Tag Archives: Health

Spring Ahead

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When I started my blog, my intent was not to make it about getting healthy. I had been observing that there were defining life experiences that had become touchstones-golden threads interwoven into the fabric of me. Approaching fifty, I thought it time to maybe write about them as they came up, mostly just for me, for reflection. But at the time, it just so happened I was in the throes of a food revolution.

And so I wrote about it.
And I felt GOOD about it.
And I wanted everyone I knew to DO IT WITH ME!
And I marveled at how SURE I was I’d NEVER have a chemical packet of artificial sweetener or a diet soda EVER AGAIN!
And I was HAPPY about it.
And so CONFIDENT!
And then…

I started losing interest.

And I couldn’t quite bounce back from Thanksgiving.

My treads no longer followed the path to Whole Foods or my yoga studio. Rudi’s turned into Ronzoni. And my blog went by the wayside along with my healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write about falling off the wagon. In fact if ever there was a time to write, the struggle-time is the most fruitful time! No, it was just a lethargy that took over. A ho-humedness, especially to those activities that interfered with being warm and cozy and caving and eating comfort food.

I do believe this is the power of sugar, sugar.

With that said, this hibernation hasn’t been a totally gluttonous episode. Though I haven’t been shedding pounds, I have been shedding in other areas: namely the stuff of my life that’s been accumulating for 10+ years.

My husband and I have decided it’s time to move out of this house that’s too big for us. It’s time to get out from under our debt, from our accumulations, and from a living situation that is no longer meeting our needs. This is not easy for me. I am a very attached person. In fact, I believe one of the most important things I must do in this life is become more naturally detached. I don’t mean detached in an indifferent way, but in a loving and mindful way.

In order to do this, I must make my way through the artifacts of my past. I am being tested. For example, what to do with the contents of the box that holds the last remaining items of my father’s life, one that ended over six years ago? His dentures, a few pairs of jeans, a hairdryer, prescriptions, glasses…I wonder, how I can possibly let them go? Then I ‘remember.’ I do not need to cling to these items in order to be connected to him, to feel the love of my dad. My heart’s got it. No need for the physical manifestations of his life.

And so I sort the contents of the box into their respective ‘donate, sell and toss’ piles, with mindfulness and gratitude and love. And move on to the next dig.

Today the clocks moved ahead.
The earth is waking up, even though the dirt is still frozen and blanketed by snow.

I’m waking up, too.
Even though I haven’t been in my produce drawer in quite some time, I have been in my closets, unearthing some treasures and shedding some baggage. I remember that I am powerful and have the ability to craft my life the way I want it to be. I’m turning 50 and I can do anything I want. I can make it happen. I quite like making it happen.

So here’s to manifesting.

Or as a friend coined the term,
“Amanda-festing!”

 

 

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M is for…

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Movie and Meditation!

If you’ve got some time, here is a link to view, free for a few more days, a new film, Origins:

http://origins.well.org/movie/

It is about food, past and present and our changing relationship with it.  I loved it.

Also, I have been participating in Deepak Chopra and Oprah’s 21 day meditation about the power of attraction, desire, manifesting the life you want.  It is the best one yet. I can’t believe how much I’m getting out of it. Will likely purchase it. It’s that good.  You can check it out for free here:

https://chopracentermeditation.com  There are about five days left, enough to see if you like it.

I’d be interested to hear what you think if you check them out. Both the movie and the meditation reflect the space in my head these days…especially the messages in the meditation. In fact, me mentioning it here may very well be the universe manifesting something for you as we speak!!

 

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Mind, Body and Soul

I’ve been thinking about this burden of weight I’ve carried all of my life.  What has been the function of it? Why does it matter?

Early on food was comfort for me.  An only child, with a single working mom and a grandma raising me, I was a pretty lonely kid. Food was my companion. My weight became a hot issue between my mother and me and I resorted to hiding food from her. I was teased through junior high school, but still managed, through all of my school years to be involved in activities.  I had the lead in our school play, frequently sang and played guitar on stage, and was a class officer in high school. I suppose weight protected me from all of those boys, though I longed more than anything to have a boyfriend, to be a part of this mysterious, heart-pounding world that would sweep me off my feet.

I was the girl with the “pretty face.” I convinced myself that any boy for me would have to look past my weight and know my heart. If he couldn’t see it, he wasn’t worth it. Then, in my mid-twenties, I came face to face with that dilemma.  Except I was the one who about to do the rejecting.  And oddly enough, it was a cat who was the object of my rejection. All these years later, the lesson still rings in my heart.

