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To Eat Or Not To Eat…

That Remains The Question

healthy heart

If you are human, you eat. We are taught at an early age that we eat three meals a day.  Along the way we add snacks and in-between pick-me-ups, either good or bad for us, or somewhere in between.  For many of us, food has had far more impact in our lives than we ever would have guessed or given credit for. When we were young, we learned that a sweet dessert or candy bar was the reward for a desired behavior. If you grew up in the south, like I did, you learned that “food is love”.  Food was cooked in abundance and eaten equally all in the name of family unity. It was as if my Mom had an automatic serving arm that piled food on your plate if part of the plate surface was starting to show. By the way, this happens in most southern families.

Food Is Love

Trying To Find Our Food Identity

women body sizes

At some point, we recognize that food has become some kind of problem for us. We have forged an unhealthy relationship with food or maybe with the wrong kind of food. I find myself wondering how many people make it through their lives without having some type of food issue. For women, it typically involves how food has impacted our physical appearance and how we look in our clothes. It’s not just women who think about food in this way, men do also. I just think women obsess about it more. When we want to look good in our clothes or have an upcoming event to attend, we suddenly realize that food has changed us in ways we don’t love. Did the food do this to us? Or did our ingrained food eating habits do this? I think I know.

Which “Diet” To Align With?

I have lost count of the diets I have tried and failed at. I should have a lifetime membership in Weight Watchers. I loved Nutrisystem and my 31 pound weight loss, until we stopped eating on the plan. I also thought the Cleveland Clinic Diet (which had nothing to do with Cleveland by the way) was the answer. Three days on and the rest of the week off?! I could suffer through anything for 3 days. I lost weight with that diet also. There are always merits to these diets that sound really great at the time we try them. Somewhere along the line..we read that we need to lose the term “diet”.

Lifestyle Change

Choc syringe

Yes, it needs to be a “lifestyle change”.  Okay, I get it. Let’s get rid of the temporary mindset of diet and think eat healthy forever. I understand the concept and think it is a great idea. The problem is a lifetime of SAD (Standard American Diet) eating. I think my pores actually crave sugar. They have become accustomed to chocolate in every form. There’s always a caveat to my diets. It is the secret (in my head) unspoken whisper that says..you can probably stick to this diet for awhile..but you know you will never give up chocolate for anything or anyone. I am not sure when chocolate became that important in my life, but it did. Each time I fail at a diet, it is because of my addiction to sugar. Life is hard enough without having to give up sugar, right.

Older Age & Poor Health

And then we arrive at this destination that we call older age. (We called it old age until we arrived). Most if not all of us are facing health problems. For me, it has been a lifetime of health issues and was not sudden. My diet, however, has done nothing (ever) to assist my body into better health. I have never really looked at food as a possible culprit to any of my health issues. Like most of us, I figured it was just family genes & the luck of the draw. We all grew up (at least those of you in my old-er age group) with that food pyramid that told us how we were supposed to eat & how good it was for us. Little did we know that some of the very food sources that we thought were good for us, were actually offering a steady dose of inflammation into our bodies.

So Here I Am Back At The Starting Gate..

Deer in headlights

As I contemplated all of the health issues that both my husband & I are facing, I found myself wondering about the food we eat. Being the researcher that I am, I started to look more seriously at food plans. In the past, I found myself doing a comparison of the Paleo, Weil & Anti-Inflammatory diets wondering how to marry them into one plan that I could live with. Typically, I end up like a deer in headlights…stuck at an inpasse..doing nothing. But recently, on a sick day at home, I watched Dr. Oz and the guest that he had on the show, Dr. Joel Fuhrman. I had read Dr.Fuhrman’s book, Eat To Live a few years before. Both my husband & I read the book and thought that it made real sense to us. We started eating according to the ETL plan & began to lose weight. I am not sure what happened. Probably like all of the other times in our lives, when we “fell off the wagon” as they say, it happened again. Some sweet delicacy, or function we went to offering a table of SAD options…it only took us a second to dive back into our horrible eating patterns. It always takes only a second.

eat_to_live_new

But this time it is different. Our health is at stake. It always was, we just didn’t think about it or care enough to do the work of helping ourselves. It is time. Admittedly, I am nervous. Can we really do it this time? I mean forever?! The good news is that we are allowed fruit on this plan, but not all of the artificial sugar we are used to. It requires a commitment and real planning. No different than anything else in our lives. We plan vacations, family events, etc. So why should we not make the time and effort to do the same for eating the right foods. The convenience of fast food and having no time in our lives are part of our reason and rationale as to why we remain in our unhealthy eating patterns.

Okay..I’m declaring it once again. We will get ourselves healthy…even if it…okay..I’m not going to say, kills us..because it is going to kill us if we don’t do this. I will just say, I know that this will be a challenge for us, but we can do it. And I’m not gonna lie, if I were able to get back into the clothes in the small end of my closet, that would be a real bonus too! So my new motto is: Eat To Live & Write For Fun!

Until next time…

Bon Appetit!

Sandy

What The Pluck!

Cosmetically Disturbing

woman tweezing chin

It’s inevitable..we change both mentally and physically. Especially physically. Some folks will go to great lengths to hide or remove their unwanted signs of aging. For others like me, we just do the best we can.

I am not sure when it happened..but I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was growing random facial hair in a small chin cluster. In fact..it was probably about the same time that my son was sprouting his first facial hair. Of course, I certainly didn’t want to call attention to this fact or that my hair growth might have been more impressive than his. Interesting to know how proud he was of his hair vs how horrified I found mine.

The more I speak with women in my age group, the more I have  realized that I am not the only one in the unwanted facial hair group. Approximately, 20 million American women remove facial hair at least once a week. Likely for most of us, it is hormone related and naturally occurring, rather than medical in nature..but disturbing non-the-less.

