Coffee with Mom and Dad

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This morning, I enjoyed some coffee with my mom and dad on their farm. The weather hadn’t fully adjusted yet, so it was a crisp 34 degrees outside. The farm brush was beautiful. At this time, it’s usually an ugly shade of dead, brown, but with dew and early morning freezing temperatures, it was a beautiful, frozen white.

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The sun was rising and peeking through the pine trees, casting its rays on the frozen crystals. It was beautiful! It looked as if the brush had been covered in glitter. I tried to get a good picture, but some things you have to experience and memorize the way they made you feel when you encountered them.

As I approached the farm, I noticed the donkeys were on the far side of the property where the sun was fully 26913660_10211354558959353_1191065601_nwarming the trees and them, too. I turned into the drive and stopped to get a photo of the smoke coming from the chimney, just in time to catch dad coming out with the dogs for their morning walk.

What is happiness? Sharing coffee with people I love without the world making demands on me.  The warmth of fire in the fireplace on my face. Random conversations with those who brought me into this world. THAT was happiness to me for today.

What brought you a glimmer of happiness today?

 

Remember the Magic

grumpy-cat-clipart-bad-mood-1Do you know this cat? pun intended. If you’re in a good mood, they’re in a bad mood, or they’re always in a bad mood. It seems like happiness brings out the cattitude in some people.

Don’t let it bring you down. I recently posted a photo of my home in the snow. For some people, this isn’t exciting, but I live in southeast Georgia, where at Christmas time we are generally  wearing shorts. After the first of the year (2018), we actually had snow. I’ve never experienced snow in my home. I haven’t really experienced snow anywhere, so for me, this was exciting.

To some of my readers however, they used a not so nice word to refer to snow. They had lived in snow for years, and what was enjoyable to me because it only lasted one day, brought up bad memories to them of shoveling show and other frustrations it can bring. Too bad they couldn’t remember that first magical moment of snow and held on to that memory to share with me, instead of posting a negative comment to my attempt to share happiness.

The lesson to learn here is to always remember the magic of happy events even in the things that have become frustrating over time. Being able to remember the magic will at least help us to smile when we really want to just grumble about how frustrating that magical things has become over the course of time.

Sharing Happiness!

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted. As the title of this blog suggests, I am on a journey. My journey has continually evolved into what it is today, a pursuit of happiness. Shedding all of the stress and worry of this world and putting focus on the things that really matter in life, I have found peace and happiness. I’d like to share that with you also.

I considered going back and deleting everything from my blog and starting over, but I think it is important to maintain the information, so I can look back and see just how far I have come. I will be writing on topics that bring a smile to my face. I hope the posts will bring a smile to yours as well.

I’d love for you to share your funny stories with our readers as well. Comment to share something that has brought a smile to your face and heart lately.

When Life Gets In The Way

Since November, I have been battling what seems to be the worse case of the common cold, sinus, allergy, flu, throat problems I’ve EVER experienced. 

I have literally been in bed or at least homebound sick for most of this time, and just at a time when I had found a good rhythm at the gym for 10 weeks. 

When I felt some improvement, I jumped back into working out complete with an aerobics class. I remember being cold when they turned the fans on…this from someone who is ALWAYS hot!! I ran away from the fans. I was struggling to breathe because my lungs are not back to 100%, so I decided I was going to stay out until I was back to myself. My body needed to recover from this sickness.

I tried once more for a light day, and I just couldn’t get enough breath in my lungs. Ok. I give. I am literally going to sleep as much as possible which isn’t easy to do when you can’t breathe without coughing up a lung, but I am going to try my best.

When I return, I will be finding my way back to normal at the gym. I am happy to say, I am looking forward to that!!! It wasn’t too long ago that I said, I look forward to the day when I WANT to working out! Yay!! Great non-scale victory.

241 Journey Evolution

whole wellnessWhen I began my journey many years ago, this blog was a diary of sorts. It was a permanent copy for me to look back on for motivation and encouragement. The type of end goal that I am pursuing is a long term one. There are many areas of stronghold that have to be conquered before the REAL work is able to begin, and this blog helps to show that there is true work being done.

In the beginning, my focus was solely weight related. What I did not realize was the beginning would go further back than that. It took a while of research and trial and error to learn that the fat that had collected on my body was only a small part to a much bigger problem, so I set out to identify the components of that bigger problem.

As I have learned new things and overcome obstacles, I have made changes here to put into practice what I have learned. I am not merely physical. I have known that my whole life, but it has taken me years to see that my focus was all wrong. I was looking at the a symptom instead of the problem.

Now, my focus will be a multi-prong approach. You will see posts on physical, emotional, nutritional, and spiritual here. For me, spiritual is the core. I had allowed myself to get so wrapped up in the other prongs that I had neglected the spiritual aspect of my life. As I kept following the trail from my symptom back–like following a power cord to its source–I found my God and Savior that I had put on the back burner. When I reconnected with the ultimate power source, my focus changed. Now, I am whole. I am able to see how I got here. It was like being nearly blind and being given the glasses that I had misplaced.

241 Journey is a whole life journey. It is a journey to complete growth and understanding. We are complex creatures. If there is an area of your life that hasn’t been receiving your complete focus, it is time to find balance. It is my pleasure to have you along for that journey. You will find the categories continue to change and be added to in order to organize the information available here. You may even find that the page will change in design from time to time as I find the best fit. Just hang in there with me.

Top 3 or I Lose Me

I have spent most of my adult life trying to find physical balance. The balance I truly want is the balance that allows me to enjoy good, healthy food with occasional indulgences, while always feeling in control, engaged, and inspired. I want to avoid feeling out of control, apathetic, and bored with my nutrition. I have learned SO MUCH about myself through my research over the years, and this past year I learned a lot about great nutrition through Whole30, but there was still something missing. Today, I learned what that “something” is.

