Bring on the Haters!

You’re late!

I went to the gym this morning… It took me six minutes of laying in bed and debating with myself but I eventually got up and went. I dilly dallied getting my clothes on and forgot to put my gym bag together last night so I only left the house at 4:55. I sped over the bridge and careened into the parking lot at 5:03 only to find that every other 5am gymgoer was standing outside. I got out of my car thinking that maybe they were waiting for some sort of special event bus to come and pick them up and that I would just slip past them into the building. Ya, no. The girl that opens the gym ended up coming at 5:28… 28 min late! It was damn cold outside and waiting outside for 30 min to do half a workout was a bit of a slap in the face.

Now, do I wish I’d stayed in bed? No. That’s a good sign, since normally I would say yes, had I known that this would happen, I would have just slept in.

What I realized as I was doing my 28 min on the elliptical was that this has stopped being ‘kill you hard’. I ramped up the resistance and crossramp on the thing for the 2nd half of my workout so that I wasn’t just coasting along, but I wasn’t counting down every second as wanting to vomit or die… that’s a good sign… right? I recovered quicker and felt better than any other day I’ve been to the gym in the last two weeks so I was very happy. Altho I would have been happier if I could have gone and treadmilled for a few min.


The one good thing about getting locked out of the gym at 5am is that because I chose to get out of bed this morning, chose to wait to get into the gym and then chose to work out as hard as I could for that measly 28 min, I felt part of a club. I chatted with the guys (cause I was the only girl there) and we commiserated about getting out of bed at that time, why we had to leave at a certain time (some of us have the science of am workouts down to the minute) and why this was ‘so stupid’. I missed being a part of a community like that. It’s a special group of people (my sister included.. of course it’s special!) who get up when everyone else is still snuggling and go put some sweat on the machines. I always liked being part of that group of people… and now I’m part of it again… It gives me a little bump up in drive and determination!

You’re no fun!

So it seems that my muscle memory for working out is coming back and with it, it’s bringing memories of other things. Like people being assholes about my personal changes. Now, I realize and learned this lesson many years ago that when YOU make changes, it’s your responsibility to help other people adapt. That seems weird to say right? Why do you have to manage other people’s reactions? Because it’s in your own best interest. When you make any sort of massive change, it rocks the boat of your world and those waves affect people around you. Normally I would say that everyone can deal with their own reactions to things outside their control but I know from experience that unless you want to just wash your life of all your friends and family that are feeling uncomfortable with the changes you’re making, you need to do a little management.

Of course by managing other people’s interaction with you, that doesn’t mean stop doing something for yourself because it makes others feel uncomfortable. But it does mean that you can help them adapt by adapting your own behavior to make the change less difficult for loved ones to deal with.

For instance, let’s pretend you’re getting married and your single friends are having a hard time dealing with it. You can help yourself by managing how the change is being presented. You can book girls nights, make sure that wedding talk doesn’t monopolize every single conversation and invite them to participate in a way that is both helpful to you and fulfilling for them etc… You’re not going to NOT get married because your single friends are upset but you can manage the change to make life easier for everyone, including yourself.

You’re getting married??

Now, I’m not getting married, but the changes I’m making in my own life are starting to affect the people in my circle. I’m getting a lot of negativity and pushback from people I would have expected to be some of the biggest cheerleaders. And I’ve been declared un-fun for declining to go for cake and cookies and bottles of wine and beer. I’m still a lot of fun if you ask me but the ‘club’ I used to belong to (as opposed to the sports club I now belong to) is being shaken up. The security and security blanket of my participation being removed is rocking the boat big time!

People have other people in their lives for various reasons. Oftentimes it works for both parties. When one party changes the pieces around, the other party has now had a component of their life changed and sometimes removed. Often people do get over it in time and the change takes hold and the relationship evolves to continue to reward both parties…..but in reality, if you have friends who saw you only as a junk food eating, wine drinking, lazing about participant who potentially made them feel OK about that part of their own personality, it’s possible that they will go elsewhere to fill their need for that. The part about managing this is the difficult thing. I don’t want to scrub clean my small circle of friends right off the bat without allowing a chance for the change to take hold and the relationship to evolve, so I will try to help them become more comfortable with the new me. What I will not do is work diligently on myself all the while consciously helping them adapt only to continue to get beaten up for it. A time will come when decisions have to be made about how people will fit into my new life.

