I didn’t have the energy or wherewithal to write.
So I spoke today’s message.
Click here, not the picture: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3005444692851296&id=100001573834848
I didn’t have the energy or wherewithal to write.
So I spoke today’s message.
Click here, not the picture: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3005444692851296&id=100001573834848
We’re deep in the throes of post-holiday ordinariness and Resolution Season. Not quite the middle of January, so most people haven’t given up on their resolutions. Yet. (Note: that’s unscientific speculation on the part of yours truly.)
Grocery store ads are replete with healthy food, fat burners, energy boosters, basic fitness essentials, and other “health” products.
Are any of these products worth the cost? Nicole Akers delves into the subject of wasting money on vitamins and supplements in her latest blog post, Stop Wasting Your Money on Vitamins and Supplements:
I’m not a pill taker. I down a pain killer reluctantly. And I do take a multivitamin daily as an insurance policy against a day of poor nutrition or inconsistent eating. Oh. And a baby aspirin per my physician, since my family has a history of heart issues. But that’s it.
Supplements… just one. Protein powder. Why? It’s faster and more convenient than having to cook something early in the morning when I’m battling cats and the clock to get to my first appointment. And it’s most convenient as a post-workout fuel when mixed with simple sugar. My favorite concoction is lemon lime Gatorade and vanilla flavored protein. It’s a tolerable taste.
Do you swear by any vitamin or other health supplements? Let me know in the comments.
What is the one thing over which you have complete control?
There is only one thing.
You can’t control what others think. You can’t control what others do. You can’t control how others treat you. You can’t control what others say. You can’t control what happens to you. You can’t even control your thoughts!
In today’s Gospel (Matthew 6:7-15), Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray and then has instructions for them on forgiveness.
Who do you need to forgive?
Here are my thoughts on the Gospel and on control.
And maybe a word or two about eating a good breakfast.
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read and listen to my thoughts. My commitment during Lent 2016 is to post a daily video reflection to help you and me on our walk through the season and toward Easter Sunday. I will also explore other matters of faith and also health and fitness to keep us fit for the journey. Click here for my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski
I appreciate your help and encouragement. Please let me know how I can help you. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.
As we wind our way through the Christmas season and toward the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord…
As we contemplate the year that has passed and anticipate the year to come…
Recall the very first words Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John…
“What are you looking for?”
Jesus speaks these words to Andrew and John. They follow Him after John the Baptist identifies Jesus as “the Lamb of God.”
In another translation, Jesus asks “What do you want?”
So, I’m asking…
What are you looking for this year? What do you want?
What are you willing to do to get it?
What are you willing to sacrifice?
Andrew and John answer Jesus by asking him where He is staying. Jesus said “Come, and you will see.”
Are you willing to follow? Are you willing to take a risk?
What are you looking for? What do you want?
How important is it to you?
Five minutes. Take five minutes to contemplate your answers.
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention is to post regularly and to include comments on the Daily Liturgy. I will also explore other matters of faith that catch my attention. I have begun posting video reflections (and other stuff) on YouTube. Click here to take a gander: https://www.youtube.com/user/davekwiecinski
I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.
Spontaneous vacations are a ton of fun for Kathy and me. We love to drive. We also love to drive to wherever the wind — or road — takes us.
On the first day of our trip to Kathy’s sister’s new place in North Carolina earlier this month, we enjoyed a beautiful drive along the unbeaten path of western and southern Indiana. Early evening, we stopped for a milk shake just north of Louisville (hey, it was vacation). We contemplated where to spend the night as we half-planned our itinerary for the following day.
As we left the parking lot, the skies began to cloud up, but we had no idea what was in store.
The beauty and serenity day came to a screeching halt the second (and I do mean the second) we crossed the Ohio River. Buckets of rain and ferocious wind rocked us as we crept along Interstate 65. It was one of the nastiest thunderstorms either of us ever remember driving through. We exited the highway twice to catch our breath. After the second attempt to make meaningful progress, we were ready to find a hotel… STAT!
