My favorite denial

 

The elk came through October 13, a record by a month. Here’s the deal: the elk come through approximately 2-7 days before the first snow (this is what the last 2 years have taught us). This year, we think- they have become confused–there is No. Way. it’s gonna snow. Oct 13th, they are lounging it the grass. Oct 14th, BAM, it snows–three inches. The elk look as shocked as we are, but their internal clocks had it right.

Two years, thirty pounds. That’s what a move, moose and too much hot chocolate has done to me. My indented stomach expanded like the air in a tire, gradually filling up the once-loose space under my t-shirts. It’s added warmth, I tell myself, watching the temperature gauge hit 12 degrees on the drive to the house.

During this same time, my husband’s tummy flattens as he snow-beasts himself up and down our road at all hours of the day and night in the winter snowplowing (he resembles a white snow-beast in his winter camo outfit, hence the snow-beast) and in the summer, he’s felling trees or whatever else he does in the forest. He is shrinking as I expand, which drives me even more desperately to all things dark and chocolate.

Spring, summer and fall have come and gone two times and one day, not too long ago, I tug at the waist line of my long-sleeve t-shirt, pulling it over and down to my jeans. I see Rog watching.

“It’s not there if you can’t see it.” He smirks, I wink. We burst out laughing. “It’s my favorite denial,” I quip. My personal roll of insulation is still there, but until I do something about it, I choose to ignore it entirely. I still hear his laughter as I walk downstairs.

Since then, the phrase has gotten so much use around my house.

Dust on the floor? Move the chair cuz if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

Dirty laundry? Throw in down the shoot, cuz if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

Do you see how useful this catch-phrase has become? I’ve found a whole new lease on life.

Sexual disease? …ok, kidding on that one, but it’s just fun and sassy to write.

As I type this blog on this lovely, Sunday night, I stare at an empty plate beside my bed, which just thirty minutes ago, had six chocolate chip cookies on it. But, they don’t exist at all, because they are now in my stomach. The good news is I am wearing a cozy fleece top, so my jelly belly doesn’t exist at all.

2 weeks to lose 2 inches- Get some (physical) religion

Greetings to readers in the latest countries of Peru, Andorra and the Czech Republic. Is it the frog detterent blog or the Swedish Tickle? I’ll never know and don’t much care. I adore my followers to matter where they reside. Wait, She says “forget the blogs. It’s all about the music.” As usual, She knows how to put me in my place.

Given that I have been eating my way toward Easter, I felt it incumbent upon me to make up by reminding everyone to 1) do side bends, 2) add weights and 3) start a clean diet for 21 months. Take the challenge readers, your waistlines and lovelry one will thank you. (yes, you read that write. Loverly is my personal version of loved one+partner=loverly. Correct usage would be, “you are my loverly.”

Sweet nothings from Maple Valley to you.

Now on to the blog. “She” chastized me the other day. (New readers, She is the person who shall remain anonymous forever-more, since she refuses to be outted, thereby invalidated all her good, blunt, funny and sometimes off-color advice. She keeps me humble and in-line, lest you think that task falls only to my husband. Not so).

“What is this? You’ve lost 2.5” (inches) on your butt and you haven’t shared this with anyone??” Boy, was she pissed. She proceeded to tell me about slogging through my other, slightly worthless blogs, waiting for a kernel of insight (as promised in my tagline) only to feel as though I’m holding out on her.

“Do I have to tell everyone that I’m shrinking?” I ask, hoping to retain some modicum of dignity.

“It’s too late!” she cries, reminding me how I’ve talked about batwings and chinhair, and aired my dirty laundry a-plenty, all in the hopes of helping others learn my mistakes. “Tell us! We need to know this!!”

Lara Croft Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life (Special Collector's Edition)
Me in the next life

OK. I’d like to reveal that this is some ancient elixer of inches reduction, but it’s not. In truth, it’s much of the old, regurgitated advice from thousands of magazine articles. The difference? You ready? I actually paid money ($125 US) to visit a naturopath recommended by friends, and with the blessing of my homeopathic, eastern Swami, and got the skinny. Instead of immersing me in water to determine my fat content, she put 5 pads about the size of Band-Aids on my body, entered the info in a computer and walla!10 minutes later, provided me the modern version of my body stats. It was U.G.L.Y.

155 pounds, 38.5 pounds of fat. I’m 5’10’+ I’ll skip the part about lots of muscle, the toxicity of my body (low), the water weight carried inside and outside of the cell (normal) and cut to the chase. I got religion.

