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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tip: An Apple a Day Is Not a Cliché

A grapefruit almost the size of a dinner plate?

Lately I’ve encountered an overwhelming urge to eat more fruit, an urge I can indulge myself in. I no longer crave cookies, cakes, pies, and candy, even though I do eat a piece of chocolate now and then, but nowhere near the volume of sugar-laden desserts I used to eat. Fruit has natural sugars that satisfy my taste buds, and fruit is also loaded with nutrients and fiber. I say “yes” to fruit, and I enjoy exploring all the fruitful possibilities.

A few weeks ago I bought something called a pomello. I’d never seen the fruit before. It looked like overinflated grapefruit, perhaps a cross between a grapefruit and a basketball. I took pictures of it, because I wanted to show how large it was. When I cut it open, the sections were uneven, sloppy, more unpredictable than a grapefruit. I suspected it might taste like grapefruit, but I had no idea it would taste so deliciously sweet. Eating half a pomello was like eating a whole grapefruit sprinkled with sugar, but I didn’t add any sweetener. Delicious! Pomello, it turns out, is a forerunner to the grapefruit, rather than a hybrid, and it’s popular in other countries, but only recently imported into America.

Perhaps because I could not eat grapefruit all the years I was on cholesterol-lowering statins, I’ve had a craving for grapefruit. My cholesterol is once again within recommended levels, so I’ve stopped taking statins and started eating grapefruit (and grapefruit-related fruit) again and loving it.

Is juice as good as fruit? Not usually. I read on the site that apple juice is overloaded with sugar and should be avoided, although apples themselves are a perfect snack.

In general eating the fruit is almost always better for you than drinking the juice from the fruit, because the juice eliminates the vital fiber, plus you’re likely to drink more juice than a single fruit would have, so it would be like eating several apples or several oranges, adding calories to your intake without adding fiber. The one juice that is actually better than the fruit is red grape juice, because it is made from the whole grape, skins, seeds and all, giving you more antioxidants than you’d get from eating the fruit without eating the seeds.

Orange wedges offer even more benefits, not only for the fiber, nutrients, and vitamin C of oranges, but also because eating a few orange wedges curbs my hunger. I love to eat slices of orange for a midday snack.

I have also fallen in love with lime. I order it instead of lemon with my water in restaurants, even though not all restaurants have limes. I also buy limes in quantity and use them in several ways. Primarily I use limes to extend my salad dressings. Lower-fat salad dressings are usually lower in flavor yet higher in cost and often higher in sugar than high-fat dressings. Some of those “low-fat” dressings are simply diluted with water, yet the price can be higher for less of the pure product. My favorite dressing is regular high-fat honey mustard dressing. I measure two tablespoons for my salad and then squeeze half a lime onto the salad. I pull out the pulp and add it to the salad as well. The lime juice expands the liquid of the salad dressing, so it covers all the greens, and it enhances the flavor of the salad. I love biting into a bit of the tart/sweet lime pulp amid my greens, carrots, and avocado.

I squeeze lime juice on my steamed broccoli, too, and it’s yummy. No butter or salt necessary.

My only problem with fruit is that it must be eaten relatively quickly, or it spoils, but apples tend to be the exception. They keep a long time in my refrigerator, so it’s easy to keep a few apples on hand for that snack attack, so I won’t attack something more fattening.

At my weigh-in yesterday I hadn’t lost any weight this week, but I’m still on track to meet my mini goal by the end of February, so I’m not worried. I especially love the feel of my muscles and body these days, now that I’m working out more diligently and more often. Yes, underneath all this fat is a truly buff Bobbie!

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 193
Goal weight for this week: 192
Actual weight this week: 193
Total pounds lost: 53
Goal weight: 150
Mini goal: 190 by February 28

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tip: Flattery Feels Good; Use It To Stay On Track

It’s been a better week for me. I’m over my cold enough that I could work out again and walk more often and farther with the dog without succumbing to coughing fits or the need to blow my nose. I enjoyed getting back to the gym after being absent for almost two weeks, but the first day, I wasn’t able to complete my full routine. I still felt run down.

