Thursday, May 27, 2010

Giveaway Winners

The three lucky winners of the book reviewed below are:




Hope y'all get lots of good info and inspiration out of it!

Email me your addresses so I can get your copy into the mail!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

GIVEAWAY....Book Review

"FAT to Skinny, Fast and Easy" by Doug Varrieur

To be honest, the title of this book kind of turns me off.....I've had it with empty promises of 'fast and easy' and 'no exercise' (which is included in the subtitle). It sounds like a K Tel commercial (does that date me, or what?). In fact, the book LOOKS like a K Tel product.....bright yellow with red lettering. Plus, you can't convince me that healthy, sustainable weight loss is either fast OR easy. can't judge a book by its cover, right?

In this case, no you can't.

The author begins with his personal story as 'the fat kid' through to his 'first success' (a drop from a 40" waist to a 32" waist because 'something became more important than food'). A change in his job and location, and soon he was fat again, in fact, even bigger than ever. He managed to lose 30 pounds but could never get below that weight. He came to accept that he would always be overweight.

Then his 71 year old mother came to visit. He was surprised to see that she had lost 40 lbs since he had last seen her, 6 months prior. Her secret? SUGAR CONROL.

This began Mr. Varrieur's research into the way our bodies use sugar. The result was that at about 45 years old, he lost 100 lbs and has kept it off for 5 years.

Pretty good credentials.

In the epilogue, the author states his desire to write a book that could be easily understood by even children - he wants to give people knowledge that can set them free. I think he has succeeded. In my humble opinion, a student in grade 6 could easily read and understand the basic principles which are addressed. The book educates the reader on basic human metabolism, sugars, carbs, proteins, fat storage, and which foods are 'hiding' sugar, which turns to fat.

The book is printed in large, bold type....which, although it matches the cover for 'tackiness', makes a format that results in a quick read.

According to Doug Varrieur, the basic key to going from Fat to Skinny, fast and easy is this...."Cut off the sugar and you'll cut off the fat".

But how do you get rid of sugar?

Well, he says, the first thing is to understand that all food containing carbohydrates turn into sugar. Again, he simply and logically explains insulin reaction, the carb to sugar to fat process, 'fuels' burned by your body, and the consequences of too much sugar.

Obviously, Mr. Varrieur lost 100 pounds by eating LOW CARB, higher protein. This lifestyle/eating plan worked for him.....and for many others. It also made a certain Dr. Atkins a household name. Mr. Varrieur's 'argument' for this lifestyle is well made and full of common sense.

Included in the book are lists of foods that are low in carbs - including specific brands...AND he has included the websites of these low carb brands so you can order your own supply rather than hunt for obscure brands at the grocery.

Also addressed is the 'Aspertame Question'. Rather than make a case for or against, he offers his own experience PLUS includes several websites of information on both sides of the issue so you can decide for yourself.

The book ends with 73 pages of low carb recipies which not only look delicious, but contain information and substitution ideas that would be helpful for anyone looking to decrease their calorie intake and increase their level of nutrition.

Whether you choose to adopt the low carb lifestyle or not, this book contains lots of good, scientific information presented logically and simply as well as the many good recipes.

I have three books to give away.

Leave a comment by May 26 (next Wednesday) if you want a copy. If there are more than 3 comments, I will make a drawing to determine the lucky winners. Please be sure your blog link or email is included in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Thanks to Megan P at Sterling Publishers for sending me this book to review and offer to give away.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Week 2 (Second Time Around) Weigh In

Well, this week's weigh in has a better report. DOWN 2.5 pounds....even though I was all over the scale in the intervening 7 days, it is Friday that counts.

I kind of cratered yesterday, though.

It was an emotional day......issues with my adult children.....and at first I had NO appetite at all - felt like throwing up, actually so no problem keeping out of the food. BUT after supper there was another little issue with a different 'child' and I drowned my frustration with chocolate. Not that I have enough chocolate in the house to drown my sorrows, but I went to town and while I was at the grocery store, I bought the 'anti-depressant'. It was a big bar, too. BUT I did not eat all of it.....only 2/3's of it for a total of 360 calories. I bought and ate the chocolate fully aware of what I was doing - it was not mindless or out of control bingeing......I decided to eat it.

And, for the record....I did feel a better afterward. Dark chocolate, after all, is a natural seratonin booster - as long as you don't let the morning's weight gain make you depressed again.

I just realized I haven't weighed yet so I don't know how much damage that did overnight. Hang on......

.....UP .8

A day of clean eating will take care of that.

My daughter and SIL and 2 grandbabies have moved into my (small) house. Hubby and I moved into our 5th wheel trailer so the kids have our bedroom and the office. Since they are moving to Zambia for an extended time (as in...years) in 6 weeks, we are happy to have them so close for these last weeks. Kathryn and Vinj have decided they are going to go into town to the gym at least 3 mornings a week and I am going with them. That's what they tell me. That is, if we can find a sitter for those mornings. If there is no sitter, probably just Kathryn and I will go.

So, it seems I may begin on a workout routine finally. I'm not promising to keep it up after they leave, but let's see if the plans that have been made so far actually are followed up on.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weighing in.

I've chosen Fridays as my Weigh-In here is my report for the past week.

Between Friday last and yesterday, I GAINED .4 pounds, bringing me to 223.7. Getting serious has not resulted in big changes on the scale this time.

However......I determined to be even more careful yesterday.

I did real well until my sick husband asked me to make him a chocolate cake. I licked the spoon, which wasn't real serious.....but then I made the icing. I make great icing and of course I had to taste it as I went along to see when to stop adding icing sugar. By then, I'd opened the door to the sugar monster. I had several more 'tastes' of the icing while the cake was baking - but I shoved it aside and put it out of my mind while I began to make supper.

After supper I cut Jim a big piece of cake, added some ice cream, and then cut myself a small (less than 1 inch square) piece with half a scoop of ice cream. Oh, it was good! And it was enough. For then.

Vinjelu and Kathryn came out after supper to bring some of their things prior to moving in here next week. They were also leaving Seth here since I am babysitting him today while his parents are at a marriage seminar.

Seth, however, wasn't too happy about being left behind and I resorted to bribery to get him to stop crying for his mommy and daddy. What did I bribe him with?

You got it....Cake. (Well, he was actually ASKING for cake since his daddy went home with a piece)

Of course, he didn't eat every bite, so I finished it off for him.

Later, when Seth was asleep and Jim came out to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal, I ate some of the leftover supper (hamburger and vegetables with Thai flavorings) - just a few bites, but it was beyond my 'plan'.

I went to bed, sure that the scale would be up in the morning after all my licks, tastes, and picking.

I was wrong.

I am DOWN 1.5 lbs this morning! The scale said 222.2.

Of course, the only numbers that REALLY count are the ones on Fridays.

But that doesn't stop me from being encouraged TODAY!

I will be leaving in less than an hour to go babysit my other 2 year old grandson and his 6 month old sister in the city. At this point, my plan is to take Seth with me (also 2 years old). Since Jim is quite sick, I will be the sole 'sitter for two 2 year olds and a nursing baby.

Should be fun.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Part of the Journey

As I read back over the posts I've written to document this journey I am on, I am excited to discover something......

Even though I have gained back some of those hard-fought-for lost pounds, I AM different.

I've just been reading the post I wrote about "Learning to Live" in Sept. 08. In this post, I document the 'mindset' differences I was experiencing on THIS journey as compared to the thousands of other false starts I had made throughout my life.

