Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Life, Choices and my Dad

This past weekend I visited my father. I told Roy that all I could think about was driving 80 miles an hour along the California coast with the top down, munching on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He laughed and said he could picture me going so fast that the jelly was coming out the side of my mouth, along my cheek in a stream.

Well, after we trained Friday I made not one but two sandwiches, one was almond butter and no sugar apricot jam, the other was peanut butter and homemade fig preserves. Both on Alvarado Street Bakery Essential Flax bread- it has only 100 calories for TWO slices and 15 grams carbs. And it is really, really good!

I zoomed along with the music blasting in the warm air, it was almost 90 degrees there! The sandwiches were one of the best things I have eaten in ages.

I visited my fathers local gym twice, it used to be a Gold's but is now called Santa Maria Health Club. I like this place, it has almost everything I need. I feel comfortable here, it is a huge cavernous weight room and a small cardio area. Most of the guys come in wearing hoodies with the hood on, I am not sure why, but that's the style here. Maybe because it's a fighters gym. They have an octagon in one corner, an area with 16 heavy bags in the other and loads of equipment.

I noticed many women taking a cardio kickboxing class one day, funny that women tend to gravitate to those classes, the instructor looked good, but still, she doesn't lift weights so she was "skinny fat", her toned looking legs would jiggle as she jumped about.

Saturday was hams, quads and calves and they had some equipment I don't have at my gym so I changed it all up. 

Laying leg curl
Standing leg curl (loved this one)
Front squats
Walking lunges
Donkey calf raise (we need one of these)
Standing calf raise (they have a dedicated machine)

I got home three hours later (the place is 13 miles from his house) and we started to talk about life.

My dad has cancer. He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer a little over a year ago, had a successful esophojectomy, radiation, chemo and the works, but is has metastasized in his liver. 

In the picture at the top of this post he is measuring the plaque he had made in memory of his neighbor, Bob. Bobs wife Judy just past away, so we needed to get the size for yet another one.

My Dad is a very, very smart man and he has always been very supportive of me and my health choices (meaning my exercise, competing and diet).  He never said anything negative about my habit of toting special packages of cooked food everywhere, eating different things than the rest of the family, my need for so many meals. But I don't think he ever understood, ever realized the importance. 

He talked a lot on the weekend, I suppose when you are faced with death, there is a lot to say.

He looked at me and said "Kristy, what you do is valid. Your devotion to health, to your diet, the care you take with the food you prepare. Your family is very lucky that they have you."

He said until now, he had not realized or understood how important it all is to life, the difference it can make between living and dying.  The difference between a comfortable old age and a painful one. It felt good to hear that, to be validated by such a smart guy.

We talked about a book he thinks I shall enjoy called The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction and I do plan to buy it, in fact my son expressed a great interest in it too when I explained it to him.

We talked about themes in the book, for instance, he asked what I thought of the obesity epidemic in the United States. Was it a personal choice, or systemic? Instantly I said systemic. I know we can all make choices, but when society teaches people that formula is better for babies than breast milk, when McDonald's happy meals are OK for a 3 year old, when sugar coated cereals are a healthy breakfast, society is failing, and is doomed. 

We can make choices, but it is becoming increasingly more difficult to make the right choice, and we all need to make a stand to change that. If you care about yourself, and your loved ones, do what is right, and start by loving and respecting your body.