Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How long will I miss you?

July 27 at 6:15am. New coffee. Same old me.
After attending the Whole 9 nutrition seminar this past weekend, I have decided to eat a Paleo diet, once again.

What is Paleo for those of you unfamiliar? There is a ton of information online, but here is a very simplified definition:

DO EAT: foods that make you more healthy: Meat, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats.

DON’T EAT: foods that make you less healthy: Sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, unhealthy fats.

Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, the founders Whole 9 and the Whole 30 Program, and total badass nutrition gurus, provided me so many reasons to live this lifestyle; I simply have to give it a go. They are very persuasive people, backed by tons of knowledge and personal experience. I have done this before, for short bouts of time, but then inevitably I revert back to my former habits. It’s easy to go back to what’s comfortable. Going back to what feels good and normal to you.

Anyway, I am making some changes. But I have a lot of bad habits in place. How do I break these? How do I prepare for the journey ahead of me? Maybe you can’t prepare. Maybe you just jump in with both feet, hang on tight, and gut it out. Kind of like a really long, hellish metcon? You keep reminding yourself that it won’t kill you and you’ll be better for it in the end?

People have habits of all sorts. Good and bad. Things we love to do. Things we wish we wouldn’t. There are things we feel like we can live without. There are things we feel like we can’t. I think that a habit is developed because the behavior, whatever it may be, is rewarded to a point that makes us want to do it again, and again, and again. It brings us pleasure. Usually enough pleasure to justify the behavior. Which is why we cling to them. When you tell yourself, “You can’t do ‘this’ anymore,” whatever it is -- whatever the habitual component it holds -- leaving it behind will not be without discomfort. Habits can be like an addiction. Some of the biggies: smoking, drinking, unhealthy food, toxic relationships, etc.

Today, I am focusing on breaking unhealthy food habits. Which I believe to be the granddaddy of all habits! Because we can’t just go cold turkey on food, like you could cigarettes. Although I have never had to give up smoking, so what I do I know? Maybe there are some ex-smokers who would like to have a few choice words with me about that bold statement. Anyway, the way I see it, with food, we have to keep it in our lives. We can’t escape it and pretend it doesn’t exist. We have to make the right choices and eliminate the ones that are not good for us.

For example, I love coffee with creamer. LOTS of vanilla creamer. I’ll stick with this example, but you can insert “whatever” in to this scenario. Maybe for you it’s chips, or ice-cream, or cheese. But it’s essentially the same with anything you love, that you choose to remove from your life.

I wake up, every morning, and go straight for my coffee creamer. I grab it before I fill my cup. I look forward to it. I love it. I feel like I can’t live without it. It tastes so dang good. But it’s not good for me. It’s doing me no favors – or contributing to my health in a positive manner. It’s nutritional wasteland.

It’s been 3 days since I’ve left my beloved, vanilla coffee creamer, behind. Today as I sit here in my chair, watching GMA and drinking my coffee with a splash of unsweetened coconut creamer, I am not terribly happy. A considerable amount of indulgence has been removed from this morning ritual of mine.

Will I eventually stop missing my vanilla creamer? Will I find a substitute that is “good enough?” Will each day magically get easier, until I don’t miss it at all? Will I sit here in my chair on a morning, a month from now and enjoy this “new” cup of mine?

Possibly. I guess I don’t know. That’s what I struggle with. The process of breaking the habit. It’s an uncomfortable course. I sometimes fear my ability to get to the end. But I believe in what I am doing. So, I will persevere and imagine that the taste of victory will be sweet – a natural, unprocessed sweet that can be found only in fruit, preferably organic.

Until then, I will miss you old friend.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I am done with you.

So I just got back from a Whole 9 nutrition seminar. It was a very informative day. It gave me a lot to think about. And although a lot of what I got today was very scientific and technical, here is a simplified explanation of what I am going to accomplish:

The equation of HEALTH:



RECOVERY - YOUR FOUNDATION - nutrition, active recovery, sleep

(Minus) -


(Minus) -


So, if you do not benefit my health, or you subtract from my health, or you do nothing to enhance my health...


