Friday, May 24, 2013

Canceled one and signed up for another

I had the Koko Fit visit and I loved it!  I think one thing that I really liked is how small and clean it is.  Not a big giant gym with smelly odors and noisy men.  You know what I'm talking about?  Val gave me the tour of how the Koko Fit experience is and it is different.  Everyone has a USB plug in device that stores your workout, whether on the treadmill or the elliptical (for your cardio workout) or the all in one strength training on the Smartrainer.  I did the beginner cardio which you wear your ear buds and have a guided 15 minute workout.  And it was a good workout!  Then she had me to do 15 minutes on the Smartrainer of four different exercises.  Truly I was sold on this and I signed up.

Did you check out the link to Koko Fit?  If not go here and read more.  

My next appointment was to have a stress workout on the treadmill as that is what I feel comfy on as I haven't used an elliptical very much.  Wow!  What a workout that was.  I made it but I've never ever pushed my elevation to 10.  I was huffing and puffing and sweating even though the speed was just at 4 at that time.  Once again it was a fully guided workout which told me when to increase my speed or raise the elevation.  

Next we went to a Smartrainer and I had to do a series of exercises to see what my strength level was.  There were four and that way they can personalize my program to go to my level and build up.  I have to admit I was worried about my neck and I made sure not to push beyond my comfort zone.  I had already explained this to the staff and they often would ask me or tell me to do what I felt was not going to hurt myself.  Such great support!

An example of Koko Fit but not the one I belong to

This is the screen you view that guides you through your workout

I know I'm sounding like a person trying to sell you on a gym and I don't mean to but this is so perfect for me.  I need guidance to get me motivated.  I like that I can check my progress online on my own personal site and see how I am doing.  I like that since I chose to have my goal be to lose weight and that I could choose the level of intensity that I wanted for my program (I choose moderate to start).  

My little motto these days is ~ If not now, when?  Like the name of a song that I don't even know!  

So I got this nifty little bag that included my ear buds (oh so this is why Ryan likes ear buds...quite comfy), my USB device to store all my workouts and the key to the place.  Yes...I can go even if they are closed!  My little KoKo Fit tag waved across the scanner will open this place up on Sundays when the staff are not there.  I don't think I can go in the middle of the, I wouldn't go then anyway.

I came home and canceled Crunch.  Bye bye sweaty noisy men!  Oh there are men at KoKo's not just women!  And yes...maybe I can get my Love to go someday.

For the next five workouts I will be attended to personally to make sure I know how to change the equipment on the Smartrainer as well as to feel comfortable and remember to use the USB device.  Today will be my first official workout day on my personal plan!

I've been tracking my calories and I'm being accountable for what I eat.  Well it is hard to snack if I wanted to on the bad stuff.  It's in boxes and I'm not wanting to search for them anyway.  All is well and I'm excited.

I promise to not make this a diet blog.  Oh I'll write now and then but this is just one facet of me.  My well-being of health.  If not now, when?  In my family there have been heart attacks (fatal for my father), stroke ( my maternal grandmother and mom), gallbladder problems and removal (my mom), hysterectomy (my mom), breast cancer (my mom), high blood pressure ( my maternal grandmother), pancreas cancer (my maternal grandfather) and the dementia/Alzheimers/FTD (my maternal grandmother and mother).  That is what I know now and that is enough.  

Time to step up and give myself this gift to take good care of this vessel, my body, that my soul resides in.  

Here's the song by Incubus...and you know, I like the lyrics too:

"If Not Now, When?"

I have waited
Dined on ashes
Swung from chandeliers and climbed Everest
And none of it's got me close to this

I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I?

