Saturday, December 7, 2013

"His Day is Done"

For years I wrote poetry like it was going out of style. I could fill a notebook in a few days. I had volume after volume of the poetry of others on my shelf. I haven't written any for a very long time. Poetry is something I know a lot of people struggle with. Whether writing or reading, it can be a challenge. There's this fear that you're doing it wrong. If you don't "get" it there must be something wrong with you. I wish more people wrote poetry. It can be all your own, and very cathartic.My love for it led me to have the word Poetry tattooed on the back of my neck. Poetry is magical.  

This week we lost the amazing Nelson Mandela. There's nothing more that I could say about this amazing man that hasn't already been said by so many. But, I find that the poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou always seems to say things just a little bit better. Listen and enjoy. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

My TEDx Experience

I'm going to warn you before you even start reading...this post is going to be long!

You were warned. 

This past Friday I had the amazing experience of a TEDx event. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then, then you need to go (after reading this post of course) to the TED website and just spend the rest of the day watching TED talks. They're basically short talks, given by just about anyone you can think of, on whatever they have to say. A TEDx event is an independently organized TED event where the organizers can use their materials, branding, and show a certain number of archived TED talks. It's a way to spread the events around the world. TEDx events feature speakers who are local, or who were suggested by someone local. The event I attended was in a small city about an hour away from where I live. It was an all day event, and I can't even begin to express how amazing it was. 

When I first arrived, I was given my name badge, and directed to the swag table! 

I was given this awesome bag with the coffee mug, a water bottle, and some snacks! 

Then this beautiful stage, and awesome bad greeted us as we walked in and found a seat. The theater this event was held in was truly beautiful, and the stage design was awesome. 

This post will get insanely long if I go over all the speakers at the event. They were all really amazing, but I'll just go over my favorites, in no particular order, and you can see the rest on the TEDx Charlottesville website. 

First up was John Kluge, co-founder of a company called Toilet Hackers, and a rather well known name in the area. His family used to own a winery recently purchased by Donald Trump, and his name is on quite a few other things in the area. I think everyone locally just associates the Kluge name with money, but John is really doing some good stuff with his company. It's designed to bring sanitation options to countries where children die every day from diseases related to poor sanitation. He had a good message, and his company will be able to do some amazing stuff. 

Then there was Ralph Cohen, who is cofounder of the American Shakespeare Center. He gave a talk about how leaving the lights on during theater productions is of far greater benefit to the actors and audience than being in the dark all of the time. I've always wanted to go to see Shakespeare performed in this manner, and after his talk, I really have the itch. 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman was the speaker who caused me to purchase tickets to the event. I'm a huge fan of Dr. Fuhrman's work in nutritional science, and I've been wanting to hear him in person for a long time. I had the pleasure of unexpectedly getting to see him the night before this event, but he gave a great talk here as well. The results he has had with treating his patients with diet alone are truly amazing, and not to be ignored by anyone suffering from any disease. 

Deb Gottesman was the one speaker who made me cry. She was part of creating a production called My Soul Look Back and Wonder which took a group of women who had recently been released from drug treatment, jail, or other difficult circumstances, turned their stories into a play, and had them act it out at the Kennedy Center. It was a moving talk to say the least.

Then there was John Hunter. Before he spoke they played a short video about his World Peace Game, and talked to some of his fourth grade students about the game. After the video, they brought out three of those students who are now grown, and had them talk about what they game taught them. Then, Mr. Hunter came out and talked about what he learned from creating the game, and about being an educator. He met with a standing ovation, and for good reason. 

Here's a link to his book. World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

My two favorite speakers of the day both came from an open mic night held in Charlottesville where they were picked by the crowd. Darius Nabors, and educator, talked about his bucket list, and it was really entertaining. Denise Stewart talked about how to approach problems, and she had the crowd laughing the whole time.

And finally, Laura Mulligan Thomas and the Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble. They can only be heard to be believed.

So, those were the highlights of my TEDx experience. It was amazing, and I'm going to make sure to go to any of these events that I'm close to. If you have one in your area, GO! I promise you, it will be worth the price of admission.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Things That Matter

I wasn't in the best mood this morning. I was irritated by how something was going in my life when I went to bed the night before, so I didn't sleep well. I was looking forward to some extra time with my kids later in the day because they were out of school, but upset that I was going to be missing time at work and that meant not getting paid.

