Posts Tagged ‘Diet

01
Jan
13

New Year’s Day …

New Year’s Day …

New Year's Eve, 2013, NYC

As a young woman, New Year’s seemed loaded with the hazards of the dating life, expectations met and lost, and the specter of a fresh start, though not unburdened with the seeds of doubt regarding those pesky New Year’s resolutions.

A world away from that earlier version of myself – the one in the 1970s garb (OMG!!!), dancing the hustle to Donna Summer at the Salty Dog in the East 80’s on one New Year’s eve or another with my bestie, Jamie, and an assortment of leisure-suited guys – I can say with some assurance that there are some helpful do’s in the resolution game!

Do # 1:  Let the KISS theory suffice (as in keep it simple …)

Keep it simple! Credit: Sodahead.com

That means instead of promising yourself an elaborate hours long daily workout that involves multiple machines, ab-routines PLUS a LOT of rounds of boxing/running/fill in you’re your own workout poison, how about just promising yourself that you will commit to a regular exercise program with reasonable goals that you can attain as in … January:  I will run (fill in the number) miles per week … et al…

Do # 2:  Think grand, but not TOO grand.

Overachiever! Credit: danceswithfat.wordpress.com

Okay, you have a book you always wanted to write or a new part of the garden to plant or a terrific new glazing technique to try that involves multiple steps and using weird chemicals, or figure this is the year to run that marathon you always promised yourself.

That all sounds great, but first off remember Do # 1.

Is it attainable?

Do you have the time?

And most importantly, do you feel ready to take on the challenge? (As in, if you have a tricky knee, a marathon may not be in the cards.)

If you do feel as if you have the “stuff” to do it, then in the words of my favorite Captain (as in Picard) … “make it so.”

If not – perhaps a weekly blog will help you “rev” up your writing or consider adding tomatoes this year, or try walking first with your knee brace before taking on light jogging.

Remember that you get a lot of self-“brownie” points for trying, but face your own “Wrath of Khan” if you underestimate the obstacles after having put all that self-capital into believing you would complete the task.

Do #3:  When in doubt, do it with a friend.

Tandam Bicycle, circa 1900, Credit: gryphonsbicyclerepair.blogspot.com

This one is a good one, especially for exercise goals, weight-loss and other “we can do it” attainables that lend themselves to a little friendly competition, not to mention the buddy-system to drag your butt out of bed for those early morning routines – or fun stuff like learning to tap dance, salsa or fox trot, or even putting together your own group to learn Italian, or better yet a fight-club of your own for weekly sparring!

The point is, doing it with a friend (or two or three, or more) gives you camaraderie plus a lot of inspiration for those outer months past the first blush or two when rising for yet another early morning run is about the last thing you want to do.

Do #4: Do what feels right for YOU.

Anthony Quinn Bay, Rhodes, Greece

This one’s a tricky.

Say you really could lose a few pounds, but the truth is it’s not in the cards right now. Well have the guts to say, nope, not now. The same thing with adding days to your workout schedule at the gym or even giving your mother a call every Sunday morning.

The point is to be aware of what is and is not attainable or desirable for yourself before you launch into things that you just can’t handle.

Better to take on fun things like catching up on your British police procedurals (Prime Suspect – all seven seasons – is on Netflix), than to burden yourself with daily yoga or insight meditation when you’re just not ready for it.

The same goes to being nicer to people you don’t like and all the other things we add to our lists.

The point is to make it work for you. After all, you don’t have to be a New Year’s resolution overachiever!

So think through the sorts of things that have meaning to you not to what has meaning to others and if this is your year to run a marathon, then have at it. Otherwise, content yourself with cutting back on caffeine after 4:00 PM or doing Sun Salutations on Saturday mornings instead of burdening yourself with the whole enchilada, so to speak.

Do #5: Sometimes grand is good!

Taj Mahal

Okay, yes, this does fly in the face of Do #2, but there’s nothing wrong with going for it either!

