Black & White

I love black and white. I love to wear it. I love to decorate with it. I love the simplicity and the contrast of it.

I also love to live in it. I love to have things simplified and see them in their opposites. The problem is, we live in a world that is made up of infinite shades of every color of the rainbow. Life simple is not black and white.

I particularly need to stop seeing the concept of success vs. failure in terms of black and white. I see this journey in terms of black and white far too often. I’m either doing it … or I’m not. And when I feel I’m not – I see that as failure. And I get extremely critical of myself.

But that simply is not the case. The journey of transformation – emotional and physical – is not about success and failure. To see it in these terms is far too simple. It truly is a journey. I may get off course and fall back into old, bad habits. But most of the time these days, I don’t get so far off course that I end up in the next county. It’s more like a slight meandering along the road. You know, when you get a little distracted and swerve just a bit within your lane. There’s no real danger in that. You simple readjust and get back into the center of the lane and keep moving forward.

The same is true when I feel like I’m having a set-back. Like I felt last week when I was at the doctor’s office. Getting on the scale hit me hard. And I got pretty emotional about it. I wondered, why does it feel like I keep banging my head against the wall? Why am I still having to work so hard at this?!

Once again, I was WAY too hard on myself. And the cool thing is that I actually came out of that hole pretty quickly. I didn’t go so very far off course. And I do have the tools I need to get back into the center of that lane. It was by no means a failure.

Sometimes success feels sooooooo good. When I was losing weight last year and fitting into smaller clothes, I admit, it felt absolutely amazing! And now that I’ve had to go back up a size in my jeans, it feels … far less amazing. But what I was not appreciating is that it’s only one size! After I’d gone down two or three! I wasn’t back to where I’d started. It was just a swerve off course.

And sometimes I think that if we move too quickly from A to B, we simply can’t sustain it. We aren’t quite ready for it yet. We haven’t learned enough along that short journey.

I even had a fortune cookie giving me this message! No joke! I couldn’t believe it when I read the little slip of paper:

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It was as if the Universe was knocking me over the head with this idea, compelling me to believe it. I do not have to measure myself in terms of success and failure!!!

Time to let go of black and white. Except maybe in my wardrobe 🙂

Refreshing

There is something about heading into the fall that makes me want to embrace the remains of summer and start refreshing everything around me! I want to bask in the warmth of August and eat the fresh, beautiful foods of the season.

I also want to start cleaning everything out! Since I returned from our family vacation at the beginning of the month, I’m on a rampage to clear the junk out of our house and organize. I’m slowly working through the rooms in the house, and I feel like I’m reviving the energy throughout the whole house. Ahhhhhh!

One of my food challenges continues to be getting in enough servings of fruits and vegetables. I wish I liked more of them. Maybe that would help. But I’m giving up the self-judgment on that topic. I am willing to try new things, but I’m not going to beat myself up when I don’t like a food.

Still, I’m always looking for ways to bring those good-for-you fruits and veggies into my life. Sometimes I resort to a tried and true mom trick: I sneak them into my food 🙂  I roast veggies like eggplant and butternut squash with a little olive oil and salt. Then after they cool, I put them in the food processor. From there, I spoon the pureed veggies into an ice-cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, I pop them into a zip-top bag and put them back in the freezer. Then I have them ready to go when I want to add them to a sauce or soup, such as into a tomato sauce for spaghetti. It adds a bit of texture and the sweetness of the veggies that roasting can bring out. But I hardly notice that it’s there.

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Another thing I do to have fresh fruits and vegetables on hand is have them delivered. I use a service that delivers fresh, organic, local, in-season fruits and veggies. I just get the little box, and I only get it every other week. That’s enough for us! Sometimes I try something new, but I also tend to use all 5 of my substitutions to make sure I get foods that I and my family will actually eat.

Last week, I got a whole bunch of tomatoes. Boy are they amazing right now! And I knew just what I wanted to do with them: make a fresh, cool batch of bruschetta. I love this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. Cooking the garlic not only brings out the flavor, but it saves me and my sensitive stomach from a night of heartburn that I would otherwise get from raw garlic 🙂  She used 2 pints of tomatoes, but since mine were whole, I just used about 300g instead (I think it was about 4 or 5). I sliced up some French baguette and melted some fresh mozzarella on some of the slices and practically swooned over the flavors bursting in my mouth!

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Don’t those vibrant colors just make you want to get in your kitchen and whip up a batch, too??

Thoughts Matter

I have been on a roller coaster of emotions this past month. Or maybe I feel more like one of the tennis balls being batted back and forth at Wimbledon right now. One day, I’m doing so great! The next, I’ve fallen back into a hole. Up – down – up – down – back and forth. It’s like I’m in a vicious cycle, and I don’t know how to get out.

I’ve been turning to some of my fabulous mentors and supporters for help. Conversations with my mom are always uplifting – even if they are also tear-filled. Then I saw my chiropractor last week. She worked her energy magic, and I left feeling like I’d purged some more old stuff so that I could keep moving forward in a positive direction.

And then I fell back down in the hole. Ugh. Here I am again.

Today, I had a great session with my acupuncturist. She lives on the west coast, thousands of miles from me, so we just do a Skype session these days. No, I don’t put needles in myself!! We just talk, and she works her energy magic. Another bout of tears as I took in what she was saying.

