Monthly Archives: September 2013

I ran from the world . . .

I ran from the world today…

I do that sometimes

When the world seems to close in on me.

At those times I run into the relative silence

Of my own thoughts,

Disconnect from everything except

My computer screen,

Which stares out at me benignly,

Making no demands,

Allowing me to look within.

I close the door and open the window,

And I walk no farther than

To the kitchen and back again.

But you are never far from my thoughts,

In fact, my self-imposed silence

Brings you closer to me, my friend,

To a place inside my thoughts where I can rest

And savor warm memories of you

That are closer than my own breathing.

I ran from the world today,

But I found another world

The one that you and I inhabit together,

The one that defies space and time,

All sense or reason.

By Dan

By Dan

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Filed under poetry

Want to lose weight and keep it off? Yes!

When I was a kid I remember my mother laughing when people would say they were overweight because of their metabolism. She’d say, “Stop eating and see if your metabolism will still make you overweight.” Nice one, Ma.

Well, it wasn’t so funny to me when I got to be thirteen years old or so and discovered that I couldn’t have three helpings of everything any more because then I wouldn’t be able to fit into my dungarees (that’s what we called them back then).

For the next several decades my weight would go up and down like a yo-yo. I dieted, like everyone else, but I didn’t take it all that seriously, because, I told myself, I’m not really FAT. Unfortunately, that line of reasoning didn’t make me any happier about having to squeeze myself into my clothes and being embarrassed to wear a bathing suit, though.

Back when I was a kid, nearly everybody made fun of heavy people. We didn’t use any euphemisms, we just called them “fat.” Nowadays people aren’t usually as mean as they used to be about obesity, and there are lots of campaigns out there to help overweight people feel good about themselves.images

I’m all for whatever makes you happy, but if you really aren’t happy with being overweight, or with your weight fluctuating all the time, then you probably want to try to do something about it. You don’t have to turn yourself into a skinny minny, but if you want to normalize your weight, there’s one way it can’t be done: dieting.

OK, there may be some exceptions to the rule, but in general, most people seem to gain back the weight they lose when they diet. I know I did—every single time. And I also know why I did. It was because I was cutting out certain foods that I really enjoy because they were supposedly “fattening.” Now you know what happens when you deprive yourself of something you really love, right? That’s right. You always go back to eating it, sooner or later.

Since yo-yo weight was an ongoing problem for me, I spent a lot of time thinking about it, trying to come up with a solution. Finally I just started watching myself, observing the way I ate. One of the first things I noticed was that it wasn’t all that different from the way other people ate, as far as I could see. And that’s how I found my solution.

OK, so how do we eat? As members of the human race, most of us eat for reasons other than legitimate hunger. We eat our meals, true, but we also eat when we’re depressed or wildly happy, when we’re in the company of others (just for fun), when we can’t sleep, when we’re bored, when we’re celebrating, when we’re angry…well, you get the picture.best-healthy-snacks-for-the-office-2

I decided that I would try a new approach. First of all, I would eat only when I felt hungry, when I felt that I really needed to eat. Second, I wouldn’t cut out any of my favorite foods, whether they had been labeled “junk food” or not. Third, it just seemed like a good idea not to eat right before I went to bed. That was it. No dieting, no eliminating foods.

The result? After a few months I noticed that I had lost some weight. And by that time, I was used to not eating when I wasn’t hungry. I won’t say I stuck to that 100%, but I did pretty well with it. Within six months or so it had all become second nature.

Now, nearly ten years later, I’m at my normal weight and have been for years. I never worry about it any more, and I really enjoy my food more than I did when I was eating for the wrong reasons. I also find that I don’t pig out on my favorite treats, like ice cream and chocolate. I eat some, and I’m done. That’s it.

I’ve been so sure that this would work for anyone, that I’ve brought up the subject on several online forums over the years. No one was interested. They would ignore my comments and just keep talking about their diets. I found this mind-boggling to say the least. These forums were full of overweight people dying to find some way to lose weight, but they just weren’t willing to try something different.

Does this make sense to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

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Thanks, Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad…I have to confess, I wasn’t really aware of who she was until I started seeing a few posts on Facebook about her fifth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. I’m not particularly interested in sports (except Brazilian soccer!), and although I’ve always enjoyed the water and swimming, I never really followed it as a sport.

But something caught my attention about Diana Nyad. First of all, her name. I had a feeling it wasn’t the one she was born with, and sure enough, she adopted the moniker, which means “water nymph”—so I knew there was no doubt in her mind as to who she was. Then, as I began to read more posts, I was struck by the sheer tenacity of the woman. She had tried to swim that stretch four previous times (the first time in 1978), and had failed, mostly because of vicious jellyfish stings and bad weather._62423716_62423711

And yet here she was, back to give it one last try. And at age 64! She succeeded this time—over 100 miles of ocean swimming, 53 hours in the water swimming steadily except for treading water when her support team fed her. I thought, what gives a person that kind of determination? Almost a stubbornness?

Nyad herself had this to say before the swim: “There’s a fine line between having the grace to see that things are bigger than you are and to let your ego go, and there’s another edge over that fine line where you don’t want to ever, ever give up, and I’m still at that place.” And yet she also said that that this would be her final attempt. If she didn’t make it, she would have the grace to let it go.110

I got so caught up in her story that I stayed up almost all night the second night of her journey, checking Facebooks for updates and praying for her safety in the dark, cold ocean waters. I was absolutely riveted. I wanted her to make it so badly. I was obsessed.

It made me think about my own life, and I know I’m not the only one. So many of us have niggling feelings of regret for the times we “gave up,” for whatever reason. Maybe we were distracted, tired out, frustrated, or just plain lazy. But the regret was there, like an itch you can’t get rid of.

So seeing this woman, who is no longer a girl, seize her life and embrace it the way she has done—fearlessly, never turning back—was an inspiration that hit me right in the gut. When I got the news that she had made it to Key West I felt as if a whole bunch of my own self-imposed barriers had collapsed. I was renewed, and I know a lot of others were, too—and not just older women, or even just women. Nyad’s story is for everyone. After all, our dreams are who we are. As she put it herself after her triumphant arrival in Key West: “We should never, ever give up.” To do so would be to turn our backs on who we really are, on our destiny.

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Filed under individuality