I think my garden has matured to adolescence. It’s kind of hard to take because it feels like it wasn’t that long ago that I was nursing my little seedlings. Sure enough, though, they are growing up. Now it’s as though my green children have staked their independence and don’t need me at all; aside from a little corrective weeding now and then, of course. But, teenagers can be tricky and unpredictable, especially if you have no idea what to expect.
The first shock was seeing garlic scapes twirling around in the garlic patch. Now I found out last year that these little yummies were common only to hardneck garlic varieties and could be used in salads. The guru has taken it a step further and told me they can also be sautéed or even made into pesto.
Unfortunately, I read today that you are supposed to harvest them before they curl. However, as I was not exactly expecting them, it was their curl that showed me they were there. And I’m not going to lie to you, it was an exciting moment. I felt the need to e-mail the guru while standing in the garden to relay this amazing feat of nature. (I'm allergic to phone calls.) She was, of course, already expecting the announcement. That is why she is the guru.
This would have been enough for me: my first victory of the season, homegrown food in my kitchen. Couple that with the return of our local weekly farmers’ market this weekend and you have a happy Heather. Oh, but nature is a giver. Before heading out to said market this morning, my family already in the car, I said, “let me just check on my girls.” I’m getting a little choked up just thinking about that moment. I walked over and there they were, my green grandbabies, fresh out of the flower.
Now I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I’m not much of a vegetable eater. As in, I eat almost none. Unless they are in soup or stir fry, I tend to pass. (I’m fat for a reason, people.) Well, I couldn’t stand it. I had to try one. So I did. Here is my first raw snow pea in my daughter’s hand:
It kind of tasted like grass, but in a crisp kind of way. It definitely wasn't awful. From seed to my mouth the peas have been an absolute joy. I will miss them when they’re gone.
While I had the camera out to document this momentous day I figured I’d show a peek of some of my other kids.
Here are the ridiculous potatoes:
Beans: Some of them are turning out to be pole beans so I need more poles.
Popcorn: (When I just say, "corn" my kids always correct me.)
Pumpkin (or watermelon, I forget):
My miracle babies, the tomatoes I was sure were goners:
Up the middle are marigolds I started from seed as well. And I think there is an eggplant that snuck its way in there. As it is the best looking one I have, its staying. At the far end are cucumbers.
I have recently come to the conclusion it is decidedly better to hit the wall sooner rather than later. Not with your SUV mind you. If you’ll remember, that was a guard rail and a minivan. No, I’m talking about reaching your breaking point. The end of your rope. The last straw. And any other idiom that fits in there. Rock bottom may apply.
With the Shuker-mobile out of commission, the insurance company was kind enough to pay for a rental car. Not really kind, it was in our policy. It is amazing how little I cared what my insurance policy said until I needed it. What it says is $30/day for a rental while my car is in the shop getting fixed. Here’s the thing: I paid $30 in 1998 for a rental car that I drove from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. It was a Ford Fiesta and I think it had the same motor as a golf cart.
In 1998 I did not have three kids in car seats. So obviously I was going to need more than what insurance covers. I didn’t want to get that much more because I have to pay for this thing until June 10th when my ride will allegedly be its old self. So Mike at the car rental place offered me a “mid-sized SUV” by way of a Jeep Compass. By “mid-sized SUV” what he meant was a station wagon. Technically all three car seats fit in a row. One had to be sort of tilted, but I could get them all in and shut the doors.
And here is where the wall/bottom of rock comes in. One of my most satisfying days as a parent thus far was when my two older children could be told to get in the car and put their seatbelts on and they actually did it. It was like a little mommy miracle. Three car seats in a row does not allow room even for the tiniest hands to fasten seatbelts. Rather, it requires a production of car seat manipulation and leaning on my part. My miracle was revoked.
If that were the worst of it, perhaps I could have suffered through, but no. Close proximity means touching. Children touching each other never ends well when they are trapped in a motor vehicle. Inevitably at least one of them spent the car ride crying and/or retaliating. Then, whenever we arrived at our destination, they could no longer get out on their own either and had to wait for me to free them. This would result in a crescendo of intolerance that had us all screaming. Every trip. Anywhere we went. Oh, hell no.