We've been good
Even a blast, but
Don't you feel like something's missing here?
Don't you dare

I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I?
Stand up and face the bright light
Don't hide your eyes
It's time

No umbrellas
No sunglasses
Hailing Hallelujah everyday

I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I?
Stand up and face the bright light
Don't hide your eyes
It's time

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Learning Curve

I read through the 17 Day Diet book and digesting what to do I'm not feeling that this is a diet for me.  I'm all about improving myself but the monotonous meals for 2 of the cycles of each 17 days sounds quite difficult.  I love salad, chicken, turkey and fish, I do and I know I could fix it with spices to alter the flavor day to day but the clincher is how would I feel having yogurt and or eggs for breakfast everyday for that long.  Okay, I do eat steel cut oatmeal everyday right now and I'm never bored with it.  I make a lovely bowl showered with blueberries, add some milk or a blend of almond milk and milk with a sprinkle of my homemade (healthy) granola and voila!  I'm in morning bliss.  Plus I'm sustained all morning with plenty of energy.  Eggs in the morning for me hasn't always felt right.  Later at lunch I love eggs.  Yogurt I enjoy but even with fresh fruit on top, I can't see that I would be happy.  

Why do we get into food ruts?  I don't think I'm in a morning breakfast rut, I just happen to really like my steel cut oatmeal.  What makes me laugh a bit was being in Italy two years ago this October and having a brioche bakery item and a cappuccino every morning which sustained me till lunch.  I lost weight on that trip because we were walking ALL day!  I ate well and splurged!  It was exercise that allowed me that.  Had I not walked I would have put on the extra Italian pounds.  Oh that delicious gelato......

This is my plan and I also see it as a learning curve.  I'm going to begin calorie counting.  I'm not a big calorie counter but I need to know what I am actually putting in and how much I am truly burning off.  Am I eating more than I should or is it not enough moving around?   This will let me see and be accountable for my eating habits.  To just reduce as in the 17 Day Diet will not allow me to return to normal eating.  I think that is where I hit a road block with the book.  He made it clear you would have to continue dieting.  What?  Diet forever?  What happened to learning to eat healthy and right?  Learning to adapt healthy lifestyle with eating.  I like to try new foods.  Even ones that could be not the best foods one should eat.  I don't make them a part of my daily eating but I do like to try them once.  I like cookies but I don't eat them every day or even once a week.  I'm not going to give up foods that may not fit a diet plan for the long run.  Life is too enjoy!  Eating is a pleasure!  Sustaining good habits with food and exercise and still enjoying the pleasures of life make one all over happy.  

Hhhmmm you say.  Does this sound like I can indeed improve if I'm not willing to sacrifice foods?  I don't see it quite that way.  The goal is to improve.  First I need to understand my body better.  How efficiently does it burn the fuel that I add?  And yes, calorie count.  To be accountable for what I am eating.  Guess that means no more dipping into the chocolate chip jar when I want a bit!  I have to say doing the kitchen remodel right now has been good.  All the pantry is in boxes and not easy to get to or fast to plow through.  Even if I wanted to nibble/snack it's hard.  I'm cutting back on bread (I love bread!).  I didn't eat much before but when I do have a slice it will be a hearty grain bread.  I'm cutting out white rice.  When I do have grains it will be the ones I do enjoy thankfully.  I like brown rice, or grain blends, quinoa (especially the red), the stuff with some crunch and flavor.  I know my Love and Ryan love the white rice so if it means I fix two different ones, so be it.  

Today I go to try out Koko Fit.  I'll let you know how that goes. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Challenging a Middle Age Woman

I'm up for a challenge.  Heck if I don't do it now when will I?  I'm sick and tired of caring the middle age spread.  Yeah...the one they talk about but you ignore till it happens to you.  The right of passage that I liken to the Freshmen 15 pounds that college kids gain when they go away to college and eat dorm food.  I think my gain was classic with a twist of having Ryan in my late 30's, gaining pregnancy weight (normal gain) then having it pass as it did with my previous three pregnancies.  I did keep an extra 5 pounds that didn't leave but I wasn't worried.  Then the 40's came and over that decade I gained 10 pounds in a blink (it seemed) and then in my 50's I have added another 10 to that.  Pow, Bang! 25 pounds that sits on my body as the unwelcome guest.