I realized something very mindset is, at this moment, still different. Let me show you:

Other ten thousand times....."Here I go again, trying to lose weight. I failed in my last attempt, but if at first you don't succeed, try, try again...and again...and again."

This time......"This has been a setback, yes, but it is all part of the SAME journey. I did not expect the road to be without twists and turns, hills, potholes, and even sinkholes and detours. This is life. A little detour has not thrown me off course....I'm still headed toward the same destination. I've never gotten off the path, really. I'll get there sooner or later and I can enjoy the scenery along the way. It is not a race, it is a journey. I always enjoy the 'scenic' route better than the interstate, anyway."

I recognize that I am wiser than I was when I began more than 2 years ago....even if I'm not a whole lot smaller.

This is more of a victory for me than you might think. To realize I am not 'starting again' but am 'continuing on'. To realize that stalling out and even backtracking is all part of the journey.

I will be offering a giveaway in the next week or so......a book that I am reviewing. Watch for it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Picking Myself Up.....Again

I'm still hanging in here......

Actually, I've become serious again.

I had to.

The scales do not lie....even when I can still lie to myself.

I was feeling fat(ter). I thought my jeans were feeling tight. I felt like nothing fit right.

I could not see any beauty in myself again.

BUT....I told myself I was just 'feeling' like this.....I was beating myself up.....going back to my old habits of hating myself.


I really was fatter. My jeans really are tight. My clothes really don't fit as well.

The scales confirmed all my feelings of being fat again.

As I've stated before, the numbers went up to 225 point something.

That is a setback of TWO years! Not that I accomplished much in this past year, except maintaining.

Time to quit fooling around.

Time to be serious.

So.....As of April 9, I've been recording my weight, and writing down everything I'm eating and drinking. In short, I'm back on my 'plan'.

I'm not saying I've been completely faithful to the plan, but at least I can see where I am straying because I'm writing everything down!!!!

April 9 was a Friday. I weighed in at 222.6. The next Friday, I weighed 222.3 a loss of .3.

Today, I am at 222.6 again....but that is after going up to 225.3 on Sunday and coming down steadily since then.

I am a little scared.....not confident at all about myself and the 'success' of my efforts.

I learned something since Dec 2007........most of the ability to change your eating/activity habits have to do with changing the way you THINK.....largely the way you think about yourself. At least, that is what I found was true with me.

Go back to the beginning of this post.

I said I could not see any beauty in myself again. I was falling into my old habits of hating myself.

THIS is my biggest enemy.

Not chocolate. Not portion sizes. Not nachos and cheese.

The way I see myself.

When I get overwhelmed with responsibilites, emotion, unfinished work.....all of the above......I stall. I tend to do nothing, resulting in a bigger feeling of being overwhelmed which makes me feel like a big fat failure because I cannot get anything done.

It is a destructive cycle. And when I am stuck in it, I not only do not get anything done, I do not take care of myself because I am such a 'failure'........

And what do I do when I am in this cycle? I wear the same thing every day because I do not want to feel uncomfortable. And because I want comfort, I probably wear clothes that are on the baggy side and are not flattering. This makes me feel unattractive which leads me to neglect my hair and make up which makes me feel even more unattractive. Then I start to soothe myself with 'treats'.......or worse, I mindlessly eat.

This cylce is part of the reason I've allowed myself to gain back nearly twenty pounds from my lowest weight. Actually, to be fair......the cycle is mostly to blame for the last 10 pounds which has been gained over the last couple months. My lowest weight was a one day occurance so it isn't really fair to me to count it, considering I weigh daily and my weight fluctuates. So.....take 3 pounds off what I've gained.

I am determined to ignore the voices that tell me how I am not getting anything done.....I am a failure.....I am ugly...................


I will just focus on one thing at at time.

PLUS my eating.

One of the things I am doing is going back over my posts on this blog. I want to recapture the truths that I learned.....the victories I achieved and recorded......I want to learn from myself and be inspired.

I've also been reading some journal entries and I realize something.

I need to write about what I am thinking, going through, feeling. This is how I process.

I've neglected that part of me in favor of .....what? I'm not sure.

So....another overhaul of my life.

The positive things are this......
  • I am still 30 pounds less than when I first began this journey.
  • My home is free of unhealthy snacks (at least, for the most part) and full of healthy, real food.
  • My closets and cupboards are clean and organized
  • my basement is (almost) has gone from being literally stuffed with junk to being organized and clean......only a few more things to be reorganized once there are more shelves built (my son has been building the shelving but he was gone for a month)
  • My taxes are still up to date (although I have only a week or so to file on time for this year)
  • My tastes have changed.....I no longer crave red meat but rather prefer chicken (I thought this would never happen when I started)
  • I have proven to myself that I CAN take control! I do not have to be overwhelmed.

ONE of the things will be to participate more regularly in this community. I hope to be making friends with those of you who have stopped by this blog to which I have been unfaithful. I know you will be part of my continued success.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In Which I Try to Get Out of Starting Again, Seriously

I have a few things to talk about so I am interrupting the '10 Essentials' series to just talk.

Besides, the material I use to begin those posts is packed far into my trailer.

First of all, about 4 days ago the scale read 217.

The next day it read 225.4!!!!!

I was shocked and afraid.

To begin with, how do you gain that much weight in ONE day? I went back over my food and drink intake over the past few days and could not think of what would have cause such a spike. I hadn't taken my blood pressure pills for 2 days so I thought maybe that was it....water retention. I HOPED that was it.

Well, I now HAD my pills so I took one, hoping it would bring the numbers down by the next morning.

I also was a less 'casual' about what I was eating.

The next day....224 point something. OK, it wasn't a spike, it was a real gain.

So, in the midst of everything else that was/is going on, I started to slightly adjust what I was eating.

Result.....this morning I am back down to 217.4. *heavy sigh of relief* (no pun intended)

At least I am back to where I was a couple weeks ago, if not back to my lowest weight. A downward trend, though.....that's what I was looking for. At the very least, I wanted to STOP the upward trend. (I swore that I would never regain what I had lost....although I was willing to concede that a 10 pound gain at times was realistic, I was NOT willing to gain more than that!)

I have been thinking that I would get real serious when things settle down a bit in my life but I don't know if that will ever happen so I may have to get real disciplined in the midst of upheaval. Well, this is not really an option.....I WILL have to get serious in spite of everything.

Last weekend Jim and I left home to go work in North Dakota. I know, I've been saying it would be Louisiana, but when a different offer presented itself for the US branch of the company he already contracts to AND it is only a day's drive away from home, we changed direction.

Sunday we arrived at the border. To make a long story short, Jim's visa application was denied and we were escorted back to Canada. (If you are interested in the entire story, you can read it here) Jim's would-be employers have been exploring other options and it was 'we'll let you know on Monday' then Thursday and now we are waiting on a phone call being made on Monday again. All this means we have been living in limbo.....not sure if we are staying or going. Since most of our clothing is packed in the very back of the trailer, nearly impossible to get to, we have been living with the clothes on our backs or the older items that we were leaving behind. All the papers and office equipment is also packed away in the trailer - obviously, not my computer....I had that in my car with me. All this means we have been living in 'limbo'....not wanting to start any projects or unpack our trailer just in case we need to leave again. If we do leave again, it will be on VERY short notice...possibly within an hour or two of 'the phone call' so the less we have to re-pack, the better.

So, that is the short version of that story.