Sisterly Love

There are few things I count on in life more than my relationship with my sister. I sent her a portion of this post that sounded like it was written by someone for whom English is their third language. She understood what I was trying to say and was able to put it into words. It’s incredibly comforting for me to know that she’s been down this road… I’ve been down this road in the past too, but I was young then and things important then are certainly not important now. She knows the hurdles and boulders that will be in my path and even tho I know I’m equipped to deal with them, having travelled this path before, she walked it more recently. I’m incredibly thankful for having someone in the world that can make my own thoughts sound coherent and who will cheer me on for every life circumstance, regardless if it potentially makes her feel uncomfortable for a minute. And I do the same for her!

Credit goes to my beautiful sister at  FittyvsFatty for writing portions of the ‘You’re No Fun!’ section!

No FanFare?

Where’s my parade?

Yesterday was Day 30 of my 1st Whole 30. I’m not sure what I expected? A parade I guess… or a big pat on the back for doing something ‘so amazing’ as has been mentioned by my work friends on numerous occasions. But it’s not amazing really. In the grand scheme of all the crap that I’ve dealt with in the last few years, this was no amazing feat of anything. This was a month of doing what felt right and natural and what I should have been doing all along. I know that processed food isn’t good for you. I know that dairy makes me itchy and additives, sodium, and all the wrong kinds of fat make me bloated, uncomfortable and well… fat. It was just a matter of getting my mind around the fact that I deserved better dammit! That I didn’t have to live in my old life anymore and that no one but me made decisions for me. Once I had that figured out (right before the W30 started), I realized I could easily do whatever I wanted to. So I guess that’s why there was no parade… no fan fare for finishing… because it’s not finished. You’re not expected to (or encouraged to) spend every day for the rest of your life on the W30. As they say, it’s not called W365 for a reason. However, I believe that for now, this is where I belong. Eventually something worth it will come along and I will indulge in something off plan but for now, I expect nothing will be worth it when considered in contrast to how I feel being in charge of my own everything!

Moderator or Abstainer?

I just read on the Happiness Project about two styles of people… moderators (those who can have ‘some, sometimes’) and abstainers (those who are better at an all or nothing approach). I’m a sure fire, all or nothing abstainer! I don’t do well with ‘some, sometimes’… because ‘some, sometimes’ turns into lots all the time. It’s true, it would probably be more strong of me to learn how to manage myself so that I could have ‘some, sometimes’, but as I say to people who wonder why I don’t only eat organic if I’m so ‘worried about my health’… I can only do so much… I’m not a saint and I can’t do everything perfect so I’m going to do the best I can. And the best for now is recognizing that I’m not good at moderation and an all or nothing approach is certainly the wise choice for me!

What’s Next?

Well, more of the same really. I have a commitment till April 3 to stay strictly on the W30 program. April 4-7th I’m going away on a teeny tiny vacation. All our food is planned for and it’s all W30 approved but I will probably consume some wine with dinner and some Bailey’s with my morning coffee, so even tho I’d like to go a full 60 days stoppage free, as I said above, I can only do what I can do and since I haven’t been anywhere but work and home since the end of December, it’s not reasonable to expect to not indulge a bit.

So April 8 begins the 2nd phase of my All or Nothing way of eating. Only this time I’m going to make dates, berries, fruit and Larabars on the ‘nothing’ list… because my sense of moderation doesn’t work well and I’d really like to be able to curb the ‘need’ for evening snacking.

When Salad is the King, the Dressing is the Crown

So I eat a LOT of salad… one huge bowl every day for lunch. I’m not really much for chopping up ‘fixin’s’ for the salad so I go with a mixture of Kale Slaw and Organic Mixed Spring Greens from Costco… I used to like the Kale Slaw on it’s own but one day it just got really hard to choke down so now I mix it. I top my salad with two and a half baked chicken thighs (boneless skinless).

I’ve been eating this exact lunch since before the New Year and the only reason I don’t want to whip the bowl off the 5th floor deck and go get a cheeseburger is because of the dressing. When I started the W30, I knew I had to figure out a new salad dressing and quick because the one I’d been eating has every disallowed thing in it that they could jam in there… sugar, soy lecithin, dairy, chemicals!

I’ve since made both the following dressings successfully and so much so that people LOOKING at my lunch have requested the recipe. I imagine since they see my lunch every day also, that they must think it’s some sort of magic that keeps me interested every day. It is.

First up is a creation all my own.

I call it Toasted Walnut Bliss Dressing. People have asked if it has cheese in it or anchovies or if it’s Caesar salad dressing. The answer to all those is no, but with a taste profile like that, how can it be anything but great?

