Wednesday, October 26, 2011

EMM's 10-10-10 Plan

I seem to respond better to words than pictures.  When Dr. Natalie wrote the words "Exercise 30-60 minutes each day" and then spoke the words "Exercise is not optional", I internalized those orders.   Trying to deal with the eating and minding part has been much more challenging than the moving part.   A previous blog post described the first anniversary of my exercise log; and there are already 52 entries since  beginning the second year on August 15.  
One of my favorite wake up TV shows is Morning Joe on MSNBC.  I think of it as a thinking person's show because it is funny but thought provoking (and I like Mika Brzezinski too).  Anyway, they talk sports (baseball mostly) and politics, tracking the Republican candidates and the debates.  Lately, they have been having some fun at Herman Cain's expense.  It seems that when he was in single digit popularity numbers, he did not actually have well thought out policy proposals.  So 9-9-9 was his mantra for awhile until people actually began to seriously examine its impact.  And when he tried to explain the 9% sales tax added onto already existing state and local sales taxes as apples and oranges, the resulting reaction forced him to rethink the whole 9-9-9 concept in pretty short order.
But my 10-10-10 concept has been working pretty well when I cannot get a continuous 30 minutes of exercise on some days.  It means breaking up the exercise into three 10 minute blocks.  Or it can be 10-20 or 15-15.  Today was 10-20.  Upon arriving home, I still had 20 minutes to go.  That's four times around the circle that is our neighborhood.  Done. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

No Vacation from Too Many Choices

If you are looking for a quick getaway from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia or the DC area, consider  Bedford Springs.  It's got a lot to recommend it, especially as fall begins to re-color the landscape.  The resort is chock full of historical documents, photographs and artifacts, from the era when Bedford Springs was the edge of the frontier up through its magnificent restoration and reopening in 2007.  The spa, with its mineral baths and European trained aestheticians (I could only understand about half of what my Polish facialist said) is exquisitely appointed.  And for those of you who are golfers, they have that too. 
It was the summer White House for the only President from Pennsylvania (and the only bachelor one), James Buchanan.   Two other Presidents visited there, John Tyler and Ronald Reagan. 
Desk used by James Buchanan during his years of summering at Bedford Springs

I thought that perhaps by sitting at James Buchanan's desk, I could break my current writers block (or more specifically, a blogging block).  It's been tough to blog about my current state, which can best be described as erratically compliant and frequently off-track in the eating part of this journey.  I am moving just fine, keeping up with my exercise routine (and the fitness center at Bedford Springs is small, but adequate).  There are several blog posts in the queue, in various stages of progress.  One fact that keeps swirling in my head since I first read about it in the Canyon Ranch Magazine is that we make 200 different food decisions a day.  This comes courtesy of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab and its Director, Brian Wansink.  Yes, people actually research this stuff -- and the results are actually helpful to understanding why making lasting change is so challenging.  
I understand that stopping smoking is difficult and that the urge to smoke is one of the strongest addictions to break.   But the decision is easy and it is only one decision.  Making it stick means repeating the same decision over and over again. 
But decisions about not just what to eat but about portion size come at me from all directions.  First I was skeptical about the 200 number.  Then I got to thinking.  The opportunity to make good and bad choices related to food starts from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep (and occasionally in the middle of the night).   And the barrage of conflicting and confusing dietary advice compounded by vagaries of blood sugar readings added to the unpredictable nature of when and how food decisions present themselves adds up to the exhausting reality that it is possible to make 180 good decisions, and another 20 or 10 or even one that totally screw up the best laid plans.  I have learned that planning is best and that pre-controlled portion size works for me.   And beginning again and again.