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.