Thursday Thirteen: A Smoke-Free Entry

Today is the Great American Smoke Out– the day smokers are encouraged to quit smoking for one day. Years and years ago – it was either the first or second year of the Smoke Out, '77 or '78, I can't remember now – I asked my dad to please quit smoking just for one day. He did, and never smoked another cigarette in his life. He smoked a pipe occasionally, but not too often. I have no idea if it was hard for him to quit. He never complained to me anyway. Then again, I was a little kid, so he probably wouldn’t have complained to me anyway.

As for me, I foolishly started smoking at 16. I’ve quit off and of many times since then, but last Friday I quit for good. I mean it this time. I'm done with cigarettes. For reals. And, in celebration of quitting, I came up with a list of thirteen good reasons to quit smokingand to never smoke again:

1.     You’ll be healthier. It’s been proven that once you stop smoking, your lungs start to become healthier. Eventually, you will have lungs as good as a nonsmoker.

2.     The air smells fresher and cleaner.

3.     Food tastes better.

4.     You – your clothes, your hair, your breath - won’t stink.

5.     Your house – your carpets, sofas, draperies, etc. - won’t stink. And your walls won’t be discoloured either!

6.     Your car won’t stink – if you smoke in your car, that is. And there’s less chance of you starting a wildfire by throwing your cigarette out the window!

7.     You’ll be more active. I find I can do more cardio now with less wheezing and coughing than before.

8.     You’ll be prettier (or more handsome). No more nasty yellow nicotine stains on your fingers or your teeth!

9.     The world will be a better place without all the second-hand smoke polluting the air and all the nasty cigarette butts on the streets, beaches, parks, etc.

10.    You’ll sleep better. Fewer coughing fits waking you up at night!

11.    You’ll save money.

12.    More people will like you. I'm just guessing here, but there are more nonsmokers than smokers out there.

13.    One positive healthy change will lead to many more! Since I'm feeling so much better and feel empowered by kicking this bad habit, I'm going full force into losing weight!

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


Since I'm still recovering from a nasty cold/flu-thing and my mom just suffered a relapse of the same thing, I decided to make some homemade chicken noodle soup for us. It was a lot of work - more work than I thought it would be - but it was all worth it because it was so good!

The recipe is out of my all-time favourite cook book Eating for Life by Bill Phillips. I love this cookbook for many reasons: first and foremost, there are tons of super easy, truly delicious recipes! I've tried nearly every recipe in this book at least once - some of them I've done many, many times (Just check out all the stickies in the picture below!). Second, I love the large, full-colour pictures of the finished dish. Most cookbooks just print the recipe and cooking instructions without a picture, but I really need a visual to decide if it's something I want to try. Third, another great visual that helps me out, is the picture of the ingredients included on some of the recipes, including the soup I made tonight. Here's what I mean:


And, finally, the best thing about this cookbook, is that every single recipe in it is 100% healthy! You don't have to lower the amout of salt or replace a fatty ingredient with a low-fat alternative, because it's already done for you. This book is a no-brainer, and that's what I like best about it!

Getting Adjusted

Last night I went to a chiropractor for the very first time ever in my life. Tonight I'm going back again.

You see, I ended up getting a free consultation after having some tests done at the guy's booth at the Health Fair last weekend (where I'd taken my mom and grandparents to get flu shots). According to his tests (which included standing with each foot on a different scale, and standing in front of a series of vertical coloured strings) I am 11 pounds heavier on my right side, and my spine and neck are seriously messed up. I figured, what the heck? I'll go in and see what he's got to say.

So, I went. He did a few more tests along my spine with electrodes or something, and came up with the computer equivalent of the coloured string test I'd taken previously. It seems my spine is curving slightly to the right (very likely caused by my incorrectly placed computer mouse at work; I just figured that out right now!), and my neck is a bit out of sorts as well. I also have a hump between my shoulders (which I already knew about, although I was previously told by another medical professional it was just a large lipoma, or fatty tissue tumour, whereas it's actually a "dowager's hump" - a bone-on-bone deformity - and NOT something that can be fixed with a little liposuction, dammit!), which we can't do anything about except work on preventing it getting worse.

Then I laid down on the table - and for those of you who've been to a chiropractor will know what I'm talking about - and he manipulated my spine, causing loud pops and snaps which were a little disconcerting, but not painful at all. Then I flipped over onto my back and he massaged and manipulated my neck, and before I knew it, he snapped it right then left - the latter causing not only a loud sharp SNAP, but also made my ears ring! Apparently this is a good thing all this popping and snapping - it means my vertebrae are getting put back into place. However, they won't likely stay that way, and I'll have to return for several more visits in order to correct the problems I already have.

I'm sure some of you are thinking I've been taken in by a quack, and maybe I have, but I've decided to go for it and see if anything can be done to fix the damage that years of poor posture have done. Who knows? Maybe I won't be as achy when I get up in the morning. Maybe I won't get as fatigued as I do now. Maybe I'll stand up straighter. We'll see.

