Thursday, 31 March 2011

The eyes are the window to the...stomach.

The eyes are the window to the...stomach.

One thing I've learned through losing 125+ lbs is that my eyes were often MUCH bigger than my stomach.  And, presentation TOTALLY counts.

"My" 5-year-old is a picky eater and really loves her carbs and dairy.  She pretty much would eat cheese and fruit all day-every day if we let her.  She's not extremely adventurous, and cringes at having to try things she doesn't already know she likes.  If fact, she has cried over being asked to taste PB&J.  What kid doesn't like PB&J?!

At any rate, I've become vigilant in making sure that for the meals I am in control of, she is presented with a healthy and balanced array of foods.  For months, she would usually pick out what she liked and would come home with a half-full containers of all the rejected bits of food.  But, when I recieved my PlanetBox for Christmas, and 5-year-old recieved one for Valentines day, I immediately went to plan B.

Have you seen Emily's blog bentobloggy?  She is GREAT and has been inspiring me to get a little more creative in the way I present food to 5-year-old.  PlanetBox  makes that task easy and FUN!!  (no, I'm not getting paid for this endorsement, just my personal opinion).  The compartments in the box make it easy to make sure we are covering all the food pyramid basics, and the stainless steal makes everything you put in it look and stay bright and fresh.  Plus, the presentation of a whole meal in one tray (instead of several different plastic containers) really does make the food look appealing.
I know several of you have loved my planetbox posts, so I thought I would share this weeks lunches with those of you who have kids (or for yourself, because who doesn't love to eat cute food?...Or any food?)  The captions refer to the compartments clockwise starting at 12 o'clock.

Broccoli garden with cheddar bunnies.  Turkey and ham on whole wheat sandwich flower with craisin pedals, cheese center, carrot stem and pear leaves on a bed of spinach.  Cherry tomato and carrot stick butterflies with extra cheddar bunnies.  Apple and turkey roll roses on a bit more spinach.  A few toddler gummies for dessert.

Strawberry tulips in a spinach garden.  Ham and turkey rolls with rainy day cheese ducks and umbrella.  Provolone butterflies in a broccoli forest, baby carrots with a bit of ranch dressing for dipping and a bunny bite of cupcake.

Morningstar Farms Chik'n nugget ducks.  Eat a rainbow (apple, carrot, bell pepper, broccoli, grapes.)  Ham and Turkey roll with provolone clouds.  Spinach and ranch for dipping.  Maraschino cherry for dessert. 

Strawberry tulips in a garden of spinach (with a surprise bell pepper duck).  Snails made of tortilla, ham, and cheese roll shells attached with cream cheese to a bell pepper body.  Cherry tomato and carrot stick butterflies in a broccoli forest.  Apple slice daisies with grape centers.  Watering can cupcake slice for dessert.

5-year-old is always VERY excited to find out what I've packed in her lunch and seems to equate it to a surprise gift because I build it up.  "You won't believe what is in your lunch box today!  You're gonna LOVE it!"  She begs to know- but I always keep it a secret.  Since I've been doing this, 5-year-old's box is consistantly empty when she comes home and the first thing she does is tell me about all the kids wishing they could have what she had in her lunch.  It makes me happy to see her eating a balanced meal of fresh food.  With a few cookie cutters (I use Wilton brand mini cutters) and a bit of preplanning (there's that word again) it's pretty easy to do!  Totally worth the minimal effort!

I challenge you all to make an attempt at making your meals a bit more visually appealing.

Oh, and speaking of challenges:  I'm still on board with the "Hard 10" challenge Dawne is heading, and it is still tough!!  But I'm doing it- and I'm enjoying the rewards.  No headaches for the past two days, and the scale keeps moving down.  I do however miss cheesy pizza... :-)  5 days down, 5 left to go! :-)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Hard 10 Challenge Day 3

Oh. my. goodness!  Going Vegan for 10 days has been harder than I thought it would be!!  It's only day 3 so my positive outlook is telling me to give it some time, but my negative outlook is saying this is crazy!

I guess I just haven't realized that several of the classic items that I use in my kitchen are not vegan.  Take Pam for example, the non-stick spray that I use in order to save calories when I cook instead of using oil.  Pam contains milk.  Did you know?  I didn't until I read the back.  It's not such a big deal because I'm saving calories in other things and can easily begin using canola oil (and I have), but who the hell knew that Pam had milk?  Why is it in there in the first place?! 

I also ate a tootsie roll today without reading the ingredients label.  It just totally slipped my mind to even second guess it.  But of course, it's chocolate and contains milk.  Damn it!  What's a vegan girl got to do to get some candy up in herre?  Definitely going to have to do more research on the vegan sweets front.

I knew that this would be a challenge, but I didn't realize that shear ignorance or thoughtlessness would be the major factor.  I assumed that this challenge would put my willpower to the test in having to avoid some of my favorite foods (like cheese and eggs.)  Just these past few days have been a learning experience to say the least.  I'm grateful for it though. 

Some of my thoughts on it so far:
1.  I feel confident that I could be vegan about 80% of the time without a problem; however, I've heard that once you've maintained a vegan diet for a period of time, you lose your ability to digest animal proteins and can be made to feel sick by consuming them.  Does that mean I'll feel sick if I decide to occasionally indulge in "non-vegan" foods?  My birthday is coming next month and I look forward all year to eating my very own Cinnabon, but I certainly don't want to eat it and then end up throwing it up again!

2.  I'm going to have to get more creative with my meals.  I've already getting bored with using the same 6-10 ingredients every meal.  I've been preparing them differently, but there are only so many ways to stir-fry, roast, and steam the same veggies and whole grains over and again in my current recipe repertoire.

