Shedding the Layers….

I’ve subconsciously had the realization–more than once–along this journey, that a lot of my physical weight is from emotional weight that I’ve been holding onto and carrying through the years.  When I shed my weight initially (170 lbs) I faced a lot of things from my past–from physically being taken advantage of to self-doubt directly related to my intelligence.  There were things that I didn’t even realize that they had affected me until they were resurfacing.

Since hitting me physical best in 2013 I’ve struggled at managing my weight and endurance.  A lot of it connects back to mental/emotional choices versus physical/nutritional choices–you can still binge eat on healthy food.  I’ve put on a significant amount since that time.  Worked super hard for about year to stay as close as I could to that “magic” number but it literally consumed me–I felt like I was going to lose relationships and career opportunities if I didn’t just stop my fight with this, it was turning unhealthy.  Maintenance is my hard part.  Why?  170 pounds loss sounds like quite a challenge right?  It was, but learning, understanding and managing why I got to that point is the root of it.  I could easily get back to that point if I just gave up on myself–giving up consists of small continuous choices that compound on themselves until all control feels lost.  I didn’t want to do that again.  I know the work I’ve put in to get here and my achy knees today remind me of my alternative.

So about two weeks ago I wrote about and realized that I needed to take my motivation back!  To do so I’d have to make it a regular/continuous effort to make sure I didn’t take on and bury emotions like I used to.  I thought that it was mostly pertaining to the death of my Mom but I’m realizing it’s more than that.  I had a dream this passed weekend that really shocked me.  It was already after having fully woken up and during my nodding back off–usually those aren’t deep sleeps but I had a vivid dream so this time it was!  I had an elder of my family–who past away a while ago–appear before me, hug me and tell me “I’m sorry”.  They proceeded to speak to me in their native language, which at the time I could understand fluently but lost all memory of when I woke up.  I thought I’d laid our issues to rest when we laid them to their eternal rest but apparently I was wrong.  I woke up instantly and felt a huge weight lifted off of me.

That was Saturday, after getting out of work I decided I needed to take care of me and make the day full of “Me Time”.  I ended up going on a long run that afternoon.  I had no idea where I’d end up just knew I had to get out and go.  I changed out of my work clothes, into my running clothes and walked out my door.  Running/jogging/walking is very therapeutic for me–I wish my thoughts would instantly end up posting themselves into a blog, I get profound stuff while I’m out there!  I was so deep in my thoughts that I was nearly almost to my Mom’s gravesite.  I guess subconsciously I knew where I needed to go.  I stood in front of her plaque and just stared at it.  The body that brought me so much comfort for 25 years was kept from me by a marble slab.  I could feel the hot tears consume my eyes then roll down my sweaty/make-up melted face until I buried my face in my hands.  I wasn’t mad at her, I was hurt….hurt that she gave up.  I remember pushing her in a wheelchair through the hospital hallways one day after PT and whispering to her not to give up that we needed her.  Less than a week later she came home and a couple of nights later she took her last breathes in front of us.  At time all I said was “I love you and it’s ok…we’ll be ok” but there’s been many times that I haven’t felt that way.  I left that hurt there….I wiped my face, felt the peace consume me and continued on foot.

Today I had another “aha moment” while walking to my parent’s house.  I was born and raised in the same house in which my Dad still lives and my Mom died in.  We live at the end of a cul-de-sac which made for a tight-knit neighborhood.  There were no shenanigans that were going to happen while our parents weren’t around; someone on the block was always home and didn’t have a problem letting our parents know if we were acting out.  That block was and still is my “village.”–they helped raise me.  Growing up I’d want to make them proud of me almost as much as I wanted to make my parents proud of me.  Luckily, I don’t live far from any of them so I’m always (and always will be thanks to my hard-working parents) able to go back.  Like last night when we had an impromptu potluck BBQ dinner.  No celebration or reason, just did it because we could.  During the summers growing up we all pretty much lived outside and dined together.  Last night my Dad made an observation/comment that the group of us women at the end of the table were sitting there conversing like a bunch of sisters.  That made me smile, it was comforting to think of us like that.  Now that everyone is grown up, our relationship have evolved into that.   I’m digressing…Today, I had a good day.  I was productive, had minimal down times and I even made my bed–but that’s probably because I knew Katie would be stopping by and that’s her pet peeve–but I still felt something lurking.  So instead of driving I decided to lace up and take a walk to do some errands.

