Monday, January 15, 2018

Day 14 on The Virgin Diet

The Virgin Diet
I started the program on 1/2/18. Even though my weight is up and I do want to reduce, I started this program because I was not feeling good physically and I have been in a lot of pain the last quarter of 2017, maybe a little longer. My low back, my neck and shoulders, my hips, the bottoms of my feet first thing in the morning hurt like they are terribly bruised, and I was not sleeping without the help of sleep aids. I was going to the gym, and that hurt, too. My weight kept climbing, my workouts were getting more painful - even yoga, and it just seemed like I was continually looking for some kind of pill to take to help make the pain go away and make me feel better. It wasn't working. I spent the last 2 years attributing all these negative changes to menopause, which is real, but I don't think it's the whole picture. My best friend had referred me to JJ a number of years ago and I finally made the choice to look at what I have been eating and see where that takes me.

Here I am two weeks in and I'm happy to report that I am feeling really good! My aches and pains have not gone away but I have not had any hip pain in the last 4 days, my feet still hurt in the morning when I get up, but way less, and I have been sleeping for the last 3 nights without the over the counter sleep aid I normally take. I also didn't disclose initially that last year my doctor prescribed me a low dose of phentramine to help me lose some weight. It has not really been effective with weight loss, but it has given me a boost, sort of like most people think of their morning coffee. If I missed a dose I was pretty useless, I would literally sit on my couch doing nothing. Nothing, not scrolling social media on my phone, watching television, nothing, just sitting. The first time that happened, I came to present time and realized I had not taken the phentramine. I went upstairs, took the pill and got about the rest of my day. I'm sure the stimulant was contributing to me not sleeping, that's kind of a no-brainer, but I didn't want to stop taking it because even though I wasn't losing weight, I wasn't gaining it either. As of today, not only have I not taken the sleep aids, I've also not taken the phentramine, and guess what? I feel great! I'm not feeling lethargic or like I'm going through any kind of withdrawals, in fact, I haven't had any of those kinds of symptoms at all. I thought for sure I would feel some side effects of cutting out the sugar, but there haven't really been any to speak of. I don't miss the alcohol at all, but I do miss my coffee with cream and sugar. I can do a natural sweetener like Stevia or Xylitol, but nothing really replaces cream in my coffee. I've had coffee with the Xylitol and a coconut cream and it's just not the same. I'm just going without for now.

With all of that said, on January 1, 2018 I weighed 184.4 lbs. I started the program on 1/2/18 and this morning I weighed in at 175.9, that's down 8.5 lbs. I also measured and overall I've lost 4 1/2 inches. The weight and inches is absolutely great, but even better is that I am not mentally foggy, and I am feeling better physically. I'm excited to be able to reintroduce some foods back in because I want to see what my intolerances are, and I don't know that I can give up sugar forever. That remains to be seen, but for now I'm hopeful, very hopeful that I can work on living the rest of my life eating more healthfully, feeling physically better, not taking a litany of medications, and getting older without growing old.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Welcome 2018!

Ringing in the New Year at my 2nd highest weight. Not for long!
I love my life, the ups the downs, all of it. Those of you who know me, know I have struggled with my weight and body image my entire life. It seems redundant to keep resolving to make changes when the fact of the matter is, I make changes every day. I don't wait until January 1 of any new year to start, I start when I feel ready to start. With that said, as I get older I am noticing that some things are not adjusting as easily as they used to, or that aches and pains are getting more intense and actually inhibiting my daily activities. I've been looking at the effects of the onset of menopause and thinking that indeed that could be creating some of the drama in my body, but I think it's also time to really look at what I am eating and how it is affecting how I feel.

Today I started the 21 day, phase one cycle of The Virgin Diet. This is the idea that I am eliminating the top 7 body food-intolerances (sugar, soy, eggs, peanuts, dairy, corn, and gluten) so I can be completely free of them so in phase two, when I start to add them back in one at a time, I can see what my body does and how I feel. I'm really ready to make this change and I will document my journey, honestly and for better & worse. Feel free to follow along and chime in, I would love to support you in whatever you are planning to achieve this year. Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas Crash!

The rare Tuesday post in The Monday Motivator...

There we were, it was Christmas Day night, the cleanup had begun and the tree taken down. It was dropping too many needles and Gunner didn't help with his tail-of-mass-destruction taking out ornaments that seemed too high for him to reach. Amidst all the unwrapped presents, a full belly from a delicious Christmas dinner, and snuggled up in our warm house - here was Mason long faced and looking forlorn. I sat to talk with him and he expressed his disappointment that he didn't get anything on his Christmas list and not even a single video game. I shared with him a bit about what Christmas really means and when you get right down to it, it has nothing at all to do with gifts. I recalled a Christmas past. 

