Monday, November 18, 2013

Permission




Days 20-24

So today we talk....permission! Funny how as kids we can't wait to grow up......thinking that adults do as they please and never have to worry about a thing and never have to answer to anyone. As adults we know that those beliefs could not be further from the truth.  I haven't done what I really wanted to since 1986, I worry about everything and there is always someone to answer to. Believe it or not.....no matter how old you are, you will always answer to your parents. Then there are bosses, bossy friends and various authority figures but the one we have to answer to most often is..... ourselves. It sounds ridiculous but it is true.

By a certain age, our minds and our bodies are pretty intertwined. There is a little voice that seems to always be at a loud roar when we do things deliberately that we shouldn't. Run a yellow light it goes off. Try to wear skinny jeans....it goes off. Eat an entire cheesecake.....it goes off and alerts the neighbors! There is no getting away from it. It is especially loud and annoying when you make goals and instead of working on those goals, you lie on the couch and watch tv. That voice gets so loud sometimes that I have to turn the tv up even louder to drown it out. The truth is....I hate having to answer to me and it is one reason that I get down on myself at times......because I know better than to do what I am doing and that inner voice is proof of it. It is especially frustrating when I know that my goals are either too lofty to achieve as I have imagined them or unforeseen situations happen to derail me.....like a kid in the hospital. At these times....that voice can be unmerciful and then I just give up feeling like a failure. It sucks!

So of late I have set some daily goals and sometimes those goals have been achieved minute by minute, but I have yet to give up on them. Yes....the voice is there but I keep it muzzled to a point by just pushing forward and working on mind, body and soul daily. Yesterday though....I was tired. I had gone to church Saturday evening and I had planned to allow myself to sleep in yesterday morning....which I did. However, even after sleeping in to a enjoyable 8 a.m. I still couldn't manage to drag myself out of bed. My eyes kept closing and I kept drifting back to sleep. Finally I did force myself out of bed but I had zero motivation. On top of that I was feeling crappy inside because that voice was going off sounding to me much like the robot from Lost in Space. "Danger! Danger Lisa E! You are about to fall off the track and disappoint the world because you are not achieving your goals!" I could feel the frustration and disappointment start to fill me up, along with already feeling blah! This usually sends me into a tailspin of bad health choices and a derailment of at least a day or two. Yesterday though.....I stopped it before it got started. How you ask? By giving myself permission to have one day to do anything I wanted.....even if that was doing nothing and even if that meant eating an entire cheesecake.

Funny how just telling yourself "It's okay," changes everything. Of course I had to mentally talk it out with myself and include a time line, flow chart and a 500 word essay on why I deserved a day off....but in the end....it was as if a weight had been lifted. Just knowing that I could lay around all day if I wanted to gave me energy and knowing that I could eat what I wanted without guilt seemed to curb my appetite. Who knew? So yesterday I rested, enjoyed a small piece of pie and still managed to handle some laundry and had everything laid out and everyone ready for today before I went to bed! It was a win all the way around.

No, we never get away from the voice. It is both our conscience and our guide and sometimes our beacon in the dark when we find ourselves at a crossroad. At times though, we give it too much say, too much control and we have to rein it in a bit. Giving myself permission for a day of nothingness was the key and today I am back on track, rested and ready to get this party started.

Because I am in a pretty good state of mind today I took my 4 lb weight gain in stride this week. I knew it was coming because I was on a steroid regimen for a week and I always gain weight when I am on them. Since I saw this coming I knew that today would be a great day to start a juice cleanse. I started today with a green smoothie and will drink healthy juices only for the next three days. By then that 4 lb gain will only be a memory and hopefully that will be one of the last weight spikes I have this year! Wish me luck. Now....lets all go eat a stalk of celery! (Mine will be juiced!)



193.6


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Diet vs. diet




Days 18 and 19

Let me start by saying thank you to all of you who took the time to watch my video blog and to comment, email, text and fb me about it. It did my extremely self conscious heart a lot of good.

Today we talk Diets vs diet. Diets are orchestrated efforts with certain foods, points or shakes to take weight off. A diet is what you eat....good or bad. If your diet is bad, then chances are.....a Diet is in your future.

I have talked before about how amazing it is that years ago when a good percentage of the nation lived on family farms that the diets were likely pretty high in fat, calories and carbohydrates and yet you seldom saw an overweight person. My mother talked about when they were young and breakfast was oatmeal, fried eggs, bacon and homemade bread washed down by fresh whole milk. Lunch was garden fare in the summer such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and some form of sandwich. In the winter it was usually some kind of canned meat and vegetables.  Supper was always meat, gravy, potatoes and a vegetable. Sunday dinner was usually the only time they had a proper dessert but the rest of the week there were homemade cinnamon rolls and cookies  to serve as an after school and after supper snack. That was a lot of calories for a day. The difference between then and now though....where the food was concerned, there were no chemicals, no additives and everything was fresh or home canned. Where the people were concerned, they were up before dawn working both inside and out. They stopped for breakfast and then went to school or worked again. They stopped for lunch and resumed the work. If they were in school they came home from school and worked. They stopped for supper and then went back out to finish the work. Most of these people burned the entire days calories by noon....compared to today where if most of us wanted to burn those kind of calories we would have to spend a couple of hours in the gym.

Today most of try to at least part of the time avoid the "fried," the white bread, whole milk, gravies and sugar and yet we are twice the size of our ancestors. Why? Well in my opinion.....inactivity is our first issue. Back then even a homemaker worked hard. There were no conveniences. To do laundry you hand to scrub the clothes by hand and hand crank the water out. Then you had to bend and stretch over and over to hang clothes on the line. If you baked you didn't have an electric mixer....you hand beat every batter and you kneaded not one batch of bread dough but several. You didn't have vacuums and fancy mops to clean....you broom swept and got down on your hands and knees to scrub the floors and you put rugs on the clothes line and beat the dirt out of them. Add to this gardening, chasing around a house full of kids and cooking and cleaning up after three meals a day (without a dishwasher) and it was no wonder women never gained weight.

Men worked hard too. Seldom did men work behind a desk. Most worked their own farms and most did it without the benefit of machinery. Their farms, crops and animals were full time, back breaking jobs and most only rested on Sunday. It was a tough life by today's standards but one that most of them remember fondly. Today though, technology and convenience has turned a once healthy, robust nation into a lazy, overweight, disease ridden and generally unhealthy country of people.

When looking at the food intake of people back in the 30's and 40's, most of us cannot imagine eating three huge meals a day. However....they were for the most part healthy. Instead today we choose to buy and consume foods that say "fat free," "lite" and "diet" and we can't figure out why we are increasingly growing larger. It hasn't sunk in that for everything they take out of a food.....they put something else in (usually a chemical or additive that our bodies cannot digest or absorb) that turns to sugar and then deposits as fat. On the other end of the spectrum......if we aren't buying lite then we are consuming fast food as if it was our last meal. If we actually knew what we were eating we would likely lose our minds.....but ignorance is bliss so we order 20 mcnuggets, a double whopper and a 1/2 pound burrito and then get frustrated as our weight doubles in a year. And this is where our diet then requires us to go on a Diet.

Not all Diets are created equally. Some Diets push processed packaged foods on us that are just as unhealthy for our bodies in the long run as the foods that got us fat and unhealthy in the first place. Other diets give you shakes that again are full of additives and chemicals and are unhealthy because even a couch potato needs more to survive on than a shake. The Diets I am more aligned with are the ones that push nutrition, health and sakes alive.....cooking and preparing your own healthy foods. My favorite Diet of all time was the old school Weight Watchers pre points. Back in the day WW pushed healthy foods in their "legal" and "not legal" food lists. People weighed and measured themselves into a healthy weight while learning what a portion size was and what foods were and were not good for you. It was a pretty simply black and white method and best of all.....it worked! When weight loss became a big money game though.....WW had to amp up their image with points and books for eating out, eating in, no meat, some meat and any other food phaze that was currently popular. The simplicity was gone along with a lot of peoples patients. Sigh!

Okay......so has your diet caused you to need a Diet? Are you overweight, unhealthy or both? Well here is another challenge. Take the rest of this week and write down everything you eat. Don't change what you are eating, just simply document what you are eating. On Sunday.....go over what you have eaten. How much of what you are eating is lite or fat free? How much is prepackaged? How much is fast food? And how much of it is fresh and homemade? If less than half of what you are consuming is fresh and homemade then here is a good place to start making changes. The fact is....if you make small changes in your diet here and there.....soon you may no longer be in search of a Diet.

