Friday, January 25, 2008


So I bought some - too many - Godiva truffles on Wednesday, and ate them on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, and then had some other chocolates at work, along with some M&Ms. Well, time to eat less of that.
On the positive side, I was good, for part of the week, at bringing food to the office and eating it. I think I need to have a shopping list for work of things that are easy to eat here. And then shop locally instead of dragging it from home. That'll be good.
Last, but not least, the gym I've been using re-opens on Monday. So I'm making plans to go on Monday! There. I said it. Now I have to do it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So far so good!

I ate real food last night and no ice cream even though I wanted to. But it's been two days now and my pants don't fit any better. Dang! ;-)

Came across a site called Interesting way to track what you eat and how much exercise you do. I'll keep it in mind. I'd rather be able to make changes with less work than that. It's time consuming but might become necessary.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Accounting

Even if no one else ever reads this or responds to it, I'll always feel like someone might. Which is good for me.

So....I ate ice cream twice this weekend. mmmmm. And cake last week at work.

Buuut: I'm drinking more water, walking more (even only a few minutes at a time), and eating a lot more vegetables. So that's a good start. I'm going to see if I can keep my ice cream consumption to weekends only.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Word from an "Oldster"

It isn't that I can't use some accountability, is always the case with youth...., you are making this more complicated than need be. Writing takes up a lot of time! In the time you post more than 3 sentences, you could get an entire kitchen clean...well, if it isn't too bad.

May I make a suggestion? Choose just one goal....only one. See yourself as already having accomplished it.
If you have already read The Secret, you need to read it AGAIN. Don't care so much what others, like the FlyLady, say. Above all, don't confuse reading and talking with DOING.

Lastly, and of course I didn't mean 'don't pay attention to ME!' :-) There are reasons upon reasons why someone does anything other than what they really want to. The most common one is the subconscious having different
ideas than you conscious mind.

Mai-Liis, who has found herself, joy and peace the missing link my art and teaching

It's all in your head

It isn't what you think. A friend sent me the following very interesting article. Just ffeeeel like you're exercising!

Hotel Maids Challenge the Placebo Effect by Alix Spiegel - NPR
Hotel maids don't always realize their jobs qualify as exercise. When one group of overweight maids was told they exceeded the surgeon general's guidelines for fitness, they started losing weight.

Morning Edition, January 3, 2008

The holidays are finally over and your waistline is as overstretched as your credit card. It's time to take action! What should you do?
A) Hit the gym.
B) Make a solemn pledge to never ingest another sweet for as long as you live.
C) Hit the gym and make a solemn pledge to never ingest another sweet for as long as you live, or
D) Sit around on the couch eating chocolate bonbons while genuinely believing that you are getting a lot of rigorous exercise.

The answer to this multiple-choice quiz might not be as straightforward as you think. In fact, a recent study by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer seems to challenge our basic assumptions about the relationship between the physical body and the mind - and perhaps even our assumptions about the nature of objective reality itself. It certainly challenges our assumptions
about the limits of the placebo effect.

Langer is a researcher who has published several important and provocative studies. In this study, she decided to look at whether our perception of how much exercise we are getting has any effect on how our bodies actually look. To do this, she studied hotel maids.

As any casual observer of the hospitality industry knows, hotel maids spend the majority of their days lugging heavy equipment around endless hallways. Basically, almost every moment of their working lives is spent engaged in some kind of physical activity. But Langer found that most of these women don't see themselves as physically active. She did a survey and found that 67 percent reported they didn't exercise. More than one-third of those reported they didn't get any exercise at all. "Given that they are exercising all day long," Langer says, "that seemed to be bizarre."

Perceptions Matter
What was even more bizarre, she says, was that, despite the fact all of the women in her study far exceeded the U.S. surgeon general's recommendation for daily exercise, the bodies of the women did not seem to benefit from their activity. Langer and her team measured the maids' body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, weight and body mass index. They found that all of these indicators matched the maids' perceived amount of exercise, rather than their actual amount of exercise. So Langer set about changing perceptions.

She divided 84 maids into two groups. With one group, researchers carefully went through each of the tasks they did each day, explaining how many calories those tasks burned. They were informed that the activity already met the surgeon general's definition of an active lifestyle. The other group was given no information at all. One month later, Langer and her team returned to take physical measurements of the women and were surprised by what they found. In the group that had been educated, there was a decrease in their systolic blood pressure, weight, and waist-to-hip ratio - and a 10 percent drop in blood pressure.