Walking to my Dad’s I ended up giving myself a pep talk–started of kinda like a whisper then full booming voice.  “I am enough. I am able.  I am good enough!  I have accomplished a lot. I have done more than what many others can even begin to think of doing. I need to be proud of me as much as–and MORE than–I am proud of those I love.  I earned my Bachelor’s degree.  I successfully completed my Masters–do you know how small that percentage is?!? I have lost and kept off 150 lbs!  I have completed almost 20 half marathons–since 2012!  The more accomplishments I kept adding in my head the more I was realizing how much I personally/singly have done–how small the percentage kept getting as I kept adding.  I’m unique, I am valuable…I am still here so I have a purpose to live out to better this world and myself.  It may sound silly but I needed this–I was and often am quick to focus on what I don’t know and/or have versus what I DO!  I know (and am grateful for) how blessed I am.

Towards the end of my pep talk a thought rushed in like a bull in a China shop and I could feel my heart clench and my eyes wandering for the answer.  Growing up I have SO many wonderful memories, but there’s one that I don’t tend to revisit often because it’s dark.  At thirteen I became very depressed; I remember shutting out my parents and crying constantly in my room.  I’d thought about how to end it….all of it.  I tried to plan it but I couldn’t picture the end, my end.  I “joke” that I was too much of a wuss to experience pain so it had to be something that would be painless–I couldn’t come up with anything.  So I’m still here, gratefully.  But the root reason for that happening at that time is I’d felt like I lost the one person who “got me”.  They were the one person (other than my parents/family) that I’d know since we were in diapers…and just like that, they left me.  There’s a story there but it’s not mine to tell.  It wasn’t quite “all of a sudden” but at 13 it felt that way to me.  This person got labelled a problem/trouble maker in time but to start they were my tree climbing buddy, my make mud pies together person, my dig holes in the backyard to see what we could find.  Then they weren’t–ripped from my side and not allowed to communicate or say goodbye to me.  At 13 I couldn’t understand the “why” and “how” of it even though my parents tried to explain.  I didn’t even think anything was really that wrong until their violent side was direct toward me, which left me even more perplexed and hurt–literally and figuratively.  On my walk today I realized I’d been holding on to this….I held onto that hurt for almost 20 years.  That was the root of my “everyone ends up leaving me” feeling.  My brain gets the whole concept of people come in and out of your life but my heart has always struggled with the concept.  In holding onto this grudge I’ve ended up pushing people out of my life before they get the chance to leave me–I always expect the “other shoe to fall.”  It wasn’t going to but my thoughts which turned to actions lead to that happening.  I don’t blame anyone, I simply know why now and have now let it go.  I don’t need to continue to carry that, believe that, or live that.  I forgave myself.

Moving forward this has to become a regular practice.  Just like showering is a daily routine self-care and reflection is going to become one of mine.  Maybe it will be while I’m out on a run, lifting weights, in hot yoga, or just lying around.  Practice makes progress….

I create my success from within.


“Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on.”  — Marlon Wayans

phoenix

Seeing Clearly Now…

How about an update to this crazy no sugar thing I committed myself to?!

There’s a foggy haze that’s been lifted and I feel like I have something substantial to actually write about.  So during this “sugar detox” I’ve found some spiritual clarifty and practices.  I’ve gotten back to and better at meditating, I actually went out and tried hot yoga (thanks to my WeightWatchers friend Lula and my BFF Katie for the nudge), and I realized just how foggy I’d been operatering these last few months.

During my rebirth of my meditation practice, I came across this excerpt and felt the need to share.

The Final Obstacle Is Us

“The greater the crisis it seems, the swifter the evolution.”
~Elizabeth Gilbert
There has never been a better moment in human history than right now to be a woman. Nobody in the history of womankind ever had a better chance to manifest her own life than the modern woman … right now.

 Then why do we still battle the lingering doubts and prejudices in our own minds that convince us we are not worthy—not good enough, not strong enough, not talented enough, not brave enough?

Why are we holding ourselves back from greatness?

It’s from a Deepak Chopra daily reflection that I did a while back.  In cleaning out my inbox (yes, I do stuff like that) I came across it again and re-read it.  This speaks so much truth to me.  This whole process is really revealing how much I’ve been holding myself back.  I don’t sit here wallowing in regret about it, on the contrary!  I’m actually grateful for my new found clarity!  I didn’t know I was walking around in a fog.  I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing out on by being in that state of being.  I was more like a zombie then human.  I’d wake up, eat, work some, eat, want to nap (sometimes did), work a bit more, eat, and then sleep again.  It sounds depressing just reading that as I type it out!  To have a day like that, not a big deal in my book.  But to have every day like that, is NOT good!  But I wasn’t aware enough to realize that that is what I was doing.