What I learned today wasn’t new to me. These things were just mixed up among all of the other noise out there in the health and diet industry. It was the order that they come in my life that brought balance to me at a time when I felt out of control, apathetic, and bored with nutrition. The type of out of control that I used to be is much different than recently. During Whole30, I had TOTAL control over my nutrition, but I did finally reach a point where I got apathetic and BORED! I believe changing my recipes and adding more of a Paleo perspective would have helped, but that’s where the apathetic part comes in. I was so bored I honestly just DIDN’T CARE. I didn’t want to eat anything. Nothing was appealing to me. I was just….BORED.

Of course there are a number of problems with being in that state. I gained some of my weight back, fortunately, not lots, but still the scale is going in the wrong direction. My nutrition has suffered because I didn’t stick to Whole30 this time (I honestly just couldn’t even think of some of the food I was used to eating–as good as it is). The food we allowed ourselves to eat which was fast food wasn’t good, and I was miserable. I told my friend Crystal, I honestly just don’t want to eat. I physically was feeling terrible.

I wanted to find my good nutrition again. I had a problem getting that train back on the track. I realized that my apathy was in great part because of staying up too late, sleeping too late and not getting my green breakfast smoothie. I know that may sound overly simplistic, but guess what, I think it really is that easy.

I identified my TOP 3 things that keep me on track. While my nutrition plan may vary from time to time, if I want to be the best nutritional me that I can be, then I MUST do these 3 things.

1. Go to bed by 10 p.m. each night, including weekends.

2. Get up with my alarm at 5 a.m., including weekends.

3. Drink my green smoothie after waking.

green smoothieAfter doing these 3 things, I cleaned the kitchen, made a healthy lunch, and started getting everything ready for my day. I got Eli up and ready and got to work on time. If number 1 is off, then number 2 isn’t going to happen. If number 2 doesn’t happen, then number 3 doesn’t happen because I’m too pushed. If number 3 doesn’t happen, I end up picking up fast food for breakfast, and even though I know that one bad meal doesn’t ruin my efforts for the whole day, I allow it to.

So, there it is. My Top 3 to Always Be Me! What are your top 3? If you don’t know what they are, I understand your frustration. There is so much noise in the health and diet industry. You really just have to get away from it all and pay attention to how your body responds to every decision you make. Those that are negative–ditch them, and those that are positive — document them. How do they impact you? What do they help you do? Eventually, you’ll find the critical 3 that you can ALWAYS go to when you need a restart. I’m so glad I found mine.

Share your TOP 3 with us.

You Can Do ANYTHING for 30 Days, Even Whole30 ALONE

This blog post is in response to a question I received from Kayla commenting on, “Fresh Start.” Kayla asked if I Whole30 alone, or if my husband Whole30s with me. Let me start by saying, this is one of the great things about blogging. Meeting new people and helping to encourage them throughout their journey. As we’ll see through this post, you may do some things alone, but with others out there doing the same, you’re never really alone. Thank you Kayla for reaching out to me. I’m looking forward to our journey together.

The short and long of it…no, my husband didn’t join me on my first round. He did attempt, but after a couple of days, he said it just wasn’t for him. I completed the Whole30 and felt so good that I told EVERYONE about my experience. He decided he wanted to experience what I had, so he joined me Jan 1, 2015 for what turned out to be a Whole120. We started out with 30 days planning to complete at least 90, but continued on to 120 days. I must say, the experience was totally different with him making the changes with me. Much DIFFERENT.

I truly believe that everyone should take the journey at least once, alone. You really learn a lot about yourself during the process. You learn a lot about how you feel about the new foods your body is falling in love with. The first week was a little tough. Remember, your body is addicted to things like sugar, so it has a lot of adjusting to do. After week one, you’re home free. You’ll battle a little food boredom in week 3, but nothing bad. There are groups on FB you can join that share recipes. There are apps you can get for your phone like Nom Nom Paleo (LOVE IT). Not to mention the bookoos of blog posts, Pinterest pins, and Instagram photos.

My advice on encouraging the family to join in is to live your Whole30 experience daily in front of them. I’m the cook in my family, so what mama cooks everybody eats. My family loves food, so there weren’t a lot of things off limits. After 30 days of eating clean (even though not Whole30 for him), my husband benefited from my Whole30 experience. He had lost a little weight, and he was feeling much better. We got off track in December around the holidays, so it became really obvious what we were missing, and he was totally ready to join me.

January 2015, Jeff joined me for the complete Whole30, and now, he is saying things that I was saying a lot. Things like: I can’t believe how much of the grocery store I don’t even shop in. I can’t believe I ever liked ____. I had no idea how many things include sugar that you would NEVER think had sugar in it–like chicken stock. What the what? It’s in practically EVERYTHING, which made me ask the question, if sugar wasn’t in it, would we want to eat it?

June 1st started another official round of Whole30 for us. We ate Whole30ish and then more ish than Whole30, so it became more of Whish. 🙂 I was hurting in my stomach. I was bloated and had unbelievable gas constantly. My stomach STAYED messed up. Now, day 3 of Whole30, all of that is gone! I truly stop and ask myself, why, why, why do I ever eat anything else? I’m still gathering intel on that one. My life is like one big experiment for me. I’m constantly gathering information to see what I can learn about what I am doing or going through. Be sure to pay attention to those things in your life, too. It is invaluable information.

If by chance you have a family that just WILL NOT join you, and you’re not wanting the tough love route of “then cook for yourself,” it’s a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Cook what you can have. Let them take care of the rest. Share with your friends about it and get at least one of them to be as committed to it as you are or at least as committed to encouraging you. My friend Crystal is that. She doesn’t Whole30, but she knows it is what works best for me, and she encourages me to stick with it or if I’m off plan and not feeling well, she’ll tell me, you know what works for you–do it. Again, there are groups online like the main Whole30 page where there is constantly new information being shared. There are FB groups of individuals supporting each other.