I am going to leave you with the above challenge. Feel free to comment here, on the Lisa Blogs or email me at lelam3@sbcglobal.net. I look forward to hearing what you learn about your diet...and we will later be discussing small changes that make a huge difference. Until then.....lets all go eat a stalk of celery!

Monday, November 11, 2013

My First Video Blog Ever!

Day 17

Today I have a surprise for you. This is my first video blog! It only took me five takes!!! LOL

Happy Veterans Day!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Habits and Challenge #1



Day 16

Habits! We all have them. Some are good and some are really not so good. I have always been told that it takes 28 days to make a habit. This article in How Stuff Works says it is 21 days and that these findings are based on empirical (personal experience) testing instead of clinical. At any rate....I do believe there is truth to it. Our bodies and minds can get used to doing the same thing over and over again almost like a physical memory. The more precise you are in your action the more precise the memory and the more precise the fall out if you go off course at all. An example would be if you are a morning coffee drinker. If you are use to having at least one cup of coffee by 7 a.m. and then you run out of coffee or can't get to coffee by 7 a.m. then you could very likely end up with a major caffeine headache. Your body is so attuned to that coffee before 7 a.m. that if you miss it, your body begins to rebel. It's a habit.

The thing about the 28 day rule is that along with creating good habits like drinking 8 glasses of water daily, going for a 1 mile walk daily or drinking that coffee daily, your body can also create bad habits in 28 days. Really bad! Just as you can turn your life around for the better in little more than a month, you can also run yourself into the ground. If you eat a bag of chips everyday at 3 p.m. for 28 days, mark my word that on day 29, when 3 p.m. hits....your mind is going to start telling you it is time for those chips. You will start to crave the salty flavor and before your know it.....those chips will be all you can think about. The same goes for being a couch potato. If you come home from work and plop down on the couch everyday not to move until bedtime.....in 28 days.....that couch will have the imprint of your rear end on it and you will have zero motivation to do anything but lift the remote.

At my age, it is all about the deprogramming of bad habits and the reprogramming of good ones. If I am honest with myself, my bad habits probably far outweigh my good ones simply because the bad ones are easier. But really in the long run, they aren't. I live a life of stress but if I am completely truthful, a fair amount of the stress I deal with daily is self imposed and caused by my bad habits.....procrastination being at the top of that list. Putting things off seldom makes them go away and usually it just compounds whatever situation or issue you are trying to avoid at the moment. Trust me I know.....I am the self-titled Queen of Procrastination!!!! You may now bow before me!

So this year is about change and the change is coming in baby steps. Today I will acknowledge what needs to be changed.....(that list may take a while!) Tomorrow I will begin some bad habit changing and some good habit reprogramming. Twenty eight days is doable, especially if I remind myself that each day I am one day closer to good habits and one day further away from the bad ones. Again, this will likely be a minute by minute journey with some things but I do believe I am up for the challenge.

Speaking of challenges.....I told you that in this year there were going to be some interesting things going on and here is the first one. I am going to challenge all of you. Yes, you at home can play along too! Here is Challenge #1 for you! Today..... think about one really bad habit you have that you would like to change and one good habit that you might change it with. Let tomorrow.....November 11th be the beginning of your 28 day habit change. Feel free to share in the comments what you are changing if you like. On December 8th, we will revisit this and see if my habit changing has been a success and you can weigh in on your own too. Now go forth and let the challenge begin!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's All About the Food!



Days 14 and 15

It is all about the food! It is essential to our survival. Without it we would die....literally. However....not all foods are created equally and today, all foods are not even created the same as they were even a decade ago. Food over the years has been processed, loaded with chemicals and hormonally injected to the point that it hardly passes as food anymore. Even what used to be considered healthy such as farm fresh meat, eggs and milk along with garden grown fruits and veggies are often  hormonally injected and pesticide grown overriding just about any health benefits they might possess. What seems healthy could actually be a time bomb ready to explode inside our bodies as it destroys our immunity and becomes a breeding ground for diseases such as cancer and heart disease just to name a few. Add to that the sedentary life styles that many of us have now with computers, video games and remote control everything and we are soon going to see our mortality rate going straight into the toilet.

If you go into just about any diet program or listen to any good nutritionist.....they will tell you that when you go shopping in the grocery stores......stay to the outside walls and not to venture down the aisles. The aisles are like Christmas morning to an excited child if you are: hungry, depressed, mad, sad or even sometimes....really happy....especially if you are an emotional eater. Aisles full of chips, candy, soda and frozen ready to eat goodies taunt and titillate all at the same time. The outside walls though are what hold dairy, meat, seafood and veggies. The bad thing.....the food on the outside walls is often much more expensive than the stuff on the aisles and all of it is perishable, where a lot of the unhealthy prepackaged food has a shelf life of infinity because of all the chemicals pumped into it. If you are a couponer.....most of your coupons come from aisle items and not outside wall items too. So if you are trying to eat healthy on a budget.....it is going to take a heck of a lot more of your budget than you might expect.

Another fun fact about your outside wall items is that even though they are your healthier choices...you have to watch your item ingredients. Not all milk is created equally. Some dairy's inject hormones while others are organic. All milk though should be pasteurized. I helped out on a dairy farm for about a year and I will be the first to say that raw milk is the most delicious milk you will ever drink but it can also make you extremely sick if not handled carefully. So....organic milk is your best bet healthwise....but it can also be as much as a $1 higher per gallon. There are also some non-milk substitutes such as soy milk, almond milk and someone said there was a coconut milk. All vary in taste and what they will taste good in. Not all can be a straight across substitute for the real thing.

When you head over to the meat area, again....pay attention to where the meat comes from. It usually says on the label. Hormones can be injected as well as water especially into hams and other pork products. You could be paying for a lot more than you are actually getting. If you really want to be sure of your meat.....the ideal solution is find someone locally who raises beef, pork, chickens, etc and who you know their feeding and healthcare practices. Purchase your meat from them and have it butchered at a butcher shop that is clean and you are comfortable with. Again....there is money involved, but it is the best way to know what you are putting on your table.

Finally your fruits and veggies. When I was a kid, my mom gardened every year and a pesticide NEVER touched her crops. She swore by a book she had which I believe was called Organic Gardening and she fought bugs, blight and everything else naturally with the likes of tobacco, dish soap and baking soda. Her gardens were spectacular and unless it came from contamination already in the ground (which it likely could have) nothing chemical was ever willfully put on her garden. Today, store produce is seldom locally grown. Much of it comes in from other countries or at the very least....other states. The likelihood of the produce being covered in pesticides and other less than healthy substances is quite high. So....if you can't find locally grown, you then look for organic. Again....you can be talking a $1 or more difference in price per weight for the organic stuff and according to an article I read a while back.....organic may not always be as organic as we would like. It might just be a price gouging tool! The best way to insure the organicness of your produce is to buy it locally....again from farmers whose practices you know and are comfortable with or grow it yourself.....organically!

While admittedly, prepackaged food is often easier and more convenient and yes.....less expensive than the outer wall stuff, in the long run it could end up costing you a lot. With the high fat, high calorie and high cholesterol add ins in the prepackaging....you can be setting you and your family up for diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It also teaches our kids to go for the easy whether it is healthy or not. The same goes with our diets of fast food. With the controversy over what places like McDonalds are really making their chicken nuggets from and Wendy's fresh never frozen burgers that in fact actually are frozen....you have to wonder what we are really putting inside our bodies in the guise of food.

Yes, I am thinking more about food these days.....but instead of looking at it through the eyes of someone needing comfort, I am looking at it through the eyes of someone needing health and nutrition. I am learning the difference between what my body wants (Diet Mt. Dew) and what it really needs (fruits, veggies, protein). Seeing food as way to sustain myself rather than a way to make myself feel good is a huge process. It is requiring me to read, research and to come to terms with myself that I could be Diet Mt. Dewing myself into the grave. Rest assured though dear readers that as I learn.....so will you. Perhaps together we will find ourselves in a much healthier place in the next 350 days!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Brain Hoarder



Days 12 and 13

Most of us have a space in our house where all the "junk" goes. Keys, purses, backpacks, unopened mail and various other objects  all end up there until there is so much stuff you don't know where to begin to clean it off. Often you just walk away too overwhelmed to even look at it. Well folks....that is my brain! Yep....I am learning stuff about myself and I am learning that my brain looks like a hoarders house. That is likely why I am so unfocused and too overwhelmed a lot of the time to achieve any goals. Inside my head is packed every medicine David takes and the times and dosages, all of his diagnosis, his doctors names and most of their phone numbers, Zachary's health information, his license plate number, phone numbers from friends back when we all had land lines, birthdays of all my family and most of my friends, recipes from my husband, mom and mother in law, cheesecake variations....and that is just a small fraction of what is up there. There are also things I need to do, things I should do and things I want to do. It is all compiled into my tiny brain and fighting for time against new goals and current ideas. Is it any wonder I have migraines and never accomplish anything?

