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«Gold Standard of Thin Janice Rowland & Kathleen Rowland Copyright 2012 Petals in the Gazebo Press, Kathleen Rowland Cover Art Copyright 2012 Mariya ...»

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After all the grooming, her thoroughbred became very gentle, content to be dressed up in blankets. Janice enjoyed cleaning his stall more than riding.

**** Do you like to dance? A lover of all things Hawaii, both daughters have an interest in hula, a Polynesian dance form accompanied by mele, vocal chants or songs. The hula dance dramatizes the mele. Like everything, it has evolved to include Western-influenced musical instruments such as the guitar and double bass. Hula dancing today still follows ancient stylistic protocols. In this complex art form, there are many hand motions used to signify aspects of nature, such as coconut tree motions. Serious hula is a religious performance, and this is why dancers have an austere look as a reverence for their spiritual roots. Chants tell the stories of creation, mythology, royalty, and significant events. Although hula movements are gentle, learning hula dancing provides cardiovascular benefits and helps tone hips and abdominals. There are community classes, dance studios and fitness centers that teach hula dancing for fitness. Or, consider buying an instructional DVD.

**** Does your house need cleaning? You can turn this chore into a day of movement. After shopping for necessary cleaning supplies and writing up your to-do list, determine the time to be spent on each task. This will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Set a timer and take breaks.

Here’s my routine—I begin by removing clutter in each room, dust with furniture polish, clean glass and mirrors, wash every surface in the kitchen, clean bathrooms with rubber gloves and lastly, vacuum using “the claw,” which is a little vacuum of its own at the end of the rod. Ah, the joy of a clean house! As I go from room to room, I open windows. We need to breathe clean air.

Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. According to Tom Kelly, director of the indoor environments division at the Environmental Protection Agency, “Air gets trapped and doesn’t circulate like it does outside.” Kelly suggests regularly opening doors and windows.

If that’s not possible because the outdoors is too hot or too cold, it’s good to replace air filters.

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Why is it that as soon as we share our desire to lose weight, there’s a cluster of loved ones (family or friends) who want to sabotage our efforts? A toxic environment has a way of throwing us off course. These saboteurs buy us desserts. “Come on, honey, one little piece.” They want us to skip exercise. “But, you’re cuddly this way.” Mostly they just want everything (including us) to stay the same. As we become thinner and more attractive, change is hard on people around us.

Does someone fear for your health? “What's the matter—you are wasting away. Are you sure you aren't losing too much too fast?” Is someone acting insulted? “You don't like my pot roast all of a sudden? You're too good for my cheesecake?” Is the saboteur mixing up food with love?

“You don't come to the ice cream shop with me anymore—you don't love me anymore.” Does someone make you feel like an outsider? This is common among co-workers. “You can't eat Mexican because of your DIET, so we will see you after we go out.” Of course you can eat Mexican. You can order something low in calories. Is food being left around such as the big candy dish on the receptionist's desk? “Here, one doughnut left, want it?” Does someone point out the leftovers from the office party, or does your spouse leave half the chips for you? “I know you love these.” Is someone creating special (fattening) food just for you? Are there new holiday rules such as, “It’s your birthday, and you have to have a piece of cake.” Sharing doom is particularly discouraging: “I am so proud of you for trying this, even though you know that 95% of people fail to keep the weight off.” Or, “It's not my business, but don't runners get a lot of injuries?” Someone might do a bit of amateur psychoanalysis by saying, “You know, you’re not as funny as you used to be, before you lost weight.” Sometimes a person will successfully lose weight, and then the saboteur will try their best to get the weight back on. A husband might buy his formerly heavy wife something in her old size with a box of candy. The wife will need to see this as a control issue; it’s obvious that the husband worries that his attractively slim wife will stray. Sometimes the daughter’s mother wants her to accept her larger size because it is like the mother’s. Co-workers by their nature are competitive. Thin, fit people look and act successful, and they attract notice for a promotion.

We have a couple of ideas to smooth things along. Explain that getting healthy is a priority now and forever. Invite a potential saboteur to work out with you. Cook a delicious dinner and invite him or her over. Thank him afterward for supporting you. If a relative just won’t leave you alone unless you taste sometime, go ahead and have a bite. This is excellent practice for portion control. Be firm. Share a low-calorie recipe that can replace pie, chips, or ice cream. Encourage others to get healthy with you. When they see your enthusiasm, they will. Don’t be afraid to toot your horn every time you lose five pounds.

What about our own feelings that sabotage our efforts? Each example below includes a proactive action we can take. This is a brief list of nine negative feelings, ending with leashing them for motivation.

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**** If we eat something that doesn’t agree with us, we could be allergic to it. A food allergy is an immune system response when the body believes that food is harmful. Eight foods that account for 90% of food allergy reactions are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts such as walnuts and cashews, shellfish, soy, and wheat. We can prove this by using an Elimination Diet followed by that suspected food. In an Elimination Diet, any food that is suspected of causing an allergy or intolerance is eliminated for a period of four days to three weeks, until symptoms are gone.

Depending on the severity and type of symptoms, an Elimination Diet may range from moderately to severely restrictive in the amount of foods allowed.

To create an Elimination Diet, eat only hypoallergenic foods. These are under the radar for allergies and include lamb, pears, apples, rice, most vegetables, most beans and legumes (except peanuts!) and the “non-gluten” grains (for example, millet, quinoa, and amaranth). Whole wheat is a gluten grain, and some individuals are allergic. Once the body has adjusted to the absence of suspected foods, these foods are systematically added back into the diet, and any resulting symptoms are noted. In other words, your allergy will rise up and make you suffer from allergyrelated reactions such as an upset stomach, itchy skin, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, and asthma. Some individuals manage adverse food reactions with a Rotation Diet where a problem food is eaten in small quantities once every four days.

