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Give and Take?

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*Update after post*  This was part of my personal philosophy on volunteerism as it relates to philanthropy.  I have blurred the lines between the true definitions of donating, volunteering, and fundraising simply because I have a hard time separating these concepts in my own head.  My main goal was to share how important it is for ME to give back to my community.  And how I strive to remain connected and aware of what is happening in my country and the world at large.  This was not meant in any way to be a judgement on those that may not hold philantropy in the same light.

 

National Volunteer Week is approaching.  When someone mentions volunteerism, do you shudder and think, “Ok, what are they going to ask me to do now?”  Or do you think, “Wow, that’s a great idea, how can I help?”  Lets face it, we are all busy.  You might think that your kind of busy is more important than mine, but thats a different topic for another day.

I have been volunteering since the age of 13, at least that’s as far back as I remember.  My first gig was as a volunteer leader for The B&G Club, which was my Church’s co-ed version of  Boy Scouts or Girl Guides.  I had graduated from the program, so was invited to continue on as mentor.  Naturally, being very shy, it was a real challenge for me to try and talk to people.  Having gone through the program myself, it was easy to use my own feelings and experiences as a way to encourage my younger friends.  Volunteerism has become a natural concept to me and continues to be a big part of my life.

There are groups that make constant pleas for donations and volunteers and this can seem like a pain in the rump.  And yes, some organizations do go overboard, trying to evoke guilt to motivate people to give money.  Those that don’t have money to give, tune out, saying “I can’t help.”  I am in this category at times, I won’t deny it.  I like to encourage people by reminding them that giving isn’t exclusive to monetary donations.  You don’t have to make lengthy commitments or join a club either.  Find an issue you are passionate about and determine a way to offer sincere aide.  GIVE: TIME, TALENT, or TREASURE.  It could be as simple as shoveling the driveway of a senior in your neighbourhood, or cleaning out your closet and giving gently used items to a women’s shelter.

I’m going to get nerdy and throw a few stats at you *snort, snort*.

Who do organizations serve?
Seventy-three percent of nonprofit and voluntary organizations provide services or products directly to people (as opposed
to other organizations). These organizations most frequently report serving the general public (46%)(Table 1.3). However,
they also provide services to specific segments of the population. Children and youth are served by 23% of organizations,
the elderly by 11% and persons with disabilities by 8%. Other specific populations served include Aboriginal peoples,
immigrant populations and religious communities.

Cornerstones of Community, Stats Canada Catalogue, 2003

There are many needs in every community that are met by the caring hands of volunteers.  They don’t often get a lot of praise for what they do, but that isn’t what motivates us anyway.  I have benefited from the nurture and guidance given to me by volunteer run programs, as a child, a college student, and now as an adult.  I choose to give because I want to have a positive influence on the issues affecting neighbours in my neck of the woods.  National Volunteer Week is coming soon, thank a Volunteer .

National Volunteer Week is April 10-16, 2011

**photo is from Volunteer Canada site

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Sugar Sugar

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Well, day 10 of sugar detox is going surprisingly well.  I am not crazy hungry, and no one has run away from home in fear of my mood swings.  I am not going to use the “D” word, that begins with “DIE”.  I prefer to call this new eating plan, downsizing.  Mostly because I hope it results in downsizing my pants, shirts, dresses, etc.  It is also a prettier word to describe something that isn’t always pretty or easy.  I have lost significant amounts of weight in the past, and even managed to keep most of the pounds off.  For me it requires constant vigilance, and that is the part that wears me down eventually. 

Here are a few things that keep me moving forward in my downsizing plan:

Before you start: See your doctor for a check up and tell them you are thinking about losing weight.  Then talk to a dietitian and find out healthy ways to reach your goal.

Set goals: Set a weight loss or health goal and figure out how you are going to acheive it.  Do you have more success with a work-out partner?  Do you need a weigh-in buddy to be accountable to or give moral support?  I am a lone ranger for the most part, but do need a meal plan to give me specific examples of what I should eat.

Keep positive: Don’t let negativity keep you from reaching your goal.  If you have a bad day or week, move on and try to do better, allow yourself a do-over.  Reward yourself with ‘non-food’ treats when you have success.

Educate yourself :  Read packages, you will be surprised at what is hiding in some of your favourite foods.  Learn about portion sizes, invest in a good food scale, measuring cups, and digital weight scale.  I find that using a smaller plate, or bowl will help me keep portions in check too. 

For example, I began to measure portions, and took note of just how much the serving sizes are for some of my favourite foods.  They aren’t necessarily all junk foods, but things I eat everyday, and contain some sugar.  I don’t eat a lot of take-out or junk food, ‘normal’ foods are making me fat because my servings are often super-sized!  My morning cereal regime was double the suggested serving.

cereal serving 1

Suggested Serving

 

serving 2

Normal Serving

 

More ideas?  Some people find that counting calories and keeping a food journal helps them.  I opted out of those routines.  I have a meal chart from my dietitian that tells me how many starches, proteins, veg, and dairy I should be aiming for during the whole day.

Last, but not least, get moving!  I enjoy walking, but not much else when it comes to exercise.  Find something that works for you and your schedule and stick to it.  Consistency is important, it is hard to reach any goal without it.  Whether it is working toward a promotion at work, or teaching your toddler to potty train.

I am finding it difficult to fit some of my new goals into an already busy schedule.  I find that I have to constantly give myself permission to ‘think of me’.   Like a lot of people in a caregiver role, I sometimes feel guilty for putting my needs into the list of priorities.  I realized that if I don’t take care of myself, I am an unhappy mommy who can’t keep up with her toddler.  I’m sure you will get to hear a lot more about this new ‘sugar-free’ adventure!