Sunday, April 12, 2009

Visualize sleekness (and peace)


Now that winter is over, words like shorts, tank top, and swimsuit spring to mind. Yikes!

Pasty white legs and, you know, extra . . . softness that I was squeezing into winter clothes.

Another spring word: diet. Oh, and: treadmill (or as Susan says: dreadmill).

But wait, I just read one of the best ideas I've heard about getting fit, and it isn't the Zone or Atkins, Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, macrobiotics or calorie counting. In fact it isn't dieting at all.

It's from the stuff about the law of attraction (such as in the book and film The Secret): What you focus on you attract more of to yourself. Rather than focusing on debt, for instance, focus on abundance. Or if like me, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza (etc., etc.) are driving you nuts, instead of focusing on what you hate about war, focus instead on peace. It really is a shift in perspective. And according to the law, you will begin attracting abundance and peace, or whatever it is you focus on. (I so appreciated Loring's post of the peace rally he participated in in Colorado Springs on the anniversary of the start of the Iraq war for how it focused on peace, and the words of MLK Jr: "Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that; hate only multiplies hate.") This is going to effect how, or if, I will continue to rant at huffing.

So, back to getting fit, "the first thing to know is that if you focus on losing weight, you will attract back having to lose more weight, so get 'having to lose weight' out of your mind. It's the very reason why diets don't work. Because you are focused on losing weight, you must attract back continually having to lose weight." Here's a whole excerpt on fitness from The Secret. Basically, stop blaming food for how you look. Then decide what is the weight you want to be, and visualize yourself at that weight. Start feeling good about your body, and you'll respect it.

That's what that pretty lady taped to our treadmill is representing: the fit me. I'm never going to be 22 again, or look like her, but I must say this has worked so far. When I suddenly crave a PayDay candy bar mid-afternoon between appointments, if I visualize her, the craving fades. I think: she wouldn't eat that right now, so neither will I. (Well she eats one sometimes.) Now I try to go to work prepared with string cheese and an apple for snacks. And on the treadmill, I straighten and lift my spine. Doesn't she have great posture? So do I, darn it!

Now, what to do about pasty white legs?


Sally's World said...

lol, what do you do about pasty white legs... nothing, so what if it looks like milk bottles hanging out the bottom of your skirt....i'm white, deal with it!!

Anet said...

This is a great way to think Ruth!
I'm going to give it a shot... my fat clothes feel tight!!! Ugh!

You sure picked a lovely long legged model to tape to your treadmill, Holy smokes!
Best of luck Ruth:)

Susan said...

You know what, Ruthie, you're absolutely right. When I was at my most fit self (5 years ago) it was because I never used the D word. I only focused on getting healthy and fit and it worked. In fact, I was dedicated.

Then I got two injuries one right after the other and wasn't able to exercise for about six months and lost my momentum. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to refocus my energies to the positive.

Tomorrow's a new day and I'm going to have a new mantra, or just bring out the old one.

Thanks for the inspiration!

California Girl said...

Dieting. Well, I've always counted calories when my weight climbed. I am now about 20 lbs overweight which seems huge to me. The flu helped me lose about 7 lbs a few wks ago. No solid food for three days. Now I'm just eating veggies and protein and eliminating liquor. It is keeping me from gaining it back.

As for white legs: self tanner!

C.M. Jackson said...


Thank you for the inspiration! I agree with the focus on being fit and healthy rather than losing weight. That focus has gotten me to where I wanted be many a time. Thanks for the reminder!


Anonymous said...

Instead of doing a diet, I just changed my eating habits last year. Since then, I lost weight and have been able to maintain a healthy weight. I just started eating according to my blood type and it works weel.

Dakota Bear said...

Yes, it the dreaded time of the year. My youngest daughter always teases me about not getting color on my legs. I need to use my Gazelle more and also do more walking. I wear a pedometer and I'm definitely not get 10,000 steps done in a day. Need to work more diligently on that.

