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 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?