3.  I do like that this challenge (and perhaps a new lifestyle) has kept me from the "BLT's" (bites, licks, and tastes) of other foods.  No more popping 9-month-old's table scraps into my mouth during prep.  No more stray bites of hubby's pizza.  No dipping out a few pieces of caramel corn out of the bag just because I'm standing next to it in the kitchen.  It's made me VERY aware of what is going into my body and I like that.

4.  The scale is responding to my clean eating.  I am back to the weight I was before over-indulging in celebration of hubby's birthday for 2 days last weekend.  I look forward to seeing the weigh-in results at my WW meeting Saturday.

5.  I've had two rather serious migraines in the last few days.  I'm not sure what that's about as I haven't really had headaches since giving up meat.  The first one (Sunday) I thought was punishment for eating like crap for two days, but I had another one today after eating cleanly for 3 days and I wonder if it isn't the weather?  We've had a rainy cold front move in.  Or, could it be the result of cleaning out the last of the ingested cholesterol now that I've gone vegan?  I'm not convinced it would happen that quickly, but I won't discount it.  Diet really does effect so many things in our physiology...  I'll be keeping track of them to see what happens.  I've dealt with debilitating headaches since puberty and have been very much enjoying my freedom from them these past several meat-free months.

So there it is.  This challenge has been exactly that for me, a challenge.  And, I love that I'm learning more and more about my body, my diet, and how they work together.  I'm feeling pride in the relationship I have with food through it.  Are you challenging yourself in anyway this week?  Doesn't have to be food related, but I hope you are all growing and learning about yourself and the world around you and I hope you'll share it with me! :-)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Just a reminder!

 So...Do you see what I'm saying?  Do you get the point?  Don't ever quit!  You're making a difference in your health, your fitness, and your appearance everyday in little ways that all add up to something major!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Week in Review

I'm here!  I'm here!  Sorry I've been so quiet.  Dawn emailed and me a "just checkin' in" (she's WONDERFUL like that) and I realized it has been a whole week since I've posted.  Sorry 'bout that.  As you all know, Spring break ended and last week was spent getting back into the routine.  It was a good week and I look forward to doing it again next week.  In fact, on Wednesday, 5-year-old has a playdate with a classmate and if it doesn't rain we are planning on going strawberry picking!

Then, the 24th was my husband's birthday.  And, in this house- it's really a birth WEEK.  We usually celebrate for days.  And when you're turning 30, what's not to celebrate?  He took off two extra days from work and we've been shopping, and movie watching, and cake eating, and go-go-go!  He really is awesome and I'm a very lucky girl to be allowed to keep him company during the celebration. :-)

Because of birthday festivities, I've eaten old school yesterday and the day before.  No meat, but still, seriously- way too much food and way too much of it was crap.  I'm paying dearly for it today with a TERRIBLE headache, but I refuse to take anything for it.  I'm punishing myself so that I that hopefully next time I'm tempted, I'll go a bit slower and remember the agony (seriously typing with one eye closed) I'm in right now.  UGH!  I'm sure I've gained a few pounds over it as well.  But, oh well, that's life, I'm sure it won't be the last time I over-do it and pay the price.

Today, food wise, I am back on track with some clean vegan eating so I know tomorrow I should be feeling much better.  I made 2 smoothies (breakfast and lunch.)  I like to call them "hang over" smoothies- I don't drink much, I mean "hang over" in the sense that I feel the need to get in some very easy to digest and absorb nurtients.  Silk, low cal OJ, banana, frozen strawberries, blueberries, and 2 huge handfuls of spinach.  Dinner was a tofu stir-fry with quinoa.  May have some popcorn later if I'm feeling peckish.  I've also been drinking tons of water with fresh detoxifying grapefruit juice squeezed in.  Just getting back on track makes me feel better!

Despite my "hang over" Hubby and I got in about 5 miles today on a run/ bike/ hike around the nearby state park today.  It was a lot of fun!  I love spending time outside with him.  We seem to be able to find so much to talk about when we're outside.

hmm...can't figure out why my pictures won't post... :-(

So thanks for missing me!  I'm here!  I've been commenting here and there on a few of your blogs.  Some really great posts!  Especially this one by Dawne about pulling a "Hard 10."  Go read it!! 

My "hard 10" will mean that for the next 10 days (today included) I will be following a strickly vegan diet.  I've been dragging me feet on it.  (I love cheese, and soy cheese without casein really isn't the same, and my very favorite gourmet mustard has eggs in it.)  But for 10 days, I can commit.  Heck, I've been editing my eating habits for more than 400 days now...10 days is just a blip on the radar.  My hope is that I'll decide that I won't miss the cheese afterwards.  But between you and me, I've got 3 more jars of the mustard in my pantry- and it ain't going no where.  It's all about reducing animal products a bit at a time.  At this point, I'm still willing to accept the negligable amount of cholesterol contained in the mustard as the only non-vegan edible I consume.  For the next 10 days though, I'm armed with regular mustard and vegenaise as a dijon substitue, and nutritional yeast as a cheesy substitute.  Are you interested in seeing what's on the menu?  If you'd like to see, I'll start posting it with pictures for the duration of the challenge.  Let me know!  Also, if any of you are interested in vegetarianism or veganism, please don't hesitate to ask!  We can learn together!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Getting Back to Reality...

WOWZA!  50 Followers!  WELCOME!!  So happy to have you here.  I hope you won't be shy.  I look forward to getting to know you.  I got a lot of love from my last post and I really and deeply appreciate the support you have offered me.  Thank you!

Nothing so profound today, I'm afraid.  It is the last day of my "spring break" and if I can manage to find my mojo, I will spend most of it cooking for the week.  We will be making bread, 15 bean stew, hummus, a stir fry with Japanese (Nasoya) noodles, vegetarian dumplings, and prepping fruit and veggies for the week.  Oh, and I got a great haul of fresh green beans from Fresh Market yesterday, so I've got to decide how I'll be using those.  I can't WAIT for the garden to start producing and I can start "shopping" on my own porch. 

