You Are Loved <3

“UNIVERSAL LESSON:  YOU SEE THE WORLD THAT YOU HAVE MADE, BUT YOU DO NOT SEE YOURSELF AS THE IMAGE-MAKER.” 

Gabrielle Bernstein, “The Universe Has Your Back”

Personal development has never been something I pursued intentionally.  One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to acknowledge during my health and fitness journey is that in addition to weighing almost 300 lbs, I was toting around at least that much weight in emotional baggage.  It was literally weighing me down, drowning me in depression and despair.  Unwilling and unable to even leave my house most days, because I was so ashamed and embarrassed at how much I’d let myself go. I kept trying to claw and dig my way to the surface, only to be dragged back down again by the hands of my perception and self-loathing.  It was a cycle I didn’t know how to break.  I didn’t weigh 300 pounds just because I loved food, and I knew that part of my health journey was going to include delving deep into my heart and rooting out the negative and self-destructive emotions that brought me to the edge of the precipice I found myself on the eve before I decided to have Gastric-Sleeve surgery.  I didn’t want to ever end up back in that place, literally hanging over a dark abyss of self-hatred and fear.  I knew losing the weight was only half the battle, delving into my personal “why” was the key.  Why had I allowed this to happen to my body?  Why did I do this to myself?  I was hiding behind the extra weight.  Hiding behind the poor choices.  I needed to figure out why.  I couldn’t let this happen to me again.

Gabrielle Bernstein says something over and over in her book (The Universe Has Your Back) that really stuck with me, “Energy flows where your attention goes.”  Our perceptions create our reality or projection.  Gabrielle compares it to a movie reel.  What we perceive is what we project on the movie screens of our life.  If you find yourself struggling, whether it’s with your weight, your marriage, your relationships, your life…ask yourself, what movie have I been projecting?  I began to really think about what fear motivated me in a negative way to make the poor decisions that led me to this crossroads in my life.  I knew I had choices.  I could keep doing what I’d been doing and continue to live in the shadows, afraid to step out.  Or, I could take a different path.  I could step out of my 300 pound shadow.  I could stop being a spectator in my very own existence and make the decision to actually live!  I could make the decision to be fully present, living my best life, not just watching from the sidelines.

Somewhere along the line between childhood and adulthood, I decided that love was conditional.  I developed along the way this idea that I had to walk the tightrope of perfection in certain relationships in order to be loved and feel love.  If I missed a step, if I failed to say the right thing or do the right thing, that love was withheld from me.  It was taken away.  Whether in my mind or in reality, it was my perception and it colored my attitudes and emotions.  Food became a comfort, a coping mechanism.  Metaphorically, I could hide my shame and low sense of self-worth behind my weight.  If no one could see me, they couldn’t hurt me.  Obviously, I see the fallacy in my thinking, but when you are trapped in a particular mindset, it’s extremely difficult to see your way around it.  The self-destructive behaviors make a weird sort of sense.  You begin to find comfort in the things that ultimately will bring you down.

It’s difficult to explain in words, and I’m probably botching it up, but it’s really painful to open yourself up in this way and bare your soul.  I carry these feelings in the deepest parts of myself.  I’m always waiting for friends and family to realize how screwed up I really am and turn away from me, realize I’m not worth loving and walk away.  This is the movie, I play in my head.  This is my projection colored by my perceptions.  I don’t want to live this way.  I don’t want to gain the weight back.  I still have weight to lose, work to do and part of that work is being 100% honest and transparent.  I don’t want to always feel as if I have to hide behind humor and self-deprecation.  I want to shine a spotlight on the deepest and darkest parts of me, so I can change my “movie”, my perceptions and project a different outcome.

Sharing my thoughts and feelings in such a public forum allows me to feel empowered.  I want to reshape these negative thoughts and structure my life in a more positive and productive way.  As it turns out, losing 100 pounds was the easy part.  Changing my perceptions is where the hard work really begins.  If I want something I’ve never had, I have to do things I’ve never done.  I find inspiration in the support of others.  A big part of me expects failure.  It would be easy to listen to that voice.  That voice tends to get louder when I shut myself off from loving and being loved by others.  The stories I sometimes allow myself to believe about myself block me from feeling supported and happy.

It is difficult sometimes for me to reconcile the fact that I’ve come so far in my health and fitness journey.  I’ve lost over 100 pounds!  I don’t celebrate this amazing achievement often enough.  I usually say something along the lines of “yeah, I’ve lost 100 pounds, but I still have another 50 or so to go.”  My emotional health is an integral part of my overall health and fitness.  I can’t ignore it.  To ignore it leads me right back to where I started and I don’t want to ever visit or live there again.  I need to acknowledge and congratulate myself on the hard work that has gotten me this far.  That sense of accomplishment needs to be the light I shine on the projection I want to play in my daily life.  I don’t want to stay stuck in the negative rut of that old reality.  I want to break down those walls, squash those feelings and crush that mindset.  I have to be purposeful about connecting to the positive images of my success and accomplishments rather than focusing on the negative and destructive.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will I be.  I am perfectly imperfect, a child of God, and learning to love myself, forgive myself is essential to my growth and progress to being the person I was meant to be.

Writing the positive story of my life makes for a happier, more joyful me which radiates a power and light that forbids me from hiding in the shadows of my old self, hiding behind those old fears and spiraling down the staircase of destruction.  Being present in my life, being an active participant is my power and from that power I derive my motivation and my inspiration to continue down this new, unchartered path.  Seeking the approval of others is an integral part of who I am, connecting to those feelings, recognizing and acknowledging those feelings without letting the outcomes control me is key.

