Category Archives: health

The Shiny Coat Series: In Praise of Praise

Lots of words get tossed around these days …gratitudemindfulnesspresence. And they’re all great things to include in your life. No doubt.

But as a concept, they can be slippery, and they definitely mean different things to different people.

I thought I’d share what I’m experimenting with lately in this regard — I’ve been offering my appreciation for work done, for admirable qualities someone shows, for some specific thing someone did, stuff like that.

good job
Compliment comments and graphics

Pretty basic, I know, but how often do you make the effort to give an authentic, substantive compliment?

Sure, it’s fun to receive them ahem…hello, I’m listening…. But little did I know how rewarding it is to give compliments. I ran around after the Ten Minute Play Fest and told as many people as I could (I didn’t get to everyone, so don’t be mad if you didn’t hear from me!) what I enjoyed about their work, acting, writing, singing, whatever. It was a blast!

Yes, sometimes after an offer, people don’t respond how you’d hope, or at all *cue the crickets* and I won’t lie, that’s a bummer. But most people have been grateful and seem touched.

It’s ultimately a win-win especially when they want to buy you a beer, too.

So when you feel kinda blah, think of something cool someone did and tell them what you think.

You may make their day, and yours.

And the next thing you know, you’ll constantly be on the lookout for good things and stealthily slipping in compliments during normal conversations with random people, and everyone’s feeling fine.

Kinda like a living, breathing “Like” button…but with sincerity and effort (beyond a click) that others will appreciate.

Try it. You might like it.

In the sun and in the clouds

[I’m writing this outside at Bainbridge Bakers, and a sparrow keeps hopping up on the chair next to me as he looks around. You’re a bird, wouldn’t a tree be a better lookout? But it’s as if a companion joined me for tea drinking, so I won’t complain about that.]

I’m in a mood.

And my brain keeps arguing with me. You should be happy. You should be relieved. Not bummed out, you freaking idiot.

My brain is kinda mean. Is yours?

My play was performed.

My kid turned nine.

School started.

And I didn’t even have a mimosa this year. That tells you something.

But I also know that while I can get busier and distract myself by plunging into something new, those blues will still be sitting there in the chair next to me, softly chirping, until I have a conversation or twelve with them.

Like running awhile…and then walking. Thinking of other things…and then listening.

And like everything else, I know it will naturally change and be replaced by something else eventually, I promise, Hubs!.

[By the time I’ve finished this blog post, the bird has hopped away and a person has asked to sit in the chair for some sun, next to me but turned away. Another companion, except we’re parallel sitting. My husband would strike up a conversation. Not me. But I’ll sit by her and feel less lonely, shifting a bit already.]

The Shiny Coat Series: Nourishment

It’s definitely spring. I even came across a cwute widdle Bambi staring at me up close during a run the other day. Yes, if any of us look around Bainbridge Island right now, we will see young offspring, usually with a parent, usually getting fed (or demanding it loudly, at least).

I know it’s Let the dog in! but no one in this household can have any puppies, or babies for that matter (And please don’t remind me how close it’s getting for the Kid! I am already way down the freak-out plank on that issue!), so we have to look outside to the feathered variety.

I’ve noticed lots of baby birds, juveniles, really, being nourished. These downy woodpeckers were one set:

And there were those red house finches the other day who were too quick for me… I did snap these black-capped chickadees hanging out. Their cute little heads were too fast for me to get a shot of the feeding, though.
If you can take the time to notice the feedings, they provide a good reminder of what we should all be doing, nourishing ourselves.

It’s easy to forget when you are stressed or under pressure (whether a real, tangible threat or one of those what-if‘s I’m so good at creating). But it’s exactly those times, when you’re at the end of your branch rope, that you would benefit the most from some form of healthy nourishment.Or when you’re just plain unhappy about a turn of events beyond your control.Taking care of your self (body, mind and spirit), feeding your self, physically and emotionally, having compassion for your self, it’s all easier said than done. Believe me, I know. I’m more of a go-directly-from-A-to-B-cut-the-crap-get-a-move-on-be-efficient type.

If you have a child, you can probably easily lavish praise and love on that small soul. It comes naturally, but for some reason we forget that inside us is also a little soul that needs nourishment.

But if you can lower the volume of the noise in your head for just awhile, that alone can be soothing to your soul, whether it’s talking a quiet walk, gazing out a window, meditating, shooting wildlife pictures

Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements wrote “your whole mind is a fog which the Toltecs called a mitote. Your mind is a dream where a thousand people talk at the same time, and nobody understands each other.” Absolutely.

Mine like to cuss, swear and pick-pick-pick. It’s a madhouse in my head! Sometimes it’s loud and obvious, and sometimes it’s a barely perceptible, teeny tiny, sneakier-than-hell voice.

Either way, it feels good to shut them all up, even if they keep returning, uninvited, and do something that feels good, inside and out.