I have a feeling a lot of us are in this same boat.

rauf said...

you have given me some more ideas Ruth, i was planning to write and my putter packed up, so posted some pictures instead before traveling.
Next post will be unpleasant.
i'll be discussing health and all the misconceptions surrounding it.

Eat without guilt is what i would advise. No DREADMILL (hahaha Susan made me smile).
it doesn't work.
Why it doesn't work ?
because our mind doesn't accept it.
So is dieting
People so consciously starve that they end up putting on more weight.

You are slim and trim and look young largely because you burn your energy in normal daily routine Ruth. Just like a tribal and a farm hand. i know you have a dread mill. i can't wait to tell Rubina about it. We have one at home. If you make a video of your normal routine and what you eat, it will be better than Jane Fonda's

Tomorrow, Tuesday is Tamil New year's day Ruth, Vishu for Keralites. vishu is a new year.

i haven't read the book, don't know when i'll get to read it. i have very little access to the putter nows.

Is there anything about Twiggy in the book ?

rauf said...

Actually Ruth, you have written my next post.
i am trying to cheat myself by not touching the news papers and watch TV. There is pain and suffering everywhere. i can't shut myself Ruth, it shatters my peace.

Oliag said...

...oh I had to get up twice for more jelly beans as I was reading your post and comments!...I do need to focus on healthy foods more for sure!

Pasty white legs are great!!I belong to a family of serious non-tanners:)

freefalling said...

Embrace your pastiness.
It works for Nicole Kidman.

freefalling said...

You know what?
I don't like it when people feel bad about their bodies.
It makes me upset.
The ladies at my work are always talking about their fat bottoms, or diets or wrinkles or whatever.
I don't like it.

I used to dwell on such things but then I realized how ridiculous it was.
Our bodies are wonderful, miraculous creations - even if they are covered in cellulite or hairiness or pimples. The people who love us don't love us for our skinny legs or slim waist and why would we care what people who these things matter to, think?

"When I suddenly crave a PayDay candy bar mid-afternoon between appointments, if I visualize her, the craving fades. I think: she wouldn't eat that right now, so neither will I"
I don't like this, Ruth.
I don't want you to feel this way.
Don't compare yourself to a non-existent person.
Coz I think you are fabulous, Ruth and I don't care if you have pasty legs and fatness from chocolate bars! I don't even care if you have no legs.

Ummm.....I think I'm actually agreeing with the point you are making in your post.
For some reason, I just started to love my body, warts and all about 18 months ago. It came out of nowhere. I got really p*ssed off that I let "someone" convince me I was "less than" - who the hell are they??!!!
And what makes them so much more fabulous than me??!!
I kinda feel a bit guilty now that I was so ungrateful for this wonderful gift I was given of a healthy, robust body.
(okay, so maybe it didn't come out of nowhere, maybe it came from hanging out at the cancer hospital).
Life is short and I ain't wasting anymore time worrying about my perceived shortcomings!
My theory is - make the most of what you've got, while you've got it.

(oh geez, thanks ruth, i needed to get that off my chest - maybe i could have a guest spot at 'huffing"!)

Oh yeah - and everyone - delete "need to" and "should" from your vocab.

Ruth said...

Sally, what a great image comparison! You must have seen my legs.

Ruth said...

I know, Anet, she's gorgeous.

I am unwilling to buy a new wardrobe and move up a clothing size. I have a fear that I will keep on doing it, it's so easy to add a few pounds every year, and pretty soon I'd be facing other issues too, related to health.

Ruth said...

Susie, it's easy as pie (or cake, or cookies) to put on weight, and so hard to take it off. Then with an injury you're lucky just to get mobility back, let alone get fit.

I realize I have been brainwashed along with the masses about appearance, and it's something I have to consciously adjust my thinking on, whether it's weight, or whatever. There is one thing I have a healthy attitude about though without working at it, that my mom gave me: aging. Is there anything more beautiful than a an old woman when she smiles?

Ruth said...

