Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lost Focus, Regaining Me


I gave up teaching fitness classes this year, in part, because I don't have time to focus on my own fitness and health by giving up that time for others.  I've not taught one class all month this month and I have struggled big time in getting into a routine.  I have been incredibly tired which has made it difficult to motivate myself to workout.  I know it is due to stress.  I've taken on a lot more responsibility at work, willingly.  I'm trying to adjust to my daughter being an adult and living on her own.  My grandmother passed away on the 1st.  And, as is par for this time of year, I am stressed about finances.  

I have struggled to manage my finances well since my last divorce.  I started the year strong, then I made the mistake of trusting a man!  I was "dating" him and he claimed to be out of money and work was slow to bring in the income (he said he was a roofer).  I made the mistake of telling him I was getting my bonus at work and how much that bonus would be.  He asked to "borrow" money from me to live on until the work picked up.  For some $2500 may not be much  money, but to me it is a LOT.  I did not really have that money to spare.  I needed to save it to cover tuition for my daughter in the event she did not have enough in aid and scholarships.  Guess what.  She didn't have enough.  I have not seen a red cent or that man since I lost that money and it has been a hell of a struggle since.

This time of year adds more to my financial stress because I always manage to make things too tight and can't do as much for my kids for Christmas.  I never ask for help because in all honesty, I do it to myself.  It isn't that I don't have the means.  It is because I make poor choices throughout the year.  It is something I am trying to correct and will.  I already have a solid and workable plan for the new year.  The plan includes buying my first home.  This adds yet another stress.

My body handles stress with increased fatigue.  High fatigue is something with which I've dealt my entire life.  There are few days I can remember NOT feeling tired.  I have learned in recent years that when I can push through feeling tired and workout and when I make sure to eat as clean as possible, the fatigue is less.  Instead of having maybe 2 hours of "rested" time each day, that increases to a solid 8 hours of feeling rested.  It goes against our human nature way of thinking to believe that a hard and exhausting workout can actually increase your energy level, but it does!!!  It does take a few weeks of consistency to make it happen but it is well worth it.  This is where I find myself today...fighting through the fatigue and the stress to do what I know is best for me in total.

I know it will happen.  I have a support system to help me.  I have a great group of ladies with whom I am accountable through a Facebook group.  I also have my daughter who is great about making me feel guilty when I want to skip my workout or eat something I shouldn't.  She simply reminds me, as I ask her to, and then adds in an extra "but mom, you told me to not let you skip!"  In the feels...right there!  I will let down my child if I don't follow through.  I CANNOT do that!  Find what works, right?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup



Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 Hours On High; 10-12 Hours On Low
Yield: About 8 - 2 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 10 oz. frozen, whole kernel corn
  • 28 oz. organic diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz. garbanzo beans or black beans
  • 3 whole roasted chiles, diced
  • 4 c. organic, reduced sodium chicken broth

Directions

Add ingredients to a slow cooker in the order listed, starting with chicken.  The chicken can be frozen or thawed.  Set to low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.  Serve over brown rice or with baked corn tortilla strips or chips.

Nutrition Information

Using only the listed ingredients (as calculated by MyFitnessPal)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Lifetime of Running


I started training on September 1st for the Route 66 Half Marathon.  I’ve missed a lot of training runs.  The first couple of weeks were good, but the last couple of weeks have been bad.  I’ve missed them due to allowing myself to fall victim to my own excuses.  Nevertheless, I choose to continue training.

Today, an 8 mile run was on the schedule.  The most I’ve done in the last month was 4 miles.  I expected today to be rough.  I refused to NOT do the run because I hadn’t been training.  That mindset won’t get me prepared for the goal to which I’ve committed.  Rough or not, it must be done.
I’m not at home today.  I’m not in my familiar territory.  I don’t know good running routes.  I don’t know the paths along the way.  I asked about a couple of the main roads, trying to find a route that would allow me to run 4 miles out and 4 miles back.  Simple.  No maze running, zigzagging, or endless loops.  The person I asked walks and only ever 3.1 miles on the same path, always.  That same path would have required my running 10-12 loops to cover the 8 miles needed.  I get bored easily.  Getting bored in a workout of any sort is never a good thing.  It is too easy to quit before the intended end.