These are the two "sides" of our garden.  Hubby has been working in it for hours each day and it is really coming along.  We've never grown a garden before, and since we live in an apartment, we have to contend with the obstacles of using containers and full spectrum lighting.  So, we've planted quite a few different things to see what grows best.  By the way, I apparently speak french; I say "we" but it's really been Hubby's project, though I have helped plant a little.  Beans, peas, brussels sprouts, romaine, spinach, garlic, peppers, onions, chives, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, cat nip, pineapple, herbs, rice, beets, corn, strawberries, peanuts, and even an apple.  A lot more than we expected have started growing seedlings and we're hoping we will have the space to see them all into maturity.  Here's to hoping anyway...

I'm SERIOUSLY looking forward to seeing the kids tomorrow.  I know that mothers say that no love is as steady as from mother to child, but I truly believe that should be extended to nannies as well.  I miss the little boogers like CRAZY when they're not around.  Luckily, I'm sent lots of texts and pictures, and since 5-year-old can read, she likes to send me emails from the train. :-D  I'm so ready for the schedule to get back to normal.  February was tough, trading illnesses back and forth, and then a week long vacation.  It's tough for me, but even more so, it is a bit confusing for 9-month-old, who has to get to know me again every time.  We're right in the thick of separation anxiety and, though he's an extremely genial little boy, I'm sure it is a bit disconcerting for him.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Definition of "Hard"

I had an overweight woman ask me last week if my weight loss journey was "hard."  My immediate reaction was "HELL YES!!"  But I knew instantly that I wasn't really sure if that was the best answer.  If it was the "right" answer.  I've been thinking about it for the past few days and my thought process came out as something I really wasn't expecting.

Is losing 125 lbs "hard?"  What does that mean?  That word..."hard."  I googled the word "define: hard" and the first listed was:

difficult: not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure; "a difficult task."

Was my weight loss journey that?  YES.  It did require great physical and mental effort, comprehension and endurance.  In fact, I would even switch how they were listed; it did require great mental and physical effort, endurance and comprehension.  BUT- in that definition, no where do I see the word "impossible."

I think we get wrapped up in that word "hard."  That four letter word that seems to mean so much to overweight or obese people.  That word some how becomes huge.  It builds a wall in our brains that demands to be fed.  And, the more you feed into it, the more it grows, the stronger it gets.  Plugging cracks with fat, growing higher with cheeseburgers.  By the time you realize what is happening, that word is a mountain and you are too fat and exhausted to climb it.

If you're anything like I was, I remember feeling like my brain and my heart were two different entities at war with each other.  In my heart I knew I wanted to be fit and lean and healthy, but my brain kept telling me to eat, to sit, to rest and then do it again.  I was addicted to the process.  I was addicted to the feeling, the oral fixation, having food in my mouth, chewing, swallowing, rinse, repeat.  I was a slave to that growing mountain.  My soul would tell me "STOP!  You're killing yourself!"  But I was a marionette to my brain when food was around. 

So what finally changed?  Well, you can read about that story here.

Change is HARD, but it is NOT impossible.  Nothing is TOO hard.  If you want it bad enough, you can have it.  You CAN conquer that word.  You CAN climb that mountain you've built.  And, if you just try, if you can just make an honest attempt to go at it, you will find that it is not as strongly built as you once believed.  Every morning that you wake up determined to climb higher, the easier the foot holds are to find.  And before you know it, you will stand at the top looking down at the view of a healthy body, a fit heart, strong lungs, tough muscles.  You will look down and be able to see your feet.  Your mind will be clear and sure, the path ahead of you will be well defined and nothing will ever stand in your way again.  You will have defeated your own Goliath.

Losing weight is (at least for me) much more of a mental battle than a physical one.  So was it (is it) hard?  YES.  But so what?  Nothing is impossible- the word itself says "I'm possible!"  (That's the quote on Kelly's blog.)  So for those of you dragging your feet and whining "this is so hard!"  I challenge you laugh at it! 


If I'm ever asked again if this was "hard," my answer will be simple.

Nothing is impossible.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Stretching Out My Comfort Zone

I have a lot to do today.  Namely, spring cleaning.  I'm really hoping to do it with a possitive attitude though, and I haven't been able to muster one yet.  I'm thinking I'll need a good playlist for it.  I also want to try and see if I can break my running-without-stopping record of 11 minutes today, but we'll see how (exhausted) I feel after cleaning top to bottom.  Yesterday I ran up 10 flights of steps in the parking garage at the hospital and my inner thigh (aductor longus and gracillis) muscles are thanking me for it today.

That got me thinking.  I got an email yesterday from a reader who was frustrated with her lack of weight loss progress this month.  She is at a slight disadvantage when it comes to exercise because she is having to contend with pain.  I certainly would not equate my sore muscles to the type of pain she has to go through, but I don't want to get too detailed here.  She mentioned that she believed that she needed to mix it up a bit.  She tends to do the same kinds of exercise and consume the same amount of calories.  I agreed with her and tried to suggest a few things that I thought she may want to give a shot and see what happens. 

When I woke up this morning with sore muscles I immediately thought of her.  Can you imagine the kind of drive she must have to wake up in pain, move in pain, sit in pain, cook in pain, eat in pain, exercise in pain, live her LIFE in pain?  I won't feel sorry for her, everyone has their burdens and she is handling hers in the best way she knows how.  But I do feel inspired by her.  Even if she is at a plateu, the fact that she gets up every morning to do anything and everything in discomfort is kind of amazing.

