Getting Healthy for Good: A series of Calgon moments

By Laurie Marshall

Do you remember those commercials for Calgon that featured a woman standing in the midst of family chaos yelling “Calgon… take me away!”.

The next shot shows her relaxing leisurely in a lovely tub filled with delicately-scented bubbles. Well, I am taking issue with that commercial.

I mean, that bath soap didn’t get rid of all her crazy life-issues, did they? Not REALLY….?  I assume she sent the kids to the neighbor’s house (hopefully not a neighbor she likes), and locked the husband in the man-cave. But those people will eventually be back underfoot. I’m not sure what she did with the phone ringing off the wall (remember those!?) or the laundry or muddy dog…  Advertisers in the 1970s were dealing with some simple-minded consumers, apparently.

I have been feeling the need for a 55-gallon drum of Calgon.

My weight loss has stalled (after I gained back what I’d lost last fall) and I keep having these out-of-body experiences where I’m looking at myself as I eat a candy bar, or pour myself a soda, and think “That’s not a good idea.”

But my inner healthy woman doesn’t seem to be wielding the same persuasive power over my hands (and pie-hole) that she used to have. I’m just not making the best choices, and I know that my stress-level is causing it AND being affected by it. It’s a nasty cycle that no soap – even one that smells like the fields of Provence – is going to fix.

We have an official diagnosis of diabetes for the Hubster, which makes some things easier and other things harder at home. I’m more committed to preparing healthy meals, and I know he will be on board with eating them, but that means I have to prepare a menu and shop smarter as well. Good things, both of them, and things I’ve had on my mental “to-do” list… but that doesn’t make them easier to do. No more reliance on what’s easy, because easy doesn’t always equal healthy.

So far, the meals I’ve planned and executed have been healthier and it hasn’t been too difficult to make that happen. For example: I substituted ground chicken for ground beef in our spaghetti and no one complained. I’ve been cooking carrots with almost every meal (one of the three veggies Hubster will eat) and I’m not buying bread unless absolutely necessary.

I’m also cooking brown rice instead of white, and will be switching over to whole grain pasta as well. I read an article recently that says white rice is as “bad” for diabetics as white bread … more fiber = slower digestion and lower blood sugar numbers. Whatever it takes! That’s hard for a big fan of asian cooking to take, let me tell you!!!

Hubster and I are also trying to walk for 30 minutes several times a week and we even bought a Total Gym from Craigslist. Nothing like a potentially deadly disease to renew your dedication to getting healthy!

And I guess if we throw in his high blood pressure, we’re dealing with TWO.

Another recent article says that research shows people are better at sticking to their healthy routines if they use “digital helpers”, so if you are having trouble sticking with those goals you set in January, you might want to check out the online version of Weight Watchers or My Fitness Pal.

Both of them offer you the ability to track your food intake, exercise and weight loss on your smart phone or online – but Weight Watchers offers other tools like recipes and menu-planning. Also, Weight Watchers uses the point system and requires a monthly fee, whereas My Fitness Pal helps you count calories and is free. There are also several applications for smart phones available to help you track your exercise if you’re walking for your cardiovascular health. Just search “pedometer” in the app store.

I suppose the bottom line for me is that it is worth all the trouble and internal screaming and fit-throwing and getting up early to walk around the neighborhood to make sure that my husband is here to ride this roller-coaster with me. And that I’m here to ride it with him. Calgon or no Calgon… life (i.e. LIVING) must go on.

Look for Laurie’s fitness tips and updates on her personal health-focused journey every other Friday on nwaMotherlode in Mom Blogs. Send questions or input to her at Or click on the comment button below and share your thoughts right now! To see previous installments of Getting Healthy for Good, click HERE.