Then my ex-husband called and told me that someone had passed away. One of the kids in my oldest son's grade at school had been battling Leukemia for a long time, and it finally took him in the early hours. I sat in my car outside my office and cried. just isn't fair. This is not how death is supposed to happen. It was all I could do to work the few hours I could be at work and get back to my kids.

I decided to take them to let my oldest spend his birthday money, then I donated blood, and decided to get them a pizza for dinner. One the way to get the pizza, I popped a tire. So the rest of the afternoon was spent dealing with that. I ended up spending $130 for a new tire. This has been a really tough month for me financially and that was not money I really could part with. But I did and my car is back on the road.

Ordinarily I probably would have gone home and gone into a funk for the rest of the evening. I did eat some ice cream, not going to lie. But, all I could really think was...we are all OK. I didn't wreck when the tire popped. No one was hurt. Yeah my wallet is lighter, yeah Christmas will be smaller...but we don't need a bunch of stuff anyway. While I'm thinking about what I can't buy my kids, another mother just down the road is thinking about burying her child.

A year ago I didn't have the money to fix that tire, and now I do. I used to tell my mom when we were struggling that the money always comes...and it does. Yes, there are lots of things about my life that I might change if I could, but the things that really matter are here and I have to start remembering those.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Does It Always Have to Be About Them?

I'm sitting in a busy coffee shop and it's impossible not to hear the conversations at the tables around me. There are a few people working away alone, but several tables that are groups of women. Hearing the snippets of what they're talking about it reminds me of another episode of Sex in the City when Miranda freaks out on the other women and screams "Christ, does it always have to be about them?". She was referring to the fact that they had spent all of their time together talking about the men in their life.

The women at these tables have been talking about the men in their lives since I sat down. Talking about who their dating, how it's going, who is getting married, and various other topics all surrounding the men they're involved with. I get it, we are women, and if we don't analyze every detail of our relationships then we just wouldn't be normal. It's the most popular topic when we get into groups. There's nothing wrong with it. We need to get those thoughts and feelings out. But, they don't sit around talking about us.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately because I have a lot of female friends who are going through some tough times in their relationships. In listening to the issues they're having and how they're feeling, it makes me think about how we are once we get involved with someone. Now, I'm speaking in generalities because I know that there are plenty of exceptions. But why do we always make it about them? The women sitting at these tables look to be college students, and the fact that I'm near campus leads me to believe that they are. So, that means they're doing all sorts of things now. Why aren't they talking about the classes they're taking, the work they're doing, and the plans they have for life?

It seems that when we love someone, we wrap ourselves up in every aspect of them. We often lose parts of ourselves to make room for those parts of them in the process. I'm not saying this is all bad. It's good to find common interests with the person you love. It's good to show love by showing interest in their life. But so often I see a huge discrepancy between the amount of things a woman adopts of her partners interests vs how many he adopts of hers. Now, I know plenty of couples who share a lot of common interests, so there is a much more even playing field. But I also know a ton that can't remember who they were before they got married and had kids. They can no longer separate their life from their husbands.

Some of this is just love, devotion, and the nature of women. But sometimes, it makes me really sad to see how much some of us give up and compromise. Why does it always have to be about them?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Does Love Do?

Two things happened today that made me think about what it really means to love someone. What a person will do, and what they won't do to the person they love. I'm talking romantic love here, not the love we have for our children or other blood relatives, but the person whom we choose to be with.

I won't share the specifics of either so as to protect the privacy of those involved. But one was something someone said, and one was an act that I suspect was somewhat cultural, but appeared to have been the norm from my outside observers eye. Both made me hurt for the women involved. Now, it's very possible that neither woman actually felt any pain themselves because this might be acceptable to them.

But I have been thinking all day about both women, and all the women I know going through one thing or another in their own relationships. It's also made me think a lot about what I have accepted over the years in my own. What does love do to us? What does love do for us?

