Monday, March 29, 2010

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

There’s a tree outside my office. Although I know nothing about trees, this one looks pretty old. It’s not a big tree at all. In fact, it looks a bit fragile. Over time, it’s lost a few branches, and has been pruned a few times to maintain its shape. For only the second time, I watched as is shed its leaves, and replace them with tiny little buds. Bit by bit the buds grew large enough to cover the bare branches it once had, just a few short weeks ago. Before I knew it, my fragile little tree gave itself new life as it burst with hanging lilac blooms and let its flowery bouquet explode throughout the air.

Spring. It’ my favorite season of the year (next to Autumn, of course!) Just last weekend, I was enjoying the warm sun from my patio, when my family of humming birds let me know that they were still around. I had not seen them all winter, but there they were fluttering pretty darn close to where I was sitting. They had never done that before.

The freshest fruits and newest vegetables are emerging from the growers at my favorite Saturday market. Crisp spinach, vibrantly red swiss chard, and newly picked kale displayed ever so beautifully, waiting to be bought. Children are out in full force riding their scooters and bikes. It’s time to walk the neighborhood, or take that visit to the local park. Our days are getting longer. It’s that time when we start shedding those wintry layers, exposing what’s really underneath it all. It’s a time of fresh new growth, renewal and opportunities ahead.

The truth is… I am really excited about it all. After weeks of dedication yielding no results, finally a glimmer of hope appears to re-ignite my motivation. The newest clean eating changes that I made have bloomed into an encouraging outcome. Spring brought with it, a break in what seemed to be a never ending plateau, and magically fixed my scale to move in the right direction! Clear-cut changes made to eliminate the sugars, along with a switch from four to six meals a day, made all the difference for my metabolism. It’s still a not without its challenges, but with the change of the season, I am optimistically looking forward to this something new ahead.

Funny thing is… although things may feel different, the heart and soul of it all is really quite the same! Amazing that happens, huh?!?!?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Broken Scale

I think I broke my scale.

When I started my quest on Ash Wednesday, February 17th, to honor GOD with my body, I believed that the hardest challenge before me was my early morning workout.

I was wrong.

Today is March 21st. My scale has moved a total of 7 measley pounds.  Trying not to get my hopes up, knowing that this weight loss was due primarily to water loss, I looked eagerly towards week two.

Week two resulted in zero pounds. Such was the case in week three. Now we are into week four and my scale refuses to move from that spot.  It's digital and it  won't bunch even a fraction of an ounce. What's worse is... seven isn't even my luck number... that's five!!!  I am sure I broke my scale. Maybe my body is broken???

I am not naive enough the think that I am exempt from the dreaded plateau... but thinking back, I'm not sure that I see where I've done anything wrong.
  • I am eating  three regular meals a day (most days) with two snacks.

  • I am still preparing clean, wholesome meals using the best ingredients available, including lots of organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables with grass fed meats and free range poultry.

  • I have stayed away from refined sugars and white flour, incorporating whole grains into my diet.

  • I have even shied away from dairy, and even though my allergies love the results, my taste buds are missing the wine and cheese pairings. (But the wine is still fabulous!)

  • I have even been fairly consistent with my workouts- 45 to 60 minutes of cardio each day, and incorporated some weight training.

Out of sheer depression brought on by frustration, I boycotted the gym and decided to splurge on my favorite Italian red wine and my favorite "Pacific Veggie" pizza from Domino's. After all, their commercials are boasting about how they have revamped their recipes are using the freshest ingredients available. It sounded and tasted like a good idea at the time. Temporarily, I felt much better. After waking up out of my fog, but still depressed and now guilty for the self-sabotage. I need to get down to the root of the problem. I need a solution, and I was on the verge of giving up... AGAIN! 

