Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Myths that prove... it's all the same

December 28th?!?!


How did that all happen?

I'm tempted to write a long drawn out post about what I did and didn't do, the goals I reached and the ones I'm still working on, what I have planned for the next 12 months and beyond...

Nothing like the fast approach of the last line of the last page of a calender to make one feel the pressure to take stock, reflect, plan, dream, etc... The joy of a blank slate ahead of me to create the future I'm meant to live and to tell the world exactly how I'm going to do it.

But I'm not going to.

I'm also feeling the nigglings in my brain to write a definiatve tome of how to truly succeed in reaching your goals of a healthy weight and lifestyle that supports it forever and ever, Amen.

But I won't.

Why? Honestly, I'm tired.

I'm struggling with the perfectionist bug that says if it's worth writing, it's worth writing A LOT.

Reality is, I don't have that kind of time, all the time.

Instead, I'm working to embrace the musings that flutter my way - they don't have to be fully formed, in-depth dissertations. They can be poignent drive by's that leave food for thought. Sowing seeds ala Johnny to bloom where they are planted and all that fun stuff.

And sometimes other people say things a whole lot better than I can.

So today I leave you with the wonderful words of Mary Hunt, one of the people I've chosen as my go to person for all things relating to managing money (Yes, I know Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman and many others are awesome... Mary's still my first love. :). As it turns out, the rules that apply to that are pretty durn close to managing life and anything else you want to improve - in this case your health/weight.

I've added a few of my own thoughts in [brackets]in case you're not able to make the leap. I'm leaving in some of them that *I* had trouble making the leap- feel free to add your take on it in the comments section.

8 Money Myths that Mess Up Your Life 12/20/2010
Whether you are slightly uncomfortable with your financial [health/weight] situation, up to your eyeballs in money troubles [out of control eating/weight gain/health crisis'], or some place between, the problem might be what you believe about money, credit and debt. It’s almost a new year—a new decade—and I can’t think of a better time to dump your money [health/food/weight] myths and replace them with a nice, big dose of reality.

1 MYTH: If I just had more money [lost this weight], all of my problems would go away.

REALITY: Until you learn how to take care of the money you have already, more money will never be enough.

[Unless you learn how to take care of and _love_ the body you have, get a grip on your current relationship with food, take charge of your health, it won't matter your size, it will never be enough. This sums it up beautifully.]

2 MYTH: I can have it all. I work hard, make a decent living and I deserve to have nice things [have worked out, have been "good", I deserve to eat what I want].

REALITY: You cannot have it all. But you can have enough.

[Really? How has eating what you want worked for you? Ok, that was snarky, sorry... you get the idea, though... Moderation. Learn what is enough for you.]

3 MYTH: Buying things on sale is a great way to save money.

REALITY: Buying things on sale is a way to spend less money (unless you buy twice as much because it’s on sale), but unless you stop at the bank on the way home and deposit the difference between the regular price and the sale price you’re not saving at all—you’re only spending.

[Yeah... I got nothin. ;) ]

4 MYTH: Buying things on credit is a smart financial strategy because you are using someone else's money.

REALITY: Buying on credit isn’t a matter of using others’ money, it is a very expensive rental agreement.

5 MYTH: If I don’t buy things on credit I’ll never have anything!

REALITY: If you don’t buy things on credit you won’t have something, all right, you won’t have debt! If you want something badly enough, save for it first. Then buy it. It is a brilliant concept.

[Here's my take on 4 & 5 - we often eat/blow off exercise, thinking we'll make up for it later and usually don't. The reality is taking the moderate road, creating a healthy, active lifestyle that support the energetic, thinner, healthier you is the best approach, and 'budget' for times of celebration, vacations, holidays, etc. At times you can 'burn it to earn it', but when you don't, don't beat yourself up. Just get back to your habits and the rest will follow.]

6 MYTH: These days it takes two incomes to keep up financially.

REALITY: It is quite possible to live well on a single income provided you are willing to learn how to stretch it twice as far.

[Living well requires you to stretch beyond the person you are right now, and find new, creative ways to deal with things. ]

7 MYTH: If things get too bad, I can always file for bankruptcy and get a fresh start. [Get surgery/take a pill/get lipo/etc.]

REALITY: Bankruptcy is a very serious matter, not an easy way out. It will impact your life negatively for a very long time. Bankruptcy does not represent a clean slate but rather a 10-year sentence.

[This is a touchy one. Many people have gotten weight loss surgeries, or worked with their doctors to get medication that helps them lose weight. Many of those people have had great success! I'm all for medication - getting my thyroid and adrenals balanced through medication and supplements have had a huge, positive impact on my health and weight. But it all comes with a cost, and it's never an easy way out. Those that have been through it will be the first to tell you the hard work they put into it. The point is, it's hard work regardless the route. some of it's physical, a lot of it's mental. But you do have it in you, it's up to you to discover that strength and use it to your advantage.]

8 MYTH: I am a loser and a failure because I am in such terrible financial [health/weight] trouble. My situation is completely hopeless.

REALITY: No situation is completely hopeless. There is a way out. If you will supply the commitment and determination, I’ll promise to provide you the inspiration, motivation and information you need to take back control of your finances [health] and turn your money [weight]life around!

[Nuff said!]

Orignal can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/2b3pxrj

Like I said above, please feel free to add your health/weight related take on some of these in the comments section. Also feel free to add your own myths and realities, as well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Musings: What's your stake?

I got this in one of my daily emails from the nice "Page a Day Calender" folks.

It's from their One Minute Devotion calendar and is some serious food for thought...

"I tried to appear brave, but I was shaking in my sneakers as we stood within five feet of a six-ton elephant. My second-grade mind didn’t understand the laws of physics, but somehow I knew that the short red-and-white stake ol’ Jumbo was tied to was no match for his brawn. In my mind, I can still see him rocking back and forth, tugging against the stake, but never pulling it up.

My dad took my hand and told me I didn’t need to be afraid. Then he asked, “Billy, do you know why such a little stake can hold a big elephant like that?” He pointed to a baby elephant nearby who seemed to be pulling with more determination than the big guy and explained, “When the big elephant was little, he was chained to a stake just like that baby. He pulled against it over and over again, but it wouldn’t budge. Then one day he gave up. He decided it was no use, he was just not strong enough. And an elephant never forgets.”

I’ve thought about that elephant a lot. The one thing that keeps that six-ton animal from getting away is not a two-foot stake. It’s a thought!! (emphasis mine)

That elephant reminds me a lot of myself sometimes. I live within limits that come nowhere close to my full potential. Some of my limits are self-imposed; some I’ve allowed other people to impose on me. No matter what their source, these limits make a difference in how I see myself.

In order for me to move toward becoming the person God created me to be and fulfill the purpose He created me to fulfill, I must pull some stakes and jump some fences. After all, I’m not what people think I am. I’m not what *I* think I am. I am who God says I am."


What fences do you need to jump? What stakes do you need pull up?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday: I have a dream

It's a seemingly simple dream, but I fear it's one of those 'not in this lifetime' sort of dreams.

My dream: For people to stop apologizing for what they eat.

This whole looking at a meal and searching for the thing that's "bad" about it, or rationizing that the rest of the meal is "good" except this one thing.

Heck, as long as I'm dreaming, it'd be nice for folks to stop apologizing for working out, but 'only' doing X number of minutes or Y sort of exercise instead of more or less of something else... or worse, feeling guilty for taking a break, but that's a dream for a different day.

The way I see it, we already know that there's some foods that are lacking in the nutrient arena, and aren't the best things to be putting into our bodies. We also know that there's some foods that are knock your socks off nutritional powerhouses.

It doesn't mean one food is "good", and another is "bad". It just is what it is: food. Some food is a more ideal choice than another, but it's still just food... And there's room enough on your plate for both.

Putting a good/bad label on anything - food, exercise, spending, whatever, is just a form of control, and a reason to punish ourselves if we step outside of our tight little self or societal imposed boundaries.

The only thing beating myself up ever accomplished was putting me in a bad mood and keeping myself stuck in the same place for far too long.

I think we've all had quite enough of that, don't you?

Life is meant to be enjoyed, not to be complicated with a whole slew of rules, regulations and labels that can change at the drop of a hat...

Not sure what I mean? Here's an example: Eggs are good for you, right? Oh wait, they're bad for me now... Look! They're good for me again. See! It's enough to drive you crazy.

Keep it simple: Eat in a way that promotes a healthy, happy vessel - what ever that means to you.

The rest of the time: Just eat.

All of the time: Throw caution to the wind and *gasp* _enjoy_ what you're eating with wild abandon.

No guilt.

No judging.

No apologies.

Just love for yourself and the maker of the feast (that means a double dose of love if you're cook. ;)

So just for today - for me - don't apologize for what you eat. To anyone.

