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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Peace Of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

Autumn, also, is a great time to get out and take a walk. Perhaps you haven't been exercising and taking time to breathe in some fresh air. Just breathing in more fresh air can make you feel better. Certainly, taking time to take more walks is a great way when one is starting out a lifestyle change to include more exercise. If you walk, say -- 4-5 times a week -- you'll feel the difference in your sense of well-being and your body awareness. Perhaps, your weight will drop, if you need to lose fat weight. Alternating your pace from brisk walking for about 10 minutes to leisurely for 10-15 minutes, seems to enable one's heart rate to prime your body into fat-burning mode. It IS a weight-bearing activity, so you also get the advantage of strengthening your bones. And, it's actually rather enjoyable -- taken alone whereby you can think and reflect (be sure you're in a safe area!) or taken with someone you love -- need I say more! So, DO IT! Take a walk and take in all the wonders of nature around you. It's free and it's FREE-ING!

Love this poem:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Monday, 25 October 2010

Nutrish and Delish -- Fruity Fall Recipe Ideas That Help Keep You Eating Healthy While Enjoying Every Bite

I love fall -- the colors, the scents, and the crisp chill in the air. Also, my birthday is October 29th, so I get a chance, every year, to look back on fond memories and to look ahead to new adventures. It seems to be the time of year where I do my reflecting and resolving to make my 'new year' the best yet! Life sure isn't easy and every year, it's something, isn't it?! But, I've resolved to make my health and fitness a priority no matter what. What's the use of having poor fitness and PREVENTABLE health issues on top of all the other worries that life inevitably throws your way. So, just for a moment -- I'd like to share with you a way to instantly make your whole home feel cozy and comforting as you fill your place with an amazing aroma, while providing you with a wonderful fall fruity dessert as the extra bonus. It's also a way to economically use up any fruit you have in the house that may be starting to rot -- DON'T throw it away!!!!

Fall Fruity Favorite

Take any fruit you have -- apples, pears, figs, peaches, even berries. Cut up in chunky pieces, except for the berries -- just sprinkle those inbetween and over all the chunky fruit pieces and place in a VERY lightly greased (with some sort of vegetable oil, but not olive oil) baking dish. Sprinkle some chopped nuts -- about 1/2 cup -- any will do -- I like walnuts. Sprinkle over some cinnamon or ginger or nutmeg -- whatever you prefer. I've even grated some fresh ginger over the fruit mixture if I have it. Ginger is particularly good over pears. And berries -- particularly blueberries, but any berries, really -- sprinkled through chunky fruit pieces always add an extra 'thickness' and 'jam-iness, and 'moorish' quality to this dish. You CAN add a Tablespoon of brown sugar, sprinkled over the whole fruit/nut/spice mixture, but it's not really necessary unless your fruit is really sour -- say if you added cranberries -- and if you're watching your total kcalorie intake per day. Add about 1/2 cup of water over entire mixture. You can also use diluted orange or any juice to give the dish an extra kick. Bake in a medium oven (350F or 180C) for about 40 minutes, until fruit is cooked through and nicely browned. It's best to have some 'bite' left in the fruit, as this adds to the eating pleasure. Serve warm or cold with low-fat (or better-yet, fat-free, if you're watching kcalorie and fat) custard or yogurt.
If you don't have an oven, you can make the same recipe over the hobb. Just place everything in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer until fruit is softened and has some 'bite' left. The recipe doesn't brown as nicely, but the flavors and aroma are still wonderful. This version creates more of a 'stewed fruit' dessert.
For both versions, you can also splash in your favorite liquer or dessert wine to pick up that hint. The kcalories and alcohol evaporate away.

I also sometimes add an oat crunch topping -- but this DOES add kcalories, sugar, and fat to the dessert and is not really necessary for the enjoyment factor, but it is a nice touch. For oat-crunch topping: Take 2 cups of quick-cooking oats. Mix in 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (dark or light), 1 Tablespoon flour (whole wheat is best), and cut in some fat of some sort until the mixture is crumbly and made easy to sprinkle over the fruit mixture. Butter chunks is WONDERFUL to use -- for flavor AND texture, but it adds a source of saturated fat -- not good if you are watching your cholesterol and total fat intake. So, vegetable oil, other than olive oil, can also be used and yields a satisfactory result, too. You only need about 1/3 cup oil or 3 scant Tablespoons butter. You can also add crushed nuts to the topping mix. Sprinkle topping mix over fruit mixture before baking. You CANNOT do this if you're making the 'stewed version'.