Further explanation to follow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One of these kids is not like the other.

So on the 4th of July, I was hanging out with two friends of mine. We were laying on towels, visiting and soaking up the rare summer sunshine that Mother Nature has chosen to withhold from us this year. The kids were swimming and entertaining us with their childish antics.

Stella had gotten out of the pool and was standing in front of our towels, with the sun at her back. She was making “shadows” on our bodies with her hands. “Stacie, I am grabbing your boob,” Stella says as she erupts in laughter. It was rather funny. I rolled over to see a shadow hand, squeezing Stacie’s unsuspecting breast. She then walked over to Michelle, and did the same. We all laughed. Stella is a child that is always saying something, or doing something to push the envelope of appropriate behavior. I suspect she gets that from me. And I am truly sorry that I passed on that trait. But what can I do? Stifle the child? I guess some would suggest just that, but somehow I can’t. She is a very funny little girl. And I’ve always found that having a great sense of humor is an amazing quality. And  personally, I love funny people.

Anyway, Stella gets around to doing her shadow hands on me, and she pauses. She giggles. She says, “Mom, when I look at Stacie and Michelle, I see ‘mountains.’ You? Not so much!” I laughed. And before I could reply, Sophia chimes in with, “Yeah, Mom, most guys like big boobs.” I laughed again. Then I gave my response, “Not all guys.”

Then I told them, it was fortunate that I didn’t suffer from particularly low self esteem. I also explained that having a small chest wasn’t the worse thing in the world – at least not to me. They ended this “small” conversation by telling me that they were certain they’d have bigger boobs than me. “Well, if that’s what you want, then I sure hope so,” was my answer.
But it got me thinking about boobs. . . breasts. . .the girls. . . or toddlers, in my case -- or whatever term you choose to use when discussing them. They are a big (or small) deal to people. All people. Apparently even my little people. I know the girls’ and their friends talk about the process of “developing” and how they think they will look and how they want to look.

I imagine they’ve been so bombarded with breast imagery on TV and in magazines, they have a sense of what they think is “perfect” or “beautiful,” even at their young ages. And that makes me a bit sad. Because I think there are so many beautiful things that define a woman. Not just “two” things.

I hate that lots of people define beauty by breast size. We can’t change what we’ve been given. We come in all different shapes and sizes. And that makes us unique. Not imperfect. I can’t work out to make my boobs bigger. I can’t eat clean and earn a pair of C’s. I can, of course, purchase them, but that’s a topic I don’t care to address today.

I’m talking about the disbelief that big boobs makes a woman more beautiful. Although, I’m not saying that they detract from beauty either. But dang it, I don’t believe that lack of large breast size, makes me any less pretty than my big-boobed counterparts. But as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

I want to believe that beauty comes from within (yes, spoken from an outwardly vain woman, who aspires to be better). It comes with self-confidence. It comes with self-acceptance. Or maybe I’m full of crap. Yes, I probably am, a wee bit – because although, my small chest doesn’t bother me, lots of other things do. It’s a lovely sentiment, though, isn’t it? I sound rather inspiring for small-chested America, don't I?
In all honesty, however, because I am flat chested, I have chosen to focus my attention on other parts of my body. Parts of my body I can control the size of. I currently have so many other areas that I’m trying to keep in check; the least of my worries is my cleavage.

I’ve never had big boobs, to even know what it’s like to get attention based on their size. Well, I did have “Pamela Anderson-esque” boobs when my milk came in after I had Sophia. My Mom was staying with me at the time. I woke her up to show her the monstrosities that appeared over night. I should have snapped a picture. And I guess they stayed on the bigger side while I continued to nurse. But then nature has a way of returning to its original state.
I suppose it’s a blessing that the size of my chest doesn’t bother me. It seems to bother everyone around me much more. My girls have told me as much. I’ve been told by friends a time or two that “I’d look great with bigger boobs.”