I am a multitasker, but unlike many who multitask well.....I multitask mediocre. Meaning there is so much going on in my head that things do fall through the cracks. I also get overwhelmed at times causing me to fall off track or just give up. It takes a lot of self talk and self motivation to block out the old phone numbers, my 7th grade gym locker combination and all the other totally unnecessary and space taking information in my brain in order to stay goal oriented and on track.

One thing that has helped is that in this last year, I have done a great deal of throwing out and organizing my clutter. My real clutter not my brain clutter.....although I am finding that if your environment is less cluttered, your brain seems to follow suit. I am also learning that procrastination (one of my favorite "ations") is a great big NO NO! Procrastination is the beginning of frustration which leads to zero motivation. If I go ahead and take the few minutes to do something and do it correctly, it is just one less thing on my plate and one less thing to cram into my already overstuffed mind.

Another thing I am learning is that just because it pops into my mind.....it doesn't mean it is important. In other words....just like I have organized my house, I really need to do the same to my brain. I have heard that you can do brain exercises to help with these things. Really? I have to exercise my brain too? Is there no end to this exercising madness? Apparently to keep anything in good working order....exercise is involved. The blogs help because they help to clear out some of the brain junk and keep me honest about my goals.

The biggest thing I am learning is that I really do have many of the answers that I am looking for. I hold them inside and I have to listen to my head, my heart and my body. Doing so I can move forward in being the healthiest, best me I can be.

So far...my goals are pretty well on track. I may have skidded the track a couple of times but no derailments as of yet. The thing I am trying to keep in mind is that each new minute is a new chance to turn things around. Thank God that each of us gets 1440 new chances each day! Surely that is enough....... for even a brain hoarder like me!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Juicing





Day 11

Yesterday was a very good day! A better day than I have had in literally months. At times I made it hour by hour....but in the end it was positive! I refused to allow my mind to vacation anywhere but the present and I kept the present focused. Yay me!

I guess it is time to let the cat out of the bag. I have found a new love! It is my Nutribullet! I have wanted a juicer for years. I used to love watching the Jack La Lanne juicing commercials and would wish I had one. Of course they were way above my budget and even pretty far above my justification budget. So I dreamed!


I have a friend who is beautiful and gorgeous always but in the last year or so, she made it her mission to lose weight and get healthy. She was far from overweight when she started but she was uncomfortable and she didn't feel healthy. She has grown children and spends her days chasing after grandchildren. She knew she wasn't at her best. She started watching what she ate, changing up recipes and working out with a kettle bell. Within just a few months she had lost the weight, toned up and felt so much better. Of course....she was even more beautiful afterwards and she looked about 15 years younger. It was both impressive and motivating. One of her tricks to all of this was that she found a juicer at a garage sale and she started using it!

If you look at Pinterest, facebook or pretty much anywhere anymore you will see and hear about juicing. You take raw fruits and veggies and make healthy juices and smoothies. There are green ones, yellow ones, orange ones and purple ones. It just depends what you like and what you want to get out of your juice. The great thing about juicing is that if done right (juicing skin and all) you are getting nutrients and healthful benefits from your foods that you might not be getting otherwise. A regular blender while handy to make certain kinds of smoothies is not a juicer. It cannot handle the skin and veggies that a juicer can.

This summer before I got my Nutribullet, I saw a recipe on Pinterest for healthy smoothies. It called for frozen fruit and Crystal Light mixed in a blender. Now I know many of you are not artificial sweetener fans and CL does have it but I would mix a cup to a cup and a half of fruit with 1/3 cup CL. If it was too thick I would add a little water. My kids loved it. Now my kids are not picky when it comes to fruits and veggies, but if your kid is....this is a great way to add some to their diet without them complaining. Also you could switch the CL for Koolaid or you could make it with just water. For myself I would occasionally add a few spinach leaves or kale and the fruit would keep them from being too overpowering.

Now that I have the NB I have started playing with different fruits and veggies and I am doing a little reading on what helps what. For starters....fruits and veggies, especially with the skin on, are great as far a fiber goes. Fiber is necessary to keep our bodies functioning properly and also helps in the prevention of some colon issues and colon cancer. Every fruit and vegetable has its own nutrients and aids in the prevention of something from heart health to eye issues. Mixing fruits and vegetables helps both the taste and adds to the health benefits. It is also surprisingly filling. You don't feel weighed down and yes....there is even more energy involved.

If weight loss is your goal, then you will hear a lot about too many daily fruits prohibiting weight loss because of their natural sugars. I think there is truth in this as when Weight Watchers changed their points system around a few years ago and fruits became lesser or zero points.....people started consuming more and there was a noticeable difference in the amount of weight people were losing. Some quit losing and some even gained a pound or two. This is why three fruit servings are all that is recommended daily. Some fruits like grapes and bananas are only suggested weekly because of their higher sugar content. However fruits like strawberries, blueberries and apples can be eaten daily and along with their tremendous health benefits, they are a great addition to any juice or smoothy you make.

Since my Nutribullet is still pretty new and it didn't come with any directions (still scratching my head over that), I don't have all the kinks worked out yet. I do know that it tears through a raw sweet potato, beets and apples like nobodies business but the consistency even with added water is pretty thick. I know this is not suppose to happen or at least I don't think so and I am really thinking I need to go online and read the instructions. What I have been doing is a trick my beautiful ^ friend taught me. I strain the juice from the pulp and then I freeze the pulp in ice cube trays. Later I will use those ice cubes for flavor in soups, stews or other delicacies I decide to make. It's all good.

Okay.... I figure now that I am moving forward and health is my biggest goal, then juicing at a meal or as an in between meal snack is the way to go. While fruits are a bit higher in calories than veggies, as an add in with with carrots, beets or sweet potatoes....it makes an amazing healthful and filling snack.

So I raise my glass of juice to the Nutribullet, juicing and my beautiful friend for pointing me in the right direction!


Monday, November 4, 2013

A Very Good Day Indeed



Days 9 and 10

Yesterday was preparation day for the new week. The last few weeks have been so out of sorts and out of my grasp. Wait! Nope! That was an excuse! The last few weeks have been a complete shut down on my part. I have done only what I absolutely had to and the rest of the time I have hid inside myself in a great big puddle of denial. It hasn't been pretty. Denial puddles never are.

Today though, I start showing not my kids, my family, friends or even my readers what I am made of. But today I show ME what I am made of. It sounds almost like I should come out of my denial puddle wearing a Lycra body suit complete with a cape able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. The reality though will be jeans, a t-shirt and possibly I will even manage to step over some piles of laundry on my way to the washing machine. I am not as concerned with the physical action today as I am with the mental.

I was thinking yesterday as I was seeing Christmas commercials on tv, that we are about to go into the Christmas season. As a child this was always a magical time of year for me as my religious faith and also my childhood imagination of Santa, reindeer and gifts....all seemed to roll into one exciting time where anything was possible if you really wanted it. Granted it was a childish view of the season but it was also amazing! I miss that kind of amazing where there are no limits and anything is possible if you just believe hard enough. So this year.....I decided to take that part of me back. The childlike, anything is possible, amazing part of me.

I have talked about it before and a friend said it the other day too.....I have spent too many years waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have forgotten that before shoes started falling in my life there was excitement, joy, expectation and a whole lot of amazing. I want those things again. I want to see the first snow and be as excited as the kids about a snow day. I want to hear Christmas carols and sing along. I want to see a manger scene and tear up remembering the Reason for the Season. I want to look on in awe at the brightly colored decorations and share all the crazy and chaotic moments leading up to Christmas day with my family and friends. Most of all I want to dream again and feel that even if the shoes do drop......they will only fall one at a time and be nothing that I can't handle.

I am tired of living in fear and holding myself back. I am ready to move ahead. The last few years have been exhausting and I am tired of being frozen in time. Today I move forward. Maybe my cape is just a t-shirt and goodness knows Lycra ain't touching this body, but even if I just leap one laundry pile with the knowledge that I am no longer standing still.....then today will be a very good day indeed!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Biggest Loser



Day 8

I love the Biggest Loser! It is a great show with great stories and great outcomes,  but in its own way...it is nothing more than the reality tv we have come to know and realize.....that very little is actually reality. At least not day to day reality as you and I know it. When you take such highly overweight individuals and have many of them losing 100+ pounds in such a short amount of time....this should be sending up red flags all over the place. This is not normal weight loss AND normal everyday people under normal everyday circumstances cannot and will not achieve what these reality stars do. If you go in expecting this....then you are setting yourself up to fail.