Another idea that is a crowd-pleaser and doesn't break the 'kcalorie bank' is to use ready-made meringue nests. These are basically sugar and protein. They can be crushed roughly over the fruit mixture before dolloping on your custard or yogurt or, if you have the big nests, you can fill them with the fruit and dollop over the custard or yogurt.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Internet is the new smoking

Activity- and health-wise, that is. We finally seem to have gotten past the lure of smoking as the 'thing' to do to be cool, to make us look 'attractive', and frankly, to give us something to do when we're bored or needing some sort of 'crutch' to latch onto. The cues, examples, and depictions of smoking in the media and public have drastically subsided from restriction on advertising, to less glamourization in movies and TV (except , of course, on 'Mad Men', which actually shows how ridiculously 'normal' smoking looks), to no-smoking in public places. SO, you'd think our overall health would be improving and, importantly, our children would, certainly, be growing up with this yoke of a huge poor health habit lifted off and enabling them to be the healthiest generations ever.

Sadly, not happening. Why -- because NOW there's internet! Kids spend SO much time sitting -- chatting, youtubing, lurking, gaming,you-name-it on the internet. So, now, aside from ever-increasing time sitting watching TV -- they are occupied with ADDITIONAL hours of inactivity -- in itself a poor health habit -- to all kinds of exposures of violence, sex, misconduct,and voyeuring.

This has to be contributing to the incidence of obesity in countries where kids are just not moving more to compensate. While travelling a bit last month, I noticed that, thankfully, kids are still cycling in The Netherlands -- they have to -- it's the way they get around. Thus, thankfully, the prevalence of obesity in The Netherlands remains one ofthe lowest in the world, despite the incidence slightly increasing, probably due to factors mostly coming from the dietary intake change and, indeed, increased 'automobilization' in some pockets across the country. In Italy , and many other parts of Europe, people still do walk regularly, as a means of transport. The point I'm trying to make, is that there MUST be compensation in SOME way to help make up for all those hours of sitting and 'vegging' for our children. Do NOT allow your children to miss out on engaging in some kind of sport and/or physical activity. In the former post-war 'boomer' generations, physical exercise was not emphasized as much as it is now, because there was no need -- the prevalence and incidence of obesity was not yet alarmingly high. Actually, these very same 'boomer' kids, who are now middle -age and aging adults, are having a high prevalence of obesity BECAUSE they were not brought up with the stress on the importance of including physical activity and exercise. So, more reason for, NOW -- parents MUST make a concerted effort to get their kids moving. AND, parents need to be unobtrusive, yet firm, consistent, and regular. Exercise and physical activity has to be made to be 'normal'. Or else, you will have your kids digging their heels in and reverting to their beloved habit of 'internetting' even more.

I'm not saying the 'internet' is all bad. It's here and it's not going away and it HAS improved life on many levels. But, like anything else, OVER-use of it, is the problem. It's all still about balance.

We've succeeded in controlling smoking amongst our children. Don't allow them to suffer the legacy of poor fitness, by turning a blind eye to them habitually 'lighting up' their laptops and PCs. It really and truly is hazardous to their health!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Self-regulators and Self-regulation

Let's talk about SELF-REGULATORS:

These are the people who say things to you like "Oh, I eat whatever I want" or "I eat as much as I want of whatever I want and STILL never gain an ounce" or "I eat TONS", etc. etc. And you look at them and, indeed, they look fit as fiddles and absolutely fabulous. So, DO they eat whatever they want and as much as they want? Are they to be believed?

Yes!! I believe them! BUT, you MUST realize that WHAT these people eat is probably very healthy -- HOW MUCH they eat is most likely totally within the range of reasonable intake for their needs, and their selection of high-calorie, high-fat, sugar-dense foods is very very likely few and far between and OCCASIONAL. They, very likely, INHERENTLY TREAT themselves every once in awhile, BUT, to them, this is eating 'whatever, whenever'. So, PLEASE be very aware of this. It is no accident that people who are already self-regulators, by nature, do not have problems with their weight. Their definitions of WHAT, HOW MUCH, WHENEVER are different than yours and mine. They WANT to eat this way!!