It’s no wondering I wasn’t happy with myself.  It’s no wonder I put on 15 lbs over my goal weight–note that’s over my goal weight, that’s not based on the lowest I got down to.  Yes, I’m human and until I become superhuman or really accept and deal with my faults I’ll always fight this battle.  But with where I’m at now I feel like I’m in a place where I can do that.  Accepting you’re imperfections is easier said then done.  Actually, it’s almost as challenging to admit my imperfections–step one I guess.

We all “know” we aren’t perfection but who actually talks about it?  And why is it so hard to talk about anyways.  I just saw in the news how we are creating narciscistic kids but what about ourselves.  We start a petition because we don’t think it’s ok that Facebook has an emoji that allows someone to admit that they are feeling fat?  Why?  Who cares if that’s how they feel?  I feel fat sometimes–usually it’s when I’ve over indulged on food.  No we are being censored on admitting our feelings?  And the other thing…with this recent “International Womens Day” (do guys even get a day?) when did this start and why?  It’s like the feminist’s (uh oh, I’m going on a rant and I’m sure I’m going to get comments/emails about this but too bad it’s my blog I can say what I want) own Valentine’s Day!  Why do we need ONE day to celebrate ourselves as women?  Why do we need one day to “come together” and celebrate the amazing women in this world?  Why isn’t that happening every day?  Oh I know, because the other 364 days a year we are sitting in front of our screens and judging each other.  I’ve seen “plus sized” models go through fat shaming and celebration all in the same day.  I’ve seen thin women get praised for eating indulgently in public and shamed in the same day.  I’ve seen a self empowered corporate excecutive female get praised and criticized all in the same day for being a career minded female who also wants to be a mom.  What are we doing to each other?  Are we so unhappy with ourselves that we have to bring down each other too?  This does go back to my original point about admiting and accepting our own imperfections.  In today’s society you can’t be too thin or too fat because there’s going to be a group that comes together and bashes you for it.  BE YOU!  WORRY ABOUT YOU!  I don’t mean that in a selfish, self centered way but in a Michael Jackson “take a look in the mirror” way.

We are holding ourselves back and each other by living the way we are.  Let a kid get a gift they didn’t ask for on a list so they learn humility and gratitude.  Let a student fail at a problem so they can learn how to get it right on their own.  Let a baby fall while learning to walk so they learn how to get back up and try again.  Let a woman, man, girl, boy, etc. learn to pave their own path so that they may reap the reward for achieving their goal.  There’s always a reaction for every action we take–they may be unintended but it’s going to happen none the less.  What’s the better option–“Bandaid” the problem or find a solution?  I prefer the solution, personally!

So that’s why I’m sitting here in bed (at 915pm PT) and I’m ok with that.  Label me the old lady who’s in bed before some kids are.  I don’t care.  I know that I need sleep in order to function well and with this jump ahead an hour, “performing well” isn’t where I’m at yet.  I know I’m a littler bitter that I don’t wake up at 6am to daylight anymore because of daylight savins.  But the whole government isn’t going to change that just to please me–nor they should!  Plus, I’ll adjust and get there.  I’ll be happy when the weather starts to warm and I can go for an evening run after work outside because it’s brighter later now.  I’m just a little immature about it at the moment–I’ll get over–I learned that lesson young too and I’m better for it!

So what’s this rant (yep, I’ll admit that) have to do with inner reflection, imperfection, and appreciation?  We are all individuals part of a greater piece/system.  My place in this world effects others who come in contact with me–physically or socially.  I know that if I’m not offering my best self through taking care of myself first, i’m weakening the system as a whole.  So yes, some times I just suck it up and get up and do what I have to because the world isn’t going to stop revolving if I don’t want to get out of bed.  Plus, being in that state isn’t going to make me feel any better.  Getting up is hard sometimes, but it’s for the best in the long run.

I’m seeing clearly now that taking care of myself–first and foremost–allows the system as a whole to be better.  It allows me to offer my best self to those I love and care for.  I’m not an immortal superhero who can do everything, all the time, forever.  I’m perfectly imperfection me.  What I can’t do well, someone else can and I’m good to delegate to them.  I was put on this earth for a reason and I’ll work at vocation versus trying to fulfill other’s!