If you look at the Biggest Loser from a realistic point of view, yes these people lose but they have a lot going for them that you and I don't. First they are kind of in their own little weight loss world where everything in their tiny sequestered existence is all about weight loss including their room mates. These contestants are not living in the real world where they have to deal with day to day issues, family, friends and work. They don't have the temptations or the frustrations that often cause most of us trying to lose weight to derail. They also have doctors on hand monitoring their health from day one. Another important component to their weight loss is that they have nutritionist/dieticians there to show them how to cook healthier and their food selections are healthy because they are not having to have extras on hand for those in the house NOT trying to lose weight. Most importantly though....these people have some of the best personal trainers in the country constantly working with them and motivating them to work out and lose weight. Also, since these contestants have nothing on their proverbial plate other than weight loss, their days are filled with mutli-hour workouts. They aren't trying to squeeze a workout in between work and fixing dinner, cleaning the house and helping with homework. No.....working out and losing weight IS their work.

Another reason we see such huge losses, especially in the beginning is because these contestants are really big people. The bigger you are usually the more pounds dropped in your first weigh in or two. Add in having a complete turn around in nutrition and 4 hour workouts daily and you too could lose up to 20 lbs your first week if you weighed 300+ pounds. The realistic part of the show is that after everyone has been working out and eating right for a few weeks, the body adapts and soon the weight loss numbers do get smaller. Luckily rather than get frustrated and give up like us in the real world tend to do....these contestants have trainers and nutritionists that know how to shake diet and exercise up to shock the body back into losing again. Thus the end result is a large percentage of total weight loss and obviously both mental and physical transformation. At the finish not only does the winner receive a huge monetary prize, but all the contestants have changed dramatically in health, looks and attitude.

I say I love the Biggest Loser because I do. I love watching people go in with no self esteem, major health issues and unhealthy attitudes emerge in the end looking and feeling like new people. I also know that these people tend to keep their weight off because working out and eating healthy has become a part of who they are. They trade their need to eat for a need to work out and eat differntly. The transformations are awe inspiring and in the end after watching all of this.....it is hard not to want to drop the cheeseburger and hit the gym. Unfortunately my reality is not a personal trainer, a sequestered house and someone who motivates me day in and day out to keep on track. My reality is far different than that and often by the time I make it through the day....I am too tired to walk upstairs to bed let alone think about going to the gym. I have no nutritionist and I have no one cheering me on and motivating me to workout whether I am tired or not. Thus my results in the same amount of time as those on the Biggest Loser will be vastly different.

Now here is my weight loss reality and likely it is the same reality for most of you reading this if you too are trying to lose weight. I don't have a personal trainer. I can't afford a Bob, Jillian or Dolvett. I can however get a pedometer and start out by making sure that I walk 10,000 steps a day (this equals 5 miles). From there I can add some cardio whether it be dancing in my living room or maybe even running a mile. I can also afford a set of dumbbells and go online to find some really good workouts for my arms, legs, etc. I don't have a nutritionist and goodness knows I couldn't afford one anyway, but the internet is full of healthy alternative recipes and if I need extra help with more guide lines......there are weight loss groups like Weight Watchers that for a fraction of the cost of a nutritionist can take all the difficulty of what to eat and how much to eat out of the equation. Finally....I may not have someone in my ear motivating me day in and day out and I may not be in a bubble that allows me to think about nothing but weight loss.....but guess what.....even they have to return to the real world eventually!!! The bottom line is, I can find a weight loss buddy that can help me when life turns inside out and I want to eat my feelings in the form of a giant pizza. There is also the fact that I need to learn to become my own cheerleader. I need to realize that I AM WORTH IT and I deserve to be healthy, fit and around for another few decades. This is my reality.

Yes, I will continue watching the Biggest Loser and cheering on my favorites. I will pull some tips and tricks from their workouts and maybe even learn a little bit about myself in their struggles. I will let the show motivate me to get started but I won't let it fool me into believing that their current reality is mine. Instead I will find my own reality and with some work, self motivation and the realization that I am worth it....in time I too will be the Biggest Loser.....at least in Lisaland!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Doctors.



Days 6 and 7

Yes I skipped a day. We have this fun little thing going around our house called Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD). For those of you unfamiliar with this particular illness....it is a VERY contagious virus which causes fevers, extreme sore throat and a breaking out of a rash and in some cases blisters that can cover hands, feet, face, mouth, throat and genitals. Z was the lucky recipient of it on his feet, hands, mouth and throat. It is painful for him to walk and his mouth, tongue and throat are blistered. After taking both boys into our pediatrician.....I found out that this is what my youngest hand and was put in the hospital for. Amazing that out of umpteen doctors and nurses they couldn't figure out what it was....all it took was one look from our pediatrician and he called it. They both had HFMD! The bad thing as I said is that the blisters and rash are painful. The good thing is that after the blisters have completely formed, within 24 hours they start breaking open and crusting over. At that point.....they just slough off and there is beautiful clear skin underneath. Hopefully Z is on his way to the sloughing part and both boys have been cleared to go back to school on Monday. Apparently we are not the only ones dealing with this as the school was not surprised when I called them and told them Z had it. Thank goodness we have a pedatrician that picks up a medical book every now and then.

Yesterday I also had to go into the doctor. I needed to know if my shortness of breath was real or stress related. Thankfully I found that is was real and asthma related. Yes....I have had asthma off and on in my life but as an adult the flair ups have been few and far between. Apparently though...this fall has been a ripe atmosphere for some with asthma. The wind, rain and humidity have caused a lot of flair ups. Add to that I actually do have a sinus infection which is affecting my ears and that is pretty much what has been keeping me physically feeling like crap. Being that I really like my doctor.....I went on to tell him how anxious I had been feeling about my upcoming CT this month to check out the spots on my lung and he took the time to talk with me and re-emphasize that the spots on my lungs did NOT look worrisome and that the radiologists are highly trained to pick out those that are scary from those that are not. However....that being said.....they do need to be followed for a period of time to be 100% sure. After walking out of there I felt much better both physically and mentally and I actually got a good night sleep last night. Add to that that after using my new inhaler I have no shortness of breath.....I feel pretty much like a new person. I must say....it is all about the doctor. 

Lets face it, when you get to be a certain age even if you are not sick you need a doctor. Women need yearly exams to help catch and prevent ovarian, uterine and other female cancers. Once we hit 40 we need to add yearly mammograms to ensure our breast health and make sure if we get cancer it is caught early. By 50 we need to be having regular colonoscopies along with yearly exams that include blood work, chest x-rays and bone density tests. Men don't get out of the doctor game either. In their 40's they need to start having regular prostate exams and when they hit 50 they need to also start having colonoscopies along with regular exams like women to make sure that they stay in good health. Once we get into these years.....having a good and trusted doctor is a necessity otherwise the temptation to not keep up with your health can override the importance of going.

A good doctor regardless of how busy, will take the time to answer any and all questions you have. They will take time to explain any tests or procedures they order and will also explain any medicines they prescribe. A good doctor is proactive in your health care and listens to what you have to say because at the end of the day....no one knows your body better than you. A good doctor makes you feel as if you and your healthcare are important and that you are in very good hands.

A bad doctor will rush in and out and give you no time for questions. They are often condescending and sometimes even have a God complex in which they become offended if you question them. A bad doctor will tell "you" how you feel and ignore any information you give to the contrary. Your doctor visit is often a one way conversation....he/she talks and you listen. Often meds, tests and procedures are ordered but not explained and you walk out feeling rushed and even disrespected. Not feeling good about your doctor can actually stand in the way of your mental well being and your healing.

It is not all on the doctor though. First you have to do your part and take your health seriously. Don't put off yearly exams. They can be the difference between catching something early and waiting until it is too late. Ask questions when you visit your doctor and let your doctor know truthfully what is going on with you. He/she can't diagnose or fix something they aren't aware of. Make sure that you ask questions about all tests and procedures your doctor wants you to have and make sure that you are comfortable with his answers. If a doctor is not forthcoming or you don't feel comfortable with them....then it is YOUR responsibility to find a doctor that you are comfortable with.

Lets face it, not all doctors (even specialists) are created equally. David spent five days in the hospital with about 6 hospital doctors checking him out and none even guessed that he had HFMD. Not even after I mentioned it to them. Heck....most had not even seen a case of Chicken Pox so I don't know why I was surprised. It took going to our pediatrician whom I trust implicitly and him taking one look to diagnose them with HFMD. He also spent time telling us that it was viral, contagious and that the only treatment was symptomatic....ibuprofen and gargling with salt water. Although I wasn't crazy about the diagnosis, I was comfortable with knowing how we needed to proceed and what to watch for.

