Monday, May 30, 2011

Just WOW.... (guest post, kinda)

Okay, not really.... more of a "guest post and she doesn't even know it." I don't know this author from Eve, but she has an awesome message and lesson for each person who deals with food issues. But my dear friend Angie of "Successful.... Together" passed it on to me.

Definitely worth your time to read..... even if you don't profess a particularly religious bent. The message is still good.

And so....... from "Living a Changed Life" I am happy to share:
Don't Eat Your Way Out of the Pit

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sometimes it be's like that.

Sometimes you're the Louisville Slugger, baby
Sometimes you're the ball.....

-- Mark Knopfler

And today was just such a day. I was SO proud of myself because I'd really struggled last week. This week, I worked out hard (including the 5K) and was down big at this week's weigh-in. After work this morning, I headed for a meeting where my best friend is involved... and lunch was KFC. Not just KFC, but KFC Original.

Forgive me if I break into "Precious Memories" but KFC doth provide. My maternal grandmother lived in a nursing home, of her own choice, for the last five years of her life. Her one indulgence each month, when she got a small refund check after her care was paid for, was to call us to come visit and stop by KFC and get her a two-piece meal. I'm telling you, it's been 35 years, and I can STILL smell KFC from the 70s and it's a sweet, pleasant memory.

So there I was, faced with a powerful memory -- and hunger too by this point (1:45 PM). So I indulged. But I did GOOD. I stripped off the skin and as much breading as possible -- saved me 6 PPV!!! (And the chicken was still tasty .... yum yum!). The green beans were awesome, and even the gravy didn't hurt the mashed potatoes. But then came Satan presenting himself to me, just as he did to Mother Eve all those years ago..... okay, except temptation wasn't an apple, it was a KFC biscuit. And I'm betting the fruit was just as yummy to Eve as that biscuit was to me.

Okay, honestly, did I need it? No. But I will say this. I didn't feel the need to eat again the rest of the afternoon through a haircut and grocery shopping and a couple of other errands.

I called home to see what dinner plans were, thinking we might grill out, as we are sometimes wont to do on a pretty Saturday evening. "Iunnna..." (or, more closely translated, "I don't know") was the response. Okay, fine, whatever, we'll figure it out. I go on to the grocery, when I hear the phone ring.... "Hey, we decided on pizza, so I got a cheese, and it's Domino's is that okay?" Sure. If I decide I don't want it, I have food, it's no biggie.

I changed my mind: the pizza called.... I responded. Dang it was good. And paired with a salad and some fresh fruit, even better.

The overall damage? Not nearly what I thought. Oh sure, I used a few of my Points Plus Allowance for the week, but I expected to. I'm not stuffed but I am satisfied. And it's all good.

Yep, sometimes it be's like that.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I don't usually brag too much on myself...

But this one I'm shouting from the rooftops!

Yesterday was the Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge. Our local one had over 500 registrants and 444 finishers....... I was #91. HOLY COW!!! I'm almost always in the bottom third at every 5K I'm in, so to finish in the top 25% was astounding.

Better still.......... I have a new Personal Record!!!! 45:56!

Yes, I finally broke 48 minutes. Even more impressive given that the temperature yesterday (even after 6:00 PM) was just a little cooler than the inner circles of hell.

But even more impressive were all the people who showed, who walked, who competed against themselves and their limits. I was so proud of so many people for whom it was their first ever organized event. I hope it spurs in them a desire to try again, and to do more. Now they have a benchmark, a starting place -- a bar to be lowered. I'm so proud of the people who have taken their health into their hands and decided to make things better.

And I'm proud that WW is donating to the Alliance for a Healthy Generation -- it is a great initiative to help stem the tide of childhood obesity. It is up to all of us -- parents or not -- to not only model good healthy behavior for children, but to listen to them when they tell us about healthy behaviors they want to adopt. Let's encourage all our children to eat right and be active -- and do it ourselves.

Can't wait for the next 5K, and next year's WW Walk-It Challenge..... dare I set my sights on 43:00? :)Link

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Back to life, back to reality....

Okay: I admit it. I watch The Biggest Loser. I'm not a rabid follower, and I mostly just watch the weigh-in portion of the show (last 30 minutes) and that's it. If I miss it, no biggie, I go to MSNBC.com for the synopsis. But over the years, I have had some issues with the show in general.

Yes, I realize that it has inspired people to take charge of their lives. And yes, there are some people who have had continued success with it -- Phil & Amy Parham from my area of the world come to mind. They are the kind of people that I root for, the ones for whom it was more than just a contest. They really did change their lives, their outlooks, their futures.

My biggest issue is that for many who sit on their couch, it provides unrealistic expectations. I was plenty ticked earlier this season when a contestant -- who'd lost 100+ pounds before she got on the show -- was sent packing because she fell below the yellow line. They frickin' did a "slow clap" because she "only" lost 2 pounds that week. And a couple of weeks ago, another contestant who lost 161 pounds was sent home. He was in pure agony at the scale because he'd only lost 1 pound -- not enough to keep him around.