If you read the post on my other blog, you will see that I was experiencing an odd pain just behind my left armpit while waiting at the border crossing. We spent a couple hours in the emergency room at the nearest hospital - making sure I was not having a heart attack or something.

The doctor who looked younger than my own 24 year old daughter was oh-so-polite when she listed my risk factors.....age, high blood pressure, and (my new favorite term) my BMI is elevated. I had a hard time not giggling when she said this. It was as if she was going to say something else but changed the wording at the last second. Must be the new PC term for FAT. LOL

Next time someone wants to mention your weight you can say "I'm not fat/ BMI is elevated". HaHaHa So polite.

And to set your mind at rest, the ECG was A-OK. The pain was due to muscle strain (I had been cleaning my basement for 3 weeks and then spent 3 days packing my trailer).

All this has been to say that I am living in a state of unknown - you'd think I'd be used to it by has happened often enough in our lives. I feel like I cannot make any new decisions about my eating plan and I cannot begin an exercise program because I am in the midst of change.

The problem is.....with a close family of 5 children and a husband whose career is in a boom/bust industry, SOMEONE is almost always in the midst of change and it always affects me in one way or another. So it would be ludicrous to wait for a time when things settle down because things never settle for more than a few weeks at a time, it seems. In fact, back in Dec 07 when I first began to make real life changes, I hesitated beginning the program at that time since I would be flying back home for Christmas in only 3 weeks and would be staying at home for 6 weeks before coming back to Louisiana and the support system for the plan I was on (LA Weight Loss). The counsellor at the weight loss center and my husband convinced me that I should at least give it a start - even if I wasn't completely successful at implementing change during this time, I would be that much closer. I surprised myself by actually sticking to my plan very closely and by losing weight throughout that time. The weeks I was home after Christmas were busy attending new moms.....two of my grandsons were born in those weeks - 24 hours apart, actually - in different cities. Their impending births were the reason I was staying home while my hubby went back to work. It was a wonderful experience, but very difficult to stay on plan while running back and forth between the two cities and my own home. I did it then. I could do it now.

The question I go back to the same plan or do I try something different?

This question always seems to hold me back.....I am a very indecisive person.

Forget the question. Go back to the same plan. It worked. I do not have to learn something new. I just have to pull out my food scale, food journal, and probably review portion sizes, etc.

Darn. All that is packed.

Well, it is not as if I am unaware of what I should/should not be eating.....or even portions, really. I KNOW the plan. I've written it out enough times in my food journals.

Guess there is no real excuse.

Tomorrow......the scale should say less than 217.4


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Coming to the end now.....Essential # 9

A quick recap of the previous 8 essentials to feeling your best every day.....

1. Breathe deeply

2. Drink Water

3. Sleep Peacefully

4. Eat Nutritiously

5. Enjoy Activity

6. Give and Recieve Love

7. Be forgiving

8. Practice Gratitude


And the Ninth Essential......



"When you develop the ability to identify and accept the circumstances in your life you cannot change, yet strive to make positive changes whenever and wherever you can, you will discover lasting peace and hope."

I think much of the truth of this point is related to #8.....or maybe it is a result of practicing gratitude.

In relation to weight loss, we have to first identify what we cannot change...... In my case, I am short, therefore I will never be able to 'hide' a few extra pounds. I will probably always have to work a little harder than a taller woman to keep from looking overweight. I must accept this - I cannot grow a few inches upward. BUT I do not have to be fat! I CAN change that.

More importantly, as I have discovered, is to accept ME, the way I am - extra pounds and all.

In all my diet and gain lifestyle, hating myself because I was not thin enough or could not keep off the weight I would lose, I just kept struggling.

It took a long time, but over a number of years - and with the help of my hubby - I slowly came to an acceptance of who I am and learned that it had nothing to do with what I looked like. ( At almost 50 years old, it was about time, I'd say.) Oh, I still hated the fat and what it did to me, but I no longer hated ME and no longer beat myself up for all the mistakes I had made over the years.....beginning with never liking the way I looked - even when I only had 25 lbs to lose.

I am convinced that I would never have been able to make lasting changes without this acceptance of who I am right now and what brought me to this place - mistakes and all. I am not talking about making excuses for yourself, just accepting that you did what you did.....NOW it is time to stop doing that and to begin doing something different so you get different results.

I know that I am not exactly a poster girl for weight loss - the lowest weight I have recorded since beginning this journey was down 48 pounds. THAT is a wonderful feeling! I have since gained about 10 pounds of that back.....over 13 months. Thirteen stressful months.

In spite of that, I do not feel out of control.

I do not feel defeated.

I know that a few small changes to my lifestyle will start me on a downward trend again.

I have accepted that I stopped being as careful about my food intake, that I stopped counting how much water I was (not) drinking, that I had not implemented an exercise program into my life, and that I got lazy about recording my food each day. That is what I did. There were reasons.....other things that began to take priority (whether they should have or not).

That is life.

BUT I do notice there are differences in me today from the me of 2 years ago.....I do not reach for the same kinds of foods. I am not easily tempted at the grocery store by the sweet stuff. I drink more water and eat more vegetables. I cook differently....more real food, almost no processed food. I eat more regularly and less at one sitting. Obviously, since I've gained weight, I'm eating more than I should...but there HAVE been lasting changes.

Here is something else I need to accept about myself......I am not naturally a disciplined person - I tend to 'go with the flow' a little too easily. There are positive things about that quality as well as negative. The fact does not make me a bad person, it just means I have to focus a little more on schedules and plans. I know people who never have to look at a clock....they always know exactly what time it is and what needs to be done at that hour. They are never late, never let a phone call or an email distract them from getting into their vehicle and making an appointment. Me? I need to have a clock in every room of the house - plus one on my wrist - AND I need to be constantly looking at the clocks or I am totally unaware of the passage of time. Like I said, there are positive aspects to this part of who I am, but it does not help in the 'stick to the plan' part of my life.

Once I have some momentum, I can implement a plan real well - it is the getting started (or re-started) that is hard for me....the stage that requires discipline.

Do I beat myself up about this?

Not if I want to ever succeed.

Not if I want to live in peace with myself.

I accept the fact and then DO WHAT I CAN to work around those facts or, in some cases, even change the facts. Some things are not written in stone.

My husband has taught me a little sentence that has helped me through many situations where I would tend to bemoan the facts.....or kick myself for a wrong decision.....and just sit in the same place, feeling bad about either myself or a situation.....

"It is what it is"

That is the only starting point. If you cannot accept that 'it is what it is' you will never be able to go forward.

You will never be able to identify what can and what cannot be changed.

You will never be able to begin to change those things that are changeable.

Accept yourself for who you are....inside, first of all.

Accept yourself for what you look like....and the reasons you have gotten to this point.

Accept your shortcomings.

Embrace your good points. (Sit down and make a list of those)

Accept your life situation.

It is what it is.

NOW....sit down and decide what CAN be changed with a little effort. (Or, maybe a lot of effort)

Make a plan to bring about those changes.

Everyday, strive to implement the plan.

NOTICE the positive changes you are making.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Essential #8

Good morning, all!

My hubby is working close to home for a few days, so I was up early this morning to get his breakfast and fix his lunch. As I walked down the hall toward the kitchen, I noticed something extra on the hall table.

I turned on the light and found a long, cylindrical package laying at the edge of the table with a note behind it......"I love you, Mom....your baby"

I smiled at the thoughtfulness of my almost 21 year old baby as I unwrapped a lovely white rose.

What a nice way to start the day!