The same with my doctor. His office was busy but he took the time to ask me questions and listen and answer mine. He knew I was anxious and took a couple of extra minutes to reread my chart and my previous CT findings so that he could give me some peace of mind. I walked out feeling better than I had in about a month.

So today I urge you to not put off yearly exams....man or woman....especially if you are over 40. You only have one body and it has to get you through the long haul so please take care of it. Also....don't settle when it comes to a doctor. You deserve the best care you can get....so get only the very best for you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Motivation



Day 5

Motivation is key to any life change. It is a drive or purpose that gets us from point A to point Z without being sidetracked by all the letters in between. It is also something that is difficult to muster at times.

What motivates us at 6 a.m. may not be so motivating at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. By 4 p.m. we may not have any motivation left at all and anything we thought we were going to accomplish at 6 a.m. has long been forgotten by dinner time. That is why we need to dig deep and find REAL motivation.

I have always secretly snickered at those who were so highly motivated to complete a task, journey or goal that they kept pictures of the end game, talked about the end game and submerged themselves so deeply into the goal that they seldom if ever lost focus. I know now that my snickering was really envy. I was/am envious of someone who can stay so committed to something that they don't lose focus and in the end....achieve! There is a meme floating around about a woman who is irritated with all those women who achieve a hundred different things a day and her great accomplishment is that the kids are still alive. That woman is ME! I take my little victories where I can get them....but I am learning they simply aren't enough.



I have been told that a writers brain can be a scattered brain. If this is true then I should be a best selling author several times over. My brain fragments daily into all the things I need to do, should do and want to do. Trying to put it all into a one single day is literally exhausting. I am tired before I ever get started and then the  motivation is lost. This is not an excuse....it is a fact and to be quite honest, my brain wants me to accomplish far more than my body is capable of at this time. So how do I come to terms with all of this and find my motivation again?

I am thinking that I have to decided first WHY I am on this journey? What is my motivation? Am I doing this for my kids, to prove something or to make me happy and healthy? The answer to that will define this next year. In which scenario will I work harder? Once I have decided the "why", then I must do my best to keep the daily journey my priority. All else can fall in or fall off my plate, but the journey and the end game must be my focus. That means putting what I need to do to accomplish my goal first and foremost in my day and my life. This means putting me first for awhile. That right there scares the heck out of me. Bottom line though....if I don't take care of me, then I can't take care of those who need me.

Motivation and goals are both easier in small doses than they are on a huge, complex and lengthy scale. I have to make my goals small.....daily.....and maybe even hourly so that they are much more attainable. I can do just about anything for 60 minutes and maybe even stay motivated during that time period too. Many small goals will eventually get me to my big one and each time I achieve a goal, it will motivate me forward to the next one....hopefully. 

Today I will try and fight my anti-motivation which is telling me to take a nap, read a book or do just about anything else that requires nothing more than the couch a pillow and a blanket and perhaps that will be my reward AFTER, I complete my goal for today. So for now I say.....Have an amazing Tuesday! Now please excuse me while I motivate myself to the laundry room!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fear



Day 4

Fear! It is one of the most powerful emotions we possess. It can move us forward or hold us back. In some cases it can even freeze us in place preventing us from proceeding, accomplishing and succeeding. Often the "fear" of something is much worse than the outcome. Sometimes we find that what we feared was never actually a reality and other times we find that the reality of the fear was far less scary than the fear itself. Fear! Four little letters and one huge emotion.

I talk about fear today because for years I lived my life bound by various forms of this emotion. When I was young, fear never really entered my life. Not emotional fear anyway. Of course I was terrified of haunted houses and things that went bump in the night, but those were seasonal and I knew rationally they were unsubstantiated fears. The only real fear I ever remember was one time when I thought there was something wrong with my mother. It was a week of sheer terror trying to imagine my life without her. Luckily I had years left with her...but at the time I knew fear. Other than that though, I was pretty fearless. Any momentary fears I had were just that, as I knew I was always going to be okay when I came out on the other side.

It was not until 2000 when my youngest was born that I knew fear. Real fear. Gut wrenching....terrifying fear. When I sat by his bedside and knew that I might lose him.....that was unbelievable fear. Then when I lost my husband unexpectedly the next year and I realized that I was now raising my kids on my own....that was gut wrenching fear. Finally....in 2002 after I lost my mom after a battle with cancer and I felt completely alone in the world except for my kids.....THAT was debilitating fear. It was a fear that reoccured for years and was diagnosed as PTSD or Post Tramatic Stress Disorder. I like to call it....waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have spoken of it before and the cloud that it put over my life and my happiness. I lived in fear of losing my kids or dying myself. It was irrational and crazy and yet to me....the irrational and crazy had already happened to me....so why couldn't it happen again?

After several years of being on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds....I finally realized that for me, they were doing more damage than good and I medically weened myself off of them. Yes....my emotions were more raw and surfaced, but at least I was feeling. I knew I would never get beyond my fear if I didn't first allow myself to feel it. After a while, I found myself feeling and even being emotional again and I also began to realize just how much I had let fear take over my life. When you live in fear you lose all of your joy. I had lost mine but after a time, it began to return.

In the last few years, a new "me" had begun to emerge. I was much more balanced and I felt really good until this August. It was at this time a diagnostic test for breast cancer found that I had two spots on my lung. I felt all the debilitating fear engulf and nearly suffocate me. I also found calcifcations on my thyroid. It was a double whammy of sorts. The kicker was that the spots were too small to biopsy and the fact that there was more than one made it even more worrisome. After seeing a specialist who sent me home and said we will wait 3 months and retest....I was sort of left in limbo. I think the thyroid is fine. Since seeing the specialist....I have drifted between feeling confident that I am fine and worrying that something irrational and crazy is going to happen.

Last week my youngest had another health scare which left us in the hospital for several days. Since coming home I have felt crappy. Mostly I feel heavy in my chest. I am not coughing, wheezing, or having trouble breathing....my chest just feels heavy. I have not lost my appetite or run fever or any of the other possible signs of lung cancer. Common sense tells me that I am stressing and exhausted and letting my emotions take on physical attributes. However.....the fear is back and there are times when it feels like it is winning. It feels as if I am at a stand still frozen in time. I am trying to pray my way through it, but at times it feels like my faith is no match for my fear and I am ashamed.

My fear takes me through rocky "what ifs" and worst case scenarios. It is making me crazy and very unproductive. That is why I started this for the year. It is my reminder that I am alive, writing and that I am on a journey. In any journey you must continually move forward and that is what I intend to keep doing. I really have no plans to dwell on this as now that I have spoken of it....it is out in the universe and no longer hiding inside of me fighting to overtake all my other sane emotions. Instead I plan to move forward and make small and necessary changes every day. I plan to pray both for myself and all those who need the prayers as much as I do. I also plan to hope with all my heart that this is another case where the fear is far worse than the outcome and soon my joy will return.

Yes fear is an ugly emotion than can rob us of so much. I will never get the moments back that I have already wasted on fear, but I refuse to let fear win. So today I claim victory over my fear and choose to no longer let fear guide me. It is time to move ahead and seize the day!




189.8

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Water




Day 3

In this modern world of technology and new fangled this and that....the one thing that doctors, scientists and nutritionists all seem to agree on is......the healthiest thing you can do for your body is to drink water! Another example of simplest is the best? Quite likely!

Whether you like your water straight from the tap, bottled, flavored or carbonated.....the fact is that this zero calorie beverage with no fat or additives is one of the best things we can do for our health and our bodies. Sadly there are a lot of people who obviously didn't get the memo and don't even manage 8oz. of the stuff in the course of 24 hours.

When I was a kid, at breakfast you drank juice....lunch and supper was milk and anything in between was water. That being said....I think we were a pretty dehydrated nation as other than a quick drink from the water fountain after recess or a guzzle from the garden hose when you were playing outside, we really didn't drink a lot. We were likely healthier by far because we weren't technology obsessed couch potatoes, but many of our habits were far from body positive. As a kid at Girl Scout camp, I remember getting heat stroke because we were outside in 102 degree temps for five days with only an old water pump to grab a quick drink from. Our leaders were apparently not well versed on the need for hydration in kids or the damage that dehydration could do. It was the sickest I had ever been.

Now a days we know the importance of water in our bodies and the positive effects it brings about. It hydrates our hair and skin, flushes waste from our cells and is extremely helpful in weight loss. No longer is it expected that a 10 second drink from a water fountain is substantial for hydration. Even elementary kids are allowed to bring water bottles to school and drink as needed.