November Resolutions

I actually forgot all about my October resolutions. I even had to back just now to see what I'd even resolved to do!  But, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try again in November! I am going to keep it simple, though in the hopes that I can actually accomplish them this time:

1. FinishNaNoWriMo.

2. Cook up healthy and hearty soups/stews/casseroles.

3. Hit the gym four days a week.

4. Drink more water.

Wish me luck!!

Reading That Martha Washington Quote to the Point of Obsession

... because it seems I've injured myself again. How? Who knows! My left ankle was fine this morning when I got to work. FINE! Now? It hurts when I put weight on it to the point of my being gimpy again. I think it might be another tendon thing, like my leg earlier this year, because while I did start feeling a little discomfort just above the ankle (on the inside of the leg, not outside) before lunch, now it's a raging pain with just a bit of throbbing thrown in for good measure. Gah!

So tonight, at the gym, there will be no walking. I'm not sure if there's something else I can do - stationary bike, perhaps? - but I'm sure I can at least do my upper body workout.


I am ... frustrated! annoyed! trying to be "cheerful and happy". failing.

A Major Setback

So, all that weight I lost earlier this year? That 50 pounds? The weight I worked so hard to get off my body? Is back. It crept up slowly at first around the end of June and continued through July, but this month? This month it just rushed back in with a vengence. My old 18s that used to fall off my hips are tight again, and I can't bear to even try any of the 16s I bought last spring. Gah.

I'm not sure what went wrong, but I do know I need to take a very close look at my life right now and see where I'm screwing up and FIX IT. Participating in the Lazy Waisters Triathalon I'm hoping will help get me out of the fitness rut I'm in (again), and I just got my new issue of Clean Eating magazine, so hopefully I will be back on track very soon.

Well, after my vacation, of course!

So, is this Another Kick in the Butt, or What?

Apparently God really wants me to start taking this "health & fitness" thing seriously, because just look what He's stuck in my face now: The Lazy Waisters Triathlon.

Yes, I signed up. Yes, I'm terrified (but only of failing miserably, not of the body aches I'm sure to suffer). And, no, I have no idea why I'm doing this to myself.

Except that maybe, just a little tiny bit, I've been longing to be "that girl" again. That active, athletic girl who enjoyed exercise, and was in track in Jr. High (long jump, mile and mile relay; i tried the hurdles, but always whacked my left knee on the top of the hurdle. am paying for that now with pain and stiffness), and took aerobics classes after school from one of the teachers, and started weight training in college, walked everywhere, and took aerobics, badminton, ballet and step classes as electives, and did just about anything and everything to be active. Because it was an addiction back then. Then it went away. And I got addicted to other decidedly unhealthy pursuits, and it's been so so very hard to get back. But I want to. I really do.

Maybe this is Step One.

Kicked in the Butt

At the beginning of August I made a list of "August Resolutions". I'd been thinking about doing it in July, then I read this article on Elastic Waist and it was like God was trying to tell me something. Something like, yes, do it, for the love of Me, please! (I posted my resolutions in the comments and fully intended to post them here as well, but never got around to it.) One of my resolutions was to get off the bus at Monterey Street and walk the six or seven blocks to work. Have I done it? At all this month? Even once?

Um, that would be a big, fat no.

So here we are at just about the end of the month and the only walking I've done has been two miles around the track at the gym with my trainer a couple times a week. I think about getting off at Monterey and walking, but, darn it, I wore heels today, or dang it, I'm in such a good part of this book I'd like to read it a bit longer today, and ... well, you get the picture. Apparently my procrastination has annoyed God to the point that He decided to give me a swift kick in the butt (me and a few other people), and forced me to take a walk. You see, the brakes on the bus started smoking (thick, stinky blue smoke - cough, hack, wheeze) about halfway down the Grade this morning, and once we reached Monterey, the driver said he wasn't taking the chance of the brakes failing completely or catching on fire, and would call in for another bus. I don't know how many passengers he ended up with, because I bailed immediately. The stench was overwhelming and my lungs have actually been a bit achy and congested since then. So, yeah, I walked.

And, it was an okay walk. It's not far (and luckily I did have on good walking shoes today!), but rather than the nice cool marine layer that is usually hanging over SLO, it was sunny, warm and muggy, so I was already sticky and sweaty by the time I arrived at work. So much for my "good hair day". Gah.

Still, at least I did it, right? And it wasn't too bad. Who knows, maybe I'll do it Agna, and maybe I won't need a bus meltdown to do it! 

So Now I Don't Know What to Think

So when I went to the doctor about my injured leg I weighed 175 on their scale. Remember? Well, yesterday at the gym I weighed myself - not on the digital scale, as I think it's calibrated incorrectly, but the kind like they had the doctor's office - and it still had me at 222. *sigh* So what does that mean? Are both the scales at the gym wrong? Or was the one at the doctor's office wrong? And how can those kind of scales be wrong? They're based on using the weights to balance the bar. So who's scales are right and who's are wrong: the doctor or the gym? And how much to I really weigh? I'm wearing size 16s so the 175 makes more sense. I guess. But I don't know. Maybe I never will.



This is embarrassing as hell to admit, but yes, I've resorted to using my 92-year-old grandmother's spare cane to hobble around the house while my tendon heals up. Even with the prescription, it hurts like a mother. Gah.

Also, I got my period today.

I hate my life.