Monday, June 30, 2014

Where is the Love?

When Steve and I were riding around yesterday, we came across the road that I drove frequently in the early years of our marriage when we were living in Philadelphia and it was closer for me to go through the country to Sweetwater to shop than it was to Loudon. I have lots of memories of our time living there and those roads. I taught myself to drive straight shift on those curvy, narrow country roads. Our best friends lived just out the road from us. We were constantly at each other's house cooking out, hanging out, having fun just being in each other's company. My friend Ruth Ann passed away in her mid-twenties and I still miss her so much. So, I do remember a lot about both places we lived in the neighborhood and the people but what struck me was how different the roads looked to me yesterday. Maybe different isn't the right word because there was not a landmark that looked familiar to me. Sure it's been at least 28-29 years since we lived there but I drove those roads so often. Another thing I remember is how enjoyable just going to the grocery store was then. There was a bookstore in Sweetwater that I'd also usually check out and a variety store and a couple of clothing stores but little else. We usually went to Knoxville to do any major shopping in those days and that was infrequently. And the stores and restaurants in Knoxville were few as well. We could probably name all of them, that's how few there were. The newly revitalized downtown which is now thriving was dying in those days as everything moved West. We had a new mall which was built when I was in high school and we went to it like it was an amusement park, just for the sheer enjoyment of walking around, socializing and window shopping. The strip up Kingston Pike was mainly fast food chain restaurants until you hit the UT strip. I think we had two theaters downtown and two in the West end along with a place that served food and would show small independent films. My long winded point though is how just going shopping, out to eat even if it was a fast food burger, or going to a movie was a big deal then and far more enjoyable. Now shopping is a chore and I hate fighting the traffic to go anywhere. I've become such a hermit because I don't want to put in the effort or put up with the hassle. Our lives have become so much more convenient. I don't have to leave the house or even change out of my pjs and comb my hair to shop online or have a book delivered immediately to my Kindle or a movie to our TV. The world is at our fingertips but where is the enjoyment? Not saying that I don't appreciate modern convenience and I do enjoy the entertainment choices and immediate gratification but as B.B. would say, the thrill is gone. 
The challenge for today was to reflect on how your personality has changed as you've aged. My answer:
My friend and I were just talking about this. We both said that we care less what other people think of us and we are becoming a little bit selfish when it comes to our own feelings and needs. Don't get me wrong, if someone needs us, we will both be there helping and caring BUT I'm tired of being swept up in other people's drama. I've learned (finally!) to recognize the type who will use you for their own selfish needs and then toss you aside. I've wasted far too much precious life not only trying to cater to these people but taking to heart their opinions of me. I use to live my life concentrating my energies on making everyone else happy. As I become not just older but old, I see too clearly how short and precious life is and not only am I going to try to fill every day with happiness if at all possible, I don't intend to allow others to steal my joy.

I can't say that anything I've done in my life was a waste of time or that any painful experience was without benefit. I think all experience has a purpose in our growth and learning. The last year of my life has been extremely painful. At times, it seemed unbearable but then, I was made aware that my problems were minor compared to so many and there was something I could do about my situation, at least parts of it. I could not bring back my dear friend who passed away. I could not and would not want to forget the time I got to spend with her before her passing. And I certainly am appreciative of the lessons learned during that experience. I made mistakes. I often stumbled awkwardly not knowing what to say, what to do. But I learned a valuable lesson, sometimes the answer to all questions is LOVE. There are times that is all we can do, all we have to give. I'm a fixer. I've always wanted to make life right for everyone, settle disputes, ease pain but there are times that is impossible. Sometimes, all you can do is love and remain silent when words offer no solution. So, painful as it was, losing my friend taught me lessons that I hope have made me a far better person. Just as having her for a friend always made me a better person. Now, the others who tried their best to prey upon me during that difficult time and make my life miserable, they are the ones that I can do something about. What I choose to do is ignore them and as I said above, stay out of their self imposed drama. Getting involved in that is a no win situation especially when two parties are involved and both want you on their side. I use to stay in the middle and try to resolve these situations but now I know to retreat all the way to the cheap seats. To be honest, I don't even want to watch. I think I'll go treat myself to an ice cream instead and leave them to fight their own faux battles of pride and jealousy, selfishness and control. Good riddance!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Positive and the Negative go to War