Toasted Walnut Bliss Dressing

1 cup of toasted walnuts
Splash of Balsamic vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have on hand… sherry, redwine, rice)
1tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard (check for W30)
½-1 tbsp minced garlic
Juice of a whole lemon or lime… I’ve done both and both are great!
Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper to taste

Load the first five ingredients into the magic bullet or blender. You’ll use the olive oil and water to thin the mixture to your desired consistency. I usually start with about a ¼ cup of olive oil and if I need it thinner, then I add water and then EVOO in equal parts until I’m happy.

This lasts in a mason jar in the fridge for at least a week (I use it all up in a week so I can’t say it’s staying power past that but there’s nothing in there that should go bad).

The second dressing that I have for you today is actually a repost from Northwest Cave Girls. They call it a Ranch dressing but I find it closer to a Lemon Dill dressing. I guess depending on your amounts of seasonings you can make it more or less dilly as you like.

Paleo/Vegan Ranch Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1 cup Coconut Milk (use canned to get the thicker texture or use coconut cream mixed with coconut milk)
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs prepared dijon mustard
2 tsp Dill
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Chives
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp Sea Salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a blender or magic bullet and pulse until well combined.

There you have it.  Two amazing Paleo approved, W30 approved and yummy approved salad dressings to keep you interested all week long!

This is not Zero

Good morning!

It’s absolutely GORGEOUS outside today! There’s fresh snow (hopefully some of the last!) on the mountains, the sun is shining brightly and the blue sky is dotted with just a few fluffy clouds!

I got up at 451am this morning, put my previously layed out gym clothes on and marched myself down to my car. It took 4 min to drive to the gym and park… when I got in there my scan tag wouldn’t work, which was annoying since it was only set up a week ago… the girl said it was never applied to my name… anyway, got that all fixed up and then I worked out. At 5 in the morning. I can’t say that it was the best workout I’ve ever had (obviously) and I wanted to puke halfway through it but I did it.

I didn’t take it too easy on myself either, which is what I was planning to do… I climbed 15 flights of stairs in 5 min (and then I couldn’t take anymore of that machine! Planning on doing it every day to get better at it… My first goal is to get to my old Climb the Wall time of 49 flights in 11 min)

I did 20 min on the elliptical but have no stats for that because I accidentally restarted the workout with 5 min to go and then I did 20 min on the treadmill and even ran for a short portion of it!

The biggest thing that I learned today is that if I can get my mind on my side, I can pretty much do anything I want. I was telling my sister last night that I was annoyed because I didn’t like having to start back at zero after having been away for so long. This morning that was bugging me too until I realized that zero is sleeping past my alarm, telling myself I can’t because I’m too tired or scared or whatever… being in the gym at 5am and sweating is not zero in my book!

Last night before I went to sleep I asked God for rest and relaxation for the night… to put my mind at rest and quiet the nervous energy. I asked for mental strength to propel myself out of bed when my alarm went off and strength to put aside all the negative self talk that I can use to derail myself.

I was duly blessed by an excellent night sleep and the energy and strength to climb out of bed with no thought of ‘starting tomorrow’. It is a lesson I continue to learn; that putting your faith and trust in God is the only way. That when you’re following God’s plan, you’re given the strength and endurance to get it done for He wouldn’t ask you to follow His plan without the tools to do so.

Every day may be a battle for the next little while but it’s not a battle I have to fight alone!

Goodbye for Now

I have a weird confession to make… I hope you don’t think any less of me when you read this and I hope you see it as the harbinger of a new chapter like I do.

I’m breaking up with knitting.

Yup… you heard it here first.

I’ve found myself not knitting very much lately and instead of letting it just gradually slide away, I thought it would be better to look at it, figure out why and then put a proper closure to it.

If you’re not a knitter and/or you don’t know me very well, it would seem kind of crazy why I feel the need to forensically identify why I’ve not been knitting lately. I get that. If you are a knitter and/or you do know me, this may make a little bit more sense to you.

You see, I’ve been knitting non stop for almost four years to the day. March 23rd, 2009 was the birth of what can only be considered an obsession. Knitting was with me and on me everywhere I went. I’ve compiled a ludacris collection of handknits that I may never see enough cold weather in this life time to wear. I have items that went directly in to my heirloom knitting box to be saved… for what I’m not sure… but they are works of art in every sense of the word. I have items I made with yarn purchased on holiday, on a whim and on a bad day. I’ve spent HOURS scouring Ravelry for patterns, projects and inspiration. I’ve knit things for a selected few other people and taken great pleasure in seeing them in action!