Be ok and accepting of who you are and why you are who you are.  Accept your imperfections as openly as you accept your assets–they all make up who you entirely are anyways.  I’ll share this one last bit with you.  Someone in my WeightWatchers meeting this week said something so simple and yet so profound.  She was going on a cruise and worried about making the healthy choices with the all you can eat options.  A friend told her to just enjoy herself AND (this is the part I love) to let enough be enough!

Unbelieveable Me….

FiP You Are Enough

I’ve been very aware–for whatever reason–this week when I’ve wanted to turn to someone, anyone, else for support and guidance this week.  From the smallest thing of “where/what do you want to eat…” to “…guess what just happened…what do you … Continue reading

It’s time…

"Mom's View" Painted for my Mom in May 2008 when she went back into the hospital and stayed for the rest of that summer.  I wanted her to have a better view then just the hospital walls.

“Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise.” ~Martha Beck I’ve been reading a … Continue reading

Shrove Tuesday–What is it, why do many “celebrate” it & what I’m confessing to you?

shrove

So as a kid we always had breakfast for dinner on Shrove Tuesday.  That’s how i knew it growing up “Shrove Tuesday”, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  I did grow up Catholic so I partially fasted for Lent by observing the no meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays.  We didn’t call it “Fat Tuesday” or Mardis Gras but I knew others who did, and took it for all basically being the same–splurge before the fasting/cleansing period of Lent.

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My Mom would go all out for this breakfast/dinner feast!  We’d get home from school that afternoon and the griddle for the pancakes would already be set up.  She’d have a fresh dozen eggs in the fridge for us and fresh bacon from the local butcher!  Sometimes she’d even make fresh hashbrowns and fresh squeezed orange juice!  It felt like a bigger weekend breakfast on a weekday most times!  It was like a holiday breakfast on a random Tuesday night!  I have very fond memories of those evenings.

Now a days we’ve shifted to taking our “brinner” out to a restaurant.  Something just isn’t the same without her here to do it all with/for.  The griddle hasn’t seen the light of day for almost a decade.  It wasn’t so much a day of being gluttoness but a day of gathering and feasting together.  We didn’t go “hog wild” all day long.

Today, my Dad and I did breakfast for lunch instead since I had dinner plans elsewhere.  I love breakfast any time of day but I’m pretty standard and keep it usually to an egg white omelet with fixings and wheat toast, dry.  But I was feeling nostaglic and this is the one day I always go all out for my breakfast not at breakfast meal.  I ordered the pancake breakfast–two buttermilk pancakes with eggs (whites), and bacon! YUMMY!  With a busy morning of work and calls, the time away from my desk, visiting with my Dad was more than welcoming!  Even the walk down the hill in the chilly California weather was welcoming!

Afterwards I wondered though, what’s the real meaning of the term “Shrove Tuesday”–especially the shrove part.  So, typical Dad response, I Googled it!

This moveable festival is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve“.[1] Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics,[2] who “make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with.”[3]

absolve

The part of the excerpt that stood out the most to me was the part at the end where it states that people make a conscious effort of self reflection–what they’ve done, what needs to change, and what areas they need help in.  I’ve been looking to do this, looking to find the time and effort to do just this!  2014 was challenging on many levels–physically, emotionally, personally and professionally.  I started 2015 with renewed spirit but not feeling completely in control and back on a good/healthy track.

I’m looking to change this.  I feel like I’ve been taking short cuts by looking for answers everywhere but to myself.  So as we wrap up this Shrove Tuesday, I’d like to renew me.  For a while I was doing something new and positive every Lent instead of giving something up.  But this year, I’m going to do a combination of these two practices.  I’ve found myself craving sugars and the not so good for me carbs.  I know “we can eat anything in moderation” but these things really do react with my body.  But much like a drug, they can be hard to quit and moreso when there’s an emotional connection there.  So for Lent I’ll be weening myself off of processed sugars/sweetners and the carbs that my body doesn’t like–white flours, bread, etc.  My addition of something positive will be my re-implementation of “me time”–quiet, self reflection time.  I’m also adding a “Move It, Love It” aspect to this by increasing my activity.  I did just sign up for my 20th half marathon after all!

I commit to this and to myself for 40 days, beginning Ash Wednesday.  It’s 40 days of taking care of myself…I worked so hard for so long to let go and forgive myself for all the burdens, hurts, and wrong doings I was “carrying” in weight for decades.  I’m not going to “repack”!  I’ve learned.  I’m going to forgive myself, no guilt, and move on.  Get back to my basics…self love, care, and patience.