The weight goes up, the weight goes down....the weight goes up again. Yesterday, I was a slug. I think I'd pushed too hard the day before. I ended the day with a 3000 step deficit from the desired 10,000. So, at 10pm, I decided to make that up. For 45 minutes, I ran in place, did squats and lunges and generally just kept moving and pushing until I made up the steps. Yay, good for me!....right? Well, it seemed so at the time but the next morning, I felt like I'd been hit by a big Mac truck! I was exhausted partially because, after all of that exercise and exertion, I could not sleep the night before. Like my weight, my sleep has been on roller coaster, too. I was miserable the entire day and didn't even come close to making that step goal. Evidently, I needed a day off because last night, I was in bed the earliest that I've been in a month and I fell asleep almost immediately and slept until 7:30 this morning. I actually got nearly seven hours hours of sleep. That is a record breaker. Steve told me that I probably needed a day of rest. I do feel great this morning BUT my weight is up nearly two pounds! I haven't worked out since that bad bug I had in April. I think going without food and little water for a week really did a job on my poor body. I had been walking every day and beginning to run before the illness but since, I've been the aforementioned slug every single day. That's why I was so proud of myself for taking the matter in hand and starting not only a healthy diet but also beginning to move again. I'd said I was going to take it slow but my ego took over. When I started wearing the Fitbit, it did inspire me to move but that daily goal of 10,000 steps kept taunting me. If I spent most of my day on my feet walking, it might be easy. The day I had errands to run in between my morning and evening walks, it wasn't that hard to make the required steps. But doing 6000 steps at one time when you are as out of shape as me, kind of insanity. I should be out there walking now but I slept so late that now it is starting to heat up outside. I know it may not feel that hot to some of you at 10am but you don't live in East Tennessee. The humidity here can smother you and make 85 feel like 105. So, all excuses aside, I may cowgirl up and head on out there so I'm not once again trying to make up for what I didn't do at the end of the day. I just finished my second week on the diet yesterday and I just added exercise into the mix a week ago. So, I know my body is still adjusting and even though my energy levels, my sleep, my emotions and my weight are still fluctuating wildly, they will eventually find a balance. I just hate feeling like this but this is the point where I've always given up in the past and I'm not going to do that this time. I have errands to run today and my last stop will be the grocery store to stock up on more veggies and other low cal supplies for the next week. I do feel better with the new diet so I can stick with it. It is hard not to get discouraged when I get on that scale. I also am hating how my body looks right now. There's a little voice in my head that keeps saying, "You're never going to look any better and even if you lose the weight, you will look old and saggy and haggard." It's hard to talk back to that little voice or even ignore it because I don't really know what weight loss will bring at my age and that scares me. So, I keep telling myself what I know I will gain......... energy and vitality, renewed joy and enjoyment of life, less pain in my joints, strength, alertness and concentration, better sleep, better mood, better health. Sure, I won't look like I did at 34 but maybe being fitter and healthier will help me to deal with the inevitable effects of aging. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

  • I'm loving this flex. It really helps keep me motivated. I have myfitnesspal on my phone, too and the two apps are connected. Just did my first 10,000+ steps in a day....Yay!!!! The first day was like the first one six months ago when I first started trying to walk/run, I thought I was going to literally have a heart attack before I got up that one long, steep hill. Today, the third day, each time I did it just got easier and by the last lap, I was running. So, tickled with myself and hoping this progress shows up on the scales. I've been eating under recommended calories but I can't seem to balance out the numbers otherwise. They want at least 50% of my calories from carbs and the fruits and veggies I'm trying to use since I'm still wary of bread and wheat, just don't have that many calories. Today was the first time that I came close to meeting all three goals on the nose, carbs, protein and fat and to meeting the calorie count but that last one was only because I splurged on my way back from Madisonville and had some of Steve's tortilla chips, lol.....yet another reason that I pushed myself to meet that 10,000 mark despite only having a few hours sleep last night. Going to do another bad thing because I'm fixing a salad for dinner so I can take my meds and then I'm hitting the sack. Still high from meeting that steps goal for the first time even though I'm tired. Actually went over by 278 and had 51 highly active/aerobic minutes!!! Yay, me!
DHC today was to buy power house foods. They are:

Watercress: 100.00
Chinese cabbage 91.99
Chard: 89.27
Beet green: 87.08
Spinach: 86.43
Chicory: 73.36
Leaf lettuce: 70.73
Parsley: 65.59
Romaine lettuce: 63.48
Collard green: 62.49
Turnip green: 62.12
Mustard green: 61.39
Endive: 60.44
Chive: 54.80
Kale: 49.07
Dandelion green: 46.34
Red pepper: 41.26
Arugula: 37.65
Broccoli: 34.89
Pumpkin: 33.82
Brussels sprout: 32.23
Scallion: 27.35
Kohlrabi: 25.92
Cauliflower: 25.13
Cabbage: 24.51
Carrot: 22.60
Tomato: 20.37
Lemon: 18.72
Iceberg lettuce: 18.28
Strawberry: 17.59
Radish: 16.91
Winter squash (all varieties): 13.89
Orange: 12.91
Lime: 12.23
Grapefruit (pink and red): 11.64
Rutabaga: 11.58
Turnip: 11.43
Blackberry: 11.39
Leek: 10.69
Sweet potato: 10.51
Grapefruit (white): 10.47

Then there are the super foods like blueberries, garlic, onions and nuts....also think kale made both lists.