Two days later, yesterday, though, I got myself to the gym ready for a serious workout. I rode the bike longer than usual for a warm up. I walked over to the weight-based equipment and pushed myself for more repetitions than ever on each machine. I even went back to a few of the machines and started again, more than doubling my usual repetitions. I spent more time than ever on the abs equipment. I need to continue to reduce the fat around my middle and tone up my abdominal muscles.

I next went to the locker room to change into a bathing suit, and on a whim, I pulled an old suit out of the bottom of my bag. I haven’t worn it in ages, because it has always been tight on me. Yesterday it not only fit well, but it also emphasized my boobs by pulling them together and showing a little cleavage through an open panel down the front. I laughed at my image, because I usually have what my brother-in-law calls “clea,” not enough to be considered cleavage.

I thought about a book I’m reading on how differently the sexes think. It emphasized that men are wired to size up a woman by her appearance, no matter how much we women may protest that we want to be loved for our brains and our character. Men see large boobs, small noses, a good hips-to-waist ratio, and shapely legs as the most important attributes a woman can have. I looked in the mirror at my body. Ha! I have almost no waist, compared to my hips; I’ve always looked more like a fireplug than an hourglass. I have a Jewish nose, cottage-cheese thighs, and boobs that are farther apart than the two sides on the Middle East peace talks, but at least that old, faded, formerly too-small suit smashed my boobs together and gave me cleavage. I sighed and thanked elastic for the assistance. I wasn’t on my way to a fashion show; I was on my way to swim.

In the pool I swam for twenty minutes without taking a break, and but when I glanced over at the hot tub, my usual reward for being a good girl and working out, four men were in it having a lively conversation. I decided to wait them out. My ideal situation is to have the hot tub to myself, so I can back up to the strong jets for a quiet bubble massage. I didn’t want to hear those men’s conversation or get involved in it. Conversation isn’t easy over the noise of the jets, and I prefer to be silent and relax after a workout. To wait out the males, I stayed in the pool and did water aerobic exercises for another ten minutes. At last three of the men left the hot tub. I figured the fourth one wouldn’t be far behind, so I waddled my fireplug-shaped, cottage-cheese-riddled body over to the hot tub for my reward and quiet time.

The remaining guy nodded recognition of my presence when I stepped in. I nodded back, but otherwise ignored him and went to my favorite spot in front of one of the strongest jets in the pool. I slid into the hot water, closed my eyes, and released an uninhibited sigh of relief and ecstasy as the bubbles rolled up my back like warm fingers massaging my well-worked muscles. Through the sound of the bubble jets I heard the guy say something.

“Feels good, don’t it?” he had said.

“Yes, like a massage,” I agreed. I opened my eyes. He wasn’t looking at my face. He was looking at my cleavage. Men!

“Would you like a massage?” he asked, still glancing lower than my chin. [Man talk for “I’d love to get my hands on those tits.”]

I glimpsed at him again. Fit, probably in his late forties, early fifties, with a large but faded tattoo on his arm of a dog holding heavy dumbbells. Apparently he had been lifting weights for years.

Because we were sitting on a bench, the water hit us both at nipple height. His chest was smooth, tight, and hairless, the way I like a man’s chest, and he had a tan, even though it was early February. His eyes twinkled, and he had a charming smile, but all those physical attributes were canceled out by the fact that he had said “Feels good, don’t it?” I can’t tolerate poor English. Women!