We landed at a La Quinta, courtesy of the Hotel Tonight mobile app. Wouldn’t have been our first choice, but it became our oasis for the evening. The room was decent enough. It was reasonably quiet, but best of all, we weren’t traveling down the road surrounded by a wall of water and wind.
I approach these complimentary breakfasts with a grain of salt (no pun intended). Hampton Inn has clearly set the standard for the average traveler with a complete breakfast buffet — none of this “continental breakfast” stuff — and the other chains do their best to imitate Hampton, but most don’t even come close.
The La Quinta was no exception.
In their defense, the hotel was under renovation. Their breakfast bar area was completely closed off.
So they moved the fitness equipment out of the fitness room. That’s where they set up the breakfast bar.
The juxtaposition was priceless.
My photos are awful. I didn’t want to get other guests into the shots and I took them hastily.
The photo to the left shows one of the containers of sweet cereal, the sweet rolls and muffins, sitting under the Fitness Center Rules sign.
Rule 6: Unsupervised use of this facility by children is prohibited.
That’s just way too funny.
But the point is that you can make chicken salad out of… well, I can’t say that in a family setting… so… you can make good choices, even at a bad complimentary continental breakfast buffet.
And the good choices are not always as obvious as conventional health and fitness wisdom would lead you to believe.
Temporary location or not, the breakfast fare at La Quinta was rather standard for a non-Hampton complimentary breakfast. So the excuse of not having their usual digs only goes so far.
Three cereals. All sweet.
And if you really need to spike your blood sugar, not only do you get simple carbs with ultra-processed wheat flour, you also get a significant helping of sugar on your pastries.
At least one of the cereal choices was raisin bran (why the cereal makers find it necessary to add sugar to a cereal with raisins is beyond me). Adding milk gives you a nice dose of protein.
So there’s Relatively Nice Choice #1. If given the choice of three sweetened cereals, choose the raisin bran. Low-fat or no-fat milk gives you a decent balance of semi-decent-quality carbohydrate, some fiber, and lean protein.
If you can choose unsweetened Cheerios (or similar toasted oat cereal), either that or raisin bran. What you sacrifice with sugar in the raisin bran, you probably give up in a gram or two of fiber.
Don’t ever forget your fiber!
Quick quiz. What’s the best choice here if you have to pick one — and only one — for breakfast?
Always important, but you need calories.
Probably not. All the fiber is processed out of the finished product. You’re left with sugar. And once you drink it, a spike in your blood sugar. Prepare for a quick energy crash. (With the water, you don’t have to worry about an energy crash. You don’t provide your body with any energy to begin with!)
A better choice, but probably not the best choice pictured. Bad: lots of sugar. Good: fiber, which will moderate the blood sugar crash. But no protein.
Here’s the good: protein. Here’s the bad: added sugar. Fiber: likely minimal or nonexistent.
Leaving us with the best choice on the table…
No fiber, but the sugar content is natural, not processed added sugar. You get healthy, lean protein. And if it’s low-fat, you get a little fat, which is also essential in the digestive process.
And then you get your fiber later.
(But… don’t forget your fiber!)
What do you do with this? Biscuits and gravy, baked or fried potatoes (not sure… probably microwaved), and hard boiled eggs.
Best choice by far: the hard boiled eggs. And yes, the whole egg, yolk and all. The fat and cholesterol content of the yolk is unfairly maligned and actually contains essential nutrients that comprise a healthy diet.
I started with raisin bran and milk and three hard boiled eggs.
The hard boiled eggs were hard as rocks. Likely overcooked and they tasted like they’d been in the refrigerator for … oh… a month or so (editorial note: just kidding!).
That was a turn-off, but I don’t throw away food unless it tastes like poison (or Brussels sprouts; or chickpeas). So I sauntered back to the hot food and ladled some gravy on top of the eggs, which I had cut into bite-sized pieces.
I was pleasantly surprised at how light the creamy gravy was. I’m sure it was packaged. But it was tasty. It improved the taste of the eggs and filled me up.