I needed a plan.  I pulled up MapMyRun.com and looked up the city to see routes other users of the app had taken in the past.  I found a simple rectangle route that was just under 7 miles.  On the map, I could see one area where I could easily lengthen the route and hoped that would get me to the 8 miles I needed.  I made note of the street names marking my turns…on the back of my hand.  My memory isn’t that great and it is less so when I’m tired.  I wasn’t leaving this to chance.  The run itself was already going to be a rough one, afterall.  Why make it more difficult or expose myself to an easy opportunity to not finish what I started?

I set out the door with my planned route.  I did something different for my run today.  Normally, I listen to music while I run to help me maintain my pace.  Sadly, I’ve not taken the time to create a playlist with songs of similar beat.  That has resulted in my running too fast too soon.  For that reason, today I opted to listen to an audio book while I ran.  I chose Zig Ziglar’s “How to Stay Motivated.”  I really like Zig’s personal development books.  I highly recommend them.  I also opted to turn off the audio feedback on the Nike+ app I use to track my miles.  I was actually trying to see if the fitbit app would alert me to my miles and pace instead.  I’m new to fitbit as of today and saw in the app that it would give audible feedback for every half mile, instead of every one mile.  This is great for my odd-numbered runs and especially when I’m running in unfamiliar territory. 

I slipped my armband on, put in my earphones, started the Nike+ app and Zig, and started off.  One mile in and the fitbit app had yet to tell me anything!  I didn’t want to stop my run just to turn on an audible cue so I kept running.  No cues to my average pace and nothing telling me how far I’ve run.  I was left to do only one thing…run.

The run was going surprisingly well.  It felt good.  My pace felt good.  I knew I was running slower than I really wanted but it was necessary if I were to complete the 8 miles with few walking breaks, considering how far behind I was on training.  I kept going.  I had to pause at intersections to wait until it was safe to cross.  I didn’t stop moving.  I jogged or marched in place.  I passed side street after side street and didn’t think anything of them.  I knew where I needed to go and just kept running.  I stubbed my toe on a raised sidewalk and kept running.  Not a quarter mile later, I swallowed a gnat.  I kept running….hacking and spitting, but I kept running.  At one point, I got frustrated because it seemed I might have missed the turn that would have been close to my halfway point and would have aimed me toward my finish line.  I kept running…grumbling at how long it was taking, but I never stopped.  I had to wait a particularly long time at a major intersection.  I wasn’t bothered by it because I knew it was coming.  I knew I would have to be patient and just wait until it was safe to pass.  I kept moving and took off running when the signal allowed.  I had to run hills I had not anticipated.  Hills slow me down some but when running outside, they are inevitable.  I kept running.  Once I made to the street name on which I had started, I knew the run was nearly done.  It had not been nearly as rough as I had anticipated.  I could see the finish line.  I just needed to keep running.  I walked at one point after reaching the top of the second hill.  It was the roughest point thus far.  At the top, I could see how far I had come and little I had left to go.  I started running again.  I finished my run at my pre-determined finish line and checked the app to see how far it ended up being…7.3 miles, not 8 miles.  I fell short.

I thought about this for a moment.  I asked myself if I had truly fallen short.  I set a goal.  I planned how I would meet that goal.  I never stopped in spite of the obstacles I encountered.  Some of those obstacles were expected, some of them were not.  Some of the obstacles slowed me down.  Not one of those obstacles stopped me from reaching my goal.  My goal wasn’t so much to run a distance.  It was to complete the run.  I completed the run using the route I had planned.

While I was running, I had the realization that my runs are like so many aspects of my life.  I have goals, hopes, and dreams.  It is up to me whether I bring those to fruition.  If I want them badly enough I will do what it takes to make them a reality.  Goals are dreams with a plan.  They cannot be achieved without a plan.  No matter how difficult the path, no matter how many obstacles jump in the way, if you want it badly enough, you won’t let those keep you from moving.  You will reach those goals with an unwavering willingness to do whatever it takes.  It must start with you.  No one can do it for you.  Put pen to paper.  Write it out.  Set a begin date and an end date.   Define what must be done between the start and end.  Define actions you can do daily to meet that end.  Get started and don’t stop until you achieve that goal. 

There will always be obstacles.  There will always be things and people who will slow us down.  There will always be distractions to take our sites off our goal.  The important thing is that you don’t stop running.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Improving Health with Food: Journal Wrap-up

Sometimes even the best of intentions fall victim to life!  I had the intention of posting daily for my journey in the Ultimate Reset.  I regret not holding to that.  It would have held me more accountable!

I ended up bailing on the meals in the evenings in the last half.  I had no real reason other than not wanting to do the meal prep...sheer laziness!  The meals were just fine.  I would have loved them.  I intend to use the ingredients in my meals in the coming week.