Almost as wonderful.......he had taken care of the garbage when he got home at nearly midnight.

Let me explain....

I've been cleaning the basement. Did I mention that in the last post? This has been a huge job, resulting in piles of garbage. We have a large garbage bin (the type you see behind restaurants, etc) and normally I call in for pickup every 6 weeks or so. Well, I filled the bin and called to be on the list for the next two pickups. Problem is - they only come around every 2 weeks. So, last week, after they emptied the bin, Daniel took the garbage I had piled up in the basement and filled the bin again. The garbage truck was probably not too far away and the bin was already overflowing again. I pointed out to Dan that we needed to be able to put the household garbage in the bin so he'd have to take some of the 'other' garbage out. (the household garbage, naturally, needs to be out of reach of the dogs and coyotes and skunks and foxes and whatever other animal is attracted by it) The basement garbage would be of no interest to any but mice - and they wouldn't spread it around the yard. Dan said he would take care of it.

As of yesterday, I do not know what he had done, but the bin was full to the top. I emptied the garbage in the kitchen and then cleaned my fridge - resulting in another bag of garbage. I am too short to reach into the bin and pull out some cardboard or a box or whatever needed to come out in order to put the kitchen garbage IN, so I left Dan a note asking him to take care of it when he got home. (We were in bed and asleep LONG before Daniel got home)

My point is this......I got up early and was blessed by not only my son having done a distasteful job in the dark (our yardlight doesn't work) but by a token of his thoughtfulness and love.

I am a lucky girl......

Which brings me to Essential Number 8.....


"Sincere gratitude will lift and inspire you. Recognizing and appreciating all you have empowers you to find and express true joy."

There is Biblical truth to this statement. The Bible instructs us to "Thank God, no matter what happens" . There is always something to be thankful for.

One of the things that I have done in my life to cultivate appreciation and thankfulness for the 'little things' in my life is to make note of something each day that blessed me in some way - it could be something someone said or did - or it could be the way the sun made the frost on the trees glitter - or I could have purposely appreciated some everyday item such as my dryer....or clean water to drink....or fresh food to eat.

I was working on this habit when I found a 'meme' in blogdom.....hosted by Living to Tell the Story, a group of people regularly participate each Friday by listing 5 of their favorite things from the past week. I, myself, participate in this each week on my other blog....Musings from Me I suggest you consider making yourself notice the little things and appreciate them. If you know God, thank Him for these blessings in your life. If you do not recognise Him, then at least recognise the beauty and the lovliness in your life. Either way, some weeks it is hard to find five things to be thankful for. Some weeks it seems impossible and I have been tempted more than once to just not participate. But you know what? When I sit down and make my mind think along the lines of gratitude, I always find at least 5 things - often more - and suddenly, the 'tough week' doesn't seem so bad.

When you have made a habit of gratitude, it is easier to face the difficult things with thanksgiving.

In my own life, I am facing many challenges just now - it would be easy to wallow in the negative aspects of all the changes because they are easy to see. But having been practicing to find the blessings in life, I have easily found te things to be grateful for in my challenges......

1. My daughter, SIL, and 2 grandchildren are moving to Zambia in 3 months. They will be gone indeffinately and I do not know when we will be able to be together again for a visit. This fact breaks my heart because I have a close friendship with my daughter AND my SIL and am bonded quite closely to little Seth and Taliah. Since I cannot change their plans, I CAN be thankful that I am not putting them on a train to travel to the coast to board a ship that will take them on a weeks or even months long ocean journey to the coast of Africa then have to journey by cart or foot to the landlocked country of Zambia. This is what parents of missionaries a couple generations ago faced. Months, even years, without communication from their loved one. So.....I am SO thankful they will be flying - and will be able to communicate with me at different points on their journey. I am thankful for SKYPE through which we will be able to communicate 'face to face' with the babies (if I have to pay for it myself, they will have internet at their home). I am thankful we can chat, email, telephone, almost whenever we want to (Since they've been there before, I know what to expect). I am thankful they have been saving their money and sending it to the YWAM base to have a house built....they will have their own home by the time they get there. They may not have a bed, but they will have a house. I am also thankful for their hearts desire to live with the poor and teach them how to make their lives better. Even though that desire takes them away from me, I am thankful for it - because it is what makes them who they are.

2. There looks to be little work for my husband after this next week or so - until at least fall. He also was home for more than 2 weeks in the middle of the season where we make most of our income for the year. This is a pretty shaky position to be in......BUT there is something to be thankful for here, as well. The 2 weeks he was off? Those 2 weeks were utilized by head office to make personnel cuts. SIX people from Jim's department were let go. He wasn't. VERY thankful for that. I am thankful that his immediate supervisor is an honest guy who has known Jim for more than 20 years and is willing to 'tell it like it is'. He doesn't make promises he cannot keep.

I'm also very thankful that Jim has a job to go to while the industry is depressed here at home - he has been asked to return to the company he worked for in Louisiana during the winter of 07/08. Providing the person at the boarder grants him a visa allowing him to temporarily work in the US, we will be 'moving' to LA for at least a few months.

There is much that I do not like about this plan - primarily that we will be away for most of the little bit of time we have left with our daughter, etc. But also, we do not like being so far away from any of our kids/grandkids. That is a big deal to us. Then there is the hassle and expense of maintaining two households from a long distance away. Also, I am afraid of the tornadoes NW LA gets in large numbers (to me) and of the poisonous spiders I need to be on the lookout for. Then there is the weather......The winter was lovely, but to hear the natives talk, they absolutely HATE summer weather. For a girl from Alberta where the humidity is normally very low and the temperatures in the summer do not ever reach 3 digits, the thought of over 100 degrees F with 100% humidity is a little daunting.

BUT there is much to be thankful for here, as well......beginning with the opportunity. It is not an 'overseas' job where my hubby would have to go by himself and work in an area that is hostile to our western culture. I get to be with him. This is the biggest blessing of this arrangement - we have a 'normal' life in that my husband comes home at night for supper every night. That alone, makes eveything worth while. Another blessing is that I end up with lots more 'creative time' since there are little demands on me and I do not have to include 1 hour travel time in any shopping exercise. I am also thankful that we will be returning to the same area.....we are familiar with the area and fell in love with the people and the culture of NW LA. We didn't make alot of friends, but there are at least 2 ladies that will be happy to see me. AND we'll get a chance to see the things we 'meant to' see but ended up leaving before we got to them.

These are just 2 of the major events going on in my life just now.....and the things I've found to be grateful for in the midst of them.

Truly, cultivating a habit of gratitude....of noticing your blessings....of stopping to enjoy the color of a flower or the sparkle of frost.....brings joy to your life - even in the midst of difficulties. Most especially, if you know to thank GOD for the good things in your life, your burdens will be lighter.

Try it, you'll be surprised at how many blessings are in even a difficult situation.

I recommend joining in with the Friday's Favorite Five exercise at Living to Tell the Story.

No real change in my weight this past week.....well, actually, I was down 2 pounds for 3 days but today I'm back up to the 217 mark. Could be a one day spike, could be an actual gain. Either way, it won't stay there long!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Update on Me and the 7th Essential

I have not been very faithful to posting on this blog. A lot has been happening in my life of late.

If you are one of those who also read my other blog, you will be aware of these things.