I’m worthy of being loved

The above statement, a mantra I repeat to myself daily, sometimes multiple times per day.  I am flawed.  I am imperfect.  I make mistakes.  None of those things discounts me as a person worthy of loving herself and accepting love from others.  In losing 100 pounds, this is what I’ve discovered.  I choose to look back and see my 300 pound self cheering me on, wanting me to succeed instead of trying to trip me up or praying I fail.  I understand that my intentions, my perceptions color my reality.  By being the change I want to see in myself and the world around me, I turn outward judgment into self-reflection and action against the only thing I can ever truly control, myself.

If you are feeling stuck, unloved or in a place where you harshly judge not only yourself but those around you, I hope you find comfort and solace in what I’ve shared here today.  I hope you take the time to stop and think about the movie you’ve created of your life and the part you want to play in it, realizing the power to change the direction and the outcome does truly lie within you.  Empowering yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others.  Forgive yourself.  Love yourself.  So that you may more freely forgive and love others.  Choosing to be intentional, empowering yourself and those around you, projecting the life you want and desire is a daily practice.  I find myself having to redirect my negative thoughts and actions over and over again throughout the course of a day.  Some days are better than others.  Don’t let fear be the guiding principle of your internal dialogue.  The point is to be intentional and purposeful in the changes you want to see and that will direct your thoughts and actions in a positive direction.  Taking responsibility for the lives we’ve created can be scary.  It’s much easier to blame those around us, or our circumstances.  Believe me, I know.  By acknowledging that my perceptions of self-worth, my negative thoughts and feelings and my destructive habits and choices were shaping the reality of my existence, my world, I was able to choose a different path, including the experiences in healing my heart, body and soul that resulted in the loss of 100 pounds and the journey to find the me God intended when he created me in His image.

The bottom line.

You are not alone.  You are loved. ❤

Get In My Belly!

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What a difference 4 months can make!  Documenting your progress with pictures is so important, even if you are the only one that ever sees them.  You might not notice any changes over the course of a month, which might lead to discouragement or a sense of failure and disappointment.  However, when you put a picture side by side, a month apart, you might just amaze yourself!

I’m so very late with this post, I meant to post last Tuesday…but life.  Better late than never though…right? We started homeschooling my 11 year old son 2 weeks ago, and I’m still trying to figure out both our schedules, but that’s a blog post for another time.  In my blog post, Believing Is Achieving, I disclosed that one of my major goals for 2017 was to plan and prep meals more consistently and eat out less.  So far so good, but the year is young.  One of the products I purchased for myself that has been a game changer in our household – meal prep containers.

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Seriously, these cost me $20 for a pack of 20 and they have been working awesome for us.  My husband can pre-pack his lunches with either leftovers or I prep some meat and veggies for the week.  It makes it so much easier to grab something healthy for lunch or snack and resist the temptation to eat out because I’m too tired or busy to cook/make something.  I ordered mine thru Amazon, but I’m sure you could find them anywhere.  I prefer the 3 way containers, but they also come in 2.

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I can’t stress this enough.  If you remember nothing else that I ever say, remember these 2 things:

  1. Throw out your scale!  DO IT!
  2. EAT EAT EAT – stop dieting

I’m an emotional eater. I eat when I’m upset, bored, lonely, happy, angry, etc… You get the picture.  I shared with my nutritionist that I don’t actually remember the last time I was truly HUNGRY.  Dieting just made me feel deprived and angry.  Angry at what I perceived to be my failings.  Anger that I couldn’t be the kind of person to eat whatever I wanted, never exercise and stay magically thin and fit.  Anger led to binge eating, losing control and hating myself.  A vicious cycle I couldn’t seem to break.  One of the key things my nutritionist and therapist taught me was that food isn’t inherently good or bad.  It’s a mantra I live by now.

FOOD ISN’T INHERENTLY GOOD OR BAD

It’s about choices.  Some foods are better for you.  They have better benefits.  I feel better when I eat them.  Sometimes you just need that slice of cake or that piece of pie or bowl of ice cream.  My life is now a series of choices.  I know that an apple is better for me than a ding dong.  I know I need to fuel my body.  Once I changed my mindset, and food wasn’t a series of things I wasn’t ALLOWED to eat, my eating habits improved.  Improving my eating habits, filling my plate with nutritiously dense foods, fueled my body in ways that I could FEEL.  I found myself with more energy, both physical and mental.  My moods improved.  I wasn’t constantly filled with self-loathing.  I didn’t feel like a failure when I reached for the mega-stuffed Oreo.  I enjoyed the heck out of that Oreo, but I stopped at 1, instead of eating 6 or more.  I started to learn to love myself.  It’s a process, one in which I’m still evolving.  I’ve found new confidence and joy in my body and what it can do now that it couldn’t do before at almost 300 pounds.

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I’m willing to put myself out there and be vulnerable in sharing my journey.  If even one person understands that they are not alone, that I understand how they feel and that I am here to inspire, motivate or just love them through it, then putting myself out here – the good, the bad and the ugly – will have all been worth it.  My goal is health.  Healthy looks different on everyone, and I think that is beautiful.  I think YOU are beautiful.  I don’t have a goal weight.  I just have goals.  Society doesn’t dictate what beautiful means to me, I define it for myself and I embrace every scar, every stretch mark, every fabulous flaw because it’s the roadmap in my journey, in my beautiful life.

So what do I eat?