Nevertheless, the Ultimate Reset served its purpose in helping me improve my health.  I haven't suffered a headache or migraine in a month.  I had slight headaches yesterday and today, but they went away when I drank water.  That means I was dehydrated.  I still have trouble drinking enough water.  I don't drink anything else except coffee.  

My attempt to be caffeine free by today will have to be delayed a bit.  I need to wean myself off of it.  My withdrawals were pretty severe.  I haven't been conscious about dropping the caffeine yet, but I still fully intend to do so in the coming weeks.

I haven't had allergy troubles in 3 weeks or headaches in 4 weeks.  I know this is all due to the supplements I've been taking as part of the Ultimate Reset.  My gut aches from the gluten do not exist because I have dramatically limited my gluten intake.  It was pretty low going into the Reset, but I've reduced it further and even request gluten free options when dining out.  My boyfriend, Sean, has been incredibly wonderful in supporting me by eating gluten free, too, on occasion and even calling ahead on our date nights to restaurants to inquire about a gluten free menu.  He is incredible!

I am a bit disappointed in myself for not following the meal plan more closely.  It was incredibly difficult to make adjustments to meet my needs for teaching fitness classes, my own workouts, and just the general chaos of daily life.  I won't be posting my statistic progress because there isn't anything to report.  I've reported on the effects I sought after in doing this.  I am okay with that.

I'm giving myself the weekend of no structure, mostly because I will be away from home a lot and unable to plan like I am used to planning.  Monday I will start back to my usual way of eating...clean, balanced, and healthy.  In support of those I coach, I will be following the nutrition plan for the 21 Day Fix.  It is simple nutrition with container provided for portion control.  I highly recommend it to anyone not wanting to or tired of counting calories, weighing, and measuring food.  With this system, the containers do all that for you and the color-coding make sure you get the adequate servings of each food group.  Simple.  I'm happy to be your coach, too, if you are interested in simple nutrition and simple workouts, from your own home.

Chicken Taco Chili



Chicken Taco Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 Hours On High; 10-12 Hours On Low
Yield: About 8 - 2 cup servings

Ingredients


  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 c. organic pinto beans (no salt added)
  • 1 c. organic black beans (no salt added)
  • 28 oz. organic fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz. organic tomato sauce (no salt added)
  • 2 roasted green chili peppers, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • Optional: shredded cheese
  • Optional: sour cream or nonfat, plain Greek yogurt

Directions

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot.  They can be frozen or thawed.  Added remaining ingredients on top.  Stir until dry seasonings are mixed in well.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.  Remove chicken from the pot and transfer to a bowl.  Using two forks, shred the chicken.  Return shredded chicken to crock pot and stir.  Makes approximately 8 servings, 1.5-2 cups each.  Serve with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese & 1 tablespoon sour cream or nonfat, plain Greek yogurt.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

 Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Yield: About 3 Tbsp.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder*
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes**
  • (optional: 1 tsp. flour)

Method

Stir or whisk all ingredients together until combined. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Improving Health with Food: Journal Days 5-6

I was having some cravings yesterday...cheeseburger, hot tamales, yogurt covered raisins.  They weren't too strong but still there.  I realized that the moment I was having these "cravings" I was also really tired and about to lay down for a nap.  This is something I've learned in the last couple of years.  When I get tired, I have the urge to graze.  I use that term because that is what it feels like.  I eat.  I have no reason to eat.  I'm not hungry.  Nothing in particular sounds good.  I just have the urge to stuff my face.  When I started trying to figure out why I was doing that, I realized that every time I did it I was really tired.  Now, instead of grazing, I go for a walk, or get moving in some way, or take a nap if that is a possibility, or simply go to bed.

Part of the structure of the Ultimate Reset is to evaluate your behaviors.  Eat consciously.  Think about how what you are eating makes you feel.  Think about your emotional state at the times you eat and in between.  It helps to write it out and refer back to it.  You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.  I know I was.  It really helped me break some vicious cycles I kept visiting.

I found myself a feeling a bit run down last night and opted to go to bed, on time as it turned out.  Once I got to bed, I couldn't sleep.  I've had so much energy these last few days that I'm having a hard time getting to sleep!  The problem with that is having to get up early the next morning for work.  That brings me to how I'm feeling today.

