so I have to be more careful.
I hardly ever sit through a full television program. I use the commercials to get up and do something, even if it is only to wash five dishes. The point is not to get something done, but to get up and move. I try not to sit in the same chair all the time.
My chiropractor helped in the beginning, but I’ve learned what not to do to help me stay in alignment. I bet I haven’t seen my chiropractor five times in the past ten years.
I rely on yoga for my exercise and weight work. I go for a one-hour session twice a week. Core work is vital to my overall health now.
I learned that if I pull something or if something is aching, I ice it down. Most likely, it is inflammation; and ice works best. I do like warm to hot baths, though; but I now only use them to relieve stress or when I ache.
By my 50s I was Back to Normal
I got my weight back to a good 135 lbs using Jenny Craig. They taught me portion control mostly. I have some dishes from my mother’s everyday set of dishes, and her dinner dish is the size of today’s salad plate. So I eat on a salad plate, the size of a plate that my Dad used for most of his adult life.
Plus, it is amazing how much food is pushed at us every day. I can make three meals out of the portions many restaurants currently serve.
I can eat almost anything as long as I always watch my portions, but I don’t eat anything I want. Again, I had to realize that my body changed. I learned about fiber, and I started eating a lot of vegetables and fruit (at least five a day). I really developed a taste for vegetables. I love them! And a piece of fruit is like eating candy. Everything is sweeter since I learned to limit my sugar intake.
Speaking of sugar I gave up two loves of my life: Coca-Cola and Sweet Iced Tea. I transitioned to Diet Coke and unsweetened tea with lemon and Splenda. Honestly, that was the first change I made, and I lost 8 pounds.
I try to eat protein at every meal. I eat mostly chicken, fish, and seafood, but every once in a while I love a good steak (about the size of a deck of cards). I try to keep it under 6 oz.
I love bread, but I save my bread calories for whole grain bread. If it isn’t whole grain, I don’t eat it (this one is still really hard for me.) I also try to eat one carb at every meal. It always keeps me from getting hungry. My carb portion is always meager and is a whole food (a small potato, brown rice, etc.) I try to stay away from creamy sauces.
I transitioned to whole foods. I went back to whole milk and full fat cheeses. My doctor explained that our bodies need fat and to steer away from no fat or very low fat. I do not have heart disease. I sincerely believe that if I cannot eat breakfast, I can at least drink a glass of whole milk. Milk is full of nutrients and has enough fat content to give me the protein and fat I need to keep me from getting hungry. Skim or even 1% doesn’t give me that.
I try to eat an egg every morning with a piece of whole grain toast, a small glass of whole milk and some fruit. I never skip a meal, but if I did it certainly wouldn’t be breakfast. It gets my metabolism going for a good calorie burn all day long. I believe it is vital to maintaining a good weight.
I take some supplements for what I lack. I worry about Vitamin D and calcium, though I get most of my calcium from my foods now. (I later learned that I was Vitamin D deficient, and my doctor prescribed 10,000 iu a day). You can read about what my doctor prescribes here.
What If I Fail
Do I fall off the wagon? Oh dear, yes; but I always try to climb right back up on it, if not the next meal, the beginning of the next day. I went on a cruise last fall and it took me until spring to get back to normal. It was hard to do during the holidays.
I almost never step on the scales, but I let my clothes give me guidance. I never buy a larger size; and when my slacks are too tight or my bra cuts into me, I get real serious.
Usually, that means, no bread, no alcohol, and no dessert. Otherwise, I stay to one alcholic drink a day in keeping with current instructions from the medical establishment.
By the way, dessert is a thin slice or about a half cup portion. It is really just a taste; but once you get used to it, it works. Another way is to allow yourself just one good dessert a week. I save mine for a really yummy one, made from scratch. And no cheating with a frappecino from Starbucks.
At 60 I was 5’4″ and weighed 135 pds. I wore a size 8, and I have for about fifteen years now. My measurements are 38, 30, 39. Not exactly 36, 26, 36; but hey, I’m 60. If I go below 133, I don’t look good. My face is gaunt, and I don’t exactly feel good either. I got down to 128 with Jenny Craig, but that was way too low.
I seldom ache now. I have no trouble with constipation. I feel good, and that is the best barometer of all.
My 40s were full of bad moments, but the good news is that you finally figure it out and your 50s get much, much better.
Even better? Several of my friends in their late 60s tell me that their 60s are the best of all. I’m just now 60, so another chapter begins! Wish me luck!
How were your 40s compared to your earlier or later decades? What changes did you have to make? What did you find that worked for you?