Ash Wednesday Symbol

Time to CELEBRATE!!

There’s so many numbers that seem so defining in the world–an area code (ladies, remember when Carrie freaks out in the SATC movie?!), zip code (uh, hello just about everyone know 90210), income brackets, credit scores, sports rankings, weight, cholesterol counts, nutritional counts, followers, likes, comments, and so on!  Guess I may have forgotten one there…age!  We are young and give our age in fractions when people ask–so how this matters then!  As we grow up we start rounding up to the near whole–meaningful–number, if we are 14 we are saying “almost 16″, 17 goes to 18, 21 starts when we are…well maybe I better not go there, lol! In our 20s we don’t seem to care what the number is until we hit 29 and then wonder how we got to 30, but embrace it after all 30 is the new 20 right?!

As 30 goes just as fast as it came, I find friends starting to round down like the 3__ is somehow a dirty lil secret.  “Oh, it’s the 5th anniversary of my 29th birthday!” Um, what?!?!  Why?  Because if we are 3__ there’s an expectation of where and who we should be and if we aren’t that then we better not actually embrace the number it is?  Because if we don’t say it, it doesn’t really exist?  Because getting older is a bad thing?  Because if I’m 3__ and still living alone and not married with kids I’ve some how failed or something is wrong with me?  Because at anything over 15 I have to act a certain way, look a certain way, and live a certain way?

What’s with all the numbers and labelling?  For a OCP (obsessive compulsive personality) you’d think I’d be all over this labelling and categorizing it’s my thing! But (and maybe this is my creative side that comes out and keeps me from being OCD, literally) the fact of the matter is that I’m just the opposite when it comes to people, and especially myself.  That’s not what this whole post is about though.  Do you ever notice when people (who don’t know you) find out it’s your birthday and one of the first questions they as you is “how old”?  It’s like anniversaries, everyone asks how long.  But what matters to me is everything in between the years! “Oh it’s your wedding anniversary?  That’s great!  What’s been the best part about being married?”  It may sound kind of silly, but I’m serious. A life isn’t a life if it isn’t being lived.

I’m 33 now (officially, it’s now after midnight) and I’m kind of like “ok, so this is another year in 30…”  A younger version of myself would turn to me and say “girl, you better get it together and get yourself a ring on that finger, a house you own (vs rent), some kids, etc. because you’re on your way down, time is a ticking!”  But the me I’ve become knows and thinks differently.  I know that there’s value in planning and goal setting.  But the planning part is just that.  Life will happen and things will change and you need to as well–the only thing that is constant is change.  Life will happen as it’s meant to, it may not go as I initially planned but it will go on.  I never imagined a 30 something birthday without my Mom around.  But the fact is that, she never saw me out of my 20s.  My old self freaked out after my 27th birthday because I realized 30 was right around the corner and 30 ended up being midlife for my Mom.  But me now just lives and celebrates each day.  Sometimes that celebration is done out on a trail and other times on the comfort of my couch.  The last 6 years have taught me that either way, it’s my choice and in making a choice I lay the path to how I live my life moving forward.

My birthday is one I thank my parents for.  I’d like to celebrate those who have helped bring to this very day in this year.  Who created me, help shape me, guide me, support me, encourage me, console me, inspire me, motivate me, reflect me… I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without them.  I like reflecting back on how I got here.  All that I survived and thrived to be who I am today.  The past that prepares me for my future…

I’ve lived 33 years and I’m still here.  I appreciate the gift each day is–the laughter and the tears.  The love and blessings from everyone.  The good, the challenging and everything in between. I’m more then that number, I’m all the living I did until this point.  Today I celebrate my presence.

Perfectly REAL

Just two words–“Perfectly Real”–and yet so loaded and powerful.  I’ve stated before that my goal hasn’t been around making the “perfect body” but being healthy and fit, at least for me.  The journey itself has been far from perfect!  I’ve tried to sit down and write this post a number of times but never end up finishing it…ironic?  Maybe so, or that’s the message.  That if my goal were about perfection, it would be an unrealistic goal that I’d never actually (naturally) achieve.  Plus what is “perfect” to one person may be far from perfect to another and in the end the only definition and opinion that matters is my own.