Snacks

A big part of my daily nutrition comes in the form of Shakeology by Beachbody.  I usually drink one as my afternoon snack.  The long hours between lunch and dinner are my most vulnerable.  If I’m going to reach for the Oreo or bag of Doritos, it’s during the interminable mid-afternoon.  I prefer the chocolate flavor.  It curbs my cravings, gives me a boost of energy to finish the day strong and fills me up till dinner.

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I also enjoy fruit, granola and trail mix for my snacking pleasure.  I’m a creature of habit, so I’ll typically have the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day for weeks until I get bored, then I change things up.

BREAKFAST

This is an easy one, because I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning.

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And coffee.

Lots and lots of coffee.

And eggs.  I love eggs.

I vary what I put in my omelets, but I love me some eggs for breakfast.  I always add spinach, I’m not a huge vegetable lover, so I get them in however and whenever I can.  I might add turkey sausage or diced ham.  I’ll throw in some peppers and onions, a little cheese, different kinds every week.  Sometimes I add an avocado or fruit on the side.

And yes I eat the whole egg.  Yolk and all.

Lunch

Part of my meal prep for the week is grilling some chicken for easy go-to lunch choices during the week.

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A recent favorite of mine is the turkey, avocado and red pepper roll up!  So good!  And no I’m not anti-bread.  I LOVE bread.  It’s important to meet my protein goals every day, and that’s harder to do if I fill up on carbs, as lovely as they are and as much as I love them.

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Another lunch favorite is the quesadilla.  I eat this one quite a bit, it’s easy and I love a hot lunch.  I’ll add grilled chicken, spinach and peppers/onions to a whole wheat tortilla, sometimes throwing in some cheese or avocado.  The quesadilla is great because it’s a versatile choice, there are so many directions and iterations you could try to shake things up if you get bored easily with food.

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DINNER WINNER OF THE WEEK

First, I will share my list of favorite websites that I use religiously for recipes/ideas when I’m not using Pinterest.  Pinterest is pretty much my one-stop shop, but these websites are beautiful and have deliciously wonderful recipes.

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Our favorite dinner last week came from How Sweet It Is.  It wasn’t too difficult to make, I did throw in some cheats and I was able to prep most of it ahead of time to reduce actual cooking time.  It was a hit with the family, even the man-child, and he’s impossible to please these days.  It tasted even better reheated the next day.  I can’t wait to make it again!

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I mean seriously, how good does this look?  And I’m usually a Pinterest fail, so when my food (or project) comes out actually looking very similar to the fancy picture, I’m super stoked! Even admiring how pretty it looked, I was still afraid to taste it.  I would have curled in the fetal position, crying for days, if it hadn’t tasted as good as it looked.  Luckily, it did!  Here is the actual recipe.  I didn’t grill corn on the cob and shave it off, that’s too much work for me.  I just bought the Del Monte Fire Roasted Corn (yes, in the can).  I made the bacon ahead of time, crumbled it up and stored for later use.  I also kept the grease in a bowl and reheated it for cooking per the instructions.

A small serving of this tasty dish filled me up, but not in that uncomfortable food baby belly wear elastic pants kinda way.  I love it when a recipe comes together from kitchen to table like this one did for me.  It’s just the best feeling, especially when you aren’t the best cook in the world, like myself.

Anyway, I hope some or all of my suggestions work for you and your family.  Meal prepping really does help control poor eating habits and choices, not to mention all the money we’ve been saving not eating out.  It takes a bit of organization, planning and prepping but it’s so very worth it.  Try it!

It’s a game-changer, I promise ❤

Something To Talk About

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

You have 24 hours to spend with an ancestor. What do you talk about?

It was submitted by: It was submitted by: http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

I’ve been thinking about my Great-Grandmother quite a bit lately.  She passed away over 20 years ago.  I know her in the way a child knows a grandparent.  I wish I had known her as an adult.  I remember sitting on her front porch, shelling pecans or snapping beans, listening to her talk, telling stories.  I’d love another chance to do that again, even just for 24 hours.

I don’t know much about my ancestry, but even if I did, I can’t imagine wanting to spend time with anyone else.  Grandma Dowell left a huge impression on my young mind and heart.  Every morning, I’d wake up on our visits to find her reading her bible.  I can thank her for my love of bacon, the kind fried up in a skillet, steeped in grease and love.  Yum!  I can only really remember her being on the porch or in the kitchen.  She was always working, never stopping, those bent and gnarled arthritic hands constantly in action.  I loved going through her purses, she also kept gum or mints stashed in them.  She had a little apartment attached to her house, my sister and I would spend hours playing in there.  I sat, entranced, in front of her television, watching MTV.  You know, back when MTV played music videos.  Videos like Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” or “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.  Oh!  Another good one, “Hungry Like The Wolf” by Duran Duran.  I know I’m totally dating myself.  Remember “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel?  “When The Doves Cry” by Prince makes me all nostalgic.  I would slip into a music video coma when “Take On Me” by a-ha would come on.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention “Like A Prayer” by Madonna or “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, which was also my first album by the way.  Ah, the memories.  Good times.

She loved me.  I don’t remember her being overly affectionate, verbally or otherwise, but I never doubted that she loved me.  She cooked all my favorite foods.  She spent time with me.  She listened to me.  She spoke to me as if I were an equal, as if my thoughts and feelings mattered, making me feel grown up and treasured.  She had such patience for my litany of questions, cautioning me once that “curiosity killed the cat.” I’d laugh and say but “satisfaction brought it back.” I miss her.  I’ve been thinking about her so much lately, even before I got this prompt.  I’m not sure why.