First, we are facing a summer and fall of no work for my hubby. He works in the Oil and Gas industry and the company he is contracted to is in a position to lose much money this year. As a result, they are not doing any new work. Well, they haven't done any new work for nearly a year. Jim's been working on abandoning and maintaining existing wells. This work is beginning to peter out as well. We've been told we can expect no more than 3 - 5 days a month until October, then for 3 months there will be work and in January 2011 things will shut down again. In the midst of this, he recieved a call from the company he worked for in Louisanna during the winter of 07/08. They want him back.

This, of course, is good news.

We feel that we are to go ahead and make preparations to take that job but we have not made a firm decision.

IF the officers at the boarder grant him his temporary work visa, living in Louisianna is not our first choice. Not that we have anything against Louisianna (except the weather in the summer) but it is SO FAR away from our family. On the other hand, we loved our time there and loved the culture and people as well. But it is not our home and our family is here.

Most of our family, anyway. That is something else that is daughter and her husband will be leaving for Zambia on June 15, taking 2 of my grandchildren with them. I do not know how long they will be gone, but it will months - if not a year - before we see them again. If we take the job in LA, we would be leaving about March 15, taking much of the precious time we have left with them here at home.

Whether we leave or not, there is much to do to get ready...besides the visa preparations. Our trailer needs some work on the brakes before we pull it across the continent...the furnace/air conditioner needs repair....and it will need to be 'packed' with our clothing and the things we use on a daily basis - including materials for me to engage in hobbies to keep me busy while Jim is at work. I will need to work out a system with someone here at home for keeping the bills paid here in Canada.....At least we've done this before, but I think the system could be much better - still need to think on that one. I have an ongoing list of things that need to be put back into the trailer and things that we would want to have with us.....once we are there, we will be traveling back and forth by plane, so whatever we take now is what we will have. Since I'll be driving my car down, and Jim will be driving his truck and pulling the trailer, I need to have new tires put on my car and make sure all maintanence work on both vehicles is up to date for the long trek.

There is a big weekend farewell campout/party for Vinjelu and Kathryn scheduled to be held at our place on the long weekend in May. We will have to be here for that, of course. Vinj and Kath will take care of most of those details, fortunately.

My basement has been STUFFED full of 'stuff' and boxes and bins to the point that it is completely unusable. I made a goal to have it purged and cleaned before the party so that if the weather is not nice, there is a place for the various children to play.

Now, with our departure date coming before that time, I've been working frantically to have it completed before we (possibly) leave.

You might wonder why we would NOT take a confirmed job offer when there is no work in our own province....well, you have to understand one principle.....nothing is ever for sure in the oil patch - except that nothing is ever for sure. We do not want to go to the extra expense and all the hassle of maintaining two households thousands of miles apart and in two different countries and then find that we could have worked at home.....this is something Jim has to weigh. Fortunately, he is a man who knows how to hear from God. And God, our Father, knows the end from the beginning. He will direct us.

All this to say that my days have been full.....mostly working in the basement.....for the past few weeks. I am hoping to have all the boxes purged by this weekend then have my kids come over and go through the stacks of things in my 'give away' piles before packing them up for me to take to GoodWill. I'm sure there will also need to be a trip to the dump since our garbage pickup only comes by every 2 weeks. They were just here today and emptied my bin but I have enough garbage stacked to almost fill it again already. Normally, with just household garbage, we only need pickup every 6 weeks or so.

Also, I just realized that Kathryn has a trip to BC planned for next week to visit her good friends there. That means that 5 of the few days I have left to spend with her she will be, I am going to take a few hours each day to go visit her - meaning I'll have to work later into the evening in order to meet my goals. (She planned this trip before news of our possible departure)

Can you tell that I dread having my kids living on the other side of the world? I do, although I am settled in my heart that this is what they are called to do right now. They will be working with Youth With a Mission in Lusaka, Zambia...running schools and working in Community Development as missionaries. Kathryn has a plan for a couple and making/selling cloth diapers. They hope to be able to become self-sufficient through these ventures. As well, they have their music....they write and perform a unique blend of lyrical and rap songs. (They have one song for sale on iTunes.....look up 'Weeping' by Another Way and download it to your computer or iPod) They will be working toward having their music provide for them as well. When they will have time to do Community Development and YWAM schools, I do not know, but this is the way they live here, too.....always with far more involvement and projects than 4 average couples.

My oldest kids have purchased a house. They will be moving in a few days after we leave (if we leave). This is something else that is pulling at miss out on such an important event will be very sad.

My second son has applied to the city police force. He has been preparing for this application for a year now. If accepted, this will mean big changes in their household. We like to be around for our kids at the crossroads of their lives.

My third son is in a hard place right now....harder for us than for him, I think (unfortunately). He has discarded the faith in which he was brought up in order to please himself. The event that precipitated this change was the abandonment by his wife of 5 years. It has been nearly a year since she walked out (with no warning) and he's had a rough time of it - including losing his house. It would be hard to be away from him at this time. At least he will have his older brothers.

Our youngest, at nearly 21, had plans to move into his own place in town for the first time. We've had to ask him to put those plans aside so that there is someone living in our house while we are gone. He will have responsibility for our dogs and for the yard (no small thing in the spring/summer). I feel bad leaving him saddled with this, but I am thankful that he is a loving, giving man who looks only on the positive side of this arrangement. He is just entering manhood and his closest confidants are his sister and BIL - who are leaving for Zambia.....and if we are gone too.......I guess I just have to trust God. And him. And his brothers and SsIL.

Have I convinced you that there are good reasons to not want to be so far away?

There are reasons to look forward to the adventure, I said, we loved LA - the people especially. We loved taking 'mini holidays' to see places and things that are almost foreign to us. We loved having the time all to ourselves - with few responsibilities to distract us from our own relationship. I would have time to scrapbook, write, paint, study.....all the things I want to do but cannot seem to find the time for.

We are trusting in the leading and direction of God.....and will put our children in their various places of life into His hands.

With all the hours I've been spending in my basement, I've not felt like cooking for myself and have not been eating well (or much). The other day I took time to cook a meal (with leftovers for another meal) for myself. The numbers on the scale came down immediately. I know this about myself.....if I don't eat enough, I gain or stall out. As soon as I eat more normally, I begin to lose again. What I really need is a maid/cook to look after these every day tasks while I tackle the big project downstairs.

Anyway, that is a brief update on what is going on in my life, now on with the next 'essential to feeling your best every day'

NUMBER 7.....

Be Forgiving

" By forgiving yourself and others for past and present mistakes, real or percieived, you will gain freedom from negativity and guilt that will strengthen you and those you love"

Forgiveness is an important aspect of a peaceful, happy life. The well-known prayer that Jesus taught his disciples says "Forgive us our tresspasses, AS WE FORGIVE those who tresspass against us." Many passages in the New Testament instruct us on the importance of forgiveness to our relationship with God.

Even secular writings and wisdom emphasize that in order to be really happy, we must let go of the past...forgive, in order to be emotionally healthy.

A lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness, which eats at your mind, your heart, your soul....and even your body. Yes, bitterness can lead to disease.

One thing that stood out to me in the paragraph I quoted above is "by forgiving YOURSELF..."

I think this is something that those who struggle with weight have a problem with. At least, I've had this problem. We beat ourselves up for the choices we've made that led to our current weight problems. We trash talk ourselves for 'slipping up', for 'sabatoging' our own efforts. We do not like ourselves because we are fat.

We do not forgive ourselves for being what we are.

The fact is......It is what it is.

I made bad choices over the last 40 odd years. I got fatter and fatter. I beat myself up over this more every year. I could not forgive myself for not being a trim, slim, in shape person.

