Thursday, September 25, 2008

Things I've learned

Love does NOT conquer all. It does however continue whether it's reciprocated, appreciated or even acknowledged. And the space for love is infinite. You can never love too many people and you can never love too much. Even if a relationship doesn't work out or you decide a friendship is too complicated or volatile to continue, it's ok to still love that person. So instead of "Love conquers all" perhaps it should be "love never dies". At least for me, that's true. I never stop caring about the people who have meant a lot to me at some point in my life, no matter what has happened between us.

I have been my own worst enemy. The only thing that has been stopping me from exercising, putting the right food in my body and treating myself well, is me. Sure there are outside forces that shape the way we think about ourselves. Learning to overcome and ignore the voice in your head, which is likely the result of us hearing someone else in our past or present, is one of life's biggest lessons. There is a huge culture of self-deprecation in this country. As I've tried to change my own internal thoughts regarding myself and others, I've noticed even more how intrinsic it is. Everyone seems quite content to work at jobs they hate, struggling to make it to Friday and then once again, dreading Monday. And since they're unhappy they spend a large portion of the day complaining about other people and why those people are the reason they are miserable. Stop blaming others for what is wrong with you. Happiness comes from within, not from without. Buying things, having friends and meeting the right person will not make you happy. YOU have to make you happy and then all that other stuff will come with time. That's why the happiest people can work the most mundane jobs and it doesn't matter. I used to find those people obnoxious. No wonder since I was so miserable. When people are that frustrated and resigned to hating life, their job, themselves and the people in their lives, they seem to seek out things to be unhappy about. How can you ever be happy if you spend all day thinking about how UNhappy you are?

Do what you love. This is one that I haven't figured out for myself yet, but I know it's true. Last weekend I was getting the oil changed in my car and an old man came in to the waiting room. I was looking in the small mirror I keep in my purse and he said to me, "you don't need that, you're pretty enough." I laughed, thanked him and put the mirror away. We talked about where we live and work for a while and he told me that he loved his job, from which he's now retired. I was about to ask him if he was bored as a retiree and he said, without prompting, "I wish I could go back to work." He told me he used to sell electrical equipment. If anyone was mean or rude to him, he wouldn't sell to them. That made me smile. I told him loving what you do is really important and I was still trying to find out what that is for me. He left shortly after that but I've thought about that conversation a lot for the last few days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


People often exclaim, "it's a beautiful day outside" during the summer months. Seventy-five degrees, breezy and slightly overcast is my idea of a beautiful day. Is it any wonder that Fall is my favorite time of year? Maybe it's because I was born at the end of summer (my 32nd birthday is today) and my first month in this world was during this time of year, but I have always loved it. In stark contrast to summer, when my energy is drained by the heat, fall seems to give me energy. Fall is magic. It awakens my soul with reminders of favorite sweaters, hot apple cider, bonfires and family dinners. I love the crisp, slightly chilled air, the smell of fireplaces starting up again after a summer of misuse, and changing leaves. When apples ripen, people make holiday plans and you can leave your windows open as you sleep at night. THIS is what I have been waiting all summer for.

Gluten-Free Girl recently described fall as a beginning and I agree completely. Even though I am no longer in, around or involved in school of any kind, fall still feels like the beginning of my year. What better time to start something new and make a commitment to myself.

So here I am. This is definitely not the start of my journey, but rather a renewed commitment to being healthy. A way to keep track and be accountable to myself.

Let me start by defining healthy or what changes I have made and need to make to move towards this goal. Two years ago I weighed 260, was borderline diabetic and had severe hormone imbalances. I am now 240, control my blood sugar naturally and am working on correcting my hormones. I try to avoid sugar and hormone affecting foods (sugar, soy, most plastics and caffeine). My diet is mainly vegetables, lean meats, good fats, nuts, fruit and small amounts of grain. I eat sugar-free, gluten-free, low glycemic, low soy, low dairy and try to eat mostly organic food.

This year I found a new chiropractor and they give classes which they require all new patients to attend. They are called Eat Well, Move Well and Think Well. My following goals are based on these changes. I have been to two of the three classes and have learned a lot. It's so fantastic to find a group of people so like-minded regarding health issues.

My major goal is exercise... oh how I hate that word. Let's change that to "move more". So much less dread-inducing. In addition to helping with weight loss, exercise does so much good for insulin sensitivity as well as hormone issues, so this needs to be a huge part of the change. Since it is fall and the temperature has started to drop, I have started walking around the parking lot during my afternoon break at work. The next step will be walking on the weekends and during the evening at home. Then adding muscle building exercises that I can do at home without special (read: expensive) equipment.

Second to this goal is "be happy." Much harder than it sounds coming from a life-long harsh critic of myself. The first part of this goal is to start treating myself as I would treat other people. I would never tell someone they are fat, but that's what I was doing in my head every time I looked in the mirror. That's the first step, the second is to replace the negative with the positive and that's what I'm working on now. Another part is to make sure I do something each day that makes me happy. However little or big the thing may be and in whatever places I find that joy, I want to document it here.

Third is "eat well." This doesn't mean diet food. This means good food that happens to be good for me. Thanks to all the great recipes that are online now, this has been a lot easier than I first thought. I have also come up with some things myself along the way that have turned out really well. So I will be posting recipes that I have come up with as well as the ones I try from other bloggers. I want to live by a quote from Hippocrates, "let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food". Thankfully this will be the easiest for me as I have changed my diet a great deal from a few years ago and I happen to love cooking.

Tempted as I am to make "lose weight" a goal as well, I refuse. With the things I am changing, it will come. I know myself well enough to know that focusing on the number will only frustrate me. My pants are fitting more loose and I have made a lot of really good changes in the last few months, even though the scale is still the same. So I will keep going and not worry about the number except to check every couple months.

Today's happiness:

Fresh guacamole I made myself
A Happy Birthday text message that made me smile