Let's talk about SELF-REGULATION:

The quality of SELF-REGULATION CAN BE LEARNED, though! So, those of us who, INHERENTLY, DO have issues with overeating and reaching for truly all the wrong foods, too frequently, and in amounts that FAR exceed our needs--can absolutely become as adept as inherent self-regulators in managing what we eat, how much we eat, and how frequently we take (or leave) sugar-,fat-, kcalorie-dense foods. We just need a little more practice -- that's all! We have to train ourselves to be AWARE and to get to know and love our bodies, to exercise regularly, to be DISCIPLINED, to FIND FOOD ALTERNATIVES that are healthy and tasty and which makes US feel satisfied and happy so that we will WANT to EAT that way! Practice, practice, practice and before you know it -- you make living like this a habit. You get yourselves in the 'zone of fitness' which, in itself, makes you WANT to self-regulate. Then, when you DO go back and relapse into the old bad habit(s), you feel SO lousy, that you WANT to return to the 'zone of fitness'.

SELF- REGULATION, as I said before, is my 'holy grail'. I've got it right now -- thankfully. Right now, I'm in my 'zone of fitness' and it feels SO good -- I feel great! I really and truly am an inherent 'NON self-regulator', so can you imagine how good this feels for me?! MY desire is for everyone who is like me, to get into this 'zone of fitness' and to feel this great. If you need and want help, please feel free to ask how I can personally help you, via, this blog. Your questions and frustrations probably reflect similar ones to many other folks. We're in this together and as long as we're here and somebody has to feel great on this earth -- it might as well be US!!!!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

If you are going to indulge -- PLEASE make it worth the TREAT

On the 'ShareItFitness' Twitter page, the author noted that yesterday was 'National Dessert Day'. Now, I had no idea about this day or that it even existed -- especially that I really and truly TRY to keep my mind off of desserts and 'indulgences' as I strive to eat low-fat and controlled kcalories. BUT, he posed the question -- what is your favorite dessert? As much as I STILL enjoy DAILY 'desserts' of fresh fruits, fruit salad with plain yogurt and a dash of cinnamon, frozen yogurts, and in winter, I make fresh-fruit bakes and cobblers made with oats and walnuts. I will post a recipe or two on those lovely HEALTHY, wonderful-tasting desserts another time. But, for today, I will post the recipe for one of my FAVORITE, all-time indulgences. Look, if you are going to 'indulge', it might as well be worth it! This IS a high-kcalorie, high-fat dessert, but it is relatively difficult to make, thus, I would only make it once, perhaps, every couple years. Or, I would order it out, only IF it was a place that had it made WELL -- which is ALSO difficult to find! Which, actually, is a GOOD thing as it means I would only have it as an uber-TREAT -- which it should be -- for me, at least. I am the type of person that cannot have treats TOO often as this may TRIGGER me to veer off course. I know this about myself and I just have to do what I have to do. Some people CAN have high-kcal, high-fat desserts, say, once a week and be perfectly fine as they keep right back on track to healthy eating for the rest of their week. One of my goals is to achieve, one day, that level of SELF-REGULATION. This, to me, would be MY 'holy grail'. But, for now, I can't. BUT, facts of life are that these lovely desserts EXIST and it's no use completely and FOREVER abstaining. So, every once in awhile, I will choose something like this and completely savour and enjoy it. You can find a great recipe for it here:

Delish and Nutrish-- 'My Mama's Meatballs & Gravy'

I love to eat! And eating great food when you are TRULY hungry makes the experience of eating the gift and blessing that it really is. As I live my life now, so aware of health and fitness and working at achieving and maintaining my health and fitness, I've actually learned the joy of food -- much much more than when I was indiscriminately eating whatever I wanted or THOUGHT tasted good in whatever amounts it took to make me full. So often, if not all the times I ate like that -- I really didn't enjoy the eating of the food OR the food itself. PLUS, I would feel guilty and defeated emotionally, on top of feeling and BEING bloated, puffy, often 'crampy', overfed, and uncomfortable.