Let me know how it goes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Get Real

Get real!

I'm gonna keep this short - or at least, I'm going to try, which for me is saying something!

The past couple of weeks I feel like I've been through the ringer but for a purpose. It all started when I asked myself the question of what the turning point was for me in this journey to get a grip on my health, my weight, and to some extent, my life. When did things change from "diet" to "lifestyle" for me? When did my progress /really/ start to happen? I mean, how am I supposed to help others get to this place when I can't remember how I got here in the first place?

I grappled with that for a while, then I realized when it was - it wasn't a single light bulb moment, but it was just as momentous: It was when I stopped looking outside myself for purpose, for reasons, for road blocks, for excuses. It's when I started doing some serious naval gazing and decided it was time to cut the cr@p and get to the heart - my heart - of the issues once and for all.

I got real. And it helped me.

"We must be willing to dive deep and feel, really feel what is underneath. This is where you will be set free."

I shared my fears, my faults, my frailties with others. It helped them.

"People gain so much hope when they know they are not experiencing something alone."
Joyce Rupp
Alive Now, pg. 35

In case I thought I hadn't quite gotten it right, the universe has rewarded me with many not so subtle clues that I hit the nail on the head. I got an amazingly powerful message that I want to share with you and ask 3 things of you at the same time:

1) go read this... now... don't wait, just do it, and grab tissue. Lots of them. It may take 15 minutes of your time, or a few hours, but it's worth it.

2) Go read the follow up, with more tissue: http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/cure-for-perfection.html

...2a) if you feel compelled to do so, leave a comment.

3) Commit - to yourself and to others, to share, to be real, be vulnerable, be kind, and to remember you're not alone, you're not the only one.

After reading those two blogs and the heart wrenching comments, 2 things occurred to me:

1) We truly live in a global society. Because of the great internets I have friends that live across town, across the country, and across the pond. Amazing people I would never have met any other way. But being a global society can be big, and scary, and even more intimidating when you're already feeling small and insignificant.

2) Our society has come to a place of "Don't ask, don't tell" long before it ever became an issue in the US military. The list of Things We Don't Talk About has grown by leaps and bounds over the decades to the point that even the deepest of conversations amongst close friends can seem to be flat and shallow.

I think this is why, for me, I seek out people who are Real. People who talk about the uncomfortable things, who share the heaviness of their hearts - not to bring anyone down, but to lighten their loads. By letting go of that piece of darkness, they can start to see the light, and find joy.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You, too? Thought I was the only one.’” (C.S. Lewis)

Remember: Even in your deepest, darkest hours when you feel most alone, most alienated from the rest of the world, there's someone else out there who feels exactly the same.

YOU. Are. NOT! Alone!

Never _ever_ stop knowing that.

HA! Made ya smile!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Unapologetic Change... Cont'd

Change: [cheynj] verb, changed, chang·ing, noun
–verb (used with object)
1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.
2. to transform or convert (usually fol. by into ).
3. to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind.
And a boatload other definitions

I know! Ya don't hear anything from me for weeks at a time then it's nothing but blog, blog, blog. LOL!

What can I say? When the God-breezes are blowing, sometimes ya gotta put up the sails and go with it. ;)

Which actually brings me back to my last post - I feel like I got caught up in the 'Why are we afraid of change' rather than the actual point I wanted to make of, 'It's ok to change.'

So there, I made my point: It's ok to change, and there's no need to apologize to anyone for it, especially yourself.

But because I'm me, y'all aren't getting off the hook quite so easy. I mean, come on, I'm not one for short and sweet... Nope, I'm the long winded and wordy type... but it's why y'all love me... right?



Anywho, lets talk about changes... and choices.

I had an interesting experience I wanted to share. Yesterday a co-worker got a salad at the nummy shop next door where every order comes with one of their to-die-for fudgey walnut frosted brownies, which she plopped on my desk because she's nice like that.

Now, I'm usually a cakey brownie person, and prefer the edges to be crispy, but there's something about their brownies that are... NUM! ::drool::

But I digress... If you recall from my previous post, I mentioned that, due to some silliness, I'm currently wheat, egg and dairy free.

And what do brownies have? Eggs and wheat for sure... and I'm bettin' there's dairy in that frosting.

Yep... there it was, sitting on my desk, waiting for me to figure out what I was going to do with it... staring back at me from it's parchment paper wrapping... kinda like the creepy Geico eyes.

Lets put this in a bit of perspective, too. Yesterday was day 3.5 of my freedom from specific ingredients. By default, I've also drastically reduced my sugar intake as well. Not that I was chowing on sugary treats right and left, but there had been some consumed in the course of day to day living that are now absent. On top of it, I've been having some tummy issues and been slightly cranky about not having my usual eggy goodness at breakfast.

So to say that this lump of sweet goodness was tempting, is like saying the Hoover Dam is blocking a stream.

I figured I had 3 choices:

1) "Graciously" give it back to my generous co-worker... and by gracious, I mean refraining from pitching the "WHAT are you doing to me?! I can't have this! I'm not eating this stuff right now, why would you do this to me?!?!" fit.

2) Just eat the d@&m thing and get over it.

3) Shrug, remember that I know what it tastes like, remember that I'm giving my body a break for a while, and take it to another co-worker who's being begging chocolate from me every half hour for a week.

Ok, truth be told, I toyed with options 1 & 2 for about, oooh, 30 seconds before leaping on option 3 and not giving it a second thought... till today when I had said breezey experience about this post. ;)

The only reason I did have a second thought was to realize how far I'd come in my thinking: The "old" me would have probably picked Option 2 while *thinking/stewing* on Option 1, and maybe grumbled at the co-worker for a while before finally getting over it, proving how accepting I am of myself and forgiving I am of my own transgressions, rather than making the better choice in the first place.

What changed? *I* changed... or rather, I changed my mind.

::transition to quotey-quote overload mode… complete::

There a so many people every day who decide that they want/need to/have to make a change in their life. Be it losing weight, getting out of debt, stop smoking/drinking/some other addiction (::coughbloggingcough:: ;) get organized, etc…

But they want to go about it by staying exactly as they are.

“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” – Albert Einstein

One thing I’ve realized is that, if you can concede to make _one_ change in your life, just one, the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to change your attitude.

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter their life by altering their attitude.” - William James

Most times when you’ve reached the end of your rope, hit rock bottom, hit that “ENOUGH” point in your life… the next action you take feels more like a punishment than a reward.

I don’t fit into my fat pants, so I’m going to exercise my brains out and subsist on carrot sticks and green tea; I am sooo far in debt I can’t see straight, so I’m going to cut off ALL spending; My house is SUCH a mess, I’m going to spend ALL weekend in a marathon cleaning session.


“How’s that workin’ out for ya?” – Dr. Phil

Here’s a suggestion that’s going to sound really trite and hokey, but stick with me… kay?: Instead of looking at your steps to get out of your situation as a punishment, or what you’re giving up, look at it as an opportunity for something good to come your way, as some sort of reward you’re working toward.

Change your perspective/attitude, change your life.


You’re not giving up fries, you’re _choosing_ a salad so you can fit into your skinny jeans. [Side note: I have to say that when nothing else worked to haul my a$$ out of bed to go to the gym or for a walk, the thought of looking fantastic in my wedding dress…. So NEVER under estimate the power of a seemingly superficial goal.]

When you change your perspective, you realize you have a choice in not only your actions, but also your REactions.

You can choose to pitch a fit, be miserable, resent every. single. minute. of what you’re working on, or you can choose to accept it, roll with it and *gasp* even make it kind of fun.

It’s all in how you _choose_ to think about it.

There’s one of my favorite Tom Venuto-isms that really made things click in my brain about how much our thoughts and attitudes impact our lives: It’s making choices based on your goals, rather than how you’re feeling at the moment.

Let’s say you have a goal of fitting into a bikini by December… (ONLY an AZ girl would think about swimming in December. ;) And let’s say it’s the third time this week a co-worker has brought in delicious smelling home baked goodies and is pushing them in your stressed out face letting you know they’re on her desk.

You look at the goodie and ask yourself 2 questions: 1) If I eat this, is it going to get me closer to, or further from my goal? 2) If it’s getting me further from my goal, AM I OK WITH THAT?

Just taking a couple of seconds to go through that exercise not helps you refocus your thinking, but also shifts your focus to something bigger and better than a momentary experience.

Oh, and here's the kicker with that exercise: If you choose to go ahead and do something that gets you further from your goal, you have to make the choice to really be ok with it. Really.

“You don’t have to think what you’re thinking!” – Joyce Meyers

And remember, if Worst Case Scenario Girl can do it… YOU can do it!

So, what’s one thing YOU can choose to look at differently to make this journey a little easier? Have you already gone through an attitude adjustment?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More Basics: Unapologetic Change

Basic: [bey-sik] –adjective. Something that is fundamental or basic; an essential ingredient, principle, procedure, etc.

