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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

skillz

I read an article a long time ago, maybe mid-90s, about keeping your mind sharp. I had a grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's and at an earlier age I've tried to learn new things on a regular basis. The article surmised that people got lazy about using their brains after their formal education was complete. It suggested that you do crosswords, take up knitting, take a class at the local community college, etc. But something that really stood out to me was square dancing. You have to listen to instruction, understand it, and make your body do the right moves all with a partner. Not an easy feat. I grew up with my parents square dancing and I always thought it looked fun (except in my teenage years, I just rolled my eyes a lot).

I never really got the opportunity for square dancing but I still think it would be fun. At the time I read the article, I was really in to step aerobics. I thought it had a similar concept except for the partner. I liked it so much that I learned to become an aerobics instructor and did that for about 6 years. It was very challenging learning to teach and then come up with new fresh routines on a weekly basis.

Now, my grandmother did crosswords and knitted constantly but I don't think she constantly challenged herself. She knitted and sewed and did crosswords all her life. So maybe there was something to the article about learning new skills. I'm not saying the disease was her fault but if there's anything I can do to make my mental and physical well-being better, I want to know. I want to learn.

What's new lately? Metrics. My math skills are being challenged. I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to measure what I eat. Most of my 41 years have not been spent measuring... and it's not working. This time I plan on measuring even in maintenance.

Although I'm not learning new skills, I'm rummaging through the rolodex in my mind to remember all the math skills learned in school. And I mean elementary, middle, and high school. As a journalism major, only 1 quarter of statistics was required. So, I'm going way back. Come to think of it, I could use some brushing up on my journalism skills too but I digress.

Measuring is quite a feat, yes? Some of the foods are listed in cups, some in ounces, some in grams, etc. Let's see I had 2 blocks of dark chocolate. A serving is 10 blocks or 42 grams for 210 calories. How many grams in an ounce? Oh wait, that doesn't matter here. Let's see 2 blocks is 2/10 which reduces it 1/5 and if I divide 42 by 10, I know that each block is somewhere around 21 calories or so. Ok, I'm recording 42 calories.

I know. I never was very good at math. I take the long way around. But now I'm challenging myself with fractions, ratios, metric conversions, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction. I must be using all kinds of brain power here.

In other non-scale-victory news, I'm down another 1/2 inch (or half or .5 or 1.27 centimeters) in my waist. I also put on a junior size 11 capris today.

Grateful for:
~A fantastic trail workout this morning. I'm feeling so energized and feeling guilty about screwing up Monday, that I might take another hike this evening.
~The Walrus for being such a supportive husband.
~Water, it makes a body feel good.
~ A boy who is naturally active and chooses good foods to eat.

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