I've never been obese or overly heavy and I'm grateful I have an okay metabolism.  I need to be more active and I won't deny it.  I like to walk and I like to hike, I just don't go far enough or long enough or add to that more often per day.  I have dogs who should be walked daily and I don't do it.  I'm lazy?  Well, lets say I use the intense hill on my driveway as a big excuse (especially on warm days) or the hilly nature of where we live (what a great workout though, right?)  There are all the speeding drivers on our loop road that bug me (why do they feel they need to cut corners (blind curves) and speed at all?)

Then there was my neck that cut into my yoga practice almost 4 years ago.  I've been going to a chiropractor and it has it's ups and downs.  Being well (normal) to being out (pain, ache or weird), and the cycle of going to the chiropractor and what I can and can't do had me thinking there wasn't much I could do.  Forget the yoga.  I had issues with free weights, machines and stuck to simple stretches that I took from my previous yoga practice and added sit-ups, and any other neck friendly warm up in the morning.  I added plank pose and recently even started downward facing dog.  Could I do yoga again?

My niece has been a great moral booster.  She too went to the same chiropractor for neck problems and one day she said enough.  She has kids and going to see the doctor with kids in tow up to three times a week at times with no real improvement made her question what she was doing.  Another girlfriend I found out went to the same doctor unbeknownst to me till I saw her name on the check in sheet, shared with me her frustrations of not improving.  She has a different situation than mine so we can't share like to like.  However what we shared was, how dependent we had become with him.  The fear of travel (God forbid if our necks flared up!),  what if the doctor went out of town, and his work week schedule and trying to get an appointment in his full client practice (Mon, Tue, Wed am, Thur, Fri am).  Yes, we all shared this frustration.  My niece went cold turkey and stopped going.  My friend sought another chiropractor and has found one where she has only needed an adjustment once....once!  

I stand before myself and say go, go, go to a proactive direction with your well-being for the remainder of your life!  It is my body that I protect and have to keep an open eye on.  Now what to do?  The above mentioned niece, she did the 17 Day Diet 1 1/2 years ago.  She lost 25 pounds and kept it off.  Her hubby did it too and he has maintained his weight.  Impressive!  She has been enthusiastic about it.  Profuse excitement just mentioning the 17 Day Diet.  Of course she says I should do it.  I bought the book and it just arrived.  I've just begun reading through it.   The 17 Day Diet is four periods involving 17 days of a changing diet.  The first phase is where you lose the most weight and then the second is continuing while adding some carbs back in and so forth with the next phases.  On the fence.  I'm not a "diet" person.  I just want to eat healthy and in a moderate manner.  Extreme dieting seems wrong to my head and I'm sure my body would rebel.  I do like the structure and planned meals and recipes that are in the book.  I tried to Google anything of real life people who have done this just to read what they have said.  I found many who were just starting and hadn't gone into the second phase of the diet with some keen on the diet and others having problems of staying with it.  Trying to find the ones who progressed to the second or further dropped off as it appears they didn't complete the program.  It's really important to stick with the whole program or the weight comes back.  Many of ones I read cheated quickly.  To me, if you are going to do this you have to commit.  You can't say you are going to do a big change in your diet and then day 3 you slip and then slip again.  Why begin?  No self discipline?  Why even write or youtube it then?  For me, if I'm going to embark then I will commit.

Gym time.  I'm ready to change.  I have another friend who has gone to Koko Fit for two years and has really liked it.  I have an appointment this week to give it a try.  I like the idea of having a structured, guided program of exercise that is cardio and strength training personalized to me without having to pay a lot of money for a personal trainer.  Check it out here. 

My quest has begun.  I'll keep an update of my goal for wellness.  I don't want to become achy, unlimber, or fearful of moving my body in different ways.  I want to keep this vessel that my soul resides in happy which in turn will keep my soul happy.  It's time. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Having a baby in 1983

If ever the stars were in alignment it must have been my pregnancy and delivery with Erin.  I was confident that I knew what I wanted.  I was going to have a midwife and I was going to have in addition to my Love someone who could come to our home and monitor my labor to let us know when to go to the hospital.  I wasn't going to go early like I did with my first labor. 