So I called the rental place and said, “Mike, this Jeep Compass just isn’t working out for me, buddy. I think it is negatively affecting my relationship with my children.” And let me tell you, I had my battle gear on. I happen to have a little experience with trying to get people to take cars back, but that is another story. So when he said, “Ok, I’ve got a Dodge Journey that has a third row of seats, do you think that would work?” I was ready for him. I said, “It might. How much more would that be?” Gotcha now, Mike. “Same price.” Aha! “I’ll be there in five minutes.”
Yup, it took a phone call to save my sanity. Had I made that same phone call three days earlier it would have also saved my weekend and probably the few years of my life that were shaved off in that time. And, Mike didn’t even mind that the inside of the Jeep Compass was full of hay. (I took the kids strawberry picking and the concept of wiping shoes before getting into the car is something they have yet to master.)
I’m not sure why it took this particular incident to bring me to the sooner v. later epiphany, but it did. The thing is, I’ve hit my share of walls. A couple of careers, some interpersonal battles and what have you and without fail those walls had some pretty telling writing on them. And I’m not talking fine print. I think people in general have a harder time cutting losses than hanging on to the bitter end and I’m no exception. At least, I wasn’t…
Changing the flow of things takes effort. This isn’t just me talking either, it’s the first law of motion. (Oh yeah, we’re discussing physics here people. This blog isn’t for sissies.) Sometimes it seems so much easier just to ride the wave down the circling toilet bowl than to alter your course once you realize where you are headed. Yet, time and again once I’ve actually made the necessary changes it has been a relief and I’ve invariably asked myself why I didn’t do it sooner. Life lesson learned: Jump ship the minute you’ve jumped the shark. (That’s right, it’s sea-themed idiom day. Welcome aboard.)
In related news, I got my new jockey today, cover and all. It holds on like a champ; not a single nose dive onto the bathroom floor. This one is a real professional. So I’m back in the saddle with project 10,000 steps. So far I’ve gone 2,933 steps since the mail ran. In my defense, I needed a nap. Game on tomorrow, though. Overweight, here I come.
Even with my recent weekend absence and my post-accident self absorption, my garden seems to be cruising along just fine without me. Of course the weedlings staged a bit of a free for all but I have since made them acquainted with my zero tolerance policy.
The tomato plants I bought have continued their, ‘look at me’ campaign and have actually started to flower. They are beginning to act a bit ostentatious for my liking. Yes, we can all see how much bigger you are than all the plants I started from seed, no need to rub it in further by blossoming already. Although, tomato blossoms just don’t pack the same sort of punch as a real flower. It reminds me of a fat bearded man in drag. Sure the dress is there, but pretty is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when you see it.
On the other hand, all the well wishes for my peas have met their target and the little ladies seem to be pulling it together nicely. They have a few blooms of their own swelling up and I’m thinking they are going to prove more attractive than what those creepy pretentious tomatoes came up with.
That said, their recent trauma certainly left its mark. My girls no longer look like the debutantes I was so proud of, rather, they now more closely resemble a group of crack whores; a bit worse for wear. Well, sometimes when you get down to it, life can get pretty messy. That’s just the way it is. (The above picture is of a couple of the less battered survivors.)
One thing I’m starting to understand now a little better than I did when I started this venture is the idea of spacing. Admittedly, I tended to go closer than the recommended distances because as I was planting seedlings or seeds there just seemed to be so much extra space. I guess I thought all those other gardeners were being frivolous. Now as my potatoes have since become a microcosmic jungle (I think I saw miniature monkeys swinging from their branches in there) I’m starting to understand why the ranges are what they are.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I thought it was ridiculous that potato plants could get up to 2’ tall. I’m not sure why that is as I had never seen a potato plant before I began growing them, but there you have it. As my garlic is currently well over 2’ tall, I’m no longer incredulous about their height potential; but I was.