So what’s changed? Well me of course.

Knitting was around when my life was falling apart… when I wanted nothing more to than to run as far away as I could (which ended up being the coffee shop down the street). Knitting was around when everything came crashing down around me. It was around when I was picking up the pieces and when I thought I was ‘better’. Then it was there when I wasn’t ‘better’ at all. I spent many a lovely cozy day with my knitting… slowly building up a wool armor around myself. Every stitch was a piece of protection that kept me safe. My sister once said that she liked wearing my handknits when she was having a bad sad or difficult day because it felt like she was wrapped in my love and protection. And that’s what I was doing for myself. Knitting was a shield I used to protect me from the outside world and in part, myself. I received what can only be considered superficial attention from my finished handknits and knitting in public.

But now I feel like exposing myself a little bit… taking down the walls stitch by stitch (oh don’t get crazy, I’m not unraveling all my finished knitting!). For the first time in years I feel like I can stand up, on my own two feet without being draped/wrapped or smothered in handknits. It’s an interestingly unique feeling. Like going outside in spring without a jacket on. A bit scary but surprisingly ok.

So, because I relied on knitting as somewhat of a crutch, I need to take a purposeful break from it. I need it to sit in the background and be less important than it once was.

I can already tell you without a bit of doubt that I will miss it and that I will come back to it in time. My life is in a state of transformation and knitting has to transform too. What I want to do is come back to it when I’ve reached a goal I’ve set for myself and knit a sweater. I want knitting to be purposeful when I come back to it. The sheer volume of items that I have knit in the last four years speaks to the incredible pain I was trying to heal. When next I pick up my knitting I want it to reflect who I am transforming to become… Purposeful, driven and focussed. We can’t stay friends if we both don’t change so knitting is going to go away for a while.

It’s pretty freeing to have scrutinized this and then written it out… Tonight I’m going to put everything away… All neat and tidy like so when it’s time to reunite, it will be a calm and orderly reintroduction.

Perfect Whole30 Frittata

I think I’ve finally managed to perfect my Whole30 Breakfast Frittata.

I’m on week 3 now and don’t forsee giving up this way of Eating at the end of 30 days. Which means, more frittata!

I got the original recipe from my sister who sent it to me from here but I’ve changed it a fair bit and no offense to her, but I like mine better! Plus it has way more veggies and anyone doing W30 knows that the world revolves around veggies.

Loaded Veg and Sausage Breakfast Frittata

1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped (I used dry minced onion because I hate chopping onions)
2 Celery stalks, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Garlic (lots… minced)
1 small tin Tomato Paste (check ingredients if W30)
1 large bag of Spinach (Costco)
1lb sausage (or ground meat…whatever kind you like… check for W30)
2 roma tomatoes
1 dozen eggs
Coconut Oil

** The nutmeg seems weird but be sure to add it in… it does something lovely to the spinach without making the whole dish taste weird. For the full Costco bag of spinach, I add around ½ -3/4 of a teaspoon.

First, sauté the pepper, onion, celery and garlic in coconut oil until the veg are partially cooked. Set aside and sauté mushrooms until they are cooked through and then set aside with other veg.

Sauté sausage until cooked through. Sprinkle with seasonings (I’m pretty generous) and then add in half the bag of spinach, mix around and put a lid on… you’re trying to wilt the spinach and incorporate it into the sausage. Once you have room in the pan, add the rest of the spinach and wilt down until incorporated. Pour sausage/spinach mixture into bottom of greased (with CO) 9×13 baking dish. Add sauted vegetables.

Crack 12 eggs into a bowl and add one small can of tomato paste. Whisk to incorporate and then pour into baking dish. Slice roma tomatoes and lay on top.
Cook in 350 oven covered with foil for 30 min and then remove the foil and allow to continue baking until egg is set.

I cut it into eight pieces and serve for breakfast with ¼ avocado and a handful of cherry tomatoes.
NB: Normally I would put salt and pepper in, but it’s better to season per serving because it’s very easy to make it too salty if you’re not sure of how your sausage will cook up. (ask me how I know!)

Other variations include using ‘turkey stuffing seasonings’ and a turkey sausage (or ground turkey meat) and then leaving out the tin of tomato paste.

Enjoy and let me know if you make this and how it turned out.

Please forgive the kind of mulched up picture with the dirty
glass bowl… but look how yummy!