I've mentioned many times before, after receiving the wonderful birthday gift of a subscription to  "CLEAN EATING MAGAZINE" from my dearest "Twin Girlfriend," I was hooked! Its principles were certainly one that I could live with and the recipes were equally as fabulous.  They were also easy to pair with all of my favorite wines, which made them even more enjoyable.  Shortly thereafter, I purchased the book "THE EAT CLEAN DIET RECHARGED."  As I flipped through its colorful pages, I remembered thinking how much fun this was going to be.  I didn't have time to thoroughly read through it then, so I put it on the shelf. This was where it remained until I decided to pick it up again on Friday night while enjoying my wine and pizza.

I've had the book for months, but I am now just reading it for the first time.  It's amazing what happens when you actually take the time to read, instead of admiring all of the beautiful photography!  The first thing that popped out at me was the fact that the majority of the recipes restrict the use of sugars of any kind. While I've never been a fan of white sugar, or sugar substitutes like "Splenda" or "Equal", I found it quite easy to replace those with turbinado, agave, or honey.  I loved it so much better.

Another major point noted was portion control.  This is something I've always been aware of, but never like to do!  I've never been a fan of measuring my food, so as long as my protein portion was about the size of my palm, who cares if I load up on the veggies... right???  WRONG! Especially when the lifestyle advocates SIX SMALLER MEALS vs the three larger meals and two smaller snacks I was enjoying previously. It's all about consistently stimulating your metabolism, while preventing hunger.

In short, I now understand that it's not just about WHAT you put in your body, but WHEN you put it in and HOW.  For me this means black coffee or tea, agave free oatmeal, strawberry wine salad dressing without honey and no chicken or fish with my favorite homemade ginger-mango chutney.  It will also mean introducing a few new items I've never tried before, such as kefir, and bee pollen.  This means quite a few minor changes in clean eating lifestyle, at least temporarily.

Here goes GOD again, re-enforcing his message of "Unexpected Challenges."  The foodie I am says that I am up for this new food adventure... and it should be interesting. I just hope this will fix my scale!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Unexpected Challenges


So far so good (Lent Observance, that is) … at least until a valet rolled down my driver side window in my car. Now it’s stuck in the down position and I can’t get it back up.
I was bound and determined that I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting my AM work out on. That was, at least until, the next mornings temperature had dropped to 36 degrees and raining! But even then, I was determined.
My apartment community does have a small fitness center…so I walked over (in what has now turned into sleet) only to find two resident already on the cardio equipment. Although it was nice to know that I was not the only person in our community that worked out that early in the morning…I am still pissed, because I am now out of options. Working out in my tiny little apartment is not an option, since new people have decided to take residence in the apt below mine. The fitness DVDs that I own would require a noise level that would probably make my neighbors less than neighborly towards their upstairs resident. I am officially out of choices… I must pray that the weather clears up later in the day, so that I can walk the neighborhood behind me, after work.
I am in luck that day… but not so lucky the next. My window still isn’t fixed, and it rains all day. My neighbors below have arrived home before I am able to leave the office, and my fitness dvds remain on the shelf for another day.
The physical act of “working out” has placed such a pivotal importance in my

Lent Observance, I have now gathered that GOD himself is trying to teach me a pivotal lesson. Despite the best intentions… there will always be UNEXPECTED CHALLENGES! How we decide to take them on… determines our real intention! And even more importantly… what we do after the challenge, remains the true essence of our hearts true intentions!
Since then…I have faltered at least twice…but I continue to get back on that horse and ride again. I now understand that it’s not about the experience of specifics of the LENT OBSERVANCE, as much as it is about honoring the same level of discipline and sacrifice that Jesus displayed for us during his entire life time. The period of lent is purely INSIGNIFICANT,  if its importance doesn’t translate into the ENTIRE life that we lead.
His life is that perfect example that we should all strive for… but GOD also understands that we are all less than perfect. Not that we should use that as our EXCUSE… but as our EXAMPLE towards that exemplorary life we were all meant to lead… and if we happen to fall sort of GOD’s glory… just know that he throws unexpected challenges in our paths to build us up and make us stronger. T=We will succeed... and we will also fail...

After all…we were made in his image.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Honor Thy Body...