For some reason I seem to feel the need to blaze a trail my ancestors have already been wearing down for the past 10,000 years. I mean, I try to read up and follow the advice, but sometimes I let my ignorance run away with me. I realized yesterday that all of the spinach and parsley I planted I have since confused for weedlings and pulled. Oops. The sad reality is, when I go out weeding (aka selective murdering), I should really bring a picture of what the plants I’m trying to grow look like per my sister’s advice. How pitiful is that?
In other news, the estimate to get my car fixed came in at just under $7,000. Currently I'm in good hands (indemnitily speaking), but I wouldn't be surprised if those hands decided to toss me to the curb after this fiasco.
Also, I have ordered a new pedometer with a cover. I sprung $23.40 for that puppy. I know that number is pretty puny after the one I gave you in the last paragraph, but still. Keep in mind my last jockey was free. Worthless, but still.
Operation 10000 steps has met a bit of a hiccup. Which is to say the free pedometer is, well, worthless. I mentioned earlier that it kept resetting randomly because the reset button needs only the pressure of a mouse sneeze to engage it. And as the reset button is front and center, it is hard to miss. My toddler for one noticed at an instant that mommy’s toy had a button. Just begging to be pressed…
Well, I ask you, exactly what good is a pedometer that does not actually measure all of your steps? I’ll get back to that because as it turns out, being useless was not its only shortcoming.
I’ve never owned a pager. Just before the dawn of cell phones the general consensus in my world was that only “drug dealers and doctors” carried beepers. In my youth I took offense to this because the nurses I knew carried them as well. This has become ironic as I’ve aged for two reasons: first, as a nurse I’ve never had to take ‘call’ myself, and second, as nurses reign supreme over almost all drugs passed in any hospital, they were pretty much included to begin with. Anyway, I had to get used to wearing a little rider. My jockey as I came to think of it. That’s right, I’m the horse.
The problem at first was remembering I was wearing it at all; hence the ridiculous number of resets in the first few days. It also flew off my pants every time I went to the bathroom. Thankfully it never found its way into the toilet. Although I wouldn’t have been surprised if it had jumped to its death out of pure shame.
Then the problem became being all too aware I was wearing it and further being afraid of accidentally touching it. It was kind of like wearing a gun on a holster (which I’ve never done) only if you touch the gun the wrong way, or at all, really, it shoots you in the foot. I’d get into the car and forget to take the jockey off before sliding in; only to remember as my hip hit the seat belt receptor. Then I’d quickly try to scoot away and check it frantically for the inevitable reset. My kids were starting to think I was going nuts.
Having the thing start over all day had me feeling like Sisyphus. My only real option around this little design flaw was to try to look at it constantly and keep a running total in my head so that if the next reset happened, I would have saved at least the last known number of steps to add to the new puny total. That’s right, I was keeping count of the steps in my head. So, again, why was a wearing a freaking pedometer?
Finally, there was the ticking. I fluctuated between trying to hear the ticking to make sure the jockey was functioning to wishing I wasn’t ticking whenever I walked anywhere. It was like real life Mickey Mousing.
Honestly though, even the realization that my jockey was useless is not what ultimately got me to stop wearing it. No, what got me to permanently put my jockey out to pasture was a car accident I was involved in this weekend. Saturday afternoon I ran into a guard rail and then my sister’s minivan that was holding two of my three children as well as one of hers. My third child was with me. We were all on our way to her daughter’s dance recital. All of us are okay, by the way. See what happened was, she stopped and I didn’t.
The instant after I found out my family was safe; well, I had an emotional breakdown on the side of the highway. Then my sister tactfully said, “Heather, we are all okay. And my daughter is dancing in about 5 minutes.” The thing about having a breakdown, is you have to have time for things like that and we parents just don’t.
So I got back in my car and before I pulled away, looked around to make sure none of my things were damaged. I first noticed my camera. It is one of my prized possessions, a gift from my hubs. It had been flung forward, but it seemed to be in tact. The next thing I noticed was the little jockey, sitting in my cupholder, undamaged and no doubt reset. And I thought, now out of all the things I could have broken today, why couldn’t it have been that P.O.S.? Well, sometimes it takes moments like these to figure out what is really important in life. Lesson learned: you shouldn’t get a free ride if you aren’t willing to work.