I got pregnant within the first month and did a home pregnancy test in the second month.  With the good tidings of a baby on the way I went out and bought an armload of pregnancy books with these two being my favorite reads,  "A Good Birth, A Safe Birth" and  "Spiritual Midwifery".  Reading both enlightened my unknowing eyes to having a birth my way!

While the idea of having a home birth was in my peripheral vision,  I wasn't sure if I was ready to take the leap.  I had tried the ABC (Alternative Birth Unit) unit when I had Kristin but I ended up in L & D for her birth.  I did like the ABC unit as they left us alone to labor.  And when I say alone, I mean they hardly peeked in the room.  They could have been more helpful to a first time mommy and daddy to be in labor.  I think in my head I wasn't quite ready to commit to a home birth so the idea of a midwife in a hospital setting felt more along the lines of my mindset. 

In Oakland I found a freestanding, progressive thinking group of people that offered classes as well as a wealth of information on doctors, hospitals, and midwives. It was called Birthways.  I went there, pulled down a binder about midwives in the Bay Area and found the mana for my pregnancy; stories of birth.  I could have sat there for days but I sat there for several hours and selected the names of several midwives to ponder over and to call.  The one I choose was Carole Hagin.  It was the birth stories of her being the midwife for other mommy's to be that had me dialing her number and making that first appointment.  Every one loved her and spoke highly of her care.

She was everything that I didn't have with my first pregnancy.  I learned more about my body with her than I ever could imagine.  I learned how to test my own urine at each visit, do my own weight and chart it.  I felt actively involved in this pregnancy which empowered my confidence when the time would come to give birth.  I wasn't just a pregnant mom in a waiting room waiting for a doctor to tell me what the drill would be.  

Carol's office was with a OB though I only saw him once during my pregancy, more like a meet and greet as he would be the standing doctor if I needed one.  Since having midwives at the hospital I was to deliver at was so new, he would also be required to attend the delivery.  He seemed like this whole midwife thing was okay and I liked that about him.  It felt trusting as well as comfortable.

My pregnancy was easy even if I did have morning sickness for a couple of months.  I began taking a prenatal yoga class which let me bring Kristin and was a delightful time as we all get bigger and rounder with our bellies. 

When I was around 34 weeks I started seeing a different midwife (there were several in the office), Peggy Vincent, who also taught childbirth classes, of which we had signed up for.  With Kristin we did Lamaze and I detested it swearing that while it helped, all that crazy breathing didn't feel natural.  Peggy's class was a hit for my Love and I.  We had a great group of parents who attended the classes and I could feel the bond we were creating.  The classes were held in a woodsy house in Berkeley, with soft pillows, a tea break and our ever animated Peggy guiding us along week after week.

We also found out about two nurses who had started a business call "Labor of Love".  One or the other would come to our home, monitor my labor as well as be an additional labor coach.  I didn't want to go to the hospital till I was well along.  We found a photographer who would take birth photos too.  All was falling into place for the birth in May.

Looking back it was a good time to have a baby.  Everyone seemed against having drugs at birth, C-sections were low, and on the whole women were proactive in how they wanted their birth to be.  It was the time of the Leboyer bath for the newborn baby, breastfeeding was in (and uncovered!), it was about having a supportive birth and a healthy baby without intervention of epidurals or other potential labor slowing drugs.  It was a time of walking, squatting, hands and knees in labor, hands on touching, massaging, soft voices, birth as a normal, natural process of life.  Where the rite of passage to womanhood was felt in pain, laughter, tears, and joy.  Where a father could witness a birth, help in a birth, be there just as he should be.  It was giving birth without feeling it was a medical problem.  It was giving life and creating a family bond.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rocking my babe

My eyes look down upon your soft rosy cheeks.  The rhythm of your suckling steady and greedy.  Whatever has transpired in my day has faded away as though dusk has fallen around me.  No longer tired, no longer rushed, no longer does my mind create tasks yet to be done.  I am here, with you as we rock in the rocker with it's creak on the hardwood floor.  Like the rhythm of your nursing we create our own song.