One word of caution: as with any program, there are snobs. Ignore them. There are people who will want to chime in about how you could be eating MORE Whole30 than you are, or how something you picked to eat may not be compliant. BIG DEAL. Don’t get me wrong, it is important for your FIRST Whole30 to be completely compliant. You need that, but after that point, you’ll want to continue. You will feel so good that you’ll refer to the way you eat as Whole30, but it obviously doesn’t have to be compliant. Your research is over at that point. You will add food back that doesn’t bother you or sabotage your behavior.

While Paleo is the foundation of the Whole30 program, I choose to live closer to Whole30 than to Paleo. It’s nice to have a name for it, so I refer to it as my Whole30Life when I am not doing an official round of it.  So the final take aways from this post: Try Whole30 at least once. Be completely compliant. If you choose to Whole30Life, don’t fret the snobs. Find a buddy who supports your goals. If you still find yourself alone, you find me online. I do have an online group you’re welcome to join if you’re looking for a private support group online. You can do it. I had a lot of really strong food addictions and negative behaviors. If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT.

I’m happy to help. I’ll be your Whole30 consultant. 😉 Do it for you! You won’t be sorry!!

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Fresh Start

After having a stomach virus, it is really difficult to start eating again. Everything I think of just makes me feel queasy. I have decided I am going to do another official round of Whole30. I truly believe when you find something that helps you get on track and stay there the longest of any other program, work it!!

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So I will be working this program for another 30 days. Full on. No off days. My stomach will totally be fixed, and I will be feeling like a million bucks once the end of June gets here.

The first of August will be a complete year since I was first introduced to Whole30. I plan to really evaluate how my nutrition changed over the year. I have an idea of what I am going to find. I’m looking forward to the surprises though. There are always benefits that I didn’t realize were present.

So what about you? Do you need to reboot? What is it that works for you?

What Not To Wear – Motivation Edition

I’m sure you are familiar with the show What Not To Wear. Well this blog post will be a spin on that topic. Not because the fashion, not because of vanity but for motivation.

I’m going to focus on time that you have at home after work or on the weekend. How do you dress whenever you get home from work? Do you stay in your work clothes until time for bed? Are you like a lot of women (like me) who begin to shed the bra I soon as you walk in the door? Do you get out of your work clothes and into something more comfortable? Believe it or not, your answers to these questions can determine whether you will be motivated to exercise or not.

I have been thinking about this topic for quite some time. I decided I would do a blog post on the decisions that I make. In one picture you see a blue gown. In another picture you’ll see a workout outfit complete with shoes and Fitbit. The one that I choose will greatly determine how the remainder of my day will go. Let’s take a look at each of those hangers.

Hanger 1 is the blue gown. I admit when I am at home after working, I want to be comfortable.  After a whole day of being in a 44DDD bra, I am definitely ready to shed the bra. My shoulders have red imprints on them from the pull of gravity. My back is tired from that pressure also, so if I go home and change into that blue gown, then you can forget it. The most exercise I am going to get will be from moving around the house. This is generally the type of decision that I have been making until now.

Hanger 2 is the workout outfit. It doesn’t really have to be just a workout outfit. It can actually be my “getting comfortable outfit” too. The difference, however, is the bra because as I mentioned if the bra comes off all deals are off. Interestingly enough, when I put on the workout outfit, complete with my socks and my shoes, I am pretty comfortable even with the bra still on. Now, I say that having not been in the bra all day long, so just for long enough to take a walk and then get back in and get a shower and get changed into something comfortable I’m sure that would be okay too if it is a workday.

 Picture three. This is the decision I made today on a day off first thing when I woke up. I chose a workout outfit with my Fitbit, my socks, and shoes. As soon as I got my shoes on, something interesting happened. I filled up my water bottle and headed out the door for a one mile walk. I’m participating in a challenge from someone on FB, I Lost Big And So Can You, to walk a mile a day for 30 days. Since I do tend to be tired after work, my goal is to walk my mile at lunch during the week, or just before I pick up my son at the YMCA.

So I am motivated to get active, motivated by someone to walk a mile a day, and now motivated by the positive choice that I made in clothing. So let’s get moving. I’m glad that I made the choice I did today. While this idea of choosing the blue down or choosing the workout outfit was more of a theory for this blog post initially, testing it today showed me that what I choose to wear does have A LOT to do with whether or not I take additional steps. At least, it is true for me. Do your own test to see if it is true for you.

If you are that type of person who comes home tired and just wants to shed those work clothes and get comfortable, choose the comfortable workout clothes. That means that you need to have comfortable workout clothes. Look I know the struggle of not being able to find workout clothes. For a long time I was a 4X and a 5X in some sizes. Now, I am a 3X/4X. The point is that I kept looking and I found clothes that work for me. Since the pants I wear now aren’t available anymore, I will be buying a couple of pairs in the current size and the next size down once I find them again. I highly recommend Cato Plus. If you have suggestions, PLEASE share with us in comments!!

In summary, I am out to get healthy. Dress to impress your goals–not other people. Unlike the television clothes, don’t think twice about what other people think of what you have one. If it motivates you to exercise, wear it! Find clothes that work for you. Most importantly find comfortable shoes. Find things that motivate you and get moving. Let’s do it!

No Freeloaders Allowed – Food Edition

I think everyone has the policy of no freeloaders. You don’t allow people to just float around your life and benefit from all of your hard work. Why allow your food to do the same thing.

There are certain foods that take no effort at all to eat, so they contribute only calories. They don’t burn calories while being consumed. Some literally “melt in your mouth,” which is desirable for flavor but undesirable for your waistline.

There are foods that do burn calories by merely eating them. Raw vegetables are a great example. Many raw vegetables actually burn more calories to eat and burn than they contribute caloricly (I think I made that word up). Now that’s what I call pulling your own load!!!

