Monday, June 26, 2006

“Nifty by Fifty”

This past week has been a slow one – not in terms of time passing, but in terms of motivation – a continuation of “Tortoise on Ambien” progress. I exercised only a couple of days, and not my former full routine at that. I didn’t have a single day when I got down all 64 ounces of water I would set myself to drink, nor did I repeat all my affirmations. Plus, I gave in to “self-medicating” food cravings of Burger King and chocolate two days in a row. Nevertheless, as the immortal Scarlett O’Hara used to say, “Tomorrow is another day.” And this week is another week.

Simplistic words indeed, and yet, what would we do without tomorrow?

* * * * *

The late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, used to say that “a lady who will tell her age will tell anything.” Well, I’m not sensitive about my age – why should I be? It’s not like I’ve done anything wrong by approaching the half-century mark! And it’s primarily the shadow of that milestone that set me on my new path, no matter how many detours I make along the way.

In a word, I’ll be fifty in four years. Fifty! It doesn’t seem possible. Mentally I feel about 21. Fifty doesn’t scare me, but it is sobering, when one hasn’t achieved what they feel they should have by that age. But I have four years, and a person can accomplish a good deal in that time, “detours” notwithstanding. My goals, stated here for the first time, are relatively simple:

- Financial security
- Home ownership
- Maximum weight of 145 (my doctor’s goal) or 130-135 (my desired weight)
- One novel published
- Three books of poetry published

As you can see, I’m not out to become president of the United States or achieve world peace. And frankly, considering the number of tools I’ve amassed so far to help me along the way, it will take me four years just to get through them all!

Remember the saying “Fabulous at forty?” Well, how about “Nifty by fifty?” Of course, once I reach those goals –and that milestone age – I’ll have to figure out what to do with the years still ahead.

But that will be the subject of another blog.

* * * * *

I promised last week to introduce you to two people I’ve come across in my Internet wanderings who also have something to say about fitness. The first is Jamaican-born Misha Newman, who published a wonderful article titled “This Body That I Wear” in the Christian online magazine Relevant. I haven’t yet received permission from the editors to reprint quotes from Misha, but I encourage you to stop by and search the site for her article title. Misha talks about how she no longer has the “ideal,” male-attracting body that she did as a teenager, partly due to medication she must take for bipolar disorder. Yet she sees beyond the surface of stretching skin to the life within her body, the experiences that have been expressed and continue to be mapped by the circumstances of everyday living. It’s a thoughtful and well expressed view, and I hope you’ll be blessed by it as I was. Misha also blogs at Drop by and tell her hello!

Spotlight Number Two shines on California resident Sean Perkey, who has taken on a remarkable quest to lose nearly half his body weight. You read that right – almost half! And he’s sharing his journey with the world on his blog, “Watch My Loss.” Sean has changed his eating habits and begun an exercise routine in his effort to go from “Fat to Fit; from Huge to Healthy.” As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also attempting to raise $50,000 for the American Diabetes Association. Personally, I think he’s going to make it on both counts, and if you read his blog, I’m betting you will, too. You can find him at These are two people with an attitude, folks, and I’m proud of both of them, even though we’ve never met. They encourage me, and so I want to encourage them, partly by sharing their stories with others whom I hope will do the same.

* * * * *

Once again it’s “Tool of the Trade” time. This week’s focus is on the simplest tool of them all – my 70-ounce bright pink plastic water jug. “Pinky” and I are regular companions at work and sometimes on the weekends, although I don’t give her nearly the attention she deserves. She takes a lot of abuse, too, from being ignored to being frozen overnight and strained almost beyond her limits. But she’s hung in there, so I continue to cart her around and swig from her when I think about it…which isn’t often enough, most days. Let’s face it – water may be good for you and a necessity of life, but getting down 64 or more ounces a day can be a sheer pain in the patootie, even if you flavor it with lemon or lime juice or what have you. So I came up with the “five on five” rule to try and help me meet that goal – that is, five sips every five minutes. That’s something of an annoyance as well – all those interruptions – but it does help to make the level go down. Give it a try and let me know if it works for you.

* * * * *

Promises, promises…they’re in the air and everywhere. On magazine racks, in our newspapers, on our televisions and computers. But when it comes to fitness, how many of them are what Mary Poppins called a “piecrust promise” – easily made, easily broken?

I’ll take a look at that next week in “Standing on the Promises.” See you then!

-Treader Lucie-

Monday, June 19, 2006

“Forgetting What Lies Behind”

This last week has been one of some retrospection, which I suppose I should have expected following my last entry about the power of words and their occasional “constipating” effects. Remembering my own list of harmful comments for an ediets exercise took me back in time to a place I’ve concluded I don’t need to revisit, although on more than one occasion there’s been an odd kind of satisfaction in doing so – like picking at a scab, I suppose.