Although the dates may change from year to year… it never fails to sneak up on us.
“Is it Ash Wednesday, already?” appears to be an annual query.

In the days of the early church, Baptisms were celebrated on Easter Sunday. The six week period before baptism were traditionally used to prepare converts for their transition. Later, the church decided that a period of reflection and fasting should correspond to the fast of Jesus Christ. Today, although many churches still honor the fast, many acknowledge this period as a time of self renewal, examination and repentance.
I will be the first to admit that discipline has never been my strength. After all…Why else would I still be in the midst of a struggle to “bring my sexy back???” It sure is funny how I can be so dedicated and controlled in my professional life…but fail to translate that into my personal life.
For example… lent observance 2009 saw the collapse of my promise to give up alcohol, two weeks before Easter Sunday. After a long absence, my favorite sushi friends at Osaka greeted me with new alcoholic infusions that needed my approval before making the menu selections. The overwhelming desire to feel special, clearly out weighed my promise for abstinence. In that very moment of temporary absent mindedness… I failed GOD.
I think back on lent 2009 with a heavy heart. What should have been such a simple challenge, turned out to be anything but. And while I understand that GOD is a god of forgiveness, my failure to honor Jesus’ sacrifice does not sit well with my soul.
In trying to bring my sexy back… I am often reminded of a bible verse:
1 Cor 6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

This Lenten Observance 2010, I’ve decided to honor GOD with MY temple. While continuing to incorporate the principles of clean eating, I will also incorporate a daily work out regimen through Easter Sunday. For me, this means a 4:30 am wake up call Monday through Friday, with work outs on both Saturday and Sunday. The key here will be consistency, which is something that I have never been good at. The early morning wake up call has always been the downfall of my consistency, but I am praying that last years failure will bring this years success.

I’ve mentioned my task to a friend who sarcastically responded…

“Yeah, good luck with that!”
Funny how the smallest things give you the biggest pump of motivation.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Here's To GOOD Health!

Being sick is awful!

24 hours of non-stop vomiting every 30 – 45 minutes followed by a hospital stay involving lots of needle sticks and intravenously fed sodium chloride laced with
anti biotics and anti nausea drugs were no picnic. Spending the next 6 days on nothing but clear juices, herbal teas and broths was no picnic either…Especially for a foodie like me! I craved pizza…but knew I had to settle for watermelon, since I knew my body couldn’t handle solid foods.

It was early Sunday morning when I just couldn’t take it any longer! I knew I had to get to a hospital, but needed desperately to be out by noon.  The NY Jets were playing The New Orleans Saints. Being a Giants fan, and a fellow New Yorker… I wanted the underdogs to win.  That poor team has to share a stadium with the Giants, and not to mention that ALL of Texas is rooting for the Mexican rookie quarterback to be the first to make it to a super bowl. 

Dr. Cooper made it very clear to me that I wasn’t going anywhere for a while.  I was severely dehydrated with a high fever, and if I wanted the vomiting to stop, I’d stay put so he could fix me up.  Since my emergency room suite was equipped with a pretty nice 42” flat screen hooked up to cable, he grabbed the master remote, turned it on, and handed it to me.  I smiled…BIG! And then I thanked him for saving my Sunday.  Then I asked if there was any way that he could get a nice porter (beer) and some wings into one of those IV drips.  We both laughed, as he swung the curtain behind him and closed my door.  I guess he thought I was joking.

As I laid there channel surfing until my game, I wondered what I could have eaten that would have made me so sick?  You see… I was 10 days into an all natural 14 day cleanse. I was eating well. Lots of protein. Lots of veggies.  No dairy, except for the chicken breast I stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and goat cheese…YUMMMM!!!  But I knew it could not have been the goat cheese. The goats were hormone free and grass fed.  That’s when it hit me…

Since the New Year began, I decided to make a conscience effort to watch my spending.  On more than a few occasions, I rationalized that driving 22 miles to the nearest Whole Foods would cause me to spend too much on both gas and food.  I could save a few dollars and be a bit more eco-friendly to our environment.  Walmart and my local grocery chain are 2-3 miles away.  Not usually a Walmart fan… I decided to give a second try. To my surprise, they carried a few organic options…not enough for my liking, but when in Rome…???  I couldn’t argue with my grocery bill either…as it was a good $20-$30 less than what I would have spent at my Whole Foods.  I had the same reaction at my local grocery chain…although I still didn’t care for it very much.