I've been tired all day today.  I had a hard time focusing at work, but because I was tired, not due to pharmaceuticals.  Aside from that, I still had energy enough to get in my half marathon training, strength training, and teach my BODYCOMBAT class this evening.  I'm very much looking forward to changing up my meals starting Friday!  One more day of the same meals!  

I've not cheated once!  I haven't followed the nutrition plan to the letter because not exercising is not an option for me considering the fact I am a fitness instructor.  I must have additional fuel.  I have, however, kept that additional fuel to those items available within the Reset nutrition plan, sans bananas!  My muscles get a bit upset with me from time to time, so I eat a lot of bananas to keep them happy.  Being awakened with a Charlie horse in the middle of the night is no picnic!

I have not had any headaches since the caffeine withdrawal headaches.  I started to get one today and used a natural ointment made with essential oils.  I worked!!!  I've had no GI discomfort, either.  I have had some bloating but I attribute that to the carb overload for dinner!  It doesn't last long.  Dinner has been loaded with fiber.  It's a different kind of discomfort.  This one lasts only about an hour, as opposed to days!

I'm very happy with where I'm headed.  I'm very happy to have my mental clarity back and to be tired naturally.  Fifteen more days of this and I get to start experimenting with new foods and meals for my new way of life without gluten, caffeine, or processed sugar.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Improving Health with Food: Journal Day 4

Today started with a great fast-paced walk with Sean.  My energy was high and I felt great.  My meals have been the same since day 1 for ease of preparation, time, and money.  

Meals for Days 1-7





The day ended with dinner at my parents where we cooked out hot dogs and hamburgers, accompanied by potato salad, baked beans, potato chips, and Pink Lemonade pie for desert.  I planned ahead and took my own plate with my Reset meal.  I'm feeling way too good to blow it on processed foods, again.  

In the last 6 years, my family has grown accustomed to my being the "healthy" one.  I'm sure I'm now known as the picky eater.  Only my younger brother really gives me any grief about it.  I don't let any opinions bother me.  What I'm doing is for my health.  It isn't to offend anyone or to be rude.  I bring dishes to the family get-togethers that they will eat and I bring what I will eat - with plenty for anyone who wishes to try it.  I'm already making plans for Thanksgiving, in fact.

I choose to not sacrifice my health, strength, and peace of mind for the opinions of others.  They may not like it in the beginning, but they get used to it and notice the difference in me.  They gain an understanding for my choices and leave me to them.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Improving Health with Food: Journal Days 1-3

I had every intention of posting daily videos, then I remembered I have really crappy internet and can't upload videos from home until the 4th.  I'll do my best to resume the videos starting Week 2 of the Reset.  Until then, I'll recap here.

My good intentions of quitting caffeine were ended by mid-day on Day 2.  Well, I shouldn't say ended.  I have every intention of quitting.  I made the mistake of not weaning myself off before starting the Reset.  Those first 2 days were pretty miserable with the withdrawal headaches and related nausea.


Click the pic to read about caffeine withdrawal symptoms.


Those withdrawal symptoms are reassurance that I am doing the right thing by giving up the caffeine.  Food should not make us sick and if it does, we need to give it up so we can feel our best.  Caffeine withdrawal symptoms are similar to, but not as severe as, withdrawals from narcotics.  Seriously, how can it be good for you with those kinds of reactions.  I should say in the quantities I had been consuming it is not good for you.  The headaches subsided the moment I drank one cup of coffee.  As of today, I had only one cup of coffee, enough to stave off the headache.  I'll reduce the amount each day until I'm off it completely.  The only exception I'll make is in my pre-workout energy supplement.  For Insanity and BODYCOMBAT, this pre-workout boost is a must, especially when I'm awake at 4 am on the days I teach at 6 am!

Aside from this minor setback, the reset has been exactly what my body needed.  The discomfort in my gut is gone.  My energy level is back up.  My head is more clear and I can focus better.  I'm feeling back to myself already.  I know by the end of this 21 days I will feel better than I have ever felt, even after I did this 2 years ago.  I'm very much looking forward to it!

My meals for the first week are the same each day with the exception of the fruit.  I'm adding in fruit to fuel for my workouts.  My fruit choices change each day.  You can find them on Twitter.com at @bbcoachheather.  I tried to post them but it isn't working (crappy internet).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Improving Health with Food: Journal Day -1

I have announced that I am doing the Beachbody 21 day Ultimate Reset.  Yesterday, I wrote a post about how I loathe the word diet due to its implications.  That post raised the question, then, about why am I doing the Reset.  It is temporary, only 21 days.  It isn't something that you would maintain for life.  It is restrictive.