**** Laughter, the rip-roaring kind, has a restorative quality. Humor heals us even when we face tough health issues and hard financial times. Of course not everything is nose-snorting funny. When issues can’t be taken lightly, we can do something. Volunteer work and acts of kindness heal the heart of both the giver and receiver. We need to figure out ways to take care of our spirit. Below are some solutions for various predicaments, ways to just enjoy life, and motivational tips to keep you on track.

Summer is the season of celebrations, whether it’s someone’s birthday or relatives are visiting. Top party planners tell us that what makes a party great isn’t expensive food. Rather, it’s delicious and familiar favorites. In our family, it’s barbequed ribs and min-burgers hot off the grill, scalloped potatoes, sweet corn, a tossed salad, coleslaw (can’t beat KFC’s) and a signature drink. Mine is non-alcoholic, made from sugar-free 7-up, low-calorie cranberry juice and topped with sherbet. We don’t need to eat what isn’t on our plan. If kids are in attendance at your family picnic, many regional parks have trains. Get on board with them.

**** Enjoyable chitchat makes us feel good, but stimulating two-way conversation also uses analytical skills, according to Sprouts Farmer’s Market writer Chris O’Brien who reports on research led by Oscar Ybarra, PhD. “Sometimes people think socializing is a waste of time or they have more important things to do, but socializing can keep you sharper mentally.” From a brain health perspective, a ten-minute daily conversation has about the same positive effect on the brain as doing a crossword. Ybarra’s study suggests that the complex interactions during a conversation—listening, understanding, inferring, staying on topic, and adapting to new points of view—provide a mini-workout for the brain and keep it fit. As the research indicate, the incidence of Alzheimer’s was lower in people characterized as actively social but higher in those who reported feeling lonely. If you’re at work, wonder over to the water cooler and talk!

**** There is peace of mind that comes from living within our means. Thinking about the adage, “Keeping up with the Jones,” is a particularly bad idea during tough economic times. A couple of years ago, one of our neighbors had an extension (a magnificent state-of-the-art kitchen with a fireplace) built. But last year the husband lost his job, and their house (with the two mortgages) went into foreclosure. My husband reminded me yesterday that he and I won’t be buying new cars for awhile with college expenses for our two youngest that will continue for at least five years. Quite frankly, that reminds me of another point about my CPA husband, who is an exceptional listener. Loving people are more precious than any amount of money.

**** Divorce-proof your marriage or partner-relationship with compliments. After marriage researcher John Gottman Ph.D. interviewed 3,000 couples, he discovered that spouses who average five compliments to every one complaint they make toward each other are almost guaranteed never to divorce. Why? Acknowledging the positive brings on positive feelings in the person giving the compliments and makes the recipient more willing to take those actions again.

This strengthens the relationship. Be sure to personalize your compliments. Instead of saying, “That’s a nice shirt, love the crazy print,” you might say, “You look handsome in that unique shirt.” **** Are you surrounded by snow or rain? Would you like to send your energy skyrocketing?

Try a couple of these things. 1).Wake up muscles with a 20-second squeeze. Interlace your fingers and push your palms together so that they touch. Alternate squeezing each hand with the other 10 times to awaken your muscles and get energy flowing through your body. 2). Unplug yourself! Every time your cell rings, it causes a surge in the stress hormone adrenaline. Over time, this is exhausting. Turn it off for a couple of hours and reclaim your get-up-and-go. 3).

Refuel with this breathing trick. Inhale through your nose and hold it for 5 seconds. Exhale through your mouth for 8 counts. These deep breaths will increase oxygen flowing through your body and boost your stamina. 4). Sip water with a half lemon squeezed into it, and this drink will get rid of toxins. People in India have been using this trick for centuries to keep their pep going all day long. 5). Shorten your to-do list to stay sharp. Facing a long list is discouraging and triggers stress. Trim down the list to no more than five things. As you cross them off, your sense of accomplishment will send your energy soaring. Snow or rain, so what—we can still feel great!

**** The secret to longevity has been revealed, and it also makes us popular wherever we are. New research from the National Institute of Health found that women with relaxed temperaments have a 15% greater chance of outliving their more dramatic counterparts. The reason: whenever you get upset, your body pumps out stress hormones. In the long run, these chemicals can set you up for heart disease, depression, and other illnesses. So the next time you’re ready to fly off the handle, slowly count to five (or ten!) before you respond.

**** Will you have to face a difficult relative soon? Many maxims about relatives point to being stuck with them! Because they are within our social network, they’re stuck with us, too. We can turn peculiar relatives (who bring out the worst in us) into “social capital” by being a good listener. Our health and theirs might depend on it. Listening is a way to diminish stressors. When faced with the person-of-difficulty, at least we can reduce the toll that stress takes on our body and recharge our energy reservoirs by learning more about ourselves and why we are reacting negatively. We can anticipate how the relative’s behavior shifts our mood from happy to anxious, irritable, slightly depressed, and quick to react in a negative way. We want to stick to our principles and behave appropriately, rising above the negative consequences of this toxic relationship.

When I am going to be around a relative who rubs me the wrong way, I make sure I get lots of sleep and exercise vigorously prior to a visit. After I’ve done that, I become an attentive listener. My goal is to get along, and this seems to work most of the time. Of course sometimes we are caught by surprise.

This happened recently when a certain food-police relative who lives in Northern California stopped down for a visit. The first thing he did (his usual form) was look into our refrigerator and was horrified to find boxes of frozen pizza. First, let me tell you, Vincent (an alias) has transformed himself from fat to thin before becoming Chief Foodcop. True, he takes pride in how he eats. But this subject is the center of too many conversations about how he has made and sustained life changes. It’s better not to talk about one’s accomplishments unless someone asks.

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