Channeling Laura Croft

Religion about getting off my lazy eating regime. Sure, I work out all the time and my body reflects this. In the past, I’ve slimmed down but the dimply cellulite on the front and backs of my legs have remained. And you see, I’ve this vision of coming back in the next life as a Swedish version of Laura Croft, trapeze in my living room the size of an airplane tarmac and all. Ok, I wouldn’t mind the chest as well. It’s going to happen until I make some changes.

“You are cutting carbs and protein,” Gaylen the naturopath begins. “You need to cut the starches and sugar, while increasing the protein.” Many of my readers my recognize this advice, as it’s nearly identical to the P90X plan. Lots and lots of protein and limited bad carbs. The difference? This cleansing process completely eliminates fats, sugars and starches. It’s this:

Here you go:
5 servings of proteins a day (100grams per)
2 apples
2 salads (green)
1+ gallons of water or tea a day
2 tsp of pure coconut oil**
The juice of one lemon and as much salt as you want

No dairy
No fats of any kind (EXCEPT– coconut oil. Now, this deserves a note. It’s found at PPC, Whole foods etc. It’s for cooking, and is hard. I was dubious, but determined to follow my naturopaths directions. Thus, I scooped the oil, put it in a pot on the stove, and had enough for a few days. Actually, it’s very smooth, not vile, left no aftertaste, and ensured I didn’t completely end up looking like dry toast).

This sounds lean and horrid, but believe you me, it’s a TON of food. I felt like I was eating all the time, and by week two, was dreading “another salad!”. Also, on the protein, it can be grilled, steamed, cooked in any way, but no fat added. I found it very easy to go out with friends and family, have the salad w/lemon and salt, all the other food and not feel uncomfortable or starved.

The difference? Measuring at 2 weeks.

The scale doesn’t lie.

I’d only lost 2 pounds. BUT, I’d lost 1% body fat, and more importantly, inches everywhere. To wit: (inches lost below)
2.5 off the butt
2.25 off the waist
.75 off the chest
1 inch off each thigh
.25 inch off each arm.

That was 2 weeks. Another week and I’d lost another inch off my waist and hips. Haven’t measured my thighs. All I can say is I’m fitting in clothes that haven’t seen sunlight since before my daughter was born, 6 years ago. And let me say, getting Physical in the words of our dear Olivia Newton-John has been like a rebirth. Think Madonna back in 1984 and you are getting my drift. Removing 2.5 inches from the backsides makes quite a difference. (’nuff said!)

The best news? I have tons of energy, sleep great, and most of my cravings have been killed off like the yeast in my bod (gerrosss). If you want some ideas, hit up the P90X recipe site. To be religious about, subtitute the broth for water, and avoid the above. In 2 weeks, you will have a different body.

The Ibiza-tone Butt: yours in five floor exercises

As much as I tried to avoid looking at the ad that seemed to jump off the screen, I couldn’t help but glance at this perfectly shaped derrier in a bathing suit only legal in the southern hemisphere. I was rather happy to note that Jane Fonda was indeed, right 20 years ago, for she ushered in the age of the “butt-up,” now more commonly known as a ‘bridge.’ I’ve been doing them for years, with varying degrees of concentration. For the beginner who doesn’t want to spend money lift up his or her fanny in front of a bunch of skinny strangers, do this in front of the tv, or in your room, hotel or even bathroom floor. These are fast, (not-so-easy) and that’s why they are effective.

Start on your back, legs bent, hands under lower back. Each set should be a maximum  of 25 reps. start lower if you need to. (see photo)

Full set= 25 of each of the following (these are ALL referred to as Bridge movements. The most basic of movements- and all you need to get started).

You can put your hands under your butt
if you have a weak lower back.
  1. First movement– knees spread apart (along with feet)- so knees stay apart as you lift up
  2. Second movement– draw knees together, and lift up (adds a compression to the
  3. Third movement-keep knees together (remember your heals are apart), and then you lift your butt up and down
  4. Fourth movement-keep your butt up (continually) and spread your legs apart (slightly relax butt @25%) and then lift up and squeeze as you draw your butt together)
  5. Final movement– draw feet together, and lift butt up and down.

You might not be able to do 25 reps of any of the above the first time through, or maybe even the first week. Start out with fewer reps, but still try and do 3 sets. You will work up to the full amount.

If you do this every day, you will realize HUGE results in three areas.

  1. Your butt of course- the cellulite will go down. It will also tighten and have a “lift” that is so commonly envied.
  2. The place right below your butt- the skin that perhaps is now invisible because your butt is drooping
  3. Your hips–when you lift your pelvic nice and high, the skin around your hip bones is stretched, thereby tightening this hard-to-get to place.