NOW, I get to enjoy food and eating. I am STILL a 'comfort-eater', but I find alternatives for snacks that help alleviate my 'yearnings', but yet that are healthier (see my previous post). I also make and eat versions of the recipes I grew up with that are SO delicious, YET nutritious. That's the key to lasting success in this whole effort to lose weight and keep it off for good AND to get and stay fit. One HAS to eat and ENJOY the foods that they LIKE and that also they associate with happiness, comfort, goodness, wholesomeness, and balance. Foods are meant to nourish our bodies -- yes -- but also our souls! Now, if you find that you are a person who has to totally chuck all your previous preferences and associations with food and start all over with a new diet plan, then so be it. You probably were never really eating a balanced diet to begin with. It's never too late to seek out and re-learn new and more appropriate selections and habits. But, I was raised in an Italian home where the Mediterranean diet was practiced. Unfortunately, my grandparents and parents were so fascinated with all the fast foods and convenience foods that were rapidly being developed and rolled out that, often, AFTER we ate dinner, just for 'fun', we would drive to the 'new' McDonald's or Burger King and get a burger, fries, and a Coke!! This was about an hour AFTER we had just eaten a full healthy meal of lean meat, vegetables, and salad!!! I remember eating watermelon for dessert -- this is what we were offered after meals -- fresh fruit in season. But, THEN, my Dad, God love him, would pull out from behind his back the newest 'invention' that he found at the grocery store -- snack-pack puddings! He thought this was so neat! One didn't have to slave away over a hot stove stirring milk and eggs and cocoa -- you simply flipped the top of the can and tucked in. So, here I was, full-bellied after a wholesome wonderful meal and then I would eat a pudding on top of it. They did this out of love and ignorance. They had NO idea that they were overfeeding us or fostering habits that would be our undoing as we got older. But, it's been a long, hard struggle for me to 'undo' the BAD habits while keeping hold of the GREAT habits and preferences I ALSO learned as a child. I'm an adult now and there's NO excuses. I KNOW better and I have to wake up every day and LIVE my 'knowing-better'. In the end, it makes me better and rather, GREAT!

Here's one of my mother's best recipes -- nutritionally, for sure -- but also for comfort. I've modified it slightly, but not too much as to take away from its original grandeur.

My Mama's Meatballs & Gravy
(feeds 4, but can double recipe for 8+)

Ingredients for Meatballs:

1 lb.LEAN (5% fat or less) (500 g) ground beef
1 beef or pork rib or lean, thin pork chop
3 -4 cloves chopped garlic
4 Tablespoons chopped parsley (curly leaf)
3-4 sprigs celery leaves, chopped finely
2 eggs
4 Tablespoons (or so) grated fresh parmesean cheese
2-3 tablespoons fresh grated whole-wheat bread crumbs (optional-- can omit if following Paleo or high-protein/low carb type diet)
salt and pepper

Method for meatballs:

Mix all ingredients except the pork rib or chop into a medium bowl. Add enough grated cheese to make mixture smooth. If you need less than the amount listed above, that's ok, especially if you are using the bread crumbs, too. If not using bread crumbs, you will likely need all of grated cheese. Add ICE COLD water if mixture actually needs more moisture. The mix should be moist enough, but not too wet so as to enable you to make firm meatballs. Best to make meatballs the size of a ping-pong or golf ball rather than bigger. Once all meat mixture is made into balls, set aside on plate, sitting on top of ice or cover and place in fridge.
Take a large non-stick skillet and sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons olive oil over it. Bring to a medium high heat. When oil just starts to bead, add the pork rib or chop and brown well on all sides. Remove from pan and place on plate to rest. Add 2 more Tablespoons olive oil to skillet and allow to just bead. Then add as many meatballs as you can to the heated skillet, but do not crowd them in. Keep turning them, until they are nicely browned on all sides. As they are done, transfer to a fresh plate to let rest, and continue this process until all meatballs are browned evenly on all sides and are more or less, cooked. Test one to see that they are not raw inside -- they really should be thoroughly cooked through. They are now ready to add to gravy.