It's really the most amazing feeling in the world. To be in love is just fantastic. No relationship is perfect, we all have our fights, our things that we just learn to live with because while they may annoy us, they're certainly not deal breakers. But what makes us just take it when something isn't right? Even if it isn't something that we want to end the relationship over, why do we let it pass?

I guess those involved would say that it isn't that big of a deal or they would say something. Or that it's just the way that it's always been done. Or, they've learned to live with it. But, I know myself that these little things are sometimes bigger than we let on. That they eat away a little at a time at our soul. Maybe it stops with those little things, or maybe it grows into something worse. Maybe it impacts who we choose in our next relationship.

What keeps us from demanding better? Are we so scared of losing someone who loves us that we don't teach them a better way to treat us? What does love do for women that so many of us will give up part of who we are to keep it?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Caught Between Carrie Bradshaw and Minimalism

I'm a huge Sex and the City fan. I've seen every episode and both movies multiple times. It's certainly not the best TV I've ever watched, but I wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw (with kids). I've always wanted to be a writer and the idea of living in a cute little apartment writing when the inspiration struck me is what I think many writers dream about. Not to mention that she has amazingly loyal friends, and an amazing wardrobe. Her wardrobe! What girly girl wouldn't want her amazing shoe collection?

For a very long time, I did want her life. I wanted it altered to fit having children into there, but I wanted to find a way to be able to buy $300 shoes and still pay my rent all from writing. But then over the years I learned that I really don't want a closet so full that I never wear the same thing twice. I discovered Project 333 and decided to whittle down my closet to only what I actually wear. I was able to easily remove most of my clothes...but I kept all of my shoes. I don't even wear most of them anymore because the heels I love so much started damaging my feet. I just can't let them go though.

I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores or places like Old Navy. Nothing in my closet costs more than $10 except my running shoes. Even if I had the money, I'm not sure I could ever be someone who would spend $200 on a pair of jeans. In the first Sex and the City movie when Carrie finds the suit that she wants to marry Mr. Big in and reveals that it's a label-less thrift store find which she later pairs with Manolo's I realize that even if you're someone who wants to live a minimal life, you can still appreciate fine things. Sometimes it's better to buy the one more expensive thing that will last longer, than the multiple cheap versions of the same thing.

I'm probably always going to shop at thrift stores even if I some day find myself independently wealthy. But if given the opportunity, I'd wear a pair of Jimmy Choo's to the grocery store too.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Hardest Job

There's nothing so gut wrenching as to have your child look at you and say "I just wish I had a friend to talk to". As a parent all you want to do is make this little life the best it can possibly be. You want to shield it from every bad thing, give it ever chance at it's hearts desire, and keep it from feeling any pain. So when your child looks at you and mirrors a feeling you've had yourself many times over, you would do anything to fix it.

My oldest son said that yesterday on our ride home from school after telling me he'd had a stressful day, and that having a good friend would have helped a lot. I had to try very hard not to cry while trying to talk him through this situation. Often I look at my kids and think that every quality that I don't like in myself I've sadly passed on to them. I've felt that they were dealt a poor hand in the genetic lotto of what they could have received from me.

The lack of friends, and the inability to make them is something I really hoped my kids wouldn't inherit. But sadly, one of them did. He's brilliant. Straight A's, miles ahead of his age in reading ability, athletic, funny....but a social mess just like his mother. The funny thing is, we aren't wallflowers. We will talk your ear off, and we've never met a stranger. We do pretty well in large groups even thought they make us nervous.

But one on one, or even small groups...forget it. We lack that part we need to fit in enough to form those tight bonds. I took a picture of him on "hat day". One day a year where they're allowed to wear a hat in school as part of spirit week. I'd venture that the majority of boys in his school opted for a baseball cap of their favorite team. My son sported a pink scarf, and grey fedora this day. I'm sure at lunch he sat with one group of kids, spent time with another in bad, and yet another at cross country practice later that day. But his best friend isn't in any of those things this year, so he never sees him. I did the same thing. I was the only girl who wore a cowboy hat and boots to school nearly every day. I sat with cheerleaders and the basketball team at lunch. I chatted about my favorite books with the other people who worked on our literary magazine, and I had one true friend. That was high school for me, and she lived on my street so we could see each other. My son's only in middle school. I blocked middle school out it was so awful.