None of these items were my first choices. But it fulfilled my objective of getting:
I’ll say it again. Do not be fooled by the fat in an egg. It’s good for you.
Not pictured: the coffee bar, which also included some packets of instant oatmeal, loaded with sugar. If instant, plain oatmeal is an option, that is also an alternative to raisin bran and Cheerios. It’s processed, but will generally provide a couple grams of fiber.
All right… Kathy and I are back home again. We survived the Smoky Mountains and more heavy rain on our way there, but nothing close to that first night.
On our trip, we stayed at several Hampton Inns. They do breakfast right, providing a larger variety of food, including cooked old fashioned oatmeal, and some healthy options along with the usual fare. Could be the subject of a separate piece some day…
(Still, I couldn’t wait to fix my own steel-cut oatmeal this morning. I really missed it!)
These people can’t fall asleep. They have “tried everything.” Nothing seems to work.
They haven’t tried everything.
It works every single time it’s tried.
Guaranteed or your money back.
No ups. No extras.
You don’t need sleep aids or pills. You don’t need chamomile tea or warm milk with butter and honey before beddy-bye, although these are fun and dee-lish!
NOTE: My solution is not intended to replace medical advice. If your doctor has prescribed medication for you, or if you are being otherwise treated for a specific medical condition, do not disregard his/her advice! If you have any doubts or questions, consult your physician.
But… I’d still suggest you ask them if you should try my advice.
Are you ready for my guaranteed, no-fail cure for insomnia?
Have you read my disclaimer? Do you understand it?
Want to sleep this soundly?
Every single time you try it.
And just for kicks, let’s say it doesn’t work. What’s the worst that’s happened? You’ve constructively used time that you would have otherwise spent in misery.
But it won’t happen.
You will fall asleep.
Structured prayer works best.
It will work.
Focus on a particular need. Best if you focus on someone other than yourself. Lose yourself in thoughts of a friend, a co-worker, a loved one…
Someone who is ill. Someone who has experienced a death in the family. A caregiver who doesn’t get relief. Someone enduring a trying time.
Being Catholic certainly has its advantages. The Holy Rosary is a staple in our spiritual diet. Besides the Divine Mercy Chaplet, there are various other chaplets. If you have a favorite, by all means, use it! It will work.
But let’s say you are unfamiliar with prayer.
The Rosary consists of five decades (ten prayers) of the Hail Mary, along with introductory and closing prayers and a meditation for each decade.
Don’t know how to pray the Rosary?
Say the Hail Mary.
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
Think about the person or situation you are praying for as you pray.
Say it ten times. Or don’t count. Just continue to pray it.
Focus on the intention of your prayers.
How much good have you done?
And as you drift off to sleep, you are lifting up good intentions to God.
One more thing.
Don’t doubt me until you’ve tried it.
Thanks for taking some of your precious time today to read my thoughts. My intention, beginning Friday, April 17, 2015, is to post a brief, daily meditation based on the readings from the day’s Catholic liturgy. I would appreciate your help and encouragement. This is something I’ve been called to do for some time. I’m finally embracing it. Father, forgive me for procrastinating.
Dad is back in the hospital.
Not a fall this time. Not a new complication from the LVAD.
It’s an old issue. Fluid retention.
This is where we started last year. Summer of 2013, to be exact.
I’m pissed off. Pissed off at the pharmacy that didn’t grasp that a man with a weak heart couldn’t wait five days for a prescription to be filled. Pissed off that I wasn’t more proactive on Monday when Mom said CVS still hadn’t filled the prescription for Dad’s diuretic, called in on Friday. Why didn’t I insist that she call elsewhere? Why didn’t I call?
I’m pissed off at myself that I didn’t get more things done on the fitness project I’m working on. I let myself get derailed by a couple of financial matters that needed to get done, but maybe not in the order and at the time I addressed them.
I robbed myself of a couple of precious productive hours.
And pissed off that I couldn’t drag my sorry dupa (Polish slang for the backside) off the couch any sooner than now to put my thoughts down.
