Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Intentional? Intuitive? Whatever.

Oh, the other day I posted about this cool new eating thing I had found that was very simple. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re satisfied. Somehow the concept of Intuitive Eating transmogrified in my tiny brain into Intentional Eating. I went on my merry way touting the benefits of Intentional Eating for several days. Yesterday, I realized that it was actually Intuitive Eating. And then I started to laugh as I imagined the alternative to Intentional Eating.

In searching for “Accidental Eating” on google images and on Amazon, I came across accidental tourists, accidental existentialists, accidental mothers, accidental babies, accidental sunglasses, accidental genius, accidental hero, accidental billionaires (how can I become one of those), accidental family, accidental survey, accidental creative (that’s a book written by a guy I know!), and the accidental athlete.

The one thing I didn’t find was any accidental eating going on. Which is to say, I think, that all the eating we do is intentional. Maybe we aren’t really paying attention, but darned if those cheetos are going to jump in my mouth on their own.

Tom Hanks was in a hilarious skit on SNL called “Mr. Short-Term Memory.” He was on a date in a restaurant and couldn’t remember from one second to the next what had just happened. Mr. STM at one point noticed there was food in his mouth. “There SOMETHING IN MY MOUTH!” he cried, wondering what it could be. But even, Tom, yes, Tom, put that food in his mouth, whether or not he could remember it.

So I thought I’d just mention that it’s INTUITIVE eating, INTUITIVE. It has to do with listening to your body, noticing your hunger, your fullness, that sort of thing. It’s not about whether or not the food in your mouth got there under your power. Let’s hope it did. Bon appetit!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dancin' on the Treadmill

Usually, when I exercise, it's fraught with guilt. Same song, 17th verse. I'm not exercising enough. I shouldn't have eaten that (whatever). I'm not exercising right. Yada. Yada. Ya. Da.

Intentional Eating addresses the area of exercise as well. But with a twist. Instead of exercising, you experiment with moving your body for the purposes of feeling good.

Tonight I felt ready to try this so I headed to the basement to our treadmill. After tracing all the extension cords hither and yon and figuring out I couldn't plug in a light if I was going to keep the treadmill and the freezer plugged in, I decided to listen to music instead of read while I walked.

I've always liked the info the treadmill gives me -- calories burned, distance covered, total time, miles per hour. I'm kind of a numbers chick. And tonight I glanced at those numbers every so often, but the experience was much more about walking, listening, and eventually dancing. I adjusted the speed a few times and got it up to a "good" pace, then when I felt like I needed to, I slowed it down, dancing all the while.

The best part of this paradigm shift is that I don't have to make any rules about EXERCISING. I don't have to feel guilty for not setting up a schedule, or for setting it up and then not keeping it. Oy. But as I listen to my body about being hungry and full, so I will listen to my body about needing to move and needing to be still. Or at least I did today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

My playlist tonight:

Walk -- Foo Fighters -- Steven Manuel sang this at Crossroads this Sunday and it was electric!
Take Me Out -- Franz Ferdinand -- overheard this on Eli's computer one day and I like the energy of it.
Joe Satriani -- Is There Love in Space? and Flying in a Blue Dream
My Chemical Romance -- Planetary GO
downhere -- Hope is Rising

I think the treadmill said 35 minutes or so was my total time, but what a difference to just enjoy the process of moving, of dancing, experimenting with different gait paces based on the music I was listening to, and to feel the freedom that comes with enjoying movement.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In Which Siouxsie Almost Throws a Hissy Fit at the Gas Station

Oh, excuse me, the ”fuel center.”

The problem with blogging about having a hissy fit is often said h.f. occurs a few hours before the blog can actually be created. In that time, a cooler head and a rational mind can often prevail. And/or, a cool quote from Seth Godin can show up in my inbox. From Seth’s post today, "We repeatedly underestimate how important a story is to help us make sense of the world.” Which then caused me to consider the story behind the hissy fit, aka “conniption” fit.

Yes, I am elderly enough to remember the good old days when one rolled into the gas station and heard the pleasant ding-ding as one drove across the ding-ding hose. Decisions at the gas station in those days amounted to “cash or charge,” “leaded or unleaded” and whether or not you wanted your oil checked. Ah, those were the days, weren’t they. Simplicity. And how things have changed.

Now I shall commence to make a list of all the choices we “get” to make at the gas station these days.

1. Will I be paying credit or debit or gift card?
2. Paying at the pump or at the window?
3. Am I a Kroger plus customer? yes or no.
4. If yes, scan card OR enter alternate i.d. number.
5. Do I want a car wash? Yes or no.
6. Now choose one of the three options of gas grade.
7. Do I want to use my gas discount of x cents? yes or no

Only seven short hoops and I am permitted to pump the fuel into my car!