I also concluded that there was something more I wanted to say on last week’s subject: That no matter what your weight, you are not a number! You are a human being, marvelously, almost unimaginably complex. Why, then, do you and I allow our perception of ourselves to be reduced to mere phrases uttered by someone else?

Can we agree that we’ll work towards not allowing ourselves to do it again?

This past weekend I bought a new book called The Shaolin Workout. The book’s author likes to say that “Everyone is handsome. Everyone is beautiful.” My immediate reaction to this kind of statement is normally to dismiss it as gooey hooey, yet after a moment or two I realized he wasn’t talking about popular culture’s version of beauty, but the fact that people possess beauty simply because God made them. As the old saying goes, “God don’t make junk.” And if He doesn’t – well, I guess that means we’re all diamonds, even if we need a little polishing!

My homily is almost over, but I want to add that part of a saying of St. Paul has been repeating itself in my head these last several days – “forgetting that which lies behind.” I don’t think the apostle really meant we should forget the past entirely – after all, it’s made us what we are, and sometimes we need to look back – but rather that we shouldn’t carry it with us like a heavy parcel on our back as we move into the future. So I know what I’m going to tape to the bottom of my walking shoes this week – just two words, on two pieces of tape. On my left shoe will be one word: “The.” On my right shoe will be another word: “Past.” And my feet will know exactly which parts of it I’m talking about.

* * * * *

Last week I promised to “get down to the nitty-gritty.” What that means is admitting that when it comes to weight loss – one of the key factors that inspired this blog – my progress in the past six weeks could be likened to a tortoise on Ambien. Part of this is due to the fact that my desire to lose weight fluctuates like a seesaw, notwithstanding health concerns, and part of it is due to the fact that I’ve been busy blogging about other things and got sidetracked.

But the fact is that of today I’m about 61 pounds away from my doctor’s goal weight and 76 pounds from my own…when I actually care about reducing. I don’t know if I’ll make it to that higher number – some say it’s unrealistic at my age. I don’t know if I’ll really be happier if I make it there. One thing I’m finally learning is that peace with my body involves more than a scale number.

“Getting down to the nitty gritty” also means that from now on I’ll be open about how steady my steps have been – from whether I’ve drunk my minimum 64 ounces of water each day, or exercised, or voiced my affirmations, or eaten sensibly, or done any of the other things that are part of my walk, to whether I’m even motivated to do those things. I’ll do this not to brag or give anyone else a chance to feel superior, but to remind myself that I set out to be an example, and leaders of any kind, no matter how small, have to be accountable. Besides, I said at the beginning of this journey that I would share my progress with you – so I’d better start making some!

* * * * *

Time now for this week’s Tool of the Trade. The spotlight today is on another AmeriSciences product called “Carb Right.” This supplement was also recommended by my doctor when I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic late last year, and is something he uses when he wants to be “adventurous” at mealtime. Carb Right, according to AmeriSciences, “Aids your body’s ability to regulate carbohydrate, sugar and starch absorption to help you lose weight and stimulates the cell’s sugar-burning capabilities and reduces food cravings with a unique blend of Banaba Extract, Chromium and Gymnema Sylvestre Extract.” A 30-day supply – that’s one pill 30 minutes before each meal – costs $65. For further information, click on over to

* * * * *

Seems like there’s always more to say than space to say it, but I don’t want to lose my readers by talking them to death. Next week I’ll introduce you to a couple of people I’ve come across recently in my Internet ramblings who also have something to say about “this fitness gig,” and whom I’ll hope you’ll visit at their respective homes on the Web when you have a minute or two.

Who are they? Tune in next week for “Nifty by Fifty” to find out.

-Treader Lucie-

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mental Ex-Lax

"You can tame arything, son, exceptin' the human tongue." - Penny Baxter in "The Yearling"

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." Proverbs 18:21

"A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." - Emily Dickinson

* * * * *

Do you ever wish you could take a mental laxative to rid your brain of negative thoughts and feelings that bring you down and "stop you up" - mentally, at least? Sometimes those thoughts constipate us physically, as well. They can keep us from trying new things or achieving new levels. But where do they come from? There are many sources, but the one I believe is probably the most prevalent is the human tongue.

As I mentioned in a previous post, several years ago I was on a program called ediets (for information, see Ediets looks at the issue of weight loss from a mental as well as a physical angle, and I will never forget one exercise I did while a member - one which may, in fact, have been the inspiration for something I'm going to share with you later on in this post. Participants were asked to make a written list of all the hurtful things others had said to them about their weight, and then submit them to a message board designed especially for that purpose. Folks, I was shocked at the level of cruelty some of those comments displayed - and I don't shock easily! It struck me yet again that while being overweight may be a taboo in our society (and yet, was ever a societal taboo so frequently broken!), criticism of the overweight is certainly not. Reading others lists actually brought me to tears at several points. Perhaps the worst of it, at least to me, was the fact that family members seemed to be the greatest offenders. Yet the purpose of making these lists was not to indulge in a mass self-pity fest - or even to give us an excuse to go after somebody with a gun that might stand up in court on the grounds of "temporary insanity." Far from it! It was to cleanse ourselves of these destructive comments by getting them out in the open before they were collected in one mass pile and burned.

