Monday, March 31, 2014

Less is More

Yeah....there was that Good Day and then it was followed by a succession of days that literally sucked the life out of me. At least no hospitals or ER's were involved. That being said, my weekend was full of unspeakable stomach issues (yeah I know....TMI) and a lot of soul searching.

Since before the bottom fell out of my life (several months ago) and has had me holding on by a knotted thread and dangling, it was my goal to make 2014 the year I gave back and paid it forward. has turned more into the year where I whined, cried and begged. Through it all though, I have glimpses of who I would like to be and how I can help others. I like that so much better than the whole whining, crying slobbery mess that my life seems to be right now.

At any rate...I avoided posting on facebook or social media (other than my blog) most of the weekend. Instead I just stalked and read. Creepy? Yeah, but I learned a lot. One post that I saw pop up by different people so often in my news feed had to do with warm weather, spring and people not being ready to (body wise) even think of buying or wearing swimsuits. It really got me to thinking. For decades we have been a body obsessed world and of late, we are becoming a health obsessed world. People are putting down the beef, pork, salt, dairy, bread and processed foods and opting for everything from fish and chicken to fresh and raw foods. I guess people suddenly realized that unlike other things in life, our health is not disposable. 

In the last few decades, heart disease, cancer and auto immune diseases are on a dramatic rise and many doctors, scientists and nutritionists are blaming our diets. Too much fast food, chemically enhanced and processed foods and an abundance of fried and fatty foods seem to be expanding our waistlines and killing our immune systems. Still with all this knowledge and the risk factors involved, it is hard to pass up the golden arches, Wendy's and a plethora of other fast food delicacies. Also, if you are on a fixed income or limited budget, it is a widely known fact that the healthy fresh fruits and veggies as well as the leaner cuts of meat are often times the more expensive items in the store. It is no wonder people reach for the 30% ground beef and Hamburger Helper instead of the fresh salmon and fresh veggies.

Another factor that plays into our enlarged waistlines and declining over all health is the sedentary lifestyle that a majority of us lead anymore. With our lives wrapped around technology, we spend more time sitting and watching tv, playing video games, surfing the internet, social networking and texting than we do moving around and exercising. Bottom line is that we are slowly committing suicide and teaching our children to do the same.

With all of these thoughts running through my head, I decided to quit whining and find a fix....for me and maybe others too. That is when I came up with Less is More. LiM is a facebook page dedicated to those of us who want to take that first step into lifestyle changes that will motivate both ourselves and others into hopefully more steps until finally we start reaching our goals of health and weight loss.

LiM is a closed group (meaning those outside the group cannot see the posts). You have to request to join. There will be weekly and monthly challenges to get you moving, trying new things and ultimately for you to challenge yourself. We will share diets (yes I said the word), healthy eating options, yummy recipes and doable exercises. Most of all there will be a support system that cheers on your successes and helps you to keep your eye on the prize on those not so successful days. It doesn't matter if you have 5 lbs to lose or 200 lbs. It doesn't matter if you are looking for an exercise starting point or just looking to find a way to shake up an old routine. This group is for anyone who wants to be healthy, feel good and maybe even make some friends along the way. And....if you can end up fitting into that swim suit this summer.....then all the better for you. 

So there you have it. LiM is my gift to you and my way of paying it forward. I will be writing and posting LiM related blogs from time to time and sharing them and I ask that you too feel free to share pertinent information you research, read or find out by trial and error. We are actually starting off with two challenges that I hope give everyone a chance to get their toes wet in this world of lifestyle change. The first is the Pinterest Challenge in which I challenge all of you to dust off your boards and pins and actually put some of them to work. Choose either a healthy recipe, smoothie/juice, or exercise which you have pinned but never tried before and then.....try it! Afterward, report back and let us know what you think. Was it hard, easy, good, horrible or doable? Once you try one I know it will motivate you to try another and another and we want to hear about them all. This challenge started today and will end on Monday April 7th.

The next challenge will begin tomorrow (April 1st) and run through (April 30th). This is the Change and Add One Thing Challenge. In this challenge you are asked to change one thing in your diet whether that means no soda, no bread, no processed food or whatever for one month. You are also asked to add one exercise. It is something you have to do 3-5 days per week and it can be walking, taking the stairs, parking a long distance from a store or even joining a gym......and actually going. On day one you are asked to weigh yourself and measure yourself if you like. Then do it again on the last day and see if the numbers change. Also keep track of how you are feeling, energy levels, skin and how your clothes are fitting. There may not be huge changes but I guarantee they will be noticeable and you will be that much closer to a happier, healthier you! there you have it. Now go tell your fb friends and come join us at Less is More. What do you have to lose other than weight, health issues and a whole lot of bad habits?! See you there!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Good Day

There was a breath deep and ragged, but I held it as I mentally lifted my foot. Car keys in hand I got behind the wheel. The foot raised higher. I refused to think, second guess or plan. I held the breath and drove. And still higher my foot went.

