A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Series: What is Healthy? Part 2

Gloria has been my friend for about, oh gee, fifteen years I think?  She works one of those deadly desk jobs like I do that doesn’t provide anywhere near the level of physical activity a human being needs.  She’s also an amazing chef, a ‘foodie,’ and plants a garden so huge that I think she’s deliberately providing for the thieving bunnies in her neighborhood.  She’s taught me a great deal about the positive benefits of locally produced, organic foods for our bodies and the environment in general.  The things she’s taught me about the mass production meat industry would keep you up at night.

She’s also reduced her body weight by I think half over the last five years or so.  She did this totally on her own through research and self discipline so there’s no diet program that can take credit for her transformation.  Gloria didn’t “diet”, she changed her entire lifestyle, and it’s a change she’s committed to keeping for life.  On days when I think to myself: “this is impossible, it can’t be done!” Gloria is the person I think about to pull myself out of that rut.  She is a true inspiration.

In her words:

“To be "healthy" is to be free of disease, both physically and mentally/emotionally.  Most people I know focus too much on trying to “be” healthy - as though it were something achievable that you could then check off your mental task list.  I think people are much better served by doing things that promote health and not doing things that promote “unhealth”.  We all know what they are - eating a balanced diet (note I said BALANCED) promotes health.  Smoking does not.  Exercise does, getting stressed out about being unhealthy does not.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Series: What is Healthy? Part 1

A month ago I had a discussion with one of my old roomies about what exactly constitutes a healthy human being.  His definition included some surprisingly specific physical requirements.  They included: 1 pull up, 10 pushups, and being able to run a mile in under ten minutes.  He stated that these requirements should be very easy for physically healthy person to meet.

Intrigued, I asked him to elaborate on the topic and he gave me the following opinion expanded to include mental and emotional health as well.  So here is Mikey’s response in his own words:

“Actually, I consider "healthy" to be a series of three aspects.

1: Physical, which would be standard fitness.
2: Mental, which would be anything considered Mental Health.
and finally,
3: Diet, which is more of a soul aspect. You're spirit / soul is what you eat. Probably in America it's filled with torture and abuse of power, created by the meat industry.

Physical is only one small aspect of it!”

I haven’t seen him in awhile, but back when we lived under one roof, Mike was a dedicated vegetarian (and I would presume from his answer still is) and since then has spent time training for month long trips hiking through the mountains.  He’s been very encouraging to me, with helpful advice based on his own quest for lifelong health.

And he got me to thinking:  What is healthy?  How do different people define it?  And how can I compile those opinions into the definition that’s going to define my own journey and will work for me?

So I turned the question outward upon my wide variety of friends, and the results have started to return.  Over the next week or two I will be posting to the: “What is Healthy?” series, with different responses that I have received along with my own thoughts.

If you are reading this blog and would like to be involved in the series, please feel free to send me your answer to the question – What is Healthy?  Your answer can involve the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspect or all three.  If you decide to participate please let me know how I should credit you and say about you or if you prefer to remain anonymous.

So tell me - what do YOU think?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Setting a Goal - NYC

In early September I’m going to New York City for two days to hang out with a bunch of friends I’ve never met before (long story).

It’s a tiny bit over three months away and I’m setting a goal for myself to have shed thirty pounds by then.

I’m not trying to impress anybody, its sheer survival strategy.  I’m not bringing my car to New York and certainly not paying for cabs everywhere I go, which means there will be walking.  A lot of walking.

These women take on fun like a well planned invasion, and if I don’t do something about myself right now I’m simply not going to be able to keep up.  Although I seriously doubt any of them would leave me behind I have about zero desire to be the fatty anchor around everyone else’s neck.

So thirty pounds is coming off and my endurance for long walks is going up.

Tonight I began.  After dinner Ted asked if I wanted ice cream, suggesting we go to the stand that’s about six blocks from our home so a nice little walk round trip.  I thought to myself, “sure – if I walk twelve blocks I will deserve some ice cream.”

Off we go.  As I’m walking my birth defective hip joint starts to hurt as usual.  After thirty six years I’m used to it, so I ignored it and soldiered on.  But as I go, it occurs to me, “I’m really not hungry.  I guess I’ll just get a small water ice when we get there and skip the fat in the ice cream.”  Another block later and I think instead, “I’m really, seriously not hungry.  So why even get water ice?”

At the ice cream store my two guys got their ice cream and I got a bottle of water.  Before anyone goes thinking Ted and Kyle are cruel I need to be clear – it isn’t their fault that my body weighs two pounds more the morning after I eat ice cream and theirs does not.  They have their own difficulties to bear which are different from mine and I do not “hate” anyone who can eat and be thin in ways that I cannot.

And anyway, I was fine.  I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t eat.  Pretty simple really.

So that’s day one toward my goal of thirty pounds shed by September.  It comes out to ten pounds per month or two and a half pounds per week.  For somebody my size it’s totally doable.  I’m hoping that setting a short term goal like this will help jump start me back on the path toward my long term and substantially bigger goals for the future.