Have you ever thought about what prompts these types of remarks in the first place? It may be low self-esteem - a need to bring someone else down in order to feel superior. In many cases, I believe it's simple thoughtlessness, a lack of imagination that would permit us to feel how our comments will make others feel. At other times, it's societal bias. In my own case, a close relative whom I'll identify within this blog simply as "M." insisted that it was concern for my health - even though not one of the comments I collected for my own list held the slightest reference to that subject!

What's really important are the aftereffects. Without repeating specifics, I have been offered money to lose weight (a dollar per pound. What do you think - a good deal?); been told, in essence, that my weight rendered me undateable; and had it strongly suggested that my excess pounds denoted "a lazy lifestyle" and might keep me from getting a job I wanted (this has never proved the case, by the way). When I rebutted that my friends told me I looked fine to them, I was told that there must be something wrong with them. Later, when a blind date never called me afterwards, it was because "most men are really turned off by fat."

Who was right? Am I correct in believing, years later, that the above opinions expressed far more about the speaker than myself?

Ultimately, we are the only ones who can answer such questions. But getting back to that ediets exercise, while I can't speak for the others who participated, I can tell you that I felt a definite sense of relief afterwards. And yet, I guess I'm just not that good at letting go, because sometimes phrases from my own list come back to me with twinges of the pain they once caused. It's times like those that made me think of the phrase "Mental Ex-Lax." Unfortunately, outside the realm of science fiction, I'm not aware of any pill that can actually perform a mental purging. But several weeks ago, while I was out for my evening walk, an idea occurred to me that fit right in with my "treading" theme, and I'd like to share it with you.

Are you ready? Good. Now, I want you to get out your walking shoes, some masking tape, and a pen. If you don't have any masking tape, just use any kind you can write on. Put a strip or two on the bottom of each shoe. Now write across that tape any destructive comments or thoughts that are mentally constipating you, whether they have to do with weight or some other topic. Use shorthand or other symbols or abbreviations if you have to in the interest of space. Then put on your shoes and go for a walk. That's right, WALK. And with every step you take, remember that you're treading on those hurful words, and that if you walk long and hard enough, you'll eventually rub them out. Put those words in their rightful place - under your feet! TREAD on them, STOMP on them; heck, DANCE on them. Do it as often as you need to. You'll kill two birds with one stone by getting more fit mentally as well as physically!

Hey - I'll do it if you will. Don't forget to let me know if it helps. I believe that, given enough time, it will.

* * * * *

Time now to take a look at this week's "Tool of the Trade" from the list in my last post. This week's feature is a supplement called Slim, made by AmeriSciences. I was introduced to it by my doctor, who took it himself, along with his staff. Slim contains Serotain™, which, according to the AmeriSciences website, "provides 5HTP to help elevate mood, which in turn decreases appetite," and green tea, which "contains potent antioxidant compounds which improve the efficiency with which we burn fat." I have no idea what 5HTP is, and more than half the time I can't recall what an antioxidant is, either, but I can tell you that it works. The normal dosage is one tablet 30 minutes before each meal.

Slim is rather pricey - one bottle contains 90 capsules, which means a 30-day supply will cost you $75, which amounts to $900 per year. (I did the math so you wouldn't have to.) You might not need or want to take it for that long. Or you might feel that's not an unreasonable amount spread over a year's time, if it helps you with your weight loss goals. Whatever the case, I can honestly say that I have found it helpful, and you may, too. If so, just mosey on over to

* * * * *

In closing, I've been blogging for five weeks now and some of you may be wondering, just how is she doing at this fitness gig? I haven't posted any stats yet, such as beginning weight, pounds lost or, heaven forbid, gained, decreasing measurements, etc. And frankly, it's easy to get sidetracked with product reviews, recommendations, quotations and stories. But the time comes when you have to ask, even if no one else has lately, "How am I really doing?" That's what I call getting down to the nitty gritty, folks. And it's what I'll be doing next week. So stay tuned!

-Treader Lucie-

Monday, June 05, 2006

Tools of the Trade

In any profession, from building houses to designing computer programs, a worker uses tools of his or her trade to get a job done. While gaining fitness, in any sense of the word, may not seem like a "profession," it also requires tools. Following is a list of those that I'm currently using or will be using in the future on my journey. Some of them may already be familiar to you; those that are not, I'm happy to share with you for the first time.