I walked in. No thoughts. Another breath. I inched the foot forward, but only slightly. There were smiles, courtesies and I felt my words. They came without thought, fast and furious and I stopped. Breathe. Listen. No....really listen! Hear and process. The words came again. Not as fast but definite and sharp. NO! Sharp means thought and there must be no thought. Nothing preconceived or thought out. Again, a breath. Listening and hearing and always processing.

Then the question. Don't think just shoot from the hip. The hip is where the truth resides, not the brain. The answer is short, direct and another breath. This time the ultimate question. My memories override the hip and I am there. Complete happiness among undoubted chaos. Too naive to know the future and completely content in the present.....which is really the past. That moment in time washed over me like sunshine on a cool day. I could feel every inch of it as if it were happening now. That was it! My last perfect moment in a sea of imperfection. I wanted to hold it, but time was ticking so I let it go, took a breath and released it back into the past. That moment became my starting point and I listened yet again.

There was empathy, understanding, direction and most of all.....hope. And the foot came slowly down. The breath left me in long, slow form. Thoughts marched through my brain, slowly and in single file....not in the usual rush and chaos. The foot came down hitting the ground only a mere inch from where it started and yet, the earth shook as the step held the power of all that I ever was and now am.

As I drove home in the pouring rain, the realization of that tiny step and the metal strength it had taken left me feeling exhausted, emotionally raw and spiritually naked. I couldn't decide whether the down pour was healing me or just filling me to the point of drowning. I chose the former.

So as I sit here writing this I know that as I lay my head down tonight I can know with all certainty that today I took the step that left me further from my past and closer to my future than I have ever been before. I guess this is what they call.....a good day!

Perspective Revisited

Perspective! I believe I have mentioned it a time or thirty in all of my blogs. Without it we emotionally blow in the wind and find it hard to focus on the necessary things in our lives,  allowing the world to blow up around us. Because I find perspective an integral part of.....well...EVERYTHING, I thought it deserved a revisit. So here is me, revisiting perspective.

Last I talked about "loving me," letting go of the dreaded excuses and moving forward. The words sounded good both at the time and in theory, but the moment my new found and both self appointed and self proclaimed "life coach" quit inundating me with her views of my life and she actually saw my life with her own eyes and not just her perception of what she thought my life was, she ran for the hills and I haven't seen her since. Yeah, my life is not for the faint of heart and as I saw her last bit of judgement rolling out of sight in the dust cloud of the absence that her presence left, I realized what I always have known. I'ts ALL up to me. Which was closely followed by an anxiety attack, then an asthma attack and finally an ulcer. Yeah, my body and I were glad to see her go. So now what? 

Well, in the midst of migraines, anxiety and all the other fun stuff....there was good news along the way. Mostly it slowly unraveled that basically I am healthy. You know the old saying "If you have your health you have it all," well there is loads of truth in that and finding this out gave me some much needed perspective. What prey tell was that you might ask? Basically that I'm not dead and, not dying and not really even sick and that I am constantly and forever.....a work in progress. Progress meaning, moving forward and not back sliding. So having the clarity to know these things intellectually when the sun is shinning......... and keeping them in perspective when I feel life kicking my tookus are two different things. Quite honestly there are times when it is hard not to grab my flip flops, sunscreen and towel and not take an extended vacation on Pity Island. Especially when your self proclaimed life coach even finds your life uncoachable. Sigh......

Finding out that other than needing to drop pounds, exercise and taking care of my thyroid, asthma and ulcer are all that is really wrong with me, took a huge weight off my shoulders. There will always be stress and anxiety where my kids are concerned....but to throw my own self into the worry pot helps no one and quite honestly I owe it not only to myself but to everyone else around me to stay as healthy as possible. After all.....this family simply couldn't function without my sharp wit and snappy comebacks and of late I have felt neither sharp nor snappy. So what to do? Back the heck up (not to be confused with back sliding) and get some perspective. See how that word just keeps popping up?

Much like an addict or alcoholic trying to avoid the next high or drink, I need to avoid overwhelming myself and have faith in myself and more importantly God. I am not alone and I can do this, it is just a matter of how....and I am not merely talking about shedding pounds....I am talking about redirecting life. With all of this going on in my head, the words "The longest journey starts with just one step," keep running through my mind.....and that proverbial step they refer to needs to be forward. I really am tired of standing still or going in circles. I think I am ready for that step. Truth is though, life is not suddenly going to calm and part like the Red Sea for me to make this journey. If my life history teaches me nothing else, it teaches that there are going to be times that I am going to have to force those steps in the midst of gale force life pounding against me. Lets face it, there are simply days when life is my adversary and it really does not want me to win. The question is....who is or life? Up til seems to be taking lead point.

So here it is.....instead of big change with 95% chance of failure, I am opting for small.....even baby steps. Today I take my first. It is small, insignificant to the naked eye and yet could have enormous impact if I let it. Perhaps tomorrow I will take another. My hope is that each night before I lay down to sleep, I can look back on the day and realize that today I am one step further away from the past and one step closer to the future I am working for.'s all about perspective.