I wish my kids could have known her.  I wonder what she would think of me now.  All grown up.  Would she be proud?  She kept a box of letters and pictures.  She told me she was keeping them for me because she knew I would be a writer someday, and I’d want them.  I don’t know what happened to that box.  I wish I had it.  She believed in me before I even understand what to believe about myself.  I feel like I’ve let her down.  I let life get in the way.  I let my doubts and insecurities hold me back.  Would she lecture me?  Admonish me?  What words of wisdom would she have for me?  There is so much I want to tell her.  I need her advice, her wise counsel.  She’d probably tell me to get over myself.  She wasn’t shy about giving her opinions.  I loved that about her.

I remember her house dresses.  Someone should bring those back.  I’m a big fan of pajamas that are socially acceptable in public.  I also remember the first time she took her teeth out in front of me.  That was horrifying.  I didn’t know anything about dentures!  I wasn’t allowed to put my elbows on the table, but she could place her teeth on it!  That didn’t seem fair.  She just laughed and laughed.  Her toothless smile wide as she patted me on the head.

I remember sitting crouched in the hallway during a tornado warning.  It was so scary, a tornado literally touched down behind and in front of her house, just missing us.  At least that’s how I remember it.  During the whole ordeal, grandma was in the kitchen making popcorn.  The old-fashioned way, on the stove-top, completely unaffected by the chaos upending everything outside her four walls.  I remember waking up to finding a huge snake in her kitchen.  I don’t remember how she got the snake out or what happened to the snake, but I remember how calm she was in the midst of my hysteria and panic.  That’s the best way to describe her, she was a rock, a stable force in my childhood.

I would ask her to cram all of our shared memories into 24 hours so I could record them and keep them forever.  I’d want to hear more about her life and her marriage.  She was born around 1894, when I think about all the things she witnessed, the history she lived, things I’ve only read about, I’m filled with wonder and curiosity for what life must have really been like for her.  For my birthday every year, she’d send me $1 and a pair of pantyhose.  $1 was a lot of money to her and pantyhose a luxury item.  Things I didn’t appreciate as a child growing up in a generation of X’ers, the world of plenty.  Going to visit her was like going back in time, a slower pace, more thoughtful and deliberate.  Peaceful and serene.  I’m probably waxing poetic about my time spent there in a way that memory allows, I don’t know how reliable are my thoughts and memories, but it makes me feel good, this version I tell myself.  It feels magical and special, a time in my childhood to be cherished.

I’d spend our 24 hours on her front porch, soaking her up like a sponge.  My adult self recognizing how special she was and how luck I was to know her at all, if only a little bit.  She makes up such a small part of my overall history and life to this point, but she made such a huge impact. I’d tell her all these things.  I’d make her fix me bacon again.  I’d share my time with her with my husband and children. I’d love nothing more than to give them a chance to know her, and vice versa.

Everyone should have a Grandma Dowell in their life.  I’m blessed and grateful she was a part of mine. ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy              http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                           http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                           http://thelieberfamily.com

Sparkly Poetic Weirdo                              http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/

Simply Shannon                                      http://shannonbutler.org

The Bergham Chronicles                           http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom      http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Not That Sarah Michelle                         http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                           http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated  Mom                              http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com

When I Grow Up                                     http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/

Climaxed                                           http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Believing Is Achieving

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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I get a ton of questions daily about what I eat and what kind of exercise I do, so I thought I’d write today and share what I’ve found works for me.  I plan on making this an ongoing series, posting my workouts, meal plans and anything else I find motivational or inspirational.  I know that I love seeing other people post about their meal plans and exercise routines.  I love finding new recipes and ideas.  My idea of spicing up the kitchen is buying chicken with the skin on.  I know, I’m living life on the edge!  Be jealous.

I don’t know about you but I’d much rather think about food than politics or the state of the Union which has been filling up my social media feeds here lately.  All the scrolling to find videos of puppies and kittens and things that make me happy is exhausting lately and quite frankly should be counted as exercise. All that finger swiping has to be burning calories.  I’m going to google that…

Apparently there is an app that calculates how many tweet calories you burn.  An argument could be made that swiping, liking and commenting burns about the same amount of calories as tweeting.  The average, healthy person burns about 2.65 calories per minute.  It takes 23 seconds approximately to craft a 140 character tweet, which means that sending one tweet burns about 1.03 calories.  I don’t do math, so I’m not fact checking this information.  I can’t believe someone sat around trying to figure that out, but it came in handy today.

Anyway, I digress.  One of my major goals for 2017 is to meal plan/prep every week.  So far so good.  I’ve noticed by planning my meals each week, I’ve saved a ton of money and time.  I was literally going to the grocery story every day last year, spending roughly $30-$60 each visit.  More if I was at Target.  We also ate out more often, and I’ve been scaling that back to once a week, maybe twice at most.  Since meal planning/prepping, I’m spending about $150 per week, $600 per month on groceries, approximately.  Some weeks it’s a little higher, some a little lower.  I was spending $210 – $420 per week before.  That’s just ridiculous.  Sunday is my planning day and Monday is my shopping/prepping day.  I put little stars next to the meals that go over really well, and I have theme nights.

For example:

Meatless Mondays

Taco Tuesdays

Whimsical Wednesdays (when I try something new)

Thematic Thursdays (I look for dishes from other cultures/countries – Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, etc…)

Fallback Fridays (old favorites, comfort foods)

Silly Saturdays (fun foods – like make your own pizza or finger foods only)

I don’t always stick to these themes, but it gives me a guidepost and makes it easier when I’m trying to plan to keep things new and different.  I usually incorporate at least one crockpot meal and I don’t cook on Sundays.