I had been on a teaching assignment about eight hours away from home.  While there I happened to find a dairy farm run by a family with same last name as me. They became my home away from home for a few weeks.  Anyway, where there are cows, there are kitties and I soon found myself attached to them. I decided that I would take one home with me.  The day before my departure, I called Farmer Joe and said that I thought two would probably be just as easy to take care of as one, and would he please pick out another kitten for me to take home? Upon my arrival to pick up my new kittens and bid my farewell, Joe had collected the kittens in the front seat of his pick up. There was ‘Blackie,’ the one who first stole my heart, and to my surprise, two other kittens, brother and sister, cuddled up on the seat. Joe said they were both good kitties, and left it to me to pick which one I would take. One instantly snuggled up under my chin and made himself at home. So sweet…But the other one, she was perhaps the most beautiful cat I had ever seen. She was stunning. I knew she would be coming home with me. And as I put down the snuggler, I stopped in my tracks. I was behaving just like those boys who never glanced my way! Whoa! Had I not noticed in that moment, the choice I was making, I would have left behind the best cat I ever knew. I took home all three.

Before I settled in to my traditional teaching job, the one I currently have, I led a bohemian sort of existence while teaching in less traditional ways. I’ve taught in England, had an assignment in the Middle East, and in several unique arenas in the U.S. Traveling alone in these places I learned more about loneliness, and came to understand that I alone was in charge of my happiness.

Despite all the travel, I eventually found my knight in shining armor right here at home. He saw past the weight, past my “pretty face,” and knew upon meeting me for the first time, that I was the girl he would marry (I still find this hard to believe). My man is much more evolved than me, and probably more in tune with realms beyond the mundane. Twenty-one years later, we’re still together–through thick and thin (pun intended). I’m a lucky girl indeed.

So, back to the function of carrying around all this weight (thanks for sticking with me to this point). In many ways my weight has sheltered me throughout my life. It has certainly been the thing I could hold up as the cause for this or that not working out the way I wanted it to–a barrier to my growth and self-actualization.  My weight barrier has evolved over time.  At first it blocked my loneliness. Then it became a barrier to having the kind of social life I wanted.  It was the ‘reason’ I didn’t have a boyfriend, and eventually, a husband.

What I’m leading up to here, is that I think I’m ready to rid myself of the barrier. I don’t need it. I am fully capable of keeping out unwanted energy.  Likewise, I believe I’m ready to claim my choices,  to go for it (still defining ‘it’). If I don’t succeed, I can handle it, wrap my heart around it. I don’t think I need my weight to be my reason ‘why.’ If I clear away the weight, I can be closer to the source.  The source of me and you.

My body isn’t in alignment with my soul, and it’s time to do something about it.

That, is why it matters.

 

 

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An Update

Didn’t mean to be away so long!  I returned late Wednesday night from down south, visiting my mom. I’ve become hyper-aware that my summer is almost over.  We’re headed out in a week for a last hurrah camping trip, which basically means I have a week left to myself before vacation and then school starting. If I’m ever gonna do it, I better do it now (‘It’ being myriad tasks ranging from getting passports to cleaning out closets).

Thursday started bright and early with an appointment with a naturopathic physician and functional medicine practitioner. I learned about this doctor from the website of Dr. Hyman (whom I have mentioned in a previous post, and I believe is one of the spokespeople in the film, FedUp). Do you know what functional medicine is?  I didn’t until I started up with all of this whole foods eating this summer.  Functional medicine, as I understand it, focuses on the whole body, and seeks to find the underlying causes for disease and/or lack of optimal health. The appointment lasted about 90 minutes, and I left with orders for blood tests, urine analysis and supplements (vitamin D, fish oil, and protein powder for morning shakes). The focus of our discussion was mostly about my newly diagnosed autoimmune thyroid disease. I was able to bring lab results from extensive blood work I had done just after this past Christmas, ordered by an endocrinologist. I am scheduled to meet her for the first time on the 5th. I’m curious as to how what she will say about this other doctor I’m seeing.  I’m trying to figure out if I’ve gone over the deep end, or if I’m really on the right track.  Do any of you have experience with naturopathic doctors?

This morning I woke up and felt differently. I could tell I’ve dropped some weight (overnight?!?). Did pretty well with the eating while I was gone. So I headed for the scale, mostly curious as to the accuracy of my sensitivity to losing something. Afterall, I had just weighed myself the day before. It registered at 207. Ten pounds lost since I started. (Ya-hoooo!). Not going to post it above in The Numbers page, though, as I’d like to stick to weekly weigh-ins for the record.

Read a book while I was away,  Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes. My son parked himself next to me, fascinated, as I boo-hooed my way through the last pages.  It’s a good book. A major theme of the story is the right to die. If any of you book-clubbers are looking for good read, capable of generating discussion, you may want to consider this one. There’s a sequel to it as well. Not sure I will read it though.

 

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Perception is Reality

When I need to be the parent of myself, my first piece of advice is usually, “Wait a day.” I have a tendency to get an idea in my head, get enthusiastic about it, and lose perspective. I suppose it’s a way of keeping my impulsivity at bay. For sure, it’s kept me from making some pretty poor choices.

I’m observing my newfound enthusiasm for improving my diet. I wonder how could I possibly ever eat processed foods again?  Diet soda? No more! Equal? Buh-bye. Cookies? Not in THIS house! I’m actually on the verge of researching where I can regularly buy raw milk! I get a burst of joy in my tummy (pun intended) at the thought of all this goodness for family and me!