In my younger days, water was something I imbibed only with a pill or if I was REALLY thirsty and nothing else was available. The rest of the time....carbonated beverages were my friend. While I was thin and looked healthy....I am sure my cells told a different story. They were probably shriveled up and begging for some good old H2O. It wasn't until I was older that I began to learn the benefits of water. It was actually some friends kids that got me to thinking about and drinking water. Whenever they would come to eat at our house, regardless of what kind of soda or other drinks might be available to them.....they always chose water. For some reason this really hit me and I decided that might be a really healthy way to go. It was then that I did my little 2 week experiment. I drank nothing but water for 2 weeks and made myself drink at least 64oz. a day. At first it seemed like over kill and the side effect that I spent a lot of time running to the bathroom to pee didn't really seem like a positive. By the end of the two weeks though....I wasn't peeing as much because my body was adjusting and I found myself craving water above other drinks. I also just felt better all the way around. Likely it was my body not having to deal with all the artificial junk that had been in my previous beverages. Since that time.....water has been my friend. 

In truth...I don't always drink like I should.....but I do manage to get down at least 32 oz per day even on my worst days. I genuinely feel better when I drink water and the best part about water.....it is much cheaper (even if you buy bottled) than just about anything else you can drink. 

Here is what I know about water:
If you start drinking 64oz of water for one week.....you will lose weight. Granted it maybe water weight.....but it is a start.

Water has no taste and yet it is the most thirst quenching beverage out there.

Drinking water daily can improve your skin and your hair.

If you work or play in the sun and heat......hydration is imperative and water is the only true way to hydrate. Other beverages can actually cause you to dehydrate even more.

Drinking substantial water is a necessity in any kind of weight loss program and definitely in any workout program.

If you love massages.....it is very important to drink and rehydrate after a massage.

I know there are many other benefits to drinking this simple yet imperative elixir of life, but these are the ones I know first hand. In the next week...I plan on making some changes and one of them will be more water. It is a great way to start change by cleansing the body and hopefully if my body starts feeling better.....so will my mind. I will let you know how it goes.

So I raise my glass (of water) and say......Here's to a gloriously hydrated week!



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jeans




Day 2
Jeans! We all wear them and if you think about it....they are a crucial part to most of our wardrobes and even our lives. I myself have been around from bell bottoms to skinny's and everything in between. There have been tight jeans, loose jeans, high waisted and low waisted. Some have worn them uber tight while others have chosen to let them fall way below their Mason/Dixon Line. Whatever your choice though.....pants and mainly jeans.....are an essential part of our lives.  I realized this as I was running through the house half crazed looking for my favorite pair this morning. At my age.....and size.....a good fitting, favorite pair are in short commodity.

When I was young.....I chose my jeans based on fashion and looks rather than comfort. If this meant smashing my organs to the point of not functioning properly and never being able to go to the bathroom for fear I would not be able to get them zipped back up on my own.......well then so be it. As long as I looked good, that was all that mattered. And you wonder why girls started going to the bathroom in pairs. Duh....we needed help zipping our jeans. As I got older though, I chose my jeans for comfort. When you are a mom, doing mom stuff and having to reach, bend and twist yourself into a thousand different contortions everyday.....you need comfort. Now a days though.....I choose my jeans for fit! Looks are about 20% of why I choose a jean, comfort is about 30% and fit is the other 50%.

If I have a pair that fit and I can breath in them, I will wear them daily! This means they end up being washed about 5x more than any other article of clothing I have. This also means that in a pinch....I will yank them from the dirty clothes pile and wear them dirty if need be. Yeah....that is how important they are to me. This also means that they wear out about 5x faster than any other article of clothing I have which means that at least twice a year I am breaking in new jeans.

The fact is that when you get older and gain weight.....clothes do not fit like they did when you were
a size 5. Everything drifts south and out.... and your clothes no longer serve as something to accentuate the positives. Instead they must lift, separate, smash and hide all the negatives. Yes....I expect a lot of my clothes. That is why when I find those jeans that fit just right......they are like water in the desert and I hold on to them for dear life.

So with all the different kinds of comfort pants available.....why jeans? There was the sweat pant craze where literally everyone wore them wherever they went. They even made designer sweat pants for the socialite on the go. Truth is....I never got into that. I did have sweat pants and I wore them around the house on occasions but NEVER out. I just couldn't. Then there were the nylon sweat suites. Again quite fashionable if you liked that sort of thing. I didn't. I never even owned one. Then came sleep pants. I must say that I love with my whole heart and soul my sleep pants. That being said....I actually sleep in them and maybe lounge around the house in them, but I don't shop, run around or socialize in them. Now we also have yoga pants. They are great......for YOGA and they look amazing on about .25% of the population. The rest of us just might as well realize that cellulite, lumps, bumps and any other skin imperfections show right through yoga pants and in my book.....it doesn't matter how comfortable you are....ain't nobody wants to see all that! So that is why jeans!

It is my hope that someday I will own a pair of jeans again solely for fashion.....however I will never again allow fashion to trump comfort. That ship has sailed. I would just be happy with a pair of jeans that make my butt look high, my 5'1" legs look long and no muffin top. Is that really too much to ask from my pants? Yeah.....don't answer that!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 1: In the Beginning........




Day 1

In the beginning....... Everything since the conception of creation has had a beginning. Everything starts from an origin. This is my origin. If you read my other blogs....then you might know that this last week I have had some thinking time on my hands. In that time I came to some realizations. That is what this is all about.

In each of us very complex and intricate human beings....there are actually only three simple key elements that keep all the complexities and intricacy's functioning. These elements are body, mind and soul. When working in sync.....the being runs efficiently and effectively. However, when even one of these elements is out of sync, the being can become a complete and total train wreck. "Whoot whoo...." Hear that? That is me coming down the track!

In my humble opinion, of the three key elements....the soul is the most important. The soul is where we keep our faith and without faith in something, we are nothing but an empty shell. My faith is in God and like anything else, the only way to strengthen it is to give it a daily workout. For me that is prayer and the constant reminder that if I hand something over to God to take care of.....I must leave it there. Trust me.....with all the spiritual aerobics I do......my soul should be of athletic proportions. It isn't though because the other two elements are not working in sync. That being said, without proper training and care, and without my soul/faith being in good shape, nothing else will be either.

Next is my mind. My mind is so rogue. It always has been. Living in my head is like living in a 1960's thriller all the time. It takes so many twists and turns and you simply never know what is going to happen next. Often my mind likes to lease property in some pretty negative areas. It is a struggle to grab the faith I need to keep myself in more scenic and upscale real estate. It can be exhausting trying to balance mind and soul and if they our out of whack then the body will follow suit.

Finally the body. It has been proven time and again that mind and soul have immense power over the body. They can cause the body healing and they can cause the body to fail. Mine has been failing for a long time. That is what comes from going through life "faking" everything. I have said it before and I will say it again. Those that tell me how strong I am have no idea just how weak I am. Strong is facing things head on and keeping the three elements in sync. Weak is acting as if you face things head on when you know that body, mind and soul are actually reeling out of control at an alarming rate. Perhaps it is time to stop faking and reeling and start putting things right.

My 51st birthday came and went this year with little fan fare or even thought. It was an "ehh" kind of birthday, possibly because there was much more on my mind than cake and wrinkles. This is a pivotal year in my life for a lot of reasons and because of this I seem a lot more out of sync than usual. The truth is though.....I have always been out of sync. I have never really had the balance that allows me to "know" me or find the best me. I was never taught to be whole so I have been working unaligned my whole life. I come from a long line of out of sync and that is all I have ever known. Unless I want to continue the cycle.....it is time for me to actually take a stand.

So today is the beginning. I don't know where this is going to go or what I am going to find on the way. There is no map, directions or guarantees. It is simply a step, which will be followed by another and another until I eventually find my destination. Hopefully when I arrive, I will have found a much better version of me.

It is my plan to blog daily. Perhaps there will be pictures, maybe video and always my thoughts and words on where I am at. While the past may pop up from time to time as I have to know where I have been in order to find out where I am, I really don't want to speculate on the future. I want each day and even each minute to be filled with surprise. I am banking on the fact that if the three elements start to sync up then some of those surprises might just be happy ones. I will post these blogs daily on The Lisa Blogs on facebook but only on occasions will I actually post this on my facebook page. This means that you either have to follow me, like The Lisa Blogs facebook page or bookmark this blog if you wish to go along on this journey. Oh and just so you know what you "might" be in for: there could be weight loss, exercise, health, spirituality and of course Lisaism's right and left. You know you don't want to miss the Lisaism's! Maybe someone reading will laugh or cry or even relate and they too will begin a similar journey of synchronization.