Besides the above, there are many passive questions facing me.

1. Do I want to apply for another credit card that will save me more cents per gallon?
2. Do I want a snack? “Visit the kiosk!”
3. Am I going to believe the warning about my cell phone being able to cause an explosion?
4. Do I care how recently this pump was inspected?

And don’t forget all the questions zinging through my head about my day.

1. Is that man looking at my hair because I am really having a bad hair day?
2. Will I have time to put everything in the car before I have to leave?
3. Which way should I go home?
4. Will they reverse that fine?
5. What kind of snacks are in the kiosk?
6. And so on and so on.

Here’s what got me today.

See #7 above? It’s always a little surprise to find out whether I have any discount at all, or maybe 10 cents per gallon. Today, surprise! I had a 40 cent per gallon discount available. However, I also had NEW CHOICES.

1. Use my discount as is.
2. Use part of my discount.
3. Don’t use my discount.

I mean, really.

And Seth’s comment reminded me that it is my story about this that dictates my response. My story this morning was that these were unnecessary choices, just one more wildly unnecessary choice in a world filled with way too many choices -- my grocery store has, what, 300 different amalgamations of pasta, and by pasta, I am only referring to dry pasta in a box, not all the mixes, prepared foods, and deli offerings. My story is that these are unnecessary choices and unwelcome. But would I really be happy if I went into a story and there were 4 different types of pasta. I would say honestly, at this point, no. I’m used to having boocoo choices about all kinds of minor things. Maybe there are a lot of people who complained to Kroger and said they didn’t want to use the entire discount at one time. I wish I could understand under what conditions that might occur. But, it is what it is and now I get to also decide whether to use my discount as is, a portion thereof, or save it for a rainy day.

So, I’m changing my story just a bit. I feel blessed that I have the freedom to make so many choices in my life. I also recognize that there are very important areas where the choices are limited and sometimes one is as bad as the others (see: politics). But in the hope that this new option at the Kroger Fuel Center makes someone else’s life easier, I accept it with grace and will continue to wait for the fun surprise of finding out how many cents per gallon I might get as a discount today.

(But sometimes I still think it’s fun to throw a hissy fit now and again, as long as it doesn’t spill over onto innocent bystanders.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What Kepler and I Made Today

Remember my post the other day about cat blogs? Yes, I do want to have a blog that inspires the masses, or at least some portion thereof. But, I’m still mostly a cat blogger.

So, yes, there are multiple blogs across the blogosphere that tell a similar story as this one, but there’s no other blog that tells THIS story. Kepler’s teacher sent home a blank book the other day and asked us to create a book together that they can read aloud. I set it aside and didn’t do anything with it. Yesterday, a gracious note came home asking that we go ahead and complete the book and to let her know if we had lost it and she would send another. I love his teacher. She always goes with the flow.

The note was all I needed to get off my cat blog duff and make the book with Kepler. And so I present to you: I Love Animals, by Kepler Taylor. All marker and crayon decorations, sticker press-downs, colored popsicle sticks, and yarn by Kepler. Please note: all printing done by Kepler but I was directing his hand. He’s still learning that whole printing thing.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Siouxsie’s reMembering, or The Little Red Hen, My Aunt Jeanie

Do you remember this story? No one would help the Little Red Hen with any of the jobs that needed to be done, so she just up and did them herself. This was my Aunt Jeanie.

Born the youngest of 4 children into the unending work of the life of farmers, Jeanie grew up and married a local boy. Wednesday of this week, her life ended after a short battle with cancer.

Last night, I had the opportunity to spend a little time at the local laundromat. Needed to wash a couple of those oversized items. As I waited for the machines to do their jobs, I had a flashback to Aunt Jeanie’s laundry room. The men’s bluejeans got really dirty in the fields and she would wash them with PineSol in the washer. Something about that smell and the memory of her laundry room reminded me of the work she did from morning to night, taking care of her family, feeding the men in the field, hosting her out-of-town nieces for the summer, contributing to her little community and church.

When a teen girl got pregnant in their little town, and the church refused to allow her baby shower to be held in the church facility, Aunt Jeanie went to work advocating for this girl’s shower to be able to be held there. She was persuasive, thankfully. Of COURSE the shower should be held at the church. I think it’s that love thing in action.

