Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 17

Celia's Story
Different Strokes for Different Folks
I hope my friend Celia won't mind if I use her case to illustrate a point.  We worked in the same Office for my entire 33 year career with the Attorney General, and in her earlier career she was my secretary.  We had a lot in common - some good and some not, but I had tremendous respect for her as a person, and also as a musician.  She was not my secretary for long because she soon got the first of many promotions.  That is the trouble with having a good secretary in civil service.  You know it won't last.

Celia had a worse weight problem than I ever did, and it followed her for most of her life.  In her younger days, she succeeded a while on Weight Watchers.  But she was my second secretary to do that and then regain the weight.  By the end of my career, I too was pretty obese.  We would always exchange "Hi"s when we saw each other, and for awhile we played in the same college orchestra, and even a small chamber orchestra of AG employees.  During my heart disease diagnosis, I did not run into her, and was myself absent at times from the office.  One day we met in the parking lot and she was shocked at my weight loss, and I, of course, told her how it happened.  She didn't say much, but a few days later she followed up, asking for some books and web sites.

She soon decided that she wanted to give the program a try, and I, of course, recommended that she start straight away.  She did not want to do that, since her son was home from school at the time and she wanted to maximize her time with him.  She thought that 45 days or so into the future would be the ideal time.  I was skeptical and advised against it because I had seen too many people fail by putting things off until tomorrow.  But Celia was right, and found a plan that fit well for her, and she executed that plan very well. That is why she was such a good secretary and later executive.  I want to discuss what she did because it was very intelligent and worked so well for her.

Instead of delaying all action for 45 days, she used her time wisely.  She slowly weaned off bad foods and developed new recipes and dishes that she liked.  She researched web sites, read books, and got a good background on healthy eating.  She did not stress at all about what she ate during this time.  By the time that her predetermined date came around, Celia was really prepared.  She started and never looked back.  Interestingly, she never experienced any transition problems, as I thought she would.  It was effortless for her, and I wonder if the preparation and patient approach was what worked for her.  I haven't seen her since retirement and need to look her up.  Perhaps she would write something here.

Since I am praising Celia's patience here, I should note that this is a double edged sword.  Too many people are clearly going nowhere, failing to take corrective measures, and praising themselves for their patience.  There is a real difference between proceeding deliberately with a good plan and wasting time on a bad plan.  For obese folks who reach a stable weight over several weeks, there is no benefit to patience.  It is time to see what they are doing wrong.  Praising their patience or persistence over years of futility is . . . well . . . futile.  The same would hold true for goals of blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.

So I would say that learn from Celia if you are the deliberative type.  Her approach was brilliant and successful.  Or do what I did, and bite the bullet from the start.  There are several ways to succeed, and several ways to fail.  Just don't let a month's failure turn into a year's failure which turns into a life's failure. Get healthy and get there with all deliberate speed.

October 17 Lunch
Much of this looks familiar, but yesterday I broke out a package of pre washed green beans.  This is not the most economical way to buy veggies, but it is very economical of time.  You just rinse and put them in the steamer for 25 minutes or so.  In the meantime, I chopped some fresh bell pepper and greens.  By now, nobody should be surprised that I added rice, a Japanese sweet potato, and ate.
Prepackaged and washed green beans
Just place the green beans in the steamer
Add chopped fresh greens and bell pepper
Add sweet potato and rice, and into the bowl
It's so nice to have Farley back home.  Not only is she just wonderful to be around, but she put together dinner tonight which was delicious.  Fairly simple and straight forward.  The ingredients are obvious and familiar if you have been following this blog.
Mixed fresh veggies
This type of bowl should look familiar by now


  1. Great thoughts for the day, Bob! Many paths to the top of the mountain, as my Unitarian lay leader would say. Your meals always look so fresh and colorful.
    Walked down to the Asian grocery at lunch time and got a 6 lb bag of Japanese sweet potatoes @ 89 cents/lb. Can't wait to get home and pop them in the oven.
    I've dropped 5 pounds this month, following your blog and motivational advice. The pictures have helped me a whole lot, which might sound a bit odd, but having a visual of what an excellent meal looks like just makes it so much more clear.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Gweithgar, and I'm really happy that you are making some progress from what you see here. It is a lot of work getting all these photos sorted out. But I too am a visual learner, and understand their value.

    The colorfulness of the food we now eat was one of the first things we noticed. Our meals look like color posters, and I hope you are finding that they taste great too.