But those of you who are walking too, or who were thinking about one day considering it, don’t let my tales of woe discourage you. Yes, a free pedometer may detract from your life in some ways. However, I don’t believe it will cause you to run into a guard rail and your sister’s minivan per se. Also, a bought pedometer might prove to get you over that hump just enough to remove all doubt that it might cause traffic accidents.
I don’t want to make any promises, however, as I haven’t bought one yet. But I’m going to. People, the goal here is still to get down to overweight by the end of the summer. And if I have to spring 15 bucks for the equipment to do so, that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. For all of us. And for research.
Although, if I hit my sister’s minivan again; even if I do have reasonable evidence that having a pedometer (of any sort) in the car is to blame, I don’t think my brother-in-law (I would have used BIL as is my general practice, but as his name is actually Jeremy, I thought that might be confusing) would be as likely to forgive me the second time.
My initial plan for today was to write about the trials and tribulations of life with a hateful freebie pedometer, but my annoying little jockey has been upstaged.
There is a scene at the beginning of the movie Roxanne with Steve Martin where he is walking along and stops to buy a newspaper out of one of those coin operated boxes. He resumes walking while reading the paper then is so appalled by what he’s read that he runs back to the box and pays to put the paper back inside. This is exactly how I felt today. Only as the material in question is an overdue library audiobook, returning it isn’t really going to have the same satisfying effect; although I will have to pay.
Here’s the thing: I abhor abridgements. I want nothing to do with them as part of my literary consumption. Give me all of it, or none of it. When I first started listening to audiobooks, I recognized how prevalent abridged versions were; presumably because a lot of people would rather not listen to 20 hours worth of book. Well, I would. Back when I had time to peruse, I would avoid abridgements like the plague. Most libraries make this easy by slapping a fluorescent label on the spine as a warning, like Mr. Yuk. (I think librarians probably feel the same way I do.)
For a while, I didn’t go to the library. My eldest son used to frenetically run around and pull books off the shelves as fast as he could like some wild book demon. I’d catch up with him and start picking up his pile, scolding him in a library whisper. Invariably, he’d wiggle away and with the fortitude often found in toddlers, he’d start at it again with renewed vigor. As you might imagine, this did not make for a relaxing trip. I didn’t care how free it was, the library wasn’t worth it. So I started buying my audiobooks from the comfort of my computer chair. This gets expensive.
Now said son has been tamed and my new toddler is safely strapped in a stroller when we go. However, as the toddler hollers “Down! Down! Down!” all the way through the place, I have to move quickly. So fast forward to three kids and a new ‘grab and go’ library experience and what you have is a recipe for disaster. That’s right. I unknowingly picked up an unmarked abridgement. Here’s the real tragedy of the tale: I love the content of the book. So much so I have uncharacteristically been on a crusade telling everyone to go out and read the darned thing.
Well, I was on the phone rambling on about the book to my sister this afternoon and in this fantastic age of technology she goes online to purchase it; probably just to shut me up. Talking her way through the navigation, (I think we can all agree if you are going to web surf while on the phone with someone, it is only polite to give the other caller a play by play so as to make them feel included) she says, “5 hours and 39 minutes. Oh, no wait, that’s the abridged version. Here it is, 17 hours and 48 minutes.” And that’s when the blow struck. I could feel the blood draining from my face. “My God, Leah, I’ve been listening to the ABRIDGEMENT!” Oh the horror.
The faces of the people I recommended the book to flashed before my eyes: my beloved hubs, the Guru, Rocksy. Could this be happening? There was only one option. I needed to immediately listen to the REAL book and make sure it was just as interesting un-Readers’ Digested. My sister bought the book as we were talking and because of the power of the internet, and the sharing of sisters, I was able to have the book instantly. I started listening with fervor. Exoneration. Not surprisingly, the actual book: even better. Shew, thank goodness. Crisis averted.