—Synonyms1. elementary, essential, key, primary; basal; underlying.

Back in my SCA days, at any event, around any firepit, a story or three would be shared that invariably would start out, “No *bleep*, there I was...”

That’s how my life feels some days... “No *bleep*, there I was... minding my own business when life, the universe and everything happened. And what’s with the fish?”*

It’s interesting how you can really grapple with something, finally come to terms with it, accept it and yourself and share those thoughts with others - case in point, my unapologetic eating treatise. It drives home the fact that, when ya put something out there that, it’s like you making a Double Dog Dare to the Universe to point out the error of your ways.

The Universe, being what it is, looks at you and says, “Ok.”


Well, it wasn’t as dramatic as that, but you get the idea.

Basically in re-embarking on my quest to get brilliant with the basics, and come to terms with some issues that have been niggling at my brain, I also decided that it was time to start doing the things I know I need to be doing, and stop doing the things that, well, I know I need to stop doing.

But that would require me taking action to change - which I wasn’t - not digging in my heels - which I was.

I was *finally* /comfortable/ darn it... I was just getting to know who I was, right here and now, dang it.

::points back to the Universe/challenge thing::

Yeeaahhh. The short-ish story is that I was SO confident and SO comfortable in my unapologetic eating patterns that I pushed it one day and went waaay overboard ::coughbreadbendercough:: and paid dearly for it. For. 3. Miserable. Days.

Those things, that I know I should/shouldn’t be doing... and wasn’t willing to change my actions? Guess who been bread free for a week? And just cuz it threw /everything/ out of whack, guess who’s also egg & dairy free at the moment? And guess who is extra miserable at breakfast?!

Yeah, that’d be me…

Fine, so I’ve been through some serious intestinal upheaval... but it gave me a compelling reason to finally make the changes that I know I needed to make to keep from feeling like poo.

Food and tummy issues aside, it brought up an interesting question that I’m still pondering... what is it about human nature that so bitterly resists change? Yeah, we’re creatures of habit, but when the need for change is staring you in the face, when there is compelling, meaningful evidence supporting it, when your current life is making you miserable and the change is for something so much better... still we resist. We resist change until there’s a really compelling reason not to.

I mean, my hubby smokes - he knows it’s bad for him, he knows it’s bad for me, he /knows/ the health dangers, costs, etc... but he’s not ready to make a change. A few years ago *I* knew that the way I was living, eating, not exercising was bad for me, held serious health dangers for me, but I hadn’t hit that point of *enough* until I had a reason to make a change.

Here’s the thing: If that change is meant to be in your life, it’s going to happen...

With or without your participation.

That saying of identifying what you want and the Universe will conspire on your behalf to make it happen... It should come with a disclaimer of: Really! We’re serious! The Universe WILL conspire on your behalf...We can do this the easy way or the hard way. /Either/ way, hold on and get ready for the ride!

My lesson - or at least 2 lessons wrapped into 1 - learned from this: The time that I’m finally content and comfortable with who I am is the time that the Universe has me right where wants me: most ripe for change to move to the next level.

What level?

The level that’s a bit closer to me being the person I’m meant to be - physically, mentally, spiritually.

The level that takes me closer to being the most basic me.

What changes are you resisting making in your life? Is the Universe dragging you along for the ride?

*Bonus points if you got the reference... here’s your towel. ;)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Unapologetic Eating

I love food. Seriously! I could read, learn and talk about food, and cooking all. Day. Long.

And baking?! Fuggedaboudit! (Oh the love I have for kingarthurflour.com products and their step by step blog for feeding my carb need... *sigh*)

Not only do I have a love for preparing, learning about, and of course eating food, I love learning about the nutritional aspects of food and how the body responds to food, not only for fuel, but also as some wicked powerful medicine.'

Ironically, that love also put me in a bad, bad place of info overload and self doubt for quite a while... It wasn't a pretty place.

The problem arose from getting too much information of the same thing, and then getting into comparison mode - how does what I eat compare to how other people eat and is my way better than theirs or vice versa. I know I've made a lot of changes in the way I eat over the last few years and how I relate to food is vastly different now than how I started...

I also know that the quickest way to get on someone's bad side is to critique how someone eats. You can kick their dog, insult their sister, and call their clothes ugly... no problem, you can still be BFFs till your dying days.

Point out possible improvements they can make in their food choices and it. is. ON.

Food has so many applications and contexts. It can be public and social but when it comes down to it: food is deeply personal.

For me, personally, I realized that I was trying really hard to put a label on my eating, put myself in a tight little niche that was defined by someone else, but it just wasn't working for me. All it was doing was making me want to apologize for how I was eating.

I've alluded to a disdain for "Trademark" diets because of that very fact - they try to make people think of eating in black and white terms when eating is a technicolor rainbow. It makes people strive for the authors version of perfection that may work for some, but not for all. Sure, I've gleaned the info I've needed from those "Trademark" diets, and a multitude of other sources - and in my effort to be brilliant with the basics, I had to figure out what the basics meant for me, come to terms with it, embrace it, and not apologize for it...

So I'm back to basics with my eating, and to me it boils down one simple principle: I eat real food. If God created it, it's good enough for me... if man mucked it up, it's put under serious scrutiny.

The more detailed version is this (only because I feel compelled to share. ;)

I eat meat. I love it, I eat it daily. I tried to be vegetarian ages ago and was miserable... so the only time I'm a veg is when I'm eating my side dishes.

No, my meat isn't grass fed, free range, sustainably grown. I get the quality I can afford, which usually means commercially raised. While I'm moving towards higher and higher quality all the time, and my heart goes out the horrible conditions critters are raised in, I'm not at a place where I can spend $30 on a chicken or a beef/pork roast, or $6 for a dozen eggs... If someone wants to gift me with a side-o-free range critter, I'll make room in the freezer. Throw in nitrate free bacon and I'll give you my first born. (Ok, he's getting up there in years, and kinda cranky... and furry... but he'll warm up to you eventually. ;)

Fruits & Veggies - love 'em, and find new ones to love all the time. Sometimes I'll shop from the organic section at the store, but most times I get the regular produce that's most likely covered in pesticides, but I do know that most of my produce hasn't traveled more than a few hundred miles, rather than thousands. I'm not low carb by any stretch, but it's low enough to keep my insulin levels stable.

Speaking of carbs, yeah, I eat bread and some other grains, but they're the exception rather than the rule. I make my own bread and baked goods that are full fat, full sugar, and full flavor. The only time I have any regret for for eating them is when I've had more than my body can handle and I pay for it... luckily that's a rarity, and it certainly doesn't make me primal by any stretch.

Fat - LOVE IT! I'm certainly not one who bought into the low fat lie for long. Like trying to go Veg, I dipped my toe in the low fat lake for a bit, only to have seriously messed up energy levels and have my blood sugar go completely hay wire. Give me peanut butter, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil and good old fashioned butter any day of the week.

Speaking of butter, I eat dairy - love me some good quality cheese, the occasional cream in my coffee, and yogurt when I have a hankering for it... So if the consumption of grains didn't kick me out of the Paleo club, this certainly clinches the deal.

There's times when I feel like I'm the worst advocate for weight loss because I couldn't tell you the calorie count of any given food, but I can give you the general breakdown of fats, carbs, and protein.

There's times when I feel like the best advocate for a healthy _lifestyle_ because after a point, the calories and ratios stop being important, and eating to fuel and enjoy a healthy, vibrant life become top priority. Does it make you feel like poo? Stop eating it, or as much of it. Does it make you feel good? Eat enough to keep feeling good, but not too much, or you'll feel like poo.

See... it's all about avoiding the poo. LOL!

I know in reading this, it does sound very apologetic, and it is, but it's meant more as an apology to myself, the part of myself that wants to do everything perfect, to achieve a level of better-than-you-ness... or even just a higher state over better-than-I-am-right-now-ness... It's a means to an end of facing the reality that I'm far but perfect, but doing the best I can. And it's also acknowledging that I'm doing pretty darn good - I've taken the time to figure out what works for me, based on a sustainable foundation that can work for anyone: Eat real food.

The rest are just details.

What about you... what are your basics? Do you prefer to label your style of eating or forge your own path?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


It's not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.

- Charles Darwin

It's funny... I do this whole long outpouring of my soul, about keepin' it real, getting back to basics, being silly and then recovering from the silliness.

I had this itching desire (I know, there's a cream for that ;) to get back to the 'old routine', get the calluses built back up on my hands, to feel the lungs getting stronger, endurance increasing, yadda yadda...

But I didn't.

In clearing the cobwebs out of the way, something else happened. The discomfort settled in... big time.

In the process of healing... I actually got healed. The stuff I was doing - the suppliments, the rest, the feeding my body well - was actually working! All signs were pointing to my body systems responding really well to what I was doing.