To be perfectly real and honest, this journey has been ongoing since I was a young child.  Petite until only about three and then always the “big kid” from five years of age and on.  Being in a constant state of watching my weight…watching it rise and not in a good way.  It was the root of many struggles for me growing up.  I can’t even imagine how kids make it now a days with the instantaneous and long-term effects of social media out there.  Bullying was hard enough when it wasn’t blasted out on social media.  But my real struggle was internal.  So much that it got to a point where I considered…well, lets just say that I wouldn’t be here writing this today if I had chosen one of the options I had considered for myself.  Today, I’m choosing to officially and permanently let that part go and not carry that baggage with my into my future–doubt and fear are rooted there.  I have no need or room for that moving forward.  Instead of dragging it around, my choice is to learn from it and move forward.  What did I learn?  Well, that I was put here for a reason and that reason extends well beyond myself.  So taking my life at a young age would have been selfish and irresponsible of me.  I didn’t think it through much; it was hard to see anything past my pain.  It used to make me sad to think of that time of my life but now I’m grateful for it.  It was one of the first real breakthroughs in my life. In addition to, it was the first time (that I could remember) that I allowed my Dad into that deep space in my mind and heart, that I always only let my Mom into.  My Dad is and was a great dad, but he travelled a lot when I was young so I often went to my Mom for comfort.  I remember her coming in to my room on a number of occasions when I was going through this dark point of my life and thinking back, I can see the hurt in her eyes.  She tried to help and fix me but couldn’t, and that was hard.  My Mom was great at that.  I often naturally want to turn to her for that even still today and I can’t….at least not in the way that I used to.

I say all that to say this.  Not having her here to “save me” is what led me to making my first real decision on my own.  That was a power that I’d never felt and will never forget.  It’s also a reminder that I am able.  It make take some time and effort on my part, but I can do it.  This “perfectly real” me that I talk about is a bit of self acceptance and a dose of realistic thinking/goal setting.  I still shoot for the stars but instead of focusing on the stars, I look at my first step to get to there.  Knowing I can is a major aspect in this.  If I don’t think I can, than I eventually won’t.  In addition to, I’ve learned, it’s not about if someone else got there (or gets there) before I do, it’s about when and how I get there.   Being me, the real me, not who I think people want me to be is key.  My body is able…it’s not a body builder’s body, it’s not an elite runner’s body, it’s not a couch potato, it’s not a professional athlete’s, it’s not a model’s…it’s mine.  I’ve worked long and hard for it too.  No six-pack, some muscle definition (from hours of hard work put in), less fat then muscle now a days, smaller than it’s ever been as an adult, excess skin, but in the end it’s all mine.  Not perfect but definitely perfectly real.  Perfectly capable and able to assist in achieving my hopes, dreams and goals that I have in this life!

Perfectly real is a mind-set at its core.  Being true to one’s self, values, beliefs, and goals.  Being open and honest.  Being confident and humble.  Being grateful and gracious. Appreciating how I got here instead of complaining about all the struggles.  It’s those challenges that have made me stronger and better and more appreciate of life.

Be you…be the perfectly real you that you are meant to be and love it!

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C is for COOKIE and Cookie is for ME!! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Many of you saw my post from this weekend when I baked (and finally nailed) my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe!  I made some tweaks and most of the made for a healthier cookie.  Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a health cookie.  I just made some swaps that were better alternatives than the usual recipe.  For example, I swaped half the butter for 1/2 cup of pumpkin.

The recipe is below and please note that I’m not a recipe writer so if you aren’t sure about something, please do ask!  Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

-1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter

-1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

-3/4 brown sugar, packed

-3/4 cup of Stevia (this is a 1:1 for the other half of the brown sugar.  So if you don’t do sweetners then do this as brown sugar instead)

-1 tsp of baking soda

-1 tsp cinnamon, ground

-1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground

-1/2 tsp cloves, ground

-pinch of ground (or fresh) ginger

-pinch of sea/kosher salt

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 large eggs

-1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour

-1 cup Oat flour (I made my own–cheaper and easier–by blending Quaker instant oats in my food processor)

-2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

(NOTE: this is the part where I may miss a detail because I bake so much it’s just natural and I don’t think about certain thing.  SO…IF you have any questions or need clarification, please feel free to ask)

1) Preheat oven to 350* F

2) In a mixing bowl (I make mine in my KitchenAid mixer) blend sugars, butter and pumpkin for about 1 min until mostly combined.  If you use a mixer use low-medium speed.

3) Stop the mixer and add the vanilla and the eggs.  Then continue to mix again until combined.

4) Stop the mixer once more and add the spices and baking soda.