I wanted to fit in and have a big group of friends. I wanted to be invited to parties, and have those big group pictures at the football games, homecoming dances, and weekend outings. I just didn't know how to be that person. I didn't know how to form those bonds with people, and I still don't. I still only have a few close friends, I almost never get asked to do anything, and when I do, I'm anxious about it.

So, I looked at him with my heart breaking for him not knowing at all what to tell him to do. If I'd been different in school, if I'd forced my way through those anxious feelings, if I'd conformed a little more to "normal" I might have those friends now. But, there are probably things I would have done in the process that I wouldn't have liked too.

I had no answers for him. It's a choice of changing some of who he is, to be less "weird" and more likable. Or staying who he is, and hoping more people come into his world that accept that. I lean toward the latter. But knowing what it still feels like after all these years, I had to give a small nudge for him to find someone with whom he shares something with, no matter how small, to forge a bond. I don't want him to change a thing about who he is, but I don't want him to miss out either.

It's the hardest job in the world.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Here I Am Again

Yes here I am again. I promised I'd update you on the new blog I was creating and I never did. I started a blog called Body By Emmy that is primarily devoted to my health and fitness goals. It's very specific so I wanted to separate it from the rest of what I was posting here in order not to bore everyone to tears. If you're interested in reading that one, you can join me there.

I'm back here because not everything I need to get out of my head fits that setting. But this post is sort of connected to that blog. When I started it, I dove into social media, branding, etc. Through all that everything I read talked about doing what you're passionate about. Obviously health and fitness are a huge passion of mine, and that's why I started that blog.

But some other things have happened or come to the surface recently that made me think about why I sort of gave up my true passion. One of my co-workers recently changed offices and when she did, she showed me the art that she creates. I was in awe of it as I am most art and told her how great I thought it was. She then asked me what my gift was. I told her my gift is being mediocre at a lot of things. She pressed further though and I told her that the only thing that I ever wanted to be was a writer. If I had other dreams as I child, I don't remember them. Technically that dream came true in a way, I am employed as a technical writer. The job doesn't allow for much creativity, but I really enjoy it. I like the people I work with, the environment, and while it can be boring, I like the writing.

But I can't say technical writing was my dream as a child. Poetry was probably my favorite. I wrote book after book of it, almost right up until I got married. Then I abruptly quit. My now ex-husband and marriage wasn't the reason I quit. Sadly, it was a college professor that put a halt to it. I'm not blaming her, what she said was true and harmless. But, sometimes certain words delivered by certain people just carry more weight. She was a published poet, and while I can't remember exactly what she said, I felt that everything I'd written was just trivial and meaningless.

More recently I was talking with someone about how much I share on Facebook. They commented that I share a lot more than they would. Again, I don't think it was meant to have the impact that it did, but coming from this person, it has made me aware of every thing I post now.

Those things and how they made me feel are by no means the fault of the person who said them. They had no way of knowing that I would take them so personally or attach such weight to them. I'm not one of those people who can let things slide. I wish I was, but most things stick with me for a while. Some never seem to leave.

All of that said, I can use those things as an excuse to never write again, or I can suck it up and pretend that they didn't bother me until they no longer do. Maybe my poetry is trivial. Maybe I do share more than I should. But it made me feel good when I did I think I need to do more of that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New Blog In Progress

I have a new blog on the horizon. I know, why start a new blog when I never write on this one? Well, I love this little blog, but it has always lack direction. It's just been a personal page for me to write about whatever I've felt like writing about. There's nothing wrong with that of course, but it lets me off the hook where regular writing is concerned.

The new blog will have focus. I need motivation to finally get to a healthy weight and fitness level once and for all. This is going to require accountability to something and I'm going to make it the blog and its readers. I also want to make writing of some sort a regular practice and the blog will help with that too. The blog will focus on my weight loss journey in the beginning and then hopefully move into a place of helping others with their goals.