And there was much rejoicing!?!

::gets confetti ready to toss::


*ahem* I said... There was MUCH REJOICING!

::Chirp Chirp::


Actually, it was just the opposite - I was actually annoyed and upset, and there was much pouting on the part of my Inner Princesses.

They sang a chorus together: We were broken! We /couldn't/ be getting better! We may actually be getting worse! Lie down, I think you're hallucinating. Besides, someone might /see us/!

Seriously?! I mean... how messed up is that kind of thinking?!

Being the adult ::cough:: in this situation, I sat my dear Princess' down and explained to them how they /obviously/ were way off base, and just how messed up /they/ were.

Lets just say, I got schooled: It's about as messed up as doing a lot of hard work only to step on the scale and not believe the 2 pound drop is "real". Or studying a lot for a test that you really want to pass, and not thinking you deserve the 92% you got. Or doing all sorts of planning and prepping to get married to an amazingly awesome guy, only to wonder if he was going to show up.

Yep. _SO_ Messed. Up.

Why, after all this time, after all the personal and emotional growth I've done, would this come up now?!

Because: Things never happen the same way twice. (Just saw Prince Caspian recently... and have re-read this several times... There's some not so nice language, but really hit home some points for me... stoopid Aslan making way too much sense.)

Just because I've gone through something similar before, doesn't mean I'm the same person now that I was then. Same test, new rules, new me, new results waiting for me on the other side.

The test? And obstacle course. The obstacles? Change.

I guess my sweet little Princesses got a little too comfy being mushrooms, hiding in the dark for the last couple months... getting used to /not/ getting much attention, that the thought of getting back on the path towards that bright light full of what we're capable of... well... it's scary. It's back to that big world full of "What If's" again - what if I do something stupid again (I will)?! What if I do something smart (I hope I do)?!?! What if I don't make it (I won't)?! What if I succeed (I might)?!?!

Wait… What if...I CHANGE?!!?

Now THAT is the $10,000 question!

I used to think that it was all about the fear of success. I mean, come on: We all know how to /not/ meet a goal - especially in the weight loss/fitness arena. We set a date, we set a number, and most times (not always, but most times) the date and the number rarely match. Some just revise the date, some revise the number, some throw out both and walk away.

And we all also know how to succeed in hitting a goal: If you've ever stepped on a plane that you bought a ticket for, congratulations! you've achieved a goal. If you've made it to a doctor/hair/dentist/etc appointment on time, or before the appointment. You've achieved a goal. If you've turned in a paper/project/assignment on time... Yep. Goal met! Did you freak out? Probably not... See where I'm going?

So there's fear involved somewhere, but it's not in either end of the spectrum: It's square in the middle of the road. See, that's where it's comfy to sit... just going along, doing our thing, 'maintaining'. We're not doing too great, or too bad. Just. . . comfy.

Comfy, until we start to notice something: The only thing in the middle of the road is yellow lines and road kill (thanks Pastor Scott for that visual!) BUT on either side of the road are some pretty amazing things. The butterflies in the tummy start to stir, we start to see potential, and an idea pops in our head - "Why not?!"

Then a car zooms by, reminding you of the dangerous obstacle course that you’re going to have to maneuver through to get to the other side. There’s cars waiting to flatten you, there’s speed bumps, pot holes and (if you’re in AZ) the occasional tumbleweed rolling along that could either carry you somewhere else, or just explode in your face. LOL! Oh, I crack myself up some times.

Now, if you runreallyreallyfast, you may be able to make it to the other side in one piece, panting and wheezing, but no harm, no foul, no fanfare, little change.

You always can play it safe, and stay right where you are... again, no change needed.

Or, you can muster up your courage, and take the first step facing the obstacles that come, rolling with them rather than fighting them.

But it means you have to change – willingly, or kicking and screaming the whole way, it doesn’t matter. It means you have to face those things you’ve been avoiding. It sounds trite, and so over used, but it’s the truth: "If you keep doing what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten. If you want things you've never had, you'll have to do things you've never done."

It’s not the easiest, most comfy way to go, I know – and most times I make the process harder than it needs to be, but it’s gotten me where I am now, which is somewhere I’ve never imagined I’d be. No, things won’t happen the same way twice, but the result will be the same: Me growing, changing and evolving into the person I’m meant to be.

What obstacles are you facing? Are you still in the middle of the road or are you in the process of moving to the other side?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Being Brilliant with the Basics

That’s what I ‘dubbed’ the theme for 2010... Last year I declared it to be the year I got comfortable with discomfort... and right now is the time I’m asking myself “How’s that working out for me?”

I've been thinking a lot lately about my journey, about it's start, where it's taken me, the hills and valleys, what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, what I’m still working on, and how it impacts me right here and now...

Best to go grab some coffee, because I’ve got a lot of brain dumping to do. ;)

I think a bit more detail is needed to understand what’s brought up this introspective trip down memory lane. See... I did something really stupid a couple of months ago. I was doing really well, able to exercise regularly, eating well, etc., feeling energetic, etc., then I ran a 5K in April... It was fantastic, and awesome and I finished in a great time... and it was the start of the burnout for me.

After that I went back to my regular exercise schedule without taking much of a rest, and was also working on increasing my dose of bee pollen to help with my allergies... and in late May/Early June I started having some serious issues - 1/2 a cup of coffee would wind me up, I was jumpy/anxious/paranoid, exhausted but not sleeping, along with a few other issues. The only other cause: stressed out thyroid and adrenal fatigue (or in fitness/health geek talk: My sympathetic and parasympathetic systems were pi$$ed off at me and fighting back.)

So I took a “break” and refocused on getting rested and well - kind of the Ross & Rachel break, but I fully intend to get back together with my active life... and even though I say it’s a break, I’ve still had visits with it from time to time.

I forget that for 'normal' people, they can do that sort of exercise plan and have minimal side effects from it... for me, the first ‘enough’ I deal with is always walking a fine line between doing just enough to be slightly under trained, but risk doing too much to be way over trained... and for me, that line keeps moving.

Backing up even more, when I started on my lose-weight-morphing-into-healthy-living path, I had several things stacked against me, not the least of which was dealing with an un-/under-treated low thyroid condition which then lead to some fibromyalgia-like symptoms and chronic fatigue (because the longer a thyroid goes un-/under-treated, your adrenals have to do a lot more work). Once I started getting proper treatment for that, combined with massive improvements in my eating, my body was then able to move and do more, which moved me on the progress path much easier.

Thing is, the thyroid/adrenal “stuff” is part of me, and is always part of the thought process when I’m doing/planning pretty much anything. It’s also something that I don’t really talk much about, because I really dislike giving too much importance. I could choose to have it label me, define me, and be a crutch, or I can acknowledge it, respect it, and move on.

Another thing happened during my break - I got back into ‘learning/research’ mode, which caused it’s own problems. I’ve always known I’m really impressionable (or gullible, depending on how you look at it. ;) I also read a LOT of different blogs, articles, books, etc. On the surface, that’s not a bad thing - there’s a lot of inspiring stuff out there, lots of really good info, and when you’re struggling, or looking for ideas, there’s no better place for help than from someone who’s been there, done that, has the T-Shirt.

The down side is the information paralysis/overload that can come with it. For me, it can quickly trigger the perfectionist/people pleaser/have to do everything right right now part of my brain. I get stuck in the minutiae and the teeny details (which is one of the major issues I have with “Trademark Diets”... but that’s a story for a different time) , I get distracted with what I’m not doing and don’t appreciate/celebrate what I am doing.

Basically, I miss the bigger picture...

The BIG lesson I’m learning is that the Devil really IS in the details. What to be overwhelmed and feel stuck? Give in to the naggy voices that say I’m not good enough, look at aaaallll the reasons why I can’t, and take my eyes off the end goal that’s totally achievable and that I’m completely worth working towards. Want to get distracted from your path? Start listening to the all the nay-saying voices that are in your head or from the people around you.

In the midst all this turmoil, and testing, and healing, and resting, I had a moment of clarity that came with a single thought: “There’s /no/ reason I can’t.” That was all I needed to stop the run away/worst case scenario brain that had dark broody clouds every where, and to start seeing a sliver of sunshine.

I knew what I needed to do - get brilliant with the basics...

But what does that mean?!?! Must. Research! Must. Define! Must... procrastinate... longer...

Whaaatever! (That was the battle cry of my Inner Princesses, by the way. ;)

Ok fine... one thing with the basics: Keep it simple!

The ironic thing that I’ve found: The more you get ‘back to basics’, the more uncomfortable life can be. You see... simple, basic philosophies goes against a lot of conventional wisdom and modern practices. Keeping things simple goes against /my/ usual devil detailed/make things complicated MO. It can cause some friction with people who don’t see things the same as I do. It also means not listening to the roar of the crowd, instead it means taking the time to listen when your quiet inner voice is telling you something.