California Girl, I had skin cancer back in 1991 after spending too much time in the sun as a teenager. Also, I had a bad burn as a child when I fell asleep on the beach. So I used self tanner for years. But I got tired of turning the bedsheets and white clothes orange, so I stopped.

Now I spend a few minutes in the sun every day that it's nice. Helps with Vit D as well as a little color. I don't need to be tan, just not so white my purple veins jump at you, you know?

Ruth said...

C.M., one of the fortunes of my life was living in California in my twenties, which is where our kids were born, and having a friend named Prudence who taught us to look at food for health. She taught us to buy most of our food from the outside aisles of a grocery store, to get food that is closest to the source. I never bought a single jar of baby food, and I am quite a snob about that. If we had relied on a Michigan mentality in those days, we would have been eating a lot of processed food and feeding our babies formula. There are exceptions to this, of course, but I will be forever grateful for those years with a friend who taught me a healthy understanding of food.

Thankfully, now it is a trend to eat organic and buy locally raised food.

Ruth said...

Yeah, Kanmuri, I heard about eating for your blood type from my brother. He avoids wheat now, eats bread with spelt. It really makes a difference for how he feels.

Ruth said...

Dakota Bear, I had never heard of a Gazelle. Must be some training machine?

Ah, such an industry there is around weight loss, exercise, all of it. As a society we focus on it so much, yet we aren't really any healthier as a result. I think it could be because of what the Secret teaches, that we are focused on the negative, rather than on health. I think we can eat what we want if we think about what we're putting into our bodies and what it is they need.

Ruth said...

rauf, some people have a higher metabolism than others. I know I inherited a higher metabolism from my dad. I am jumping up and down all the time. I also love to eat - in fact I think I live to eat. This could be disaster if I didn't move around and dread mill too. I need to maintain a good heart rate for a while every week, and that's what the dreadmill is for. There is heart disease in my family, my brother Bennett died suddenly at age 47 from blocked arteries, as you know. He ate food with high levels of fat, but he drove a delivery truck and got little exercise. He needed to get that blood flowing in his veins, but he didn't realize it, and then it was too late.

Another area I recognized I need to adjust my thinking is money. I have had an unhealthy view of money, believing I don't deserve to have it, something else I inherited from my dad.

Focusing on peace for me doesn't mean closing my eyes to the misery and suffering. You have to be aware and conscious of it, we are all one. If part of the population suffers, I suffer. I want to focus on solutions out of a heart of hope and ways to find peace, not hate, which is what I had been feeling for those who caused the wars.

Ruth said...

Oliag, we were munching excellent jelly beans while we played a game last night. I think when you eat well, having treats is not a problem. It's when treats are the norm that the problems start.

Ruth said...

Letty, my love!

Yes - Nicole, and also Anne Hathaway. I love seeing them and their non-tan selves.

My goodness, we are surrounded by images of unreal people, and I succumb to it. I stand in line at the grocery store and look at Angelina, Jennifer, Reese, Lindsay, etc. Sometimes the tabloids show us anorexic bodies. Sometimes we see Oprah and her ups and downs - up at the moment. I think Queen Latifah is absolutely gorgeous - GORGEOUS. She clearly loves herself and her body, and even though she recently has chosen to lose some weight, it's for health, not to be skinny. I love that.

I don't like the other side of this, that people think we should be able to look any way we want to, and it doesn't matter. I don't like giving people an out to be unhealthy. The point is that we have gotten used to destroying ourselves and our health because some industries (such as fast food) have taken off without any concern over health, and now people are struggling with diabetes, cancer, and other diseases as a result of obesity. I don't think that's ok, and we're paying for it in our insurance premiums. It's not ok that hospitals are having to make bigger wheelchairs because people no longer fit in the old ones.

When I discovered Nigella Lawson, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. She literally gifted me and shifted my outlook on the sensuality of food. Have you ever watched her walk through a produce section and touch the fruit and artichokes and appreciate their beauty? And watching her eat a huge piece of chocolate cake out of the fridge - pure pleasure! She is round and gorgeous, and so happy, in spite of losing her husband and being a single mom with little kids. What a woman! She is the kind of model I look to for enjoyment of life!

