No willpower? No problem.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Seriously. You should never believe me when I say I’ll be right back. I have quite a few posts half-written and a severe case of writer’s block. Oh, and need I even mention my lack of self-discipline?

But my lack of self-discipline is actually related to what I wanted to talk about. I came across an excerpt from a book that I haven’t read (nor do I have any intention of reading), entitled “100 Days of Weight Loss” by Linda Spangle. The book apparently has “thought-provoking” articles for each day.

The excerpt had to do with the difference between being interested in losing weight and being committed to losing weight. Think about that. Most of us are interested in losing weight. Sure. Why not? Throw us that magic pill and we’ll be all over it. Just don’t expect us to give up too much. Oh – and make it easy, will ya? Because if I diet for one full day and that scale doesn’t move, then it’s just too hard and, frankly, I’d rather have a doughnut.

But when we’re committed to losing weight, we stick to our diet plan – no matter what. We decide what we want and we do whatever we have to in order to get there. If that means staying away from fast food, even when we’re hungry and tired, skipping certain social events, and planning and prepping meals - when we’d much rather be lying around watching TV armed with a bag of Cheeto’s – then that’s what we do.

Personally, I call this the difference between willpower and WANTpower. I have no willpower. Oh, I might have it for several hours, but then it fades away the minute I smell pizza. But wantpower? I’ve got it!

Wantpower is when you want something so badly, you’re willing to sacrifice just about anything to get it. For example, if there was some $200 gadget (or pair of boots!) you really, really wanted but couldn’t easily afford, you would probably be willing to give up your $4-a-day Starbuck habit for a while and save up the cash. It would be hard at first to go without your daily Skinny Vanilla Latte, but you would keep your goal in sight and before long, as you watch those unspent dollars piling up in your piggy bank, you would forget how much you used to enjoy that Latte.

To pass up all the wonderfully-bad-for-me food that shows up at work this time of year, I literally have to stop myself, one hand already stretched out to grab a handful of chocolate-covered cashews, take a deep breath and picture myself wearing something tucked in. With a belt. Without back fat. Then I can walk away. Because I want to be that vision of myself WAY more than I want ANY food. And celery sticks are a pretty reasonable substitute for chocolate, right?

So the point of all this is – if you’re really interested in losing weight or in just eating healthier, screw thoughts of willpower and kick your wantpower into high gear.

It makes it so much easier to just say no.

Oh, and P.S. - A funny thing happens when you stay away from your blog too long. Anonymous commenters. Ugh. They’re all over the place. But I hope if you were reading old comments, you managed to find yourself some good sources for Viagra. Because that’s impotent important.

Filler post - high times in Chicago

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm working on a few posts, but they're not ready yet. I don't want you to think I've gone missing again, so I thought I would share with you a picture from my weekend, spent in Chicago with friends. That's me on the left - and the woman in the center is a frequent commenter, but I'm not going to out her.

This was taken at a lovely place called Dick's Last Resort. We weren't too very drunk. Yet.
And I counted myself fortunate that I didn't get the hat that said, "World's Oldest Whore" or "Goes down faster than power windows."

See you soon!

Oral stuff

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now listen. Don’t go getting yourself all excited. This post is not about THAT oral stuff. Keep your minds out of the gutter. The oral stuff I want to talk about has to do with your teeth and gums. Not nearly as exciting, I know, but important nonetheless.

Did you know that that periodontal (gum) disease may be a risk factor in heart disease, stroke, bronchopneumonia and premature or low birth rate babies? And did you further know that periodontal diseases are caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar?

Plaque is a disgusting build up of germs that sticks to your teeth and gums and then makes acid from the sugar and starches you eat. And those acids keep pounding away at your teeth for 20 minutes after you eat. That’s how you get cavities. Repeated attacks of acid.

If you don’t get rid of the plaque with regular brushing AND flossing, it hardens and then turns into tartar and infects your gums, causing redness and easy bleeding.

As you know, a bad dental experience kept me away from ANY dentist for seven years. And even though I always brush twice daily, I was a sporadic flosser. If I did it twice a week, I thought I was doing pretty well.

So it was not a big surprise to me when I finally worked up the courage to go back to the dentist to find that I did in fact have gum disease. Ick.

When you have gum disease, the hygienist likes to do a deep cleaning of your teeth (a process with the awful-sounding name of root planing and scaling) in four separate appointments – one for each quadrant of your mouth. Cost? $1000. Crikey!

So when the brave hygienist took a look in my mouth, she cleaned off some of the tartar at the gum line and then told me she would put me “on probation” for four weeks to see if I could improve it a little on my own and save some money on the deep cleaning.

When I got home, I turned on QVC (as is my habit when I’m depressed) and what do you think they were presenting? A little product called Oraparx – an at-home system that they claimed would bust up the plaque not only on your teeth, but even below the gum line. I took this as a sign and immediately ordered it. For under $20, I didn’t think I had much to lose.

Basically, this system consists of a tube of a toothpaste-like substance (which I suspect is mostly baking soda and hydrogen peroxide) and a foam rubber mouth tray. You fill the tray on both sides with the paste, put it in your mouth and leave it in for at least 10 minutes, but not more than 20. I use it while I’m in the shower; the timing works out perfectly.

You would normally use it only once a week or so – less if your teeth look like this:

And perhaps significantly more often if they look like this:

Being somewhere between the two, I used it for seven days straight and then every other day until my return dental appointment. The end result was that I only had to have the deep cleaning on 3 teeth – I had managed to clean the rest of them enough that they didn’t need them. And I saved $750. Pretty impressive, I thought.

I immediately went to the Oraparx website and got into their auto-delivery plan and continued to use it two to three times per week. And when I went back for my 3-month cleaning (which is another thing they make you do if you have periodontal disease), the hygienist said the improvement in my gums was “practically unheard of”.

So if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, or if you are one of those people who have a lot of plaque build up for no good reason, or if you just want to improve on your oral health, seriously…get this stuff. I highly recommend it. Your gums will thank you.

I had some more to tell you – about a cheap, cheap teeth-whitening product, but this is too long already so I’ll save it for another time.