The upside: Keeping things simple and basic and enduring the discomfort often produces brilliant results.

I’m good with that.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I will remember you...

9 years. Really? Has it been that long? Some days it feels like moments, other it seems like some made for TV disaster movie. Like something plausible enough, and would have the feel good parts to show the strength of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable tragedy, but couldn't possibly happen.

Not here, anyway...

But it did, and we're still here to tell the tale - it's this decade's JFK/MLK/Challenger moment.

A moment that we can _not_ forget.

I did not personally know anyone who was there that day, but I remember them all.

You, sitting on the plane, flipping through the latest SkyMall, or trying to settle in to sleep, or contemplating coffee or a cocktail.

Or you, getting into work, chatting with co-workers in the breakroom, bemoaning another day, another dollar.

Or you, starting your day at the station, wondering what types of calls would come in today.

Or you... plotting and scheming, waiting for the moment all your planning will become action.

The ones who stood up and fought back, who had the chance to say goodbye, Who made the choice to keep other safe.

You, who had no choice.

You, who ran towards the ever growing pile of rubble instead of away from it.

Me, feeling helpless, alone, and shocked. Here? How?! Who's next?

And the rest of us, wounded, but determined, and united behind a single purpose - heal this wound and never. let it happen. again.

So here we are, 9 years and some odd hours later. Have we healed? Will we ever truly heal?

The weeks leading up today has been fraught strife, conflict, finger pointing, name calling and all sorts of other less than honorable behavior. The smoke and mirrors of small people have clouded the magnitude of what took place 9 years ago. Our eyes are averted to petty matters, rather than staying focused on hope.

I will remember what is important: United we stand. Divided, we fall.

I will remember: That's what they wanted 9 years ago. And I'm willing to bet they haven't forgotten.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Train Nekkid!

***Please Note!!! Before you rush to hide the kids eyes and/or clickity click the "inappropriate" button thinking I'm going to talk about some sort of sax-ay, naughty type stuff, keep one _very_ important thing in mind: My parents read this blog. So, seriously, do you think I'm gonna talk about that kind of stuff? No... this is a family show, we keep it low-ish key and mostly mundane.

Sorry to disappoint. ;)***

Ok, now that the disclaimer is out of the way, back to the task at hand.

Training nekkid...

Cuz I just like saying it. :)

I know I've been extra quiet lately, and have been in a "Hanging on the vine" mode, as the lovely Joyce Myers puts it. Sometimes ya gotta just step back and take time to heal, process, mend, and listen.

I have been healing and mending, and during that time, I'm learning to listen. Thing is, when you take that time to find a bit of stillness, you learn that the Universe is talking up a storm.

There have been lots of lessons and messages that have come my way lately, and one of them is about distractions. Holy Macaroni are there distractions galore these days! Heck, with my spiffy new phones (which is still smarter than I am, darnitall) I find myself jumping at the first hint of a vibration to see "Is it a text?! Is it a voice mail?! Is it an email?! New photo? Updates for the way too many apps?!"

One of the hubby's co-workers has a new hand implant, also know as a CrackBerry... ::whispers:: Huh? Oh, sorry... my bad... I guess they're really called BlackBerry. Whatever.

Either way, distractions are everywhere, they always have been and always will be, and now they're even more accessible than ever. I don't know how many times I've been driving on city streets to see a DVD playing in the back seat of a vehicle for not so little ones... and they live in town!

So what does all of this have to do with gettin' nekkid?! I'm getting there... and it all started with reading one of Carla's always insightful blogs.

She discusses the use (or not) and love (or not) of the fitness gadgets.

I myself am a HUGE fan of the gadgets! LUBS me my iPod and my heart rate monitor! The numbers, the tunes, the feedback, the podcasts, the fun, the shiny! When its just me and the road or the weights, it's like I have my own personal trainer on my wrist and soundtrack on my arm. I can turn on, tune in and drop out with the best Tim Leary fan around... (and yes, I'm old enough to know who that is, but young enough to have missed most of his influence. If you don't know who it is... go ask your parents. ;)

But the problem is, I've felt like I've been tuned out for a while lately... a little too connected to the wrong things. I remember a moment of panic a while back when I got to the gym and realized I'd forgotten my gadgets! What ever would I do?! How would I manage? I seriously considered not going ahead with my planned workout because it involved pretty close time checking. I decided that I was there and would make the best of it, and ya know what? The world _didn't_ end! *gasp* I know! And *gasp again* it was kind of nice.

Then there was a morning I decided to just do a walk around the neighborhood rather than an intensive training day... and half way through I realized that I, again, was technologically nekkid! What ever was I to do, how would I mana.... er, wait... I already /was/ doing and managing fine... Hmmm... I could get used to this.

With the last couple of months being focused on mememememe - my health, my well being, my mind and heart getting back to where they need to be - most training has taken a back seat to my vine hanging time. If a work out happens, it's incidental, purposefully done, and purposefully unplugged. I need to take the time to listen - to my body and the world around me on a physical and spiritual plane. My walks may not be done as quickly this way, but I actually get to stop and see the bunnies, listen to the quails, annoy the $#!%ing pigeons, and pet a few neighborhood kittens that cross my path.

Ironically, this morning I got Mark's weekly newsletter that not only touched on this very topic (told ya... the Universe speaks volumes), and it had some startling and insightful info about what all the distractions are doing to our brains (hello T-ADD, the latest and greatest development of the technology distractions)

I know that I will never completely walk away from my happy gadgets because they totally have their place for different purposes - training, progress, feedback, necessary distractions, etc. Like the scale, they are great tools, but they aren't necessary to just do, and just be.

I'm learning to be more comfortable going nekkid once in a while...

How about you? Do you ever train nekkid?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

And just like that...

It's done.

Apparently... yesterday was my day for passing tests.

Not only did I overcome some personal and emotional challenges, but the nice folks at ISSA seem think that I know a thing or two about health and fitness.

As of 8:02 PST this morning, I'm an official ISSA certified Personal Trainer!

I've been trying to think of something really insightful to say about this accomplishment or something inspiring about pursuing your dream, continue working on your goals, yadda, yadda, yadda... but I can only come up with one thing:


Now to spend some quality time meditating on what to do next. I'll try not to take as long with that as I did the first test. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Today is the day...

Oh, how many times has that phrase crossed each of our lips? That verbal line in the sand - enough is enough! Today is it!

Sometimes it's uttered in frustration, but sometimes it's uttered in a calm, serene voice. One that is echoed through ever fiber of your being. Today. You know you're making the right decision for you. You feel it from the calm in your heart and the butter flies in your tummy.

It's almost like a tiny seed, full of potential, has just been handed to you that promises to grow into something big and powerful and amazing and beautiful.

But... Yet...


Something gets in your way. The seed is forgotten about, put aside, ignored, discarded as a foolish pursuit.

"Don't dig up in fear what has been planted in faith." - Unknown

But... yet... Maybe...

I first read those words a few weeks ago, Tweeted by my wannabeBFF Carla aka MizFit (she of the arm-licking pearl of wisdom). The words were like a ClueX4 on my soul.

You see, a couple of years ago, I was handed a seed. It was a really spiffy seed, too. I turned it over and over and over in my hand. I told people about my seed, how cool it was, and how much cooler it was going to be.

I'd set it aside, then pull it out again.

Then, a little over 18 months ago, with the help of my hubby (read: I'm making this call so you stop talking and start doing.) the seed got planted. I made the plunge: My journey to getting my Personal Trainer Certification had begun. Oh it was so exciting!

But... Yet... Alas.

The journey has had a multitude of stops and starts... ok, way more stops than starts. Many molehill mountains sprung up around me that I can even count. I did the procrastination dance to perfection on many, many occasions. I blogged about it. I whined about it. I set goals and deadlines that piled up around me like the dishes I did instead of what I should be doing.

I put together a huge shovel made up of "what if's and worst case scenarios" and headed to that proverbial garden.

"Don't dig up in fear what has been planted in faith."

But... yet... maybe...

I put the shovel aside... and got out my watering can.

Oh that shovel was still there, staring at me, taunting me any time I sat down. I never finish anything. Who am I to think I can actually help other people. Oh, and my latest favorite: I'm a horrible advocate for helping people get healthy, fit, strong! But I realize that the seed had been given to me. It was a gift that someone somewhere thought I had the talents and abilities to make grow into something big and beautiful and amazing. Who was I to question that?

But... yet...


Today is the day I saw the first sprout from that seed. The test has been taken. The essays have been written. The plans have been created. The 'send' button has been pushed.

It's now in the hands of The Powers That Be at ISSA to decide if I pass and get a pretty certificate, or fail and have to do it all over again.