Going to the store today and plan to pick up strawberries, blueberries, bananas, spring greens and some kale salad if they have it. Already have plenty of carrots in the fridge as well as spinach and cauliflower. Got my walk in this morning and feeling good. Loving the Fitbit. It really keeps me motivated to see how many steps I've taken and how many calories I've burned. Down another pound this morning and hoping that the plateau is history. That second week is always difficult for some reason. I added exercise the second week and I think my body was kind of saying, "What the heck is she up to? Think I better hold on to some of this fat we have stored just in case she's planning something crazy!" lol

Monday, June 23, 2014

True Gratitude

I had another small epiphany this morning. I do like that word. It is not only just a fun and lovely word but it so aptly describes those little "ah ha" moments one is occasionally blessed with when the wisdom of the universe becomes the obvious.

My challenge for today was to write a letter of encouragement to myself which does not include the word, should, since that word puts undue pressure on you to do something and actually has the opposite effect of its intent. So, here is my letter to self, "I will exercise more this weed because I am rediscovering how good it makes me feel both physically and mentally. I will accomplish more of my tasks because of this renewed energy and by next Monday, I'll be very happy with myself and proud for all of the progress I've made. I will begin looking forward to tasks that I once enjoyed and find joy in them again because I'm remembering why they once brought me so much enjoyment. I will be grateful but not only giving thanks but by thoroughly enjoying every moment, every person (or animal) and every thing that I have in my life. "

It was when I was writing that last line a realization suddenly leaped into my mind, IT IS NOT TRUE GRATITUDE IF WE DO NOT ENJOY OUR BLESSINGS. Every day, I try to pray before getting out of bed. I say the Lord's prayer, I pray for all of my friends who are in need and then I pray a prayer of gratitude. I thank God for all of my blessings, each person, animal and thing that touches my life, makes it better and especially those that I truly love. But is it gratitude or even love if I see most aspects of my life any longer as drudgery, just do what I have to do and get it over so I don't have to think about anything? How did I let myself get to this point? I don't know but dwelling on that or worrying about the answer to that question is not going to help. Beginning this moment to truly enjoy all that I have in my life and not letting anything interrupt that enjoyment especially not guilt, that will truly change my life.

I've lived my entire life with guilt over anything I have that my siblings do not. That may sound odd but you have to understand my story. I was the late in life baby for my parents. My nearest sibling in age is still close to seven years older than me. She has always admitted that she resents, even hates me just because I exist. It seems that she was the apple of my dad's eye until I came along and then he just pushed her aside for me. I was very far into adulthood before I finally realized that none of that was my fault and I shouldn't feel guilty for just being born. It is very hard to shed emotions that have been conditioned into you since birth however. I thought that these feelings of jealousy and resentment toward me were just owned by my youngest sister but recently, I was surprised to learn that my oldest sister feels the same way. They resent anything I do or accomplish, they resent anything I get or people who care about me. Discovering this, especially in the way I did (which I won't go into now) caused a plethora of emotions: hurt, sadness, anger and yes, guilt. However unjustified, I can't deny an honest emotion but I also have to recognize how that negative emotion has ruled my life, controlled my actions and kept me from enjoying my blessing for most of my life.

Yes, you do have to enjoy your blessings because that is what they are intended for and you can't truly be grateful until you do. I will admit now, thanks mainly to that guilt, I have never truly enjoyed my blessings. But I'm also discovering that from the moment I had that epiphany this morning, my heart has filled with joy. Now, I know what it means to truly be grateful so, "Thank you Lord for this day you've given me and all my many blessings. Help me to enjoy them each to the fullest and not to squander them and to use them and the joy they bring to bring glory and praise to Thine name. Amen."