This was a very good question.  If one looks at the Ultimate Reset with the sole intent of losing weight, then yes, it is a "diet" and is extremely restrictive and isn't something that will be maintained for life.  I've answered in a video response which will also serve as the first in a series of videos documenting my journey.  I got a bit long-winded in the video so I will try to summarize the same here.

My intent, as I stated when I announced I am doing this, is to: 

  1. Free myself forever from my sugar addiction.
  2. Give myself permanent intestinal relief by giving up gluten.
  3. Heal myself from a lifetime of suffering from migraines and having to take prescription drugs that make my quality of life less than what I know I want and deserve.
Losing weight while doing the Ultimate Reset is a natural side effect for those who have the weight to lose.  I know I will lose 10-15 lbs.  I am not seeking to lose weight at all.  I want my health back!  I want my energy level through the roof the majority of the day instead of feeling like I could sleep 12 hours a day.  I don't want a constant discomfort in my gut anymore.  I'm tired of getting headaches 2-3 times a week and migraines at least once every other week (on the maintenance drug).  I'm tired of feeling too tired to spend quality time with my kids.  I'm tired of forgetting what I was doing from one moment to the next.  I'm tired of not being as productive as I know I'm capable.  I'm tired of not feeling like myself! 


Instead of constantly complaining about how badly I feel, I am choosing to do something about.  The doctors don't always know what is best.  I will trust this process and trust that I know my body better than a doctor who may see me once a year.  This is not a temporary thing for me.  It is a new starting point... another chance to improve my own health even better than previous years.  This IS yet another change I am making.  I tried it two years ago and did not maintain it but I did improve upon it.  Because I had improved upon it then and since then, I am confident I will maintain this for life.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Never Say Diet

You will find a common theme here in my blog.  I never say I'm on a diet or that I am dieting.  

I grew up watching my mother engage in one "diet" after another in an attempt to lose weight.  She was successful at losing weight on more than one occasion but she was not successful in keeping it off.  It seemed she was on an eternal "diet."  I always wondered why she ever bothered to try.  She always ended up giving up and she was always deprived of something or another.  I learned that "diet" bears a negative connation and implies temporary change.

Only as an adult did I learn that "diet" can be either a noun or a verb.  I only had ever known it to be a verb.  It was something you DID, not something you had!  A diet, as a noun, is the foods that you eat. It is just that simple.  Shouldn't it be something we think of as having, instead of something we think of as doing?

Because I grew up seeing dieting as something that was always temporary and always failed, it was something that never appealed to me.  Sure, I tried it.  It was all I knew.  When you want to lose weight, you diet, right?

There are so many out there!  Where does one start? 

  • Atkins
  • Southbeach
  • HCG **gasp**
  • Cinnamon
  • Grapefruit
  • Low carb
  • Low fat
  • High fat
  • Paleo
  • Donut
  • Twinkie
  • Water
  • Air
Okay, you get my point.  They get really ridiculous.  I tried a couple of these.  I repeated the EXACT same behavior I had seen growing up.  I tried.  I failed.  I could NOT restrict myself and the foods and loved to eat so much.  I just could not do it!  Not only would I fail, I would binge on the foods I had tried to eliminate from my diet completely.  The frustration lead to me giving up.  It was hard and I was a single mom, too stressed and too many other worries in life to put any energy into this.

When I decided I HAD to get serious and make a change before things got too far out of control, I started with Weight Watchers.  It was another fad diet but a plan.  It was structured and encouraged eating whatever you wanted as long as you stayed within your daily alloted points range.  It was difficult at first because all the foods I was used to eating were so high in points value.  I used their suggested lists and found plenty of other options I liked and kept making adjustments until I had plenty to eat and well within range.  This process helped me learn proper portion sizes, something I was never taught.  It helped me learn that I did not need butter in all my vegetables or bread with every meal and desert after.  It helped me learn that fresh fruits and vegetables are far more filling and better tasting than canned, processed ones.

I had learned a way of eating that was maintainable for life, not just for a few weeks or months.  These were lessons I could continue to improve upon and better my health while achieving a healthy weight.  In fact, with these lessons, I would get to the weight best for me as a result of these new, healthier habits, without really trying.  Adding in regular exercise would compound the effect while making me stronger, happier, more energetic, younger, etc..  My diet is now made up of clean, whole, minimally processed foods.

