Had my BP taken first thing, 120/82.
Had my resting metabolic rate tested--unlike last time, this time it
turns out the estimate was right. Still, despite the fact that the test
is a pain, it is a good thing to know. Late breakfast, followed by 25
on the elliptical. The weekend review was uneventful.
OVEREATING AND BINGE EATING
You have a choice, to eat or wait.
binge is three from this list: uncomfortably full, eating much when not
hungry, eating rapidly, alone, with guilt afterwards. The cycle is
bored / eat / bored and guilty
overeat / guilty / diet / overeat
A PAUSE between the impulse and the action. Why am I doing this? What
do I think the food will do for me? Break the cycle of unplanned
eating. A goal upon return: my exercise has been creeping later and
later. Get it back to 6:30 or 7 a.m.
All your blood
goes to the fight/flight part of the brain, and you literally can't
think clearly. How stressed are we today? I said 2 on a scale of 10.
reduces energy, increases appetite, reduces exercise motivation. We
need stress, up to a point. Too little and we are droning. Too much and
we break down. Know where that point is. Challenger your negative
Tasks are Important: urgent and not urgent, and Not
Important: urgent and no urgent. Remember, someone else's urgent is not
Breath out as if you are blowing out candles on a
birthday cake. This can reduce stress. Also, progressive muscle
relaxation and visualizing a happy place.
of leisurely after the frenetic first week. Had a private session with
a therapist that went well, followed by chair aerobics. Boy, for
something you do sitting down, that is a LOT of exercise. As already
noted last week, I've never done aerobics before but I can see why
people swear by it. Now that's burning calories!
Went to a
yoga/pilates fusion class. It is hard for me to report on it. I have
done some yoga before, so I recognized some of the
left, lean right, forward and back with your arms over your head. Also,
let your shoulders drop, hold your arms out straight and see how far
down they can go without hurting. Each time you curl back up and then
drop down again they go a little further down. And of course
there were the familiar dim lights and soft music. There was
gentle curling and uncurling of the spine--complicated in my
by a bruise on my sacrum I incurred in a recent fall. There
only two moves I couldn't do because of pain. We did some of the floor
moves using a flexible ring (put it between your ankles and hold it
there, hold it like a steering wheel). There was a move my trainer
calls "cat vomit" which is hands and feed on the floor, curl your back,
tuck in your abdomen, exhale and tilt your pelvis. The
here was we held it for about a two count, whereas my trainer asks me
to hold it for an eight count.Lots of stretches.
class was Manage your Emotions, that is, understand them and learn to
accept them. The technical term, apparently, is regulation.
emotions are fear, anger, sadness, love, disgust, surprise and shame.
We are allowed to add our own: I'd add joy. Don't just say to yourself
"I feel good" or "I feel bad," but try to get more specific. No emotion
is bad, they are just pleasant and unpleasant.
The story of the
tiger (also told by Amma) is that a man kept two tigers, a pleasant one
and an unpleasant one. "Which one wins when they fight," the owner was
asked. "The one I feed." I think the moral of that story is obvious.
manage our emotions? Because they get in the way of achieving our
goals. We must change the way we think of our emotions, and try to
honor them. When we eat with a pleasant emotion, we are trying to make
it better. When we eat with an unpleasant one we are trying to make it
go away. Can we enhance pleasant emotions with something besides food?
are more vulnerable to negative emotions if we are tired, hungry,
sedentary or hopped up on caffeine or sugar. Techniques for management
include shifting focus, seeing the silver lining (cognitive
reappraisal). This is difficult and requires practice. What can I learn
from this emotion. If this emotion were a person, what would it be
telling me? Observe, describe and respect your emotions.
your words. "I planned to go to the gym but I don't want to" is
different from "I planned to go to the gym and I don't want to." In the
former case, you won't go, in the latter case you'll go even though you
don't want to.
Focus on positive experiences, memories and activities.
My blood pressure has been so good, I decided not to have it checked
every day. I am on 25% of my usual blood pressure medication. My
morning class as aqua aerobics, an hour standing in chest-deep water in
the pool, waving my arms and legs in a manner scientifically designed
to speed up my heart rate and tire me out.