I realize it wouldn't make for much of a show if they followed these people through a healthy weight loss process over the years it should take them to lose weight. No one would tune in to watch them work out for only 30 minutes a day, an hour possibly. Sure, there are some disclaimers about being under the guidance of a doctor, check with your physician, etc., but really? Shouldn't a doctor be on at the beginning and end of each hour, reminding at-home viewers that healthy weight loss is anywhere from one-half to two pounds per week? That they need to strive for 30 minutes of activity on most days? That what they're seeing is not typical?

Unfortunately, it sets people up for unrealistic expectations when they walk in the doors of a weight-loss group (be it Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or a bariatric clinic). They want to drop 100+ pounds in 14 weeks just like (contestant) on TBL. I want some doctor, some nurse or even a WW receptionist to scrunch their nose, cock their head to the side, peer into their eyes and say, "Did I just hear you correctly?"

Yesterday, a lady joined at our center and said, "I have a challenge to present. I have a high school reunion at the end of July and I want to weigh what I did in high school." She had this twinkle in her eye that told me she was jesting, but she was serious about getting to a better place of health. So I hope that she will stay in it for the long haul and get back there. But so many people do walk into various places and seriously say, "My son is getting married in 3 months, I have 8 weeks to find a dress and I need to lose 45 pounds." Really? When did your son propose to his intended? Do you really think it's healthy and realistic to lose that much in that timeframe? What I need to say in response is, "We will help you lose weight, but healthy weight loss is no more than 2 pounds per week after the first 3 weeks or so. So aim for 20 pounds and then go dress-shopping. And you'll be 20 pounds lighter than you are now, and who knows how much lighter than you might have been if you hadn't come in!"

I want so much for people to have a real-life view of weight loss. I want them to focus on what they can gain by losing: more confidence, strength of body and spirit, a complete paradigm shift for life. To reclaim themselves and their lives again. I want them to have goals but to also be aware that reaching the goals is more important than how long it takes to reach the goal. I want them to make themselves, their lives, their health a priority, and to tell some of the naysayers and energy vampires in their lives to um, well, um, (ooh, keep it family-friendly),...... well, you get the idea. I want them to claim the power of choice in their lives, and of owning all their choices, good and bad. It's a process I'm still learning. I have some energy vampires in my life that need to be in my rearview mirror. I have moments when I don't claim my choices but I do it more often than I ever did before.

And that, folks, is reality. That's real life. That's gaining 0.4 one week and not knowing why and losing 3.2 the next and saying, "WHEW." That's thinking, "Okay, I'm tired, it was a long day, but I can at least go for a quick walk around the neighborhood. I gotta do something." It's saying, "Oooh, how many PP for those chips and salsa? Yow. Next time, I'll know better..." (and following through).

Reality. What a rush!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Me!

On May 11, 2006, right around this time of day, I was driving home and thinking, "This has got to work. It just has to. Things cannot get any worse. I cannot get any heavier. This.... this is it. I have to make this work."

I had just left the doors of the Greenville SC Weight Watchers center. I was nervous, and yet oddly excited. I had the feeling that I'd just taken my life back. I had no idea what lay five years out -- only the potential that if I didn't do something, then all my friends might be standing around a pine box going, "Why? What happened?"

Everything in the universe clicked together that day and made me say, "This is it. It has to be tonight." I believe very strongly that there are no coincidences. I was meant to be there that night, because fate/God/the universe had me there the same night as Debbie and Bev. Debbie and Bev were two guardian angels with precious golden hearts and nerves of steel, and enough love and care for me and everyone else in the room.

And here I am. That night, I would not have believed you if you had told me
  • that I could do even one 5K -- let alone the ten I have done in just 3-1/2 years. Why not more? Working on Saturday mornings (prime race time). Oh well! I do the ones I can!
  • that I would become deeply interested in food, in nutrition, in physiology, in so many other things that it takes to work to become truly whole.
  • that I would decide that part of my mission in life is to educate and advocate, and not just about health and wellness.
Even more than all that, what I have learned is how not to settle. I found my voice -- not just to share my story, but I really did find my physical voice again. I found my hipbones as well as my backbone. I found life in the most unexpected ways.

Happy Five .... of many!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Reason to celebrate

The air was crisp and the sun brightening this morning as I left -- not for my work at WW, but for a special event. It's a long story, but to sum up, I was asked to please come share my story as part of the 3rd Annual Tigerville Trot 5K.

Tigerville SC is a small town in the northern part of the adjoining county. It is home to a small university (NCAA Div II), and families looking to live outside the bustle of the main towns of the county. Outside an Einstein Brothers Bagel shop, I didn't see any fast-food place for quite a while. It's about 10 miles or so to the town my best friend lives in, about 8 from the nearest Wally World, and it's a whole different world. And I mean that in the absolute nicest way possible.

The run is a great event for the kids and the town, and serves to raise additional funds for health and wellness programs at the school. Just a thought......... do not even get me started on how warped our culture's priorities are when teachers are compelled to create, plan, and host fundraisers for what should be basic and fully-funded programs. Even though I was Queen Nerd in school, I will be the first to say that there is tremendous value to the Three A's in proper balance: Academics, Athletics, Arts (another area which is all too often cut at the expense of either of the first two). But I digress......