So, be on the lookout for a post about the new blog!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You Are Enough

I have an obsession with documentaries. I like them all, but I really enjoy them if they're about our food supply, nutrition, dieting, or the like. This lead me to watch American the Beautiful and American the Beautiful 2. The first is about the American obsession with beauty and the second about our obsession with our weight and dieting. In the first one the filmmaker interviews a woman who has an elective plastic surgery and takes over an hour to wake from her anesthesia. He said when he left he called every man that he knows and told them to call every woman that they know and tell them that they are beautiful just the way they are. Now, he wasn't making judgments on people who choose elective plastic surgery, and neither am I. There are all sorts of reasons one may do something like that. Heck there are cases where I might consider it. But his point in making those phone calls was to hopefully spread the word that we are enough just the way we are.

This blog has been devoted to my weight loss journey and my attempts at minimizing my life and being kinder to the planet. There's nothing wrong with wanting to improve your life. I'd be lying to you if I said that the only reason I want to lose weight is to be healthy. I have a big stack of jeans in my closet that I was wearing this time last year and I do beat myself up because I can't wear them now. I received a gift card to Victoria's Secret for Christmas this year and I went in there last night with the intentions of using it. I left empty handed and rather depressed. Honestly there are very few mannequins and only a few pictures of models wearing the items in the store. So it wasn't like I was bombarded with images of photoshopped women who made me feel like I could never look like they do in the items. The fact is, I don't need that. I know what I look like and I know that it doesn't make me totally happy. I have made improvements over the years and I am proud of those. But I do want more. I will never have a models body and I have enough stretch marks to look like a tiger. But I have the ability to achieve a body that would make me happier. It's OK to want that and it is OK to try to achieve it. I don't hate who I am, but I don't love it either and I think its acceptable to want to work to a place where I do love it. But even if I don't love it, I do have to appreciate it and know that I need this body. I have to treat it with respect.

In America the Beautiful 2 he interviewed people who lost weight in a variety of ways, people who suffer from eating disorders, and a woman who I would classify as an obsessive exerciser. The variety of observations he made in those people, and things I have observed in people in my own life lead me to one conclusion. This is the only body I get. It doesn't look like I want it to right now, but it is enough. I am a single mother. My kids have a great father and step-mother, but they need their mother too. No matter what I want my body to look like I will always respect it. I have standards I would like to achieve. I do want to look a certain way, but I will NOT take a path that risks my health. Anyone who loves me will take me as I am right now, and anyone who loves you will take you as you are. No matter what you want to look like, no matter what someone else says about how you look, never ever do anything to risk your life for the sake of weight loss or beauty.

It's OK to want things for yourself. But look in the mirror and tell yourself that if you never look any different than you do right now YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eat to Live Day #8

Nothing new to report really, and I know the daily food posts can get boring, so I think I'm going to go for more of a weekly update on this now. I did find a message board for the program that is free and I'm really wanting to buy some of his other materials but it isn't in the budget right now. I do plan to join his site once I have the money for that because I know that the extra support from other doing it who post frequently will help me a lot.

My mother is doing this as well and we both feel so good that today we discussed how hard it is not to just shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone you know who is suffering from something that could be cured or alleviated with this type of diet. But if there's one thing I've learned from my leader training at WW it is that you cannot convert everyone and you can shut people down if you aren't careful. People will make a change in their diet when weight loss (or better health) is in their top five priorities and if they aren't there, you can't make them be. It's hard though. We both have friends who suffer from varieties of conditions and while we can't prove that they would feel better, we know it is possible and wish they'd give it a try. So, as I did with WW if I continue to feel this good, and hopefully look better, then perhaps others will ask me what I'm doing and be motivated to try it too. I did finally share it with a closer group of people and there was some interest so we'll see. Fact is, everyone is different and everyone has to find their own path to health.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eat to Live Day #7

Well it has been a full week on Eat to Live now and I must say...I'm impressed. I got up late this morning, so breakfast wasn't until about 9:30. I did the oatmeal again with a little less water, one apple, and some walnuts and it was perfect. I had grand plans for errand running, but they didn't work out the way I had hoped so I ended up back home at 12:45 instead of making it to the gym before lunch. I had my heart set on a taco salad, but got home and realized I was out of fake meat. So, I ran to the store and picked up that and a bunch of other fun stuff, and lunch was a HUGE taco salad with mostly lettuce, peppers, onions, avocado, fake meat, and salsa. I also crumbled about five baked scoops over it for crunch. Normally I would have had cheese and sour cream on it too so that was a big step. I also had three kiwi and a peppermint patty (I'm not totally cured of the chocolate thing).