My response to all of them has been, “I’m fine with my boobs.” This seems to perplex everyone. But trust me. I am not lying. I am fine with having a small chest. I really am. Sounds crazy in this world of massage cleavage and implants, but seriously, I’m more concerned with the size of my ass. So, I took the route of embracing my flat chest. It’s worked thus far.

But mark my words. . . Small boobs will make a comeback. And when they do. . . I’ll be ready.

Monday, July 11, 2011

May the bridges I burn, light my way.

I read this quote quite a while back. It has been rolling around in the back of my mind, stirring up debris. It really made me think. It’s one of those statements that can be taken in different ways -- or mean different things to different people. It’s all in the interpretation. I suppose primarily, because you’re either the bridge or you’re the one holding the match.

I’m trying to look it from the “burners” point of view. It’s saying in essence, “I’ve done some things. I have created damage that is beyond repair. And I am using these experiences to move on. I am not looking back.” This could mean that they will be guided by the relationships and opportunities that they destroy. It could mean that the mistakes that someone made in their past and the broken relationships with other people -- the burning bridges -- will be a guide for them later. They will learn from them.

“Burning the bridge” from a literal sense means: To cut off the way back to where you came from, making it impossible to retreat. It’s a point of no return. Figuratively it means: to make decisions that cannot be changed in the future. Or to act unpleasantly in a situation that you are leaving, ensuring that you'll never be welcome to go back.

I suppose there are times when your actions cause a bridge to burn, beyond your control. Or maybe I shoud say your "intention" -- because our actions are in our control. I also believe that sometimes a clear cut decision is made to “strike the match.” You’ve had time to contemplate the outcome and the affect it will have in your life and others'. There are ramifications for every decision we make in our lives. Nothing happens without consequence. Are there hurts and actions that can’t be undone? I don’t like to believe that, but yes, there are.

I think there are different types of burning bridges – ultimately defined by what side you’re standing on. Some bridges can smolder for what seems like a very long time. One person is trying to ignite the inferno and the other person keeps throwing water on it – trying desperately to put out the blaze. Eventually, however, if someone wants it up in flames bad enough, it becomes impossible to extinguish. Others are so quick to combust; you’ve barely had time to escape with singed hair and hopefully your eyebrows intact.

I can honestly say that there is only one occasion I can think of in my life when I burned a bridge with full intention. I was a checker at K-Mart in 1989. I had given my 2 weeks’ notice and my last day scheduled was a Saturday night. The same night all of my friends were going to a rock concert. I can’t even remember which one, but I can tell you that I really wanted to go. I called and told my boss that I wasn’t coming in. I was informed that if I didn’t work the full 2 weeks’ notice, that I would not be eligible for rehire. Ever. I was black listed from K-Mart. Forever.

So I guess I should say that I am not an “intentional” bridge burner, generally speaking. I’m cursed with always trying to always keep one foot in, and one hand hanging on. I’m always afraid, that if I let go completely, there is no going back. Does this make me a coward? Because I’m afraid of making clear cut decisions? Because I fear finality? Or does it make me brave because I’d rather battle and endure? Perhaps a bit of both.

“May the bridges I burn light my way.” No thanks. I don’t want that type of light guiding me through my life. I don’t want my life defined by the path of destruction I’ve left behind me.

So the question remains, are you an arsonist or a firefighter? I want to be the fighter.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A session of Swear Therapy

Me and my perfect angels.
I am sure that this post won’t win me “Mother of the Year” award. Not that I am ever in the running for that. I’m more of a realist in that area. I know my weaknesses, just as an athlete does. I know my strengths, as well. I think I raise my daughters with a strong sense of reality. This is what life “is” – it’s not always what we wish it to be, but it is, what it is.

I was putting the girls to bed the other night and they were telling me about their days. They were both frustrated about how situations in their little lives had been handled. Disagreements with friends. Your run of the mill, little girl drama. Those of you with girls know exactly what I am talking about. Well, they were both feeling like things had been “said” that weren’t right. I asked, of course, “What kind of things?” Then they told me that some of the kids swear when they are angry. I said, “But you never do, right?” My little angels told me with the most innocent faces that, “No,” they do not use these words.