How many excuses have I made to not do something because it made me uncomfortable or it didn't suit my plans for the day?  Now that I'm realizing that I really can do or be anyone I want to be, I think it's time for me to decide just who that person is.  It's great when things like yesterday just happen, but at this point, I'm beginning to feel a stirring in my soul that is just begging for me to investigate my new limits.  And, where better to start than by stepping out of my comfort zone?  I'm so comfortable, I'm not even sure what that means right now.  I do often try new things and I believe that I'm well on my way to conquering my fear of failure which are huge and make my feel like all things are possible. 

But evolution never stops.  And there are plenty of things out there that I don't even know I could succeed at!  So, here are a few small things I can I identify as things I think I would like to ...hmm...what's a good word? stretch out my comfort zone a bit further.

1.  Leaving dishes in the sink overnight.  We go though a lot of dishes during the day since hubby and I both cook separate meals.  I am generally the one who takes care of the kitchen, and I find myself washing dishes sometimes four or five times a day.  Then I tend to get tired lazy in the evenings and leave them until the morning.  I always feel like a bum doing this.  It is not something I feel pride in.  And waking up to a sink full of dishes is always a downer...

2.  I think it's time I push myself a bit in my exercise.  I almost always do 30 minutes.  I think that after -125 lbs, I should probably be doing at least an hour 3 times a week.  I don't just want to lose weight- I want to be fit and healthy and have endurance.  I will have to work up to this- probably in 10 minute increments.

3.  I always want to be more selfless.  This is not a new concept for me, it has been at the top of my list for many years.  I think it gets easy to get wrapped up in my own needs and wants.  Don't get me wrong, I think it is important to take care of yourself and your needs.  But, I've been noticing lately that I've been able to find less time for others now that I concentrate so readily on my own journey.  This is not a race and I hope to have a huge group of people to celebrate with as we reach the finish line.  There is ALWAYS time to help others.  ALWAYS.  Volunteer somewhere.  Offer my time and attention.  Cook an extra meal for a neighbor.  Whatever.  A selfless act that will bring someone else comfort, relief, or joy.

So there you have it.  3 things that I hope to bring into my life on a daily or weekly basis in the hopes that they will help mold the me that I want to become.  3 things that are completely within my control to fail or succeed at with the only result being my own personal satisfaction of a job well done.  I will be working on these things over the next month to try to make them habits and not just incidental events. 

Can you think of things that you would like to edit about yourself besides the number on the scale or the size of your pants? 

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

New Way I Handle Stress

My life is never uneventful.  I seem to trade one stressful situation for another.  As soon as I was free from school work, my Granny landed herself in hospital.  She is fine now- but it was touch and go for a bit there.  So for the last 24 hours I've been sitting in a chair by her bed.

I hope you don't think I'm awful for sharing this here.  I have to get it out somewhere and my hope is that other people out in bloggy world will be understanding...

I really hate my granny.  I can't think of another person that I know personally that I dislike more.  She is an awful, hateful, manipulative,...creature.  She is ridiculously materialistic and self absorbed and spoiled.  For most of my life, we lived too far away to have to deal with her.  My uncle cared for her.  But he passed away in '07 (and I honestly believe that she sucked the life out of him), so my father brought her to the city we live in.  She lives in a nursing home, but he visits her everyday and basically does whatever outrageous thing she asks of him.  I'm angry because I fear that she will suck the life out of my father too.  She puts so much stress on him.  I hate her for it.  There is more to it than just that, I promise. 

Anyway, Granny has been in the hospital several times in the last year.  She is 83 now and in failing healthy.  Because I'm the only one in our family with any form of medical field knowledge (a year of nursing school, quite a bit of anatomy and physiology from that and early childhood development, and now medical transcription) I am the one that talks to the doctors and makes sure her records and medications are accurate.  It's the only way I can help, and I do it to take some of the stress off my dad, not for her.  It makes me feel good to help him and I know that he greatly appreciates it.

So, it has been pretty stressful for me.  It is always stressful for me when I have to hold up a major filter to my thoughts.  There are so many things I have to bite my tongue on in these situations.  For my dad's sake, I can't say what I'm really thinking.  I know it would upset him tremendously were I to tell him that I can't wait to dance on her grave and be rid of her.  (Sounds horrible, I know.  But you don't know her.  She really is that horrible in my opinion.)  In the past, I would have just made sure that I had food in my mouth all the time.  It would have been a prime occasion to eat vending machine food during the wait and greasy fast food for every meal.  My father would be more than willing to fund this.  He likes to eat his stress too.

This time was different though.  This time, I felt like I had matured somehow.  I was able to take most of the emotion out of the situation.  I was able to pretend that I was more like an employee of the hospital relaying information in lay terms to the family rather than part of the family itself.  I felt like a grown up.  I was proud that I was able to fulfill the role that needed to be filled.  I was proud that I handled it well.  I knew my father was impressed with me, and I felt proud of that too.

I don't know when this maturity happened.  But, I'm sure it came about when I began to realize the amount of control I really have over so many things in my world, not just over my eating.  But over so many other things as well.  Like finishing what I started with the MT program instead of quitting when it got too hard.  I have lost an entire person in weight, and I'm beginning to like thinking that I've gotten rid of all the parts that didn't serve me well. 

Maybe I am a new person?

Monday, 14 March 2011

TA DA!!!!