After lunch was settled I had a kick ass workout at the gym. I jogged for 20 minutes, lifted and did kettlebells between my sets for about 30 minutes, then did a 20 minute fat burner workout on the step mill. I felt fantastic during my workout and wasn't even remotely hungry when I got home. I just had dinner at 6 which was a half a can of green beans, a cup and a half of spaghetti squash and my pita sandwich with avocado. My addiction to avocado is starting to be a problem ;). I also had two kiwi.

Normally I try to weigh myself only once a week, but I'm so curious with this program that I weighed again this morning and I was down another 1.6. I am a little worried about my lack of green vegetable intake and my massive consumption of avocado so I'm going to try to do something about that this week. I can't say enough how much I love that I'm not starving all the time and craving junk. That's what I really wanted out of this program and so far it is working.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Eat to Live Day #6

OK Day 6 went pretty good with a few slip ups here and there (still getting used to it). Breakfast was a recipe from his book for oatmeal. I made it without the raisins and walnuts and it was SO much food. When I stopped I probably had about an apple still left in the bowl. Tomorrow I'm going to make it with one apple, the walnuts, and just a little less water. I did have a 100 calorie pack of almonds and walnuts a little later.

Lunch was around 11:30 and I had a pita with half an avocado, tomato, lettuce and onion. I also had a huge salad with peppers, onions, black beans, and balsamic vinaigrette and some strawberries. Thanks to the pushy lady at Costco I ended up bringing home some Popchips last night and needless to say that some time after lunch I had a few of those as well.

Now normally I am starving by 3:00 and couldn't possibly workout without eating. By 5:00 my boys were picked up by their dad and I had a 100 calorie pack of walnuts and almonds because I was just starting to feel like I might not get through my workout if I didn't eat something. Well the gym was busy so I did about 20 minutes of jogging on the treadmill and then came home and did a 20 minute full body weight workout from a Bob Harper DVD. I had planned to do a lot more than that or I wouldn't have had the nuts. But by 6:45 I was pretty hungry so dinner was a repeat of my lunch pita, about a cup and a half of spaghetti squash, a full can of green beans, and two kiwi.

I am amazed that I was able to wait that long without eating and I wasn't even that horrible sick kind of hungry that I normally am when I get home after an evening workout. I don't know what my weight loss will be this week, but I love how I feel. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Eat to Live Day 4 & 5

Sorry for my failure to update yesterday. The kids were out of school for a snow day and I sort of fell off the wagon. I didn't eat my normal breakfast because I was being lazy and so that started me off on a long hungry day. Then I had a crappy dinner and just didn't feel great. Today was good until dinner when I had a piece of pizza from Costco and some popchips. So, overall the past two days kind of stunk. However, I weighed in today and I'm down two pounds. That's pretty good for me and I know if I had followed the plan to the letter I would have lost even more. The snow day allowed me to clean house and get caught up on some work. I thought we were going to another wrestling tournament tomorrow, but it was cancelled due to snow. So with the exception of a little bit of work, I'm done with everything that had to get done this weekend. I stocked up on food at Costco this evening and I will have the time to sit down and really plan out and prepare what I'm going to eat this week. I'm excited and loving this!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eat to Live Day #3