So don’t allow food to freeload. See those empty calories as someone who keeps coming around with empty pockets but wants to live rent free in the house that you’re working hard to build.

 I’ve been thinking deeply about this as you see, and I am starting to make my snacks work for me. I have developed a love of raw carrots and celery. They are very satisfying and do the job they are intended to do. I think I’ll make room for them in my life.

Making Temporary Changes Lifelong

When I tried the food elimination program Whole30, I had no plans in making temporary changes lifelong. Since that first stint in July 2014, I have completed 2 consecutive Whole30 rounds, and I am on my third round. What started out as “I can do anything for 30 days,” resulted in the beginning of behavior change. I realized after Christmas that I would need longer than 30 days to make this something that will be with me the rest of my life.

My New Year’s Resolution would be to complete 3 consecutive Whole30 stints. I am now starting week 2 of my third round. The behavior change is deeply engrained now. I must admit that my husband joining me in this challenge has definitely helped me throughout this process. His excitement about the results continually reminds me of why we are doing what we’re doing.

I have no desire to change anything, which is good considering our goal to complete this entire year eating Whole30 with only one day a month as a break. The changes have been huge. Our behavior has changed so much that even on our off day, we are making really great choices.

Judge My Buggy NOT My Body

Lately, I have been thinking about how society views people who are overweight (obese, morbidly obese). For the largest segment of the population, the view is very superficial. We are measured by what we look like. Not just measured but judged. There are clicks where we won’t fit, stereotypically. There are jobs we won’t be offered, which is legal because being overweight isn’t a protected class. People judge based on the package–not the entire package but basically just the outside.

I want to send the message that just as we shouldn’t judge people based on their past because they could have changed over the years, a person’s body, thin or overweight, shouldn’t be judged. A thin person shouldn’t be assumed to have an eating disorder, and by the same token, it shouldn’t be assumed they eat healthy. The same applies to overweight people. Don’t assume that their current body accurately reflects the level of their discipline. The only way to properly determine the overall nutritional health of a person would be to judge their grocery buggy.

I have been overweight since puberty. I have gained approximately 5 lbs a year over the course of my life. When you do the basic math of junk food calories, it doesn’t take a lot to equal a gain of 5 lbs a year. Given the terrible food choices I’ve made over the years, I think my body has been pretty forgiving to only add 5 lbs a year, but I digress. This fat suit that I have been wearing all these years is much more difficult to remove than it was to put on. The worst part is that although I have maintained a healthy eating lifestyle since July 2014 (excluding Christmas season–I went awol), my body still reflects the bad decisions I have made over the years.

Unless I wear a sign that says, “Don’t Judge My Body Based On My Past Choices”, people will still make assumptions about me that aren’t true. Now, the list of people that I really care what they think is very short, but it is still a societal prejudice that should be broken. I am trying to do my part by writing about it to educate others that a person’s buggy will tell far more about them than their body will. My buggy will tell you that there is ZERO junk in my house, and my family eats very healthy–despite our out of shape bodies.

Everything that goes in my buggy is whole (in their most natural state available in a grocery store without anything added to them and a very short ingredients list of only natural items and no sugar added). Meat, vegetables (and a lot of them), and fruit. I would be happy to be judged by my buggy now. I actually love grocery shopping. It is very empowering to know that I am making healthy decisions. What is unfortunate is that it takes a years of healthy grocery shopping/eating to undo the past as reflected by my body. This is why we shouldn’t judge others based on their body because it is not the most reliable source (even chronic illnesses make the body an unreliable source).

The same is true for people who are thin. It cannot be assumed that someone who is not overweight eats well. Genetics and heredity play far too much into that equation for it to be fair. We tend to use the body as a measurement here and assume that someone who isn’t overweight is healthy. Not necessarily so. Their buggy would tell you a lot, too. It’s just for whatever reason, their body doesn’t show their poor decisions on the outside of their body–yet.

When I visited my doctor after changing my eating, she was extremely pleased with the result of my blood work–all numbers were within normal limits! I had asked her to do a “before” blood panel, so I could chart my progress, and progress it was. The outside of me hasn’t caught up with the healthy changes that I have made in my life, but it will–eventually. Until then, I will accept myself for the healthy woman that I am. I encourage you to look at your buggy and make necessary changes. If you already have or when you do, accept yourself for the healthy person that you are, and help me spread this message by sharing this post with your friends. It will take a while to make a change, but the power of social media can spread the word quickly.

Check out Judge My Buggy on FB and join us in sending the message that the body doesn’t tell the whole story about a person!! Share your buggy with us.

Holiday Lessons

I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long. This is something I learned through the holidays. I’ll share more as I go. For those of you who haven’t been following me from the beginning, I completed my first Whole30 food elimination program in July (read more about Whole30 here). It was the BEST experience of my LIFE. It changed my perspective of food.

First of all, I’ve never said “no” to anything for 30 days (well, ok, yes I have…I did eat seafood only as meat for a year, so I said no to all my favorite meats years ago). I have never been able to say no to sugar for that length of time. I had full intentions of repeating the great experience of Whole30 Oct 1 – Oct 31. I had stayed relatively close to the Whole30 way of eating from July – October. I started Whole30 on Oct 1, but having lived on the fence from July – October, I was not completely invested in completing the entire month and didn’t make it past week 1. I should have continued because I was NOT prepared for November and December.

By the time November came along, I had allowed myself sugar occasionally. I did well through Thanksgiving, but I began baking, a side job of mine, and then sugar slowly crept back more and more. I created all types of sweet treats for myself because my sugar cravings were back FULL FORCE. I was TOTALLY off the wagon the whole month of December. I learned that it takes approximately 4 months of living on the fence to completely undo the behavioral success of Whole30. Fortunately, it didn’t eliminate what I had learned. If I could do it once, I could do it again!