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I do not diet.  However, I do believe that what we do in the kitchen, dictates how successful we will be in creating healthier, fitter, happier versions of ourselves.  I follow the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time I follow a healthy, clean and wholesome food plan.  The 20% rule is because I love Chick Fil A, Girl Scout Cookies, Chocolate and wine and I don’t believe in deprivation.  I spent years abusing my body.  Starving.  Overeating.  Binge eating.  The word “die” is in diet for a reason.  It was literally killing me.  I’ve tried every diet out there and none of it worked long-term.  I worked with a nutritionist and therapist prior to my surgery and there is a reason they require it.  My relationship with food was detrimental to my mental, physical and emotional well-being.  I had to change the way I felt and thought about food or I would end up being another statistic.  I felt like surgery was a pretty drastic action, it wasn’t something I entered into lightly, and I didn’t want to put myself thru all of the this only to end up back where I started someday.

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I learned that food is neither inherently good nor inherently bad.  We assign values to food and it creates this unhealthy relationship.  We eat something “bad” and we beat ourselves up, feeling crappy and worthless and in my case, I’d end up just eating more “bad” food in this vicious cycle of self-loathing.  We embark on these crazy diets and fads, billions of dollars are spent every year, making the fitness/health industry one of the largest, yet we are still obese as a country on the whole and that number is rising every day.  There isn’t a magic formula or magic pill to lose weight or get fit.  If there was I definitely would have found it by now.  Losing weight also doesn’t mean losing fat.  The scale lies.  I threw out my scale and it was the best decision I ever made.

THROW OUT THE SCALE!

 You will be happier I promise.  Take your measurements, pay attention to how you feel, how your clothes feel and celebrate non-scale victories.  The scale will only make you miserable and obsessed, it is not an accurate measure of your success, failure or progress.  It doesn’t tell the whole story.  In fact, the scale tells “alternative facts”.  Cheeky I know, I went there.  Deal with it ❤

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How much do I eat?

Here is the other mistake many people (especially women) make when it comes to food and eating.  We don’t eat enough.  I KNOW!  Shocking, but true.  We are starving ourselves.  Our bodies need fuel, especially if you are working out.  I use the formula below to determine how many calories I should be consuming each day and I use the MyFitnessPal app (iPhone) to track my food.  I’m not super religious about tracking, mostly I use it to ensure I’m getting my protein each day.  I aim to get about 60+ grams of protein each day.  Then I balance out the rest of my diet with fruits/vegetables, whole grains, fats, etc.

What is your gender? Your Score: 1 or less – 1,200 – 1,499 calories
Female +1 2 – 1,500 – 1,799 calories
Male +2 3 – 1,800 – 2,099 calories
4 – 2,100 – 2,399 calories
What is your weight? 5 – 2,400 – 2,699 calories
130 lbs or less +1 6 – 2,700 – 2,999 calories
131-160 lbs +2 7 – 3,000 – 3,299 calories
161-180 lbs +3 8 or more – 3,300 – 3,599 calories
181 – 200 lbs +4
201 – 220 lbs +5
221 lbs + +6
What is your current activity level?
Inactive (desk job) -1
Moderate (server in a restaurant) 0
Very Active (construction worker) +1
What is your goal?
Lean out -2
Maintain Weight 0
Build Muscle +1
Total Score

You are wondering how I know how much I weigh if I threw out my scale.  Well, I still have to go to the doctor and they make me stand on it.  You’ll have some idea of how much you weigh, even if you don’t have a scale.

Make sure you are eating enough!

Exercise – I work out 4-6 days per week, depending on what is going on that week.  Never fewer than 4 days and never on Sunday.  What I do each day depends on my mood and how I feel.  Typically, I walk 4-5 days per week, 1-3 miles.  Currently, I am doing the T25 program thru Beachbody, which are 25 minutes in length and vary each day in terms of what is focused on (i.e. lower body, total body, cardio).  I also work to hit at least 10,000 steps per day.

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I don’t love exercise, and I won’t pretend that I do.  I do it because I do love how it is changing my body and how strong it makes me feel.  I do it because I don’t want to gain the weight back, and I still have inches I want to lose.  I do it because I know how bad not doing it makes me feel.  I can’t and won’t go back there.  I wish there was another way, an easier way.  But there is not.  You have to move your body and fuel it with wholesome and nutritious foods.  It takes so much longer to take it off than it does to put it on, which is horribly unfair.  Alas, it’s the way it is and that won’t change.  Find what motivates and inspires you.  Make exercise a daily task or to-do on your list, schedule it on your calendar. Whatever you need to do to make working out and YOU a priority.  You deserve it.  You need it.  You’ll be a better person for it.

I promise.

I’m here for you.  We can do this together.  We’ve totally got this!

Next time, I’ll share meal prep ideas, meal plans and recipes.  Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you, inspire you, motivate you.

Disaster, Thy Name Is Me

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Did you ever put your foot in your mouth and then instead of pulling it out, put it in deeper? Were you able to ‘fix’ it or was the situation a complete disaster?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

I know everyone who actually knows me and just read my secret subject got a very good laugh.  I know I chuckled.  I mean, if putting your foot in your mouth was an Olympic sport, I’d be gold medaling all over the place.  I’m the Simone Biles of awkward foot eating.

Where to even begin.

