Doing the transformation tango is not easy. After two years of back trouble, I have decided it is time to do what that seventy year-old woman did (not the one who got pregnant) and transform myself, although being pregnant would certainly qualify as a transformational experience. This was a woman who, in her fifties, or sixties, decided she wanted to be in phenomenal shape for the rest of her life, and knew it would require more than just a stroll around the block. I am not sure why I decided to do the transformational tango now; it wasn’t the advent of the new year that pushed me over the edge.
A week ago I decided to do the Transformation Tango with the cardio barre workout. The transforming tango is not easy to do. In fact, I have been standing in a puddle of sweat during each workout. My goal is to transform myself physically as much as possible in the space of three months, in time for a landmark birthday. New Year’s resolutions mean little to me, but I did get inspired by the calendar in another way.
I recently gave a friend some unsolicited advice (no! not me!) garnished with the caveat that he may find it ‘new age’ and creepy, but which has worked for me, many times. I learned it from my guy, who regularly practices it. Whenever he gets an ache or a pain, a symptom that is causing him discomfort, he places his hand over the spot, and finds a few quiet minutes to concentrate on it. He visualizes it as being pain-free, and as being flooded with healthy red and white blood cells.
Huffin’ and puffin’ up my mountain trail, my best bud and walking companion, Jupie, and I approve the walking tool, the walking poles. I don’t know where the inspiration came to me to try these out. I have been recovering from a sports injury, and have had to give up walks for the last several months. Bicycling and swimming are always good standbys, but if you want to exercise conveniently with the dog and the family, nothing beats a neighborhood walk or hike.
I wrote awhile back about our adopted canine companion, Jupiter J. Johnson. The story of how she adopted us is touching, and the story of how she continually tried to be with us, through rain and sleet, wind and snow, heat and more heat, became a constant source of anxiety on my part for a few years.
Our little girl had anxiety issues. I had found her in the street, falling down against the curb, and trying to find someone to love her. After a cursory search of the neighborhood, and finding no claimants to her, I took her home. She proved to be the sweetest, kindest, smartest companion I had had for a long time. People generally disappoint in some way, dogs rarely.
Professor Henry Hill sang of Eliza that he had ‘grown accustomed to her face’, and her presence in his home. It was not the most romantic of declarations; in fact, he never even said he was fond of her. We knew he was; he waxed eloquent about the tune she whistled as she went about the house, and even her ‘smiles and frowns’, her ‘ups and downs’. They became second nature to him, ‘like breathing in and breathing out’. These are actually beautiful words, expressing a love that had become a part of his very existence. That is not what I want for my weight problem.
Article first published as I Confess, I Do Love My Green Beans on Technorati.
Orthorexia is the condition of being addicted to eating healthy food. Are they kidding us, with this? This is like the debate about whether it is better to brush your teeth in an up and down motion, or back and forth, or whether it just doesn’t make any freaking difference, as long as there is a toothbrush and toothpaste somewhere in the vicinity of your mouth.
After doing a little research into the matter, I can see where this could get out of hand. This article by Stephen Bratman, (an apt name for his attitude about healthy eating during his obsessed period: http://www.beyondveg.com/bratman-s/hfj/hf-junkie-1a.shtml) talks about how he helped prepare food at a commune for a time. Every person at this commune belonged to one foodie group or another, and wanted their meals prepared accordingly. This is like a nightmare flight for flight attendants twenty years ago. We would have vegetarian, kosher, and the people who ordered them decided they didn’t want them, so they would eat a regular meal, leaving a hapless person in the rear of the plane with a vegetarian meal.
AARP put out a very comprehensive guide on how to save money in many different ways, including saving money on driving and cars. I know that there are millions of people out there in my age group (which is in one of the upper boxes you check for age categories) who probably have this guide already. Too bad, I am going to write about them anyway. And there are plenty of unfortunate ones among us, who are still struggling upward, toward the rarified atmosphere of the long-lived, who haven’t seen this guide. AARP hasn’t sent them that invitation on their fiftieth birthday that gave the rest of us such a shock. Who needs enemies, when you’ve got AARP to remind you that these are your twilight years?