Having gained some weight I lost in July/August back, I was totally invested in a January Whole30. I knew if I was to get back to that great, new perspective on food, I would have to get back to Whole30. I am now on my second round for 2015. I learned in 2014 that sugar is much stronger than I am, and I need longer than 30 days without it. My plan is to maintain a Whole30 diet at least 90 days (well, 3 rounds with a 1 day break in between each). I would like to never add sugar back, but I don’t know how realistic that is.

Fortunately, I have learned that I love so many healthy foods, and I love shopping for them. I feel so strong when I am checking out, pulling each healthy item out of my cart. For others who have lived a life of obesity, you may understand why I would enjoy this. It’s a major emotional victory!

Now that you’re caught up on my mysterious disappearance, I’ll get back to blogging. Hope you all have had success with your New Year’s Resolution.

Reversing PCOS

Reversing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) has been a life long goal of mine. Actually, maybe it wasn’t a goal of mine until a couple of years ago. It was more like a plague of mine. I felt that I could only HOPE that my symptoms would improve. In reality, on the inside I felt like they never would. I felt that I would be “different” than other women because of my PCOS diagnosis (at age 17 years old). Do you know what actually caused me to feel this way? A doctor who diagnosed me but never explained to me how or what I could do to change it. To me, at the age of 17, that basically meant that there was nothing to do about it.

Now, in all fairness I did have other doctors in my life who told me that I “just needed to lose weight.” To most readers, you’re probably nodding and to those with PCOS you’re shaking your head and saying, “They don’t have a clue what they are suggesting.”

For those of you who do not know what PCOS is–in my terms–it is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries begin to form cysts over the eggs in her ovaries. These cysts have been referenced by doctors as looking like a “strand of pearls” on a sonogram. I wouldn’t know because even though I was diagnosed at the age 17, I had never had a sonogram to check my ovaries (even though all GYN docs new my diagnosis) until months before I learned I was pregnant with my son (my only child–born one month shy of my 40th birthday).

This condition is actually brought on as a result of an overproduction of insulin, and no, it doesn’t mean that the person is or will be diabetic. I know. Very confusing. It is very common for the woman to become insulin resistant which leads to a vicious cycle of the pancreas producing insulin, causing problems for the ovaries, which leads to hormonal problems that cause bothersome symptoms that aren’t all that serious, while some  are heartbreaking. Some of the symptoms really hit a woman’s self-esteem like hirsutism, weight gain and difficulty losing weight even when using all the right measures, and infertility to name a few.

I feel that if my doctor had explained to me how this condition would change my life if I allowed it to, and explained to me how to reverse it, I HOPE that I would have done something to prevent all of the years of self-hate as a result of my symptoms. I guess the doctor that did tell me I needed to lose weight was closer than anyone else in getting me headed in the right direction. While the message was short, curt, and not well received, I see now that he was right. I should have listened to what he was trying to tell me, instead of responding emotionally to his words.

When he said, “you just need to lose weight,” I heard, “you’re a fat pig now do something about it.” In reality, what he was trying to communicate when he said “you just need to lose weight” was REALLY “you just need to lose weight–that’s all you need to do to FIX IT.” Back then they didn’t know all that they do about PCOS now, so I’m sure they were not aware of just how difficult it is to lose weight. It means you have to eat fewer calories than most people and you have to workout harder for the effort to burn the same amount as others do. It means it may take longer to get pregnant, and for some, it may mean never conceiving a child.

Will losing weight reverse PCOS? Honestly, I don’t believe that solely losing weight would lead to the complete reversal of PCOS. I do believe that it could minimize the symptoms. I think that life in general would be overwhelmingly better regardless, but being you ideal body weight doesn’t guarantee that you will never suffer with this problem. I know women who are very thin who have PCOS and had to have assistance conceiving children. Is it easier to live life with PCOS if you’re thinner? I can’t say because I have never been there, but I can say that common sense tells me that the healthier I am the better I will feel, the more productive I will be, and the more I will enjoy life–if spite of PCOS.

For those up for the challenge of trying to reverse PCOS, I highly recommend the book “It Starts With Food” and following the Whole30 program. I even suggest adopting the majority of that program for your life, permanently. It helped me get my hormones straightened out. I’m happy to talk to anyone who suffers with PCOS. I have researched most of my adult life on this topic. I understand your frustration and pain. I’ve cried many tears over it. I feel confident in saying, I believe those days of crying are now over.

Real Life Obstacles You Can’t Help

real lifeThere are real life obstacles you can’t help that can interfere with your health “process.” Whether you’re a pro at this or just getting started, we all are impacted the same by these “real life obstacles.”

Sickness

Whether your own or someone elses close to you, sickness can totally throw your whole routine off. My child has been sick now for about 2 weeks. At first, it was sniffles, then it was crying out in the night that kept me from being able to get my sleep, then it was doctor visits that interrupted my work/lunch schedule, and of course my attention, as it should be, was completely on him and not on me.

Well, maybe I should rethink that. My attention should be on him enough to provide for his needs, but in providing for his needs, I should have been making sure that I was providing for my own nutrition and hydration. I didn’t eat breakfast. I was just so focused on him. I wasn’t eating my snacks and forget about drinking water. I think one day, I may have finished the day with like 20 ounces of water. BAD, BAD GIRL! I know better than that. I have to be sure that in the future, I take care of me, too.

Travel

A friend of mine has been having a time getting on track and staying there because of travel. Some of the travel has been for fun, but the rest of it has been for work. Being away from home can definitely throw you off your game, but in her case, it may actually help her. Since she always feels the need to cook for hubby, which often derails her own goals out of sheer exhaustion at the end of the day, she finds herself eating the same things he is eating. He loves good, southern, “comfort” food. For some reason, he’s able to eat pretty much what he wants, but she isn’t able to do the same without paying for it on the scale. Being away from home will give her some time to get some of her plan in place. Maybe if you’re traveling for work, you can use it as an opportunity to get on track also–and use that workout room!