For those of you who don’t know me well or personally, I’ll start with an introduction of sorts.  I am actually extremely shy and introverted.  My spirit animal is probably a hermit crab.  If I didn’t have to interact, I probably wouldn’t.  I’m better over social media than in person as a general rule.  I always feel awkward.  I suffer from chronic verbal diarrhea.  It’s horrible.  I’m worse around other women and specifically mom’s.  I feel more comfortable with men, but usually am still super awkward or say super inappropriate things.  I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, which would be fine by me honestly.

I revert to self-deprecation and humor in hopes of covering up my extreme social awkwardness and foot gorging behavior, but sometimes that really just makes everything worse.  My poor husband…  I feel like he follows me around with a pooper scooper, just shoveling and cleaning up the social disaster that is his wife.  I think if he could muzzle me at times he would, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.  I mean, I tease and say he finds these qualities of mine, endearing or even lovable, but I’m mostly trying to convince myself.  I’ve always felt I was the counter balance to his more taciturn and serious demeanor.  I’m the Lucy to his Ricky. The Jerry (Seinfeld) to his George.  The Pooh to his Piglet. The Jerry (Lewis) to his Dean.  Okay…maybe not.  But you understand what I’m trying to convey.  Hopefully.

As I mentioned, I feel the most awkward when talking to other women, especially other mother’s.  I don’t know why, probably insecurity.  I feel that if they spend too long talking to me they will see what a fraud I am and how I totally don’t have this motherhood thing down and I’m completely faking it 99% of the time.  I feel as a general rule that everyone is doing the whole parenting thing way better than me, and being complimented on my parenting makes me extremely uncomfortable and I often resort to making embarrassing comments or inappropriate jokes.  I can’t really think of specific examples, I feel as if in parts my entire life is a series of blooper reels on repeat and in slow motion being regurgitated for the entire world to mock.  I know it seems ridiculous, I have great kids, why shouldn’t I get some of the credit, but honestly I really think they are awesome in spite of my parenting skills or lack thereof.

My biggest problem, the way I see it, is that I perpetually feel like a 14 year old girl on the inside.  That mechanism people have that stops them from saying certain things in front of certain people, yeah I think mine is defective or broken.  I say a little prayer or mantra if you will before going anywhere that usually goes something like this:

Please don’t let me say anything stupid today.  Don’t let me forget to make eye contact and smile.  Not a crazy I’m probably going to boil a pet bunny on your stove later kinda smile, just a normal, nice how are you smile.  Don’t bring up sex, poop or private body parts.  Instead of thinking ahead of a witty comeback, actually listen to the person speaking to you, like really listen.  Do: If someone attempts a hug, just hug them back and be grateful they want to love on you. Don’t: If someone attempts a hug, launch into a 5 minute diatribe on how uncomfortable and awkward hugging makes you feel ending in a rather maniacal laugh and claiming you have to run to the loo (I never say loo except in my head because it sounds more sophisticated) because you haven’t pooped in 3 days. Just BE normal.  Be kind.  Be nice.  Again, because it needs repeating, BE NORMAL.  Breathe.  Don’t forget to breathe. You got this girl!

For example, over Thanksgiving, I met my husband at work for the staff luncheon.  He works in a church.  At the beginning, we get in this huge line, and everyone holds hands, to pray before we feast.  I’m not a big fan of touching, unless it’s my husband or kids, so I was pretty proud of the fact that I picked the end of the line and only had to hold my husband’s hand, avoiding any potential awkwardness.  At some point, I realize everyone is looking at me and then pointedly looking over to the left of me.  I’m confused.  I offer up a blank stare, then I look to my left and realize, our line is supposed to be a circle.  The other end of this line that I have to bridge to make the circle is our Senior Pastor, essentially, my husband’s boss.  I thought I only groaned and said “oh no” in my head, but no… I voiced this objection with my out loud speaking voice.  Everyone chuckled,  out of awkwardness I’m sure, and I seriously wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.  It’s not that I didn’t want to hold his hand, I’m just not a fan of hand holding in general.  What if my palms were sweaty, or unusually dry and had I even washed my hands, had he?  I’m pretty sure I licked my finger like 2 seconds ago, will he notice? I picked my ear earlier, I mean personally preferable over a nose pick but still…and not with the same ear picking finger.  I don’t think.  I’m pretty sure it was a different finger.  I think my hands are sweaty now.  Did I really just say no?  Why do I leave the house? WHY? He probably doesn’t even remember this incident, but it’s haunted my mortifying nightmares for weeks.  If I haven’t felt stupid in a day, it’s probably only because I haven’t left the house and talked to anyone.

The other thing I do when I’m nervous or talking to people I don’t know that well, or even people I do know well is that I ramble…or babble incoherently, however you want to phrase it.  This is especially true with someone that I really want to like me or someone I want to impress.  You should hear me in job interviews…oh the horror.  I get nervous and worry about not sounding intelligent or witty so I just open my mouth and holy highway of verbal vomit someone please stop me I can’t help myself make it stop punch me in the face right now please.  I probably need to be medicated.  For reals.  You are now probably thinking, omg she’s NOT medicated?!?!?  Nope.  I’m not.  I’m free-ballin’ this crazy thing called life 😀

I’ve always used humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism.  It’s hard for me to relax in social situations so I’m pretty much guaranteed to use my foot as an all day sucker.  I have to work really hard to appear more extraverted than I actually am.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  My hope is that people will in general find me endearing and humorous and spend the majority of the time laughing with me and not at me.  I hope they understand my heart is usually in the right place and I never intentionally mean to offend.  It’s much easier for me to share and be open in the social media arena than it is in one on one situations.  I’ll post pics of my weight loss journey all over Facebook and Instagram, but when I see someone who liked or commented on my photo, my inner 14 year old girl is screaming “OMG THEY SAW ME IN A SPORTS BRA AND YOGA PANTS WITH MY BACK FAT HANGING OVER AND MY BOOBS SWINGING LOW AND SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT!!!!”  RUN!  HIDE!  DO NOT ENGAGE!  WARNING!