Now I have since composed all kinds of nasty letters in my head to the library for allowing such an abomination of literature to go unmarked, but I don’t want my card revoked. Plus the library ladies have enough to put up with when my family walks through the door. What’s done is done. Bygones and all that. Library lesson learned: Sometimes free comes at a price. Which is ironically the same lesson learned from the pedometer fiasco.
By the way, the book: A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson. I am ashamed to say, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of both versions. But my recommendation is firmly for the unabridged (unadulterated/undefiled) one.
Ok, this is fast becoming one of my new obsessions. How can people logically have anything against bandwagons? Trends? Movements? As I mentioned earlier, I wholeheartedly admit to being influenced by the world around me. What I fail to understand are people who really believe they aren’t (or who feel bad when they are).
This may come as a shock: You are not unique. Neither am I. I know, that’s not what we’ve been told. I’m not going to call our parents and teachers liars, exactly. The thing is, in the grand scheme of it all, that smidge of genetic code that makes each of us different from each other is so infinitesimally small that, well, in any other circumstance it would be rounded. We are people. That should be enough.
But even if we roll with that tiny bit of difference that we like to hang on to so much, we are really only different in batches. Be they geographical, ethnic, cultural, intellectual, whatever, they are still groups. Then within those groups there are little subgroups based on how we enjoy spending our time. We choose from a cocktail of human activities what to do while we’re awake. It is within these subgroups that we assert our uniqueness, but really, we aren’t.
If you are into gardening (I saw Michelle Obama sowing seeds with Elmo yesterday, so trust me, that’s mainstream) crafts, food, politics, travel, celebrities, parenting, the environment, anarchy, atheism, being smarter than everyone else, living off the grid; anything you can think of, someone else can, has, and there is a website about it. (FYI, I do not endorse any of said websites, I was just looking for examples... ok, some of them I read. But which ones?) Basically, if you hear someone shirking something because it’s “trendy” what they really mean is that it happens not to be a trend that interests them.
I realized recently that my starting a blog is not only itself unoriginal, but puts me squarely in a specific category of the fastest growing group of bloggers: Mommy Bloggers. Yup, I jumped right on that one without realizing it. But here’s the thing, we are all out there being influenced by the same media and by each other. Is it any wonder that trends fly through fast and furious and pull us all aboard before we even recognize it? Especially nowadays when we are so connected that what the rest of the world is doing is literally in our pockets. (And the people who choose to distance themselves from media and technology? Well, that of course, is a trend too. It’s been around for a while, actually. Walden Pond is getting crowded.)
So as people being influenced by each other constantly, where is this obsession for uniqueness coming from? It is a mythical proposition. Don’t get me wrong, I highly value transcendentalism. Even if this post doesn’t sound like I do. I am not a proponent of doing everything because the masses do. Going your own way is something I consider an ideal. I also greatly admire perseverance and personal achievement. However, the pursuit of distinguishing yourself from the masses for the sake of brandishing your uniqueness is to me a fruitless endeavor. Get in line.
My brain got caught on this track yesterday as I was reading a very popular (because she’s fantastic) mommy blogger who had written a post about writing a book. She was a bit self-deprecating about it because everyone else is writing books. I fail to see the problem. It is a logical conclusion that someone who enjoys writing (hence the blog) would write a book. And as writing is one of the primary ways we communicate with each other, it is extremely logical that many of us would like it and therefore also want to write books. I would say the same thing about music, art, storytelling/acting, and scientific discovery. They seem to be intrinsic human pursuits.
A little FYI about me: I’m a fan of Abraham Maslow. As such, his hierarchy of needs framework tends to influence how I see things. Think back to any kind of psych course you may have taken and his pyramid will ring a bell. On the bottom is meeting physiological needs and you move on up until you get to a point of “self-actualization”. It’s a beautiful model, I enjoy it immensely. Take a peek.
If you look at our culture, the bulk of us have pretty much been able to move past the lower needs. We are fed, clothed and housed for the most part. So most of our society is hanging out in the love/belonging or self-esteem/respect of others area. As such, it is not surprising we are trying to distinguish ourselves. If we were hungry, we wouldn’t bother. And that is the point.