It was not until I forgave myself for my stupid mistakes and behaviors.....and especially for harboring unforgiveness toward myself that I began to be able to take some control of my lifestyle in regard to eating.

When I begin to beat myself up, to be unforgiving toward myself, I turn to those foods and behaviors that made me fat in the first place.....I tell myself it is 'comfort', but really, it is punishment because 'I am a bad person' to let myself get fat.

Last night, I came to a box of my clothing that I had kept, hoping to one day 'get into' again. As I pulled out the dress I bought for my daughter's baby shower almost 25 years ago, I was shocked at how small it was! Holy Smoke! If I could have had a forgiving heart toward myself at that time, I might have gotten even smaller - and I most likely would NOT now be struggling to lose another nearly 80 pounds to just get to a size that will probably not be much (if any) smaller than I was then.

Let's take this 'essential' to heart.

Forgive yourself.

Forgive those who caused you enough hurt that you turned to food for 'comfort'.

Forgive those who taught you bad habits or contributed to your bad habits.

Forgive and live.

PS....I did NOT keep the dress - or most of the other things in that box.....when I get down to my goal weight, I'm buying an ALL NEW wardrobe, not pulling out 25 year old clothes! (I put away money each month toward that day)

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Or, as my daughter would say...NUMBA 6.

The next 5 essentials to feeling your best everyday may surprise you. The first 5 had to do with physical health....

Breathe deeply

Drink Water

Sleep Peacefully

Eat Nutritiously

Enjoy activity

MOST of those are no-brainers to those of us who have spent any time at all in an effort to change our life style and lose weight.


There is a topic that has been discussed here and there on some of your blogs - the fear of being thin and the resulting self sabotage. (An 'unhealthy' state of mind.)

Also, consider this.....does being thin and fit make you necessarily feel your best?

Will being thin make you feel good inside and out?

Are thin people happy and healthy people because they are thin?

Can you feel great BEFORE you are thin?

The answer to all these questions is, of course, that we are not just a body. We need to care for our bodies, yes, but we also need to care for our 'inner person'...... our emotional being..... our spirit.

In my humble opinion, our 'spirit man' suffers when we do not care for our bodies BUT our bodies also suffer when we do not care for our 'spirit man'. We are complex beings.

So, with that in mind, I continue with the list of 'Ten Essentials to Feeling Your Best Every Day."


"As you give and receive love, freely and generously, you will be blessed with meaningful, lifelong relationships and cherished memories that will bring joy in happy times, and strength and peace in difficult times"

Most of us have someone we love.....a spouse, significant other, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, friend, pet....

I challenge you, however, to think of love not as something you feel for someone, but as something you do and live.

You can live love all the time, giving love to every person you come in contact with because love is not just hugs and kisses and a special feeling. Yes, it encompasses those things, but it is so much bigger.

Love is actually more a verb than a requires action.

You can live love by being patient and kind with each person you come in contact with.... including the jerk who cut you off in traffic. Even harder, we live love when we are patient and kind with our children and husbands no matter how 'jerky' they are.

We live love when we are unselfish.... when our focus is not on pleasing ourselves, but on serving others.

Read 1 Corinthians 13 for the classic and most concise description of Love.

Note that this 'essential' is not only about giving (or living) love, it is also about receiving love. Sometimes we have a hard time letting someone love us.....I'm no psychologist, but I know there could be hundreds of reasons to reject love - just as there are hundreds of reaons we withold love.

In order to really be healthy and happy, we must be able to live love and recieve love.

We can do this no matter what size our jeans are.

Without this essential, it won't matter how skinny you are - you will not be truly happy.

With it, our happiness is not dependant on the scale and let's face it......a person who is truly happy and full of love is one that others want to be around.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Essential #5

The Fifth Essential to Good Health is....


"Your body was created to move - and move often. Activity increases your circulation, speeding oxygen, nutrients, and water to your cells. Your Lymphatic System requires activity to purge your body of deadly toxins. Activity also triggers your brain to release health-giving hormones and enzymes, which lift your spirit while they bolster your immune system. A small investment in daily moderate activity will enable you to reap tremendous health benefits." (from the TriVita philosophy.....see post on Essential #1 for detail)

If you have been around this blog for awhile, you know that 'Exercise' is not something I easily incorporate into my life. My passions are all sedentary....reading, learning, crafting, art, photography, writing. HOWEVER, it is not that I do not like exercise, because when I actually discipline myself to get started on some kind of exercise routine I enjoy it quite thoroughly. I think the problem is in the sentence before where I note my 'passions'. Exercise (or activity) has never been a passion in my life. I'm not a person who absolutely MUST be outside or who LOVES to play golf or walk or swim or garden even. (It is no wonder that I've spent my entire life battling extra weight.) Because it has never been a passion, I am easily 'derailed' from my routine.

Here's a thought, though......if I've spent my whole life trying to lose weight, and EXERCISE has been something I've been told I must do in order to lose that weight, then how could it ever be any more than a discipline? Something I HAD to do, whether I wanted to or not. Nobody had to tell me, as a child, to go out and play Run Sheep Run with the other kids in the neighborhood....or go ride my bike for miles every day, exploring the town and visiting my friends. (Of course, I was a child many years ago - it was safe for kids to have more freedom in the 60's) No, I was active without being told to be active. I was having fun, not 'exercising'.

As I grew into my teens, it was no longer 'cool' to be running around or riding my bike all over town and I began to put a little weight on. It wasn't a whole lot, really, but I felt like I was huge.....too fat to go swimming. Too fat to play ball. Too fat to ride a bike or go hiking or any number of things that would have been fun. So, because I thought I was too fat to be active, I gradually became too fat.

During this whole time, the only kind of activity I felt even close to comfortable with was what was considered 'weight loss exercise' because of course, you are never too fat to lose weight, right? But the exercise classes, gym memberships, home gym equipment all served to emphasize to me what I thought I knew.....I was too fat, and (as my blog title says) a failure.

Exercise became a punishment for being fat.

What if I could change my mind about activity/exercise? What if my focus wasn't on how much weight I might lose or how many calories are burned, but on the health benefits of activity. (As the above quote focuses on) Would I begin to think differently about movement?

A HEALTHY lifestyle is my goal, afterall, not a specific weight.

I've never thought about how activity aids my body in the work it was meant to do (other than making my muscles stronger). Everyone has heard that exercise increases the 'happy hormones' that 'lift your spirit', but I've never heard before that exercise actually boosts the immune system.

There's a new H1N1 remedy.....exercise.

Want to avoid having colds this winter? Go for a walk.

Want to 'cleanse' your body of toxins? go dancing.

Feeling depressed? Ride a bike.

Want to live longer? Exercise.

I'm not saying I won't use the exercise equipment, weights, or DVD's.....just that maybe if I start to focus on the health benefits more than the feeling of exercise being a 'punishment' for being fat, just maybe I can become a person who includes some kind of activity in her list of passions.

How about you? Is exercise a passion or a punishment for you?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Obvious Essential

The fourth 'Essential' is....

Eat Nutritiously

"Food has a powerful impact on your body. Every day, food, in large part, determines how you feel and how your body functions. A balanced diet, rich in whole foods, combined with quality nutritional supplements created to meet your specific needs*, will give you the energy you need today, and the disease-fighting strength you need to build a healthy future."

*note: This quote is taken from material from a company that sells quality supplements

This point is a given if you are seeking a healthier, lower-weight lifestyle.


Are we REALLY eating nutritiously?