And that’s what I remember about her. She was love in action. And I’m so glad I was a recipient of that love and that I was able to love her in return.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Which Siouxsie’s All Like “Methinks Siouxsie’s Last Post was too Subtle and Obtuse"

In honor of three of my family members attending CincyShakes’ MacBeth today, I used “methinks” in the title of this post.

In response to a panicked comment by Anonymous: Bacon isn’t the problem in Intentional OVEReating. It’s just one of many. Stay tuned for more on Intentional EATING and I think you will be pleasantly and baconly surprised. Oh, and if you DO open a restaurant called “All Things Bacon” I hope you will have pictures of Kevin as well as the pork version. I’ll be glad to review your place once it’s open.

Now, students, if I may have your attention up here at the board.

Because I am such a PROfessional at Intentional Overeating, I felt it important to give you that background first. Intentional Overeating is most definitely not the way to conquer your diet.

The best way to conquer your diet is to stop having a diet mentality in the first place.

This is not to say that you should commence stuffing your face with all manner of doughnuts and potato chips. That is not conquering, not to mention your stomach will hurt for awhile and then you’ll be ready to do it again in a day or so.

The diet mentality is all about control and restriction.

Intentional Eating is about, ready?

1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Stop when you are full.

Those are not rules, even if they start to feel like it. When a baby nurses or takes a bottle, she drinks the milk until she is full and then she stops. She doesn’t have a rule about it, she just does it.

But the magical part about Intentional Eating is that you de-criminalize all foods. The IE crowd calls it “legitimizing” foods. I haven’t tried that as a process yet, but the first step is a paradigm shift.

I love pizza. Yes I do. I love pizza. How ‘bout you?

But I also have had a belief that eating pizza is BAD. BAD. BAD. Pizza should not be eaten by me. I, as a person, should not eat pizza. Eating pizza is not an activity I should partake in.

What does that thinking do? Makes me want pizza more than anything in the world.

But how about this? I can eat pizza if I want to. In a pizza establishment, should I wish to eat some pizza, that is just fine. Eating pizza is just an activity, not a benchmark for my worth and value as a person. So, hey, eat pizza if it’s what you want when you’re hungry. And then stop eating pizza when you’re full. Be aware of what you’re feeling and what you’re doing.

I’m pretty good at diets. I can restrict myself and even do it perfectly. Problem is, once the diet is over, there’s still pizza everywhere I look and eventually I can’t hold out anymore. And, personally, I am sick and tired of being so hard on myself.

At a store a few days ago, I was returning an item. A very distracted clerk was helping me. One of the things that was distracting her was her lunch plans. “I want White Castle today. I know they are the worst thing in the world to eat, though.” And do you think she was comfortable in her body? Maybe. I wouldn’t have been. She weighed 300 pounds. What would happen to her weight if White Castle was just another food that she could have it she was hungry? She might just find out that she didn’t really care for them, or maybe eat a couple and be satisfied, because she’d know she could have it again, no problem.

Remember, I’m an expert on this now, having followed this idea for 48 hours. Nah, I’m not an expert, just a regular person who’s convinced that there is more to life than following rules. I want to enjoy my life and now seems like as good a time as any to start. And I’m also convinced that life is a process and we learn as we go. I’ve had enough self-recriminations to last three lifetimes.

It’s time to begin living my life joyfully and playfully, even in the area of food. As Julian of Norwich said, "…All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Siouxsies Munching! Or How to Conquer That Diet!

I am a practitioner, a devotee, an advocate, a student of Intentional Eating. Having followed this philosophy for some 24 hours now, I am a veteran with much wisdom to share.

**See below for text of this food pyramid.

Before I share that much wisdom, I should tell you about my previous practice, Intentional Overeating. Practiced by many, I was not even surprised to learn the following statistics of people following IO:

Stay-at-home moms: 99.890467%
Basketball players, limousine drivers, Doormen, Supermodels, Jerry Seinfeld, Campfire Girls: .000023%
All others: .000000001%

Does that add up to about 100%?

Intentional Overeating has several interesting, and sometimes contradictory, tenets:

1. Intend to do better tomorrow.
2. Eat a lot of this bad food since it is definitely going to be the last time.
3. Never ever buy non-organic meat in the grocery store, but turn a blind eye to the meat at Wendy’s.
4. Really really intend to do better tomorrow.
5. Feel bad about every bite that goes into your mouth.
a. Bad food should make you feel bad because you are bad for eating it.
b. Good food should make you feel bad because you aren’t eating enough of it.
c. Neutral food should make you feel bad because you preferred bad food but couldn’t find any.
6. Be very sorry you overate and vow not to do it again.
7. Wish you had the decency to at least have an actual eating disorder instead of skirting the issue.
8. Know you are fat at all times, no matter what size you are wearing.
9. Follow the Intentional Overeaters Food Pyramid perfectly never mind it isn’t complete. Do it.