I didn’t know quite how to reply. I mean, in all honesty, I do use profanity from time to time. I am not necessarily proud of this. So I sincerely want to believe they don’t say these “bad” words. I really do. I also like to think I’ve tried very hard to teach them the difference between what adults can do and what kids can do. That just because you see or hear an adult do something – it doesn’t make it right for them. I guess the words I am looking for are that I am trying to teach my kids “age appropriate behavior.”

Okay, I am sure none of your kids ever swear. Of course they don’t. Not yours. But some kids do. Even if they never hear you do it. Even if you’ve been dang near perfect . . . anyway. Let me tell you. . . Your kids hear the words. They do. Their “friends say them.” I will reiterate “their friends” say them, because, as I have said, we want to believe, desperately, that ours never do. Right? Yep. Of course. They never say bad words. They are never mean, or hit others, either. We love to tell ourselves that. Then let’s tell ourselves that we can control what they hear on the playground, or anywhere else for that matter. But come on.  Wouldn't we be self-delusional to believe our kids are perfect? So, I’m not going to say that your kids have never heard bad words from my girls. But after last night, I am thinking that they don’t come from their mouths as often as I would have thought.

So anyway, I was putting the girls to bed the other night. And they were telling me how many “swear” words” they wanted to say during their day. I took the bait; I said, “Like what word?” They both looked at me with wide eyes. They told me that they couldn’t say what they wanted to. Of course I had to know what exactly they wanted to say. I won’t lie, I was a bit scared. But I wanted to know, so I said, “Say it out loud. Say what you want to say -- anything but the “F” word.” I know, I’m conservative, right?

“What do you want to say Sophia,” I asked? “Ass.” Just “ass” was what she said. That’s it. Followed up by a meek little “Damn it.”

Then Stella. Oh, Stella. She, however . . . well, she is a bit more aggressive in nature. It was her turn. I waited, in anticipation to see what my baby girl had to say. What taboo word would she say very quietly?


WOW. It wasn’t meek. And it sure wasn’t quiet! It was like she needed to say it. And she said it loud!

Afterwards, while I was still a bit shell-shocked from her ferocity, she explained, rather simply, “If I was allowed to say ‘bitch,’ I’d say it all of the time.” Apparently, Stella encounters a lot of “bitches” in her eight year old world. I cannot vouch for this fact, but she is rather certain.

So I was telling my dear friend, Elizabeth, this funny story. And she said, “Wait, the girls told me about this!” They are close to Elizabeth and their family, so this didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that apparently, I am not that original in my plan to let them say all the “taboo” words in order to “clear the air,” so to speak. To make them not such a big deal, while letting them know that they are still not, without a doubt, appropriate to use in any situation. No matter how angry, or frustrated, or even in response to another friend using these words. I cracked up when Elizabeth said that both of her children really wanted to say “Son of a Bitch” – one of her favorites. We shared a conspiratory laugh.

Because guess what? Our children are not potty mouths in the neighborhood. I guess I should preface that bold statement with “not yet,” however.

So if you ever hear my children utter a swear word, even under their breaths, please let me know. Parenting is a long, educational process. I’ll keep trying to perfect my skills. Will I stop letting a swear word, or two, slip? No. Some of you know me really well, so if I said otherwise, you’d call “bullshit” on that statement! I will still be the girl I am. The girl who shouldn’t say the things she does. My mother does not love this about me. She does not support my bad language in any way shape, or form, I might add. She likes to blame CrossFit culture. I told her that I wish I could blame that, and a lot of things on CrossFit, but unfortunately, I can’t.

But I can promise to encourage the use of positive language, whenever possible. Which is almost always? No, always, I guess. I can encourage it ALWAYS. I will encourage my girls to be better than their mother. I can add that to a long list of things I would like my girls to be better at, than I have been.

Parenting. It’s a “bleeping” tough job.