Calorie estimation if you are tracking via myfitnesspal.com? Use 83 calories for 10 minutes of vigorous exercise. Half of that if you have only done 5 minutes.

Shedding the Winter Muffin Top

Tips from Mr Universe runner-up
that we can all live by

Spring always inspires me. I want to rake and trim, eat healthy and start shopping for sexy, springtime clothes. This is circular, because I can’t actually always fit in existing clothes, and if I’m going to justify spending money on new clothes, well, I better look decent.

Invariably, I replay what a former trainer told me (A 3-time, 2nd and 3rd Mr Universe runner-up). He was big, black, built and bald.

“You’re not just eating the wrong foods,” he told me. “You are eating the wrong foods at the wrong time). He emphasized I required more protein, less carbs and most importantly, I needed to stop at 5 instead of starting at 8 pm. “Eat every two hours, no matter what, and eat your protein first.” He also said one other thing.

“Cardio two times a day until your body fails you,” without waiting to see if I understood him. “And that goes for weights, which you’ll do three times a week.”

At this, I protested. I was going to bulk up and turn my fat in to mass. He smiled, obviously hearing this before.

“Big thighs,” he said. “The worry of all women.” At that, the fine looking man said no more and took me for a tour of the place. Walking among these humongous men of color, I was one of two white people in the entire joint. I felt odd, out of place and frankly, ghostly in my white fatness. Sensing my discomfort, my newly-annointed trainer turned to me and muttered something like “you get points for showing up at 5 am.” I stood a little taller at that, I’ll admit. My big, bloaty butt wanted to me in bed.

We made our way to a row of women on the treadmill and other cardio. He asked a random sampling if he’d told them what he told me (repeating) and then asked “what happened?”

“I leaned out,” said one. “Lost three dress sizes,” said another.

“See?” he asked me. “You have to eat more, all the time and push until failure.”

Ahh. The point of the article. Whether it’s JK Rowling giving her famous Harvard commencement speech, or Mr Universe Runner up, the point is to push the mind and body to the point of failure. Then, and only then will you know you’ve made progress.

Yesterday, as I lifted the weights above my head (for I am still forbidden to walk on my bad leg, so am consigned to doing upper body only as my lower body goes suffers through physical therapy), I recall Mr. Universe runner-up. I push…I grimace…all the while consoled by the fact that tomorrow, my arms will thank me. So I continue, proceeding to push myself to the point where my arms collapse, literally failing to assist me any longer in the exercise.

With that, I stop. I have succeeded in my attempt to fail, and that’s what I wanted in the first place.

Loving what I Hate for the sake of health

blueberries

Like the illustrious She, I hate blueberries, strawberries, most berries in general, and frankly, most of the fruits grown on this planet. I came out a vegie girl, and truly, I’m a meat-eating-dairy person if I must be honest.

Yet, with the nutritional plan that I’ve been following as a show of solidarity for my daughter who has been going through some rough times, the last two weeks have cleaned me out and cleaned me up, and I don’t mean this in the traditional, happy-for-me way. I’m talking, I’ve been sitting on the toilet so much I have callouses on the back of my thighs and I think the toilet bowl seat has worn down on the edges. The price of toilet paper has increased due to the demand and lack of supply here in the northwest, and this cleaning me out has led me to clean up my act in all things nutritional. Can anyone out there make the call on the fat woman saying “twooo weeks,” as she passes through the airport terminal at some undetermined time in the future?
But I digress. This is about learning to love what you hate, and by that, I mean blueberries.

“Nasty, disturbing things,” to quote the famous hobbit when declining taking on an adventure. Blueberries are mushy, tart and all around symbolic of all colored fruit, and it doesn’t matter how much great press blueberries get for being detoxifying.. Yet, they detoxify, so eat them I did, every day for two weeks. By day 7, I didn’t want to vomit, and by day 10 I could eat without cringing. I still don’t like the texture (today is day14) but I love how I feel after I have my morning bowl (I graduated from a quarter cup to an actual full cup. Baby steps….baby steps…).
prgrsvimghttp://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4921814567092989&w=207&h=207&c=8&pid=3.1&qlt=90
So it can be done, as I told She, who confided that she too, detests fruits.

“Just do it. You’ll learn to love what you hate,” I told her, eventhough I have to agree wit Bilbo. They really are nasty, disturbing things.

