Move More – Eat Less

The value of increased activity goes far beyond its impact upon weight.  It can improve the health of the heart and circulatory system in several different ways, not the least of which is by preventing the build up of extra cholesterol in the bloodstream and by cutting down the amount of fat that’s already there,   It can also improve your state of mind in six important ways;  even a small increase in the amount of physical activity can help to:

  1. Reduce the level of tension and stresses which you experience;
  2. Help you to rest more comfortably and to sleep better;
  3. Help to improve your concentration and enthusiasm for work and play;
  4. Help to improve your mood;
  5. help to reduce your appetite; and
  6. help to improve your self-confidence.

Increased activity can help to reduce tension because tension is, at its root, a physical experience.  As you learned in Chapter 11, by helping muscles to relax the cues that trigger the psychological experience of stress can be minimized.  When you feel less tension, you are likely to find relaxation easier and sleep deeper and more satisfying.  Feeling better rested, you are almost certain to find it easier to concentrate on your work and to meet the challenges of everyday living.

STUART, Dr Richard B., Act Thin – Stay Thin. St Albans, Herts: Granada Publishing Limited. 1978.  222 pp. (non-fiction).

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Act Thin – Stay Thin

It is time to catch up and let you know what I have been reading and enjoying …

There was a time when the pavements of every town, were crowded: now strollers are often the exception rather than the rule.  Our playing fields were once jammed with eager sportsmen of all ages:  now many of us spend our Sundays watching TV and the parks are the province of ‘health nuts’ and the young.  We used to wash our clothes by hand, sweep the floor with a broom and fetch in coal for the fire;  now these and dozens of other minor jobs are done by our electronic slaves.  We have refined the art of doing nothing to such a point the we even have mechanical vibrators to tone up muscles that ache from inactivity.  In short, we will spare no expense and apply the heights of our ingenuity to any task that will allow us to push a button rather than walk.  We have reached that unhappy moment when almost no task is too simple to warrant calling upon a machine to do the job for us, and no trip too short to warrant the use of the family car. The result of this energy-sparing way of life is serious.  We have become a nation of heavy-limbed, stiff-jointed armchair dwellers.  As a result, our bellies have broadened and our stamina has waned.

STUART, Dr Richard B., Act Thin – Stay Thin. St Albans, Herts: Granada Publishing Limited. 1978.  222 pp. (non-fiction).

The holiday read…

Sarah began to look forward to going home.  New York was so vastly different to Ireland that for most of the six months it had been hard to visualise anything from her old life.  Kieran, the shop, even Carrickmore itself.  Now, with her departure imminent, Ireland came back in focus,   She looked forward to hearing the soft accents.  To seeing the lust green field.    To being back with Kieran.

CARROLL, Ber.,  The Better Woman.  Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia.  2009. 211 pp. (fiction)

A ‘good daughter’ shall bring no shame on the family..

‘I sat stunned, gripping the photograph between my thumb and forefinger, unable to look away.  I was sitting in my mother’s house, a house to which I’d never imagined I’d return.  It was late in the afternoon, five weeks after my father’s funeral;  I was helping her go through his things and this photograph had fallen from a stack of letters whose Persian script my eyes could no longer follow.   A photograph hidden, forgotten, and now found.

Iranians would likely shrug at such a discovery, life their eyes towards the heavens, and sum up its meaning as qesmet, or destiny.  This was a word I’d hear often in the days following my father’s death.

….

Over the year The Good Daughter became a taunt, a warning, an omen.   When I spoke immodestly, when I wore my skirts too short or let boys flirt with me, I was not my mother’s real daughter, her Good Daughter.  “If you become like the girls here,”  She’d say.   “I’ll go back to Iran to live with my Good Daughter.”

The good Daughter I knew back then was just a story she’d made up to scare me and make me into a good daughter, too.’

Ms Darznik was born in Tehran and received her Ph.D in English from Princeton University and MFA in Fiction from Bennington College.  This is her first book and has already been translated in eight languages.

This memoir is my recommended read for the month of May.  Enjoy!!

DARZNIK, Jasmin., The Good Daughter.  London:  William Heinemann.  2011.  324 pp. (non-fiction)

Janas – the God of gates and doorways

‘Tell me another myth,’ Isabel said.

Tom thought for a moment.  ‘You know Janas is where January comes from?  It’s named after the same god as this island. He’s got two faces, back to back.  Pretty ugly fellow.’

‘What’s he god of?’

‘Doorways.  Always looking both ways, torn between two ways of seeing things.  January looks forward to the new year and back to the old year.  He sees past and future.  And the island looks in the directions of two different oceans, down to the South Pole and up to the Equator.’

‘Yeah, I’d got that,’ said Isabel. She pinched his nose and laughed.  ‘Just teasing.  I love it when you tell me things.  Tell me more about the stars.  Where’s Centaurus again?’