Body Sculpting Boydweight Exercises for Women by Eddie Baran
Combat Abs by Matt Furey
Combat Conditioning by Matt Furey
Flexibility by Alan Gordon ("Get Fit" Series)
Getting in the Gap: Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation by Wayne W. Dyer
Kick Ass - Take Names: Confessions of a Fitness & Fighting Guru by Matt Furey
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol
The Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles
Workouts for Dummies by Tamilee Webb
Zero-Resistance Living by Maxwell Maltz

Cassette Tapes

30 Days to Personal Power by Anthony Robbins

Compact Discs

Combat Cardio Teleseminar by Matt Furey (2-Disc)
Furey Fat Loss Teleseminar by Matt Furey (2-Disc)
Magnetic Mind Power by Matt Furey (2 CDs, 2 DVDs plus pamphlet)
Psycho-Cybernetics: Subliminal Programming for Health & Success by Maxwell Maltz
Secrets of the Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer


China Underground Sports Rejuvenation Secrets by Matt Furey
The Chinese Long-Life System by Matt Furey (3-Disc)
Combat Stretching: How to Double Your Flexibility in One Evening by Matt Furey (3-Disc)
Dynamic Deep Breathing by Matt Furey


Combat Conditioning and Kick Ass - Take Names Memory Cards
70-ounce pink plastic water jug (color optional)
10-pound dumbbells
Walking shoes


Carb-Right by Amerisciences
Slim by Amerisciences
Women's Master-Multi by Amerisciences
Organic Flax Seed by Arrowhead Mills

Whew! That's a lot of stuff, isn't it? As much as I would like to have unlimited time to explore all these resources, I don't, so I have to use them at intervals - which, I'm sure, is just as well.
In this and future entries I'll be focusing on one at a time, much as I do in real life.

Although it's now June, I'll start with my May focus - Matt Furey's "Magnetic Mind Power." After all, every great work, as well as every ordinary endeavor, begins in the mind, with a thought - and that includes a fitness tread.

"Magnetic Mind Power" is a course consisting of two DVDs that feature Matt talking to you from his home living room, two CDs, and a pamphlet. While its full title is actually "Magnetic Mind Power for Peak Athletic Performance," due to the fact that Matt is a former world champion wrestler as well as a current personal trainer, its principles can be used by anyone and applied to any endeavor. As he says in the introduction, "Success is truly up for grabs. Whoever thinks about it the most and wants it the most - gets it." The purpose of MMP is to give its users the "how to" information that goes hand in hand with thought and desire in the pursuit of success.

In easy to understand terms, Matt describes the goal setting and focusing techniques he's learned and used over the years that have led him to his own current level of success - visualization, speaking aloud, writing, and "picture books" or collages. None of these methods are new, and you may well have heard of them or used them already. Nevertheless, listening to Matt tell about how he incorporated them into his own life, and the results he experienced, is entertaining as well as informative, as he puts his own personal flavor on them, including what I call an "Asian spin" - his wife is Chinese and Matt has practiced various martial arts. Hearing of other high achievers' methods is also interesting - did you know, for example, that the creators of the wildly popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series cut out bestseller lists from such publications as the New York Times, pasted them on their walls where they would see them daily, and inserted their own names and prospective book titles in the "#1" slot? Or that author, businesswoman and speaker Glenna Salsbury, following a divorce and job loss, bought a number of magazines, cut out pictures of everything she wanted manifested in her life - from the types of flowers she liked to receive to the vacation spots she wanted to vist, all the way to the type of man she wanted to attract - pasted them in a book, put the book away for a while as she went on about restructuring her life - and eventually acquired every one of those things? What was her secret? A simple formula: "I + V = R - Imagination plus Vividness Equals Reality."

Matt also describes a "mirror technique" featured in the Dale Carnegie course, in which one looks into their mirror every day, and says with as much force as they can possibly muster, "I'm going to win! You want to know why? I'll tell you why! Because I have faith, courage, and enthUsiASM!" Now it may feel a little strange at first, and it may take a while to work up a full head of steam, but try it for at least 30 days and see if you don't notice that it helps get your day - and your attitude - off to a better start.

With Magnetic Mind Power you'll learn not only these techniques but the importance of asking the right questions - how to ask them, and of whom to ask them - as well as "27 Universal Laws for Turning Goals Into Reality." There's even more, but I don't want to steal Matt's thunder - partly because he put a lot of work into this product, and partly because, if you've ever seen a picture of Matt, you will understand why I don't want him coming after me! So if I've piqued your interest sufficiently, mosey on over to and check it out.

Finally, perhaps one of the most important tools you'll take away from MMP is simply the power of words. Like all tools, they can be misused and cause harm if not properly taken care of and applied. In fact, words can even cause constipation!

What's that, you say? Word constipation? Better believe it. Tune in next week to find out what I mean.

-Treader Lucie-