Rapid weight loss meets healthy living

Glancing through my past blogs (when I’m on the couch, supposed to cranking out my latest novel whilst Rog has taken the girls to the zoo), I smirk when I read a few of the latest. ‘The last 10 pounds,’ and one prior, about ‘Appreciating the Bad times.” Are you kidding me? I’m thinking to myself. Let’s just have life throw a curve ball and both will happen at once.

To wit. My daughter’s condition has graduated from hair loss (which is now a symptom, not the cause) to a full-blown auto-immune issue. A week ago, we were told to strip the metals from her body, which means forgoing food with animal-product anything. Think no eggs/dairy or meat, but also, starches, rice and potatoes, which also absorb metals. All the other doctors (and we are talking the variety, a homeopath, the MD/acupuncturist, the dermatologist, the Mayo-trained, lead doctor) agreed.

So off she and I went, a week ago yesterday, to Jennifer Aniston’s oft-quoted “clean diet,” (without the cigarettes and the salmon of course).

Lo, day one, we weren’t so good. I thought we were going to starve. Day two, mother and daughter were the dawn of the dead, walking and talking, but lifeless corpses that had no energy. Day three however, was a different story. We regained our energy, the food started tasting good and I made batch after batch of lentil soup, then vegie, then pistachio (which is a Persian recipe that’s divine). Thursday, day four, we were eating ourselves silly, and re-discovered all sorts of great things, like celery and hummus (although Porsche prefers apples in hummus), and peanut butter. I’d heard tale, but never believed, food could taste so good once I gave up all the other stuff.

This leads me to the being more appreciative for the bad times. Through all the on-going tears of the situation (my beautiful almost 8-yr old will be completely bald in the fall), the shots (she had 53 in her scalp last Tues), the regime that I won’t detail just now…I AM appreciative for the bad times. She’s not dying. She has her energy. She laughs and plays with exuberance. And although the doctors can tell us why this is happening, and instead, apologetically offer suggestions they admit they have no idea will work or not, we have it pretty good. We are making it through. Oh, and very selfishly speaking, I’ve finally lost those last ten pounds. As I think to myself (and would never utter out loud), only this situation would have given me the discipline to eat healthy, and isn’t that the way? I’d do things for my daughter that I never would do for myself.

Dropping that last 10 lbs

Sooo many strategies are available to drop that last ten pounds, I’m going to list a few that have worked (and if you are wondering why I need more than one, it’s because I am always re-gaining that “last ten pounds,” over time, and then forget how I’ve lost it in the first place).

  1. Replace processed sugar with beet sugar. A good friend reminded me of this the other day, after I’d successfully gone 4 days without regular sugar. She kindly told me that one “must not live without sugar.” Use this instead. It will help you drop about 1.5-2 pounds per week.
  2. Add arm and leg weights to your daily activities, or exercise efforts. This is a no brainer. The material is soft and the weight manageable at 2 lbs for the wrists (one for each) and then 5 lb for the ankles. Sometimes I’ll use this on the treadmill for at least 40 min to an hour. Alternatively, if I’m not hitting the cardio, I make a point to put them on for an hour while I’m moving around the house. It’s burning extra calories and I don’t have to think about it. The bonus is my arms and legs feel weightless when they are removed.
  3. We call them “Scooby naps” in our house
    1. **note on these–I’ve purchased and given away many types that DON’T work. The wrist ones that go around the thumbs are irritating because I want to be able to move my wrists and thumbs, wash my hands, or whatever. ignore those. Further, I don’t like having the ones that go up to my elbows. They make me sweat. yuck. Last, the round bands that lack the adjustable Velcro means I can’t adjust for a thick or thin wrist–the same goes for ankles. The link I put in was for ankles, but they are all the same– and the selection ranges from 1- 10 depending on the brand.
  4. Drink more water. About 4 wks ago, I plateaued. My trainer upped my water from 1 gallon to 1.5 gallons. No, it didn’t make me crave salt. It just made me go to the bathroom more, but it also helped me shed another 2 pounds.
  5. Add 1 lemon to the water, and 2 tablespoons of cranberry juice (natural and not from concentrate. Both are natural diuretics. Get the cranberry in the natural section, and make sure it’s not from concentrate, no sugar added.
  6. Get 8 hours of sleep. This is the final frontier, and very hard, but worth it. The body can’t process and rejunivate. When I couldn’t kick the last 10 pounds, it was because I was getting about 6 hours. When I was able to up it, all was well.

Lean thighs & reduced waist for less than $50

Trolling through my posts to get an idea of who’s looked at what, it was immediately clear that nutrition, health and fitness were tops. Only my juicy, relationship blogs outnumbered visitors.