You are now reading the blog of an officially certified medical transcriptionist!!  WHOOOHOOOOO!  I finished my program course work Saturday night, submitted it this morning, received a 97.6% A+ grade, and will be receiving my certificate of completion in 4-6 weeks!  I could not be more relieved!!  It was a close call!  I am now officially on Spring Break since the children are, and have gone to visit with their grandparents out of state.  I have an entire week of free time to myself.  I'm looking forward to it!  I am currently assessing when an opportune time may be to drink too much in celebration of it all. ;-)

I'm also down 3 pounds this week, but it had nothing to do with exercise, since I pretty much spent the past 7 days on my tush in front of the computer.  I'm going to attribute it to stress, but I'm happy its gone just the same!  Good riddance...  At my WW meeting on Saturday, a new member said to me, "Gosh, you don't look like you need to be here!"  My leader and I looked at each other and laughed ourselves into tears!!  I showed the new member my "before" photo and her tongue just about fell out of her dropped jaw.  I told her "Don't judge a book by its cover, we all need to be Weight Watchers." LOL  During the meeting I also earned a new 25lbs weight for my key chain that now symbolizes 125 lbs lost!  YAY for that!!

So, though it has been a very stressful week, all the good parts have come to fruition.  I'm happy to have my life back!  After this week, the job hunt begins in an attempt to find a part time MT position to help supplement my nanny income.  But, for now- I think I'm going to put this computer away for the day and go for a walk with my K9 best friend, bake some bread, clean my house, work in the garden, and I may even find a spare moment to catch up with my husband.  I'll be back tomorrow to catch up on all your posts I've missed this week.  Thanks for being patient with me! :-)

OH- and I wanted to show you this picture 5-year-old drew of the solar system all on her own last week.  She knows very well that we live on Earth.  I believe she started to write out Mercury and realized she had run out of room.  Haha!  She pretty much blows my mind...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

ABC's of C.

Totally coping out with this post.  I can't WAIT to be finished with my transcription certification on Tuesday so I can get back to having a life!!

Age: 25
Bed Size: Queen
Chore You Hate: Washing dished because I swear I do it like 8 times a day.  I don't know how we use so many?!
Essential Start of Your Day: Pee, brush teeth, drink water
Favorite Color: Magenta
Gold or Silver: Silver
Height: 5 foot 7 inches 
Instruments I Play: Alto Sax, a little piano, but I mostly sing.
Job Title: Nanny, soon to add CMT
Kids: None of my own.
Live: Georgia, USA.  I grew up in the military though, I've lived all over.
Mom's Name: Robin
Nicknames: Coupons (hubby), Auntie Coco (nephews and nieces), Nana or Nanny from my charges.
Overnight Hospital Stays: A few, nothing recent.
Pet Peeve: Chronic complainers.
Quote From a Movie: "Marla Singer, she's like the cut on the roof of your mouth that would go away if you could just stop tongueing it." -Fight Club (Classy, I know, but it's all I could come up with on short order.)
Right or Left Handed: Ambidextrous (broke my wrist in 6th grade.)
Siblings: 1 brother for sure, 1 brother up for debate, and the best sister a girl could ask for.
Time You Wake Up: between 5:30 and 6:30 depending on the day.
Underwear: wouldn't you like to know...
Veggie You Dislike: Not a huge fan of raw mushrooms.
What Makes You Run Late: I'm rarely late and it's usually due to unforseen traffic.
X-Rays You Have Had: Quite a few for one reason or another.  I was a sickly child.
Yummy Food You Make: Hoiliday Brussel Sprouts, Oatmeal Claforits, and Bean Stew.
Zoo Animal You Like Best: Zoos make me sad.  I much prefer wildlife reserves.  Farm animals are my favorite.  Cows, chickens, donkeys, goats, pigs, ducks.  ...Anything you find in Charlotte's Web.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Identity Crisis Part 2

I've gotten quite a few emails about my Identity Crisis post.  Some were full of support, reminding me that who I am is completely up to me.  Some readers encouraged me to search for answers in order to be able to move on and maintain my weight loss.  And some asked me questions, one to help them answer, and two to make me think. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking since I wrote that post a few days ago.  And, Jackie's comment really became my outline for brainstorming this post:

"First of all, congratulations on your weight loss. That is quite an accomplishment and you look terrific. I do wonder something from your post. Does being over 100 pounds lighter frighten you? Was your identity before associated with your weight and being fat and now you've lost THAT identity and the layers of protection it provided? I have 75 pounds to lose. I lost 40 of it last summer and then gained it all back. After reading your post, I wonder if I gained it back because, I became unrecognizable to MYSELF and the layers of fat that have been my identify for so long. You have really made me think with this post. I found you on A New Dawn's blog and I'm so glad I have. I wish you continued success and peace. You will find yourself - but it might take a lot of courage to do so.
Blessings to you.
Jackie  "

So here goes nothin'.

Being over 100 lbs light does not frighten me.  I find it very exciting.  In many ways, it's been kind of magical.  Some mornings I wake up and look in the mirror and it's like my dream came true- I woke up skinny!  I am absolutely tickled pink when I hold up pants in the store and my brain says "there's no way you're going to fit into that" and then I try them on and zip them up and- low and behold, they fit!  Even with this identity issue, there is not ONE. SINGLE. THING. that I don't enjoy about being a healthier, fitter, thinner, me on a good day.  (Except for these...but now I realize they have more to do with the external identity crisis than the internal.)

I didn't think that my identiy was wrapped up in my weight.  While I was on my morning walk with 9-month-old asleep in the stroller, I had time to think on it.  What I realized was that my identity was (and probably still is since just knowing a thing doesn't change it) wrapped up in how the world percieves me.  I want people to think I am so many things, but none of them are based on my size.  Therefore, I spent (spend) a lot of time feeling like I need to overcompansate for the external.  I did everything I could to try and convince people that my size didn't matter, but in doing so, I think reinforced the notion within myself that I was overweight and therefore became wrapped up in my size and what I could do to "hide" it or make it less noticable.  Does that make sense?  ...I don't know...I just thought about it today...I may need to merinate on it a bit longer for clarity.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time working on deveolping characteristics that people found valuable within me.  Had a not been fat, I'm not sure that I would have chosen the same qualities to grow in.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have.  If I had never been fat, I would be a different person.  I probably would feel the need to "buy" myself friendship by doing rediculous favors.  I often feel like I give more than I get.  I don't always feel like this is a bad thing.  I am a nuturer at heart, but it can be tiring to constantly feel like saying "no" will ruin a friendship.