I’m pissed off that Dad is now likely to miss Emily’s Sweet 16 party on Saturday.
But amidst all the stress and anxiety, I’m still grateful to have my mom and dad here to talk to. To visit. To help. To have a meal with. To enjoy Mom’s cooking and baking. And her laugh. And Dad’s sense of humor.
How many people can say that their parents just celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary? They are still here — both here — to celebrate.
I’m a blessed, fortunate guy.
Had a discussion this evening with someone who is severely depressed. Recently lost a parent. Sees no joy whatsoever in this life. No feelings. No sense that prayer is important. No sense that life is important.
What do we own? What can we claim as ours, now and forever? Only our thoughts. Only our relationship with God. When all is said and done, that’s all we’ve got, folks.
Everything else besides how we touched other people, how they touched us, and our relationship with our Creator means nothing when it’s time to say goodbye to this life.
When everything around us is hopeless or when we encounter a person who is in hopeless despair, what’s our most powerful method of combating the enemy?
It’s better than sending a check. Or a box of chocolates. Yeah, sometimes the money comes in handy for things that make us more comfortable or for necessities.
But when the need for all of those things are gone, what do we have left? What do any of us have?
Our relationship with our Creator.
And we better be prepared.
In the meantime, we have to live our lives. We should function at the highest level possible, given our station in life, given our income level and skill set.
And yes we need prayer and a strong spiritual life in order to do those things. But we need something more basic, more fundamental for our temporal world.
Take care of your body.
Yes, we need to take care of our minds. But if we neglect this vessel of flesh and blood, it will betray us as we grow older.
We only have so many years on this Earth. Some of what determines that is our genetic predisposition.
But our health and functionality as human beings also depends on lifestyle.
How do you treat your body?
Are you taking care of it?
Are you doing everything you can to keep it operating as efficiently as it can and should be?
How many years do you have left?
Are you prepared for what comes next? After this life?
Are you prepared for the years you have left? Has your lifestyle increased your risk of heart disease or diabetes? What about fluid retention?
What about functional fitness? How prepared are you for a slip on the ice? Could your body hold up against a sudden thud to the ground? How sturdy are your bones? How strong is your heart? How efficient is your cardiovascular system?
Let’s ponder and answer these questions together. For the benefit of the people whose lives we touch. And who touch our lives.
And with that, bedtime. Still exhausted after too little sleep yesterday. Hopefully, these words make sense.
It’s a recurring theme.
To speak or not to speak? To be a Buttinsky or keep my mouth shut?
One of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced since becoming a personal trainer is maintaining my own fitness. Between maintaining balance between scheduling appointments, travel, administrative and personal obligations, I also had to deal with what was for me a new phenomenon.
Okay, so that may be slightly overstating things, but there’s no question that I became a popular and sought-after figure on the fitness floor. Consistently completing an intense, focused workout became more and more challenging in my “home” fitness center.
So many people stopped to chat — fitness center members, staff, my clients — that I couldn’t follow my usual routine: maintain an intensity that I was used to or complete all the exercises I wanted to do in the time I had to do them.
Oh, I know. I could have politely but firmly excused myself and continued my routine. I could, and did, wear headphones (didn’t help). But that’s so against my nature that I almost always allowed the interruption.
So, for this and other reasons, I’m a member of more than one club. I need my space!
That presents its own set of challenges. Not the least of which is learning to keep my mouth shut.
And not interrupt my workout!
(I mean, how true is the expression “Life Imitates Art?”)
Well, life imitated art as recently as this morning. A young lady — who I’m certain was doing her fair share of courting (that’s a polite, old fashioned way to say flirting) — was asking her buff, male companion for help as she performed a series of strength training exercises.
I cringed as I watched her do the first exercise. Dumbbells overhead, sitting on a flat bench, her lower back arched too far forward, shoulders rounded back, and emitting a cute little grunt as she heaved the weights heavenward.
She was imitating her musclebound companion, who was performing the same exercise right next to her, on a chair with proper back support. He tossed the much heavier dumbbells above his head with such ease that they could have been plastic toys.
