overeducated & understimulated

"if you're going through hell, keep going …" -winston churchill

Foodie abroad with jet lagged tummy April 9, 2018

Filed under: Fitness & health,Food,Life with kids,Travel,Uncategorized — Aerin Rainey @ 2:23 pm

There is something very lonely about waking up five time zones away from almost everyone you know in the world. You feel like chatting. Saying hi. But how supremely rude and selfish to wake up your husband in Canada just to tell him you slept fine for the first time over here in Germany.

At breakfast, the friendly Deutsche-speaking hotel guests and staff may wonder why you aren’t eating your breakfast. Or why you sit with your head in your hands rubbing your temples with a pained expression. But they are too polite to ask.

Maybe they think I am hung over!

But the problem is jet lag … it is actually about 3 a.m. for my body. I’ve gotten used to waking up early — daylight helps with that — but my appetite is completely screwed up.  On our first morning here, I actually threw up my breakfast after going back to the room to brush my teeth. Yikes. Since then, I’ve been sticking to juice and fruit and sliced cucumbers. I never drink juice, so that should be an indication of how badly my stomach is roiling at the sight, smell, and thought of chewy bread, soft cheese, smoked salmon, fatty cold cuts, thick yogurt, even croissants. And normally that is my ideal breakfast. Minus the chewy bread.

Anyway, I’ve never heard any advice on dealing with jet lagged tummies. It seems that vomiting due to exhaustion is an accepted and documented phenomenon. It has something to do with your sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous system, as discussed in this nbc news article:
https://www.nbcnews.com/healthmain/watch-out-travelers-jet-lag-exhaustion-can-make-you-vomit-1C9386794

I can definitely relate to Dr. Rachel Vreeman’s statement that, “Exhaustion can absolutely make someone feel nauseous and even lead to vomiting. Sometimes, the body responds to fatigue — especially extreme fatigue — with symptoms of nausea. Stomach upset, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, can also be symptoms of jet lag.” Blechhh.

And there is lots of advice on what types of foods to eat and when to eat them to help overcome or avoid jet lag.  And even the benefits of fasting … but I can’t seem to find any advice on what to do when you are constantly nauseated on a trip. Even when your sleep schedule has adjusted well.

My daughter noticed I wasn’t really eating (her appetite was fine!) and wondered if this was a new phase of dieting. I told her I’m just not hungry. I didn’t bother adding that I thought I would throw up all over the restaurant if I did eat something. “Well, you should eat something anyway,” was her response. Unsurprising, since that’s what we always tell our kids at mealtimes. And at the boarding school where she will live for the next four months, mealtimes are set and food is not available any other time.

I’ve been following an online course called Precision Nutrition for the past three months and the basic principles of this course are the exact opposite of the approach normally adopted by both travellers and boarding school students alike. Eat slowly. Eat only when you’re hungry. Eat only to the point of feeling 80% full.

So, eating on vacation or at boarding school doesn’t fit this paradigm. Eat as soon as the opportunity presents itself. (Free breakfast included in your hotel room rate, scheduled meals at boarding school). Eat as much as possible, because you might not get another chance (definitely true at school and while trapped on small regional trains running behind schedule) and eat as fast as you can because you’ve got to get out there and make the most of your time abroad, or at least, get back to your room and finish your homework or squeeze in a quick FaceTime call to your parents five time zones away.

Well, I am going to go back to  the basic principles of my nutrition course. No more guilt over not filling up on “free” food. Even if I only eat one meal a day from here on out, which seems to work well for me, I am going to make sure it is a great meal, taste-wise and health-wise. And as for my daughter, well, she’s young and active so she can basically eat with impunity at this point. Her time may yet come, and I will know what to tell her!

“People who love to eat are always the best people!”  -Julia Child

 

(Image from tastingtelluride.com)

 

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Stint, stunt, stent September 11, 2012

Filed under: Fitness & health,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 12:31 pm

My father is a liar.  Natural, born.  He just tells lies like it’s second nature to him.  My whole life, he has lied to my sister and me, lied to my mother, and lied to himself.  Not with malicious intent, mind you.  He just tends to say stuff that covers his ass, or even just paints his ass in a better light.  But his prolonged practice of fabulation has had an unexpected result:  He has actually mistaken his great accumulation of falsehoods for fact.