Our illustrious guide says that cars with stick shifts get more miles per gallon than cars with automatic transmissions. Did we all learn stick? I know I did, in an orange Gremlin. My girlfriends and I would take it to downtown Portland, Oregon, and cruise the streets on Saturday night, ala American Graffiti. I don’t think you can do this anymore, and what a joy teens are missing out on! Portland is a hilly city, so when I needed to stop, I would have to have one of my friends put their foot on the brake while I shifted and changed gears. Eventually, I learned how to do this all by myself, but what a rush it was, until I mastered it! Especially when trying to parallel park. On the up side, I did save a lot of gas driving that stick, especially since fifty cents would take care of our gas needs for the entire day and night back then. Continue reading
Like an old-fashioned head of household, the back needs to be kept happy. Back pain relief is essential for normal daily functioning; nothing is easy when you suffer with back pain. I posted recently a piece about Thai massage and how the technique of having someone else stretch your muscles can help you walk more comfortably, and even improve back pain and leg pain. My guy continues to do this for me and I am improving just a bit every single day. There is also something new we have added which, like so many things in life, was a serendipitous discovery. We are taking a supplement from a local herb store called ‘Happy Back.’ I was selling an item I no longer needed, and the woman who came to look at it mentioned this formula. She talked us into trying it, and the rest is history.
This supplement is quite amazing. I have a friend who has high blood pressure and occasional kidney pain. He can feel stress in his kidneys, followed by a throbbing pain that can double him over. He started taking this supplement twice a day, for a total of eight tablets, and the pain in his kidneys has disappeared, his blood pressure is lower, and his back pain and sciatica is gone. I began taking it, and it may be coincidence, it may be the power of suggestion, or it may be the supplement, but the day I started taking it I had considerably less back pain. I took a total of eight tablets for two days, but I am going to continue with just four in the morning.
I looked at my favorite vitamin web site, Swanson Vitamins, to check whether they might have this formula cheaper. They do not, and neither does anyone else, as far as I can tell. The ingredients at 500mg are as follows: Juniper berries, parsley root, dandelion root, uva ursi, ginger root, althea root, goldenseal root, and astragalus.
Juniper berries were used by American Indians to treat diabetes, and a 17th century herbalist recommended it for asthma and sciatica (!!). Parsley root has traditionally been used to flush the urinary tract, which may explain the improvement in kidney pain in my friend. If the kidneys are experiencing distress, it makes sense that would affect a person’s back. Dandelion leaves and roots have been used as a diuretic and to improve liver function, and to bring down swelling or inflammation. It follows that if you are improving vital organ function, and bringing down inflammation, that would also improve back function, and ease pain.
Uva Ursi is also used to improve urinary tract functions; it reduces the swelling of mucous membranes which helps reduce inflammation. Ginger root may decrease pain from arthritis, according to studies, and may also be helpful in treating heart disease and lowering cholesterol, which may explain my friend’s drop in blood pressure. Althea root is a mucilage which makes it good for the respiratory system. Anything that removes excess fluid and mucous from the system can only improve it. Mucous is formed because there are foreign objects that the body is trying to get rid of, and this clogs the pipes, puts pressure on nerves in organs, and can cause aches and back pain. Goldenseal is often used to boost the medicinal effects of other herbs, and astragalus is antiinflammatory and can lower blood pressure.
Discovering Thai massage has helped to relieve much back pain for me. For the last two months I had been having a little trouble walking, with some pain in my left leg. I had injured a groin muscle years ago while riding my bike, and it had become progressively worse.
An injured muscle shortens and weakens, and causes some havoc in other parts of the body, if left untreated. I went to a chiropractor, and while I believe in many alternative therapies, this didn’t seem to help; in fact, it got worse after I saw him. The situation was worrying me enough that I wanted to find an alternative treatment. I refused to even consider surgery, or any prescription medications. Going down that road seldom leads to a safe return. I am not advocating anyone give up their meds, but anytime you hear someone of a very advanced age talk about their lifestyle, one consistent factor jumps out: they never took meds.
Thai massage came into my life by accident, or divine design, I’m not sure which. I am convinced that when you need something, God will provide it. He does it in odd or roundabout ways, sometimes. I had grown my hair for six months, waiting for it to be long enough to get a Jane Fonda “Klute” shag. The first stylist I went to really butchered my hair. It was without a doubt, the worst haircut I have ever had. Ergo, I had to make another appointment with another stylist at another salon I had been to before, but had decided to forego to find a closer salon. Quel mistake! Go with what you know.