But now I feel like I have a new opportunity, of sorts.  I kind of get a "do over."  I call for a mulligan!  I now get to decide who I really want to be.  What qualities I really would like to explore and expound upon in my life. 

Will I always have to explain my weight story to the world and the people in my past and future?  ...I hope not.  Just as much as I didn't want my being to be wrapped up in my large-size, I do not want my being to be wrapped up in my smaller size either.  I just want to be seen as a woman.  Not a big or small, fat or thin woman.  Just a strong, formidable, nuturing woman. 

...I wish that we could all see eachothers souls instead...

I know what's in my soul.  Now I have the opportunity to show it on the outside without fear of rejection. 

What do you think changing your size will effect internally?  How will that make you a different person?  Are you looking forward to it or is it daunting?  Whatever the answer is, I hope you won't let it hold you back from your goals of becoming a more healthy human being.  Love yourself!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

3 Amazing Bloggers (Who happen to also be women!)

So great to have some new followers!  Welcome!  I'm thrilled to have you all here and I hope you won't be shy!

I "met" a new blogger yesterday named Cat.  You can read all about her over at What's Eating the Cat.  She wrote some really kind words to me regarding my Identity Crisis and asked if I wouldn't mind if she posted a link on her site back to my post.  I, of course, was honored!  What she wrote was really inspiring and I hope to be able to find a bit of quite time to myself later on to really reflect on it so that I can post more about it.  I think you all should read it.  It really does open your eyes to a whole new quandary regarding not just weight loss, but all the drastic changes that occur as a result.  I know many of you aren't quite as far along in your journey as I am, but perhaps if you begin thinking about it now, you won't reach the disparaging realization that you don't even recognize yourself!

I promised to send out some blogging loving in the way of spreading the award I got yesterday from Dawn.  I know that everyone DESERVES one award or another.  I truly believe that everyone has strengths that should be recognized!  But, as it pertains to this award, I would like give it to Healthy Smealthy  Her last post was eye-opening when she discussed her opinion on the parallel (or lack there of) between fat and cancer.  Her day-to-day style of posting makes me feel like I know her, and she is not afraid to dig a little deeper when it comes to a challenge.  

I would also like to give an honorable mention to Suzi.  She already has this award, but I think she deserves it twice over!  Suzi has a knack for posting and photography and she ALWAYS has the nicest, most caring things to comment.  I even enjoy reading her comments to people on other blogs.  :-)

If you don't already follow these amazing women, I suggest you go immediately and rectify the situation.  You're missing out!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Award and a Menu

Dawn from A New Dawn For Me awarded me "The Versatile Blogger" badge!  I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I'm STOKED!!  I'm not sure that I've been very versatile in my blogging.  I think Dawn was trying to pull me from the doldrums of my last post.  (She's awesomely supportive like that, go check her out!  You seriously wish she was your friend, I promise!) 

Anyway, I would LIKE to be a more versatile blogger.  I realize that I haven't really given you much insight into my weight loss.  I've told you how much I've lost, and I've told you a general idea of the program(s) I've used to accomplish it so far.  But I really haven't given you all a day-to-day look at what the process is.  I guess, in an attempt to not sound boastful, after having worked and succeeded at my journey to the other end of the scale for almost 1-1/2 years, it has all just kind of become second nature to me.  I am just living life at this point...  I realize that not exactly helping yooz guyz out though...

So maybe I'll post a couple of my menus?  Maybe a few more recipes?  I really don't want this to become a food blog.  After all, I've worked very hard to avoid having my life become all about the food again.  But, so many of you have told me that you ache for the kind of success I've found.  To be honest, I don't feel like I've succeeded yet.  I may have won a few battles, but I'll be fighting the war for the rest of my life- and maintenance, I'm sure, will be a WHOLE 'nother kinda fight.  I don't have any magical secrets.  All I can say is that out of all the things I've done, eatin, tried...the only reason that ANY of it has "worked" is because I just kept doing it.  That's it.  That's the whole she-bang.  Just keep making the decision to change every time you are presented with food. *shrug*  It sounds simple, but if you're reading this blog, you know it takes a LOT of practice!

With this award, I'm supposed to tell you something about myself.  I'm not feeling all that interesting right this moment, so I figure I'll share my menu today.  So for today- this is how I lived my life...

I start every morning with a mug of room temperature water.  (I pour it the night before, cover it, and leave it to sit by my bathroom sink.)  Drinking water before anythign else is supposed to help detoxify, get the digestive tract moving, and prepare the body for food.  I'm not sure if there has been any study to prove the validity, but it works for me.  After breakfast, I generally try to wash down most meals with at least a full mug of water.

For breakfast today I ate a slice of homemade whole wheat flax bread.  (Want the recipe?  Leave a comment and I'll share it.)  Sometimes I add a bit of jam, this morning I didn't.  According to the recipe builder on Weight Watchers, this is 2 points.  I'm not a huge breakfast eater.  For 1, I don't have time to cook before leaving the house for work at 6:30am, and 2, too much food makes me feel heavy and sleepy.  So, just a piece of bread does the trick for me and generally lasts me about 2 hours. 

