The Ugly Duckling

I love this passage out of the latest O Magazine:

20140803-204203-74523316.jpg

I made a promise to a friend a while back that I wouldn’t ever settle, but am I?

My son and I went to Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts this weekend and saw a show about the other ugly duckling. I cried a little at the end (no one was shocked) because the message reminded me of something that I keep forgetting. Your beauty is within. My beauty is within. I devalue myself more than I should because I don’t have the perfect body but what really matters is my heart. How much I love. How big I love. How pure I love.

I plan to keep my promise not to settle because no matter what size I wear, I am worth it because my heart will be in the right place.

P.S. I sent this before and after shot to my boyfriend and, while all I see is a fat face, his response is perfect and says it all – “Still the same amazingly sweet girl.” Now that will be my response when I see an old picture of me instead of my usual disgust.

20140803-204138-74498758.jpg

Advertisements

Get to the Root of the Problem

This day started out in one of the most lovely ways <insert sarcasm font>.  I was walking back to my bedroom with my yummy berry detox tea that had been seeping while I was in the shower and stepped on a cold wet spot on the carpet.  Houston we had a leak.  Just the thing to deal with at 6am in your bathrobe. So after four towels I felt like it was getting worse, not better.  My boyfriend says, “Do you want to let your landlord deal with it?” to which I responded, “Not until I get to the root of the problem.”  See landlords don’t always respond in the speediest fashion, especially at 6am.  I needed to find out where the leak was coming from and if I could stop it so go to work and deal with it later or if it was just going to get worse while I waited for my landlord to fix it.  What if it was from my neighbor above and I needed to knock on their door and tell them they had a problem?  What if I needed to pull out the stackable washer and dryer unit and shut it off at the source?  All things that I need to know the answer to before I can go to work.  I needed to know that I could deal with it when the rest of the world is awake – after work.

So here were have another theme in life – get to the root of the problem.  Whether it’s weight gain or bad relationships or dead end jobs, the common denominator in your problems is YOU so get to the root of the problem.  Which is what I have been trying to do.  Why do I overeat?  Why do I continue to eat things that I know are going to make me feel badly? Why do I think I will get up and run in the morning when I know darn well that the prospect of running is not going to get my butt out of bed any earlier that I have to for work?

I’m getting to the root of my problems.  I’m trying to fill my life with healthy things that feed my soul so I don’t chose unhealthy things that don’t.  I’m learning from my mistakes so I don’t repeat them.  I’m keeping my fingers busy with this blog and my hands with helping others so I don’t use them to find unhealthy snacks.  I’m learning that the only person that I have to live with is myself so I better be able to live with the decisions that I made.  I’m going to church more and reading the bible more because being less connected with God is certainly part of the root of the problem.  I’m learning that no one can make me feel a certain way.  I make myself feel that way by either projecting or choosing to stay in a situation that I know makes me feel badly.

I am, however, human and I did have that Doubletree cookie today because they are so dang good, but I will not have one tomorrow and I won’t beat myself up about the one I had today.  I am human so I will slip – I’m not perfect.  I’m perfectly imperfect and love the person I’m growing to be.  You can only give someone else as much love as you give yourself, and my someone else deserves lots of love so I have to get busy loving me – all the curves and all the edges.

What problem will you get to the root of?

—–

Oh and here’s my new favorite leg workout of the day (and by “favorite” I mean holy-cow-these-hurt-like-a-mother-when-we-did-them-last-night):  Side Leg Lifts

The instructor kept saying they would help with our saddlebags and that made me push harder to do one more even when I wanted to quit.

Here are four different types of leg lifts for you to try tonight to wake up your lower body:  http://www.wikihow.com/Do-Leg-Lifts

 

 

It’s Time to Face Reality

It’s time to face reality.  For me that means so many things but for the purpose of this blog I’ll save you and just focus on one.  For me facing reality means not hiding behind black all the time.  It means wearing <gasp> tank tops more often.  See the thing is that I HATE my arms.  Yes, hate is a strong word, and it’s something I strive to work on but when I’m doing an hour long spin class in front of a mirror and I’m forced to look at them in action in a tank top, I hate them.

For the past 2-3 years on this journey, I mostly wear shirts with sleeves to the gym and I feel good about myself but it’s time to get serious.  These last 10-15 stubborn pounds that won’t budge until I give up the things that I love (anything sweet) need to go.  That means facing reality.  That means motivation by wearing tank tops so I can see the areas that need focus and attention.  That means not hiding behind black clothes.