Be careful for those pitfalls of “special” eating when traveling. I think it’s important to pick 1 day or one meal for a couple of days that’s special. If you’re on vacation an entire week, those “special” days can set you back months of weight loss if you treat every day like a special eating day. It won’t feel all that special in the end.

Company

Oh, well look who’s coming to dinner. A lot of times, these special drop in moments end up at a restaurant. When you have a lot of different people to please, it’s much easier to do it with a menu that can offer variety. It would be really easy to cast blame on not being prepared for eating out, but you’re not new at this. Unless it’s a completely new restaurant, in most cases it isn’t, you know that menu and know what you SHOULD eat.

When this happens to me, the longer I sit, the easier it is for me to make the wrong decision. I actually start mentally preparing myself before we get there and try to order first (then I don’t feel the peer pressure). My mother-in-law and I went to Outback Steakhouse when we took a road trip to Whole Foods (my first time, and I loved it). I asked her if she would mind if I told them not to bring bread to the table. Fortunately, we have a lot of the same health goals. She agreed. We both chose wisely.  We were able to make good decisions, eat good food, in an awesome restaurant. It can be done.

It’s much easier when everyone has the same goals, so if you get a chance to pick your lunch partner, pick wisely. If you don’t get a chance to pick, be the first to order, so everyone alters their order based on what you got, instead of you altering what you need to get based on what they ordered. Yeah, you know we all do that.

Loss

The loss of a loved one through death or divorce/breakup, loss of a job, loss of a friendship, loss of an ability such as walking, sight, hearing, etc…the loss of anything of value in your life can COMPLETELY derail your health goals. During this time, it is MOST imperative to stay on course at all cost. I know that is really a lot to ask, but your decision to workout will release endorphins which will contribute to a happier feeling. This is really important because you are most likely experiencing depression at this point. You need those endorphins doing what they do best.

Eating well and sleeping well will also help you to remain strong enough to make it through this time. It is really easy to want to crawl under a rock, but DON’T. This is when you need to do the opposite–RUN INTO THE SUN. Literally, that is a good idea. Get in the sun! The vitamin D that you get from the sun will help to improve your mood. Call a friend and go for a walk. Try not to isolate yourself during this time. If necessary, seek help from a pastor or therapist. Prayer and meditation is also very strengthening. This too shall pass.

So if you find yourself experiencing real life obstacles you can’t help, you don’t have to let it totally derail your health/fitness goals. Stay strong. Be the example. Take care of you.

Healthy Eating Costs Less

Every year I do a random audit of our finances, and I learned that healthy eating costs less than eating whatever you want. It is easy to let bad behavior, like buying poor substitutes for food, creep into your life and checkbook. I try to make sure that as much money as possible is going to pay down our obligations, so this random check helps me to learn some things about our spending habits and disproves opinions like “it costs more to eat healthy.” Let me share a little more.

the-cost-of-health

My husband and I use our debit card for EVERYTHING. We seldom EVER have cash on us. This is good in that I can track our spending behavior and account for everything. It is bad in that it is SO easy to just swipe a card. Being a good steward of the provision God has given us is really important to me, so we will make adjustments to be sure we are using that money in ways that will allow Him to provide for us in the ways we have prayed for Him to. 

During August, we spent $677 eating out, picking up this, that, and the other thing. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, so what about your grocery bill. Surely it was less since you were eating out so much. NOPE. We spent more in groceries than the preceding month. Let’s talk about that preceding month.

Whole30 month! Now, my husband wasn’t following a Whole30 plan. He tried for two days, but he decided he didn’t want to continue following. He continued spending the way that he had been. I bought only whole foods. No exceptions. What I learned from this was very interesting.

Whole 30 Month
Whole Foods aren’t nearly as expensive as eating out
We always had GOOD food cooked and available
We spent nearly $300 LESS when I followed Whole30
I bought a lot of by the pound fruit like cherries and grapes $2,49 lb or so (I thought that was A LOT, then I asked myself how long they lasted…a week. How long does a $7 coffee last?)

Month AFTER Whole30
We would go days with nothing cooked in the house resulting in a quick pickup (mostly breakfast and lunch)
We spent nearly $300 MORE when NOT following Whole30

NOTE: Eating healthy doesn’t only refer to eating fresh meats, veggies and fruit. It also relates to EATING AT HOME where you know what is in your food. 

If you pick up a healthy eating cookbook and try to go buy everything necessary to cook the recipes, I can see how you might think that would be expensive. Where do they get those crazy recipes anyway? It’s truly easy. Take out pot. Put on stove, Turn on heat. Put meat and veggies inside. Salt & Pepper to taste. If you really want to get crazy, add other spices that I love like onion and garlic powder, ground ginger, paprika, cayenne. Open up cans of your favorite veggies or use frozen or fresh. As for spices, you can pay $5 a bottle or .88 a bottle. I personally go for the cheaper because I burn through those babies like no body’s business! I haven’t missed a lick of flavor using the cheaper ones. 

Here is a real life example of something we picked up and what I COULD have done with that money:
KFC Grilled chicken bucket – 12 piece $16.49
For those of you not familiar with how chicken is cut, there are 8 pieces of chicken in a whole chicken, so this is 1 1/2 chickens. 

Fresh chicken – $1.09 lb; (I’m comparing regular chicken to regular chicken. I see that Claxton truck backed up to the restaurant. There are no free ranger chicks going in there) Approx $4 per chicken X 1.5 = $6 OH BUT WAIT…IT’S NOT COOKED ALREADY.

Oh, so right. Maybe you’re in a super hurry and can’t wait the 40 minutes needed to bake it or less to boil it for chicken salad. So here’s my second suggestion, local grocery stores generally have rotisserie chickens, which is very similar to this grilled chicken from KFC. $5,99 for a chicken X 1.5 – $9. Still less than KFC. Not as healthy in that you don’t really know what into cooking it, but healthier for your wallet.