Problem is, this isn’t my first rodeo.

Last summer, we sent our son to a fitness camp (where he lost 20+ pounds) and my husband and I decided it was time for us to get our eating habits in check. We participated in a weekly crop share at our local farm, bought a Nutribullet, and blasted our way to Whole Foods regularly.  My hub bought bikes for the boy and him to trek around together (a biker, I am not) and I even schlepped the Nutribullet with us camping!  And by Christmas?  Sorry to say, I was enthusiastically making marshmallow/buttery holly clusters and bringing in the New Year with egg nog.  Our “lifestyle change” seemed to have disappeared with the sun.  Fast forward to now, my son gained back all of the weight he lost at camp and then some and I managed to put on about ten more pounds. On a bright note, my dear husband just today reached the 40 pounds lost mark from last summer.  He seems to have managed to stay the course!

I guess for every day that I mange to eat healthy, it’s a good day.  There is no doubt in my mind that today, I choose life.

 

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Painted these frames yesterday, while thinking about perspective.  We choose, whether we realize it or not, from which lens we view a given situation. Perception is reality. Through what lens are you viewing life today?

 

 

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All Calories are not Created Equal

Can you imagine consuming a thousand calories of chips in a day?  How about broccoli?

1,000 calories of chips • 1,000 calories of broccoli
Vastly different metabolic processes take place in your body as a result of which 1,000 calorie serving you consume.  And apparently, those differing metabolic processes have everything to do with obesity.

It’s all about sugar.  And whether we know it or not, we’re addicted to it.
This part isn’t really new news to me.  Being a chubby family, I rarely bring overtly sugar-ridden food into the house.  Cookies, soda, candy, Fruit Loops… oh no, we don’t do that.  Instead, cereal bars, Crystal Light, pretzels, diet soda, you know, healthier foods fill my cart.  What a joke.  Well folks, the sugar haze I’ve been in is starting to clear, and I am beginning to see the light.  Sugar (in all of its refined forms) is poison to me.  Over the years, I’ve done best on low carb diets. Whenever I did Atkins, the fat melted off of me.  It’s as if I’m allergic to carbs.

It occurs to me that each time I diet it’s like an addict going to rehab.  I learn the truth about the foods I eat, figure out a plan, and follow it–follow it until I don’t, and I return to my old eating ways. I’d really like it if I could find my way to a healthier life.  I think it’s time to kick sugar out of the house once and for all.

If you want to read more about this, I have only just begun to explore Dr. Hyman’s site.  Check it out here.  And have you seen the new documentary, Fed Up?  I’d love to know what you think. It looks really interesting.  I can’t seem to find a theater close to me, or anywhere online to see it.  I suppose I’ll have to wait until it’s released on dvd.

Finally, even though I registered zero pounds lost yesterday, my boy lost 5lbs!
Exercise and whole foods.  That’s it.

Be well.

 

 

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Back to Basics

At one point this week (I sneaked a peek), I was down three pounds.
Today, my official weigh-in day, I’m down nothing.  NOTHING!  What a bummer.

I haven’t been counting calories, or carbs.  What I have been doing is working out, mostly staying away from flour and sugar, and eating fruits and vegetables.  For example, last night my hub grilled swordfish and made a delicious mango, tomato and basil salad with red onion and feta.  It was delicious!  Totally satisfying and healthy.  I also had a great workout.  I have to believe that if I stick to these whole foods and exercise, that the weight will come off.  It used to be that I could drop five pounds in a couple of days.  Clearly, I’m not so lucky, anymore.

I started reading, The Science of Skinny, by Dee McCaffrey.  It’s about understanding body chemistry and how our bodies process the foods we eat.  The farther away we get from eating foods in their natural state, the less healthy they are for us.  Makes sense.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been down this road.  I get so enthusiastic about eating well and exercising.  What I haven’t figured out yet, is why can’t I maintain it?  I am nowhere near giving up, despite a zero balance in my weight account, I just wish the skinny gods could have helped me out a little more this week.

 

 

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The Time is Now

I’m turning fifty (fifty!) in a year.
I feel like an adolescent again.  “Who am I?  What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”  I’m moody, fatigued and fat.
So is my family.
It’s time to make a change.
The time is now.

We’re going whole foods (mostly) and exercise.
My son (Little D) is fourteen and overweight.  He loves hockey, so I’ve got him signed up for an intense conditioning program, three days/week which he seems to love so far.  While he’s doing that, I’ll be working out.  My hub (Big D) is on board as well.

In my weight loss career (all my life) I have probably lost and gained hundreds of pounds. The last time I dropped weight I thought I was set for life.  Kept it off for nearly two years.  And then, I quit smoking.  40 pounds later, here I am.  Still not smoking, but all puffed up.

I have some goals.
I want to be under 200 lbs. by the first day of school (I’m a teacher).
And under 150 lbs. by my 50th birthday next July.
There~I’ve said it, written it and published it.

Namaste.

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