Your eyes are closed with your long brown lashes fanned and curled, and sweat dampens your soft wispy hairline.  My arm is damp in the crook where I hold you.  Rocking, rocking.

Your drowsy and milk drunk.  Eyes flutter beneath your heavy lids as you lose latch and nurse the air.  Yet even with eyes closed you find your milk source and pick up the rhythm with our rocking.   An odd suckle here and there till off you drop into dreamland.

Sweet child of mine, my little lamb.  I gently lift you to my shoulder and rub your back, round and round waiting for your burp.  Firm and soft my hand goes, in rhythm with my rocking.  I sing my little song to you,
"Come on Mr. Burpy, come on lets go,
 come on Mr. Burpy,
 we don't have all day you know!".

 Warm and damp with the effort of nursing, your cheek leaves mine damp too.  Quiet in this time of ours.  I hear your sister playing in the other room, busy with make believe.  Soon, too soon, you will be off at play with her and I will watch with wonder and the perfect joy you both have brought me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Packing ~ a gift my mother taught me

I learned everything about packing from my mom.  She was a master at packing up to move. 

I'm packing up our kitchen because we are remodeling.  I was laying out my packing paper and boxes when this memory of my mom and I at my dining table comes to me of the two of us packing up the dishes from years ago.  Goodness knows how many times we did this together.  My Love and I have moved from apartment to homes countless times and at every one it was my mom who was there ready and willing to work.  Looking back I'm not sure why she volunteered but she seemed to take it on as an important mission to make sure my treasured dishes and glassware would arrive safe and sound without a chip or broken piece in box.

She would stand in front of the table where the pile of brown packing lay stacked, would pick up dishes first, wrap them sometimes with a single paper or sometimes two, pass it to me to fill the box and keep repeating this.  We could have the whole kitchen done in several hours.  

Was her skilled earned from the many times she and my dad moved when they first married while he was in the Military?  Was it the years married to my stepfather Bill and the countless times we moved from rental house to rental house?  By the time Rock and she married she was a pro at whipping up packing for moving.  She never let a mover pack her dishes and crystal.  Never trust a moving company with the fine breakables.

Then my Love and I marry.  We moved to San Francisco and begin our lives.  We lived there a year and then moved into our first home that we bought.  We lived on the 4th floor in an old apartment building across from Golden Gate Park on Fulton with no elevators.  Three big bay windows where we threw down pillows and bedding items that wouldn't break versus going up and down the stairs.  My mom and I packed my new wedding china and crystal.  We packed my new everyday Dansk dishes.  Pots and pans, bowls, silverware and oh how did we fit so much into that little kitchen and breakfast area?  No rest breaks till we were done.  The final words from my parents after that move was not to move into any building that had no elevators if it was more than two floors.  We've lived in one level homes except for one that had three half stairs, with one level where the bedrooms were,  one level to the laundry and the kids play area and the main living area including the kitchen in the middle.

I'm wrapping my dishes alone.  I'm thinking how slow this is to do it alone.  I've barely made a dent in the hutch as I have a cold and I'm getting tired and hot.  I'm missing my mom and how she would have made hay out of this job.  I look at my wrapping and find my hands taking the plate, laying it cross wise on the paper, bring the corner up to cover the plate over the front, roll the plate and paper, add another plate and roll again then fold the paper around the plates.  Carefully I pick it up and carry it to the box.  I begin again.  

Boxes begin to start an orderly stack in my dining room where all will be stored till the unwrapping begins weeks from now.  She would have been there to unwrap as well.  A much slower process for if you unwrap too quickly you might easily drop a plate, cup or bowl.  Then was the deciding of where to place it all.  She was a help even for that.  We worked quite well this team work of ours.  Never an angry word or a difference of opinion when it came to placement.  I appreciated her wisdom of laying out a kitchen, or in this case my kitchen.  

She wasn't the greatest cook but she could create an efficient kitchen and she knew how to pack.


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