To mark the beginning of this journey....I am doing something I almost never do. I am posting a picture of myself. Okay....myself and two close friends. I am the "fluffy" one in the purple top. In 365 days....good, bad or the same....I will post another picture and see where I am. So grab a toothbrush, pack your readers and let the journey begin............



Monday, October 7, 2013

To Believe in Me


Today is the day! What I did yesterday doesn't matter and what I will do tomorrow is a moot point as tomorrow is not a definite. All that matters is today, right here in this moment. I am in total control of this moment. I am in control of how I act and react and what path I put myself on. My choices and decisions are my own and I will own the bad decisions I make just as I do the good ones.

If the bottom falls out of today.....as it sometimes does on days that end in "y", then I can let it defeat me or fuel me. I can fight or I can fall. Every second I work towards my goal(s) is a second closer to attainment and second farther from the starting line.

I can do anything I want to do. Where there is a will there is always a way and it is not people or circumstance that stand between me and what I want.....it is only me and my fear that  are the culprit.

I cannot control what I do not know and I cannot control the should have's....all I can control is now.

Yes....there are lots of cliches and motivational words here, but the fact is.....no one knows me better than I know me. No one scares me more than I scare me and no one is out there cheering me on except for me. I have to be my own cheerleader and only I know when I need the motivation to move forward, to speak up or simply just to listen. The answers are always there and I can achieve if I believe....I just need to believe in me!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ready for Some Happy


Life has stepped in and I missed a few days. I gave up working out until I get my life into rhythm. Yeah I know....I may never work out again. No...I will! REALLY!

So I guess that is the bad news. I have not walked or worked out in over a week. The good news is....I have quit riding the couch and have actually bed somewhat productive. Well...until yesterday. Yesterday and today I have had David home. He wasn't acting right yesterday and I was starting to wonder if he was having shunt problems. Today though, after a quiet start, he is back to 100%. He will be going to school tomorrow and I will get back to my regularly scheduled life.

I can tell that in the last couple of days I have felt a little out of sorts myself. I am irritated with the world for no good reason. Other than that though....I feel fine....unless I really start thinking about not feeling fine. Yep...mind over matter. When I am busy though.....all health thoughts seem to be back burnered.

I have been eating much better and there has definitely been no loss of appetite. The kids are happy that I am cooking again too. That slump I was in was really a doozie. Now to move on.

I am really in a mood to organize or at least think about organizing. My house still annoys me and I have done little to make it better. I have got to get myself organized before I can organize anything else. Perhaps that will be this afternoons challenge.....Organize my Life!

Truthfully, I can sort of feel my body evening out and finding its new normal again. Once that happens then maybe things will start falling into place. I am trying to let go of as much negative as possible (both mentally and physically) but obviously my mood states that there is still some residual negativity lingering. Maybe it is the weather or the dogs who keep peeing and puking in my house or maybe it is just me still purging. Whatever.....I am ready for some happy.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Dust in my Rearview Mirror


Yesterday wasn't too bad a day. I feel myself get gritchy though and I am trying to curb that. It is just my nerves getting the better of me. Truly...prayer helps. Yeah I know....how cliche and Christian of me. But it is true.

I veered again last night with a little snacky junk food, but it was better than the night before and another evening or so and I should have the crap all out of my house.....never to return....hopefully! I have been doing amazing on my water drinking too. I can tell the water helps a lot in just how I feel.

Today my corgi Spud was acting a little out of sorts so I took him on the walk with me. There could have been a two fold reason for this. 1) he needed the exercise and 2) I knew with his short legs and the heat, we wouldn't be out long. I was right. We walked about 25 minutes.

This working out that I am doing is forming in stages in my mind. I am starting slow so as to wake the muscles up and not overdue.....thus giving me further excuse to ride the couch. I will not berate myself for a shorter walk than usual and will applaud myself for the effort it sometimes takes me to walk out the door. Every step off the couch and out the door is a step closer to achieving health and fitness. I am trying hard not to make long term or over my skill level goals as I don't want to set myself up to fail. No one knows me better than I know me and I know what works and what doesn't. That being said......there are a couple of longish term goals that I would eventually like to try and hit. One.....I would like to be fit enough to run/walk several races in the next couple of years. Second.....I would like to learn to dance. I figure if Kirstie Alley can do it.....then I should be a shoe-in. Forget that I have no rhythm, no skill and once I hit a dance floor I become petrified and self conscious. I still want to dance!!!!

I also have broken my....I am too lazy to cook thinking and I am starting to fix actual meals again. It has been 3 weeks to a month since I last put any love into my kitchen or my kids food and it is high time I start again. Last night my kids were soooooo happy. I was too.

The walks are actually helping with my anxiety over all of this, along with attending Mass whenever possible, prayer and not allowing myself to go to any dark places in my head. Also.....this blog is helping. This time my efforts are not just on how I want to look, but also how I want to feel and be. I realize that I have little faith in myself and no self-confidence. Somewhere along the line I lost the drive to achieve anything and I lost who I was and who I wanted to be. It is my goal to get all of that back. I am 50 not 80 and I have much left to see, do and experience, but it will never happen if I quit on myself.

So yeah....it is still all about the baby steps. The small goals that right now seem like major hurdles but in time it all will be nothing more than dust in my rear view mirror.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Plan


So I met with the thoracic surgeon yesterday. I knew I would likely know nothing more than I already did but I was hoping for some peace of mind. Basically what I got was this: if it is cancer....it's not good because there are two spots. Damn! However, my blood work along with everything else about me health wise does not indicate cancer. He highly doubts they are cancerous BUT unless he has them biopsied they won't know anything for sure.

That leads to....they could try and biopsy them now, but as small as they are.....likely they would get a false reading back. Even a PET scan would not be conclusive. So he left it at, if I were his wife....he would say the best course of action is to wait three months, have another CT and see what they look like at that time. Crap! God sure knows how to teach patience! Now to see the endocrinologist on the 25th.

My mind is a horrible place to be right now. Since finding out that I had these spots, my chest hurts, my neck hurts and I feel like crap. Mind you....none of these was remotely true before I got the initial call. Reality tells me that my chest hurts because I am vacationing in anxiety land. My neck hurts for two reasons....one it's all in my head and two I sleep horribly at night and my neck has hurt because of this for years. I feel like crap because I have laid on the couch, felt sorry for myself and tried to eat myself into a grease filled coma. DUH!

Yesterday after going to see the doctor, I was not in the happy place mentally that I had hoped to be, so chips and dip were my friend. Yes, I knew exactly what I was doing and I didn't care. Luckily I quit when I started feeling queasy knowing that I was band-aiding one bad issue with another. I then turned to salad and felt a little better.

Last night was not one of my better nights. Although I went to bed at a decent hour, I awoke every hour or so with mosquito bites that not only itched, but hurt. Finally about 4 a.m. it dawned on my to take Benadryl and I found some Benadryl cream. This gave me at least a couple hours of relief and sleep.....and a nice little Benadryl hangover. 

Today I am back. I am mentally pulling down all that I can actually control and putting the rest aside. Oh and there is a lot of prayer. I did walk again today, I have upped my water intake thirty fold and it is my hope that I can keep my hands out of the chip bag and accomplish a few things today. Quite honestly as I began my walk, I wanted to quit. Mentally I was searching for a reason to just turn around and go home. Luckily I am just slightly more plucky than to quit so I started thinking about blogs to write and continued on. I am not walking the five miles that I used to, but I did walk a good 30 minutes and plan on adding to that daily when possible.

A lot can happen in three months. Right now as far as I know I have a couple of tiny freckles on my lung but other than that I have decent blood pressure, good cholesterol numbers and my thyroid should be heading in the right direction. There is no reason to expect the worst. It is however a good time to start focusing on the positive mentally, physically and spiritually and that is just what I plan to do.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Baby Steps


Yep....another very long stretch of denial. I am not publicly (i.e. fb) posting this right now. If you follow me and read this....great. Other than that though, it is the start of yet another journey...this time somewhat privately. I have had my ups and downs with nutrition, exercise, weight loss and health since last I posted. Nutrition I would give myself a "B" on...up until these last couple of weeks. Then there is nothing lower than an "F-" so I guess there will be no grade. Exercise was a "B" but of late is closer to an "F-". Weight loss was a good strong "C" but now it also is an "F-" and health well I am not giving it a grade. My blood work says a good "B+", but a recent MRI and CT say I might be closer to a "D".

Yes, I have yo-yoed on everything and have yet to get to the point where I am really serious about all the above. Two weeks ago I was told that I have two tiny spots on my lung. It put me into an emotional tail spin of epic proportions. I planted my ass on the couch with a cheeseburger and except to go to church, the doctor or bed....I pretty much stayed there. Why my cholesterol wasn't also a number of epic proportions is beyond me.