Ingredients for Gravy:

4-5 16 oz. cans chopped or crushed tomatoes or 2-3 large cans chopped or crushed tomatoes (really, it's up to you how much tomatoes you want to add depending on how much gravy you want to make)
1 small can tomato sauce
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
2 generous Tablespoons olive oil
red wine, to taste (about 2 Tablespoons should be enough)
salt and pepper to taste

Method for Gravy:

Sautee` garlic and onions in olive oil in a medium large pot over a medium heat. Do NOT allow garlic and onion to brown -- only to soften. You can add a tiny bit of water if the garlic and onions look like they are browning while softening. Add chopped/crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring to a GENTLE bowl. Immediately lower to a simmer. Add the red wine and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 15 minutes. Lower the heat to a very gentle simmer while slowly now adding all cooked meatballs. Now add cooked pork chop/rib. Let this meat/tomato mixture simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Keep tasting and add salt and pepper and, maybe more red wine, to taste.

At very end, you can add fresh basil for added 'zest'.

This sauce is wonderful over freshly cooked whole wheat pasta,sprinkled with grated parmesean cheese and basil or parsley sprigs for garnish, It's always best to have your pasta 'al dente' like the Italians like it. Serve with a big, green salad made of the freshest leaves!

Lower Carbohydrate Option:

You can also serve over spaghetti squash. This latter option is great for those of you on a low carbohydrate type diet. To make spaghetti squash, you can rinse a whole squash, slice in half, remove seeds, and place, halved sides down on a baking sheet that has a thin layer of water, in a medium hot oven (350F or 180C or Gas Mark 5) for about 40 minutes. Stick a fork through a half to test for done-ness. If soft and fork easily sticks through, it is done. If not, you need to cook it for as long as it takes for a fork to easily push through a half. This should take no longer than an hour. When done, take out of oven and turn halves over. Let cool a few minutes. Scrape out contents to form spaghetti like strands onto your plate. Ladle sauce over the squash and place meatballs on top. Garnish with basil or parsley. You can sprinkle more grated parmesean if you like. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

"Healthy" snacks

I'm seeing so many more products on the shelves -- here in Europe and the UK and in the USA that are being advertised and marketed as 'healthy snacks'. Often, thankfully, these items ARE better, nutritionally, than most other of the conventional snacks that people have been noshing on for years, but I feel it's important to give some information and perspective on what to choose.

If you are a person who is fit and active, whatever you're eating is working for you. You are the folks who have an inherent ability to self-regulate, habitually, and probably are choosing many of these 'healthy' items and not eating them as if they are 'free foods' -- that is, because they are 'healthy' you eat copious amounts of them. You are the people who CAN snack on nuts and dried fruits -- foods that are very high in kcalories and, for nuts, fat, BECAUSE they ARE healthy when they are eaten in SMALL amounts, which, of course, fit, active people do naturally. Nuts and dried fruits are NOT good choices for obese people UNLESS they really and truly make a concerted effort to LIMIT the portions and overall amounts to scant handfuls. I can't tell you how many clients I see who cannot seem to shift their pounds, even while exercising, who finally fess up about 'snacking' on nuts and dried fruits "like the other people in the gym and their personal trainer does".

People who need to lose weight need to be snacking on fresh fruit and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat yogurts, whole-grain cereal bars, perhaps dried beans/seeds. So, now we get to the new products, like cereal bars and dried beans/seeds. These are, indeed. great choices for aspiring weight/fat-losers, BUT, I recommend choosing the products that are NO MORE than 150+/- 20 kcalories, 22 gms carbohydrate, and 5 gms of fat PER serving! When snacks PER SERVING go over these rough guidelines, then you are getting into MEAL kcals, carb, and fat amounts. I would also HIGHLY recommend that any snacks you choose contain at least about 4 gms of protein per serving and better if more. It IS tough to find products with that amount of protein, but if you can find something, go for it. These would be the snack size yogurts and fat-free/low-fat cheese strings, for example. But, it's also great to mix up snacking with high-fiber containing items, like the Kellogg's Fiber-Plus cereal bars. The Kellogg's Bliss bars are probably better for weight/fat-losers, but the Fiber-Plus bars are perfectly allowed IF they are not eaten 2-3 at a time. Only ONE per day.