5) With the mixer on low add in the flour–one cup at a time–until combined.

6) Stop the mixer and add the chocolate chip.  Only turn on the mixer to combine the chocolate chips into the dough, maybe about 30 seconds.

7) Scoop dough into about 1 inch balls onto a lined/greased baking sheet–twelve (12) scoops will fit on a standard size baking sheet.

8) Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes and then allow to cool on the baking sheet for about two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

ALL DONE, repeat until all the cookies are made! Simple as that!

For my Weight Watchers friends, I got these to 2 Points per cookie…not bad!

On a Quest for a RE-ReNewed Me

2014-10-22 09.24.29

I’ve seen and heard a lot of inspiring things over the course of the last couple of days and while I may be tired from the full schedule that I’ve been managing, I’m smart enough to know that I’m seeing and hearing all these things for a reason!  I’ve said it before and still believe “EVERYTHING in our lives happens for a reason and exactly when it’s supposed to happen.”

I’ve been working on this post for over a week now…Recently, I saw a good one “REAL > perfection”.  Why do I think this is so great?  Simple, there’s always a part of me that gets caught up in the whirlwind and strives for perfection.  But that’s not what it’s about and SURPRISE–I’m NOT perfect!!  The REAL me is far from perfect and perfect isn’t even realistic, so why even attempt at making it part of my goal(s).  I could sit here and point the finger at others, but that’s not realistic.  I’m the one who makes the choice.  And if I feel out of control then that’s a result of the choices I’ve made.

These last 12 months have been my first that my goal has been to maintain my weight and not lose it.  What a roller coaster this has been!  I learned quickly, that I knew how to lose but I had no idea what it was like to maintain a healthy weight.  At first I dropped some more, then I maintained my goal weight for a bit, but after that a series of events happened and I’ve been in a gain mode for a while.  Maybe it’s all the traveling I’ve been doing this year, maybe not.  Maybe it’s the personal struggle of trusting myself and my abilities, maybe not.  But even if it is due to all that, my goal has always been to live and lead a healthy life.  That involves being able to transition when those times arise in my life.  Making my new healthy habits fit.  How do we do that?

I said it in the beginning of the year and I’m realizing how today…2014 was a year of challenges.  Don’t get me wrong, challenges aren’t a bad thing.  They change us and often for the better–making us stronger, better, and wiser.  Those things that push us out of our comfort zone are what expand our comfort zone until it no longer exists.  I’ve done this before.  For example, I started this journey by walking to be active.  Then I tried going faster little by little.  I worked my way up to jogging a mile without stopping and I still remember to this day how great that felt…I ran, WITHOUT stopping, a whole mile!  Then I ran/walked my first organized 5K.  I’d intermittently throw in some 10Ks to kinda prove that I could do more.  Finally someone said to me, “You know you could run a half.”  I looked at her and thought she’d lost her mind or wasn’t talking directly to me!  LOL….love this woman though, then and still now!  She told me I could and I showed her (and myself) that I was able!  It’s the same in life.  Constant cycle of doubting ability (or assuring a confined comfort zone) and breaking those barriers down.  I’m realizing that I’m still going through these cycles and will until I no longer have barriers/a comfort zone to break through.  Is that realistic?  Maybe.  I may not live that long to find out though as it could take many many years to accomplish.

There’s another great quote that comes to mine as I type this…”It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you aren’t.”  **I’ll pause to let you ponder that one**  OK, ready?  It got to a point for me when I realized the more people would challenge me to do bigger and better things.  The more people would start to see this new me and the potential that I was (apparently) exuding, would tell me and encourage me to think/do bigger and bolder goals.  It was this point in my life that I recognized that I was the one holding myself back and I was doing it every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  How?  Every time the words “I can’t…” came out of my mouth, I was doubting my own abilities.  I was saying couldn’t even before I tried.  The day I realized that was the last day those words ever came out of my mouth again.  It took a while to stop thinking them–especially when a certain trainer would have me do atomic push-ups on the TRX.  But it was challenges like that which made me stronger.  All this spread beyond my fitness and strength goals.