Love you, Lady.

Judy said...

Thanks for that post! I needed that today... I am starting fresh today to work into my swimsuit. I'll get a picture of me wearing it and that should help!

Ruth said...

Yay, Judy!

Ruth said...

Another thing, rauf, is that you in Chennai, Lesley and Brian in NYC, Peter in Paris, have built-in ways to walk and get from here to there. I was exhausted last weekend getting around on foot. Where we live, we drive everywhere, and so we have to find ways to "artificially" get exercise.

Patrick Swayze - an amazing dancer and into fitness - always said it's most important to stretch, to prevent injury. Now, poor thing, he's wasting away.

Loring Wirbel said...

No real comments on pasty white legs or the dreadmill, except that treadmill time is some of my only time every day to catch up with the "wisdom" of Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace - that gets the legs pounding!

Oh, and thanks for the link. I'm using laughter as much as love as an antidote. Tomorrow I go to Korea, and the first stop will be DMZ. A little bit jittery, but I'm sure there will be a joke there. Maybe I'll see Kim Jong Il singing "I'm so wonewy, I'm Mr. Wonewy."

ds said...


While my pasty white jello legs empathize completely (and will go for a walk this afternoon whether they like it or not--I hate dreadmills, but love the word), there is a part of me that is screaming NO NO NO even as another part of me is shouting YES YES YES!
Focusing on health and fitness is good; ignoring them, unquestionably bad. But too great a focus on reaching a certain ideal (weight, dress/slack size, strength, speed) can be just as dangerous as not caring. There is such a fine line between what seems to be a rational way to approach one's eating/fitness habits, and what becomes "disordered" as thinking, and as a relationship to food. The signs are subtle, the statistics scary, and the process very difficult to reverse, much less overcome. Please, please take that f***ing Barbie doll off of your "dreadmill." She is no more real than the plastic version, and just as insidious...
Sorry, guess I ought to go 'huff' today.

Ruth said...

That's wonderful, Loring, about pounding out the legs to the voices from the other side!

Oh wow, I didn't realize your Korean trip was here already! Bon voyage and best wishes on all the presentations you'll be doing. I can't wait to hear about it when you get back!

Ruth said...

DS, thank you for engaging!

I think we are pretty messed up culturally about beauty, fitness, health, fat/thin, glamour vs reality, etc., etc. I agree with you. Performance in athletics, competition in looks. Competition in movies. I mean while I dislike the Miss America pageant, I watch the Oscars. There is something innately human about all this, and physical appearance represents the spectrum of human experience – a range of emotions, opinions, standards, repulsions, etc. It’s just as volatile a topic as politics and religion, if not more so.

I get it. And I also see that the woman on my treadmill looks like Barbie – although I hadn’t notice that before! Thank you for pointing it out, because I am forever criticizing the Barbie standard. And yes, I find Barbie insidious – so why isn’t this image that way for me?

I don’t know the answer. I can hear the visceral reaction she has caused here, but she makes me smile. Her version of the female form is very pleasing to me. But so are Rubens women, Nigella Lawson, Queen Latifah and my mother in her soft roundness. The human body is sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly. Many types, shapes, colors, looks are pleasing to the eye.

I would be lying if I said I don’t care how I look. For whatever reason, this woman pleases me. I grew up loving Barbie too and spent hours dressing and making my own outfits for her. I drew a lot of pictures of the female body during adolescence, as my own body grew. If I were a designer/god, how would I design the human form? I looked something like this woman when I was 18 (legs not quite that long), and so in that sense she represents the fit me and reminds me of my young self. Maybe I feel like I am her, even though I don’t look like her now. And that symbol of beauty is that, a symbol, something pointing to some other beauty that resides in a different realm or dimension, beyond the physical, beyond space and time. There is something about where she is, in nature too that pleases me.