When I was a kid, I had no idea my dad was ever fibbing.  But he should have given my teenage powers of observation a little more credit.  Also, being told by him to lie about certain stuff to traffic officers, neighbours, and even my mother, was a big tip-off.  I won’t bore you with the list of his personal offenses against me — suffice to say, it’s long and myriad.

You’ll notice that one of the things I value in life is honesty — it says so right up there in the upper-right corner of this page.  So his lack of it tends to cause a bit of friction between my dad and me.  It so happens, I am really furious with him at the moment.

Most recently, it has become clear that my father also lies to his doctor.  And lies about experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain when engaging in physical activity.  This new collection of deceptions is not exactly harmless — in fact, he ended up in the hospital two weeks ago for 5 days and nights because his doctor finally saw through all the protestations of:

  • “I’m fit as a fiddle — I exercise all the time” (curling, golfing in a cart, and playing slo-pitch with a pinch runner don’t count as exercise!)
  • “I weigh the same now as when I was in high school” (but then it was muscle!)
  • “I don’t have trouble sleeping — I can sleep anywhere, ha ha” (40 years worth of this one, followed by a diagnosis of severe sleep apnea)
  • “It’s normal to be red in the face and sweating from getting up to get a glass of water, I just got a little too much sun and got up too fast”
  • “I just push through the pain, it’s not serious” (uttered while gasping for air)
  • “I don’t need a break going up the stairs” (he needs two breaks!)

This man is so full of it, it’s not surprising that the bubble finally burst.  I guess my mother, the enabler, finally decided that she didn’t want to end up widowed just yet and forced him to go to the doctor one afternoon after a day of enduring chest pain and not being able to breathe.  Good for her.  I don’t know how she made him listen.  He is usually supremely convinced of his own analysis and judgment, expert opinions notwithstanding.

So they admitted him, gave him tests and procedures and told him he has three huge blockages, one of which was 99%, two very leaky valves, and a worryingly irregular heartbeat.  They gave him a stent, and sent him home.  Now he is on tons of meds and has to lose 25 lbs and follow a very restricted diet.  But he was “just fine” the day before!

Now that he’s home safely and under the care of physicians and following a treatment plan, I feel free to admit that I am absolutely incensed by this event.  Maybe it’s still inappropriate to be mad at your ailing father, but damn it!  Why didn’t he just listen to us years ago?  Decades ago?  I am really mad at him for doing this to himself, because he’s not just doing it to himself, he’s doing it to my mother and his whole family.

My mother sounds almost happy when she talks about my dad’s health now — it’s relief.  Because she doesn’t have to be responsible for convincing him he needs medical attention anymore.  Now he’s got to listen to the doctors.  She’s off the hook.  Of course, she’s also relieved that he’s relatively fine.  But mostly, she’s relieved that she doesn’t have to go head-to-head with a stubborn, sick man who is “as healthy as a horse.”  And who is so determined to cover up any evidence that he’s not.

You can tell when people are lying to you, right?  I can.  Maybe I’ve become an expert at spotting it due to spending so much time growing up in the company of such a consummate teller of untruths.  I don’t know why people bother.  Don’t they know it’s obvious they’re lying?

Other lies that will soon have to be faced:

  • “Your mother doesn’t have a problem with her memory, she’s just getting forgetful, confused, and easily frustrated by simple tasks because she’s getting older.”
  • “I don’t need open heart surgery.”

Ummm, Dad …

 

stent/stent/

Noun   1. A tubular support placed temporarily inside a blood vessel, canal, or duct to aid healing or relieve an obstruction

 

I hope, for everyone’s sake, he’s telling the truth this time.  But apparently he has an appointment with a cardiac surgeon in a few weeks.

 

Success is not in the eye of the beholder March 15, 2012

Filed under: Fitness & health,Gifted,Life with kids,The meaning of life,Travel,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 12:55 pm

This has been a very tough week.  I am not feeling well, I have one sick child, I had that job interview that blindsided me, my husband is sick, there was a snow day, plus I got my period.  I don’t know whether it is required for me to spiral into an existential depression every time hormones and low iron levels hit me, but that is what seems to happen.

