Friday, March 19, 2010

On Spring, Bliss and Throwing Out All My Diet Books!

Before I get to the part about throwing out my diet books, I'd like to focus on bliss for a moment. Bliss, according to my Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, is defined as complete happiness. Which pretty much sums up what I experienced this morning -- bliss on a bike.

I dusted off my bike seat after a long winter, put the dog's harness on and went for a short ride up to my parents' house. Annie, my three-year-old Golden Retreiver/German Shorthair mix, loves going for bike rides. When she saw me put on my bike helmet and reach for her harness, I had her complete and devoted attention. Once I'd checked the tire pressure, adjusted my rear-view mirror and secured my pant leg with a band, we were read to go.

And go we did! At the start of every ride Annie has oodles of energy. I encourage her pulling efforts by ringing my bike bell like crazy. I'm sure some hapless observer would think we were nuts, but really, I've got her under control.

I've been riding my bike with Annie since she was about 7 months old. It was a lot slower and more cautious in the beginning. I also taught her some important commands. To slow down I say "whoa." My command for left is "left." (Propper mushers use haw for left and gee for right.) For right-hand turns I say, "this way," as she's following my lead.

I didn't read any articles on bike mushing like this one. I just did what came naturally. We don't use genuine musher equipment, but we both have a great time. In fact, I think that part of what makes the whole experience blissful for me is watching Annie completely enjoy herself. It's as if her enthusiasm is contagious, and I can't help but smile and whoop for joy.

Bliss on a bike -- the most fun I've had in weeks!

And now onto those old diet books. . .

About a year ago I read a book called Health at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight, by Linda Bacon, PhD. I even wrote a couple blog entries about it such as this one and this one. At that time I was going to give up on dieting, but my anti-dieting resolution didn't last long. I've tried both low-carb and WeightWatcher's momentum plan since then. With little results.

But this time I'm serious. This time I bought the book Live a Little: Breaking the rules wont' break your health, by Susan M. Love, M.D. and Alice D. Domar, Ph.D. Once again, it confirms what my body has known all along -- everyone's body is different, and no one is completely in control of their own health or weight either. These two authors have anazlyzed the research on health, wellness and living a longer life, and they report what is and is not really going to help women live longer, healthier, happier lives. (This really is a great book!)

One of my favorite parts debunks the calories in, calories out myth. They write, "According to this theory, big people are big simply because they eat so very much more than their slender counterparts--and weight gain is inversely proportional to the amount of a person's self-control. But Sims's studies, and other like it, suggest this is not necessarily the case. It's far more likely that each of us has a genetically programmed weight range of about ten to twenty pounds. One person's natural range might be from 160 to 180 pounds, while another's might be from 115 to 130. Yet both people may eat the same amount of calories and perform roughly the same amount of exercise." (emphasis added)

There it is in black and white -- what my body has been trying to tell me for years. I am not genetically programmed to be thin. Yes, I'm bummed about that. (Literally.) But just because I carry more weight than others my height, it doesn't mean that I can't be healthy. On the contrary. After a discussion about BMI (Body Mass Index), Love and Domar state, "A study by the Centers for Disease Control found that overweight people tend to live longer than those in the obese or normal categories."

So live a little! And love the body you're in.

Instead of focusing on my weight, I'm going to do what I can to be healthy and be more appreciative of my body. It may not be January, but these are my resolutions.

Side Note: I just went on to buy Health at Every Size. Apparently it's out of print. A USED paperback copy (only two available) goes for $124.00 or more. I guess it's time to issue a new edition. I'd buy one! (But not for $124.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Husband's New Nickname for Me . . .

Earlier this week while Hubby and I were eating breakfast, he said something like, "It's alright, Rear."

I asked him, "Did you just call me Rear?"

"Yeah," he said. "But I meant to say Dear."

"Oh, so now I've gone from being dear to being a rear. That's okay. I'll just call you Bum."

All this was said in good fun and after a good laugh (on my part -- one of my life's goals is to get my hubby to laugh out loud more. I've given up on getting him to laugh until he cries, but anything audible is a step in the right direction).

As I kissed him before heading out the door to substitute teach I said, "Have a good day, Bum. I'll see you when you get home."

Even a couple days later we've used the tongue-in-cheek nicknames a time of two. And it never fails to make us smile.

Who would've thought that calling your wife Rear or your husband Bum could be a marriage enriching moment?

Monday, March 01, 2010

My Stint as a Washing Machine Repair Woman

I do laundry once a week, and today is the day. Or WAS the day. I'd started a batch of dark clothes in the washing machine and came back a few minutes later to add my black exercise pants. That's when I noticed that although the machine sounded like it was working, the agitator (the white spiral thingy in the middle) wasn't moving. The clothes were basically just sitting there in the water.

Looking back, I'm pretty sure that the washing machine hasn't been working for a couple weeks now. Each time I'd take the dark clothes out of the washer a few articles from each batch still had detergent residue on them. At the time I thought that maybe I'd overfilled the machine. (Which can definitely happen when you're only doing laundry once a week.)

I was not thrilled about the prospect of having to get the washing machine fixed. Although the thought of a new machine was temporarily exciting, I remembered that we'd spent over $600 last month getting the car to pass inspection. There was no money for a new machine, and having a repairman come out for a house call costs $70.

Fortunately, I remembered my 13-year-old daughter's favorite fix for problems -- Google it. I decided to see what I could find out about the costs of fixing a washing machine agitator. And that's when I happened upon this video:

It sounded like something that would work for my problem, so I did just like the guy in this video and took my washing machine agitator apart. Presto! My parts were stripped too. I needed a set of new "Dog Agits" with grippy teeth.

A short car ride and $10 later, I was home and installing the parts. I put everything back together, and IT WORKS! I saved over $70 by watching a YouTube video and fixing my washing machine myself. And it certainly feels a whole lot better than forking over a tidy sum to the fix-it shop!