Tag Archives: health

Weight loss hygiene Part III: The company we keep

When I was at university, I had about a hundred different jobs, one of which was tending bar in a karaoke bar that sat alongside a Chinese restaurant in Oceanside.  We had these two regulars, who I’ll refer to here as Dave and Sam.  They came in absolutely every night.  The nights I worked, the nights I didn’t – they were there.  They always sat at the end of the bar, about two seats apart, Sam nearest the exit so he could go out and smoke.  My boss was this knock-out Filipina single mom in her late 30s, and I’m pretty sure they and every dude in that restaurant were head over heels for her.

Sam was really smooth – almost like something out of a movie.  He smiled, but never too much, and was only really nice after he’d had one too many, so usually quite late in the evening, when he’d started buying rounds and killing my tips (he was a very bad tipper).  He was in his late 50s or maybe even early 60s by that point, and he was always well-dressed, in slacks and a button-up shirt, never jeans – I doubt he even owned a pair.  He drank something classic – martinis I think, or maybe old fashioneds – and he didn’t talk too much.  He’d go crazy when I’d sing “My Funny Valentine” – that was how I won him over, actually – and though he was reserved, he was a good guy.

Dave, however, wasn’t reserved at all.  He was one of those guys who just exudes generosity and kindness.  Dave was heavyset – probably weighed just under 300 lbs – and didn’t drink a drop.  He was in recovery.  He didn’t smoke, either, as he’d quit that not long after he gave up booze.  So nobody gave him any trouble for chowing down on as much deep-fried bar food as he fancied…Dave had already made some very difficult decisions in the name of his health and wellbeing.

Here’s the thing:  Dave was a recovering alcoholic who spent every single night (except meeting nights) at a bar, and never drank. Still, he was addicted to food – maybe before he gave up drink too – I wouldn’t know – but I imagine it got a lot easier to eat too much after he gave up drinking and smoking.  Meanwhile, Sam was also most definitely an addict.  Don’t get me wrong – he was very responsible with his addiction, always handed his keys over when he needed to and was never disrespectful to anybody.  But he was in that bar every single night. And every night he put back at least 4 or 5 of whatever highball it was he drank.

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London Musings Vol. I: (Mostly) For Vegans

I am officially on day 7 of my 14 day stint in London and these three things are true:

  • I’ve gotten a fraction of what I’d have liked done in terms of work;
  • It’s been profoundly emotive and emotional;
  • I’ve been solidifying all sorts of theories I had about why me and London weren’t best mates when I called it home.

I won’t bore you with the details of any of these…just thought you might like to know.  What I will do, however, is preach a little bit about proper vegan nutrition – something I’ve only recently wrapped my head around and something too few people – from die-hard omnivores to sworn vegans – properly appreciate.

Anybody who knows me (or reads me) knows that I’m not too keen on preaching about being vegan.  It’s something that’s very dear to me in terms of my life decisions, but I’m also well aware that people don’t like being told what to eat or how to eat it, and ranting about it is about as likely to get someone on one’s side as beating them over the head with a butternut squash.

What I’m struggling increasingly to keep quiet about is how vegans too often eat because:

  1. They personally don’t understand how important nutrition is;
  2. They trip over themselves incessantly in an effort to appease omnivores; or
  3. They fall victim to a lack of available foodstuffs that can keep them healthy.

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Year 2…and counting…

Around this time last year, I posted about my 1 year anniversary of giving up those wicked little sticks I’d depended upon for more than half of my life.  The focus of those posts was what had and hadn’t worked, since 2 years ago wasn’t the first, second, or even 8th time I’d given up smoking.  This morning, though, out for a run with Chris (during which, incidentally, my lungs didn’t hurt one bit), I got to thinking about a seminal point in my last so-far-successful attempt.  That moment so deeply affected my success to this point – and quite a lot of other things in my life, to be honest – I thought it warranted a post all its own.

As a manager at the Y, I had what I thought of as the A-Team for a little while.  There were hiccups, of course – sick leave, temporary transfers, etc.  But when we were a team – and, really, it was more about when they were a team – it was magical.  Three very different women with such remarkably disparate gifts to offer, I couldn’t have hand-picked a better trio.  The eldest of them, C, was – is – an extraordinary person.  Her life could fill not less than three novels, and her experience was infused with a depth of understanding the rest of us were and are still working on.

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Look out, Modern Medicine.

This past Sunday afternoon Chris decided to go for a run, while I decided to do some yoga (nowhere near fit enough to do both in one day…one must choose).  We happened to forget that on Sundays the front door to our apartment building is locked, so we have to use a key to get in.  Since Chris forgot his, he simply buzzed – no biggie.  Thing is, our buzzer is très forte, and I was in Marichyasana C:

I look nothing like this when I do it.

The end result was that I kinda jumped – a teensy little jump – and about 24 hours later I was virtually immobile.  I’d thrown out my back, and it took the whole night and most of the following day to figure it out, but when it hit me, I knew what had happened.  The pain was awful – from the bottom of my left thigh right up into my neck.  Perhaps most annoyingly, I absolutely could not make it to my French class, which is, as I’ve mentioned previously, obligatoire.  So I had to get a doctor’s note.  But there was no point, really, in going to a doctor, because they would just refer me to an osteopath.  So we skipped ahead and went straight there.

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1 Year In…What Did Work.

It’s probably true that one of the biggest obstacles to quitting smoking is all of the hype that surrounds it…and ironically, a lot of that hype is geared to support people through the process.  My friend Kevin once (Who am I kidding?  More like fifty thousand times) told me that the trick wasn’t to quit smoking…rather it was to become a nonsmoker.  This was incredibly sage advice, but I wasn’t hearing any of it, in large part because nonsmokers telling us to quit, or why we should quit, just doesn’t work.  Even if they were smokers before.  That said, when the time is right and the smoker in question does take the plunge, a lot of that great advice comes in handy.

Having been smoke free for a year now, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what I did wrong all those years…and what I did right this time around.  As previously mentioned, these lists are exclusively the product of my own personal experience, and it just might be balderdash to everyone else out there.  Bear in mind, if you’re a smoker, I’m not telling you to quit…only you will know when the time is right, and rushing it, or doing it for somebody else…well, it didn’t work for me (although that didn’t make it to my previous list…maybe it should have?).  I think this is more about planting seeds…thinking about something is the first step in making that thing a reality, and thinking about becoming a nonsmoker in a healthy, positive way…well, like I said, it’s only a start.

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1 Year In…What Didn’t Work.

So as of a few days ago, it’s officially been fully one year since I resolved to quit smoking.  Yes, I realize that most people would celebrate their actual quit date, but these things are never really that simple, as any smoker will tell you.  This is, for me, a massive milestone in my life…the whole premise of “what if and why not” is for me this idea of life’s endless possibilities…I have known for a very long time that I would be severely limiting my own life’s possibilities if I couldn’t kick the habit.  So in light of that, I’m dedicating two posts to my process…maybe it will help a couple of people, maybe it’s just therapeutic for me.  Maybe a bit of both.  Whatever the case, please bear in mind that these are things that worked for me, and every person’s journey to any new stage in their life is unique.

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