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sleep much better last night:

Not such great news on the weight front. I've actually gained a pound. Not happy about that but I know better than to weigh every day. Hoping that, by my "official" weigh in day on Thursday, I will show a loss instead of gain. I have a friend who is a college football coach. He once told me that all that really matters is whose name is in that winning column at the end of the game. I'm trying to keep that in mind and not let these little stumbles discourage me. I'm off to feed the horses and go for a walk now. The weight gain started with adding the exercise so I figure, if I keep it up, my body will eventually find balance within this new lifestyle and the pounds will start dropping again.

Friday, June 20, 2014

My weight was up half of a pound this morning. Some ups as well as downs are expected but still disappointing. Started walking again last night. It was harder than I expected but I managed to stick with it for two trips around the pasture fields. Trying to just build up gradually so that I don't get discouraged and quit. That bug, back in April, really took something out of me. I just don't seem to have the energy and strength I had before. 
Wore my Fitbit for the first time yesterday. I think it will be very motivational since it tells me how many calories I'm burning during the day. Another great thing about it is how it monitors my sleep. Maybe knowing what's going on with my sleep cycle will help me to get it straightened out. At least I hope so. Here is what I did last night. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Got my fit bit today and love, love, loving it!!!! It is so motivational to not only see the steps you are taking, the pace and mileage but how many calories you are burning. Yay!
From, tips for starting your day off right......

Increase Morning Energy With These 4 Tips

Woman Walking.jpg
Do you have trouble getting your engine started in the AM? Ramp up your energy levels and start your day with some real "oomph" by making this easy fatigue-fighting routine a part of your morning. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and recharged, so you can breeze through your "to do" list in no time.

Power up with protein.
Studies have found that protein-packed breakfasts help keep you feeling full and alert throughout the day. High-quality proteins like egg whites, low-fat cottage cheese and yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), natural nut butter, and turkey bacon will give you a healthy morning boost.
Enjoy some java.
Studies confirm that caffeinated beverages like coffee can help keep you temporarily alert and focused. So feel free to enjoy that cup of joe (along with your morning meal), but just be sure to "decaffeinate" by late afternoon so the caffeine doesn't keep you awake at night. Remember, you want to get seven to nine full hours of sleep!  
Wake up and walk.
For this trick, you'll need to set the alarm 15 minutes earlier. You may be thinking, will less sleep really help me feel more rested?! But a brisk stroll on the treadmill or around the block will get your heart pumping and clear your foggy mind before the day ahead. Plus, ramping up your cardio routine means you'll burn more calories throughout the day, which helps you lose weight faster.
Pack accordingly.
Each morning, be sure to stash two important things in your bag before you hit the road: A refillable water bottle and an energy-boosting snack. Water is necessary to maintain a healthy body and a clear - about 60 percent of your body is water; so staying hydrated helps you function more efficiently. For snacks, think about mixing satiating protein and fiber, which helps smooth out blood sugars and ensures a slow, steady supply of energy. Having healthy snacks stashed in your bag means you'll avoid the vending machine temptation and keep yourself fueled until dinnertime
Instead of working this afternoon, I was playing around with an antique photo and one of myself which could probably also be considered an antique since it is about 55 years old. 

When I would ask my parents how I came to be, they would answer with either, we found you under a cabbage leaf in the garden or we found you in a clam shell. So, I thought this old image of a girl sitting in a giant clam shell was quite appropriate.

Throwback Thursday!

My pretty sister, Yvonne and me on Green Street. And I have
no idea why the other two siblings have been cut out of this picture.

Me, my first Christmas on Ferry Street. I still remember that doctor's bag
I'm playing with.

Flash forward at least fifteen years and there I am standing in front of a
painting I'd just won a prize for....and looking quite pleased with myself. 

My sister Yvonne again maybe a year or two after the first photo.
We are at Cherokee and since I watched way too many cowboy movies,
I was terrified of the Native American man standing behind me.
I think that shows, haha.

Weigh in well as throwback Thursday, lol. I will post a throwback photo later....... So, drum roll please......I've lost 5 pounds this week! Yay, especially considering that I'm still adjusting to this new way of eating. I was just telling a friend that the online diary is wonderful and I do love how it monitors so many aspects of my diet but it keeps warning me that I'm eating far too few calories. My problem with that is, I don't know how to eat more calories without raising my sugar and sodium levels too high. It's really hard to find a balance and I'm finding that more than one piece of fruit a day usually causes me to exceed my sugar quota. What to do, what to do? It is a conundrum.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Speaking of getting active again....