One possible explanation is that the process of learning about the amount of exercise they were already getting somehow changed the maids' behavior. But Langer says that her team surveyed both the women and their managers and found no indication that the maids had altered their routines in any way. She believes that the change can be explained only by the change in the
women's mindset.

Essentially, what Langer is talking about is a placebo effect. She says that if you believe you are exercising, your body may respond as if it is. It's the same as if you believe you are getting medication when you are actually getting a sugar pill - your body can sometimes respond as if a placebo is actually working. The implication is that the "objective reality" of the physical body is not as immovable as we might have assumed. Hence, the theoretical possibility that, if done with genuine conviction, one might be able to sit around eating chocolate and still lose weight.

Placebo Effect Limited?
But Martin Binks, director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in North Carolina, is skeptical of Langer's conclusion, even though he is impressed with the physical changes in the maids. "There's a very high likelihood that [the maids] behaved differently after
they received that information," he says, "and they were being more active and eating more healthfully. And that resulted in their improvements in health."

But Binks has a more substantive criticism. He does not believe that placebos are capable of producing the kind of objective change in the physical body that Langer is claiming. "Generally what placebos work on is subjective types of findings," he says. In other words, a placebo can help change something like your perception of pain or perhaps your sense of whether you feel depressed, but it can't do something objective like shrink a tumor or cut three pounds off your waistline.

Or can it?

Howard Brody has spent years looking at this issue. He says that a number of relatively new studies challenge the old assumption that the placebo effect alters only subjective perception. He is the director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the author of the book, The Placebo Response.

For example, Brody notes one study where researchers gave asthmatic patients a drug that actually makes asthma worse. When they gave the drug to the patients, they told them that it relieves asthma. "A significant number of those patients said that my asthma got better when you gave me the drug," Brody says, "and they measured better when you measured the lung findings. "So the idea that the placebo effect applies only to subjective things is really one that we have to dismiss."

So maybe it really might be possible to sit on the couch eating chocolates and lose weight. I, for one, am certainly willing to sacrifice and give it the old college try.

My first thoughts

My original thought was to join some kind of a program. I found this link - - in an article but the whole thing seemed very complicated. Lisa G. suggested setting up a wiki but since that creates one document (and because I already knew how to set up a blog), I decided on a blog instead.

So I'll start w/what I've been doing lately and what changes I'm starting (notice that I did not write "trying") to make.

I came across a website called The two women who created it are sisters who wrote a book about 20 years ago called Sidetracked Home Executives. It was given to my mother but I read it instead and I found it pretty interesting.

The site has some really useful (for me) ideas. In particular, they talk about doing things in only 15-minute increments. For example, walk out your front door, walk for 7 minutes, then turn around and walk home. In the morning, when I feel tired and want to take the bus, I tell myself that it's just a 5-minute walk to work, not even 15 minutes. And it helps.

They are also very big on creating new routines so that you don't think about things but just incorporate them into your life. So, for example, when I take my morning medicine, I drink a glass of water. It's part of my morning routine.

They also have two links that I liked.
This one has a page that you can complete on a daily basis that takes a holistic view. It asks if you've drunk water, moved, stretched, had fiber, slept, etc. I really like it and have already started drinking a little more water on a regular basis.
This is a contract you sign with yourself to support yourself through this process, etc. Also very nice.

I read in AM New York (a local, free newspaper) recently, a short piece about changing one's eating habits and I wrote them down because I found them so powerful.
First, fantasize re healthy food. Pick a food you like, and that you have at home. Imagine a nice, ripe pear: feel it, smell, taste it, feel the juice, etc. Then? Eat it! It
Second, change the words you use. Choose positives: I want to feel fitter, healthier, faster, more able to move.

What I've discovered in the last few days is that I don't like feeling deprived and I don't like feeling like I don't have access to junk food. So I have ice cream in the freezer and I've actually avoided eating it. Because I feel like I can eat it whenever I want, I've been able to avoid it - well at least once!

The biggest thing I discovered - duh! - is that good food needs to be easy to eat. So instead of trying to make a salad, I bought grape tomatoes, Israeli cucumbers, carrots, easily peeled clementines, and it's helping.

Of course, I went to lunch with a friend and ate lots of bread and butter, but I'm working on it. I'm changing! Come join me!


I needed accountability and some support in making changes to how I eat, sleep, drink and I discovered that some of my friends did, too. So I've set up a blog with a bunch of us as authors so that we can contribute thoughts, suggestions, reactions, etc. as we try to change our habits. It looks like I'm going to be the first to post! :-)