So if you are up for it — take the challenge!

That could mean boxing in the Golden Gloves or fighting for a WBA female title!

Whatever it is give it your best and if it means going full-throttle than by all means do!

You deserve whatever goal you think you can achieve no matter how large or how small.

I’m not saying that risk is everything – but without it, we lose our creative edge, which I figure is what we’re all about anyway.

Put it this way, whether it’s finishing the book on time (hint to self), working through the ills of your body to come back into the game or readying yourself to go for the gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games … there is no better time than today to overcome whatever obstacles stand in your way.

Whatever you resolutions, I’d like to wish my Girlboxing pals all the best in 2013 with the sincere hope that whatever it is you do – this is your year!!!

04
Dec
12

Eating like a “boid” …

Eating like a “boid” …

Stuffed Cabbage, Credit: Big Oven.com

Many women I know (and a few men-truth be told) are perpetually on a diet. Sometimes its even to the point where their diets are on a diet and the kind of thing where one can discern the caloric and fat content of a Starbucks Morning Bun at fifty paces.

Way back in the day — say when I was fourteen and in my grandmother’s kitchen in Far Rockaway — She’d put a plate of food in front of me that could feed half of Queens and then, sitting next to me, patting my hand would say, “Eat, darling, eat.  You eat like a boid. Eat, darling eat.”

Now mind you I LOVED her stuffed cabbage, but, we are talking one at a time, not three, not to mention, the candied yams (at any time of year), stuffed derma (never one of my favorites) and a large breast of paprika chicken.

Matzah Ball Soup, Credit: Saveur.comThat was just lunch — not a holiday meal where a plate like that was the appetizer to be followed by Matzah Ball Soup (hmmm), gefilte fish (’cause there had to be a fish appetizer course), Turkey (if it was Thanksgiving), what my grandmother called “meat” which was pot roast, carrots and potatoes baked with tomatoes to the point where the meat was in strings, the aforementioned paprika chicken, and assorted vegetables such as beets, potatoes and peas and carrots.  And we can’t forget dessert, which was usually cake (macaroons on Passover) and pieces of candy or fruit from the endless supply of bowls filled with the stuff, plus coffee (instant), tea (Lipton), fights over sneaking real milk (not kosher) versus the dried milk substitute, oh and when my Uncle Bunny was over, shots of Slivowitz for the adults at the table.

The period from Thanksgiving through the New Year brings to mind my Grandmother’s bounteous table–or as I like to call it a heart-attack-on-a-plate. And even with her many admonitions about my avian-like behavior, which frankly I never really understood, because I always felt like I ate enough for a week!

Later in my twenties, I made the schlep to Far Rockaway to an older, svelter Grandma who in fighting off her high “sugar” count (aka Type II Diabetes) had dropped from a size 18 to an 8. Still, she’d put a humongous plate of food in front of me, as if I’d been out on the velt chasing lions or something before hopping the A train and with nary a thought to what it might do to my health.

More to the point, her sense of proportion reflected a feast-or-famine mentality honed I suppose from her experiences raising a family during the Depression and her own childhood in places like the Lower East Side and East Harlem where money was always tight.

A lot of years later, however, a portion of that size is an automatic five-pound weight gain (even thinking about it gives me at least a pound or two), not to mention a GERD attack (indigestion plus a throat on fire) and an instant case of narcolepsy.

While counting calories feels incredibly luxurious in a world where many people would still look on one of Grandma’s plates of food as something miraculous, Western types with jingle in their jeans and a ready source of fabulous foods face different challenges. And if you’re a woman of a certain age like me, “water weight” no longer cuts it as an excuse.