Just splurged on a little something....well, it will be divided splurges which aren't so bad since I'm paying in four monthly payments..... I bought a fitbit. What's that you ask? Well, it came highly recommended by a friend. It not only monitors steps like a pedometer, it also keeps track of stairs, hills and other physical activity and, here's the kicker for me, sleep patterns. I desperately need that last one lately to figure out what's going on with my sleep cycles which are a mess. You wear the fit bit on your wrist and it syncs with your Iphone.....Good deal! I'll let you know how it works for me.

Back in the Saddle

Today's DHC challenge was to walk to clear your brain for better creative thinking.

From past experience, I not only know that this works but it is a great stress reliever and energizer, too. When my father was dying, I would stay up all night with him and then go home and get to work. I had a show coming up in a few months and I had to get the work done and I wasn't sleeping over a few hours anyway. When my husband got home from work, we'd head out on our bikes (not walking I know but still exercise). There was one particular hill that was the devil to get up but going down the other side felt like flying. As that wind rushed by me as I coasted down that long steep hill, it felt like all of my stress and worry was being blown away. Afterwards, it was dinner and then back to my Dad's for the night shift but I was ready to face whatever then and also ready with more creative ideas for my work the next day. During that time, my brain wasn't functioning that well because of lack of sleep. I'd find myself in what should have been a familiar place and feeling totally lost but after my nightly rides, I felt a clarity that didn't exist otherwise.

As I've told before, the bikes have been sitting in the garage unused for over fifteen years now. I had a bad wreck which psychologically grounded me for a while. I've sat around and gained weight. I've aged, which of course is inevitable but you can do it well or not...I've not. I've grown depressed and sedentary......BUT I recently took on a new attitude. I've decided to reenter life. Six days ago, I started monitoring what I eat in an online diary on a site called my fitness pal. It's free and terrific and I highly recommend it. What I like best about it is that it monitors all of your daily intake not just calories and fat but sodium, carbs, protein and sugar. I'm not only keeping myself honest by having to write down for the world to see every bite I take but I also am learning where my shortcomings are nutritionally. Well, the good news is.....I've already lost five pounds!! Ta Da!!! I haven't started exercising yet though. I'm thinking, to avoid the failures I've had in the past by expecting too much of myself, I will start off with walking and then gradually add on other exercises as I improve. I'm hoping that the bikes can be one of those although they probably need new tires themselves and a general overhaul after all these years gathering dust and cobwebs. I know I've had lots of failures in the past where weight loss and fitness are concerned but I truly think this time is different. I think I have a new mindset and it seems that most of our lives and activities and habits...all are controlled by that small mass of tissue and nerve endings that sits atop our bodies. I'm trying to reprogram mine for a healthier and fuller life. I'm a prime example that it is difficult to do anything if you aren't fit. I know there are examples of a few who manage to be productive and live full lives while sedentary but they are a rare breed and I am not amongst them.

Monday, June 16, 2014

When I weighed this morning, I was down nearly a pound and a half since yesterday....yay! With just six days in, I've already lost five pounds! The website, , has helped so much. The top thing I like about it its how it keeps track of not only calories and fat but also carbs, protein, sodium and sugar. The sugar has been the hardest one for me to keep under my daily limit and not because I've been wolfing down brownies and chocolate bars. No, the culprit to my high sugar numbers is surprising, at least to me, it's fruit! Not canned in heavy sauce fruit or processed in anyway. Nope, just good old fashioned fresh fruit. I had a banana with breakfast and fresh pineapple with lunch and I'm already over my limit for the day. I know that I'm usually low on the other numbers and I am still losing weight BUT high sugar intake can cause all sorts of other problems. So, I do need to keep an eye on it but still, if I'm going to exceed my limit, at least I did it with something healthy and nutritious and not just empty calories or processed foods

Sunday, June 15, 2014

....or certain people's opinions of me, my life, my work mean nothing to me. They can hate if they want but while they're sitting around being miserable, I'm going to be enjoying my life.
This morning, I was searching for wainscotting ideas and I came across this. This is what I want my small bath to look like. Not exactly like this, at least for now, since there is a shower in ours but no tub but I want a soft tan/warm gray on the walls and white wainscot of some sort. We already have the white tile. I'd considered getting a smaller tile than the foot squares we have but since we already have it, I think I will go with that. I'd planned at first to paint our existing cabinet (which is solid wood and custom made so no replacing that) black but after seeing this, I think I'll paint it and the wainscot the same white and find some nice antique or look antiqued, glass knobs. I plan on "painting" the existing shower white also and replacing the gold toned toilet with a new white one as well. Saw some cabinet top and sinks solid-all-in-ones at Home Depot that I really liked, looked like soapstone. I think that would look nice. Already have a fantastic light fixture to go in there.... I'll try to get a photo of it posted soon. I'm considering doing a wall stencil, paisley pattern, tone on tone and very subtle on the wall area above the wainscot. I really like this look.

Like this idea for our long, narrow laundry room which is also the entry from the garage. It would make an excellent place to pull off and store mucky boots and hay covered jackets and we have a long wall on the opposite wall from the washer - dryer with nothing on it. I've already purchased some dark blue paint for that room but I could use it for the backing on the shelves and the top part of the opposite wall for just a touch of color. The opposite wall holds a laundry sink, washer-dryer and an old hoosier cabinet that the inside of the upper cabinet is already blue but I plan on updating it to the nice dark blue of the walls. I also have a multi colored but primarily blue runner rug and some lovely blue ticking fabric to make a valance for the window on that wall which I already have white wooden blinds for. I'm not certain about the flooring. I purchased white tile for that room, the pantry and kitchen years ago but we ran into a problem with the vinyl carpet that had been glued down when installed. We couldn't get it pulled up and my husband took a grinder to it which took up the carpet but also caused the asbestos in the rug to become airborne....very dangerous. So, that project stopped cold turkey many years ago and I've been living with a spotty floor since. But back to the tile, we have been discussing the possibility of installing linoleum tile instead. I've seen some great reviews about this new-old flooring and I'd love to do a white-tan checkerboard in those rooms. The results would be softer on easier on my feet and legs as well as anything I happen to drop. 

Day 04

Down another half of a pound today. That's great but I still have to get my sleep straightened out and start exercising and working with the horses. When you feel wiped out all day from lack of sleep, it is hard to do anything. BUT I did order some material to finish the bedroom revamp and I worked on several layouts for furniture. I'm trying hard to find a stylish way to use all of the furniture I have. I've accumulated too much for this little house. I hope that I can jump back into the remodeling fully over the next few weeks. There are a few more things to sort out but once things start falling into place in one room I think that will energize and inspire me to finish the others. I'll start posting sketches of what I want to do soon. And when I begin work, I'll try to follow along with my progress on each project. Lots to do but it's like losing this weight, it all seems more manageable when I break it down into tiny little doable segments.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The diet is going well. I have a different mindset this time. I never had a weight problem until right before my 30th birthday when I suffered a miscarriage. I was depressed and having anxiety attacks and I ate as a way of comforting myself. Over eating and indulging in foods I wouldn't normally eat combined with becoming withdrawn and sedentary after being very active and outgoing previously....well, that seems to be as good a formula as any for extreme weight gain. Oddly, the weight I was then as fat, I would love to get back to again. Of course I would like to lose more but that would be a good place to aim for here at the beginning of what seems like an endless road. I've tried so many times to get this started over the last fifteen years. I know the rules, I figured those out 28 years ago when I finally decided to "do it right" after that initial weight gain. After attempting to lose weight with pills, that I ordered from the back of a magazine no less, and having extreme heart palpitations and getting sick, I headed straight to the grocery store as soon as I was able and picked up some healthy food. I also started exercising. I started off slowly with just walking but later added weights, exercise videos and various machines. Within six weeks, people were amazed at how good I was looking. Within six months, I was in the best shape of my life and feeling great. I also launched my new business during that time and I began to find success at that also. Those were good years and exciting with all of the new things and experiences entering my life. I kept the weight off for fifteen years. Actually, I started gradually gaining after my bike wreck when I was thirty-eight because I became much less active but at first, that was only about five or seven pounds so I thought I could live with that but in my mid-forties, that changed. I started putting on an extreme amount of weight. I think that was an effort to deal with stress also. If you can't fix a problem, change or control it, feed it and I did. Now, I'm getting ever closer to fifty-nine and I've tried before to lose weight and failed but this time, it's different. Why? Well, because of the same reason that I finally hit on the solution 28 years ago, the situation hasn't changed but I have. I do have a different mindset. I'm not only monitoring what I eat which helps to keep me honest but if I am tempted to stray, I simply think, "Does my body really need this? And why do I really want this? Am I feeding a physical hunger or an emotional one?" So far, it is working. I've dropped four pounds since beginning to "watch" (not diet) what I eat on Wednesday. I'm feeling better, I have more energy and I seem to be thinking more clearly. I'm ready to start the next stage and gradually add in exercise, build it up until I'm hopefully back to where I was 28 years ago, at least in time and endurance. I'm headed to the grocery store now and I was just thinking how it mirrors that day years ago. I'm going to buy only healthy foods that will fuel my body and in turn, fuel my ambition and my life to greater heights. I'm really enthusiastic about this and one other thing which I think will lead to success this time instead of another failure, I'm becoming really enthusiastic about myself, I'm learning to love myself and believe in myself. It has been a long journey to these realizations but the elation they bring are immeasurable.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I'm grilling my shrimp tonight but I have been getting many requests to post this recipe again so here it is, the best shrimp you will ever eat......

 I have also used coconut oil in this recipe instead of olive oil and I've also made it without the dressing mix and just added spices of my choice. However you make them, it's like the recipe says, it really is the...... Best Shrimp EVER! And easiest.........Oil the bottom of a casserole. Slice up one large lemon and line the bottom of the casserole. Dump an entire bag of deveined and peeled shrimp (thawed) on top of the lemon. Mix about 2/3 cup of olive oil with a packet of dried dressing mix (I've used both ranch and Italian) and pour over the shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

If anyone is wondering where I'm accessing that terrific and very detailed diet diary, it is My Fitness Pal.  It's such a fantastic site and best of all, it's FREE! 

Day 3

I'm down another pound and I really haven't started working out yet so the diet is working. Hope to get on a regular exercise regime soon. I have other plans for changes over the next few weeks....stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day 2

Down two pounds already....yay! But I'm feeling pretty lousy since lunch...complaints not fit for public notice but having moderate and constant pain and other "afflictions." Taking it easy the rest of the day.

Okay, a stumble so soon into the diet. You will see that my dinner menu was not as planned. When Steve saw how badly I was feeling when he got home, he went out and got KFC for dinner. Made me go over on most of my counts for today.

WhooHoo! No Longer the Bad Guy!

Word just out, it is not butter and other saturated fats that are responsible for dangerous cholesterol numbers. The bad news, at least for our sweet tooth, the villain is actually processed carbs and sugars. So, have your sat fat but don't slather it on that lovely biscuit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Day 01

And again from the start.....

Years ago, the theory that chocolate caused acne and breakouts was dismissed because of a study where two groups were given either real chocolate or a placebo and both still broke out. But the flaw in that study and conclusion is that the candy bars had something else in common, something that wasn't changed or withheld from either group, sugar. Processed carbs are now proven to cause not only acne but all sorts of health problems. I tried giving up all processed carbs a few months ago. The diet did help some health issues I had but I didn't have the willpower to stick to the cold turkey sugar fast for very long and when I started eating carbs again, I binged...... big time. So, my idea now is to drop processed foods out of my diet gradually. The only problem with that is I have a huge sweet tooth that rules my cravings. I use to solve that problem with artificial sweeteners but they've proven to be even more threatening to our health than sugars. So, I will just have to become more aware of what I'm eating and find a daily level that is acceptable. There is a free website,, which has a great food diary that you insert your diet into and it calculates all of your nutritional totals. I think I will start using it again and I'll let you all know how it goes. When I was younger, I think I was much wiser with my diet because I accomplished this by allowing myself only one carb per day. That carb could be a baked potato or rice. It could be a serving of breakfast cereal. Occasionally, as a treat, a small serving of pasta. Seldom was it bread since I didn't eat as much bread at that time. That one small serving of carbs seemed to satisfy me especially when it wasn't a processed carb and instead something like a potato. Also, once I'd followed the diet for a while so that I wasn't sabotaging myself, I allowed myself a weekly treat like a small ice cream or slice or two of pizza. Another trick I used then that I should be doing now was I not only increased my intake of fresh vegetables, two servings with dinner, I made sure we had a salad also and usually made a meal of a large salad at lunch. I remember my mom was amazed by how much I ate on my diet and yet I was losing weight. I keep wondering why I can't lose weight or keep off weight lost now. I've blamed my age, my slowing metabolism but the truth is, I don't follow the same plan. I try to radically deny myself foods I enjoy and then when I ultimately fall of the wagon, I hit hard and end up eating too much again because I think I deserve it. It's time I changed my mindset. And I will try to chronicle my progress or falls here so that I have to remain honest and hopefully on track. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

For Love of a Gray Horse

Remember how you felt the last time you learned something new.

hhhmmmmm? Had to sit and think a moment about this one. I thought, I try to continually be learning something new. I make an effort to do so......but I do know what they are talking about because it's when I get outside my comfort zone and try something completely new that I have those feelings of apprehension, fear of failing or of embarrassing myself. A little story......

I had wanted a horse as long as I could remember. Even though we lived in town, I never could understand why my parents couldn't convert the garage into a barn. I thought the old coal bin inside that old building would make a perfect stall. My parents kept trying to explain to me that it took more than a roof and four walls to keep a horse and anyway, they weren't allowed to be kept within the town proper's borders.