But so easily she could be an instrument of pain and torture. I don’t hold her as a standard for all women, or even for myself. She’s a symbol of beauty. And I recognize that on someone else’s treadmill she would be a symbol of something else altogether! And I respect that difference.

That’s as honest as I can be.

Ruth said...

(And I realize it's all just a lot of hooey! It's not what's really important in this life. But I don't deny my feelings about it. That's all.)

CottageGirl said...

Dear Ruth,
As one whose weight has been up and down and up and down and up and ...

you get the point....

I have struggled with the feelings of being heavy and ... thin for years. For me my emotions and change of routines get in the way.

I recently had been going to Weight Watchers with some friends for almost 2 years, but after a while, I found that I was starting to play games with the points system. (Not my first time with WW!) Fortunately, I haven't gained everything back that I lost at WW, thank heaven, but I am slowly gaining! Yikes! I don't want to do that!

What is the key to losing and AND KEEPING IT OFF??

A few years back I thought I had found it!

I went to a week-long teaching workshop that was held in a beautiful state park. I got to stay there in a lovely room all to myself.

It honestly was like a retreat for me. No phone calls, other obligations, no meals to cook, no errands to run. Nature surrounded me. I focused on me. I started walking every day after our meetings and worked out a routine that I could do at home. I stuck with it for several years.

But then things happened to shake that routine and commitment.

Parents got ill and passed away. I needed surgery, myself, several times. Off-spring needed more of my time and energies for one thing or another. Friends suffered tragedies.

I LOVE to cook...My hubby can eat anything and not gain!!

Boom! You could hear me fall off the schedule!

The focus was gone ...

Everyone says to put yourself first to keep yourself healthy. I truly believe that, but sometimes it is so difficult to do!

Struggle... struggle..

I need to get up off my bum and start moving more!

Thanks for the blog and thanks for letting me ramble and perhaps sort through some issues!

Babs-beetle said...

I'm a great believer in positive thinking and I think 'The Secret' fits in nicely with that. It's not always easy to get it right though :O)

shicat said...

Oh dear this is a big,big issue indeed. I am visualizing as fast as I can.

shicat said...

Ruth ,I just listened to some of Loring's post. I receive a publication called Peace and other National Priorities. I will send along info about this group. It is local in Oakland County but it may be of some interest to you.

rauf said...

Sweet Letty girl,
Wear good shoes, i tell every body, feel the comfort, flat heels.
All that we do is to avoid pain and suffering. avoid getting sick. but we get sick eventually, no one dies with body in perfect condition and we all die. so don't torture and terrorise the body is what i say.

We don't learn from animals, only the pets get fat by over feeding.
They eat only when they need. We humans are different. We are into many traps.
We buy problems.
We buy pain.
we complicate our lives.
Going out of shape is not natural
we are designed to stay in shape .
But we ruin our health by being careless.
We have to take a little care is what Ruth says. i think. i think ?
But people go over board about it. That is unnatural too.

i want to be liked, i want to be loved. i will not torture my body or starve myself to achieve that. i don't use any perfume or deodorants or go to health clubs, i can't afford them, they will not let me in in the first place. (gorillas not allowed)
i am lazy
i cut my hair and beard (myself) only when my sisters and friends object. They scream at me.
'look decent for godssake pleeese look human'

i do my best to look less mad, less wild. i don't go to places where i am not acceptable, places where i know i'd get thrown out.
Things become more difficut as i look like a terrorist.

We humans unfortunately live in a society. Being acceptable is important but that is not everything.

Its okkay to do something to look good and feel good sweet Letty girl.

rauf said...

LETTY GIRL, i am thinking of carrying a small card board saying
'i am not a terrorist and i don't bite on Fridays

Christina said...

Now this is the kind of thinking, I could get used to.


Peter said...

Yes, I like a lot your "think positively" philosophy! ... and for the white legs, I would propose that you take off your long trousers and stockings! It helps! :-)

Ruth said...