** All Foods that are unacceptable to eat because they are bad. These include all foods that taste good and every single food you want to eat. Also included are foods with protein, carbs, or fats. And meat. French fries. Pizza. Lord knows. Pizza. Dessert. Dessert menus. Food that is fun. Fried food. Partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fats. Foods that claim to have no trans but must because they taste good. Comfort foods. Foods from your childhood. Restaurant food. Bagels. Muffins. Oh God doughnuts. Foods that come from a bakery. Foods not on the perimeter of the grocery store. Foods that will cause your blood sugar to spike! Anything that makes in your mouth. Anything that melts in your mouth. Food like Grandma used to make. Bacon. Cheese.

10. Intend to do better by Monday for sure.

So, the first step in conquering that diet is DO NOT FOLLOW THE RULES FOR INTENTIONAL OVEREATING. They’re a dead-end. More to come.

Siouxsie’s Moving! or How to Nail a Presentation

Maybe not in the way you think. We’re not moving to a new house or state or anything. The movement is more of a mental shift. That title just flowed, so I went with it. Y’know. Art and creativity and all.

I’ve been reading ALL KINDS OF completely cool stuff that has just been making my brain throw off sparks. Recently, I learned about three types of blogs, the first of which was called “cat blogs.” These are blogs that are just for the writer, and their 5 readers, and are basically online journal entries. Siouxsie’s Musings has been functioning largely as a cat blog, hasn’t it? Yes, indeed.

The other two types of blogs are called SOMETHING ELSE that I can’t remember, but the gist of them was a little more outward-focused. So, I thought I’d give this blog more of an informational-yet-oh-so-entertaining feel. Let’s give it a try ....

What prompted this post was the privilege this morning of observing Anna-Jessie present her Country Project in her geography class. But, how many million homeschool/proud-of-my-kid/this-was-fun posts do we suppose are already on the internet? And no matter how witty or wise this one is, in the end on my cat blog it would just be another one of those posts.


As I drove away after the class, I was reflecting on the experience. Several students did presentations, and you’d expect me to say that Anna-Jessie’s was the best (it was, of course), but again, what if there was something in this experience that I could teach others?

There is!!

How to Nail a Presentation

1. Start on the project early. I heard two students this morning tell the teacher they have not even started their project yet and they must present one week from today. Sure, most people can throw something together in a week, and depending on other responsibilities, may even be able to put together a stunning presentation. Those who start early have time to enjoy the process, refine ideas, get some feedback, practice the speech, and figure out the logistics of any papers or visual aids (more on this in number 4 below).

2. Love the one you’re with. Maybe you have to present on an assigned subject, rather than being able to choose it yourself. Find a way to enjoy the process of THIS project. How can you include subjects or activities you love into the project? Anna-Jessie loves art and she loves to cook. She made a creative and colorful presentation, as you can see above, and her country food was something she truly enjoyed making. Another example from this morning: the student who presented on Japan brought some “green tea chocolate balls.” I spoke with him and his mother afterward, and they both had pained grimaces as they explained what the food was, and I wondered why they made something that sounded gross to them, and ended up tasting, uh, interesting to the uninitiated. And how about the young man who walked in and said, “My country food is noodles and they smell really bad.” Figuring out a way to enjoy the process will not only enhance your preparation experience, but also your presentation and the experience of those listening to you.

3. Look! There are people out there! When the presenter has facial expressions that are not carved in stone, when there is a spark in the eye, and when those eyes look at the audience, the presentation is more fun to give and to listen to. Without adequate practice, presenters sometimes present the back of their head, or the top of their head, or keep their eyes absolutely glued to their notes. Talk to your audience!

4. Figure out logistics.Thinking of an example from this morning, does your presentation flow better if you can pick up the cool Russian hat from the table right next to you? How does that compare to a. realizing you need the hat and it’s back at your desk, b. stopping the presentation to walk the 8 feet to your desk to get said hat, c. picking up hat and returning to front of room, d. talking about hat?

5. Practice ahead of time! Make sure you know how to pronounce difficult or unusual words. Vary the words you use to start sentences or sections. Avoid simply reciting facts, especially when they include numbers. A student this morning gave a statistic this morning to the TEN-THOUSANDTHS place. It wasn’t a microscopic measurement - it was a percentage of the population who live in a certain area. I would have been ok with him rounding it off.

And there you have it. 5 simple preparation tips to help you pwn that presentation!