Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

golf flagblogAfter five weeks of steady weight loss the ball has stopped rolling downhill and has come to rest yards from the hole. I can see that flag. I am lining up my shot. Will it just take one more putt? One more push to get me to my goal? Or will it be a series of smaller steps that will get me there?

At this morning’s weigh-in I discovered that my weight was UP a half a pound for the week. Let’s look at the bright side. That means 10.5 lbs GONE in 6 weeks!!!!

What have I learned from my experience?

Old habits die hard. I can still remember those wonderful family dinners when I was a child. I remember my aunts and uncles and cousins all gathered around our dining room table. I would help my mother with preparations a week ahead of time. Mama made her own dough and then created the most wonderful breads, rolls and coffee cakes from it. We made chicken soup.  It was my job to add the vegetables. We had a big roast turkey, sweet potato pie (often topped with iddy-biddy marshmallows), stuffing, noodle kugel, green beans slathered in margarine, and an array of desserts that was truly overwhelming. My mother served all this with pride and was hurt if anyone rejected what was put in front of them.  Her greatest pleasure, I think, was to sit at the table after everyone else was served and survey the faces heartily eating. “What! You don’t like the stuffing?” she might say. “You’ve hardly eaten a bite of it!”

Re-training myself to hold back when food is offered with love is challenging for me. My entire life trained me to show and accept love by eating the food my mother prepared. After a lifetime of equating love and food consumption it is difficult to look at a meal as JUST nutrition for my body.

YET. Times have changed.  My parents together with all the aunts and uncles are no longer with us. The cousins are rarely seen. But the feelings persist, even when it is my daughter, not my mother preparing the feast. Learning to look at food from a different perspective requires patience and persistence.

Considering what I would have eaten if I were not on my 20 pound struggle, perhaps I can take comfort in the fact that, despite some overindulgence, I am back on track and have only 9.5 more pounds to lose to meet my goal.

Copyright © 2009 Maxine Schackman


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Elliptical machine at the gym

Elliptical machine at the gym

I’m doing it.  But it isn’t easy. I started the day with 40 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise.  Hooray!  Good for me. When I got to the gym I hopped right onto the elliptical and after about 2 minutes I was already wondering if I could last 5 minutes. Lucky for me my dear friend Pat was with me and we started talking about this and that and catching up on news about people we know and family matters. Before we knew it we had done 15 minutes.

Elliptical machines are great for people like me.  First of all, you can burn as much as 350 calories in 30 minutes. Of course, there’s no way that I can work out at that level.  But even so, consistent use of the elliptical can build stamina and aid my weight loss program. It’s great aerobic exercise and that strengthens my heart. Ellipticals don’t help build or tone muscles, so, some people add weight training and toning to their regimens. But I seem to have an aversion to it.

I also like using the treadmill and exercise bikes. These also provide excellent aerobic workouts. My biggest concern is injury. I have had knee problems in the past from working out exclusively on the treadmill.  The bicycle and the elliptical are much more knee friendly and provide no-impact exercise.

I recently saw a magazine article with the title: How to stay fit and healthy through your 20s, 30s and even 40s.” I think I actually laughed out loud. Most of the information that I see in magazines about fitness and working out are much more relevant for people who are decades younger than I am. With age come additional worries about injury, decreased stamina, and concern about “overdoing” which can lead to debilitating fatigue. Young people are like rubber bands.  They can twist and bend and stretch themselves.  Older people like me are more brittle, have joints that are wearing thin, and often lack the stamina for sustained high intensity exercise.

BUT. No matter what your age or condition, once you start to exercise regularly you will feel better and have more energy and your stamina will increase steadily.

It’s just that getting there is such a drag. You know what I hate about exercise? The same thing I hate about dieting! You can do well and do well and do well.  And then the moment you stop to do something else in your life, it is as if all that effort has been wasted, because you can never pick up where you left off.  You always pick up a few steps behind.

Copyright © 2009 Maxine Schackman

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slipperyDid I fall off the wagon? Or did I jump off?  Now my weight is up, my energy is down, my appetite is raging and my mood is gathering dark clouds. What I thought was a little slip-up is turning into a complete diet stand-still.

Will I be able to shed the extra pounds and get back on track? Or will I continue to be led down the slippery slope by my appetite for sweets and starches? Was it only a few days ago that I smugly reported that I didn’t feel any hunger?  Was it only a little over a week ago that I could go into a restaurant and easily eat less than half of the meal without feeling deprived? It seems that all the progress that I made was more fragile than I would have wished.

A lack of focus here. A bit of distraction there. A taste of forbidden fruit. And before I knew what was happening I am back at square one 

I knew that it would be difficult after spending the weekend being tempted by all sorts of goodies. But I guess I didn’t understand how bad it would feel.

Can I recapture the motivation that I had 5 weeks ago when I started my 20 lb struggle?

Here’s my plan: (1) get back to the restricted menu that worked for me before, (2) exercise, (3) drink plenty of water, (4) write a blog post every day.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of Maxine’s 20 lb struggle. Will I be able to overcome gaining a few pounds in one weekend?  Will I become discouraged and give up? Will I trudge forward no matter how difficult the path? Or will I give in to temptation?

I don’t know.  We’ll find out.

Copyright © 2009 Maxine Schackman

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Getting lab results at the doctor's office

Getting lab results at the doctor's office

My physician was amazed! She couldn’t believe what I had accomplished in only a month. Here are the stats: GLUCOSE down from 123 to 100; CHOLESTEROL down from 211 to 158; TRIGLICERIDE down from 248 to 122. “This is tremendous improvement.  What you have accomplished is very significant,” she told me. 


“How did you do it?” she wanted to know.

“I’m writing a blog and it really keeps me focused on what I am eating.” I replied. And then with some pride I added, “And…I lost 9.5 lbs!”

What made you start blogging?” she inquired. 

“Actually you did, doctor. The last time I was here you really scared me.”

“I didn’t scare you” she protested.  “I just told you the truth.”

“Well, then I guess the truth was scary.”

She smiled and nodded her head.  “So many of my patients just won’t change.  It is heartbreaking to see them hurting themselves.  I don’t know how to reach them.”

“Tell them about my blog. Maybe that will help motivate them.”

As the doctor turned and walked towards the next exam room the nurse asked me what the blog was about.

“Well it isn’t really a diet blog or a nutrition blog (although it has that in it). I think most of us who are adults know what we have to do. We have read about diets and what to eat and how to exercise for years and years. Yet, we all have difficulty getting ourselves to do what we know is right. My blog is about diet psychology.  How to find the diet that is best for you. How to motivate yourself to be healthier and slimmer and keep yourself that way. I know it’s a struggle.  That’s why the word “struggle” is in the name of my blog. BUT. Nothing worth doing ever comes easy!”

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