Dear CottageGirl, I think you hit the nail on the head, that if you take time to pay attention to your needs, you'll be fine. But as a woman - mother, child of aging parents, household engineer, worker, and then to have health problems, hospitalization, etc., etc., too often there is no one to step in and take care of your needs and help you with everyone else's. I do think a lot of weight issues are stress related, and when the pressure builds, we turn to comforts and away from exercise because we are too tired from our stress. I feel that all that time. Only my friend Inge, I think, loves to exercise when she's stressed. They say, of course, that it is a stress reliever. But it's usually the last thing I want to do.

So yeah. This isn't about guilt, and I have no desire to add to anyone's pressure. Rather, I was glad to get the word 'diet' out of the way and focus on a healthy me. I hope that helps you too.

Ruth said...

Hi, Babs, it's not easy, because the world just keeps trucking along, throwing messes in our path. I try to live in the moment, but that takes constant practice.

Ruth said...

Great, Cathy, thanks, please do send me more info about that peace organization.

Ruth said...

rauf, that was quite helpful actually. Perfect summary you wrote: eat for health, and as for your appearance, please yourself (and others within limits).

Thank you.

Ruth said...

Dear Christina, my dear, you are living the love. No worries. I can't even imagine you focusing on or attracting anything but positive things into your life.

Ruth said...

A little sun, Peter? Ok!

Barry said...

Then again, some of us like pasty white skin. I think it's known as healthy, as opposed to sun damaged.

And some of us don't mind a few pounds on our women either.

But then again, some of us are very odd.

ds said...

Ruth, I certainly thought I'd left a(nother) response yesterday. Filled in the nonsense word and everything--this machine has been a bit screwy over the last couple of days (like its owner), maybe that's it. Anyway, the gist was, that if that woman on your treadmill reminds you of your younger self (so lucky are you!) and makes you happy, then leave her right where she is.More power to you! I know you're not a superficial person. And I'd be a complete hypocrite not to admit that I've done my time in the gym; & have intense debates with self re applying chemicals to hair every 4 months or so (duration gets longer with each debate; this may be the end). You're absolutely correct about the 1st response having been visceral. Truly I did not know how angry I was (am) until after I hit "publish."

Thank you for your gracious response to my rant; I apologize for having done so.

Ruth said...

Barry, thank god tanned skin looks wrong now - "out of fashion." But still I see women especially who go to tanning salons - they're already dark. While mahogany skin is beautiful when it's natural, on a white person it's odd, and as you say, quite unhealthy. I am one who spent too much time in the sun as a girl, and I got skin cancer. Thankfully it was treatable.

I am thinking of you, Barry, I need to catch up on your own treatment.

Ruth said...

Apology accepted, dear DS. I don't blame you for being angry, there is plenty to be angry about. And I didn't take it personally.

Kim said...

I so enjoy reading your blog(s)!

I read the Secret, and have put many similar ideas into practice. Like this one. While I'm at my job-instead of complaining about this place, I visualize my future job....It's quite lovely, I am doing something that is challenging and is using my unique ability...I will attract this...I know it!

carl h. sr. said...

That woman could be a poster child requesting food assistance.
She definitely needs some cheeseburgers! Peace

Sandy said...

I'm enjoying my catch up here, and I hear you about the pasty white legs, ha! Also am following the links you dropped above and love the top post with the flowers..

Ruth said...

Kim, it's a shift in thinking, and makes us healthier and happier.

Ruth said...

Hehe, Carl, there's no accounting for taste! :D

Ruth said...

California girls don't have pasty white legs, do you, Aunty Sandy?

Anna said...

Hey Ruth we naturally gain wait for winter as we need to stay warm, lol. Spring has tendancy to keep us busy, and shortly we all be fit again....neat post. Boy I like to eat these days... Anna :)

Ruth said...

Anna, it's good you have a healthy appetite. Yes, we can just follow the cycles of the seasons and be fine. As long as we get active in the nice months and not do to much blogging.