They both finished their set, she on the bench and he in the chair. Then he sat her down in the chair and gave her instructions as she performed a second set.
Back still arched unnaturally forward, negating the benefit of sitting in the chair, shoulders molded around the top and back of the chair. Same cute little grunt as she heaved the weights high above her head. That is, when she wasn’t telling him “I want to look like youuuuu!”
I finished my set of chest presses and I need a stretch. I’m watching her lift as I walked directly behind her chair, the words screaming in my head, “pardon me; may I make a suggestion?”
But I can’t bring myself to open my yap.
Just like driving past a traffic accident, I had a hard time looking the other way.
I see this scene repeated virtually every time I’m in a gym or fitness studio.
What to do? Where does my responsibility begin and end? Do I have any? It’s like knowing CPR and not offering assistance.
But… she was getting assistance.
How did I know the guy wasn’t her paid personal trainer?
How would my friendly advice have been perceived? Would my interruption have been any different than those friendly interruptions I get during my workouts?
It was getting late. I finished my workout and headed for the locker room. There were my two new, unnamed friends, behind me now at the leg press machine. She was on the seat, a couple light weight plates on either side of the machine. He was offering instructions. Her head off the bench, neck muscles straining, shoulder blades rotated forward, teeth clenched, as she drove her legs forward.
Heading toward the shower, I had visions of shoulder and cervical spine issues in this lady’s future.
Should I have been a Buttinsky and said something?
Would she have listened?
What do you think?
As I sit here licking my lips from the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I just devoured (hey, even fitness studs like me — NOT!!! — have breakdowns every now and then), I’m going to pick on an e-mail I received today from my favorite coffeehouse. They shall remain nameless simply because I’m going to pick on them.
Just a little. And playfully. Citing their e-mail only as an example.
First of all, the PB and J… yummy.
I was starving.
Well, probably not literally. But my little (?) tummy was growling and I felt the need to torture the cats by eating something they don’t like. I spied the loaf of Natural Ovens Bakery Hunger Filler bread (100% whole grain, 4 g of fiber, 2 g of sugar, 4 g of protein per slice), and the worst thing you can be is anything edible when I’m hungry. Two slices toasted, slathered with natural peanut butter and Smucker’s grape jam (yes, it’s true… high fructose corn syrup; even I’m not perfect), and the leftover cup of green tea, reheated for, like, the fourth time.
A tasty little snack that satisfied the hunger pangs.
So here’s the takeaways:
Now back to the e-mail…
This particular coffee establishment was advertising various breakfast and beverage items. The title of their e-mail:
“Resolving to be healthier? (We) can help.”
How can they help? Their advertised items are low in calories.
Is that a good thing?
We’re not going to get into your body’s metabolic needs in this post. Suffice it to say, we have to consume enough calories — quality calories — so our body can function appropriately, so we don’t slow our metabolism.
Our body cannot differentiate between “cutting calories to lose weight” and starving. If we don’t adequately fuel our body, our body will respond accordingly.
The e-mail got me thinking about the menu boards at restaurants like Panera Bread and McDonald’s, etc. that now indicate the number of calories contained in each food item.
That’s a nice start.
But it’s incomplete information.
For instance, in the coffeehouse e-mail, is the Small Lite Latte (under 200 calories) healthier than the under 300 calories Classic Oatmeal?
Seems obvious, right?
Maybe not to the calorie counter desperately trying to lose ten pounds.
How much fat? Is it saturated? How much sugar? Any protein?
At every meal, try to eat a lean protein, a whole grain starchy carbohydrate, and a fibrous carbohydrate. And try to limit empty calories from beverages (we’re not talking about meal-replacement smoothies here).
So, kudos to the coffeehouse. They’re trying to be responsible citizens while trying to sell product at the same time. Unfortunately, in their attempt to help, they’re adding to the confusion.
The focus should not be so much on the calories as on the nutrients: the fat, carbohydrates, and protein. And the quality of those nutrients.
All that being said, if you’re hungry and you know it’s really hunger…