As I read about facial hair, my source noted that before puberty, facial hair is a fine, thin type known as “vellus.” With the onset of puberty, hormones transform some hair to a course pigmented variety called, “terminal.” I kid you not, not only do we get unwanted hair..it’s terminal.

Equally Unflattering

hot wax

What I find equally unflattering is the process of trying to remove these unwanted visitors. There are various methods that we try in hopes of causing a stunted growth process that will stop their growth forever..but they continue to grow in defeat of our efforts.

There is the ” Hot Wax” method..the nice warm, soothing feel of warm wax on your face..until it’s ripped off with a harsh jolt of pain. Yes, this removes the hair temporarily and leaves one with a bright, red patch of smooth skin that stands out like a stop light. But no worries, my hairdresser dabs a bit of Witch Hazel on the area of attack & slightly pushes the cotton ball with pressure, to mask the intense stinging. It’s up to me to dab the tears out of my eyes. It’s hard to believe that women will put themselves through this process repeatedly with limited relief and no hair growth end in sight. Oh, be sure to schedule this type of removal when you don’t have an event to attend for a couple of days.

TweezerMan

fight-tweeze

Of course there is the Tweezer method. I find it interesting that one brand of this small torture device is called: “Tweezer Man”. I’m just sayin. Every woman has a pair of tweezers or four. We have our flat tips, our angle tips and our pointed tip tweezers. We surely have our trusty multiple magnification mirror and  our pick of pastel tweezers and are ready for action. I can think of few things less flattering than a woman with her mirror, tweezers, and pursed lips as she plucks with a vengeance, oblivious to the world (or people) around her. My thoughts are that this approach should be reserved for a private setting with no visitors (with the exception of a female slumber party using wine as the anesthetic)…though some women pluck in public with wild abandon and intention.

I suppose if your budget allows for it, and you are so inclined, you can go pay a cosmetic doctor or technician to remove your unwanted hair by laser. Physically, this approach is probably less painful than the primitive torture methods described above, but likely with a pricey cost for the privilege.

What About Bleaching?

Biggest accomplishment - Copy

I know some women who prefer the “bleaching” method. If you can’t stop em’ from growing, just bleach them so they blend in. Hmm. Just reading the instructions on the these bleach boxes is intimidating to me. And based on my past experiences with hair dye, I think that this method would be better left to the professionals who have been trained on how to use dye. Anyway..there’s just something about my husband running his hand through my furry face that doesn’t seem right..even if they are lightly colored.

Our Plucking Plight

True friends

So there it is..the perpetual plucking plight of the middle-aged woman and beyond. The positive thing about growing older after middle age..is that at some point, you don’t care. You don’t care if these unwanted hairs grow or live in harmony with your liver spots, dry skin and wrinkles, or not. Actually, I think that there is probably a comfortable freedom in not worrying about these pesky hairs.

Here’s to older age and not caring about the physical expressions of ourselves. But until then… pluck on Princess!

Sandy

 

So I’ve Got A Few Hang-ups..

Could It Be Too Many Clothes..Pfft

A Simple Device

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here it is..my first Pet Peeves blog post. We all have our own unique pet peeves.  To be clear, my random pet peeves don’t spend a lot of time occupying my time and attention. Yet, when they happen, they do annoy me..and garner the occasional snarling words of choice.

Clothes Hangers..The Bane Of My Existence

Messy hangers

Really? What does the bane of my existence even mean? I know that my mom said it a lot when I grew up. I figured out that whatever it meant, must be supremely negative from the exaggerated way that it left her lips. So I recently looked it up. According to one source, the word bane comes from the middle and old english bana-meaning destroyer or murderer. Geez, these clinking occupiers do annoy me..but I am not driven to murder. I could, however, be accused of consistent abuse from my rough woman-handling of my deliberate non-conformist hangers.  So what is it anyway that makes me so crazy about clothes hangers? It’s the predictable way (mostly at our house) that they get tangled up with each other. All I want to do is hang up a shirt or coat and I am suddenly sucked into the battle of a clothes hanger war. And it’s not just one or two. It’s as if they have sent out an alert to all of their kin folk to join the tug-o-war. Apparel is falling, hangers are being pulled in every direction, bad words are slipping from my mouth, and yes…the irritation is starting to come to a fast boil.

Payback?

Perhaps my clothes hangers are rebelling at the location and manner in which they are forced to live. I will admit to providing excessively cramped quarters and a limited space for them to breathe. But the priority is obviously for these hangers to quietly do their jobs in their well-established  and designated ” small, current and big ” sized clothes sections. I suppose they could have issues of belongingness. You see, I have always prided myself on providing an inclusive closet with a variety of hanger-types. Clothes hangers don’t all need to look the same, and I think everyone should have a variety of colored hangers that can freely mix in different groups and not have to stay with their look-alike neighbors. Not only that, there should be no barriers to my hangers coming out of the closet or feeling any less-abled than their closet-mates. I believe in using coat hangers even if they have sustained a wire injury, been used for a car lock or two,  or become mis-shapened through the years.

bent coat hanger

 

 The Chosen Ones..

I’m not gonna lie…occasionally I come across someone’s impeccable closet which houses beautiful and orderly pastel hangers and their upscale satin cousins. They live in perfect spacing and could be featured in an HGTV closet feature. It’s not clear whether these gourmet closets were blessed with extra square footage or it has something more to do with their owner’s organizational skill sets.

At the end of the day and in the big scheme of life things that matter, my silly clothes hanger chaos is a problem of small magnitude.  I guess it can best be summed up in one sentence: “Oh what a tangled mess I weave, when only trying to hang a sleeve”.

If this is my biggest problem…well, you get it.

Sandy