The angel on one shoulder reminds me that these arms are the ones that can still lift my giant 70 pound 8 year old when he falls down or needs a hug or falls asleep in the car on the way home from an exhausting day.  I am grateful for them so I will change it to “I hate the way my arms look in a tank top.”  HA!  How’s that?  (If I have to, here’s my current favorite tank top for working out.)

What will you face today?

Getting Rid of What Doesn’t Serve Me

It’s time for spring cleaning – my favorite time of year! My deepest darkest fear is that I will be a hoarder like my grandmother and mother are.  I see the signs from time to time…like every time I open my trunk.  I think the best thing I could have done for myself in that regard was move into a much smaller place so there are less places for me to store things.  Five bedrooms equals a lot of storage space.  I relish in the times when I am throwing away things and making trips to the goodwill.

The two most recent items I parted with have been with me for some time – a keruig k-cup holder and wine rack.

image

For starters, those little k-cups are expensive and wine isn’t exactly cheap.  I find it somewhat symbolic that they are in my goodwill bag.  They symbolize living within a budget, making space for the things that I need (I have very little counter space in my kitchen so I can use every bit of it), and putting less of the things that aren’t good for me in my body.

As I look in my closet I see other items that I need to part with as well:   clothes that are too big for me, a box of memories from my last relationship, and shoes that I haven’t worn in years.   One step at a time.  “They” say that once you let go of the past, you can start living in the present.  I’m ready.

What could you get rid of that isn’t serving you?  What do you need to make room for?

Power: it’s …well…powerful

I was watching an episode of House of Cards and the lead character, Kevin Spacey, said something to the effect of “Always choose power over money.”  I put that one in my hip pocket so I could stew on it as I was in the middle of making a career move and really struggling with what to do about this job offer.  I have zero power at my current job so I took the job offer, but that’t not where it ended…my struggle with power that is.

This weekend I went camping. Yes…camping.  Bugs and breezeless 80 degree weather. It’s a lot like work except it’s relaxing work.  You’re building your temporary living quarters and nowadays with quite suitable gear if you know the right people.  It’s easy.  Unroll this, zip this here, put this there – mindless work and when it’s all said and done, you can go exploring nature.  We rode bikes and made a cocktail that we sipped on while we walked through a very cool nature trail.  We saw a raccoon, old men fishing, birds of all varieties and plant life of every kind you can imagine and some you can’t.

image

It ended up being a very relaxing weekend which was much needed after a very intense conference and resigning from my job last week.  One thing it wasn’t though was sexy.  It was very different for me.  To spend an entire weekend not feeling sexy and wanted after a year or so of being single and feeling hot after all this weight loss.  No makeup, no showering, no shaving…different.  (Now it was only one night so I’m being slightly dramatic but still.)  So on the drive home, I started crying (I cry a lot and I’m totally blaming my birth control) but I couldn’t figure out why and then it hit me – I derive my power from my sexuality.   I was feeling powerless.  I was feeling ugly and stinky and powerless.  All I wanted to do was go home and shower and shave and put on a dress! Maybe that has driven me most of my life and that’s why I was lost with the extra weight.  Maybe that’s why most overweight woman feel the same way.  They feel powerless.

Power is powerful…more so than even money.  The key is to find your power elsewhere – maybe the gym or church or a gaggle of gals to which you can provide support/counsel.  And to not let your need for power drive you.  Focus on your need to help people or serve our purpose.

Power is also dangerous.  What makes you feel powerful?  Is that harmful to you?

P.S. I’ve taken up biking since my son got a mountain bike for his 8th birthday. I burned 358 calories today on a 40 min ride through a beautiful neighborhood in Atlanta.  I love trying something new!

image

May I Have Your Attention Please

(Theme song.)

Warning:  It’s about to get real.  Like real vulnerable.  So if you like the shiny picture of me that you currently have, skip this post because I’m about to give you a peek into my dark side.

I have mentioned that contrary to popular belief, I have faults.  Only a few though so don’t get crazy and start pointing them out.   Yesterday I was smacked in the face with one of them.

