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.

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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.

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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!

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What I’ve Learned From My Son

They say the best way to learn a subject is to teach it.  I don’t think that’s more true than the parent-child relationship when it comes to learning about life.  For some reason my son and I have had a lot of life lesson chats lately.  Here’s what I have learned from him:

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1) Self control:  If you eat all the garlic bread because “it tastes so good”, 1) there will be none left when you want some tomorrow, and 2) your tummy will hurt.  As I tell him that he can only have 3 pieces of the garlic bread, I am reminded of all the times I should have just stopped while I was ahead….before that 4th candy bar or 4th glass of wine or … you get the point.  As I teach him about self-control, I’m reminded I should exercise it as well.

2) As long as you like yourself, that’s all that matters:  “Mommy, do you like my artwork?” “Mommy, do you like my hair?” “Mommy, some people at school don’t like me.” My response is always, “Do you like you/your hair/your artwork?  That’s really all that matters.  Are you a person that you would like? Do you have a good heart that Jesus would like?” That last question brought tears from my little man for some reason.  He couldn’t articulate why so we just hugged and I told him that I loved him.  What matters most to you, what makes it easy to look at yourself in the mirror, what makes you proud should be all that counts.

3) It doesn’t have to be perfect: My son doesn’t like to do something unless it’s going to turn out perfect.  “I’m no good at karate.  I don’t want to go.” It’s not ever going to be perfect. Your best is good enough.  That’s true for all of us. I’m reading this great book that my stepmom gave me and it said “It is impossible to appreciate a good situation when one’s focus is on the illusion of perfection.”  You’re going to continue to be mediocre at karate (or whatever it is) if you give up and don’t figure out how you can be better.  That applies to just about everything in life…relationships, weight loss, cooking, painting, work…you name it.  That’s why candid photos are sometimes the best because they show life as it actually is, not some perfect version with everyone posed and sucking in their gut.

 

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It’s not going to be the romantic comedy or Disney movie that you watch on TV.  It’s real life and that’s what makes it so great.  You create your own imperfect future with laughs and tears and stretch marks and smiles and bumps in the road all the while making you smarter and stronger hopefully.

What have your kids taught you?

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.

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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!

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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?

Love is No Good Without Respect

Do you ever look back at certain parts of your life and wonder what happened?  Not in a regret kind of way but in a let’s-not-repeat-that kind of way.  These past few years have been filled with many thoughts of just that. You know I’m big on learning the lesson so I don’t repeat it and lord knows I don’t want to repeat all that weight gain and yo-yo dieting and a divorce and being a mediocre mom and shopping too much so what is it exactly that I’m lacking?  In what areas could I improve?  We’ve gone over some of them and since going over my faults is soooo much fun for me, we’ll focus on one that came to me over the weekend – R-E-S-P-E-C-T (sing it with me!).

In this new relationship I often ask myself, “what in the world makes me think I can make this one work when I failed at my first marriage?” as I’m sure many people that have recently been through a divorce have asked themselves (surely I’m not alone). Since I’m all about making it simple and looking for common themes, I think it boils down to respect or lack thereof.  Respect for myself and respect for others.  It’s possible that I went through a phase where I lacked both, as much as I hate to admit my shortcomings.  I said to myself many times, “why isn’t my love for him enough?”  I always knew I was a loving person so I was stumped until it finally hit me this weekend.  Love is not enough.  You must also have respect.

What on earth does this have to do with weight loss and working out, you ask? Well, everything actually.  Anyone can lose weight.  I’ve lost all this weight before.  The trick will be keeping it off and for me it has to be mental.  I had to know the why so I don’t ever go back to where I was before.  It’s constant work on myself both inside and out.  Going to the gym and soul searching.  Ordering veggies without butter as a side and not spending more money at TJ Maxx than I should.  Respect yourself and your body enough to not abuse it.  Eat healthy things from the earth and exercise regularly by going outside on a pretty day or meeting a friend at the gym.  Make it a lifestyle change though.  Do it because you respect what god has given you, not because you want to look good in that dress.  Although I am glad I can finally fit into that dress 😉

P.S. I’m reading this book “40 Things to do When you turn 40.” I figure I’ll be ahead of the game when I get to 40 by knowing what that next chapter holds for me.  I have not been disappointed so far and I don’t think you will either if you like my blog and need a little inspiration.

Don’t Rush the Destination

This title is kind of funny given that at this moment I’m stuck in Houston on a layover and my flight is delayed and I can’t wait to get to my destination – home…Atlanta.

Have you seen this Kellogg’s video on YouTube:  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vQF8hyGBZqo?

I’ve blogged about me working on patience but I think it’s more about my rush to get to the destination than me being impatient.  I’m a patient person, especially with my son and most other people…as long as they aren’t standing in between me and what I want.  Like my ex-husband standing in between me and wanting a kid or my friend that says I’m not ready to apply for that promotion.  Maybe they are/were right.  Maybe I was rushing it.  I still had/have so much to learn.

I watched an adorable rosy cheeked tow headed boy on the flight in the row adjacent to me and I couldn’t help but reminisce about when my son was that little.  The soft skin and dimpled hands that I could squeeze on and kiss forever if he’d let me and if I didn’t have anything else to do…like work, shower, sleep and the thousands of other things that took up my time when he was that small.  God he was rotten but so adorable and mine and he still is all those things but boy do I miss a baby.  That little boy across the aisle was the perfect example of why not to rush the destination.  Soak up the journey.  The best part for me has been all the people I’ve met along the way and everything I’ve learned from them and the laughs we’ve had.  The journey is where all the good stuff lies.  Don’t miss it being so focused on the destination.

What moment or part of your life are you rushing that you could stand to sit in for a little longer?