It's very important to use your good, common sense about snacking. You KNOW these products are meant to be regulated even though they suggest that they can be eaten 'freely'. And I commend food companies for producing these fine-tasting alternatives, but with all due respect to the food companies -- they don't REALLY care if YOU eat copious amounts of their low-fat/fat-free. low-kcalorie, high fiber, low sat-fat foods -- it's more business for them!

Don't fool and undermine yourselves. Choose these products wisely and in such a way as to AIDE you in the struggle to lose and keep weight/fat off. I love that these products are now available and that more options are coming out on the shelves every day. But, use my guidelines (above) to help you keep your selections HELPFUL, not IMPEDIMENTS to all your hard work and great intentions.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Seeing sad looking obese or overweight people with frowning spouses breaks my heart

I was at the gas station the other day pumping gas and doing what I love to do -- observing people. Out of the car at the pump next to me came a very heavy women. She was a bit rumpled and disheveled as if she and her companion had been driving for awhile. She looked around her trying to gauge the reaction of the people in her near vicinity. She had a sad, sheepish, almost frightened expression on her face. But, she then focused and went into the shop at the station to get drinks and, I think, other 'refreshments' -- I didn't really look. I was too distracted by the disapproving smirk that her companion gave her-- I'm pretty sure it was her husband -- as she walked into the shop. I got so choked up. Whatever the history or status of their relationship was or is -- no one deserves that type of disrespect and, possibly, even loathing. Really, he gave off that vibe of someone who was quite miserable. It just broke my heart. As she walked back out and made her way to the car, I noticed how rather cute she was, with beautiful coloring, and she had a well-proportioned body, albeit, quite obese. I couldn't help but think how gorgeous she may have been when they first met or married or in happier times. I pictured them laughing together and sharing interesting banter. Not the air of total boredom and discomfort in each others presence that they exuded. He was very thin and not a bad looking man at all. They typified the Jack-Sprat couple. Even that used to get my goat when I was studying about obesity and the various classifications of it. How insulting to have a relationship 'designated' like that. I said a small prayer for them as I finished pumping and placed the cap on my tank. I prayed that, somehow, she sheds her weight and, perhaps, revives the spark of happiness they both deserve for each other and for life.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

When lacking discipline -- just PUSH yourself! Be a robot!

Oh, oh, oh!

Today I did NOT feel like working out or even eating healthy. I just wanted to be a bum and play 'hookey' from my health. My usual self-motivation and almost obsessive drive for exact adherence to all things good for me just seemed to flee from my body, mind, and soul -- leaving me like an empty vessel ready to be filled by all things heavy and limp. I don't know if it was the rain, the unpacked boxes calling out to me in this house we just moved into with the disarray that goes with the move this time, the full laundry baskets after being gone for a few days, the knowledge that I only had this one day as I'm travelling AGAIN tomorrow for another 3 days. I was just beat.
Before I knew it, I was grabbing my sneakers and hightailing outta there! I zipped to the gym so fast, I hardly remember driving. I dashed out of the car and just mindlessly starting biking, treadmilling, lifting, and sweating. I often put more time and effort into my workout, but I was too afraid to stop and strategize my muscle groups today. I just went with the automatic flow of my flab! Then I went home and did 4 loads of wash, cleaned the bathrooms, folded and put away clothes, cooked some lentil soup with green salad, and pulled out everything healthy I could find on hand in the house to partake of my meals throughout this day. Well, it's now after 8PM and I've FINALLY come to my senses and am back in 'reflect' mode. Am I GLAD I didn't blow it!! I'm SO happy I keep a fridge and freezer and cupboards full of wholesome foods and no junk in the house. If so, I would've DEFINITELY been in 'noshing mode' on all the wrong substances like sat fats, simple sugars, and uber kcalories. I'm also glad I plunked down that money to join that gym and have been regularly going. This made me fall into file and do what I do without thinking of what TO do. Habits may be boring at times, but they do help when we are weak and uncreative -- both traits I had, today, in abundance and which I confess I have, inherently. So, today was one of those days that made me realize why I am not and will never be one of those smiley, happy personal trainers. As much as I love being fit and feel SO much better after my workouts and certainly, after I've gotten through a day of eating healthy and in control of my portions and limits -- it's just not easy for me. Which is why fitness feels THAT much better for me! Even the 'robot' version of myself. Sooner or later, the real me always comes back -- on my knees, yet clapping for joy!