Either way, I have won. I've passed a test of my own design - I left the seed right where it was, planted in fertile grown, to continue grow in faith.

Ironically… this was today’s message on my page-a-day calendar, given to me by my awesome hubby at Christmas:

“You can have seeds from every kind of tree, plan, or flower tucked away in a drawer for years, and nothing will happen. Those seeds are full of tremendous potential waiting for the right environment. The same is true for the seeds inside of you. Those seeds may have been lying dormant, but you are still full of tremendous potential.. It’s time to change your internal environment so those seeds can grow and produce the harvest for which they are intended.”

How many seeds to you have hidden away, discarded, forgotten about?

How many times have you dug up something in fear?

Is today /your/ day to plant them - or just one - in faith?

Monday, July 12, 2010

I read the news today... Oh boy...

The hubby and I got a spiffy new Blue Ray DVD player that not only plays high def DVD's but also allows access to such internet marvels as NetFlix (OMG the love of not having to watch movies on my desktop computer!) and Pandora... I never really saw the use of Pandora initially, but now I have a very fond love for it and especially the Beatles Radio Station... it also comes in extra handy when trying to come up with a blog title. :)

Granted, I could also call this "The one that gets me in serious trouble"... But I digress...

I had a moment of disbelief, annoyance and sadness this morning when I looked at the paper.

There, on the front page, was a headline of the FDA reviewing 3 new weight loss drugs, and one showing promising results with the least amount of side effects.

Here's the article if you would like to read it yourself:

I also came across a similar report in today's SparkPeople Health News Update

Things like this used to hold a little interest for me - it was a matter of "oh it would be so nice if I just could take a pill to lose weight." But with the Fen-Phen scares, and side effects a mile long on all the others on the market (umm... this causes /what/ kind of leakage?!) it's a really scary road to travel down. I will be the first to not cast any stones because I have had my share of dalliances with "fat burners" that all resulted in major "FAIL" - wonky blood sugar levels, jitteriness, anxiety, and a whole slew of other issues that made me just out right avoid them.

Thing is, I was looking for salvation in a box from my dietary and inactive sins. I was looking for the easy road without really looking at what I was getting into... or what was getting into me.

Looking at these new medications coming on the market, there's a scary mix of pharma-soup that's about to be unleashed unto the general populace. One medication is a mix of the Phen part of the Fen-Phen club, which is amphetamine based, mixed with an anticonvulsant medication. The other medication takes the anticonvulsant and mixes it with an antidepressant. The final one effects serotonin levels in the brain, which is what many antidepressants do as well... oh, and by the way, that's what the "Fen" claim to fame was as well.

Reading the statistics that accompany this article, along with many other statistics on obesity in America, I can understand the motivation behind these and many other medications. This article states that 35% of Americans fall into the obese category on the BMI scale. In another article 27% of all young adults are not eligible to serve in the military due to their high weight.

These articles focus on individuals falling into the "obese" category, a category that, until a couple years ago, I was a near permanent resident. I finally decided to steel myself for the long, hard, old school road that was slow, steady, sustainable and oh. so. boring: exercise, good nutrition, rest, and a whooole lot of self discovery. Basically, learning to listen to my body again... or maybe for the first time since I was a kid

Yes the ads for this or that pill, powder and potion were really tempting. Images of sad and flabby being transformed into happy and buff from one photo to the next really pack an emotional punch when the scale hasn't moved in a month (or 6), workouts are becoming boring, and family/friends/co-workers are bemoaning the fact that I used to be so much more fun when I didn't 'care' what I ate.

But there are many times in ones life when faced with having to make the choice between what's easy and what's right.

Even though the choice can be challenging to make, I for one am grateful for articles like this that give me a reality check, and let me know that I am not alone on this journey... reminding me to take a deep breath, take things in stride and that I really do have it in me to reach my goal... it's all about moderation.

And you know what, you do to.

We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.
Vince Lombardi

It always seems impossible until its done.
Nelson Mandela

What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.
Tony Robbins

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is awesome?

"There are two ways to live your life - one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein

I recently stumbled across a blog that totally rocks: 1000awesomethings.com

This takes the Einstein quote and runs with it... finding the awesome in every day things we take for granted.

It inspired me to compile my own little list of awesome at a time when I'm feeling, well, like I'm not.

See, the last couple of weeks, while the writing bug hasn't bit in a while, some other bug has. It's some stoopid, low grade something that has me feeling just cruddy and run down enough to not feel great, but not so cruddy or run down to lay me out for a few days. I was worried for a bit it was a 20 year relapse of mono, or my thyroid giving out on me just a bit more. But the hubby just let me in on the fact that he's been feeling the same way, and the sinusy-ness on top of the achy, sore throaty, super easily tiredness pointed to it most likely being a cold/flu thing.

Even though I knew better, I pushed the envelope a little with trying to workout - nothing strenuous, just short walks, and some body weight exercises thrown in... Ultimately I've heeded my body's singular call: Rest!

And ya'll know I'm a HUUUGE fan of rest and taking breaks when you need it! I personally don't think the human body is designed to go full boar 5+ days a week, week after week, for an hour or more... with no down time for rest and recovery. May work for some, but not for me... that's my personal recipe for over-training he$$.

In fact, I've had my greatest results from switching to 15-30 minute workouts, 4 times a week. Short. Intense. Done. And I also know that as a hypothyroid gal, I need more rest than the average bear.

I also know that that this time spells anything _but_ disaster for my health, weight, or future workout schedule. In fact I'm looking at this down time as a less distraction from being able to eat well and letting the muscles rest so I can experience some controlled "newbie" muscle gains.

It's all about making that switch to the lifestyle of a healthy person, not being on a diet.

But I digress... So back to the awesomeness.

A few events from the last few days warrant creating a list to refer back to when I'm feeling a little down on myself, and hopefully act as a seed to grow into a hugemongous list of awesomeness factors.

1) Being told that I look fantastic and like I'm still losing weight, even though I have been feeling a little squishy from the lack of activity

2) Being able to hoist and control a 35# pail of kitty litter while filling up the boxes

3) Hucking around/deadlifting other peoples boxes (upwards of 50#) during our recent office move... in heels (now /that/ is a serious CrossFitChick!)

4) Having even more muscle definition despite the 2 week hiatus.


So... whats at the top of your List of Awesome for the day? Week? Month? Year?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dinosaur shake with a side of bug juice, please...

Pardon me while I wax a bit soap box-ish for a bit. Today's rant is brought to you by the business section of the news paper. You see, I was perusing this article when this little snippet caught my eye: "You can't even escape petroleum products with a cool fast-food milkshake, which probably has a petrochemical-based thickener."

Excuse me?!?! I mean, I know I'm all about 'eat real food, no unpronounceable ingredients' But really?! Dinosaur goo in a milkshake?! Made me want to swear off fast food right there and then... in fact, that was going to be the main crux of my rant: Want motivation to stick to eating healthy? One word: Petrochemicals.

I sat down with my favorite google seach bar and typed in "Petrochemicals" to find (forgive the pun) fuel for the "Eat Real Food" fire ... and in the first 3 suggestions was "Petrochemicals in food". YES! I apparently am not the only one pi$$ed off about Big Food Companies messing with the unsuspecting public.

After reading through a few articles I was bombarded with how prevalent, wide spread and subversive the use and presence of petroleum products are in this modern day world we live in (seriously! It's worse than high fructose corn syrup!), not to mention the reality of the impact on our health: In that article, Carnegie Mellon chemistry professor Terry Collins stated rather succinctly, "Many of these chemicals are disrupting the human hormone system."

Think about it - the rise of 'minor' endocrine related issues like fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, adrenal/chronic fatigue, poly-cystic ovary syndrome, metabolic syndrome... not to mention things like Alzheimer, autism, and the much more serious cancers. Most are related to a disruption in human endocrine system controlled by hormones.

After reading this article I was outraged (especially the bit at the end about the bug juice.! It's in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the products we use to wash our bodies, our dishes, our cars, and on and on and on...

It was so overwhelming that /MY/ worst case scenario brain was overloaded... to the point of finally thinking, "Hmmm... That's nice. When's breakfast?"

It would be so very easy at this point to take one of two paths: One path would have me jump on the betterthanyou bandwagon, judging people who go to fast food joints regularly and/or rely on boxed/bagged/frozen food-type products to get a meal on the table and start spewing out all the reasons why people should takeout another mortgage on their house to buy only organic/free range/grass fed foodstuffs (though it would be nice if that was more common place than the problematic mass produced/farmed foodstuffs we have now... but that's another rant for another day.)

The other path would be just giving up and giving in - oh well, it's here to stay, why fight it, just keep pumping these things into our world and into our bodies and sign me up for chemo and the latest & greatest pharma cocktail.