OK, it has only been three days, but so far I am loving this. This morning I went to the gym early. I don't have time to eat anything before I go so by the end of my workout my stomach is usually growling and I feel a little sick. This morning I felt like I could eat soon, but I didn't feel like I had to get something in there before I fainted. I didn't notice any difference in my workout performance. Breakfast was green tea with stevia, three kiwi, 100 calorie pack of natural almonds, and a banana. I felt pretty good until lunch, but I think on days when I work out in the morning I should probably eat just a little bit more. Lunch was sort of a fail, but not totally. I brought some steamable snow peas and a pita sandwich with avacado, tomato, onions and lettuce. The peas were just gross. I like them normally, but they just weren't good quality. So I dumped those and went to my co-op for a salad. All good there except for a few croutons, and I'm not sure about the dressing. I picked a vinaigrette, but I don't know the ingredients. I also had an apple, and some (yes sweet) tea. I was totally stuffed though. After work I went to get the boys, and to the store. I was still feeling good when I got home. I made a black bean soup and a repeat of the sandwich I had at lunch. Unfortunately I had some baked scoops with my soup and a Weight Watchers snack size ice cream bar. It's only day three though so I'm not going to beat myself up too bad. Last night I went to the store to replace my food processor that I knocked off my counter. I was looking for something $50 or less to get me through until I can save up for a really good one. I found one for $30 and was feeling good. Then I spotted a juicer on clearance for $24. I don't really like drinking things I could chew, but I thought it might be handy for when I'm just not in the mood to eat a ton of vegetables, and that the boys would like it. So I got a recommendation from a friend about what to try first, and got started. Helpful note, put the pulp catcher on before started. I shot spinach all over my counter, and juice ran everywhere when I moved it to out it on. As you can see...the first time was a fail.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Eat to Live Day #2

I didn't think I would like eating fruit and nuts for breakfast, but it is already growing on me. I did cheat and have a small slice of the pizza again, but aside from that this morning I had three kiwi, a banana, and a 100 calorie back of natural almonds. I also had green tea with stevia because it is freezing today. I had that around 8:00 and with my normal breakfast of a bagel thin with laughing cow cream cheese, and greek yogurt with fruit I'm normally starving by 10:00. At 10 today I was still feeling good. Also, the frequent trips to the bathroom have already slowed down. Lunch was a huge salad with romaine, spinach, peppers, olives black beans and onions. I used balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for dressing. I also had a green giant snow peas, potatoes and pepper combination in a light sauce. The box is four PP on Weight Watchers, and while I know it isn't totally approved because it has the sauce, I want to use up the things I already have. I also had a banana. I didn't end up finishing the whole salad because it was so big. Normally by 3:00 I am starving again and if I don't eat something before going to the gym after work I will feel faint while working out. Today, I was fine all the way through the rest of the day and my workout. I even went to the store afterward and still didn't feel like I normally do. I did eat the last two (and I should have mentioned, these are not normal size slices, they are very thin) pieces of pizza for dinner along with some veggies, quinoa, and a banana. Clearly I should have skipped the pizza and had more veggies because I got hungry later and had an apple. So far the withdraw feelings are very minimal. I did allow myself one diet soda today, but I really didn't want another one. I also walked through the bakery at the store and only had a mild desire for a donut (and donuts are a huge temptation for me). I had a lot of energy and didn't feel like I just had to have certain foods. I hope things continue like this but I have a feeling I could still have some cravings ahead. I'm going to start trying some of the recipes from the book so that I don't get burnt out fast eating salads.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Eat to Live Day #1

Well today was supposed to be my official start on Eat to Live, but it was a fail. I spent all weekend at wrestling tournaments with my sons and was not adequately prepared for today. I did the best I could this morning, but I was just so exhausted that I fell off the wagon. Breakfast started out good. I had a 100 calorie pack of natural almonds, three kiwi, a banana and some pomegranate seeds. I also had some green tea with stevia. Two things here, I forgot I really only like pomegranate mixed in other things, and eating a breakfast like that when you're not used to it will make you pee about a million times. I am sure my co-workers thought something was wrong with me. Lunch was a hummus, swiss, sprout and cucumber sandwich on a bagel, a banana, and two clementines. I was offered lunch and the company was too good to pass up :) Dinner was where things went south. I was starving and while I knew this was normal, I was too tired to fight through it. I had stir fry veggies, fake chicken and quinoa...but I also had a piece of my sons pizza. I plan to get the boys on this way of eating as well, but I need to finish the book Fuhrman wrote for children because their plan can't be as strict. So, tonight it was all about fast. We also had banana/peanut butter "ice cream" for dessert. A few observations from what I did accomplish today. The breakfast was good. I didn't really start to feel like eating until lunch time. Lunch needs a lot more veggies to keep me going until dinner. My head did hurt after lunch but I'm also trying to quit Coke Zero at the same time so I think it was a combination of withdraw symptoms. I'm really tired tonight, but I think that's residual from the weekend and my lack of sleep. Hopefully I do a better job tomorrow. Oh and learning to cook would help.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Eat to Live