I made lifestyle changes that lead to me losing weight, getting healthier from the inside out, and gaining more physical strength and energy than I've ever known.  Why would I want any of this to be temporary?

I challenge you to strike "diet" from your vocabulary and to make small, gradual changes over time, changes that you are confident you can maintain for the rest of your life.  Be patient.  Trust the process.  Learn to love yourself.  Celebrate the smallest successes.  Create a lifestyle of which you can be proud and outrun your great-great grandchildren for years to come!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Proof is in the Pudding...& Snack Cakes...& Donuts...&...

A Facebook follower asked me why I gave up sugar.  She follows my boyfriend's blog and understands he gave up sugar because he is a food addict and sugar is his trigger food.  I explained to her that I shared an addiction to sugar, but consuming sugar doesn't effect me to the extent it does Sean.

I chose to give up sugar first because it had a control over me.  I know that to be an addiction.  I don't like being controlled by people or substances.  Jumping in the car after dinner to buy a package of double stuff Oreos and proceeding to consume half a package in a single sitting, with a glass of milk, is not normal.  This is not the example I want for my kids but it had become the norm.  I don't keep sugary things in the house because I know I can't control myself around them.  I've employed my kids to help me NOT go buy these things, then later ask them to join me or even send my daughter on the errand to get it for me.  She would question me "Are you sure?  Every time you do this you regret it."  "I know.  Yes, just this last time."  She was right.  I would eat half the package, be double stuffed myself afterward, then be consumed with guilt for having done so.  I would ask myself "Why couldn't you just be okay with the serving size?  That would be normal.  That would be the moderation you tell others to practice."  I did this as recently as January or February of this year.

Sugar makes me feel sick.  I do eat very healthy most of the time.  When I indulge, now, it makes me sick.  My stomach aches for 2-3 days.  It just isn't worth it.  The sweet things don't even taste as good to me now as my memory tries to make me believe they will.  This is my second reason for giving up sugar.  Food should not make you sick.  In fact, it should heal you.

My final reason for giving up sugar is the physical damage it does to my body.  I just happen to have photographic proof of this.  In June of 2012, I completed a nutrition program that is designed to reset your body back to factory settings.  It is like pushing the reboot button, allowing your body to function as it should on all pistons with highest quality fuel and none of the junk.  This program, when followed to the letter, flushes the body of toxins breathed in from the environment and consumed through food.  It is called the Ultimate Reset

After completing this nutrition program, I was caffeine, gluten, and sugar free.  At the end of 21 days, for the first time in my adult life, the cellulite dimples on my backside were nearly gone.  Regrettably, I did not stick with the clean diet after 6 weeks.  Six months later I had a complete relapse.  In fact, I had gone through some really difficult personal trials and had given up completely on my personal physical goals and health.  The dimples had return and then some.  Here is the regression proof.  The first picture is after I had completed the Ultimate Reset.
Cellulite growth caused by sugar consumption.

In the last 6 years since I started my weight loss journey, I've learned how critical it is to pay attention to how my body reacts to the foods I eat.  I don't eat unconsciously.  When I eat, I am very mindful of my state of mind at the time, the environment around me, and the reaction of my body.  I had started doing this to a small degree prior to losing weight because I have IBS.  I learned that high fat foods irritate my IBS.  Since cleaning up my eating, I don't have IBS flares at all.

Aside from seeing & feeling what sugar does to my body, I also learned that I have a slight intolerance to gluten.  Growing up when I would eat a pasta meal, and always with garlic buttered bread, I would feel full, not matter how much or how little I ate.  I never thought anything of it.  I thought the pasta was just very filling to me.  It wasn't until I had lived for 3 weeks without gluten then slowly introducing it back into my diet that I learned that feeling was not normal at all.  The only time I ever experienced the intestinal discomfort was when I ate pasta and bread or too much bread or too much pasta.  It was the wheat gluten that was irritating my stomach.  I have come to not eat a lot of carbs in general in recent years.  Now, when I do consume wheat-based carbs, they irritate my stomach.  The discomfort is similar to that the sugar causes.