I was in my early twenties and out on my own, living in a suburb of Sacramento. I had a job at a local grocery store and was getting by, barely. I could pay my rent, utilities, car payment, and put food on the table but that was about it. Christmas was a luxury I could not afford that year. My apartment was not decorated and I was anticipating arriving home to a whole lot of nothing. Driving home from work on Christmas Eve, I saw a tree lot selling the remaining trees for one dollar each. I pulled in and got a tree Charlie Brown would be proud of. The lot attendant felt pity on me and didn’t even charge me the dollar. I brought that tree home and left it on the wooden cross nailed in the trunk, placed it on a table and wrapped a bath towel around the base for the tree skirt. I had a box of Christmas stuff from when I moved out of my parents house so I had a strand of lights, and a handful of ornaments I made in high school. I made some top ramen, added leftover chicken and some green onions and sat in the living room listening to Christmas music on the radio, and enjoying the lights on my little tree. That was it, that was the extent of my festivities that year. It wasn’t much, but it was more than I thought I was going to have, it was enough.

Back to the living room with Mason, I shared this story with him. It is a true story and I tried to impress upon him that you cannot always get every thing you want, and there will be times when it will be lean and you just have to make the best of it. He's heard me say it many times, "Money comes and money goes, but the real wealth is with the people in your life and your ability to see the bright side." You see, Mason was on the post-Christmas let down. He likely had more presents to open than the rest of us combined, he got some cool and thoughtful gifts that he was happy about, but he didn’t get a couple of things he really wanted. Maybe it was all the sugar he consumed through the day, but come nighttime, he sat on the sofa pouting and crying that he didn’t even get a single video game. Here's the kicker, he hadn’t even told me what he wanted until everything was already purchased, being wrapped, and our money already spent.

As we've said (sang) to him nearly his whole life, "You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some times, you just might find, you get what you need." Mason is not wanting for anything, in fact he probably has too much. That is our fault, but mostly Dave, who spoils him and then when he doesn’t get what he wants, he is left feeling let down. The "Dave's fault" is printed with his permission and even agreement. Mason will go through some tough times as he leaves our nest and is on his own. He will miss the family decorations, traditional Christmas dinners, holiday movies that we’ve seen hundreds of times, and spending time with family who loves him. Maybe he will get lucky some Christmas Eve and find that dollar tree lot and remember how good it used to be. I’d rather instill in him now that doing good in school, getting into the college he wants to go to, getting a good job, and working hard will make his holidays that much better. Time will tell. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

For years I posted this poem as my annual Christmas wish. The last time I posted it was in 2013. It seems 2014, 2015, and 2016 brought more exciting news to share in my Christmas posts, but I want to come back to this because this year it means something more to me. You see, I had a falling out with some family members and I did not behave in a way that makes me feel very proud of myself. In fact, I need to step up and write an apology and hopefully mend a quarrel. I need to find the time, apologize, listen, and speak my love. I don't feel that I was completely wrong in my position, but I feel I was completely not kind in my reactions. None of that matters now, but I will be sending those apologies before the year ends. So for Christmas 2017, my Christmas wish for myself and all of you. 

This Christmas, mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Write a love letter.
Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Keep a promise.
Find the time.
Forgive an enemy.  
Apologize if you were wrong.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind and gentle.
Laugh a little every day.
Laugh a little more.  
Express your gratitude.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love.
Speak it again.
Speak it still once again. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Worst Birthday Ever!

It didn't start off all that bad, in fact, I had booked a stay in South Lake Tahoe thinking Dave and I could slip away for a few nights and enjoy some grown up time together. For the most part, we had a really good time, except for that one thing...our room ended up being a studio instead of a one bedroom, and Dave felt that I overpaid once he looked up on a military vacation site what we could have paid for the actual one bedroom we wanted. The one thing was that he couldn't let go of what I paid and proceeded tell whoever would listen, "Do you know what I could have paid for a week here? She paid this much." I saw the post about buying the weekend, I checked with Dave about the dates, and I booked it. I didn't shop it, I had the money so I booked it. Once he pointed out what we could have done, I agreed and said we would do that the next time, but for now, could we just let it go and have some fun? 

I don't need to recount all the details, but when we got home Sunday morning - the actual birthday, Mason did not do any of his chores, the house was a mess, and while I was getting on Mason about doing nothing, I got the birthday gift of a lifetime, “I can’t wait until I turn 18 and I don’t have to live in this stupid house!” Yep, my teenager was alive, well and rearing his ugly, big head.
He was butt hurt because he had 3 simple things to do while we were gone - do the dishes, clean the kitchen (wipe off the counters), and clean & slice cucumbers & carrots for pickles. He did none of it and got even more mad because I was making him do it. He thought me making him do the work was punishment enough, but not so fast Bucko!  We started an immediate media restriction through 12/27 (it was the 26th but he pitched a fit so I added another day). Yep, for my birthday I got to earn another, "Meanest Mom Ever!" award. 

The day continued along these lines with Dave and I stopping at Pete's for a drink before we were to meet friends. Dave was still talking about what I paid for the room and what he could have gotten it for, and we just couldn't get on the same page, in fact, we weren't even the same media! The night ended with, get this, Dave telling me he was so mad at me, he didn't want to come home. Yep, my son can't wait to get out of my house and my husband didn't want to come home - all on the same birthday. Suffice it to say, this was the worst birthday of my life.