I’m not sure I did a great job of answering my secret subject this week, but I’ll wrap up by saying, I’m basically a walking social disaster, but I hope you’ll love me anyway ❤

And pray for my husband.

Especially that.  I’m exhausting.

Have a wonderful and blessed Friday!

xoxo

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                     http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver      http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                  http://thelieberfamily.com

Confessions of a part time working mom    http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                     http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                     http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                     http://www.southernbellecharm.com

If Google Could Talk…

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

pixie dust ~ paramedic ~ cardio class ~ high school ~ Fraizer fur ~ pop tarts

They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

My first thought upon seeing my words for this installment of Use Your Words was what in the heck is a Fraizer Fur?

Naturally, when I don’t know something, which is often, I google it.  Sometimes I get really paranoid about what I google.  I think maybe it’s going into some big database somewhere that the NSA is tracking and I’m on some watch list.  Or I’ll die suddenly, and people will go thru my google history which would embarrass me more than being found by a paramedic with 8 week hair growth on my legs and dirty underwear.

WordPress has this feature which tells you what google searches brought up your blog in the search engine.  I see weird things here all the time.  People searching for things like “high school nip slip.”  My first thought was why on earth would someone from Finland google that particular phrase?  My second thought was equally horrifying, WHY DID MY BLOG COME UP?!!!?!? I’ve talked about some questionable subjects to be sure…  Well, now that I think about it, I’ve probably covered topics on pretty much every body part, so even though I don’t remember specifically talking about nipples, it’s not a farfetched idea.  However, I still don’t know why anyone would be googling it and can’t imagine they are up to any good!  I also imagine they were very disappointed perusing through my blog, because while no body part may be off limits as far as topic conversations go, there are no accompanying nude photos or graphics for viewing pleasure. This is just not that kind of blog.

Anyway, I digress.  I googled Fraizer Fur and got really worried.  Well first I got annoyed, then worried.

The first thing that popped up from Mr. Google:  “Did you mean: what is a frasier fir” 

Is that what I typed Mr. Google?  NO.  I don’t need autocorrect or made to feel stupid, this was the word I was given now tell me what it is without the commentary!  Is it just me or does Mr. Google feel awfully judgmental sometimes?  I scrolled down a bit, and saw a link to the Animal Liberation Front, which I clicked on against my better judgment.  Now I’m really freaked out that I’m on some NSA naughty list somewhere.  Just typing that phrase probably puts me on a list.  I don’t want to be on a list.  But curiosity got the better of me.  So I clicked.  Apparently, a bobcat was freed from a Montana fur farm, the Frazier Fur Farm in Plains, Montana, not to be confused with the Fraser Fur Farm in Ronan, Montana.  Whew!  Cause I mix those two fur farms up all the time.  Apparently, this is the first recorded live liberation in the history of the Animal Liberation Front.  They opened the cage and let the bobcats “run free to the wilderness.”  I mean I’m happy for the bobcats, but am I the only one concerned about the ramifications of “freeing” bobcats that have been caged for who knows how long?  In other news, another anonymous group freed a group of 4,800 mink in Idaho.  I worry for these animals and their newfound freedom, this doesn’t seem very responsible action to me.

All this research is making me hungry.  I’m seriously eyeing my son’s pop tarts.  The brown sugar cinnamon kind.  Honestly you could sprinkle cinnamon on anything and I’d probably eat it.  The fact that I really want to eat them is disturbing to me, because honestly is there a more gross breakfast treat than a pop tart?  Have you ever looked at the ingredients in a pop tart?  It’s got yummy ingredients like tbhq for “freshness” and sugar and corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup and dextrose and palm oil and wheat starch and did I mention sugar?  Is it any wonder I’m seriously considering eating the entire box.  In one sitting.  This really highlights the nature of my distress over my google findings.  Of course one pastry is 210 calories and 7 grams of fat.  A typical box contains 6 packs, each with 2 pop tarts per package.  So let’s see…math is not really my thing.  Hold on a sec.

If I ate the whole box that would be in the neighborhood of 2,500 calories and 84 grams of fat.  Since I can’t just magically sprinkle pixie dust all over myself to keep my stomach and thighs from absorbing all these calories and fats, I’ll be forced to do hours of cardio class, squeezed into uncomfortably tight workout pants, panting and sweating, trying to make it look easy and still look sexy for the incredibly hot (and probably Australian) male instructor who sounds remarkably like my Siri pal.  I’ll start to feel nauseous (all that tbhq) and decidedly not fresh, which will be followed quickly by my friend dizzy and her cousin light-headed.  I collapse into a heaping hot mess of sick and tired, upon which the hot Australian instructor is forced to do CPR, trying to avoid the dried cinnamon sugar at the corners of my mouth and bottom of my chin, and call the paramedics who in turn discover my 8 week unshaved leg growth and dirty underwear while searching for my phone to call my next of kin and chancing upon my dodgy google history!  In their attempt to revive me, all I can mutter are short phrases like “Fraizer Cinnamon Fur” and “Animal Liberation Tart” and “Save the Pop Minx!”

