I wrote this yesterday, and forgot to post before I went to bed.
There is this asian woman at the gym that I go to. She’s probably in her 50’s, and she is like a machine. She takes that stair-stepper to the top of the Empire State Building. There isn’t an ounce of fat on her body. She’s always cheerful and smily. She’s completely the antithesis of the typical older person I see around here.
Sixty-seven percent of all adults in West Virginia are overweight, and 32% of them are obese. People give soda to little kids on a regular basis. More people in West Virginia smoke than in any other state in the country. It seems like the prevailing attitude is a let’s give up and die.
So this woman is inspiring. It’s nice to see older people buck the trend of lassitude and self-destruction. There’s another woman there who might be in her 60’s. One of her legs is shorter than the other one, but she’s there every day: walking on the treadmill, doing the elliptical and the bike, going to water aerobics.
Admiring these 2 woman yesterday while I was running, made me think of the people I admire in my own life. The two winners were my mom and my dad.
Ever since I’ve been alive, my dad has always been very physically fit. Apparently he didn’t do much of anything when he was a kid, but started playing basketball and tennis in college (not for the school!), and started running when my older brothers were little after they were in bed.
Despite a demanding job, he always kept himself in shape with running, walking, and weight lifting. He became a vegetarian when I was little and has been refining his diet since then to be healthier all the time. He set a good example for us kids to question the accepted wisdom of the day, and to read for information.
He’s in his 60’s now, retired from one job, and started a new one working for my grandfather’s company after he had a stroke and couldn’t travel anymore (yup, my poppop was traveling regularly on business into his 80’s). He makes me look forward to growing older, because I know that I can stay active and involved with life.
My mom has a different story. She had six kids, and sometime after the last one, she started gaining weight. She got high blood pressure. She was pre-diabetic. Her gallbladder was giving her huge amounts of pain, and her doctor was talking about surgery.
Around the time I was in college, she read Eat to Live, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He advocates a near vegetarian diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. My dad had been a vegetarian for maybe 18 years at this point, so she figured if she was going to give up most of what she liked, she might as well go all the way and try out this vegetarian/vegan thing even though it sounded like a fate worse than death (her words).
Over the next few years, she lost over 75 pounds. Her blood pressure went down to safe levels within a week when she gave up her beloved Diet Coke. She walks for miles every day now, she gave up refined sugar completely, and she has given speeches to woman’s groups about nutrtition. She avoided gall bladder surgery, and it doesn’t bother her at all anymore. Her blood sugar is stable and she is no longer pre-diabetic.
My father is inspiring, because he has maintained his health. My mother is inspiring, because she got her health back. Her doctor told her she’d be on blood pressure medication for the rest of her life. He said she need to have parts of her body removed. But she wasn’t satisfied with remaining fat and unhealthy and continuing her life on a downward spiral. She turned her whole life around.
Breakfast-Pineapples and bananas and a greenish smoothie (not much spinach left)
Lunch-Salad with Red Leaf lettuce, black beans, and guacamole and spoonful of jalapenos
Snack post workout-Banana and raisin smoothie
Dinner-Mashed white and sweet potatoes and asparagus, with banana whip for dessert
Workout-didn’t go to the gym, so I walked around the block for around 45 minutes-and I made sure to go in the direction that I’d have to walk up our very steep street. I also did crunches, pushups (girl pushups), and curls in the morning when I got up.
Work done-cut, drilled, and sanded 9 boats, a half a peach basket full of african animals, and I cut and dremeled 6 turtles, 7 whales, 7 fish, 2 octopi, 2 sharks, 4 dolphins, and a mermaid. I also sanded keys while I was walking. It was a productive day. 🙂