Oddly, after getting a bit overwhelmed and saddened, I realized there is a third path - the middle road. (Imagine that! Me of the 'all things in moderation, even moderation' camp finding a middle road! ;) And ironically it's right on the path of the theme of the week.

I realize that we as a species created this problem ages ago, we're just dealing with a lot of the aftermath right now. Since the dawn of man, humans have been looking for an easier, more efficient way of doing things. Finding the easy button isn't something new at all. Do you think when our hunter/gatherer ancestors moved to an agricultural way of life they had conversations on the long term effects on health, sustainability and environment? No, I'm sure they were just happy they didn't have to risk life, limb and possible starvation tracking down their next meal. Then moving into the industrial age brought about new ways of trying to find the easiest, fastest most efficient ways of producing mass quantities of food for large numbers of people. Enter our current way of life - always on the go, over scheduled, over worked, under rested - and there's an even bigger push to have food be even easier and faster to acquire.

Thing is, when something is all about fast, easy and efficient, there's one thing that's sacrificed each and every time: Quality.

Just like when you're trying to build something, finish a project, etc., and take shortcuts just to get it done, it make look good on the surface, but doesn't have substance.

As I said, this has been a theme for the last several weeks: quick fixes, shortcuts, impatience, etc. These can be the root of the problems that most of face. If we're impatient in the kitchen (ie not take 30-45 minutes a week to plan meals, then 20-40 minutes a day to prepare dinner) we choose the short cut of ordering pizza or going out to eat. That puts a strain on our budgets, and our waistline, which makes us scramble for a quick fix to reverse the effects, turning to pills, potions or crash diets that only make us feel worse and create their own problems.

But I digress... lets go back to that middle road - yes, there's a lot of things in this world that are slowly poisoning us, but instead of rushing headlong into it, we can limit the exposure easily with the beautifully simple principle put forth by Michael Pollan: Eat real food, not a lot, mostly plants.

It's not a huge revelation, or new concept. Even in a seemingly toxic world, the body has the remarkable capacity to heal itself when given good, real food to nourish it.

If your life is stuck in Shortcuts-ville, it's going to take some creative thinking to get yourself out of it to get settled into Real Food Land. Old habits are going to have to left by the way side and new ones are going to have to be established. Solid habits that support a healthy life will carry you to a healthy weight, and keep your health risks to a minimum, not to mention will negate that worry of 'will I gain it back?!'

It's not easy, instant or quick, but it is worth it.... and YOU are worth it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Playing the "What If" game...

Here's my horroscope for today:

Libra - 5/22/10 (from Tarot.com) "You are on edge today because it feels as if a storm is on the horizon, yet you are unable to see it. Preparation is complicated by your inability to tell where the trouble is coming from and when it will arrive. Instead of spending your time fearfully battening down the hatches, raise your sails and get ready for an amazing adventure. If you are ready, you could be pleasantly surprised by an unusual friend who offers you a helping hand."

Hi! My name is Stephanie. I have "worst case scenario" brain. (Or WCSB for short ;)

I know... sounds silly, doesn't it? But really it's a talent to take any situation and immediately come up with the worst possible out come.

Sometimes it comes in handy, like keeping the cell phone charged and extra water & a protein bar with me in case I get stranded in the desert eleventy-billion miles from civilization. (I guess that would be Mars, huh?)

Other times it's just a fruitless game of "what if" that induces anxiety more than it produces any sort of results. It's also the reason I can't watch most natural disaster movies - I had to leave the theater during "Dante's Peak" and "Deep Impact"... what's worse is that "I Am Legend" kept me up for 2 nights... not because it was such a bad movie, but because it gave my WCSB more fuel for the what ifs.

And the WCSB isn't limited to big things that are wildly out of my control. No, I'm an equal opportunity WCSB. Little things like starting a new project, making plans with friends, picking a color to paint the walls... they can sometimes send me into a "What If" tailspin that, if I'm not careful, can easily end up in Why Bother-ville.

Luckily, as my awesome hubby got to know me, he didn't run screaming for the hills... which is one of the first indications that maybe, just maaaybbeee my WCSB wasn't a good indicator of reality. (Ya think?!) Instead he played the What If game right along with me... only every time I actually had the courage to voice a WCS, he'd have the audacity to counter it a BCS (or Best Case Scenario).

The nerve!

Even worse, he's just as good at that game as me!

Me: Well... what if we go careening out of control down a raging river of death?!

Him: What if we don't?

Me: What if we plan this and no one shows?

Him: What if everyone we love shows up? (Note: ok, that one could also be a no-win situation, but that's just me. ;)

Me: What if I do this and I fall on my face?

Him: What if you do it and do better than you expect?

Me: What if I need this later on and can't afford to buy a new one?

Him: What if you don't need it? Or what if you can afford to buy an even better one?

See what I mean?! Annoying, isn't it?! Cutting off a perfectly good tizzy in it's prime!

Thing is, he's starting to make a little sense. Granted there have been times when my over planning has come in handy, and there are times when the worst case does actually happen, but not when I'm expecting it. For the most part though, 99.99999% of my What If's have never come to pass. I've wasted so much time and energy _fearfully_ battening down the hatches, that I missed raising the sails, and honestly, I'm pooped!

So why am I sharing yet another vision into my crazy land?

Because I have a feeling I'm not alone in this.

In fact, I know I'm not, especially after reading this blog from Charlotte Hilton. It's heart wrenching and uplifting at the same time, it also touches on her deep struggles with eating disorders, abuse, and body acceptance issues.

It also touched me deeply - not because I've had to deal with any of these issues, something I feel blessed and grateful for, but for this reason she sums up so eloquently: "It had never occurred to me before to consider that my self-flagellating belief served a vital purpose in my life. It saved me from failing. From not living up to my potential. See, if I'm broken then I have no potential so anything good I do is just gravy."

How many of us have hidden behind our broken-ness (be it real, self inflicted or self perceived) to keep from doing something? To keep from failing?

It's time to start playing my hubby's version of the What If game - What if you couldn't fail? What If you ARE an awesome person? What if you really /are/ that smart/funny/talented.

I've been hearing so much these past weeks about how America has an obesity 'apocalypse' , and how young adults are failing the health/fitness requirements for joining the military. On a smaller, more personal scale, I read daily of people's struggles with just getting started, fearful they won't be able to stick to a healthy eating and movement plan. Fearful that they can't change their ways.

What if America can become the fittest nation in the world? What if it turns into the "American Paradox" rather than the "French Paradox".

What if you CAN make good choices consistently? What if you CAN stop with just one cookie, piece of cake, small serving of chips or fries? What if you CAN take small steps that add up to big, wonderful, healthy changes in your life? What if you DO inspire someone else to make changes and you CAN stay consistent with your new behaviors?

Heck, while we're at it, what if all the changes that we, as a population, make in our lifestyles make organic veggies and free range, grass fed, happy critters the become cheapest thing at the grocery stores, and chips, cakes and candies are $12.99 a pound?

I know, crazy talk... but it could happen.

Have you been playing the WCSB What If game? What's your worst what if? Are you ready to stop battening down the hatches and raise your sails for an amazing adventure?

What if that WCS is holding you back from something wonderful that you _deserve_?! Are you ready to accept that you're worth it?

I am.

"There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around me. I am meant to shine, as children do.
I was born to make manifest the glory of God that is within me. It's not just in me; it's in everyone."

"Dear God, Please make me
who You would have me be
That I might do as You would
have me do. May I be a blessing
on others That I might feel
Your blessing on me. Amen"

~Marianne Williamson

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I would NEVER!

Why do I feel like I should start off with "bless me, readers, for I have lapsed... it's been over 2 weeks since my last blog..." Oh! The bloggers guilt of leaving people hanging, with nary a hint of the multitude of things going on in my brain.

Ok, truth be told, there hasn't really been a _whole_ lot going on in my brain. As tends to happen, though, there's been an overarching theme of late that's been annoyingly persistent and must be dealt with. ;)

Part of it has been prompted by the fact that (cue fanfare) I'm finishing my personal trainer cert, dammitall! I've got 2.5 questions left and I'm way ahead of my self-imposed deadline of June 13. Once I pass that test (being positive and optimistic ;) it means I will have earned the right to tell people what to do! Whoo hoo!! Watch out world!

The other part came when I discovered a friend from high school had a blog - I know, in an age when /everyone/ and their cat has a blog, it shouldn't be a such a surprise. What was the surprise is the content, or rather my response to it. He has discovered a love for barefoot running and has since run a few half and full marathons ala the primal hobbit - just skin and road.

I know! I thought the same thing! Why on /earth/ would you want to run a marathon?! (ducks and hides from all my awesome marathonin' peeps that I looooove dearly!) I can totally dig on the barefoot part (or at least in the spiffy Vibrams because I'm a tenderfoot clutzy wuss that would step on the only shard of glass in a mile of me) but oy the marathon part... the stress and strain and OMG hours of training! I would /never/ do that!