Or are we falling for the 'low fat' or 'diet' or 'low cal' lables?

Low fat, low sodium chips are still chips.....sorely lacking in nutruition and usually triggering a craving for more of the same.

No fat yogurt is usually high in calories because of the sugar added to make up for the lack of fat.

Many 'diet' foods (especially the frozen meals) are high in sodium.

Don't fall for the fancy, attention grabbing labeling.......go for real food. (Or at least, read the lables carefully)

Sometimes it is better to eat more calories that are loaded with real nutrition than it is to eat a 'diet' plate that is mostly empty calories - or worse, calories that contain chemicals, sodium, or refined sugar.

The fresher the real food is, the better it is for you.

Grow your own.

Go to a farmer's market.

Find a source, if possible, of locally grown produce - as opposed to mass produced.

I came across a quote awhile ago that I remind myself of often....."Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much."

Make sure that what you are putting into your mouth is actually FOOD.

Real food.

Not processed calories.

Eat more plants (vegetables, grains, fruits) than meats, or dairy.

Don't stuff yourself.....limit your servings.

My husband and I began to notice the affects of food on emotional health many years ago when he was battling clinical depression. We had found that extra doses of Vitamin B helped, but when he began to work away from home and be responsible for his own meals, we noticed a deffinite difference. At first, because he was not eating regularly and when he did eat it was quick, processed foods, he struggled more than usual with the negativity that comes with depression. When he began to be regimented in his eating (cooking more real foods) and his sleep, things were much better.

Another (doubious) benefit which I've mentioned before......eating healthier has made a noticeable difference in my nails and hair growth (something I could have done without because of the costs involved in 'fills'and 'coloring').

Real Food also satisfies, fills you up better than processed food.

Yes, real food is a bit more costly in some ways.....and you have to prepare it....but the benefits far outweigh the extra cost. Besides, you will probably have to buy less in the way of medicines if you are eating healthy.

For an excellent post about the so called costs of eating healthy, Go to this post by my friend Lyn.

I am reading a book about sprouting (just started) and I am going to experiment in this area - some day I'll report about my efforts - I expect that growing my own greens (which are extra nutritious) for my salads will cut down on some of the 'real food' expenses. I have not explored where to get the seeds and grains for sprouting so do not know the costs there (yet). Anyone out there doing this?

I challenge you to think twice about whether or not you are eating REAL food that is nutritious.


Reporting on myself......I have not lost any weight and over the last several days have found it difficult to even keep track of what I am eating. We have been super busy.

However, I have been doing very well on my water intake and because I've focused on it, I now crave water regularly. This is a good sign to me....when I want water it means that I've managed to get past the stage where I have to make myself drink it.

I've been going to bed at a good hour, but have been waking up most nights at 4 a.m. then tossing and turning for a couple hours before falling asleep again. I have been using the time to pray about specific things that are on my heart at this time....actually, specific persons. Still, it means that my sleep is interrupted and I am quite tired by evening.

I hurt my foot mysteriously on Saturday so even my walking around for normal activity has been slowed significantly. As soon as it is not so painful, I will be using my treadmill each day. I am going to challenge my daughter to a competition....who can walk the longest/farthest each day? Should help us both - we are both rather competitive....her more than me, but I would be quite motivated if I felt that I was helping her.

So....end of post....time to go get myself some FOOD and then take care of the tasks I have set out for myself for the next couple hours.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Essentials to feeing Your Best, Every Day - point 3

The third essential I want to mention is...

Sleep Peacefully

Sleep is the only time your body has to repair and rejuvenate every organ and system in your body. Sleep deprivation causes cellular damage, and limits the production of enzymes and hormones you body needs tokeep your cells healthy, and prevent premature aging. Sleep also has a powerful impact on your emotional health - it eases stress and helps you cope with the ups and downs of your day.

In all my years of dieting, I had never heard of the relationship of sleep to weight loss until I joined LA Weight Loss. At that time, they told me that I needed eight hours of sleep every night in order to maximize my efforts. I was sceptical, but began to be more disciplined in that area. To my surprise, I DID lose better when I was getting enough sleep.

Later, I read an article about sleep and weight loss detailing the effects sleep (or lack of) has on certain hormone production. I wrote a post about that article which you can read here.

The surprising truth is that if you get good sleep for at least 8 hours a night you will find it easier to lose weight.

Of course, being well rested also means you can work harder, think more clearly, and handle difficult situations better as well.

As for me, I love to sleep but I find that if I make my sleeping time begin after midnight and then sleep late in the morning I do not function well. I work best if I am asleep before midnight and up before 8 a.m. I've also noticed that when I go to sleep by midnight I feel more rested on 8 hours than if I go to bed at 2 a.m. and sleep until 10 a.m. (I realize that most of you have jobs and responsibilities that demand you get up long before 10 a.m. - I`m just saying where I am at right now)

As with anything that is good for me, sometimes I let myself stay up too late- 'playing' on my computer, reading, scrapbooking, or watching movies. I can easily fall into this habit since it is what I have done most of my life BUT this is one area that I find easier to correct - probably because I hate starting my day late in the morning.

How about you? Do you give yourself a restful sleep every night?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back to the 10 Essentials to Feeling Your Best Every Day

Hey ..... I haven't forgotten about this - really!

Have you been remembering to breathe deeply? I've been making a conscious effort to take 5 deep breaths several times a day. I usually do feel more energetic after those feasts of Oxygen.

The second essential is one of which we are all aware....


Ok, that is no surprise, right? We all know that part of any weight loss strategy is the intake of at least 8 cups of water every day.

Do you know that water is needed for everything your body does? The human body is more than 70% water. Nutrient absorption, blood flow, respiration, elimination, and your ability to see and hear require adequate consumption of pure, clean water. Your body cannot effectively store the water you need throughout the day.

So drink water often. Don't try to guzzle it all at once so you can move on to coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Drink water often during the day.

I seem to go in cycles on this point....I'll do real well for long time - in fact, after just a few days of discipline, I crave water over any other beverage. But then, I'll 'fall off the wagon' for a few days and I'm back to needing to think about it and discipline myself.

Which leads to a question.....WHY do I need to work so hard to do something I know is not only good for me, but which I know I will enjoy? I have proven to myself that drinking lots of water absolutely helps with the weight control. I have proven to myself that water quenches my thirst better than anything else. I have even noticed that I feel better and more energetic, generally, when my water intake is up.

It is the age old question.....why do I do the things I know I should not and do not do the things I know I should?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

10 Essentials

My husband heard a radio program a couple years ago about a Vitamin B supplement developed by a Dr. Libby. It is sublingual...that is, you place it under your tongue and it is dissolved directly into the blood stream.

The benefits of sublingual Vitamin B complex are many - the main one we were interested in is the fact that a lack of Vitamin B (and Folic Acid, which is included in this supplement) is directly related to heart disease.

Jim had been told he had high cholesteral and been put on Statin drugs which affected him negatively. We began some research on cholesteral and its connection to heart disease and found that there is a large amount of research that points to high homocystine levels caused by a lack of Vitamin B rather than cholesteral as the main culprit. Since the Statin drugs were causing more problems than he was willing to deal with, we worked at changing his diet and adding a GOOD supplement. This is what led to our ordering Dr. Libby's Tri-Vita Vitamin B supplement. I can tell you that we both found a new level of energy when taking it - and that Jim's cholesteral count began to come down (a combination of diet and supplement).