Our country is swarming with people with a lot of time on their hands to think about their place in the world (hence the blogs). Now I find it wonderful when people choose to spend their time bettering themselves and the world around them with whatever gifts their smidge of genetic uniqueness has endowed upon them. But to be different for different’s sake (a losing battle statistically speaking) or famous for fame’s sake (ick) is just a sad commentary on human potential, if not a new one.
Paradoxically, trying to be like everyone else is a real problem. There are herds of people out there suffering eating disorders and massive credit card debt because they fail to grasp the distinction. What I am saying is that it’s okay that we aren’t all completely separate unique beings, not that we should all try to be one mainstream ideal. I do not advocate following a pack. Rather, when you find yourself within a pack, be sure to make the most of the likeminded company.
I blog, I throw pottery, I’m a mother, a knitter, a gardener, a nurse, a suburban housewife. None of these things make me unique, but within these pursuits and with the companionship of others, I am able to find meaning and purpose. The appearance of conformity is not equivalent to a deadening of the mind. Anyone saying otherwise probably just heard that from someone else.
So why am I going on and on about this? It’s filling up my head. I needed a release. So it was either this or my disappointing pedometer experiences. I’ll save that topic for later.
I suffered a disheartening blow when I did my gardening rounds this evening after getting home from visiting my MIL for Mother’s Day. (My own mother is currently celebrating her motherhood sans children in sunny California.) Anyway, my girls looked as though they perpetrated an escape attempt. After recently suffering the indignity of being tied to sticks, who could blame them?
That’s what it looked like, but I’m pretty sure I’m to blame. My peas were planted in window boxes perched precariously on the ledge of our deck railing. I think the afore mentioned sticks provided the necessary lift on this windy spring day to dump the boxes unceremoniously onto the lawn below.
Luckily, I did not witness the carnage personally. The hubs was kind enough to rescue my damsels in distress from their heap and hoist their boxes back on the deck. He was not, however, kind enough to warn me. Unaware of what had transpired, I came upon my girls all twisted and mangled and was absolutely horrified. Their wrists still tied to the offending twigs, that are now broken as well, they looked as though they’d been attacked. On the grass below were puddles of spilt potting soil staining the scene just as surely as pools of blood. Ok, not really, but it was upsetting.
Were I premenstrual right now, I probably would have cried. I can’t believe how attached I’ve gotten to these things. Silverpixels warned me I would be vested and she was right. I, who have made fun of people who spend ridiculous amounts of money on their ailing pets, got all distraught over some disheveled plants. Oh boy, gardening might prove too emotional for me yet.
I don’t know if the girls will recover this insult. Most of the gardening books indicate peas do not tolerate transplanting well and this was surely a similar, if not worse, shock to their systems. I have lots more peas planted throughout my gardens but these were special. They were my one success story while everything else was failing. I’m sorry little darlings. You have become yet another tale of how fragile life can be; especially at the mercy of an inexperienced gardener.
Turns out this freebie pedometer isn’t working out so well. You get what you pay for, I guess. No offense to Select Medical Rehab. Inc. but it is just too easy to reset. As in, I’ve reset the darned thing 4 times today. A couple of times were accidental, but my toddler is fascinated with it so the other times were premeditated.
My initial reaction, after irritation, was to go out and buy one with a cover. I even looked at them. There was one at Target for $14.95 with a cover and a strap. It even has “10,000 STEPS PER DAY” printed on it. See? It pays to jump on bandwagons after they are in full swing. The accessories are so much easier to acquire. I didn’t even know it was a bandwagon until I Googled it. But of course, this is the information age. There isn’t a thing out there that doesn’t have an obsessive following. No, really. If you can think it, there is already someone out there blogging about it, I assure you.
The reason I did not purchase said pedometer is because I’ve started a 'no new stuff' campaign here at the Shuker homestead. I’m sure I’m not alone on that one either. Actually the goal is to hand-make things or buy things handmade from others. (A little clarification lest you think I'm asking more of my customers than I myself am willing to buy.) But that is for another post...