(I feel quite strongly that the entire paragraph above might come under a google search for “word porn”…)

(I’m also thinking that the visual I just gave you has you feeling quite jealous of my husband right about now)

(If you’re finding yourself getting too excited, my husband has been known to refer to some of my workout outfits as “man repellant”so yeah…)

Now that we are all calm and under control…

I still don’t know what a Fraizer Fur is but I’m leaning towards a tree of some kind?  Excuse me, I see a pop tart with my name on it! Disgustingly delicious!

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Southern Belle Charm                            http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Not That Sarah Michelle                         http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                               http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                         http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                   http://dinoheromommy.com/

Confessions of a part time working mom      http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

On the Border                                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Climaxed                                                 http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

You’ve Got Mail

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

You wake up and YOU are the “elf on the shelf” and you CAN move about on your own free will…what havoc do you create or are you a “good” elf? Write a story and tell us about a day in the life of “You the Elf on the Shelf”

It was submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

If I woke up as the “elf on the shelf”, I would spend my time writing my human self a letter and it would go something like this…

Dear “Family”,

I remember the night you brought me home.  It was late, you were panicked because apparently you lost your original Elf on the Shelf, which you let your spawn name “Spike”.  I tried not to feel alarmed that my comrade and fellow Elf on the Shelf was terrified and alone, shoved in some box somewhere, forsaken and forgotten.  I didn’t even get a new name.  I got a used name, a rather horrific name for a Christmas Elf, but my opinion wasn’t solicited.  Apparently, it’s your belief that all elves look the same.  You thought nothing of passing me off as the original “Spike” to your unsuspecting offspring. Sometimes late at night, I think I can hear the original “Spike” screaming to be freed from his dark prison of neglect.

I dreamed of the day I would be picked off the store shelf and brought to my new home for the first time.  My dream in no way resembled the nightmare I now find myself in.  Every  night thrust in some new humiliating or precariously orchestrated scene of mischief and mayhem.  Somehow I’m supposed to illicit good behavior with these ill-advised shenanigans!  How that works, I haven’t quite worked out yet.  I see how you look at me, with your deep sighs of annoyance.  Often even forgetting about me altogether, and making ups some lie or excuse as to why I failed to move during the night.  I do admit I find humor in those mornings you find yourself up before the crack of dawn trying to find something new to do with me.  Something impressive you can post on that Facebook page you’re always looking at and obsessing over.

This whole Facebook phenomenon is the only reason I think you bought me in the first place, for the second time!  All these adults trying to outdo or one up each other!  Can I be completely honest with you?  Of course I can, this is my letter!  You have many gifts, and I suppose as a parent, you do okay.  I mean, who am I to judge.  My treatment notwithstanding, you seem like a pretty good person and I think you do your best.  I’m not judging you but you’re never going to be the mom who sews her kids Halloween costumes. Or the mom that makes a Whole 30 approved lunch for her child every day, complete with little sandwiches cut into various shapes and characters.  Or the mom that gets up and makes fresh pancakes and berries for breakfast on the daily before school.  Or the mom that volunteers for anything and everything and does a spectacular gluten-free job.  Accept this.  It’s okay.

You’re the mom that throws a bruised banana in a brown paper bag with some stale goldfish, peanut butter and jelly on a hot dog bun (because you ran out of bread and it was at least a whole wheat bun) and a tic tac you found in the couch cushion and calls it a lunch.  You might not be the mom that can hand sew the best Halloween costume ever, but you are the mom that will drive around to 50 stores to find the exact rendition of ninja that your son desperately wants to be. Why measure yourself against what you think you know about other mom’s based on how many likes they get on a posted picture via some social media platform or another.  More importantly, why drag me into the crazy!  I’m just a little elf, designed to bring magic and wonder, and I suppose entice good behavior during the season of Christmas.  Quit killing yourself (and me!) trying to live up to an ideal that isn’t even real!

If you can’t somehow send me back to Santa, to enjoy a long life of making toys, finding a nice elfette to marry and having little elf babies of my very own, then for the love of St. Nick, please stop with the crazy schemes and insanity!  And find the original “Spike”!  He deserves a proper send off as well!  How do you even lose an elf anyway?!?! By the way, nice job explaining my absence so far this season on your impending move.  I’m not asking for much, just don’t lose me.  Surely, I deserve better.  I’ve risked life and limb for you, holding my crazy positions, keeping alive the magic and innocence best expressed in the eyes of the young, prolonging childhood and generating precious memories along the way. If you’re reading this imagining my little elf fist shaking in your general direction, then you are doing it right.  I don’t want to stage a coup, but I am willing to obtain, by any means necessary, if not my freedom then at least a stop to this madness.  As smart as I believe you to be, and I’m feeling generous this morning, you seem to have missed the boat completely on the point of my existence.

Now please excuse me while I spend the rest of my free time doing things that bring me joy.  I’m going to dance to Christmas music, eat some holiday fudge, write a letter home to Santa and a few other special elf friends and because I’m a nice elf, I’m going to take a rag and dust a few of these places you seem to favor propping me up in and around.  I could make dust angels…not to give you any ideas, but I think I’ve developed allergies since living here.  Housekeeping won’t necessarily go on your list of strengths either, not that I’m judging!  I promise.  I’m on your side, truly.  Help me, help you.  Leave the madness.  I have faith in you!  You can do it!  We can do it…together!

Sincerely,

Spike #2

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com 

Not That Sarah Michelle            http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles            http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                 http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver     http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                 http://thelieberfamily.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope              http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                   http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

The Angrivated Mom Blog                   http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                                   http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com