Thus, my dear readers, I’m admitting to holding back on a great find that is…well, two decades old. It’s  the mini-trampoline. Small enough to use in a tiny living room, bedroom or deck, removable legs make it convenient to store, this great exercise tool will trim your legs down a few sizes, knock inches off your waist and tone your arms, all for less than paying for a month at the gym ($60US). Once you go down to your local Target or gym, start out with the following. I’ve found I can do about 500 bounces every seven minutes, or roughly 1500 bounces in 20 minutes (depending on my speed). Once again, I must give a shout-out to my Mom, who had these over thirty years ago when I was a teenager. The rule in the house was simple and clear:
“If you are going to watch TV, do something useful.” Little did she know this trampoline was how I fit in my Levi 501s skinny jeans.
Mini-Trampoline exercise routine
  1. 10 minutes will get and keep your heart rate pumping
  2. Start with jogging, mid-height (I like to do sets of 100. count with each bounce, one per leg)
  3. Twisting. Like snowskiing (ankles relatively close together), twist the waist back and forth. 
    1. Easy version: no weights in hands. 
    2. Harder version: use weights (1 lb per hand on up), and leg the arms hang loose to your side or at the waist.
  4. Jogginghigh knees and bicept curl
    1. Harder version: use weights.
  5. Side kicks. Easier than it sounds. Keeping both knees locked, use your hips/waist to bounce from leg to leg, extending the non-bouncing leg out, in a rocking fashion, like an upside down V going back and forth. 
    1. Easy version: no weights. 
    2. Medium version: no weights, upside down bicept curl. Start with both arms out, and curled under. When the right leg goes out, the right bicept extends under the arm (thereby exercising the bicept).
    3. Hard version: use weights. Same motions
  6. Joggingmedium knees— pointed (ballet) toes on the lift. This strengthens and leans out the calve muscles.
  7. Skiing move–side to side. Bring ankles close together and bounce side to side as you would skiing down a hill of mogels (snowboarders, make the leap here with the visual). Another aid would be the football players jumping back and forth between tires, but with both feet.
  8. Back kicks. In this move, you have semi-locked knees (meaning whatever is comfortable for you– slightly bent or locked), and you are kicking backwards. 
    1. Easy version: hands in front, no weights
    2. Medium version: hands go back with legs (one at a time, in unison with same leg- right and right)
    3. Hard version: use weights
  9. Cross-overs. This is the more advanced. If you imagine a track or football player standing on the ground, lifting one leg then the other, that’s the start. The advance it to lifting the ankle to the inside and up. This simultaneously works the outer thigh, the inner thigh (of the leg lifted) and the outer thigh, thigh and calf of the leg on the ground. The higher the lift, the more exertion required on the standing leg and harder the effort on the lifted leg.
    1. Tip: try this on the ground first so you don’t throw yourself off balance (and off the tramp). Then go for it on the tamp itself
  10. Side to side twist. I like to slow it down with a twist, releasing my lower back muscles. Let your arms hang loose to your sides as you feel the sweat dripping from every pore.

Slim Fit Secrets

It is with the vision of plum fairies dancing in my head that I long to have the female equivalent of my husbands metro-sexual slim fit jean body. It’s not that he’s purely gay. He balks at the notion of being metrosexual (and inquiring minds like my mother’s want to know–

“isn’t that an insult to every straight man that has fashion sense, can pick out colors and is polite?” Um, yes, but that’s not the point. The point is that here is Rog, who slides his body into the Calvin Kline off the rack chords and I am pouring my self into a pair of slimfit jeans, that, by the way, have no right being on my body, and the end result is more like our homemade potato sausage recipe.

“Do what all models do,” my friend Donita tells me, after choking on her tongue when I give her my potato sausage comment. “Use Xpel and drink lots of water,” she says.

MHP X-PEL
Don’t you hate the word Diuretic? Doesn’t that conjure up the visual of living on the toilet? Fortunately, that wasn’t the case…


At my request, she tells me that Xpel is used to eliminate the water weight typically associated with menstruation. “But men and women models use it all the time. You think they don’t gorge the other three weeks before a shoot? Of course they do. Then they go liquids and drop the weight the week prior.”

How little did me, the mere mortal know? I couldn’t find Xtel at the store, but some generic brand. Since I had an event on the weekend, I figured-what the heck, I’ll start it on Saturday. However, I am a weak-minded woman when it comes to Mexican food and a good flan. I was not perfect. Nay, I sinned daily. (and like the non-Catholic that I am, I had no issue doing so). By the time Sunday rolled around, I’d consumed a lot more water, not that much less food, and still dropped four pounds. My outfit was great.