Maybe I needed the melt down. Maybe that was my rock bottom or close to it. Since the initial finding, I have had both doctors and radiologist say that they are not overly concerned about the spots. However, today I am going to a thoracic specialist to get his opinion. Not sure what I am feeling right now. On the 25th I am also going to an endocrinologist as they also found that I have an enlarged thyroid. Part of me is angry with my mother for all of her years of smoking around me and her really bad genes. Another part of me though is really mad at myself for letting myself go and not caring more about my health, my body, my future and my kids.

Getting a better handle on my spiritual side has given me a bit of introspection as well. I know when I am overwhelmed I just stand in place and stop. In certain ways I have been overwhelmed for thirteen years. I also know this is not the answer and when I break it down for myself it is much easier to deal and go on. This weekend I realized that I can't change the past. Not the last thirteen years, the last month, week or even the last second. All I can do is move forward and sitting on the couch with a burger in hand is not moving forward.

All my inactivity of late and bad eating has A) made me feel like crap and B) made me spend too much time thinking about myself thus thinking I feel worse than I really actually do...I think. The mind is a powerful tool and if left unchecked....it can take you into some really dark places.

I have decided that regardless of what the spots turn out to be (and God help me I hope they are nothing....the same goes for the thyroid) I need to be the best me I can be. My kids deserve that and most of all...I deserve that. I am tired of being on the spin cycle of wanting, trying, giving up and falling back....over and over again. I am ready to take this a second at a time if necessary and for once make a positive change.

In all honesty I am ashamed of myself and I was really ashamed when I stepped on the doctors scales the other day and saw 189 glaring me back in the face. I am only 5'1" for pete's sake. WTH?????? I gained 15lbs from June to now. Sigh!!!! Most of it was probably gained in the last couple of weeks.

I know the hard stuff is never easy but it is oh so worth it. I intend to be around for many, many years to come. That's right people.....you will be putting up with me for decades. But I don't intend to be over weight and to willfully put my health at risk because I put cheeseburgers and laziness above all else. This will not happen overnight and there will likely be setbacks.....but anything is doable if you want it badly enough.

A little peace of mind would be amazing at this point and I may end up with some today. Whatever the case though, all the things in my health universe that I "can" control......I must. The rest I will leave to God.

Today I walked for half an hour (starting slow) and I am drinking my water (lots of it) and eating five small meals. There will be no couch lounging and I will do my best to stay positive. It is a start.....on my way to baby steps.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Me vs. The Mirror


So today I am just relaxing! It is the last day of a four day weekend, we are suppose to be heading to Shriners Hospital the end of the week (weather permitting) and I decided this would be the perfect day to decompress.

First I must do a quick catch up....closely followed by a happy dance that I invite you all to join me in. Okay....so here goes. I have lost more weight (even with the appetite coming back) and you can't imagine how nice it is to see those numbers getting smaller. Granted....it is not coming off like it would if say I was giving it 100% everyday.....but the 60-75% that I have been giving it is obviously working much better than the 20-30% I have given it in the past. Yes....I am still a work in progress. 

The truth is that about a week and a half ago I happened to glimpse myself in the mirror and I actually realized that I was missing some chins. Laugh if you will but the fact is....I actually saw a thinner face staring back at me. However....I have a very unhealthy mind and like anyone who has ever grappled with eating disorder issues along with self esteem issues.....the image looking back at you from your mirror can get very distorted. Within 24 hours of my thinner face triumph...I looked again to see my face multiplying chins once again. Intellectually I knew that was my own self esteem working against me and that my face was not actually fatter, but when your mirror image does this to you.....it can cause some major set backs if you allow it. Along with my bathroom mirror playing tricks on me.....it also seemed that my bedroom mirror which is more of a full length horror show.....also started gnawing away at any positive illusions that I might have about my body. Each time I looked in it for some sign that my bumps and lumps were smoothing out and that the loss I was seeing on the scales was being translated into my mirror......my hopes were shot down. What stared back was unattractive and very disappointing. Sigh! At this point it would have been very easy to reach for comfort in the form of sugar wrapped in sugar topped with sugar....and not too long ago, that is exactly what would have happened. Not this time though!

Perhaps it is the fact that I have learned my mental processes so well or maybe the fact that I am actually serious this time about making changes, but rather than derail myself I decided to reason with myself. Yeah....I know, it sounds hokey but sometimes you have to talk things through in your own head to see the reality. During my self convo I realized a couple of things. First of all....I haven't had a full length mirror for years. The one I have now is fairly new. Then there is the fact that I have become a master at seeing only parts of myself in the mirror, so even with the new mirror....I seldom actually see the real picture. The real picture has been for quite sometime that I am an overweight woman and it does not translate to attractive when you are looking with a critical eye. However....the fact is, I have not really looked at myself in a long time so in fairness....the current image is likely much better than say I even looked a couple of months ago, but how would I really know that as I have not really seen myself through honest eyes in a long time? Realizing all of this.....I decided to go with the facts instead of the mind games I was playing with myself.

The fact is that I stepped on the scales again and the numbers were still getting smaller. The real test though would be my clothes. If in fact I was still as big as I thought I was...then my clothes would all still fit tight, so I decided to go through my closet and see if the scales and my intellect would win out or the mirror and my negative self image would. Now let me say here....I hate trying on clothes. In fact....despise might actually be a better word for this form of emotional torture. For a girl that used to love nothing more.....now a days I want to cry at just the thought of having to try something on and then have to look in the mirror so that it can judge me. Surprisingly though...my closet venture wasn't as painful as I thought it would be.

Like every woman of just about any shape or size in America....I have a closet full of clothes that have about a three size range. You have your clothes that are your smallest size that seldom get touched. These clothes have the ability to give you either a really good day or a really bad day dependent upon whether you can get into them or not and how they actually fit if you can. Then you have your midsize clothes. These are your every day clothes that get the most wear. These are also the same clothes that cause a woman to look in her closet and declare she has absolutely nothing to wear because she is bored to tears looking at them....let alone wearing them. Finally you have your largest size clothes. These are the clothes that a woman will go to when she "feels" fat. Yes I say "feels" because often as not....when we feel fat it is more emotional than it is factual...thus when we put those clothes on we look misproportioned and dowdy thus adding to our already low self image. Because they are too big and the waist doesn't constrict....there is room for expansion and since we feel fat...why not make it a fact?  So, we head to the nearest refrigerator and eat ourselves into a binge that will actually make those clothes fit. My closet is no different.

Rather than pick and choose the clothes which I knew would give me the most anxiety....I decided I would just try them all. I had a Goodwill bag ready, a trash bag ready and after a shot of cooking sherry....I was ready to face the monster which was my closet. I pulled everything out and started with my pants. What started out with about 15 pair of pants and jeans turned out to be about four pair that actually fit.....and they were all at the small end of my range. Next were all my tops. As I have gotten older....my tops are what gives me the most issue. Looking at myself in the mirror....the slim shouldered me no longer exists. She has been replaced with a linebacker that would make any pro-football team proud. Because of this....I always make the mistake of wearing shirts that are too big because I think they will hide the broad shoulders, big boobs and back fat. All they actually do is add another ten pounds and accentuate my non existent shoulder pads.  Keeping this in mind....I cleared out all the shirts that I felt my body needed.....and then carefully went through the shirts that my body actually deserved. Again....I cut my wardrobe down to about less than half of what I started with. What I found out was that the size I actually am is really two sizes less than I thought I was. It was amazing. It was also exhausting. Mentally I was toast. I also decided then and there that I would not buy another item of clothing until everything in my closet no longer fit. Since I was getting rid of all my bigger clothes....I have no place to go but down.

It was emotionally taxing forcing myself to realize that my body, life change and weight loss were doing just fine, but that my mind alone was what was trying to derail me. When I dealt with only the facts and worked strictly in real numbers and size I understood that I am actually losing and my body is obviously changing for the better. How easy it would have been to have destroyed all of this with a cheesecake or a meatball sub. The reality is though....that not just the physical but also the mental changes are happening. I am learning to talk myself off my own ledges and I am starting to replace negative self image and mental smoke and mirrors with reality and positive thinking.

So as you can see....it was an impressive four day weekend for me. It was also exhaustive. The fact is though.....I am breaking ground and whats more....I am worth every exhaustive moment. All this being said and done....I think I have earned today and I plan on enjoying every relaxing second of it. So now I leave you with good thoughts, a smaller size and let us not forget........A HAPPY DANCE! Let the dancing commence!