But since that peak, I feel as if I’ve lost sights of goal setting and achieving.  When I was losing there was always a goal out there–lose weight, hit my goal weight.  But since then…since then I forgot that I need to now set regular goals.  That this journey with my weight and health is never over and always present in my life.  That every choice I make ripples into the next and they all affect my wellbeing.  Now that I’ve said this, I need to focus forward and work towards a maintainance lifestyle.  Which requires regular self assessments, healthy choices all around, positive thinking, living life active and reflection/me time to rest and recoup.  My focus first is assessment which I’ll address in my next blog post.  Followed by a blog post about healthy choices, and so on.  This is what my “Quest for a RE-ReNewedMe will entail.  This is my choice, I will post about it (all–good, bad, and ugly) because I’m REAL and far from perfect.  And because the ultimate goal is really about continuing to strive and become a better version of my self while living my vocation to help others–BALANCE.

 

In Good Health,

@ReNewedMe, aka Dre

Focus Forward–Letting go of yesterday and embracing today for a better tomorrow!

Better tomorrow

Everyone carries something from their past into every day, I’m no exceptioni.  In fact, this is probably my greatest weakness and burden in my life.  I know that I’m the only one who has control over it.  In my day to day life, I’m a purger…can’t stand clutter!  But when it comes to memories and past hurts I can’t seem to purge as easily.

Throughout my weighloss journey I recognized that my weight was due to some of this “baggage” that I’d been carrying around for (years in some cases) too long and I wasn’t even conscious of it!  So as these pasts started to resurface, I”d deal with them and then purge.  My running actually helped a lot with this process because I was able to expell any energy these feeling/memories left in me and would enter a type of meditative state in the process.

Just like how my weight loss (I’m learning) is not a “one and done” process, the purging of these types of feelings and memories/experiences is an ongoing process.  2014 has been a challenging year, I said it was, something in me just knew that I’d have a year of overcoming ahead of me and boy was I right!  But Instead of wallowing in said challenges, I’m embracing them for what they are (growth/learning opportunities) and moving on.  I’m a firm believer that “everything in life happens for a reason” and at the time in our lives when it’s supposed to.  Our control is in how we handle these things that happen.

People often ask how I was able to find such success after a devasting loss and my answer is simple.  In my case (and in many others) I feel that you have two choices in those moments.  1) You can choose to get up (as challenging as that may be in itself), dust yourself off and learn/grow from what happened.  Or 2) you can stay knocked down and wallow in your loss.  I didn’t want to continue to feel the way I did after my losses–days of endless sadness and despair.  I wanted to feel happy again and not guilty for living my life.  But in that moment I also realized that I didn’t have much time left if I went back to living the way I was.  I was reckless and careless with my life and I wanted many years of thriving ahead of me.  So instead of “going back to normal” I sought out my new normal and embraced it.  It made for some defininte “growing pains” but those were good “pains” and they made me a better person.

I had that wallowing feeling rresurface the other day.  Like many, I’ve been struggling with maintaining a healthy weight and I found myself slipping back into old habits–and I”m not just talking about how/what I eat.  Seriously!  I had an aching pain in my stomach because of something that happened this weekend and it immediately flashed me back to my life about 7 years ago and I didn’t like it one bit!  It was a blessing because it was a very eye opening moment to how much I’ve changed both inside and out!  That pain made me realize that even though I may have slip ups every now and again moving forward, I’ll never be that girl that I once was, again!  I almost couldn’t believe how grateful for that I was.  I spoke my mind to the person(s) who needed to receive it and that was that.  Since that feeling, I’m continuing to move forward.  I see the rest of my 2014 and I embrace it with all it has in store for me.  I know it’s going to close on a happy note and I’m looking forward to that!

Most importantly, I feel empowered!  In that pain moment i remembered what it felt like to not feel in control or empowered of myself.  It shook me to my core and I needed that.  A gain of 15lbs is simply that.  But my choices and actions after realizing that are what count more.  I know that I’m not slipping back into the person I once was.  I found myself seated at a restaurant with friends at 10pm at night and I wasn’t even hungry but we ate because it was somewhere we can’t go at home and I was there.  I split an order with a friend and only ate half of my portion.  While i could easily get wrapped up and consumed in I ate even though I was not hungry. I chose to focus on the fact that I recognized that in the moment and while I made the choice to taste while there, I didn’t over indulge and moved on.  Before I would have never even done a “gut check” of if I was hungry or not and I probably wouldn’t have split a dish either!  So celebrating the little things!

This extra weight will come off with time.  I’m far from a couch potato…but it will take longer than it used to because I don’t crash diet.  I live and lead a healthy lifestyle…I will clean up this week and in time the weight will start to come off.  But–same as with my past–I’m not stressing over it!  My focus is forward and in order to keep it there, I’m letting go of yesterday and exciting for what’s ahead!