Because I am also a migraine sufferer, I have become dependent upon caffeine to avoid severe pain.  My migraines have returned in recent months far worse than I've ever experienced, to the degree I am now on a maintenance drug to reduce the frequency and severity of the migraines.  The side effects of the drug I'm experiencing are drowsiness, some vision problems, confusion, dizziness, slowing mental activity (slower reaction times & slow memory recall), memory problems, trouble concentrating, and unusual (extreme) tiredness.  I've also been having sour stomach for no apparent reason.  I'm attributing that to this drug, also.  I will NOT take yet another drug to relieve symptoms of caused by this one.  I HATE taking prescription drugs for any reason, especially long term.  The thought of having to do so irritates me.  If it were for something that is going to mean the difference between life and death, fine, I'll take it, but this isn't.  I am a believer in the healing power of food.  Like any drug, when abused, food can kill us, but when it is consumed correctly, it will greatly improve the quality of our lives.

For the 3 reasons stated (sugar & gluten intolerance and migraines), I've decided to do the Ultimate Reset again, starting this coming Labor Day weekend.  I will once again be gluten, sugar, and caffeine free and remain so for life.  My intent is to also ween myself off this maintenance drug and pray my migraines are gone for good.  I would much rather spend the money on great tasting food than on prescription, chemical-laden drugs to make myself feel the best I can possibly feel.  We have eat to live.  Why not eat to really LIVE?!

I will be sure to post my results.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Impact of Life Events

As recently as spring of this year, I have made the mistake of allowing my personal goals to be derailed in the "pursuit of happiness."  I would throw my workout schedule to the side.  I would disregard my healthy eating habits.  I would avoid working on my business and refining my acting skills.  Trying to "fit" a relationship into my life just wasn't working.  

I have been divorced for five years now.  In that marriage, I was consumed with being the "perfect" wife/mother/daughter/employee and somehow forgot to include myself in the equation.  I came out on the other side of that marriage completely lost and not having any idea who I was outside of those other roles.  I tried dating in the first year after the divorce and found myself repeating unhealthy behaviors, namely co-dependency.  I knew I couldn't live that way and knew I could be better.  I consciously chose to not date until I was confident I was stronger emotionally and psychologically.  

It took me two years.  The damage from the marriage was far more extensive than I had realized.  The damage to my children and my relationship with them was devastating.  It all had to be repaired.

The last three years I have felt the strongest emotionally and more emotionally mature than I have my entire life.  I've handled dating with solid resolve to not settle for anything less than what I know I want and deserve.  I've had only two, very short-lived relationships in the last five years and those were in the last year, sadly, too close together.  The good news...sort of, I guess...I wasn't heartbroken over them ending.  That tells me I wasn't in love those men like I thought I was...or maybe like I was pretending to be.  I was more in love with the idea of being in love and not being lonely.  I was proud of myself for ending those relationships when I did before any damage could be done.  Sadly, one did cost me financially.  That is a whole other rant but one saved for a much later date as it causes me physical illness to discuss. 

I'm proud that I have learned to say no when I mean no and to not say yes when I mean no just to avoid hurting someone's feelings or making them upset.  I'll never again sacrifice my or my kids' happiness for that of one.  Our happiness should be as equally important to their own or neither will be a consideration in the least to the other.  This is my number one priority.  This is non-negotiable.

Making health and fitness a priority in my life has made me who I am today.  Had I not taken control of this, nothing else would have fallen into place.  The one I'm with MUST also make this a priority in their life.  There can be no "that's your thing" and they go on eating foods that keep them sick and never exercising.  I'll fall back into that lifestyle again myself and this is a promise I made to myself that I will never break.  It MUST be a lifestyle.  This is non-negotiable.

I have learned that there is more to life than punching a clock and wiping crappy butts all day.  I've learned that is okay for a mom, especially a single mom, to have hopes and dreams and to work toward them.  I have ambition.  I have dreams.  I have goals.  I will never stop pursuing life with such fierce tenacity as to give it pause when it sees me coming, and I am raising my children to do the same.  I will NOT be stopped.  This is non-negotiable.

To this point in my life, the men to whom I've been married and with whom I've been in relationships have not understood that these make me who I am.  Insisting that I give up any one of these makes me less than.  I've given up these things of my own asking and the effects were detrimental to my life and the lives of my children.  I'll not do it ever again.  

No one should sacrifice any part of who they are for the sake of a relationship...for the sake of making someone else happy.  YOUR happiness is what matters.  Do what makes YOU happy and, with the right person, THAT thing will make that person happy, too, no matter what, for the simple fact that THEY want YOU to be happy.

I met this person...this person who makes me happy simply by being who he is...in 2012.  At the time, I don't think he knew it.  We've since discussed it.  There were several other factors that kept him distracted and not able to really "notice" me.  But I knew the second I stood in front of him that he held the other half of my heart.  I had finally found it after all these years.  The half I held was badly bruised and battered but still beating and it connected immediately to its other half.  