In the words of Tears for Fears, from “Mad World”:

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
And their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny

I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you
‘Cos I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It’s a very, very
Mad world

But spring is around the corner and I have a lot to do.  My plan is that carrying out this simple list of projects (in whole or in part, which is more likely!) will help me get back in touch with my focus and let me bring my full attention to every detail and start living in and enjoying the moments of my life again.  Instead of sitting around worrying what those people running in circles think of me.

List of projects for a successful stay-at-home mother

  • Declutter the basement
  • Organize/purge kids’ accumulated art projects/school work
  • Finish painting the laundry room
  • Stay on top of laundry loads
  • Work on Brownie badges with Meghan
  • Plan and prepare healthy family dinners at least 4-5 times per week (prepare semi-healthy meals 16-17 times per week)
  • Help Meghan study for rider level test
  • Complete school’s online Scholastic book orders in timely fashion
  • Declutter my desk
  • Complete photo albums in Aperture and order prints
  • Contact all elementary schools in Greater Saint John area re: fundraiser (as per role on fundraiser committee)
  • Visit and present characters to elementary schools (as per role on fundraiser committee)
  • Purge kids’ DVD collection
  • Work out 5 days per week
  • Keep food record
  • Provide treats for teachers on St. Paddy’s Day (as per role on Special Events committee)
  • Declutter garage
  • Buy groceries
  • Hang hooks in stairwell for backpacks/sports equipment
  • Repair walls in laundry room, front hall
  • Hang new laundry rack
  • Ensure kids practice piano daily
  • Help kids with homework daily
  • Drive kids to and from all extra-curricular activities and playdates on time
  • Get birthday present for Clara’s friend
  • Plan summer vacation camps, trips, etc.
  • Plan trip to London
  • Pursue digital photography hobby
  • Read books I have purchased re: education, giftedness, health & dieting, photography, spirituality
  • Paint three bathrooms and two bedrooms
  • De-mold the upstairs windows
  • Clean all windows
  • Make/order blinds for kitchen windows
  • Install new shelf in Meghan’s room
  • Mail Helena’s housewarming gift
  • Blog 3-4 times per week
 

Working out sucks March 8, 2012

Filed under: Fitness & health — Aerin Rainey @ 6:59 pm

No wonder I am 40 pounds overweight.  I have recently discovered that I really don’t enjoy working out.  I mean, I thought I was just unmotivated.  Lazy.  Intimidated, maybe?  No, I just really don’t like it.  My least disliked activity is the treadmill, but even then, there is nothing fun about making your legs hurt while you watch ridiculous shows on the Women’s Network.  It’s boring.  I tried reading, but I can’t focus too well on the words unless I go quite slowly, which doesn’t really get the heart rate up to the target level.  All those machines that work your muscles — I think they all look the same, are too hard to adjust, and who knows what weight or number of reps you should do.

So I got a trainer.  Now he adjusts all the machines and tells me what to do every time I go to the gym.  I have to go, because I am paying the guy.  I admit, we do have a few laughs together, but it is still not fun!  Worst of all, after almost three weeks, I have no change in my weight, shape, or size.  I am feeling frustrated and pretty much still hating working out.

The other thing I am doing is watching my food intake.  I haven’t changed my eating habits; I just record everything I ingest now.  I am using the website eatracker.ca  and it’s very informative.  But according to eatracker.ca, I consume only a fraction of my allowable calories every day.  So I’m not sure why the pounds aren’t melting off me.  Would be great to head out in some pants that fit me besides the one pair of jeans and one pair of black pants I had to purchase because I needed some that don’t cut off my circulation below the waist.

At what point do you start losing weight, seeing results and feeling like you enjoy working out?  And feeling that it is all worth it?  Does such a point even exist?  Who are these people I see at the gym who are so thin and toned?  How did they get that way?  I feel like I wrecked my body and now I am stuck with it.  Good thing I have a contract with the trainer or I would be so outta there.

I absolutely hate being so overweight.  I keep wondering how to turn this feeling into some sane-sounding plan for change.