As for the sides, you could get steamer bags of your favorite veggies and microwave them and add a little seasoning, and within 6-8 minutes, you would have 4X what you would get in those little sides they serve at KFC, and the big plus, they would actually taste like the food you bought! I’m not picking on KFC by the way. I feel this way about EVERYWHERE. I haven’t found anywhere that has food as good as what can be made in someone’s home (excluding a few exceptions in steak).

I’m really happy with what I learned about healthy eating. I caught myself comparing those awesome Washington Cherries in price to other snacks that I would have bought. Without a doubt they would last longer and taste better. Just because they grew on a tree naturally and didn’t have to go through some industrial process to be made doesn’t make them any less valuable.

I challenge you to start paying attention to what you put in your shopping cart. If you really want to test it, you and a friend decide on a menu and each of you shop for it. One buying only whole foods (I’m not referring to the Whole Foods store–just your average grocery store) and the other buying processed foods or fast foods. I know which one will feel the best in the end. I know which one will have to cook less because what they cooked made more than what comes in a prepackaged meal, and without a doubt, I know which one’s food will taste the best!

If by chance anyone out there chooses to do this, I want to hear about it!!

I’m Getting Real – Author Photo

 

Just a bad photo or really me?
Just a bad photo or really me?

Some may question why I chose the photo of myself for the blog. Surely there’s a better photo than that. True. I’m sure there is [this isn’t my best side], but in this moment, this photographer saw me THIS WAY. I can only imagine that others saw me the same way. We can’t really know that to be certain. Only those who saw me this night would be able to say. I choose it as my reality photo [but maybe that’s not fair. There is just bad photography but I don’t want to be in denial if it’s really me]. I’m sure there could be opportunities for worse (if you were a fly on the wall in my house), but wouldn’t that be true of everyone.

Well, this isn’t about everyone else. This battle is mine, and I want to improve this woman. The only part I want to improve is the body part [and of course any wrong thinking and behavior that allowed me to get here]. Smaller. Healthier. Not for the photographer and not for the others who saw me that night, but FOR ME.

My friend Crystal is going to stroke when she reads this, but look, I’m just getting real here. It doesn’t help me to deny what is so, but at the same time, I am not speaking this into being. I am calling a spade a spade and doing something about that. I don’t want to look like a blob. Wow Margie, that sounds awfully negative. Well my dears, that is the reality of my perception of this photo. There’s no definition to my body, and [negative thinking will not help me get there! This is how I felt in the moment that I was writing this post, but reading it now, I can give this woman (mother of an almost 2 year old at the time of this photo) a break. Yes,] I want there to be definition [in my body, and after this post edit, I want there to be definition in my heart and mind as well]. Only I can do something about that.

This isn’t something I feel bad about. I don’t sit around and cry about it. I have cried about the things I feel brought me to this point. My degree is in psychology, so I am the queen of psychoanalyzing myself. For me, that’s good. I have changed SO MUCH over the past 5 years or so. I’m talking about those things that get stuck in your memory and haunt you. I’m talking about that negative self-talk that so many of us do. I’m still guilty from time to time [as you see from the strike out above].

Through working on these things, I have reached the point where I do love what God has given me (even in its current condition), and I have so much to be thankful for. Now, I want to take care of it the way I know I should. I want to show respect to God for all that He’s given me. There are obstacles that try to trip me up on this one, but just as all of the other issues, I will get there. Thank you for joining me on my journey.

This is a selfie of me.
This is a selfie of me.

I’m Back…I’m Back…

No, I didn’t completely fall off the truck! Where have I been?? REN-O-VA-TION! Have any of you ever renovated your own house? You want to talk about a BLACK HOLE!! Fortunately, I am back, and after months of focusing on the wellness of my home, I can get back to focusing on the wellness of my body, mind, and spirit! I hope you’re ready to continue following me. 

Has anything major happened in your life while I’ve been out?

Rx & Cleaner Eating Compliant – 7 days

I have learned that treating my triggers as drugs is the best way for me to succeed in keeping them in check. Well, ok, maybe not like a drug because people who suffer from drug addiction should abstain completely for their overall health (and maybe I should treat food that way too…but you have to eat…just not chocolate).

So to explain, I have already been drinking only water. I have done so well with that. I am nearing 160 days of drinking water only. Even if I try to sip 100% apple juice, it is SO sweet, I can’t stand to drink it (100% juice and milk on occasion are ok because I don’t have problems with those). Well, I restarted my cleaner eating challenge. I have tried this several times and failed to stay compliant. Using the word compliant or non-compliance really helps me understand that I’m not sticking with something that I should be.

I’m not trying to element anything permanently. I am trying to learn to CONTROL the foods and behaviors that tend to present themselves. 1. I have a difficult time taking medication. I hate it. I don’t want to take it, but I need to take certain medications. This week, I was almost 100% compliant. I did miss one evening dose. So I am drinking water, taking my meds, and I have also started focusing on eating cleaner throughout the week. I have had 2 meals that we’re “clean,” but all others were. Most of my meals were in smaller portions than I am used to taking for myself, and once I ate too much (soup).

This is significant because while the soup itself wasn’t unhealthy, the corn chips that I ate with it were. I also made some homemade chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk with. One thing I think occurred with this though was moderation. I was able to use some chocolate to make chocolate milk. Not exactly what I should be consuming, but the smaller amount of chocolate really helped out. I was able to have a little chocolate without having a whole candy bar, or whatever.

I am going to continue working on eating cleaning. I feel better. I feel thinner and more in control of my life. Nothing will be perfect, but it will be different.

2013 Stats

Feel free to look over this and read the take aways at the bottom. But don’t miss the article before this one which is the first in the series of Identifying Triggers.