I’m not alone! (and neither are you)

I’m sure you know if you’ve read along over the past couple of years, or dug back through the archives that I gave up a lot of things that I enjoyed and that were good for me in the last few years… I gave up eating well, I gave up exercise, I gave up a lot of control and self esteem and I gave up my faith in God.

I’ve talked about all of them so far except for the last one.

I guess it would be good for ‘ratings’ to say that I stood in my living room one day and screamed to the Heavens ‘Why God have You abandoned me?’. ‘Why have You left me here to suffer this alone… I don’t know how to fix this!’

There’s no such story. Because, in fact it should have been God standing in my living room and asking ME ‘Why have you forgotten about Me? I can help you if only you’ll ask You don’t have to go through this alone’. I can’t say for sure that that didn’t happen… that in the years of struggle He didn’t come to me and offer to put an end to my suffering… to save me from what my life had become. I certainly was in no place to hear it, for I was so busy trying to fix everything myself.

I remember having conversations (multitudes) with my friends and saying ‘I don’t know what else to do. I’ve tried everything’ and then consistently listing off all the things I tried to do to fix the relationship, to make him respect me, to stop the manipulative and abusive behavior. I can still feel it now, the feeling I had during those conversations. It was like I was standing still in a vortex of insanity… everything I ‘tried’ swirling around me, too fast to catch… too messy to make sense out of. I don’t know what else to do… I don’t know what else to do… That thought went around and around me in a never ending spiral of grief and frustration. I can still feel the anxiety now when I recall those moments… and then the creeping thought that maybe I deserved this. Maybe I WASN’T fun… maybe I WAS a bitch… maybe I WASN’T a good housekeeper, cook, laundry doer, friend…PERSON!

I spent so many years, before that relationship and then during it thinking I had it all figured out… and then thinking I had to get it all figured out. I lied to my friends about my life at home… even my family doesn’t know the half of what went on…

I look back on it now and I can see that I COULD have saved myself… I could have just asked God for help. Those moments of desperation… of really being at the lowest low… feeling like I was going crazy and there was nothing left to try… there was always one more thing to try…

Every day is a new day and somewhere on my Christmas holidays I felt moved… things weren’t working, the year was ending and I was still seemingly stuck in a place I didn’t want to be… unhealthy, not really happy and with no prospect of massive change on the horizon…

I prayed that night. And as I prayed I felt a huge weight lift off me. It was such a feeling of renewal and peace that I wondered if I prayed again the next night would I feel the same thing… I did. Every time I spoke to God it felt as though my burden was being lifted. It all sounds so very cliché to me too… these are the things that you hear televangelists screaming into a microphone at crowds of thousands. ‘GOD WILL EASE YOUR BURDENS’. Well it’s hard to understand that as a young woman who’s never had burdens.

I’ve been a Christian all my life and I don’t recall ever feeling the weight of burden before… Back in the ‘good old days’ I prayed all the time… I thought I knew what it was supposed to feel like… But this… this was different. This commune with God was something I’d never felt before. This lightening of my load was something new… I’ve been down a long and steep road and picked up an awful lot of really ugly, dirty, unhealthy and sad burden on the way. Burden that previously in my life I’d never had to carry before. It crushed me… It filled my lungs with smoke and pulled at my muscles like hot irons. And man the moment I didn’t have to carry it alone anymore I realized just how heavy it really was… how back breaking and spirit crushing. And until that moment at Christmas I never thought that I would get the chance to stop carrying it. How amazing that I could just hand it off and be free!

I consider that time in my life a blessing now… I didn’t know just how terrible life could be… how desolate and lonely and painful… but the other thing I didn’t know was just how free and peaceful it could be. How much I didn’t have to depend only on myself to manage my life. I didn’t have to live in the pain for one more second… everything was new and clean again.

Every night I get excited to go to bed… for altho it’s not the only place; bed is where I pray. I ask for guidance, hand off my burden and feel peaceful at bedtime. Every night is not easy… my old habits get in the way and my mind wanders… trying to figure out my problems myself… So sometimes my prayer is to be reminded that I’m not in this alone anymore and I don’t have to figure it out myself.

My whole life is changing at a breakneck speed right now… I have a strength and willpower now I didn’t know I had. I have peace and harmony within my own mind and body that I honestly thought I would never have again. (if I ever had it in the first place). I feel like I’m rebuilding my life on solid ground where once I stood in quick sand. It’s a powerful feeling and I just could not help but write about it here.