When my stomach started growling around 9am today, I answered it with a banana and a kiwi.  I don't always eat the same fruit or anything, but I do usually have fruit for my morning snack.  It's easy to eat while you're chasing down a 9 month old in a walker.  Sometimes on really busy days I only have time to eat some string cheese- slim jim style.  Like 4 bites and you're done. LOL 

I pack my lunch after dinner the night before and bring it to work with me every day.  I don't have to do this, I am welcome to eat anything I want in the kitchen at work.  I do this because it helps me preplan and stay on track the WHOLE day- not just each meal.  I'm a big picture kinda girl.  Today I had roasted green beans covered with vegetarian meatless meatballs that I had simmered in some tomato sauce that I spruced up with fresh herbs, and another piece of warmed flax bread on the side that I had put a bit of butter on.

I get out of work at 3pm, which is right about the time my stomach starts talking again.  I usually answer it with either fruit, or maybe a boiled egg.  Today, I had an apple.  For a long time (last year) I ate convenience bars like 90 cal Fiber One bars or goldfish crackers.  Recently I've become more interested in the effect these processed foods can have on my body and have eliminated them from my diet.  But, if you aren't worried about such things, they are WW point friendly. 

For dinner tonight I will be eating a stir fry.  Some combination of green beans, brussel sprouts, red bell pepper, garlic, and onion with some kind of seasoned EVOO "sauce."  I will serve this over either brown rice, or whole wheat spaghetti.

As an evening snack I will probably have 5 cups of air-popped popcorn.

If I'm wanting dessert, my go-to lately has been low-fat, whole wheat graham crackers with natural peanut butter and a few raisins sprinkled over the top.

So there you have it.  No crazy "diet food."  Most of it you could find at your grocery store.  I do make a lot of the food I eat from scratch so that I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt every ingredient that's gone into make them.  I'm more than just a little paranoid about extra preservatives, added sugar, and chemical ingredients.  I'm sure some of you may roll your eyes, but I believe that these kinds of "hidden ingredients" are quite possibly poison for my body.  Do you know about MSG?  Do you know it is STILL used in LOTS of foods?  And that's just the one of the more known "poisons" put in commercially prepared processed foods.  Wigs me out...

Any there any foods you are concerned about eating?  Not just because they are trigger foods, but because you know they are just not good for your body?  Maybe they make you feel crappy after eating them, or maybe hyper? 

Next post I will be passing along this badge to a few of my favorite bloggers.  Watch for you name!  Oh, and don't forget to go stop by Dawn's blog and tell her she's amazing! :-)

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Identity Crisis

Yesterday I ran into an aquintance at the store.  We had worked several school events together a couple years ago.  When I said hello to her, she got this puzzled look on her face for a moment.  I could tell she was thinking "Who the hell is this?"  I reintroduced myself and the light bulb went on for her.  She said, "You're barely recognizable!"  We talked for a few minutes in the checkout aisle and went on our merry way, but this comment has been replaying in my head like a broken record ever since.

I know I've talked before about people not recognizing me.  My husband told me try and see it as a positive thing.  His thinking is that now I can be whoever I want to be, and I can stop talking to some of the people in my life (that I don't see often) who are particularly judgemental.  I've thought about this, but I still feel pretty torn up over it.  I don't like to think I'm "barely recognizable."  It makes me feel lost in the world.  After all, I didn't dislike who I was before.  I just decided to change my life around.  I decided to make different decisions that happened to effect my appearance.  My shell...

I've always made a great effort to foster the relationships I've had with people.  I think fat people have to work harder at it, unfortuneately.  We often have to convince people to like us, despite our outward appearance.  But now, I'm not really a part of that.  It's strange to say it, but I'm not fat any more.  I am still overweight, but I think that now people don't immediately spot me as "the fat girl."  So, I don't fit in that club anymore.  I don't see myself as thin or particularly fit, either.  I am still "plus sized" on the bottom.  I am still activly working toward losing weight.  ...So I don't fit into that club.

I am in limbo.  I am unrecognizable.  Who am I? 

Friday, 4 March 2011

New Progress Collage

I thought that since I broke into Onederland last month, it was time for an updated progress collage.  Many people have mentioned that they would be much too embarassed to show a picture in their underware on the internet.  At one time, I was too.  But, as the progression shows, I've worked hard to achieve the body I now have.  I have no shame left.  I think that half the battle with weightloss (at least for me) was being willing to open up completely about my struggles with food and my weight.  No more sneaking food, no more shopping alone on purpose, no more cutting the size lables out of my pants.  You are what you eat- and I'm not ashamed of that any more.

Picture have been an amazing part of my journey.  Seeing my body transform in so many ways have kept me motivated on MANY a day!  I have literally hundreds of photos.  In the age of digital, why not?!  It costs nothing but a bit of space on my hard drive.  I've gotten int he habit of taking a picture in every new outfit I bring home (always 1 size too small), the another picture when I feel comfortable wearing it, and then a last one when it is too big and will be sent back to the good will.  Watching myself shink out of each size always has me excited about the next one!  I encourage you all to do the same with the smallest item you have in your closet.  You don't have to share it with anyone.  I promise that when you finally achieve the goals of being able to wear that article of clothing out of the house, and then again when it is too big for you, you will feel on top of the world and have concrete evidence of your journey.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

My Evolution from Mainstream to Hippie

So remember earlier this month with I was having trouble controlling my intake of chocolate? Well, thankfully, that seems to have passed. I will be keeping the Coco Almonds around.

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook and I had to share it with you all! VERY INTERESTING/SCARY STUFF about processed junk food and it's addictive nature. Please be sure to check it out!  I wondered if perhaps the chocolate cake that had me looking over the edge of a cliff was responsible for my control confusion.  It serves as a lesson to me that sometimes, it's just better to avoid a food all together if I'm not sure of who the baker was or how it was made.  I seem to be sensitive to processed baked goods.

