Skating Uphill - October 2015

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by Judith Lawrenson

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”-Winston Churchill

When I read this wonderful quote by Winston Churchill, I was so inspired I sent it to one of my old weight loss fatty buddies in California to let her be inspired, too. We have been doing the diet ballet together for many years, and even now that I live in the Lowcountry and she is still there, we email each other food journal entries, share recipes, and lament over those pounds that always seem to hang on to your hips, no matter what you do. 

Well, not only was she not inspired, she emailed me back and told me to find something better to do than send corny quotes and messages that were never about life style in the first place, but were all about being in a war and being bombed. She went on to say that while sometimes it feels like that when food comes at you, it really is not the same thing and I need to stop with the stupid non-helpful advice. (She really said I should cut the crap, but I am too polite to pass THAT on!)

Seeing that the quote was no good, I took the advice I always give to my readers and I moved on to the other thing that struck me as meaningful: Martha Stewart. I was in the doctor’s office with my husband and there on the table was Martha Stewart Living, which I have always believed is the very special magazine designed to make real people feel a menagerie of mixed emotions: Do I want to be her, or do I think she is a silly phony, who is over-the-top and gives way too many hoots about doing simple things the hard way? 

It has been ages since I read her magazine and I was pleasantly surprised. She is on board with the farm-to-table movement, and, of course, this means she not only has her solid mahogany antique table, but she also has a farm, too. 

What does all of that mean to us, you may ask? For one thing, I quite enjoy the new DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit that I have found in many women’s magazines I have read lately. I have come to look forward to “real world” ideas. This is not about building your own house and personally pouring the concrete for the driveway, but more about how you can have things you want or need, but cannot afford. It is a back-to-basics movement of sorts. The one Martha put out this month featured a young mom who built her own mud room/entry hall. Honestly, I won’t go into detail, but it did not look that hard and she did most of it with old boards she had in the back yard. OK, you don’t have boards in the back yard (because you would get fined by the property owner’s association), but scrap lumber is very cheap and the distressed look is so very "in" now. My son and his wife recently made a coffee table out of an old door they found at the dump and some wrought iron legs they got at a flea market. Believe it or not, it looks great, cost about eight bucks and they are not really what you would call handy—just broke!

Many magazines, which were formerly about clothing and the New York fashion scene nobody really cares about, are now doing some interesting nutritional things. I was reading in a periodical (that normally does not feature such things) about the dangers of ice cream and saw a recipe for two-ingredient ice cream that was fabulous. You freeze four bananas broken into pieces then put them in the blender and slowly add milk until you get the right texture. Thinking how clever I was, I shared this with a friend and she told me that she had been doing that with strawberries for years. 

Sharing nutrition information is very popular and I find that surprising. Nutrition is actually news. Whole Foods was recently in the news for supposed short weights in products and on their scales. Chipotle has also been in the news for making misleading claims about their “healthy” no GMO product line. Panera Bread has the number of calories in every one of their menu items right up there, where you can actually see it. People are becoming more and more involved in caring for their own bodies. I think that it is the proliferation of so many suffering from “lifestyle diseases” and the fact that one must manage their own health care to succeed in having good active years after retirement. 

As I close this month, I must tell you how much I appreciate the feedback I receive from readers. I do feel at times I can be a bit preachy, but I am convinced that living a healthy lifestyle is worthwhile, and that it involves not just food and exercise but also attitude and self-image. That old TV soap opera One Life to Live was truer than we know, wasn’t it? I know it is corny, but I am going back to our original quote from Winston Churchill. I do not think success is ever final. We must continue to work toward realistic goals. Failure is only fatal if you let it be. And the courage to continue is all that really counts in the end.

Tune in next month when we will talk about some websites that are useful tools for nutrition, exercise and health guidelines. Hey, come on. You are sitting at your computer anyway. Why not learn something!

If you have questions or comments about “Skating Uphill” please feel free to contact Judith Lawrenson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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