The Duke Integrative Medicine facility is a few
miles away from the Diet and Fitness Center. It is on a leafy,
self-contained campus. It is a stunning
, described in an award citation as a
“beautiful project….powerful and effective… a masterfully executed
project where plan, finishes, materials and philosophy seem to find
common ground…an introspective healing environment.” All of which
sounds rather like the description of World Headquarters I memorized
when I did PR for Bank of America in 1977 ("It's irregular setbacks are
reminiscent of the craggy peaks of the Sierra Nevada"). But unlike the
bank, in this case it is really true. If you didn't know that
semi-medical activities took place here, you'd never guess from looking
at it. It began as a place that taught Mindfulness-Based Stress
Reduction to the public, as well as training trainers.
My class cost $15. It was entitled "Experiencing Mindfulness," but was,
in fact, simply a group guided meditation, coupled with some sharing
and relevant discussion afterwards.
"Do you have a group you sit with regularly at home," I was asked by
Jeanne, the leader. Well, no. Which led me to one of my two questions,
why meditate in a group? Other than the facilitator guiding us into a
meditative state, there is no obvious interaction. Reasons offered were
that we shared energy, were all opening our hearts, had a common
intent, and could go more deeply when guided than when practicing on
our own. Interestingly enough, this echoed an explanation I read
recently about why people pray in groups, and how it may be more
effective (if you believe prayer is effective at all).
The group meditation I do most often is at Amma's ashram in
San Ramon. It is generally short, about 10 minutes, with a fair amount
of guidance. This session was more like what Rae and I experienced last
summer in Ashland, a brief induction and a longer silence. At DIM, it
was 20 minutes. We talked about how it had gone, the instructor
answered a few questions, then she asked us to do compassion practice.
First, she said, compassion for people you like is easy. Try to be more
compassionate to people you dislike. So, first direct your compassion
to someone you really like, then direct the same compassion to
yourself. It was an interesting exercise, and reminded me of Jesus'
imprecation to love thy neighbor as thyself. As Amma says, all
religions are branches of the same tree.
On the subject of compassion for yourself and for others, Jeanne quoted
a Rumi poem:
We are the mirror as well
as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both.
We are the sweet cold
and the jar that pours.
In the afternoon it was "chair aerobics." My first attempt was on a
ball; I switched to a chair for my second, switched back to a ball
today. On the one hand, you are making constant micro adjustments when
you're on a ball. On the other hand, that's just more exercise.
Class was Eating Health In A Super-Sized World. We went over calorie
values in chain restaurants. Which has more calories, do you suppose, a
large shake or a big mac. No fair peaking! I will answer at the end of
Review nutrition facts before you go. Get a salad or a non-creamy soup
(SODIUM ALERT!) Ask them to use less oil and salt in preparation if
possible. Pizza? Less cheese, lean meats, lots of veggies, thin crust.
A Chipotle 12-inch tortilla has 290 calories and hundreds of milligrams
of sodium, as does most bread. A McDonald's breakfast burrito is a mere
300 calories, but there are 830 mg of sodium! Cut out the cheese and
you save 230 mg right there.
A large shake has more calories than a Big Mac!
which may actually be good, since sleep helps with weight loss. I
turned off the sounds on my phone so my calendar reminders would not
wake me up, not thinking about the fact that it also meant my alarm
would not wake me up. Fortunately, an iPhone buzzes like hell if it is
on vibrate and it's been 10 minutes and you still haven't turned the
Today is a very light day;
three meals, one class, two 45-minute exercise sessions. Seems to me
they may lighten up the schedule at week's end to help is integrate all
we learned early in the week. It reminds me of the old saying about
MIT: Getting an MIT education is like trying to get a drink of water
out of a fire hose.
Two classes today:
many forms. Some we like, some we don't. Social support is the single
most important predictor of longer life, more important than weight or
In re food police: it is OK to hire a policeman as long
as you can fire him. You can ASK someone to be the food police, but
don't let someone appoint themselves. Be assertive; identify
needs, communicate them.