That moment we met wasn't the right time for either of us.  We would meet again a few months later in early 2013.  This time we would actually have the chance to spend time together, face-to-face.  We had spoken only through Facebook message and texting up to this point, despite having met in person.  This was a one-time date....truth be known, it was a favor.  I was alone on my birthday, which isn't unusual (I don't celebrate it, generally speaking), but I was feeling especially lonely this year.  I had asked him if he would kindly join me for a dinner so I didn't have to spend it and another Saturday night alone.  He agreed, I feel somewhat reluctantly.  The evening was great!  He was just was wonderful as I knew he would be.  In some days later, he told me he couldn't date at this point in time.  He was going through a very dark time and just needed time to heal and focus on himself.

I knew what that place was and felt like.  I had been there just a few years earlier.  I couldn't deny him that time.  I was somewhat hurt but I understood.  I would wait.  He was well worth the wait.

Fast forward through a couple of pointless relationships and into June of this year, and guess who comes calling?!  I was elated....giddy, school girl, grinning ear-to-ear happy!  Of course, I couldn't show him this!  After all, I have a reputation for being hard and unfeeling!  That lasted only until our first date..First Date 2.0 - The Do-Over First Date!  I haven't stopped smiling since.  I always wondered what it would be like to be treated with mutual love and respect.  I've seen it in so many other couples, including my father and step-mother.  I've never known it first-hand...until now.

It's Facebook official, so I suppose it's cool to make it everywhere else official, too!  The other half of my heart resides on Blogger, too!  Drop by, show him some love, and follow his Daily Diary - Sean Anderson.

Relationships should not derail your life...your goals...your plans...your future.  They should fit in seamlessly and effortlessly.  They should work together in harmony and peace.  Anything else will not work.  It is just that simple.  Trust me.  I've tried it several ways and failed every time!  THANK GOD!

Monday, August 11, 2014

I'm Back!

I've brought my blog back to Blogger.  I needed to save some money and didn't see the benefit it having it hosted where it had been for a little more than the last year.  It was costing me money to house it there, and I couldn't see what it was I could do there that I couldn't do here.  No sense wasting money, right?!

Since I started this blog, my dynamics have changed somewhat.  Initially, I started it for accountability in my own journey.  I have successfully maintained a healthy weight for nearly 8 years now, having lost over 60lbs.  I still need accountability, and believe I always will, but now I find it in sharing the knowledge I've gained over the last 8 years and helping others in their journey.

I will share here things that have worked for me.  I'll start by saying I don't believe in quick fixes.  I believe in lifestyle changes...things that you can easily do to live a quality-filled, enjoyable life.  Here is a short list of things I've employed that work for me:


  • Keep.It.Simple.Sister. - Healthy foods are not complicated.  Our human nature tends to make it complicated because it isn't what we know (assuming we are raised eating unhealthy).  The healthiest foods that are best for our bodies should be kept in the form most closely resembling their original form.  
    • For example, chicken...chickens.don't.have.nuggets!  They are females for starters.  They have breasts.  Those are best parts of the chicken!  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts...baked or grilled...simply seasoned.  That's it!
    • Green beans aren't grown in cans.  They are grown on vines in gardens and picked.  Buy them raw and fresh when possible then steam or roast them. That's it.  No seasoning is necessary but if you must, squeeze lemon juice and lightly season with sea salt.
  • NEVER...EVER...skip breakfast!  Your body is a finely tuned machine.  To run efficiently, it needs fuel and high quality fuel.  Skipping breakfast means you run on empty the first half of the day.  You are damaging your body in the same way you damage a car when you run it empty of oil.  Also, eating within an hour of waking kicks your metabolism into gear.  You metabolism is your fat burner.  If you wanna lose weight, you must keep that puppy purring.  Feed it!!
  • It 5-6 smaller meals every day.  These meals are 300-400 calories each for myself, on average.  This circles back to the metabolism piece above.  It also serves to keep you from being hungry.  Our instinct is to only eat when we are hungry.  The "hungry" feeling of your stomach "growling" is your body signaling that it is already empty.  The damage is already done and it is now finding its nourishment in your muscles...not your fat like you may think.  Eat to fuel your body, not to feed a hunger.
These are just a few of the things I coach those who join my accountability and support groups.  Those who choose to trust my guidance are always hesitant in the beginning but when they see the results for themselves, they become believers.  Trust the process and success happens.