Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Health and Wellbeing

I've wanted to address this for a while, and I think I will today. Weight gain and getting rid of the extra pounds. We all want to live healthy and long lives, right? Weight gain is a problem for women more than men because they seem to be able to work it off easily. For us, it's the belly, the waist, thighs—you know what I'm talking about.

One of my favorite authors' pictures makes me just cringe when I think that she needs to address her weight and overall health. I'm not sure even from her blogs that this is an issue with her or not. But as writers, we don't have an option as to how we go about the writing. We need to sit down and write for hours at a time. But we so need to etch out time for exercise, even if it's a 20 minute walk.

I was never heavy when I was much younger, but as my twenties and thirties roared in, the pounds began to pile up—two, three or 5 pounds over the winter. When I was that age, I worked outdoors in the spring and summer and shed it. I didn't become way concerned about it until my 40's. The place where I worked, at the time, someone was always having a birthday and the cakes and so forth were brought in on a weekly bases. Sometimes more often. Thus you indulge because it's there. Extra pounds again piled on, and I did try to walk when the weather allowed it during the lunch break, but still the extra calories were there.

This winter I found myself over 150 pounds. I've never been this heavy in my life. I didn't like it, I felt uncomfortable, and at five-four, this wasn't a good thing. Not for my knees which I have been taking Flex-o-min for. Having gone through menopause a few years ago, I knew that weight was going to be my biggest problem. It's not flattering and I felt terrible. I was horrified when I was looking at size XL!

I determined I was having problems with munching on snacks too often. But I got hungry. Why? I guess it just got out of hand. The calories in snacks are the diet killers.

That's when my loving husband stepped in. While I was in my bath one afternoon, he picked up the phone an ordered something called “Smoothies” that had been advertised on TV in our area. He told me he had done this for me to help me reduce my cravings. And let's face it, the two things I do—my job as a writer, and as a bus driver—I'm required to sit for the majority of the time. When I'm writing, this is a mental past time, creatively speaking, and thus you aren't really aware of time passage. I have a clock on my desk top, but I don't watch it like I do while driving the bus. My bus routes are in increments of 30 min. and I constantly have to watch the clock and time my snacks accordingly. I usually get done with the route within 20-25 minutes which leaves me with a little bit of time to do whatever I need to do—which includes a snack.

I got the Smoothies in a week. One Smoothie was to replace a meal (2 per day—breakfast & lunch), and unlike the popular sugary diet drinks you get for this at the store, the Smoothies have something in it to hold your cravings down, has more protein in it, and less sugar, and were only 200 calories once I mixed it with Low Fat milk.

Then I was to make better, wiser choices in my snacks. Calorie-wise I found out that although the walnuts I was eating have Omega-3, one quarter cup is 200 calories! My smoothies, when I mixed with milk were at 200 calories. I was trying to keep my daily intake at the 2,000-calorie level, so that one snack had to go—plus a few others.

Since I wasn't that over weight, the weight loss was not dramatic. Actually this is a good thing. I've read that if you loose weight gradually, it will stay off. I began the 6-week Smoothie diet back in February. To this date I've lost ten pounds (and didn't have to buy any extra large clothing, thank goddess!) I'm still loosing about a pound every 7-10 days.

Once I got off the Smoothies I had to find something that would substitute my breakfast and lunch meals. The breakfast wasn't hard. I ate oatmeal, and sometimes strawberries, or I'd substitute “Egg Beaters” for the cereal, and that filled me along with a half cup of cottage cheese--2%.

I still needed snacks and so chose certain ones that I knew didn't have fructose or high fructose corn syrup in it. The horrible truth about why people are so overweight is because your body will not assimilate fructose to energy, but it stores as fat in your body.

I spend 7 hours on a bus driving college students around. The one big thing I'd noticed was obesity ran rampant. Why? Fructose has replaced sugar in pop and other snacks, in bread, cereal, and other products for years. It's only now coming out in the open as the worst thing you can eat. Avoid it like the plague, READ LABLES!!! Many products will state it on the front that they don't have it. Miracle Whip doesn't state it, but they have substituted it with sugar. Ketchup is another one with fructose in it. If you eat out a lot, try to at least lower the consumption of ketchup, and eliminate fries—they are bad for you. Eat a salad with grilled chicken—not deep-fried, and use salad dressing is at least low-fat.

If you eat yogurt be aware if it has any flavoring at all in it, it probably does have high fructose—I've yet to see more than a few that don't, especially with fruit. If they don't have the high fructose corn syrup, and have another substitute, be aware that you're still eating something that really isn't all that healthy for you. Eat plain yogurt if you want to get the benefits, add your own fruit, use a natural sugar substitute.

Once I got off the Smoothies I had to figure out what I could make for lunch. In my job I only have time for a quick sandwich. But one slice of bread is 100 calories. Then I found Bread Thins, or Deli Thins. They're small, thin, round buns, one is only 100 calories. I add cheese, turkey lunch meat, lettuce, tomato slices, and mayo. I might have something that ranges at 250-280 calories. But this is my lunch. My snacks are V-8 juice (8 oz.)--40 calories, celery, and carrot sticks, South Beach Living granola bars. The granola bars are 110 calories, and are my mid morning snack to keep me going while on the bus. I don't eat these while at home. After I get home I usually eat a banana. I've switched to skim milk as it's only 80 calories per cup.

Of course you have to lighten up and have one thing you know you will crave. I allow myself one—only one per day—piece of dark chocolate that comes in a wrapper. These are right around 30 calories. It's my one indulgence. I do still enjoy 2 glasses of wine at night, and this hasn't hampered my weight loss any, as far as I can determine.

We writers are so busy with our writing, and lives on the side, that it get difficult to get into a work-out program, but I think we can make wise choices in the foods we eat, at least. We deserve it, and I think we'd like to be around a while for our children, spouses—and yes, our fans!


  1. I like the new look of the blog. The black makes it perfect for your genre! Fantastic post by the way. Bravo to you for thinking about and addressing this issue. We must not sacrifice our health for our writing. Perhaps I'll blog about that and link to yours...

  2. Oh, thank you, Hether. I did want to work on a change, and this might work, just trying a new strategy.

    By the way, this blog got 16 visitors yesterday!

    Yes, do write your thoughts on this. I think we do have to make some sacrifices for the writing, but health isn't one of them.


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