Have you ever felt super cute and thought, “I wish someone would see me that mattered so my cuteness wouldn’t be wasted”?  Hair was falling just right, tan was rockin from my recent vacation, new outfit fit perfectly, accessories were just right and the colors were all working together to bring out my new tan…I was feeling great!  Of course the person that I wanted to see me was my boyfriend but he lives about two hours away so I was going down the line of other men in my life that are close that would recognize the mojo I was working.  Then I thought, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? Why must I seek the approval from others, namely men?”  I guess we all do it to some extent or there wouldn’t be a need for selfies and Instagram and Facebook but I know that’s one of the areas I would like to work on so my happiness doesn’t hinge on other people.  I had to remind myself all day that me knowing that my hard work at the gym and eating right was paying off and that was enough.   I need approval from no one else.  Period.

Maybe I didn’t get enough attention from my dad as a child so I crave that male attention (no fault of my dad’s…he was awesome and did the best he knew to do at the time…love you dad).  Maybe I was just PMS-ing.  Maybe I’m just lonely from coming off of a week of being touched and loved on on vacation.  It helps to know these things about myself and try to pinpoint why so I can start to correct.  I can be better every day and that’s always my goal:  be better than I was yesterday.  Eat better; think better; love better.   Former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said, “The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”  I don’t want to go back.  I’m looking forward to a brighter and better future with less tears and cellulite and more smiles.  I was happy before, don’t get me wrong, but I wasn’t fulfilled.  I am realizing that can only come from within.  It doesn’t come from dessert or margaritas or compliments from anyone else (male or female).

“I have found what I have been looking for all my life has been with me all along.”

What can you do today better than you did yesterday? How are you leaving the world a better place?

Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail

I wish I had come up with that one but actually, while I’m wishing, I just wish I had listened to the people that said that and heeded their advice.  I was starving as I drove home one day last week and a busy evening ahead of me and I needed a snack or I feared I would turn into Robin Williams. On my way to my next stop from work was a Krystal’s <insert ashamed look here>.  “What’s the harm in one little tiny Krystal Chik?” I thought.  Besides the guilt of eating fast food and not having a plan for when I get hungry so I don’t resort to unhealthy delicious morsels of yumminess, nothing really.  Just 300 empty calories and 16 grams of fat.  My body deserves better on a regular basis and I give it just that most of the time but every now and then I slip.

So I know myself pretty well. I know that when I get hungry, I will put things in my mouth that I will regret mentally and physically.  So I need a plan.  Guess what showed up in my life Friday?  A MEAL PLAN! <Cue the angels singing>  My dear friend who is on a mission to lose weight is following this meal plan from a friend’s trainer, and it’s just what I needed.  I know that I don’t eat enough calories so I’m continuing to lose weight, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I need to add back some calories from protein and veggies.  I have too much sugar from fruit in my diet so there’s still too much jiggle for my liking.  This meal plan was just what I was looking for: five small meals a day, high protein, low carbs.  Now the prep work is a pain and it’s not sustainable forever because I like my fruit for breakfast, but I have less than three weeks until our family cruise so it’s crunch time!

(I don’t think it would be right for me to share the meal plan here because I’m sure it’s part of what the trainer charges for, but it’s simple and you can probably google what I described above and find something.)

Of course all this planning talk made me think about having a plan for all areas of your life.  (I love a theme.)  You need a financial plan to be financially successful.  You need a plan for your family in order for it to flourish.  How in the world will you know what to do next if you have no idea what you are working towards?  I’m going to write mine down.  I think it sticks when you put pen to paper.  And I’m going to forgive myself for not heeding this advice much earlier in life than this.  I’m going to make a plan and work my plan and I’m actually excited about it!

Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are my new favorite thing.  I’m trying to give up dairy but was having a hard time coming up with a breakfast alternative after making the same yogurt smoothie for two years.  Well ask and ye shall receive.  My brother got me a Magic Bullet for Christmas (which is not as good at blending as my Bella btw) and in it were dairy-free smoothie recipes.  #solutions.  So I’ve been playing around with ingredients and trying to find the perfect mix of something easy, cheap, healthy and that my son would drink (I want it all).  Again, ask…receive.  I was scrolling through my Instagram feed recently and saw this adorable little girl drinking a green smoothie.  #solutions.  So here are my two favorites right now:

1) Winter Greens Smoothie:  This yummy concoction was my boyfriend’s idea and it turned out to be really great and I like the tips at the top of the webpage as well.  Click on the picture and it will take you there.  Yes, you too can have broccoli for breakfast!