I have finished reading Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and I must say that I am impressed. Before I was even halfway through I went ahead and ordered Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right because I knew that this was something I wanted to start my kids on, but that the plan would be different. There's a very high family history of prostate cancer on their dad's side and I want to do everything in my power to lower their risk. I think Dr. Fuhrman can lower our risk for just about everything. I don't suffer from any of the diseases he had had success in eliminating in his patients (aside from my weight and anything I might not be aware of) but I am excited to see how this program will impact my weight, my food cravings and obsession, and the few annoying things I think could possibly go away with this form of eating. Tonight I found a girl on YouTube that has been having some great success without even following his plan to the letter so I am encouraged. Her detox period kind of scared me, but from other things I've read her's sounds a bit more extreme than most. I plan to start adding the foods in more and more over the next few days but we're at wrestling tournaments all weekend and I don't want to try to start when I'm going to be away from home. So my official start will be Monday. I'm going to weigh tomorrow at my gym because they have a scale that measures BMI as well as weight and I have taken measurements and before pictures. I am considering doing a weekly video, but we'll see how that goes. I'm scared, I'm excited...I'll let you know!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ready for Radical

A few posts back I said I was sort of at my wits end with my weight. I'm tired of losing and gaining the same pounds, tired of being hungry all the time, tired of the effort of it all. At the time I was considering posting pictures of myself to perhaps shame me into doing something about it once and for all. I still may do that if I get the courage. But this has to be it. I have to find a way to achieve the weight loss that I want without the constant mental anguish I experience. I've been a vegetarian for a few years now, and while I'm not a very good vegetarian in that I eat too much garbage, I do feel better since eliminating the meat. Oddly enough I was often anemic before going veg and now whenever I donate blood I'm always good. I know the benefits of a good vegetarian diet, and I've wanted to go vegan for a long time but have been sort of hesitant to dive in. I think now's the time. Right before Christmas when Amazon was having all of their sales I bought a copy of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat to Live. It was an impulse purchase because something in the description stuck out to me. But, due to my sever addiction to books, I got it, and put it on my shelf as something to read later. Then I heard he was going to be on Dr. Oz. I watched the videos from the show, and started reading the book. I'm halfway through and I must say, I believe him. His book speaks to everything I've been reading and seeing about a plant based life, and the success stories on his website are the kind of thing you have to see to believe. I don't have all of the illnesses (or if I do, I am not aware) that many of his followers have been cured of following his advice, but I know that so many people that I know would benefit from even following it halfway. It's radical when you compare it to the standard American diet. Little to no animal products, living off beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. But, as doctor Esselstyn says in Forks Over Knives...having your chest divided, and a vein removed from your leg for a bypass is pretty darn extreme too. I think I'll try Fuhrman's approach. I'm scared. It's a change, and I know that a nasty detox period may be in store for me. But I'm tired of the body I'm living in not serving me the way that it should, and I'm ready to help it do that. A friend of mine on Facebook told me that he follows a similar approach for two meals a day and that he's seen positive results. He's an athlete and if he can do this and see his abilities improve then I'm sold. Now what about Weight Watchers you say? I still maintain that WW is a fantastic program. I lost from 213 to 160 on WW, and gained back to 175 when I went off of it. It is still the method I encourage people to follow to change their life, because most people starting a weight loss journey cannot go to the extreme without backsliding. WW made me look at food in a whole new way, but it only works if you do it, and right now, my heart is in a different place. I need something new. I'll let you know how its going.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Theme Song for 2013

At the start of every year I like to pick a "theme song" for the year. Usually its a song that I hear within the first few days of the new year and it speaks to me in some way. I just use it as a motivator throughout the year. I ran my fastest 5K in 2012 on the 4th of July. The race sponsor made a video of shots from the race and put a song with it called On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons. The posted the video on Facebook again the other day to remind us that its only six months away and I was reminded of how much I love the song. So, here's the video with the song!

Valley 4th RUN 2012 from Chris Meyers on Vimeo.