What is required is a mindfulness about food that takes into account the body’s carbohydrate, protein, fat and caloric needs, the state of one’s health, and a moment of reflection from time-to-time on where food comes from and how it gets to one’s table. After all, most of us do not go to the back forty to pick our own tomatoes, green beans and sweet peas (except maybe in summer at our country places), nor do we pluck our freshly killed chickens, milk cows or gather our eggs at 5:00 in the morning. What we do is wander through the aisles of a supermarket or Whole Foods or the local deli or maybe even make it to a Farmer’s Market to pick up fresh foods or more than likely prepared meals (frozen, boxed or fresh) or skip it all and eat out or better yet, order in Thai.

What we don’t necessarily do is take the time to reflect on what we are eating and how it got there or how its many nutrients pass through the miracle of the body to be stripped down into constituent parts to fuel our many activities.

Chocolate, Credit: Kitchen TalkWhether its eating too little or eating too much, what we owe ourselves is eating “right” especially as we enter that period where food abounds and whether through many temptations (hmmm, yes, chocolate), lots of holiday gatherings or just plain anxiety, how we eat seems to get laden down with a lot of extra baggage, plus a notch or too on our belts.

Whatever your persuasion during the next several weeks, be aware that issues around eating will definitely be on the table … so think twice and if you do have that yummy extra helping of freshly made potato latkes, what the heck, enjoy, after all, it is only once a year!

24
Jan
12

Hey pretty and other stories from the battle of the bulge!

“Hey pretty,” and other stories from the battle of the bulge!

A Girlboxing reader wrote about the problem of looking into the mirror and shaking her head a bit at the body that stared back at her.  That is a hard one to reconcile.  There we all are working our bottoms off, eating one pea at a time and going through all the truly difficult work-out stuff, yet because we don’t look like the women adorning the cover of Self magazine we steel ourselves with a sharp intake of breath every time we look at ourselves in the mirror.

It reminds me of the Mighty Aphrodite speech I used to give my friends back in the day when I was — heck, in my early 40s and really full of things!  (That’s another story for another day.)

I was going through a breast cancer scare at the time (luckily negative) — but went through one of those moments after the first mammo, when air seemed to be sucked out of the room into a kind of hush as the Radiologist and the Technician came back in to take yet another film.  Days later in the waiting room before surgery to remove a bunch of nasty looking calcifications, my two oldest forever friends we’re trying to distract me with tales from their love lives (never a good thing, I can assure you).

Now both were in my estimation beauties.  One had long blonde hair a body honed by a lifetime of tennis, racquetball, running, weight lifting and the most perfect shiksa legs you ever saw.  The other one had more of an “exotic” beauty and happened to be in one of her thinner than thin stages.  To remind you, we were all in your early 40s and yet all these two gorgeous women could talk about was how they hated dating because eventually they’d have to “show” their bodies to a new man.  What?!?

Girl in the Mirror, Picasso

Well, to say that I launched was an understatement, my basic point being you are Mighty Aphrodite, hear you roar!  Truly.  That body staring back at you in the mirror, the one with character and stories and loving feelings. The one that bore children or heartache. The one that fought illness. The one that gained and lost.  The one that worked out at five o’clock in the morning and ran in the rain.  The body with hints of ripples on your arms from slinging dumbbells or the fabulous movements of a Zumba class is, my friends, BEAUTIFUL.

Even when you hate that extra tire around your middle or my personal favorite, the “You’ve become one of those women,” statement from your doctor.  In my case it meant confronting how I’d become my grandmother. However, there is still deep beauty in the saggy skin and cottage cheese that combine to make YOUR fabulous thigh.  And to channel my grandmother even more you can go through the three stages of grief according to Lillian Miller:  first you cry, then you get up and wash your face, and then you do.   None of the seven stages nonsense for her.  Life is too damned short and has a way of making you 57 before you know it.

So Girlboxing friends please give yourselves a round of applause for where you are in life — and the next time you look in the mirror blow yourself a kiss and say, “Hey pretty,” it’ll work wonders for you!  I know that it did me.

 

 

 




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© Malissa Smith and Girlboxing, 2010-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Malissa Smith and Girlboxing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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