Hey now!!! Before you unsubscribe or send me off a nasty gram... hear me out.

That of course has prompted me to think about my own journey down the weight loss road and take a look back at where I started and where I am now. I realized there's a lot of times along the way that I've said (or at least thought) "I would _NEVER_ do suchandsuch!" and realized that those are the things that have now nestled themselves into my life for good.

I feel like the times when I say, "I would /NEVER/..." The universe says, "Yesssss! A challenge has been issued!"

/NEVER/ giving up pasta/bread/grainy/starchy goodness!! Yeah, well... I haven't entirely but I can go several days without a second thought or hankering for any of the above.

/NEVER/ running unless I'm being chased by a bear! Helloooo... 2 5K's under my FuelBelt.

/NEVER/ getting married! Whee! Comin' up on 2 years in June. YAY!!!

/NEVER/ lifting really heavy things! Ok, this one never crossed my mind. I've always harbored a secret love of bodybuilding that, now, I can fully embrace. I just never thought that I would actually lift _really_ heavy things with ease... still working on those full body weight pull-ups, but I know that, on my current path I can achieve the look and strength needed to step on stage... but I would /NEVER/ do that! ;)

See what I mean?!

When I look back over the last 3 years, I am AMAZED at what I have accomplished and things that I've switched my attitude on because I finally saw the value in doing so. I didn't set out from the get go to run a 5K, but it eventually became a new and exciting goal to achieve.

Now I'm feeling a bit nervous since I know there's a lot more "I never's" that have been put out there... wondering which one's going to be next!

How about anyone else - is there anything you're doing now that you /never/ thought you'd do?! Or do you still have a long list of "I would /NEVER/ do..."?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts... on Being

I know this is usually a Thursday thing, but there's a few things that have been thunking me in the brainpan of late.

That's what happens when you open yourself up and are silly enough to ask The Powers That Be, "What am I missing?!"

You get an answer...

From the amazing and lovely CJROMB: Just Be...

From the minimalist folks...

myla and jon kabat-zinn on simplicity
by joshua becker on April 11th, 2010
When sitting, just sit.
When eating, just eat.
When walking, just walk.
When talking, just talk.
When listening, just listen.
When looking, just look.
When touching, just touch.
When thinking, just think.
When playing, just play.
And enjoy the feeling of each moment and each day.

(via becomingminimalist.tumblr.com)

And a touch of Zen...

"Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.” ~Zen proverb

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~Zen proverb

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” ~Shunryu Suzuki

From me, myself, and I... don't get so wrapped up in what seems like the BIG stuff that you miss the small stuff... because really, the small stuff IS the BIG stuff on a less spectacular but more meaningful scale. The stress, worries and anxiety will still be there, waiting for you, but will your life? Your love? Your dreams? Your health? YOU?

You remember You, right?

That person that you sometimes make eye contact with in the mirror. That person who is beautiful, talented and has an amazing smile? When's the last time you spent a little quality time with You?

It's so easy let the little BIG things swallow up your day, your week, your year.

In the midst of the chaos, once in a while, take time to just sit. Just look. Just play. Just be.

It's NEVER too late.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Run for a Cause

As y'all know, I participated in the Race for the Cure 5K on Sunday, April 11th. It was an amazing event and there were a lot of take home lessons from not only the process of getting ready for it, but from just being there.

But first, the specifics: Finished in 34:20 which averaged an 11 min mile pace. Not only was that a personal best for me, it's also 4 minutes faster than my first 5K! (and as you see some of the photos, I probably could have finished faster but who care... I had a need to document everything. ;)

::does the happy dance::

Now for the general recap/thoughts/insights (cuz you know I've got a lot ;):

I'm not gonna lie: I really, really hated getting ready for this race. Up until about a week ago I was a lot more focused on me, my 'training', my struggle than the bigger picture. At several points I really thought about not doing it, but didn't want to let my friend, A, down.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes the buddy system really works!

It was her first race and I wanted to be there with her and run with her, even if it was only for a few minutes. If I quit/dropped out, I would have missed out on not only the overall experience, but the chance to bond a little more with her. Besides, she would have dragged my butt out of bed anyway, so why say no? LOL!

Once I stopped focusing on the memememe of the process, looked at the bigger picture, then changed my perception from 'training' back to 'working out with a purpose', it all fell into place and I _really_ started to look forward to race day.

And what a day it was!

I got my stuff ready the night before and between A & I we finally figured out how to put the chip on our shoes. Seriously - the directions were either written for a 2 year old or a MENSA member! It was quite amusing watching us trying to figure it out but eventually we did what looked reasonable and seemed to be ok with the computer system so guess we did ok.

I got all decked out that morning, rechecking everything to make sure I had what I needed:

We got to the site a little before 7 am and got to hit the booths for some spiffy swag.

Lesson Learned: Always bring along a Sherpa! LOL!

I was sooo grateful that one of my awesome SparkFriends, Barbara, came out to support us and offered to hold the bags for us because I was _not_ looking forward to figuring out how to manage it during the run.

The best part of the morning was things like this:

The Bra-brella just totally made me giggle and the bra/b00b related puns were everywhere! Where else can you literally let your undies hang out and be totally fine with it?! There were men sporting sax-ahy silky bras (in a 'supportive' way, rather than mocking ;), women with bra banners, etc, and a sea of pink everywhere I looked.

We met up with the rest of Team Fights Like A Girl and they all totally rock!

Salina (on the far right in dark pink) ran her first 1/2 marathon a couple of weeks ago so for her, this was easy peasy. ;) And here she's sporting her mad stylin manicure:

We all joined in the warm up and I was able to snag this photo of some of the race training participants as well:

I can't remember most the names but the lady in the bright pink "Survior" shirt is a total rockstar! She started with the training group in the 'beginner' group because she wasn't sure if she could do it... and ended up moving up to the 'advanced group' and literally running circles around us!

Thing is, when I saw her that morning, the BIG picture of the event really hit me.

All along I knew that it was for a good cause, yeahyeah raising money for cancer research, blah blah, a lot of races are to raise money for stuff, lets get going.

But when you are at an event that is so focused on a single issue, and surrounded by people who have been effected personally by that disease, it is immensely powerful. When I saw my training buddy there, standing proud in her bright pink shirt, she was more than a survivor, she was victorious! She had shared a bit of her story before so it wasn't a surprise, but seeing her suddenly made the thousands of bright pink shirts pop out of the crowd.

Lesson Learned: Doing something for a cause you believe in will motivate you like nobody's business.

This is one event, in one city, and this was probably only a small percent of the men and women who are living to tell the tale. I realized that this wasn't just about raising awareness, this was about making a stand and I was doing my small part to help others fight that battle.

We hit the start line in time for the count down and we were off!
Wow what a rush! The course was all on surface streets that had been blocked off for the event so it was a nice wide path! Along the way there were lots of groups of people cheering us on like these folks:

There were even cheer squads from the U of A and from some high schools. I felt like I had my own cheering squad!

I was extra surprised at how I did and I managed to keep up with Salina for most of the race because I kept focused on her and another couple that were at about the same pace. They were easy to spot in their pink camo shirts with their 'names' on the back: Ramb00b and Pvt. McTi!!y. LOL!

The last 1/2 mile was the worst - my knee was feeling a bit tweaky (I was grateful I taped it!), my shins were getting a bit sore (past due for new shoes!) and I had to go to the bathroom (Lines were too long before the race!), but I pushed through. The result was a slightly astonished look on my face to see my time as I crossed the finish line.

Shortly after I crossed it, I saw a hand reaching out from the crowd to give high fives to the finishers. I raised my hand in response but the second we made contact, I stopped.

I turned to see a beautiful woman there in a bright pink shirt. She grabbed my hand harder and we gave each other a big hug and at the same time we both said "Thank you for being here!" to each other. Tears were running down our faces as I walked to the end to see Salina & Barb waiting for me.

It was one of those moments that could never be planned, duplicated, or believed until you experience, and left me speechless.

Lesson Learned: Never under estimate the power of the smallest gesture.

In that moment, I felt her struggle, her uncertainty, her faith, and confidence. And at that moment I really, really got why I was there, and why I know I'll do it again.

I know that I said that I probably wouldn't do another race, but at the time, I didn't have a good reason.

Now, I do.

It made me realize that whole runner vs. Runner argument I've been having with myself is a moot point. It's not about the chip time, or my placement, or my collection of bibs, or my overall mileage that matters.

It's about being there. It's about showing up to help the greater good and let someone know you care enough to do something silly like run 3 miles in honor of them, their families, their friends.

Oh yeah, and having a little fun in the process.

Though next time, I may have to wear a cape. :)
What cause are _you_ willing to walk/run/ride/get up and move for?