Date; Weight; Change; BMI
04/15/13; 316.8; 0.0; 58.0
04/29/13; 314.6; 2.2; 57.5
05/06/13; 313.1; 1.5; 57.3
05/13/13; 317.7; +4.6; 58.1
05/20/13; 316.1; 1.6; 57.8
05/27/13; 317.9; +1.8; 58.1
06/03/13; 319.4 +1.5; 58.4
06/10/13; 317.5; 2.0; 58.1
07/30/13; 328.3; +10.8; 60.0
08/05/13; 327.8; .5 59.9
08/12/13; 325.6; 2.2 59.5
08/19/13; 325.6; 0 59.5
08/21/13 Started drinking WATER ONLY
08/26/13; 327.6; +2.0 59.9
09/03/13; 327.6; 0 59.9
09/09/13; 328.9; +1.3 60.2
09/16/13; 328.7; .2 60.1
09/23/13; 330.0+?? +1.3 60.4
09/23/13; Cut out sugar except baking QA
09/24/13; 328.7 -1.3 60.1
09/25/13 Started Green Thickies B/L daily
09/30/13 328.7 0 60.1
10/07/13 325.8
10/14/13 329.2
10/21/13 324.5
10/28/13 323.0
11/04/13 326.5
11/11/13 326.3
11/18/13 321.4
11/25/13 319.9
12/02/13 319.7
12/09/13 325.2
12/16/13 324.5
12/24/13 323.0
12/30/13 323.0
2013 Take aways from 8/13-12/13
-drinking water only
-lost 21.8 lbs in 5 months
-gained 17.2 lbs in 5 months
-learned I am 21% better at losing weight
-gained mostly 1st & last weeks of month
-largest gains last quarter starting 10/14
4/13-7/13
-before starting water only, gains were
larger, more frequent, loss of 10 lbs,
gain 18.7 in 3 months
-was 47% better at gaining weight before
starting water only.

Post Thanksgiving Mini Success

Hi everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving season. This year my goal was to still lose 1 lb during this holiday season, and while I didn’t reach that goal, I am still celebrating that I didn’t GAIN, so far. I charted a .2 lb loss this week. Something I am very thankful for.

I did choose things I love instead of eating a lot of everything just because it’s there. When you eat food that someone else prepares, it is virtually impossible to calculate the calories unless they did that for you. Of course, no one did that on Thanksgiving. I just made my best guesses, and wow, it is really easy to go over 1500 calories. If you look at the caloric intake of a couple of the things you eat each day, you’ll realize what I mean.

So, here’s to still charting a loss of any size during a holiday season! Next week, my goal has been reset for a minimum of 1 lb. I’m taking on this week, and not looking back to the week passed. There’s nothing that can be done about time that has already passed. I can only do better from today and on. AND TAKE MY MEDICINE! I’m truly bad about staying on track with meds after having my baby. You go 9 months without taking anything, so it’s difficult to get back on track.

Let’s get our head back in the game. If you didn’t lose what you wanted, or maybe even you gained, don’t look back. Just start from today and shoot for 1 lb per week. This is a perfect time to start our Triggers series, since we’re going into the biggest trigger season of the year.

Keep following me, and if you’re knew or need the refresher, look back at the first series to get ready to jump into staying Trigger free.

Life Changing Decisions. Join Us?

As I reported in my last post, I have met a friend online who has a goal of losing somewhere around 130 lbs. She found me in a group on FB. I was looking for a mentor who might be able to follow me through a program, but instead, she offered to join me in my journey to lose nearly 200 lbs. I never turn down an opportunity to have a friend join me on a journey.

Instead of needing a mentor, it seems I’m doing really well taking the lead. I am helping her get ready for making life changing decisions. To start we are going to:

1. Weigh first thing on Mondays before doing anything else.

2. Eat breakfast and post our meal in LoseIt.

3. Begin eating 5-6 very small meals a day, eating low glycemic as much as possible.

4. Make better choices each time we make decisions about food.

5. Increase intake of water and post in LoseIt.

NOTE: If you have a problem with cravings in the beginning, eat some peppermint or use some really strong mint breath spray every time you feel a craving coming on. It always kills my cravings. Breath spray would be really easy to carry around in your pocket.

We will do this for 1 week before really looking at restricting food. It’s just getting us ready. Getting rid of cravings, and hopefully, we’ll be feeling a lot better and ready to take on even more for the next week.

We are starting this journey together, but we need not be alone. If you are interested in joining us for this journey, you see the steps we’re taking first. You will need to leave a comment telling me that you want to join us, so I can get your online contact information, so we can get your plan written out.

Ten Reasons I Want To Lose Weight

An old friend of mine had me to do this years ago. I have rewritten these reasons SO many times. What is funny is how they change as I get older and wiser. They are in no particular order.

1. To be more flexible and more mobile.

2. To gain the use of the many outfits in my closet I haven’t been able to wear since 2003 or before. Fortunately, I’ve always chosen the classic look.

3. To physically feel better.

4. To emotionally feel better.

5. To give my son a good example to follow.

6. To accomplish this goal that has seemed to evade me for so long–proving (to me) I can!

7. To reduce the need for any type of medication.

8. To increase my life expectancy.

9. To feel more comfortable when in a seat (in the car, doctor’s office, etc).

10. To feel more comfortable in my skin.

What Does Two for One Mean?

So you may have run across this site because you are looking for a good deal. Generally, that is what 2 for 1 indicates, but not here. Here it refers to my weight, divided by 2. I literally weigh more than two people of healthy BMI. As a matter of fact, I am on the border of being 2 “obese” people in one body. I am actually 2 “overweight” people, and I want to change that.

THIS IS MY JOURNEY. It is going to be a very honest and transparent journey. Maybe you’re on a similar journey, hey, let’s travel this lonely road together then. I encourage your comments. If you have a similar blog, include your address, and I will share it with my readers as well.

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