Along with our first order, we recieved a little booklet that outlines what they call 'Ten Essentials to Feeling Your Best Every Day'. I would like to share from this list over the next while.

BTW.....You can order the Vitamin B complex at the TriVita website or by telephone (1-800-991-7116) If you do, please mention my name and my ID # 13082335.......we will both get a discount if you do. (note: I am not writing this post to sell the product and the TriVita people did not ask me to mention them on my blog.....I simply wanted to share the list, which I think is helpful for focusing on healthy living)

Now, on with the first essential....

First, ask yourself these questions and answer with Always, Sometimes, or Never.

  1. Do you yawn frequently?
  2. Are you a shallow breather - your abdomen rarely expands when you breathe?
  3. Do you feel 'light headed' or experience a shortness of breath?

The first 'essential' is....BREATHE DEEPLY.

"Air is the cornerstone of life. Every moment of every day, your body exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen to keep each cell in your body alive and functioning. A rich supply of oxygen can make the difference between feeling tired and stressed and youthful and focused. Take at least five deep breaths from your abdomen several times a day."

I think sometimes we get so focused on sticking to plan, what the scale says, how many times we can make it to the gym (or not) that we forget that there is more to a healthy, happy lifestyle than those big things......

I am going to try to remember to breathe deeply 5 big breaths at a time, several times a day - beginning tonight.

I will be posting the other 9 essentials over the next couple weeks.

I did not have a very successful day today - didn't have breakfast, didn't drink all my water, didn't do any excersise, didn't stick to plan.

But....I'll never give up. Today can be an fact, it IS an anomoly for the most part. Tomorrow will be better.

BTW....there is a link under the words "TriVita website" I do not know why it did not show up as a link and do not know how to fix it. But I tried it and it works.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A New Year

I know it has been forever since I've been on here, and I do not know if everyone has given up on me or not, but.......I'm b-a-a-c-k.....

Happy 2010 to anyone who is still around this little blog.

Well, not that I need any MORE reasons to get into shape through exercise and weight management, I have another one. The Christmas season has emphasized to me how OUT of shape I am. Three solid days of shopping and I was exhausted....complete with sore muscles - as if I had been working out. It was embarrassing! I mean, I did do a fair bit of walking, but it was not at a FAST pace or anything. A couple days to recuperate, and it was Christmas Eve.....I was still wrapping gifts and getting the house in order and doing whatever pre-prep I could for the next day.

By the 27th of December I was again exhausted - my whole body ached with fatigue. My hubby (who was also exhausted for other reasons having to do with too many days working in a row, including one 36 hour shift) and I spent the entire day in bed - mostly sleeping.

The 25th, we had 11 for our traditional brunch. My SIL and her family (5) arrived shortly after we finished our meal. My oldest son and his family (6) arrived before supper. So, there was a houseful of people all day and into the late evening. I prepared a full turkey dinner - of course, I had helping hands here and there, but I had to tell everyone what to main helpers (that is, those who do not need to be directed) are usually my husband and to a lesser extent, my daughter. My daughter was not home at Christmas this year - they were spending the holiday with my SIL's family in Europe - and my husband was WAY past tired after working 18 hour days since Sept 11 with only 6 days off during that time (one day at a time). He just didn't have it in him - it was all he could do to stay in the living room and visit. Anyway, we had 22 for supper - including the 6 grandbabies that were present - and no dishwasher. There was plenty of pitching in to clean up, most people helped at least some. I was in charge of putting food away and keeping things going and not dissolving into 'towel wars'. LOL

The 26th was our 'family gift exchange' and was also the only day my niece and her family could visit us - so we had 19 for brunch that day. Our gift exchange takes all day - we open ONE gift at a time - and is very relaxing and fun. Since we have more in our family, we have found ways to shorten the process a little bit and this year we were done early enough that the boys could go into town to play a game of hockey. My SIL brought over the turkey for this night - to go with the leftovers from the night before (there were no turkey leftovers). This proved to be a challenge since there were not alot of vegetable leftovers either....but I pulled some things together and set out PAPER PLATES.

Understand one thing - my kitchen is small. My dining table seats 12 (10 comfortably) and fills up the dining room area, but in order to seat the whole family (including the extended family that share our holidays) we have to move furniture in the living room in order to set up an extra table or two. This also includes scouring the house for chairs or something else to sit on. This job is usually overseen by Jim, this year, I put one of my boys in charge. The result was not what I wanted, and had my granddaughters sitting in the kitchen at a children's oldest is 9 1/2 and is nearly as tall as me! Putting them at a kiddie table was NOT an option, to I set three more places and found 3 more chairs.

Every year, Jim says...."We HAVE to turn the (attached single) garage into part of the living area!" This becomes more and more evident as our family expands. Maybe this year. LOL. Seriously, though.....part of the exhaustion comes from having so many in such a small space. Our small space, BTW, is the largest area available within the family.

By the end of the evening on the 26th, I was tired enough that I was not even sorry for the celebration to end. The next day, as I said, we stayed in bed all day (except to get up and eat a couple times). I did not even put the living room in order again until Jan 1 when we did it all again for my daughter and SIL.

My point here, is that if I had been on the treadmill every day for the last year I would not have gotten so tired (at least, not as quickly) and I would have enjoyed the party a little more. If I had ALSO been doing strength training or some kind of workout, I would have had even MORE energy. I really do not do all that much ...... I don't even do as much as when my kids were little. For example.....when I had 4 or 5 little kids running around my legs, I baked for Christmas....cookies and squares and candies and (much more time consuming) the Scandinavian traditionals of Lefse, Flatbread, and Rosettes....each of which requires a full day of work. I also MADE ornaments for everyone I would be seeing at Christmas. (to be fair, this is the first year I have not made ornaments). I cannot believe how much more I could do while managing babies, toddlers, and young ones. Of course, I was in my 20's and 30's then - age does have an effect, after all.

My goal for this year is to focus on being in shape so that next Christmas I can come out of the 2 day celebration without having to spend a full day in bed to recuperate.

We do have regular family days during the summer, days when everyone (sometimes extended family as well) gather at our home for a day of just being together and sharing a meal.....but those happen when Jim is home and rested first of all, and secondly, there is always at least some of the day (if not all) that we are outside - a much bigger space than my little 1300 sq ft house.) Those days do not take as much out of me.

So......I need y'all! I need to be accountable and encouraged and even to have my hand slapped here and there.

As far as my weight I weighed in at 218.2 - I had been hovering around 213 - 216 for the month before Christmas, so that is not too much of a gain - especially considering that yesterday I ate two large plates of corn chips with cheese and salsa! I did get up as high as 220 over the past week, but that only lasted for one day. Still, 218 is a 10 pound gain from my lowest weight last spring. I can feel it in my clothes, too. My first goal is to get back to 208.

Another daughter and SIL are moving (with my grandchildren) to Zambia in June. They will be there indefinitely. My husband has told me two things.... I can go live with them for as long as I want during the winter months when he is working.....but I have to have my weight to 180 or less in order to go (he is concerned about the fact that I have high blood pressure.....flying raises blood pressure, and heat (such as the Zambian summers) also affects it. If I have dropped my weight that significantly, my blood pressure should have dropped as well).

This morning I had a smoothie made with FF, SF vanilla yogurt, a banana, and frozen blackberries. I also drank a cup of green tea (a special weight loss tea that I cannot say 'works' but at least tastes good.) I also took my multi-vitamin pack and my Vitamin B.

I WILL be back, to report on my efforts to make next year's Christmas celebration a little less exhausting.