Speaking of processed foods and its effect on our bodies, Hubby and I have watched The Beautiful Truth, a documentary, twice now on free download thru Netflix this week.  I found it to be absolutely fascinating!!  I will do further research to verify its validity, but I believe that there will be several more changes going on in the Evolution household.

I have friends now who are calling me an extremist when it comes to my health and the health of my environment.  I was a bit offended at first.  My friends (who are extremely main-stream) are now calling me a "hippie."  My best friend lives out of state, and when we were talking on the phone on day, she was appalled that I no longer used the common cleaning products like Lysol and Clorox.  When I told her that they were toxic chemicals that I didn't want in my house, she said "Who ARE you, and what have you done with my clean friend?"  ...I told her to keep drinking the hateraide...but still, the comment lingered in the back of my mind.

I thought about it for days.  I knew I had changed a lot about my life, but was I really an "extremist?"  I talked it over with my mom and she said "Yes, you are.  But, thank goodness you're on the healthy side now!"  She pointed out that over the past year, I have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other.  But,  that I now consider myself informed and educated about my body and its surroundings.  I've been living on the wrong end of the extreme for YEARS and now I realize that I want to be as FAR away from that side of life as possible.  If that means I am a "hippie" then so be it! 

So here you go.  See C. Evolve:

2009 -Meat every meal except dessert
2011 -Basically a "lacto-ovo-vegetarian." (I do occasionally have bites of hubby's local, grass-fed, venison that our friend hunted himself).  (My friends think this is weird and often tell me to "Damn, EAT A CHEESE BURGER!")

And that evolution meant that I went from
2009- Migraine headaches twice a week
2011- Not being able to remember the last time I had a headache that was unaccompanied by illness.

The dietary evolutions I've made over the past year meant that I went from
2009- 80% of my intake coming from chain restaurants and the rest from boxed or frozen processed foods 2010- 95% of my intake coming from my own kitchen, and the other 5% coming from friends home cooked meals or small Mom and Pop restaurants using whole ingredients.  (My friends think it is annoying that I order off the menu, or bring my own food.)

2009- Spending $80 a week on boxed or frozen, processed foods at the grocery store
2010- Spending most of my time and money shopping in the produce section.
2011- Attempting to grown some of our own food.  Which has made me realize the need to
2011- Start composting... (My friends think this work is all too dirty and time consuming and the failure ratio is too high to put in the effort.)

Now I worry about pollution since it inevitably gets back to our food and water sources.
2009- Soda bottles at at every convenience story
2011- Reusable water canteens that I carry with me.  (My friends roll their eyes when I express concern about their plastic, chemical-leaching, water bottles.)

2009- Allowing even the smallest items I purchased being put into a plastic grocery sack
2010- Using reusable cloth grocery bags, some I even made myself, or asking for no bags at all. 
2011- Cleaning, sorting, and dropping off all forms of recycling since our apartment complex isn't eligible for city pick up. (My friends think this is too much work, and it's not cute to carry out purchases without a bag.)

Not to mention the way I choose to spend my time:
2009- Sitting...eating...TV...movies...
2011- Planned exercise at least twice a week (usually 4 times), with LOTS of walks and other activities throughout. (My friends don't enjoy exercise.)

2009- 90% of my life was spent indoors.
2011- 55% of my life is spent outside. (My friends DO NOT enjoy the outdoors.)

2009- I spent HUNDREDS of dollars on new clothing
2011- I shop almost exclusively at Goodwill, not only because it's budget friendly to my constantly changing size, but because reduces my carbon footprint!  (My friends think it is gross to wear clothes that were previously owned by a stranger.)

So I guess I have changed.  A LOT.  It's easy to see when it's all put down in writing, I suppose.  My thinking is different now about a lot of things.  Am I sorry?  NOT. ONE. LITTLE. BIT!  I only hope my friends will decide they like me anyway...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

New Playlist- New Bug

I've got a stomach bug.  Yes, that's right, that means I've been sick 2 weeks in a row.  (Not the whole time, but it's pretty annoying.)  I thought that eating healthy and exercising was supposed to help keep things like that from happening?  I'm a little bitter...

Before I came down with this bug, I found out that our community gym had aquired an elliptical machine.  I had been wanting to try ellippti-cising, but I'd never had access to one before.  Working out on machines gets boring for me, but the the fact that my speed is monitored usually means that I get a better workout than I do on my own. 

I don't know about you, but music really helps me set the tone for my workout.  Music is a big part of my life period.  First thing I do when my alarm clock goes off is turn the music on.  But, lately I've noticed that I'm skipping through my playlists pretty quickly, especially during exercise.  I knew that if I got on the elliptical without switching up my music, I would be finding an excuse to quit after 10 minutes or so.  So, I had to go to the source...iTunes!! 

I remade my playlist and headed out to the gym; 40 minutes later, I made myself get off for fear of overdoing it and ending up too sore to walk the next day!  The music REALLY helped me get through!

So, I thought I'd share it with you all here!

Run Away Baby - Bruno Mars
Holla Back Girl - Gwen Stefani
Sex On Fire - Kings of Leon
Bleed It Out - Linkin Park
You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - The Offspring
Hey Baby (Drop it to the floor) - Pitbull ft. T-Pain
Untouched - The Veronicas
Ayo Technology - 50 Cent ft. Justin Timberlake
Gimme More (Remix) - Britney Spears
All Alone - Gorillaz
Hot Revolver - Lil Wayne ft. Kevin Rudolph
Higher - Taio Cruz ft. Travie McCoy
Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna

If you can only afford to add one song to your playlist this month, make SURE you get Hey Baby (Drop it to the floor) by Pitbull and T-Pain.  I probably listened to that one three times.  You won't be sorry!