 Winter Greens    Winter Greens Recipe

2. Lean Green Machine:  I stole this one from an old friend that I connected with on Instagram.  The picture of her kid drinking it made me want to start making them in the hopes that mine would get on board…not so much.  I’m still working on him though.  Fear not, I’ll break him.

photo 2

I know they look gross but they can be so good!  Here are some things that I have learned:

1.  Peel your banana before you freeze it.

2.  Blend in stages.  My Magic Bullet has a hard time pureeing everything all at once so if I blend the apple, ice and water first, for example, and then add the banana and blend and then everything else, the greens puree much better.  No one wants to chew kale through a straw in the morning.

3.  Put the heavy stuff on top (or in my case the bottom because you flip the magic bullet cup over before you blend).  You want the liquids closer to the blade and the heavy stuff like ice and apple pieces to weigh down the greens and other things.

I like these smoothies much better than juicing which I tried years ago but the machine was such a hassle with its 72 parts.  I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do!  Do you have any smoothie recipes that you love and want to share?

P.S. Cheese is hard to quit.

P.P.S. I can get my kiddo to drink a dairy-free fruit smoothie.  I just throw in whatever frozen fruit I have on hand and/or banana and splash in OJ and Almond milk (it helps cut the sweetness and adds calcium). He loves it!

Having Your Cake and Eating it

You can’t have your cake and eat it too?  Says who?  I think that saying is quite possibly the most defeating one around and I absolutely hate it.  What’s the point of cake if you can’t eat it?!?!

I have struggled with it for some time though because people have said it to me and I bow out of the race for the life I want because “they” say I can’t eat my “cake”.  I have decided that I will prove them wrong.  I’ll work harder.  I’ll earn it.  Maybe I’ll change the ingredients of my cake or the size  or shape of my cake but dammit I’ll have cake and I’ll enjoy every bite!

This blog post helped me decide that.

And if you need a song to go with this blog post, this is what’s currently playing in my head while I type this.  The lyrics are a little explicit and don’t really apply to this blog because I’m not referring to …well …what she’s referring to, but you’ll see why I chose it.

Enjoy your cake!

Listen to Your Insides

Before I get into my little life lesson of the day, I want to tell you about a yummy recipe that I made tonight:  Lentil Soup.  Be sure to read the comments and mix it up with more veggies and other things to add flavor.  346 calories, 22g of fiber (now that I’m typing this that sounds like a lot) and 18g of protein per serving so there was still room for a tiny dessert.  Enjoy!

_______

So I’ve blogged about listening to your heart but this goes a little further.  As I’ve gotten older I have become more in tune with my body.  I’ve heard this would happen but of course my simple brain couldn’t comprehend what that would mean and that it would enhance other areas as well.

If you’ve been reading you know that I had been having some issues with my skin. Well that is no more thank God – literally! It took me a while to figure out what the problem was.  I spent money on different creams and cleansers but nothing was working.  I brainstormed about what was different now that I hadn’t been doing six months ago.  Then one day it hit me – it was my birth control! The very thing that would prevent pregnancy was keeping men away before we could even get that far. Awesome.  I called my doc immediately and switched and I’ve been clean and clear and under control since.  It was something that I was putting inside my body not something on the outside.  Lesson learned.

Recently Atlanta has experienced some … how do I put this … weather troubles, so I’ve been stuck home for about 48 hours and it’s been cold.  So I can’t go to the gym or get healthy groceries to make fresh salads so yesterday I just ate whatever came to mind.  For breakfast I had cereal.  For lunch I had scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus (not awful but I had two servings of potatoes).  For dinner I had frozen pizza, edamame (to make me feel a little better) and a warm chocolate chip cookie from the oven with a glass of almond milk (I’m trying to give up cow’s milk).  Carbs, carbs and more carbs, and literally I felt awful all day – slight headache, sluggish, bloated (and other things I won’t discuss here).  It wasn’t a pretty sight to say the least so thank goodness no one was seeing me.  I vowed before I went to bed that night that I wouldn’t have a single carb the next day.  I woke up and had a banana, scrambled eggs (1 whole and 2 egg whites) and a cup of green tea sweetened with local honey.  For lunch I had a fried chicken salad with extra tomatoes from the neighborhood cafe.  For dinner I had the lentil soup referenced above and I went to the gym. Now I know that wasn’t a perfect day with the fried chicken and I snuck in a few Hershey’s kisses as a snack (shame!) but let me tell you, I felt a million times better!  My body does not like carbs.  Lesson learned.

Now I listen to my body much more than I used to and it’s happy when I do.  I feel better.  I think about what it would feel like to eat something before I put it in my mouth and if my body doesn’t want that glass of wine or bag of chips, I listen to it and don’t have it.

What is your body trying to tell you?