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Things that are just Wrong

1.  Japanese Knotweed.  Now that it's flowering and I know what I'm looking for, that crap is EVERYWHERE.  Seriously.  Along the highways, along roads where there isn't lawn, along all the waterways.  Heck - I noticed yesterday that the banks of Trout Brook in West Hartford are becoming almost completely engulfed.  I wonder if anyone has noticed?

2.  "Money for Nothing" on the oldies station.

3.  Retired people driving in no hurry to get anywhere during rush hour.  Seriously?  Dude, pull over and let the line of traffic who needs to be at the office go by.  Meander to the grocery store on your own time - I'm trying to get on the clock.

4.  In a related category, self-appointed enforcers of the speed limit.  You, sir, are just an ass.

5.  Parents waiting for the school bus who park up the street so that traffic can't pass.  I get that the law requires you to wait with your little darlings.  I even get that if you're heading to work as soon as they've been picked up, it makes sense to bring the car for a faster getaway.  But for those of you who are obviously NOT heading off to the office (sweatpants, anyone?) - WALK to the damn stop.  Remember that obesity epidemic?  If you MUST bring the car, for the love of God, park as far onto the damn shoulder as you can and keep clear of the intersection.  Most of them seem to just pull up to the stop sign and put it in park.  You can sit in a line of "traffic" for several minutes before realizing that they're all parked and you need to drive up the oncoming lane.

6. Bubbly co-workers at 8:30am.  Pre-caffeine.

Today is the first day of school in Bristol, so I'm sure that I'll have a wholly schoolbus related list soon.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
I saw a woman drive her son to his bus stop once, myself. (Not that she did it once...she's on one of my bike routes and she seems to drive him EVERY morning.) Now, they do live down a private road so it would take the kid possibly as much as ten minutes to walk to his stop...but it was only September, so it was beautiful weather...and the kid was a BLIMP. (His mother was TWO blimps.)

Of all the people who NEED to walk to the bus stop, it was them. As I whizzed by on my bike, I couldn't help but feel kind of sick over it. There aren't many excuses one can offer for opting to drive on a nice day when you clearly aren't doing anything else anyway (yes, t-shirt, sweatpants) what would only take you ten minutes at MOST to walk, which is probably the easiest and safest form of exercise in the world.

It was about as nauseating as the enormous woman telling her toddler son to put the container of low-fat yogurt back because "No way, that says 'LOW FAT'. That means NO TASTE."

I feel bad for those boys. They're doomed.

Edited at 2010-09-02 01:15 pm (UTC)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
Exactly. I can see it if you're bolting for work right afterwards. I live on a dead end road that the bus won't come down. It's a perfectly reasonable walk from my house to the cross street, but the walk *back* to get the car to go to work may end up eating further into my work day than would be acceptible. Especially if the weather is such that there might need to be clothes changed (I don't want to stand on the street in a skirt in February.) But some of these folks are obviously going right back home - when the bus has left and you're all leaning on the cars and chatting, you're obviously not in a hurry to get to the office. So why not walk?

I need to lose 60 pounds or so, but even I'm not that lazy.

As a complete non-sequitor, I don't like low fat yogurt. I hate the taste of the saccharine they use in it. There's a cloyingly sweet aftertaste I get from it, so I buy the regular. I figure full fat yogurt has to be at least conceptually better than a candy bar, right?

I've GOT to reduce the sugar in my life. It's just that I looooove it so...
Sep. 2nd, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
Actually, flavoured yogurt, low fat or full fat, is all pretty bad in terms of sugar. It's LOADED with the stuff. And while I like low FAT yogurt, low SUGAR yogurt (artificially flavoured) is pretty gross. Chemically.

That's not a complete non-sequitor at all, since I mentioned it. :) Honestly the best thing to do if you really love yogurt is to buy plain, moderate-fat stuff (since yogurt fat is often saturated it's better not to buy full fat and it doesn't improve the taste anyway, as long as it's not fat FREE, which tends to be too thin, imo) and add your own fruit. You can even add sugar or honey or etc to sweeten it up a bit and it'll almost certainly still be healthier than most fruit-flavoured yogurts you get in the store.

Imo it's the reduced or sugar free yogurt that's not good, rather than the low-fat. That's the one they add the fake sweetener to.

I loooove sugar too. But I love being slim (ish) and fit and (relatively) healthy more, so...
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Ah - that must be it. Can't stand the saccarine.

I've thought about making my own. I figured the first thing was to get yogurt back into my life (my innards have been wanting the cultures - I feel much better since eating it again), and then when I'm accustomed to yogurt for a snack instead of something out of the vending machine, switch over to mixing up my own. Baby steps.

Sugar is my self-medication for stress, unfortunately. And right now the stress levels are so out-of-the-ballpark high, that moderation hasn't been the order of the day...
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
You might find you actually like mixing fresh fruit (and a bit of whatever sweetener you like, if the fruit doesn't add enough for your tastes) better than the commercial stuff.