Tom kissed her fingertips and stretched her arm out until he had lined it up with the constellation.   ‘There.’

Is that your favourite?’ You‘re my favourite.  Better than all the stars put together.’

STEADMAN, M.L., Light Between Oceans.  North Sydney, NSW:  Random House.  2012

Setting the Scene

‘Lise listened but made no comment.  She found this woman, with her intelligent, frank face and friendly smile, immensely puzzling.  She walked beside her in silence.  The gravel crunched under their feet.  The sun was bright and the warm arm carried the earth and tree odours of the country;  carried, too the sounds of the country;  the muted sounds of birds, the scurrying of a rabbit in the underbrush, a doe’s light footfall coming from the edge of the park, only half perceived.  And all these sounds only served to punctuate the great, warm Sunday silence that was over everything.  They came to a spot where the driveway merged into a three-pronged fork.  Straight ahead it ran to the gates.  On the right it curled unseen between trees to the stables at the back of the chateau.  On the left it led down through the park, and here they turned, making their way slowly, stepping now on a soft carpet of pine needles in the cool shade of the woods.’

The lake lay halfway down the slope on a plateau of clipped sward, screened by its own greenery and posed as delicately as a flat stone in a jeweller’s setting.  It came into view as they rounded a curve in the path;  Lise, seeing it suddenly like this, ran forward with delight to stand in the dappled sunlight at its edge.

“Oh, how lovely!”  She clasped her hands like a child, tightly in front of her.  “How perfectly lovely.”‘

ROY, Katherine, Lise.  Toronto: McClennand and Stewart Limited. 1954 (3rd edition).

Our Bright Promise

“For the rest of history, for the most of us, our bright promise will always fall short of being actualised;  it will never earn us bountiful sums of money or beget exemplary objects or organisations.  It will remain no more than a hope carried over from childhood, or a dream entertained as we drive along the motorway and feel our plans hovering above a wide horizon.  Extraordinary resilience, intelligence and good fortune are needed to redraw the map of our reality, while on either side of the summits of greatness are arrayed the endless foothills populated by the tortured celebrities of achievement.

“Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, dealing with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality) …”

“… I left Symon’s company newly aware of the unthinking cruelty discreetly coiled within the magnanimous bourgeois assurance that everyone can discover happiness through love and work.  It isn’t that these two entities are invariably incapable of delivering fulfilment, only that they almost never do so.”

DeBOTTON, Alain. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Penguin UK, 2010, 336p (non fiction)

The Salon

“The Salon had an air of anticipation.  It was always a model of tidiness and order, but now it was shining and burnished, glowing as if it had taken on new life;  the worn spots in the beautiful Aubusson rug seemed not to show by lamplight, the damask panelling appeared less faded and the dark red of the roses spoke of warmth into the room which, with its precisely place Empire furniture, usually looked cool and unused.”

“The lights above Edouard Daurat’s paintings shone down on the proof of his taste and perspicacity.”

ROY, Katherine, Lise.  Toronto: McClennand and Stewart Limited. 1954 (3rd edition).

Book – My January Read

“I recognised my desire to submit to the report’s conclusion in the hope of quelling my doubts about my future.  At the same time, the report failed to inspire any real degree of confidence and indeed, the more I dwelt on it, the more it seemed to signal some of the limits of career counselling as a whole.”

“It struct me as strange and regrettable that in our society something as prospectively life-altering as the determination of a person’s vocation had for the most part been abandoned to marginalised therapists practising their trade from garden-extensions.  What should have been one of the most admired professions on earth was struggling to attain the status open to a travel agent.”

DeBOTTON, Alain. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Penguin UK, 2010, 336p (non fiction)

Work makes us. Without it we are at a loss; in work we hope to have a measure of control over our lives. Yet for many of us, work is a straitjacket from which we cannot free ourselves.

This book is the suggested read for the month of January.   If you are interested, in the topics of work, career, manufacturing and entrepreneurship, you will enjoy this read.

Book – My August 2014 read

ROY, Katherine. Lise.   Toronto:  McClennand and Stewart Limited. 1954. 3rd edition. (pp251).

I found this delightful book in a pub in Sherborne, England.  I borrowed it from the publican and took it with me to France to read.  It was such a great read and went well with my journey through France and across the countryside in the train.  The book is set in Europe – including and not limited to Kensington (London), Montparnasse (Paris) and Jouy (Northern France).   Then while I was visiting Luxembourg city, I returned the book (by post) back to The George Pub, Upper Cheap Street, Sherborne, Dorset.

The book was a significant part of my 2014 European holiday and on my return home I managed to source a copy to add to my Hallway Library.  Hopefully it will arrive before Christmas and I can add a photo for you here and I can read it again over the holidays.