Friday, May 30, 2008

Canadian Epiphanies

Going to Toronto served as an epiphany in a couple ways. I'm tired of feeling sick and tired and when I was in Toronto, I really pushed myself every day and went out into the big city and walked around for hours on end. I got incredible blisters on the bottoms of my feet that gave this really disconcerting squishy feeling when I would step down (ok, place your collective "ewwwww!" here) but I kept walking and walking. Aside from the cost of mass transit, walking around the different neighborhoods in a big city is a fabulous way to get the feel of a place while saving a lot of money. Just don't open the door of that quilt shop! Noooooo! Step away from the quilt shop! And don't go into that stationary store!!!!

But I promised myself that I would keep up the walking adventures when I got home. Or at least the act of physically pushing myself to do something even though I feel so crappy. Also, I realized something else that I have known for a long time but it has never been made so obvious to me. Americans are fat. Not just fat, FAT! You can hear that fact on the news every night of the week but until you go to another country and look at a mass of people and realize that YOU are the FAT AMERICAN, it doesn't hit home. Guess what? I was the fat American. Hopefully, I wasn't loud and obnoxious too.

Back about sixteen or seventeen years ago, I worked in Japan. I worked there for a few months, realizing all the while that I was always uncomfortably the tallest person around, sometimes being called "Sir" by retailers (always a FABULOUS experience for the self esteem!). It didn't truely occur to me how much this affected my perspective until I flew back to the states and when I walked off the plane in San Francisco, I literally stopped in my tracks and gaped. I couldn't see over the tops of everyone's heads anymore!

That's sort of the same feeling I had in Toronto. I stopped in my tracks and gaped. There were a lot of thin and normal looking people there. They looked healthy without appearing to be freakish marathoners or something.

I also visited St. Lawrence Market while I was there. Now, I realize Toronto is a bit more temperate than Duluth but I was stunned at the amazing amount of fresh fruit and veggies that were there, much of it coming from various parts of Canada. There were also meats such as elk and emu and bison, and tons of delicious cheeses from small farms and breads from small bakeries. If I lived there, I wouldn't shop anywhere else. I have never stood in a place and felt a physical pain because I knew I couldn't participate in all the tasty fun. (Bags full of fresh fruit and emu meat don't go over well with customs). And every person there was carrying their own fabric grocery bag! I was in LOVE!!!

All this to say, I have set a rather lofty goal for myself upon returning home. I'm going to continue with pushing myself physically, no matter how crappy I feel. I need to do something physical everyday. I also, after seeing St. Lawrence Market, am committed even more to buying locally and doing my best to support local farmers and the farmer's market.

I'm also on my third day of eating a raw food diet. I have, at two other times in my life (post pregnancy) lost dramatic amounts of weight. I did it through recording every single thing that I ate, knowing exactly how many calories everything had, and setting hard and fast rules for myself. I know that Weight Watchers is a great organization but any program that gives me any options to make "choices", I will choose to do bad things. For a person that hates to follow rules, when it comes to weight loss, I need to be the old school marm with the tight bun, wire spectables, and wooden ruler. My only two exceptions for eating raw foods is that I will drink pasturized milk (sorry freaky raw foodie people, I like milk and Louis Pasteur was no idiot), and I will drink coffee (just black, no lattes).

Since I hate the concept of "Diets", I prefer to see this as a lifestyle change. Diets give the sensation of a short, quick fix. That's why so many Americans are drawn to them. If you tell a person that they will have to do this for the rest of their lives, they might get a little techty.

Eating gluten free has put me in the frame of mind that I can survive without things that I deemed essential to life. Like cinnamon rolls. Now, I'll do the raw food thing and get my ass in gear, and hopefully I can have more effect on my health than any high falutin physician type person.

An amazing resource that I've discovered and, in all honesty, I get a lot of satisfaction logging in at the end of the day to record my progress, is the website You can enter your menu for the day and your physical activities and get a complete nutrition breakdown, calorie count, and whatever caloric deficit you might have accomplished. Very cool!

So, I'm giving myself a year. A year to do this and see what happens. My goal? To get back to the weight I was back when I was about 25 and had two young kids to chase after. And that weight was????

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