NYC – here I come…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fashion for Fluffies

This is another one that Teddi sent me…

Anyone who reads me regularly knows that I have a hate/hate relationship to the fashion industry.  It was cultivated over a lifetime of going through stores and saying: “Oooh!  I love that!  Oh… it doesn’t come in my size.”

The most painful one of these memories involves a royal metallic blue, sleeveless, full skirted prom gown that I fell in love with at the age of fifteen while dutifully escorting a skinny friend through a store called ‘4-6-8’.  As the name suggests, they only carried those three sizes, and at the time I believe I was a 14.  I wanted that punk rock, multi-layered, Cinderella gown so hard that I went home and drew pictures of myself in it.  It was the only way I’d ever see it on me.  Ally Sheedy actually wore a very similar one in the 1987 movie, ‘Maid to Order’.

So really, it’s not that I don’t like clothes, I just rarely like the ones that are available to me.  Were I a standard sized chick I have no doubt I’d be quite fashion forward.

Still, I’ve come to realize that giving up and living in sweatpants is just not an option, so I have been trying to improve my wardrobe at the same time as I improve my health.  Yes the ultimate goal is to be able to go into ANY store and shop successfully but I have to live in the body I have right now in the meantime.

Teddi sent me an article about the Swedish clothing company H&M releasing a line of fashion dresses for plus sized women called Inclusive.  Ironically, the Inclusive line is sold exclusively in Europe only, if you’re in the US you can’t even order them via website.  Here’s a pic… the yellow one is awful but I think the other three are retro-cute:

Click the post title to read the original article

I assume this is a test run to see how they sell, and in the future I would presume they’ll go on sale in the US as well.  After all we’re a pretty chubby country and there’s money to be made.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

End of the World as we Know it?

I wasn’t going to comment on this because honestly it’s not the first time in my life that a church has claimed to know the date of the beginning of the apocalypse.  However, I’m judging by the frequency with which my non-Christian friends are jumping on the “lets make fun of this!” bandwagon that it’s either confusing them, or making them uncomfortable, or both.

So, as someone who has been told often that I’m a sane and relatively non-scary religious sort I figured I’d give my insights.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about – a Christian church has decided to purchase billboards proclaiming that the return of Christ (and the end of the world) will be this Saturday, May 21st.

In response, I’ve noticed a number of people ridiculing them on Facebook by RSVP-ing to an event for “Post-Rapture Looting”, meaning that once us Christians are all gone, they’re going to gleefully steal our stuff.  This actually made me more depressed than angry, since my religious group is the: turn the other cheek-type rather than the: I’m angry so I’m gonna blow myself and you up-type, we’re a pretty safe target for ridicule.  At this point I’m as used to it as I am of the entertainment industry declaring open season on me for being curvier than I should be.  It’s just a part of my life that I’ve come to accept.

That being said, most of us Christians don’t try to predict the end of the world for two good reasons:

1)   It’s really presumptuous to say you know what God is going to do and when he’s going to do it.
2)   The only thing the bible clearly states on the matter is: no one knows the day, or the hour.

But do we all believe that this is going to happen eventually?  Well, yeah – actually we do.  We do because the entire last book of the bible is about it happening, and believing what the bible says is what makes us what we are.  So yes, we do believe that Christ is coming back and we do believe that certain events will precede and follow this before and during the passing away of this world and the coming of a new.

I think Douglas Adams probably based his, “Followers of the Great Prophet Zarquan” off of us.

I do not, and never will, claim to know WHEN that is going to happen for the reasons stated above.  That church could be over-shooting it tremendously and it’s going to be ten minutes from now for all I know.

When I was little, this idea made me very scared.  As I got older the idea of getting to be alive at the start of such huge circumstances in the history of my species started to sound very interesting to me.  Plus, getting old and infirm and eventually dying doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal.  This is how we are meant to live our lives; as though each day could be our last one here.  Not obsessing over it, just aware of what could come on any day, at any hour.

Do we obsess over it?  We shouldn’t.  We should be engaged in being here, and doing the work we’re meant to while we’re here no matter how many years we’ve got.  I don’t worry about it, it’s not my job or my place to worry about it.  And worrying certainly won’t alter anything one way or the other.  It’s something that is thankfully out of my hands.

Hopefully this is helpful to those of you fully engaged in teasing at the moment whether it’s because you’re uncomfortable, or confused, or just think us silly Christians are too darned funny to resist.

I don’t support that church’s decision to place those billboards because if they are wrong, they make all of us look as though we lack credibility, and also because I’m not one for the use of scare tactics for the purposes of conversion.  However, I can tell you that I believe they’re doing it for what they believe are good reasons.  I would assume they think we’re out of time and should look at our lives and what we are doing with them carefully while there is still an opportunity to do so.

That’s not really a bad thing.