There is actual research that
self-compassion helps. If you have self-compassion, you don't take in
or absorb the negative things others say. Being overweight does not
make you a bad person. In one study, donuts were put out. One group was
asked to taste test them. The other group was asked, along with the
statement, "Don't feel bad if you eat too many. People often do." The
second group ate fewer donuts. Two resources: on self-compassion
by Dr. Kristin Neff, and will
by Kelly McGonigal.
The lamb burgers were lovely, but as my wife is a vegetarian, I doubt
I'll ever make them. Here, however are the cooking tips:
* you can precut potatoes and they won't discolor if you keep them
covered with water. No lemon juice needed.
* In a convection oven, you can set the temperature 25 degrees lower
* Wrap fresh herbs in a wet paper towel for storage.
* Dried herbs are 3 times more powerful than fresh.
* Save carefully-washed melon skins and mint stems. Boil them to make a
fruit stock which you can add to smoothies.
Was herbs AFTER cutting them. Place them in a paper towel, wet the
towel, squeeze out the water, cover with a dry towel, squeeze.
* Place pesto in an ice cube tray, and then thaw it in the amounts you
Place a rosemary stem or two in a salt shaker and the salt will pick up
the taste. Not much use to me in my low-sodium world, but I know other
people are reading this.
* The chef made a salad that consisted
solely of greens and... wait for it... MINT! It is amazing how much
better it tasted with the mint. Other good taste changes are basil and
chives. Since I eat an average of 7 salads a week, this is one I am
going to try for sure!
pressure very good this morning, lost another half pound since
yesterday. Breakfast was a lovely, albeit very spinachy, quiche. I am
almost getting used to Aqua Aerobics--they do a lot more stretching
than I do at home. Maybe I should stretch more, but I usually don't
have time, haven't been injured yet, and I probably need the aerobic
more than I need the stretch--although my body is a little unstretched
and creaky in places. Saw the behavioral therapist for my weekly
check-in. She believes I am ready to be released into the wild. After
lunch, 45 minutes on the elliptical machine.
There really is an arc to the week; Friday is the
quietest day. I had one class, Volumetrics, a theory of eating by a
professor at Penn State. The subtitle was "eat more to lose weight,"
and it is all about eating stuff that has more volume. Over time, we
eat the same weight
every day, so if we eat stuff with low caloric density, we will be full
and satisfied while taking in fewer calories. EAT MORE FRUIT AND
VEGETABLES. In fact, in one experiment, there were two groups. One was
told to reduce portions and fat. All the researchers said to the other
group was "eat more fruits and vegetables." The first group lost an
average of 15 pounds in a year. The second lost 20. Be careful of
liquid calories; if you take them in, reduce your solid calories. The
larger the portion we are served, the more we eat.
you full longer. When my weight started to creep up two years ago, I
dropped the protein out of my lunch. I am going to put it back. My wife
is a vegetarian, but she is very supportive, and to honor her
principles I am going to alternate chicken and black beans in my lunch
salad. I could use sunflowers to, but they have a very high calorie
density and so would not be as satisfying.
technically I had a second class as well: Gentle Yoga, which is taught
at the nearby Duke Integrative Medicine facility. There were 15 women
and me. We started on our backs on the floor, did some sitting and
standing poses, did some face down poses, and concluded with some
stretches. I recognized many of the poses, not only from lessons 40
years ago, but from Tai Chi 10 years ago, my current trainer at 24-Hour
Fitness two weeks ago, and the leader of the aerobics class today at
Duke Diet and Fitness. For example, laying on your stomach and lifting
you hands and legs. I have no ear for foreign languages, so I didn't
catch the name of the pose. My trainer Barry calls it Superman. Earlier
this week, in the pilates/yoga class, we were on our hands and knees,
tucked in our pelvis and pushed out our breath while arching our backs
Barry calls it Cat Vomit. Arms high, a string attached to your crown
shakra, balance, and stretch. The techniques of yoga, if not the
spirituality have, apparently, permeated the exercise culture. It truly
was gentle, which I appreciated as I am, to put it mildly, out of
practice. I did about as well as a person my weight can do.