So now goes the quandry… is it possible that I picked up this viral bacteria form a conventional food source???  I think that’s a reasonable question, but it is also entirely possible that my own hand in food prep could have played a part. Possible… but highly unlikely.    The truth is… I may never know the truth. But what I do know is that I will have to revise my rationale, and make the 22 mile journey to my Whole Food and Central Market Grocery Stores.  I will start getting up on Saturday mornings to purchase from my local Texas farmers at the Pearl Farmers Market.

Either I spend my money up front, and make a conscience effort to know where my food is coming from and how it is grown… or I spend it later in the form of higher medical costs, medications, and doctor visits. 

I know I am only one person.  I realize that it is easy for me to make that choice, since I only have one mouth to feed.  I wish healthier, organic, hormone-free foods were more affordable and more accessible. I know that it’s tough for families…hell, its tough for me! But we’ve gotta start somewhere???  Maybe it’s starting with hormone free, grass fed meats and chicken.  Maybe it’s starting with dairy not containing rBGH hormone. A small  change has to be better than no change at all!

All I know is that…like the mind, good health is a terrible thing to waste!  When you’ve got good health… you’ve really got all you need.

So here’s to GOOD HEALTH!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Out With The Old... Reflections from 2009

I've never been one to dwell upon the negative.

I pride myself on being able to see the positive in all things. I also consider myself an objective person, with the ability to see both sides of any argument.

Surprisingly, I am happy to depart ways with 2009... and look positively to what lies ahead in 2010. As with any year filled with trials and tribulations, 2009 stands apart as a year of struggle in many areas of my life. Even when I look back over the blogs of 2009, It is quite evident that despite my forceful efforts to break free of my weight constrictions, I've failed miserably. The truth is ... I am only 10lbs beyond my original starting weight of 2009. Obviously, this is not exactly where I saw myself, when I started this quest last February. After an entire year of yo-yo-ing, I can positively say with out a shadow of a doubt...


Here's another thing I know for sure...

Trying to concentrate on doing EVERYTHING WELL... is a fantastic recipe for FAILURE! Why? When you dabble in a lot of little things... you never learn to perfect anything! I know a little about a lot of things...but I am really not a true expert at anything. This is certainly a great thing if my goal was only to be a well rounded individual. Looks like less is more and focus needs to become more of a priority.

Here's another thing I know for sure...

When I look at my life's big picture and the direction that I see myself headed, It can't happen the way I see it happening,if I don't learn to conquer the one elusive challenge I've never been able to defeat... weight. It's not enough anymore to be the healthiest fat person your doctors ever met. It's time to re-invent myself... it's time to focus.

With this thought in mind, I've decided to narrow my focus and dedicate this year to weight and writing. Sure, I want to be a better daughter, sister, auntie, friend, lover, employee, entrepreneur, etc., but none of that is possible until I learn to focus on the one task that contributes to them all.

The last thing I know for sure...

2009 provided a great foundation for what's to come. For example, one of the things I re-enforced about myself in 2009, was that I am consistently inconsistent. As much as I despise routine, it's a necessary evil that is needed to move me out of my comfort zone. (2) Clean eating combined with supporting local food producers that use green, eco-friendly and organic methods is certainly a foundational course I'd love to build upon. (3) Slow and steady works... as hard as it may be, I am learning the value of patience. I guess I can't be in a rush for everything???

So here we go...onto new year... with the same ole' me... ONLY BETTER and WISER!!!

Here's to FOCUSED and FABULOUS 2010!!!