Now there is a disclaimer - I am an incredibly lucky woman. I live a life that many only dream about and Dave & Mason bought me a beautiful jewelry set for my birthday so they were planning and trying to make my birthday lovely. Dave and I rarely argue or fight, but it does happen and it just so happened on December 17, 2017. I guess my point here is that I've had one really shitty birthday in 51 years, yes it was the worst, but compared to the 40-something I can recall, it's still a pretty wonderful life. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

I've Fallen Behind!

It happens to the best of us sometimes. I certainly have so much to share, just not enough hours in the day to sit and write. I take comfort in my notes on my phone and my social media feeds to keep count of what week I've missed and what happened that week, and what it is I want to document.

We are baking, shopping, preparing to wrap, and still working along the way.

I'll get caught up here momentarily...Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I’m writing today from 30,000 feet, in the dark at 6:30 AM EST. Dave, Mason, and I are on our way home from another awesome family vacation. This adventure was one more for the Partak Book of Epic Vacations. We traveled to Orlando and spent four days playing in the Universal Studios parks; Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, and their newest park, Volcano Bay, an amazing water park. October seems to be the month we typically travel as we also celebrate Mason’s birthday. Mason is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan and it just so happened that on Sunday, the Bucs were playing the Carolina Panthers, who happen to be Dave’s team. It all worked out so nicely, after our time in Orlando, we headed to Tampa Bay where Rod and Cat live, so we stayed with them for a few days. Mason, Rod and Dave went to the game on Sunday, and it made for the perfect family vacation. 

Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando
If you haven’t been to the Universal parks, they are worth your time and money. Keeping in mind, none of the big theme parks are cheap, there are ways to make your dollar stretch. We were able to get 4 day park hopper tickets for $218 each through the military. We typically take advantage of free breakfasts, we pick up snacks at a local grocery store to keep from paying the higher prices at the hotel, and refilling water bottles at drinking fountains saves dollars, not pennies over the course of a week. In the park, we invest in the refillable cup that later serves as a souvenir. The cup at Universal was $15 the first day and it was good for unlimited Icee’s and the very cool fountain Coke machines that have a gazillion drink combinations to choose from. We only bought one cup and we took turns choosing what to fill it with and we shared. The following days, it cost $8.50 to reactivate the cup, but understanding that drinks were $6-7 each, you can easily see the value of that initial $15 and then the $8.50. We spent $40.50 total but Mason alone refilled that cup more than 12 times alone over the course of the four days, at the lower price of $6, that would have been $72, each in a smaller serving size, and without Dave and I having had anything at all to drink. We didn’t worry too much about eating in the park, the fact of the matter is we planned to be on vacation so we budgeted to be able to get what we wanted even though the prices are stupid high. We also tend to have a day or two that we eat a little lighter in our room after a trip the grocery store. Cheese, crackers, salami, and some fruit will often be a nice break from all the go, go, go that a theme park vacation brings. We are a family of only three so it’s not as difficult to make these kinds of vacations happen, if we were a bigger brood, I’m sure they would be a little more challenging. My tips for saving money while still feeling like we are getting all the perks and fun out of our vacation are:
  • Reuse your water bottles, refill them at drinking fountains. 
  • Pick up snacks at a local grocery store.
  • Eat at least one smaller meal from the grocery trip in your room. 
  • Buy the refillable cup at the park and share one or two depending on the size of your family. 
  • If you can, make that grocery shopping trip to a WalMart as they typically carry licensed apparel for the theme parks. In our case in Orlando, they had a very extensive selection of Disney, Harry Potter, and Star Wars apparel and gifts at a fraction of the cost of the items in the parks.
  • The shopping trip to WalMart was equally fruitful in Tampa Bay as well, we were able to get Buccaneers, NFL licensed apparel and hats for more than half the cost at the stadium. Mason purchased a hat at the game and spent $25, there were two or three styles of official licensed Bucs ball caps at WalMart for just $9.47 each. 

Finally, I know kids get caught up in the excitement of the park and want to make a purchase, every family will handle that their own way. I’ve been able to help Mason see that so much of the stuff that is for sale is schlock that is an impulse purchase because we are all caught up and feeling stimulated by the sights and sounds of the park. The $15+ dollar thingy-mabob will very likely end up going to Goodwill or in the garbage within a few months. It simply won’t have the same appeal at home as it does in this moment at the park. The photos we take will be the souvenirs that will provide the most lasting and meaningful memories of our trip and time together. We try to have fun with our photos, getting creative, being silly, and not simply smiling for the camera. 

Today is Halloween and we will be home in time to get the rest of the decorations up, pumpkins carved, and some more candy bagged for our little ghosts and goblins who will be knocking on our door tonight. We are even more excited to see Spencer and Gunner, they really missed us, but I think we missed them more! Happy Halloween and remember, it’s not about the stuff in life, it’s about the experiences and the people we get to share them with. Now get ready, because tomorrow the holidays are officially here!