If you add up all the steps I took before the resets I am up to about 9,500 as of right now. You know, sitting here. A lesser person would round up, theorizing I probably lost about 500 steps in the resets. But as I am trying to become a different kind of lesser person, that would do me no good. I’ll make it. Day #1 is in the bag.
It should be no surprise that regular old life was not enough to get me there. If it were, I wouldn’t have a weight problem in the first place. I went for a 40 minute walk this afternoon which netted me a good 5,000 steps. At this point I can pretty much surmise that regular life activity plus a 40 minute walk everyday will keep me healthy. Actually, I would have been able to come up with that before the pedometer use; which is the point.
Weight loss is not about figuring out how to lose weight. As my girlfriends and I agreed, in the very conversation that prompted me to wear a pedometer, you’d be hard pressed to find a fat person out there who couldn’t tell you exactly how to take off pounds. The true crux of the problem is finding motivation. Any problem, really. So if wearing a little semi-functional step counter will help my brain comprehend the value of a daily constitutional, so be it. Whatever works, I say.
I am not a thin person. Quite the opposite, actually. And we fat people tend to like to talk about weight loss the way thin people like to talk about fashion. If fat people are talking about fashion it is usually to gripe about how there isn't any for fat people.
Anyway, I was lamenting about my fatness with some girlfriends recently and one offered up her mom's advice that 10,000 steps a day is the key for weight management. This 'steps' goal appeals to me for two reasons.
But first let me give you a little history. I have had two periods of less fat in my adult life. For the record, I have never been thin. At birth I weighed almost 9 lbs. and it has pretty much been uphill ever since. When I talk about previous weight loss success, I’m referring to periods when I was able to move from being morbidly obese to just plain obese. At my thinnest, I’m simply overweight.
The first slimming down happened in my senior year of college when I was walking from my apartment to campus at least once a day. It was about a mile or two each way and it was very hilly. With graduation came new living arrangements and the weight came back.
The second time I lost a bunch of weight was when I was working in sales and went to the gym every day as an escape from making sales calls. I was also low carbing it at the time. When I left that job for a commuter cube job, the weight came back again.
Now my recent obsession with living ‘real life’ precludes me from going to the gym. The idea of going into a building to get on a machine so I can walk for an hour and not go anywhere just doesn’t appeal. I am not a hamster. I don’t think exercise should be so artificial. I want to accomplish something with my time or at the very least be out in the world. Plus gyms are humid and stinky.
The 10,000 steps for me is perfect because 1. I’ve lost weight in the past by walking and 2. I can incorporate it into my life by just moving more. Now I, like many perpetually fat people, tend to overestimate my activity and underestimate my food consumption. Vaguely increasing my activity isn’t likely to net me any results. I need the numbers. Once I spent two years graphing my weight every day to keep track of my progress. There was no progress. Then I got pregnant.
This is where the pedometer comes in. I wasn’t about to go out and buy one as they are always being given away. Proving my point curiously soon, there was a rep handing them out at work the very next day. That was Monday. I didn’t try the thing out until today because I didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to use it. Turns out, taking it out of the box was all the training I needed.
On my maiden voyage, I decided to work a little extra around the house to really pump up the numbers. I spent the morning weeding the garden then decluttering the kids’ art area. I was on the move, to the tune of a whopping 3,000 steps midday. Was that it? Yup. My big ‘incorporate activity into my regular life’ push netted me less than a third of my goal for the day. Once again, proof there is no mystery to fatness. Unfortunately, I accidentally reset the thing while putting my phone in my pocket at the grocery store. Since I was having a weak moment and bought a Twix bar, I’m not sure the rest of the day’s numbers are really relevant anyway.
Regardless, even with the obvious setbacks of my first day, I’m on a new mission. My goal: to be down to just overweight by the end of the summer. My two pronged approach is to eat real food (à la Michael Pollan’s advice) and reach 10,000 steps/day. Wish me luck.
I like to throw things.