When you eat less sugar, you crave less sugar, honestly. If this high-stress period is going to be short-lived then it's probably fine to wait it out but if it's being going on a long time and looks to continue...

Also, sometimes you can find healthier sources of satisfying sugar (or whatever type of sweet). You know, swap a banana smeared in PB (my absolute favourite snack) for a couple of Reece cups. (Is 'Reece' even the right name? You know what I mean, right? The PB chocolate cups.)

Small changes can sometimes have big payoffs without a high price in effort or sacrifice, but I can't suggest you any specific ones since you're the only one who knows your cravings and what prompts them and so on.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
Well, stress stuff has been rising for a year and a half - ever since we took a 60% cut in income. Waiting it out hasn't been good to me.

The big thing I'm trying to do is to work on availability. When I'm at work, the only recourse is the vending machine. So I've asked Bob to start sending fruit and yogurt in my lunch bag, and the rule is that I can't have anything from the machine until I've eaten my fruit and my yogurt. That pretty much put an end to that. Still have to work on resisting the various candy dishes, but it's a step.

I'm actually better behaved at home, surprisingly enough.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
FYI Stop&Shop & Dannon both sell sugar-sweetened's low- and no-fat yoghurt.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
Stop and Shop's has either saccharine or aspertame. I can't eat it - it tastes nasty to me.

I actually like the idea of making my own - the store stuff is all really too sweet.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
No, actually, not all of them. Your store may not carry all of the varieties -- and maybe the single-serving-size tubs are different -- but I regularly buy the big tubs of low- or no-fat plain & vanilla yoghurts. Plain is unsweetened. Vanilla is sweet enough that I've started having it for dessert instead of ice cream.

I hate artificial sweeteners with a passion and can even taste Splenda when my mother-in-law uses it in her baked goods.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
I go, I come back.

If I were to go back ten, nearly eleven years and start my journey to health and fitness all over again, I would probably do this:

Set average calorie consumption to something reasonable. 2000 calories a day is pretty standard and though it is a full day's intake NOT on a diet, overweight people will tend to lose even at this level at the beginning, as to become fat they usually have to be eating considerably more than that. (There are always exceptions, but alas, everyone must figure out what their own exceptions are.)

Realize that it is okay to eat junk, even TOTAL junk (and not a lot of foods are TOTAL junk) sometimes, as long as the rest of your food is covering your nutritional needs. Say...80% of the food you eat in a day (1600 calories) is good for you, and the other 20% is just what you WANT. (400 calories.) Personally I think 80/20 is a mite liberal as an ideal...I'd go more with 85/15 or even 90/10...but I've been doing this a long time and 80/20 is a pretty good place to start when you don't really know what you're doing, yet, and your tastes haven't started to change. Worthless non-dessert foods count here, too. (People tend to count things like white bread in their 80% of good food just because it isn't technically dessert, but honestly, you might as well just eat a small piece of low-fat cake as a piece of white bread.)

Figure out what foods you know aren't particularly good for you but that you'd just be miserable without, and write them down to reinforce their value to you. Say you loooove Boston Cream donuts, worth about 250 calories apiece. When you go to grab a handful of Twizzlers, just remember that those Twizzlers will cheat you out of the Boston Cream would have taken real enjoyment from at coffee break. Simply do not bother with crappy foods that don't even satisfy you in any way.

So, those are basic things, and I can think of more, but having a general idea of how much to eat, and how much of it can be 'treats' is a good place to start.

It's also helpful to make as many 'switches' as you can without shocking yourself. Wheat for white. Light butter for regular (they taste the same, light just has a bit more water and air in it so it's spread out more). Light PB for regular (Light PB is one of those fatty foods that is actually TASTIER in the low fat version than the regular. NO ONE in my family likes full-fat PB any more, we all agree that the 'light' version is richer and more peanutty.) Etc.

But don't switch every single thing you can think of all at once. See, you get used to lower-fat and lower-sugar and higher-fibre and etc foods gradually, until you often start to PREFER the healthier versions, but if you try to do it all at once, you'll likely just feel like you're being punished.

Also, some people care more about one item than another. If you really, really hate wheat bread, don't switch it as the first thing...try it later on when you've more practise at switching. Or go half-way and buy 50% wheat bread, or find white wheat, or etc. Or heck, when you make your sandwich, use one piece of white and one of wheat. (I know it SOUNDS weird but I've done it before.)

Anyway, maybe you don't need advice, but I have 11 years of experience and sharing it doesn't deplete it, so I might as well hand some of it over and you can just chuck it if you can't use it :)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, I forgot. The absolute FIRST thing to do, really, is just to keep track of everything you eat. What and how much, for a week or so, as almost no one who isn't USED to keeping track has any IDEA what they're really eating, and thus can't know where they need to make changes to start with. There are ALWAYS surprises and it's no fun to waste effort in an area where it isn't even needed.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
I've done the food diary in the past. I haven't for a while, but it's probably time again. I've found that it makes me much more conscious of what I'm putting in my mouth, even if I'm not writing it down. Probably time to start again though.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)
Oh you've shamed me... I've been telling myself I'd start tracking it on Sept 1.... but that was yesterday. Now to get out the notepad and write down today's eats.
Thanks for the reminder.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
You're welcome...though I wasn't intending to shame anyone. :) It's not that much of a shame to forget for a day, you know. :)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
LOL...I'm ashamed that I have NEVER kept up with the tracking!! But actually, it hadn't been a problem until recently...when I figured out my gluten problem, I started gaining weight. (Funny thing, I'm actually digesting my food!?) And I don't want to gain anymore on top of the babyweight I didn't keep off 3 years ago!