The reason last year (leading up to my 40th birthday) was so successful is that I was exploring a new me. I was allowing this part of myself that had been hiding for so many years to finally take a peek out into the world. I was having fun with this part of me as I was getting to know her. But then the fears crept in. And slowly but surely, this new me began to retreat. I wasn’t making it safe for her anymore. I wanted to, but it was as if I didn’t know how.

It’s so simple, though… and yet so hard. In order to keep her here, I need to keep her happy. And in order to keep her happy, I need to listen to her.

All day long, I need to pay attention to my thoughts. Pay attention to the things I’m doing and the choices I’m making. Are they serving me? Do I want to do these things? Do they make me happy? Am I having fun?

Our thoughts are one of the few things we have control over. I tell that to my kids all the time, and they are only 5 and 2. But I tell them they get to choose how they feel. If they don’t like something, they can choose: do they get mad? Or do they find something else that makes them happy? Or better yet, do they find a way to make that first something fun, so they can be happy no matter what?

I’m so caught up in my overwhelmingly long to-do list and the guilt I feel when choosing to do the things I want to do instead of crossing off all those things I feel I should be doing. And that is what is keeping me in my vicious cycle.

Pay attention to your thoughts. They matter. And they matter most.

I want to be human. We all have pain. We all go through stuff. Whatever it is. There is no comparison. It doesn’t matter what one person’s pain is compared to mine. These things we go through are deep. They are also here to teach us. And they stay with us until we have learned the lesson. Perhaps even beyond. It is part of being human. Now I want to go beyond this place. I want to embrace my humanity, including my pain. And I want to move past that pain. I want to embrace it, so that I can let it go.

The Human Condition

Inspiration

Okay, I was just writing about how I’m looking for some new inspiration. Well, yesterday, I got it!!

I was having lunch with a friend and told her that I was thinking about having a belated celebration for my 40th birthday (which was last December). The holidays were just so busy, I couldn’t fit it in. But now it’s spring and the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, and I am SO ready to be done with winter!! What better thing to do than have a party?! So my friend told me about how she celebrated her 40th, and I was immediately on board! I’m throwing myself a party. But not just any party. I’m throwing a prom night!! Funny thing is, I never went to prom (long story). So other than the versions I’ve seen on TV and in movies, I’m not even sure what that looks like! But I am super excited! I’m inviting friends and family from near and far. I don’t expect the ones from afar to make it, but then again, you never know! And since it’s prom, everybody better come all dolled up and ready to dance! As I was dancing tonight (have I mentioned that is my preferred form of exercise??), I was grinning from ear to ear, making a mental list of all the fun songs I want the DJ to play 🙂 This is going to be one super fun celebration! Oh yeah, and of course I’ll need a new dress! Now that is some pretty great inspiration to stay on track!!

Bump, Bump

On January 4, 2014 I had had enough. Seriously. I hit the wall, and I was DONE. Enough of the feeling of being overweight and all the negativity that came with it. Over the course of the year, I dropped 4 pant sizes. Woo hoo! I used my positivity as my main source of strength. Everything else stemmed from that. Eating better and exercising became much easier, because I was finally being kind to myself.

Just before the holidays, however, things began slowly drifting away from me. I became fearful. What if it doesn’t stick? What if I go back to the “old” me? I knew the holidays presented lots of yummy eating opportunities, and I didn’t want to miss out on them. I did pretty well, too. I enjoyed the foods of the season, mostly in moderation. And I was confident that after the holidays, I would get back on track.

Only that hasn’t happened. Mostly I get inspired one day, then find I’ve come down with yet another cold. I feel like we’ve hardly had more than one week at a time with a healthy family. Ugh. It’s wretched. Every time I get sick  –  or over-tired from taking care of the kids  –  I start eating. Not healthy foods either, of course. Why is it that we want to eat junk when we’re sick?? I know I’m not the only one.

Okay. So I get over a cold and think, “Great. Now I can get back on track again.” I start tracking my food again. I start exercising again. … And then I get sick again.

I don’t know how much weight I’ve put back on, but I know my pants are snug. The clothes I was fitting into last fall are snug this spring.

sigh

I’m now getting over a 3-week cold. Here we go again. I’ve been trying to track my food. Not doing so well with that. I’ve been exercising. (Although I have found out that I actually really like exercising! But I think that’s another post.)

Here’s the thing, though. I’m getting that feeling again. ENOUGH. I’M DONE. I do not like that image staring back at me in the mirror. I don’t like the way I feel in my clothes. I don’t like the way I feel, period. So what am I going to do about it? Time to get back to the things that worked last year. But also find some new sources of inspiration.

  • Track food – especially works when I plan the night before for the next day
  • Exercise (as I said, I can definitely do that!)

But those are the physical things. I really believe that the emotional work is what’s most important.

  • Be kind to myself
  • Say only positive things about my body and myself
  • Appreciate my body and all that it does for me
  • Go easy on myself if I have a less-than-perfect day

I also believe it’s important to take care of myself. Have time for myself and with my husband and my friends. Get a massage, go to the chiropractor, schedule health sessions with my acupuncturist. Talk to people who are uplifting. Laughter feels so good!

Ah yes – be light about all this!! It should feel good! It should be fun!

So this post is in essence my very own pep-talk. Let’s go! It’s spring! It’s time to feel fabulous again!!