What a quandary! The man had offered me a free massage. I love massages, and with his strong muscles, he would probably give me a good, strong massage, but should I say yes to a complete stranger, and in a hot tub? My mind went a mile a minute. First I felt flattered; so few men flirt with a woman who is overweight and in her sixties. I had evolved, worked on my body, improved it a great deal, even if I had much further to go, and as a result, a man was flirting with me. Flattered. Next, though, I felt insulted. He had no interest in my mental acuity, my character, my skills as an editor, my accomplishments as an entrepreneur. All he could see was my cleavage, which took precedence over all else, and it was falsely created by wearing a suit with a peek-a-boo panel. Lastly, I felt a little afraid. What if I let him rub my shoulders? Would his hands stray to my cleavage? That’s all he seemed interested in, anyway. How should I respond? I answered in an indirect way and said, “I don’t think that’s a part of what this gym has to offer.” [Woman talk for “I’m saying no, but in a way that won’t offend you.”]

He grinned and dropped his head coyly, but he didn’t pursue the issue. Instead he asked, “Do you work out with anybody?” [Man talk for “Are you available?”]

“I usually come alone, although I sometimes join friends,” I answered. “I’m used to doing things alone.” [Woman talk for “Yes, I’m available.”] I’m human; I couldn’t resist his flirtations completely.

“I saw you swimming. I swam for twelve years when I hurt my back and couldn’t lift weights, but I’m better now.” [Man talk for “I’m virile and ready to stand at stud.”]

“I noticed your tattoos. You must be a weightlifter.” [Woman talk for “I can see that you are virile and strong.”]

He lifted his well-endowed bicep and pointed to the vicious-looking dog. “Yeah, I’ve had this tattoo so long the dog’s turned into a poodle.” [Man talk for “I’m old enough for you, babe, and I can be gentle, like a poodle. You’ll love it.”]

I responded, “Hey, I have a poodle, and when you have a poodle, you’re never alone.” [Woman talk for “Love me, love my dog.”]

“I like dogs.” [Man talk for “I’ll tolerate your little yap-yap if it gets me what I want.”] He giggled and added, “I don’t know what happened, but since you walked into this hot tub, my shorts started acting up.” [Man talk for “I have gotten an erection from looking at your breasts.”]

“I know,” I answered. “My suit fills with air, too.” [Woman talk for “I don’t want to know about your darned erection; keep that information to yourself.”]

He blatantly glared at my bosom, grinned sheepishly, and said, “Those ain’t air. I can tell they’re real.” [Man talk for exactly what he said, without any regard for or knowledge of the fact that he has insulted the woman.] He then stood, raising his body out of the water and displaying the vast difference between the broad width of his shoulders and the narrowness of his waist. [The male display/mating dance.] He adjusted his waistband and sat back down.

Although shocked that he would say something so blatant about my boobs, I laughed inwardly at what turned out to be a typical male. After his display, if I stood, he’d see that I have almost no waistline. He’d see me for the blubbered Bobbie that I am. I didn’t stand. [The female attempt at hiding anything that isn’t an asset.]

We talked a little more; I learned he’s a bricklayer, which explained the tan. He learned almost nothing about me; men fail to ask personal questions when their focus is strictly on cleavage. He finally rose and left the hot tub, saying he enjoyed talking to me, and I was left to relax into the harmless bubble massage I had earned.

My point is this: I have mixed feelings all the time about my looks. I want people to like me for my other assets. My looks have never been my strong suit, so I resent when people rely on looks alone. People do judge us by our looks, however, and even as I resent it, I have noticed I’m treated better by store clerks and bank tellers and other service people when my body shape is more in line with the accepted standard. When I blow up into a balloon and have difficulty walking, I’m treated less well. I even have a harder time returning items at a store.

I’m losing weight for my health, but the weight loss has other benefits as well, even if it’s an odd, awkward encounter in a hot tub with a man interested in only one thing. At my age, I‘ll take whatever flattery I can get.

The latest news on the weight-loss front is that I’m well on my way to my next mini goal of weighing 190 by the end of February. I’m down by two pounds this week.

Starting weight: 245
Weight last week: 194
Goal weight for this week: 193
Actual weight this week: 192
Total pounds lost: 53
Goal weight: 150
Mini goal: 190 by February 28