Fixing my insides was step1. This is step2. Step3 is to start walking at lunchtime...further than to the caf & back.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
That sounds a lot like what I try to do when I'm "on the wagon," although I tend to aim for 1500/day with a note not to beat myself up if I go a little over. And I've always allowed myself some junk, because otherwise I'll feed deprived and annoyed, and I'll chuck the whole thing.

Right now I'm working on the wheat for white switch. My co-worker suggested that I cut off the crusts, and that helped a lot (surprisingly.) I can't say that I *enjoyed* my lunch, but I didn't hate it. When it starts tasting good, I'll start adding the crusts back in. I also want to try pitas - I love those, so it might be a happy medium.

I'm making my yearly effort to eat more fresh fruit, and I'm making a point to eat more veggies (when Charlotte doesn't steal them off my plate. She ate all of my broccoli last night!)

Advice is always welcome - the last ten years have proven that I can't do this by myself, so I'll take help wherever I can find it.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
Based on experience, I wouldn't start lower than 1800 calories. 1800 calories is what even a sedentary person burns in a day, without ANY exercise added in (that's what you burn if you sleep the night and then literally sit in a chair the rest of the day). Plus whatever you start at, you'll eventually have to drop lower because your metabolism will adapt to anything eaten over a long term (half a year, say). (Say you start at 1500 and lose 30 lbs...you're most definitely going to have to drop to 1200 to lose the last 20...or exercise like a maniac, of course, if you didn't add exercise in at the beginning.) And then you have to STAY at the middle level of the rest of your life to maintain the reduced weight. So probably you'd be on 1500 cal for the rest of your life. (I'd be totally happy with 1500 cal myself, if I could maintain that without exercise, but if I'm eating 1500 cal I have to be doing at LEAST three hours of strong exercise a week to keep from gaining. Miserable. Ugh, if only someone with experience had warned ME way back at the start.)

There ARE exceptions, but like I said before...everyone has to figure out which rules they are an exception to, because each person will have a few, but fit in with the average Joe on most. You know? And yeah, even I tend to pull off wheat crusts :)

Wheat bread goes better with some meats and condiments than others. Say you usually have mayo. Well, with wheat, you may find it tastes better with mustard and pork loin than with turkey and mayo. Just as an example.

Anyway, I'll stop blabbering...if you need any help, let me know what on and there's likely something I'll be able to suggest. :) Definitely be reasonable and don't give up. If you feel you HAVE to give up, that it's just too hard to continue, then what you're doing must not be reasonable enough for you at this time, know what I mean? (Unless your will-power is sickly low, but you don't seem like that.)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
That's very interesting. And very good to know. I know you've mentioned this before, but I don't think it ever really sunk in what you were getting at.

You pull off the crusts? For some reason, that makes me feel better. :-)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
I hates wheat crusts. They taste like sawdust. If its a sandwich with a hearty filling, I'm okay...but if it's a delicate filling (say just jam...not that I'd eat a jam sandwich, but as an example) then no crusts, please. Or if it's toasted. Toasted wheat crusts are just icky. I don't torture myself on EVERY issue, just most of them. :)

Yeah, not eating too few calories is VERY important, my biggest regret it not knowing and understanding. Not because I'm saying you're in danger of fainting or even becoming malnourished or any such thing (I get all my nutrients from 1300 calories with a multi to cover the little gaps, no problem at all), but simply because you will lower your metabolism and then have to eat an uncomfortably small amount just to keep from gaining the weight BACK.

I'm even MUSCULAR, damn it, and I STILL have to eat like a mouse. I HATE THAT. Don't do that to yourself. You'll be sad.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
PS: Just the upper crusts, mind you. The rest tastes fine to me :)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
Rats, we've got it too.

Rob's been calling it "American Bamboo" so I didn't even blink. But after the latest round of pictures, I asked him to google it and... yep. We've got it. He likes it for flutes & "ink pens" for Victoria... but I'm going to cut it back again. (No point in trying to eradicate it, I'm in suburbia and it's in my neighbors yards too.)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Knotweed
It's EVERYWHERE. And the nasty thing about it is that it chokes everything else out and forms a monoculture.

I need to go check ours again and see if I've rooted it all out. I'm still not sure what to do with the uprooted stuff in the tarp burrito.
Sep. 7th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Knotweed
I had an idea... this winter, toss it into Ziggy a few pieces at a time.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )