Sunday, September 18, 2016

New Tattoo - what it means to me

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned here before that I've been planning on a new tattoo. To this point I've only had one tattoo done - it's the bumble bee holding a heart on my wrist. I got this tattoo in 2007 a year before my wedding. It's a representation of my husband BJ - as my nickname for him is Bumblebee. He'll kill me for this but - the full nick name is Bumble Butt Booey Bear. Bumblebee for short. So, the tattoo is of a bumble bee - representing BJ - holding my heart. Awww, I know. So cute.

I put a lot of thought into what I wanted next. I find tattoo's to be beautiful, and an outward expression of our inner self. I didn't just want any tattoo. I wanted something that meant something to me, to inspire me, to lift me up - to remind me of who I am.

I am. Two words that can start the most beautiful sentence, or the most destructive. For many years I put very negative words after "I am"... I am fat. I am selfish. I am worthless. I am stupid. I am ugly. I am unlovable. Such ugly, negative words that were an energy inside my body that kept me from achieving the great things I know that I am capable of. "I am" almost destroyed me.

I still struggle some days with what to put after those two little words. But, I wanted a reminder that it doesn't matter that I'm not perfect - I just need to remember that I am enough. I am enough of love, of compassion, of beauty, of peace, of friendship, and most importantly - I am enough for myself. My self worth is not reliant on the approval of anyone. I am enough. Period.

I wanted more than just the words to be inked on my body. I wanted what they represent to me. I am enough is my freedom from my past. It's transcending the hurtful thoughts and emotions that overpowered my self esteem for 30 some years. What is more free than a bird? So, to go with my words, I chose a feather. This symbol is not just about the freedom I've found from making peace with my past - but the courage and strength that it took to do so.

I have learned through everything I've been doing this past year and a half is that I am anything but weak. I am stubborn, and resilient, and confident, and powerful. I am determined, and I will not give up on myself. I already know that I will not be perfect, and will fall at times - but I am capable of achieving my goals. I am. The two most powerful words you could ever start a sentence with.

These past few weeks Bj and I have continued with our Low Carb cooking, working out at Planet Armstrong - but, I know I've not been following as strictly as I should be. I do believe that the sugar substitutes can cause stalls, and sometimes even gains. With the fall upon us, my favorite thing about fall is anything pumpkin related - and of course - baking. So, there has been a lot of baking going on in my house, which is fine - but we've over done it the past few weeks, and I ended up gaining about 5 lbs. Now, Bj is under some delusion that it's me building muscle - but I've been more focused on cardio the past few weeks (especially since I have a new toy - my gazelle! yay!) and not so much on weight training. I need to back off the sugar substitutes and focus more on eating lean proteins, with the addition of high fat healthy foods such as butter, avocados, bacon, etc, dark leafy greens and vegetables.

My new toy. It was free, too. Love it!

So, to motivate us into working out - my brother in law Don (from DD Decals - look him up on facebook!) made us this awesome wall decal to put in our gym area. I love it. It makes me want to put in 100%. It reminds me of what I'm achieving every single day.

So, those are my updates for now. New tattoo, gained a few pounds, got a free workout machine, reconstituted motivation for working out, got a game plan to get back on track. Until the next time - be kind to yourself, to others, and keep moving forward. Peace out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Getting out of my own way

This was posted on one of my introvert forums tonight, but it applied to me more from a health standpoint than an introvert one. I got into my own head last night. I wasn't in a good place. I WAS in a good place, then I set up the phone to take a video so Bj could see his kick form, and of course I was in the video. And I felt so disgusted with myself. I actually got a physical sickness type reaction that made me want to quit. And that old voice came back telling me I was disgusting, that I wasn't making any progress, that I should just give up.

I HATED what I saw in that video. I saw flabby arms that I am ALWAYS covering because I'm ashamed of them. I saw a fat face, and fat legs. I saw all the things that voice wanted me to see because that voice doesn't want me to succeed. Last night, it won. I was half assed with my work out. I had no desire to do anything but go to bed and sleep (Which didn't happen, either, btw).

That one video derailed me for a good 24 hours. I can't say, honestly, that I'm totally out of that head space - but it's better than it was last night. I am my own obstacle. My head is. I see the things that I want to see, depending on the mood I'm in. And that is so self sabotaging. It was one video, at a really bad angle (videoing from below us) and I made it out to be a bigger deal than it really was. Last night I wanted to quit. Last night... I wanted nothing more than to say fuck all this shit, I'm just destined to be fat forever.

Today, I'm fighting that voice, and those thoughts - because I still believe I'm worth the work it will take to get completely healthy. Every day is a battle - and every day I learn something new about myself, and about my goals. Today my goal is simply not to quit.

I can't stress enough how much of this journey is mental. It's not just about the food, the eating habits, the exercise. So much of this is getting right with yourself. Not believing in yourself is the #1 reason we fail. Telling ourselves that we can't do it, that it can't be done. This is why we fail. Changing your attitude about yourself, about your weaknesses, your strengths, your dreams, your goals... that is the most key point to all of this. Without a positive attitude - NOTHING will change. NOTHING will get better. I would know - I've been living it! Every single day for 90% of my life - I've been LIVING it. I've WANTED to change. I've WANTED to lose weight. But I didn't want to change my attitude. And it went on for so long, that I started believing the lies I would tell myself. That I wasn't good enough. That I wasn't strong enough. That I didn't deserve to be happy.

Last night was both a good reminder of how much work I still need to do, but also a testament to how strong I really am. Did I go binge eat the entire kitchen? No. Did I give up? No. I put a work out in tonight. I was enthusiastic about it. I wanted to do it. I didn't just want to get it over with. I was in the moment, and you know what - it felt good. Were my flabby arms flapping about? You betcha! Was my fat jiggling around like a water wave? Yep, it sure was. And you know what? Who. The. Fuck. Cares. Unless you're here to help motivate me - your opinion of my flab is meaningless to me. Unless you are here to put in the work, too, your comments about my body are void. The only thing I have room for in my life are people who lift others up, and people who motivate me and challenge me to better myself.

Not every day is going to be a good day, I realize that. Does it get frustrating? Of course it does. Seriously, right now, I just want to cry. Not because I'm in a really bad head space right now - but because I didn't fully grieve last night the feelings I had about myself. But, I know that tomorrow the sun is going to rise, and it's another chance to do better than yesterday. Tomorrow is another gift to push myself further, another step closer to my goal.

I'm no longer fixated on a number, or a size, or skin removal surgery - which were things that I (Secretly) still had jogging around in my brain as important. But they're not. The only thing that is important is that I'm healthy, I'm happy, that I'm helping others, that I'm being positive, and that I don't give up. The rest will fall into place when it's time.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Poached eggs atop sauteed leeks, baby bella mushrooms, and zucchini - Plus, updates!!!

With my new found refocus on my weight loss goals - my inspiration in the kitchen has also come back full force, which I am grateful for, as it's been a while. Bj and I have been continuing on our low carb path - and this past week I lost another 6.6 lbs. I am officially 109 lbs down from my starting highest weight.

This past week I have absolutely been ** killing it ** at Plant Armstrong (home gym). I've been doing a mix of kick boxing, weight training, cardio/aerobic. I really like the kick boxing the best. There is something really satisfying about punching the strike bag and kicking the crap out of the pads Bj holds for me to practice with. The best part is - I WANT TO work out. I look forward to it. I look forward to feeling how hard my heart is pumping that I can HEAR IT in my ears. I look forward to the sweat, and the heat, and the static energy in my veins. And, yes, I'll admit it... I've turned into quite the self absorbed self loving narcissist. I am fascinated in the ways my body and face are changing. And, while I may be a good stones throw from my end goal - I love how I'm looking. I feel that I LOOK healthier. And happier.

I never in a million years ever thought I'd be ok with having my picture taken during a work out - let alone posting them on line. But, I'm proud of these. They are progress. They are proof that I'm keeping to my word, and I'm following through on the promises I'm making to myself. So what if my hair is messy and I have fat arms? Who gives a shit? I'm a work in progress.

During the times that I'm not absolutely rocking it in my jammies and home gym - Bj and I have been cooking deliciousness squared. The exercise we do means absolutely NOTHING if the food we put in our mouths is garbage. We make sure to spend a good amount of time being picky about what we make. Tonight, I have to say, was some of the best food I've ever tasted. Not just because I made it - but because the simple ingredients are what truly make a dish.

Poached eggs atop sautéed Leeks, Portabella mushrooms, and Zucchini

1 large leek - out leaves removed, tops removed, and the roots removed. Keep just the white bulb just into the green part of the leaves. I sliced the leeks into rounds, then cut in half to make half moons. Separate and soak the chopped leeks in a bowl of water. Leeks grow in very sandy dirt, and grit will get in between the rings. You will want the dirt to settle to the bottom of the water bowl, and with a slotted spoon, remove the leeks and dry on a paper towel. Use about 1/2 cup for this recipe. Save the rest for another dish.

3 Baby portabella mushrooms - chopped into bite size pieces

1 small zucchini - chopped into bite size pieces

In a sautee pan, spray with coconut oil - and sautee veg until the leeks take on a nice caramelized flavor, the bellas have shrunk down in size, and the zucchini is fork tender. Be sure to season with salt, pepper, and parsley.

While the veg is sautéing, bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan. GENTLY place two eggs in the boiling water, making sure to not move the eggs around to cause the whites to separate. Let them sit, and turn the heat down to low. Gently spoon water over the tops of the eggs to ensure they cook properly all the way around. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the whites are no longer jiggly.

With a slotted spoon, remove the poached eggs and allow them to strain on a paper towel. Plate the vegetables, and top with your two poached eggs. Sprinkle with additional salt, pepper, and parsley.

I like my yolks to still be soft... so that it creates a sauce over the vegetables. This dish is creamy, rich, and comforting.

Eating these real, whole foods makes me feel better... and I don't have any guilt after I'm done. I don't think to myself "I just ate such and such, and now I have to work out twice as hard because of it". Make what you put in your body work for you and your goals. Make it delicious, make it fun, and make it healthy. Healthy doesn't mean flavorless and boring. Be creative in the kitchen, and just have fun. You'll be surprised at what you can come up with.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

What a difference a year and 4 months can make

I don't really take many "progressive pictures". But tonight I was going through old photos of when my husband and I started our journey and I can't believe how different I look from when we first started a year and 4 months ago to now. I still have a ton of weight to lose... but that's ok. The scale is going in the right direction - even if it is slow. I'll take what I can get.

Having PCOS has caused a lot of road blocks and plateaus, but I haven't allowed that to completely derail where I'm going, and what my end goal is. So, here is a "before" or starting picture - a "Sweaty selfie" we took on one of our work out walks - the other picture is from a couple days ago.

I feel like I'm not even the same person as the old picture anymore. I'm someone that is more confident, happier, healthier, and much more positive. The changes weren't just the food addiction and making healthier choices - but it has also been an exhaustingly mental, emotional, and spiritual journey for me as well.

I'm 36 years old, and for the first time in my life I finally like "me". Not just the physical me - but the person I'm becoming by adapting a healthier life style. In the beginning, it wasn't easy. I wasn't always nice to myself. I was critical and worried (constantly) about making the wrong choices. I'd sometimes get into my own head, and I'd derail myself from making progress. It wasn't until I stopped (mostly) caring about the scale that I started to see movement again.

Getting healthy has to be a personal choice that you make for yourself. You can't do this for someone else. Not your family, your husband, or even your kids. You have to love yourself enough to say your life is worth more to you than that donut, or cheese burger, or that addiction. You have to WANT to be healthy. You have to want to live.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you I've been a perfect Angel for the past year and a half. I haven't been. I've had temper tantrums and ate my donut out of spite for myself. There were days that I wanted to say "fuck it" and throw in the towel. You know what haunts me, though?

That burning, searing pain in my leg that prevented me from walking. The idea of leaving my husband, my family, and my friends behind in my wake if I were to die because of my poor choices. The thought that I will some day become a burden to a care taker who won't be able to move me because of my size. Those things strike fear in my heart like you can not even begin to imagine.

But I'm worth enough to myself to want to be healthy. To WANT to live. Because what I was doing for 35 years before all this wasn't living. I existed. I was miserable, and cranky, and had nothing to look forward to in my life. Now, I have goals, and dreams, and I want to see the world. You can't do that (Easily) as an obese person.

Anyway, I'm sorry I'm long winded. If you're ever in a place where you think you're not getting anywhere - KEEP PUSHING. The scale doesn't dictate your life, who you are, or where you're going. It's just a measure of mass - but it can't measure your heart. Keep fighting - you're worth it - and I can finally say with full confidence - I believe this to be true for myself, too!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Poached egg and Artichoke salad

Poached eggs has to be my second favorite way to have eggs - my first being fried over medium. Poached eggs, when done correctly, are positively divine. I find bringing salted water to a boil, with a splash of vinegar helps to prevent the egg white from separating from the yolk in the cooking process. I also swirl a large spoon to make a whirl pool in the boiling water before (Gently) dropping an egg in the water. Continue to swirl the water to keep the egg whites nicely tight together. Once the whites are set, strain the eggs on a paper towel.

To assemble I used a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, sliced cherry tomatoes, and two pieces of crumbled bacon. Low carb, low calorie, fully satisfying meal for brunch.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Anxiety - the ugly truth

The other night I had one of the worst anxiety / panic attacks that I've had in a very long time. I think the last time I had a panic attack like this was 12 or 13 years ago. I've been on and off anti-anxiety medication since 1999. It helps, somewhat, but really drugs only help to suppress symptoms - they don't fix root cause. And lets face it - I've had a lot of shit go down in my life that has added to this anxiety disorder. So, when I have one of these slightly scary attacks, it's a big deal. I've noticed in the past maybe 4 to 6 weeks I've been really on edge. Not over anything in particular, because these kind of disorders don't really like to follow rules or patterns - but I've been really "off". I've been way more bitchy the past few weeks than I have been in a long time - and it's been pretty evident in not just my personal life at home with my husband - but it's filtered into my every day life at work, with friends, on line, with myself, etc. To be honest, it's put me in a dark place inside myself that is a little scary for me to be. I become irrational, and agitated, vengeful, and jump to conclusions (whether right or wrong) quickly. But, I'm at least recognizing the signs that I'm some what spiraling out of control.

One of the biggest hurdles I still face is food addiction. Normally food has always been my best friend. It's been my comfort, my happiness, my sadness, my "shoulder to lean on", my excuse to continue being unhealthy. And the other night, while in the middle of this really terrifying panic attack - I thought about eating. I thought that if I just ate something - I would feel better. But I didn't.

I'll try to describe to you what having a panic disorder is like. I don't know that words can adequately describe it - but I'll try.

It's the loneliest feeling in the world. When the attack first started coming on - I was on line. I quickly went through my cell phone looking for someone to call. And there were people - but then this voice (the demon as I like to call it) repeatedly told me put the phone down. No one gives shit about you. No one wants to hear you sniffling, and whining, and your sorry excuse for a life. No one wants to be called at 10pm on a work night to be disrupted by someone as worthless and meaningless as me to talk me off the ledge, because I'm such a failure at being a well put together adult. It felt as though my heart was being strangled, and my chest was being crushed under slabs of stone, and that my brain was going to turn to sludge and fall out of my nose. This went on for a good hour. And I cried. I sat in my living room, on my sofa, starring at my phone. And I just cried. I felt so alone. And what's worse is I was making myself feel that way. But at the time, I felt so helpless to fight against this panic inside my brain. After about an hour, I went upstairs. Normally, I would just crawl in bed, and cry as quietly as I possibly can to not wake up Bj. This night, however, I didn't do that. I woke him up.

Bj has never had to experience a panic attack of this magnitude with me. I was in a fit of frenzy and hysteria - and I was violently convulsing. He tried to hold me down to stop the shaking - tried calming me - but that "demon" in my head just got louder, and louder, and louder.

And the thing that this particular "demon" likes to say over and over again is "YOU ARE WORTHLESS. YOU SHOULD JUST KILL YOURSELF".

The voice of that demon? It's mine. It's never some foreign unknown voice. It's always my voice.

Bj didn't let me go. He held me until I fell asleep, and it was the safest I have felt in a long time. Specifically, safe from myself. I find killing myself with food is my preferred way of "suicide". And I think, really, that's what I've been doing for the past 20 years. I've just been killing myself to shut that voice up in my head, and by proxy, killing "me". Food really had taken over my life.

The scary thing about being a food addict is - there isn't true "Rehab" from it. You have to eat. Humans require food to sustain life. I'm not saying that food addiction is worse than drug or alcohol or gambling, etc... I think they are all equally destructive. But the one difference is - you HAVE TO have food. You don't have to have drugs, or alcohol, or gamble - to sustain life. So for me, dealing with this food addiction - it's sometimes paralyzing. Finding a balance between eating food you like to eat, and eating healthy, is sometimes a hard balance to find.

But the fact that I didn't succumb to my desire to stuff my face to "eat the pain away" the other night - that's a big step for me. I have pretty weak will power most of the time.

I think that there has been such a negative stigma in society surrounding mental health issues that most people are afraid to talk about this kind of thing. But, I think as a society - the more we talk about it, the more we bring these kinds of disorders to light - the better chance there is for us to heal from it, and help others face and deal with their "Demons", too. I'm not ashamed that I have a anxiety disorder. I'm not ashamed that I have depression, and struggle with a food addiction. I'm not ashamed that I'm still struggling to find my feet in this world. It's my journey, and I'm not ashamed of that.

I've been thinking about getting a new tattoo for some time. But I didn't know what I wanted to get. Putting something permanent on your body is an expression of who you are through art. It should mean something to you - it's part of your story. And I finally found the perfect piece that I want to have inked on me.

This will be going on my inner left forearm. I think it's a good reminder to myself when I'm in these dark places in my head that it doesn't matter what lies this "demon" tries to tell me - I AM enough. I am perfectly imperfect. And I'm a work in progress. I will be free of this addiction. I will succeed at being happy. I will be me. Whatever the cost.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Low Carb Cauli-Tots - so delicious!

I can liken these to McDonalds hash browns... Lets face it - that's about the only good tasting thing at McDonalds besides their fries. I was craving tater tots in the worst way the other night, and my husband came up with this brilliant recipe. It is so good, and so satisfying. I will never have to sneak a McDonalds hash brown ever again.

Here's what you'll need:

3 cups cauliflower rice - steamed in microwave for 2-3 minutes
2 tbspn butter, melted
1 cup pork rind crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
pinch garlic powder
pinch onion powder
1 egg

After steaming cauli-rice in microwave, add melted butter and egg - beat well. Add cheese, pork rind crumbs, and seasoning - mix until completely incorporated. If the mixture is too wet - add more pork rind crumbs. Mold in hands into disks - and put on parchment lined baking sheet that was sprinkled with additional pork rind crumbs and parmesan cheese. Bake 15 minutes 375 degrees, then flip over and bake an additional 5 minutes.