So take a look outside, see the reminders Mother Nature offers, and go nurture yourself! The good vibe you create in yourself will spread to everyone around you, too!

The Shiny Coat Series: A Dip into Food Detox’ing

So, we just ended early finished a 3-week food detox here, the Hubs and I. I would have written about it as it was going on, but I was too weak and mentally incapacitated way bitchier than normal and who needs to read bad news, right?

Here’s what we didn’t consume: wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol (excluding a glass a wine that time or two), beef, pork, and corn.

What’s left, you say? Just all that crap we’re supposed to be eating all the time anyways–vegetables, fruits, other grains, beans, nuts, seeds, etc. Plus, we took extra supplements and stuff that were supposed to cleanse the liver.

I did this detox before, all by myself, and I have to say I was much less tempted then. It seems when you have a partner, you also (or, me and my devilish mind) potentially have a partner in crime. I kept offering to cheat. Wanna have some wine? Just one? I will if you will…

When I was detoxing alone I was all, “NO, I can’t possibly have wine because I am DETOX’ing, thanks for remembering, and how can you sit there drinking in front of me?? It must be because you really don’t love me at all, do you? And probably never did?!”

Detoxes make me more dramatic. It’s the sugar deprivation.

This time if I was testy, and I’m not saying I was, it was only because the Hubs lost 9 pounds in 8 days or some such b.s. Meanwhile, yours truly lost +1 pounds.

I was hoping to jump start eating healthier with this detox, but I was so lazy this time around, we ended up subsisting on rice cakes with almond or cashew butter. There were bits of rice cakes everyfreakingwhere. Can I just say after O.D.’ing on almond butter, I was ready to propose to the cashew butter. You’re so creamy, you’re so smooth, and…and…my mouth is now watering.

If you do it right, you can also test for food sensitivities at the end when you’re all cleansed, but we pretty much launched directly into pizza and beer which blew that idea into outer space. I recommend at least easing your way back into other foods. Your gut unlike my vengeful bastard will thank you.

The liver part of it I can’t really say. I think liver stuff is subtle, unless you’re really in trouble. I think my skin improved, my concentration improved, and I felt clearer mentally. Everyone should try it at least once. It will make you try new foods, show you see how your body feels without its regular standbys, and shake things up a bit. That’s always good, right?

Next up: I started drinking coconut kefir every day to add flora to my gut. Stay tuned for what will be a riveting report!

The Shiny Coat Series: Moving It

What happened? What are you doing? No carbs? Calorie counting?

I’ve gotten some questions lately about hitting my Fake Weight, so since I want to totally jinx myself be helpful to others and encourage healthier lifestyles when I can, let’s look into this, shall we?

Calorie counting works great for maybe two people on this planet some, but it does not work for me, not when I was twelve and not now. I could never maintain a weight I reached from calorie counting.

I look at food groups instead. Veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, and meats I go for while I mostly avoid dairy and lots of desserts. And I got there mostly by noticing their effects on me, not as an external rule from somebody else. Dairy gives me your basic allergy symptoms, stuffy head, runny nose, foggy brain, tiredness; sugar leaves me tired, too, and craving more sugar.

But I think what’s happened to shift my body over the past year is exercise.

Turns out heart-pumping, blood rushing, sweat-inducing exercise burns up all those clingy calories I refuse to count. You can’t phone it in like I did for years reading Entertainment Weekly and barely breaking a sweat on the elliptical.

Also, to maintain a lower weight, the activity needs to be something you love or at least enjoy a little and fits into your current life situation. Find that thing. And it may not be your first preference, but that’s okay.

I personally would prefer being tipsy and sweating through my clothes on a crowded dance floor at midnight to a throbbing bass line, but guess what? Not so workable as a mom who lives on a sleepy island and has to get her kid to grade school in the morning. Maybe in a few years…

My second choice would be hiking up a small mountain, snacking at the top on a rocky outcropping with a water view, and losing sense of time coming down during great conversation. Unfortunately, driving a few hours each way and hiking for several hours doesn’t generally fit in my Real Life. Or anyone else’s.

This left me with. .*sigh* . .walking the dog. But then I started walking faster, and now we run excluding the two million pit stops she requires.

Maybe for you it’s going to a gym and reading trashy magazines as you cycle hard. Or maybe it’s walking fast while chatting with a friend. Or maybe you finally take that tango or hot yoga class. Or maybe you turn on Just Dance and go nuts when no one’s home. Maybe, if you’re like me, you need to get outside and do something to make you breathe hard to keep you from going batshit crazy.

Whatever it is, pick something. Change it if you get bored. Mix it up, walk a different path, cross-train, try a new class.

The more you move your body around, the more it will thank you and beg for more, and the more your energy will spread from just your tense head and tight shoulders, down into your toes.

So get out there and move it!

Have you found a way you like to move it?