I did ride whenever I could. I had no idea what I was doing. I was a kid and I just rode. Often my friends and I rode in such dangerous places, like down the side of highway, but it was a different time, cars weren't whizzing by. I remember only one car passing us on our hacks. It was full of teenage boys who yelled out, "Hey, pony girl!" at the then teenage me. I remember that same difficult pony taking me over a hedge once when I had only asked to walk. What would terrify me now only made me laugh then.....and to have a feeling of accomplishment for staying  on the horse.

Flash forward close to forty years to a beach in Mexico. I'd taken my husband there for his fiftieth birthday because I knew he would hate the party they had planned for him back home. He was so grateful for that reprieve and so content sitting on that beautiful, sunny beach that he turned to me and asked what amazing gift I was going to expect for my fiftieth that would rival what I'd given him? I think I surprised both of us when I simply said, "A horse."

I wasn't even turning forty-nine until the end of that year but I immediately started my search for that perfect horse as soon as we returned home. The only problem, I had no idea what I was searching for. I quickly learned that everyone, even people who had never been closer to a horse than the mechanical one outside of Wally World, thought they were an equine expert. Those who had actually at least sat in the saddle on a living, breathing, flesh and blood horse well they might have been the worst because most of them offered me horror stories of some horrific fall, shattered lives and even deaths that could be traced back directly to a horse. By the time I did find my perfect horse, a few days short of my birthday in November, I had been educated but I also had been terrified..... but that is not my story of learning.

No one tells you that there is something that happens as we age, we become all too aware of death and the dangers that can lead to it. I think perhaps we start feeling like we are living on borrowed time anyway especially as we start losing friends so unexpectedly. We begin to realize how fragile and precarious our existence is. Then, you decide that you're going to get a horse and take up riding again and all anyone can tell you is how dangerous the sport is, how easily that beautiful, gentle creature with the soulful eyes can kill you. Yeah, that does do something to your self confidence alrighty.

So, I got the horse, which my first instructor took one look at and said, "This horse is way too good for you." She was right of course although it did hurt my feelings at the time. That horse was also too smart for me and I think she learned me much faster than I learned her. Over the last ten years, we have come to terms, written our peace agreement and yes, even fallen in love.....actually, I think she's fallen in love with me although she hates to admit that but me, I fell head over heels the first time I looked at her. So, there is the other problem, I'm smitten and the horse was just darn smart. She played me like Django Reinhardt could play a well tuned guitar.

It seems that every time I'd get in the saddle, all of those horror stories I'd been told would come rushing into my brain and push all logic and intelligence out. Also, there is a problem with my personality, as my husband (and numerous riding instructors) has told me too many times to count, I think too much. I analyze everything to death, I think of every possible thing that can go wrong. So, I do know the fears of failure, embarrassment and oh, yes...injury which can all result from trying something new. But there is something all of that fear did not know about me, I can be one stubborn b*tch. Despite falls, despite overwhelming fear that led to panic attacks before each lesson, despite instructors who later admitted to me that they thought those fears would keep me from ever becoming a rider, I kept getting back in the saddle.

It was certainly not an over night success story. I had years of conditioning under my belt then that kept me almost literally on the ground and in the dust more than I was in the saddle. But then a blessing came into my life in the form of an 85 year old man, Huston Jenkins. He was the one who raised Mouse and also, two more of my horses. He's the one who bred Mouse for me to produce my boy, Danny. His first piece of advice that forever changed my riding was simple but full of truth, "Just stay in the saddle, Sande." Suddenly, I realized that failure is a choice. I was the one who kept bailing when the going got tough or scary. Then he gave me another piece of advice that not only improved my riding but my life, "You know, things can just as easily turn out good as bad." That might sound just like perfect logic to everyone reading this but to me, it was an epiphany. I went to my next lesson and I rode with such confidence that my instructor just stood there with wide eyes of astonishment watching me. She even asked me afterwards, what I'd done with Sande.

I was riding Mouse on my farm one day when we came to a big hill and I let her have her head and gallop up it. It was so much fun! Afterwards, I called my former instructor and told her about this amazing breakthrough and she touched my heart when she told me that she'd taken riders to national championships but she'd never been prouder of anyone than she was of me in that moment because she knew what I'd overcome to get from the fear of even mounting the horse to giving her her head and letting her run free up that hillside. So how did I feel in that moment of learning something new, something I'd been so afraid of? I felt very proud, confident, over joyed and FREE!