The crispness of the morning was fading by the time we started the race, and I started out at a mild jog.... which almost immediately moved into a slower jog and then to my walking pace. I ended up way at the back of the pack. Embarrassing? Yes. Here I was supposed to come tell my story about my success, and I'm flopping like a dead mackerel on a pier. But there were plenty of reasons to celebrate:

1. The kids!!! Oh my gosh, there were lots of students there - from two different elementary schools where this teacher is assigned. And they were excited about the race. That was awesome to see. And several of them were wearing special blue shirts --- as members of the Tigerville Running Club! WOW! That was really good to see. It is thrilling to not only see teachers who are working with kids on active lifestyles, and setting the example themselves, but especially to see the kids so enthusiastic and willing to be part of this initiative.

2. The parents. THAT was awesome to see too -- not just the parents who raced along with their kids, but all of the ones who showed up for support. I saw parents and grandparents or other relatives all there to cheer them on!

3. The course itself. If not the most challenging one I've had yet, it's darn close! I laugh when I tell the story about one 5K I had that really was uphill both ways. This one had one or two slight downhills but it was either flat or uphill most of the way. For a girl who's been accustomed lately to interval training only (and only that, recently), it has inspired me to figure out a way to get in extra exercise..... But more than that, there was such beauty and peace on this route. Seriously, you are out in the middle of nowhere. The elementary school is right on the edge of town (most of the town being the university). You went down about a half-mile at most and suddenly the houses were not just further apart but WAY further apart. I passed a pasture in the first half of the race (and okay, again in the 2nd half since we made a loop) -- with a big group of black cows looking at us like "crazy humans!" On the second mile, when I got to the turn-around/water station, I took out one earbud, and it was pure silence outside. Beautiful, peaceful silence that made me pause...... well, that and the road sign. Seems I found the road that a coworker lives on! They recently moved there, and she said it was out toward that way... I had no idea how close I was!

As I was coming back, some of the kids who had run earlier were there to cheer us on.... I laughed a little and said, "Wow, didn't know I was going to be that slow...." and she said, "Yeah, but you didn't give up!" What's that verse about "out of the mouths of babes"? She was dead on. A friend in Atlanta told me before my first 5K, "It doesn't matter where you finish or when you finish -- just that you finish!" That's been my philosophy ever since, and I had just forgotten how important that is.

Then when I crossed, they gave me my time.... 48:39. The kicker? That's only 18 stinkin' seconds off my Personal Best. Can you believe that?

And I have to get my butt in gear for the Walk-It Challenge on the 22nd.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I don't know what has come over me....

So last weekend, I got in a frame of mind that I have rarely ever found myself in: Green Thumb Mode.

I am not joking -- not in the very least -- when I tell you I can kill cactus. I could almost kill kudzu. Clemson's ag professors might do well to consult me on this little problem that's plagued the South forever..... but I digress. I've never had even a passing interest in much more than an herb garden. And I should note that I tried that once already: epic fail.

But something came over me a couple of weekends ago, and I started a tomato mini-greenhouse, a strawberry pot, a lavender mini-pot, and a pot of sweet peppers. While the strawberry and lavender haven't quite taken off, the peppers and tomatoes are doing well! So.... last weekend, I really got on a tear. Two more mini-greenhouses for seeds of eggplants and rosemary. More lavender seeds, and more plants of sweet peppers, zucchini and cucumbers, along with oregano and other herbs, thanks to the Spice of Life Expo (our WW booth was directly across from Home Depot's). And also attempting to grow from seeds more peppers, mesclun, broccoli and.... well, some other stuff. I forget it all. OH! Mini-pumpkins! That was it!

Then they went and did it, "they" being Old Time Pottery... sent me a flyer telling me about the nice stuff in their garden center, including ... BLUEBERRY BUSHES! Folks, I cannot begin to tell you how much I have spent on blueberries in this past calendar year. I flippin' love the little buggers. But in the winter, I am darn tired of spending a small fortune on bags of frozen berries. A couple of years back, I bought a slew of them at the farmer's market, froze them myself, and used them well into the late fall before I had to buy any. While I may have to buy some more this year from either the farm itself or a farmer's market, I hope to change that!

I also bought "June-Blooming Strawberry" plants (one of which has a real-life, honest-to-Pete berry hanging there!), and some more herbs (sage, dill, and a lavender plant, in case the seeds don't work).

What, again, pray tell, has come over me?

I think it happened when I started talking about local food. I have mentioned in earlier posts that one of the things I love about cooking is the preparation process. I love the chopping, the slicing, the stirring, the blending, finding new herb combinations, and how it all kind of makes me feel more connected to what I'm eating or cooking. I can only imagine how it's going to be to eat the things I personally have grown, and to use them in my dishes. WOW! I can't wait!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Just remembered this resource

I had TOTALLY forgotten about this particular magazine!! Check out Edible Upcountry for more information about local food in Upstate SC.