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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #32

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #32

Days Remaining: 44

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#32 - Develop Friendships That Applaud Your Strengths and Celebrate Your Successes

I think we have all faced this at some time in our lives . . . a friendship that is difficult. A friendship that has you regularly wondering why you maintain it.

In many cases, there are relationships in life that you have to maintain that are unhealthy. And when I say this, I'm talking mostly about family. We all have relationships that we have to defend. Just this morning I was defending more than one relationship. I defended my daughter to my mother. And then after I hung up the phone, I quietly defended my relationship with my mother to myself (thankfully, I didn't respond . . . it was a one-way conversation). It has been tumultuous at best, not that there were never good moments. But we have never seen eye to eye, and I find myself regularly agreeing with things just to keep the peace. I do this because it's family. I do this because she will not change. I do this because I do not want a repeat of us going a year and half without speaking. And I pray that I learn something from the experience, and that it helps me down the road with my own daughters. I pray that they never have to defend their spouses to me. I pray that they never have to defend their children to me. I pray that they never think that I'm being judgmental.

But with friends it is very different. I have had friends in my life who were controlling in strange ways. I've had friends who have judged me, or my husband or my kids. I've had friends who judge my lack of living in a pristine environment. I've had friends who didn't seem to comfortable with my happiness about certain things. These are the ones who don't like it when good things happened to you and will make you feel bad because similar good things are not happening to them. We all have those kinds of friends. We hide our happy things from them so that sharing the news will not bring out the worst in them.

Our author has an interesting way of thinking about friendships. "Not every friendship is meant to last forever. Some friendships are meant to lead you to other friendships. Some are meant to be short, intense experiences. Some are meant to teach you one particular thing. And some, of course, are meant to be lifelong."

Assessing and evaluating a friendship is a difficult task. I've done it many times. But you really have to find friendships that work for you, and not against you. You deserve nothing less!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 8:34PM

    A wise woman (who is my dad's wife and holds a giant place in my heart) once told me that relationships need care but you cannot be the only caretaker and if you are, you must let go and give yourself a break. That leads to one of my favortie verses...some people come into our lives and go quickly, others stay and leave footprints on our hearts.

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PFLEEG 12/17/2009 2:52PM

    I think it's easy to get 'comfortable' with those non-supportive relationships. Not until we either establish healthy boundaries, or reassess the level of the relationship, do we realize how much stress those unhealthy connections cause.

Conversely, we really do know who our supportive friends and family are. Those are the people we naturally want to spend more time with!

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SPIRITSEEKER2 12/15/2009 10:29PM

I fired all close friends, could not take them anymore.. keep distant friends- e-mail on occasion.. Disabilities sure do change life- just need to adjust..still.

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #31

Monday, December 14, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #31

Days Remaining: 45

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#31 - Lagniappe

Lagniappe . . . ever heard of it? Our author, Geneen Roth, learned of this expression when she lived in New Orleans.

From Merriam Websiter . . .

Pronunciation: \ˈlan-ˌyap, lan-ˈ
Function: noun

Etymology: American French, from American Spanish la ņapa the lagniappe, from la + ņapa, yapa, from Quechua yapa something added

Date: 1844

: a small gift given a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase; broadly : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure

So, back to our discussion five days ago (Blog #30), about "it's already broken." Well, once you gain the understanding that it is already broken, your whole life becomes lagniappe.

There are stories all the time about those who have experiences in life that change them. The cancer diagnosis that changes a bitter person and makes them softer. The person who comes back from a near death experience and is forever changed in a positive direction. The person who has a chronic illness who tries to make each and every day count.

On a much, much smaller scale (and I emphasize much) it's similar to when we lose an item that is important to us and later find it. I remember being extremely sad that we had lost pictures from a 1991 Disney trip. Hundreds of pictures and the negatives as well. My precious girls were three and five years old at the time of the trip, and we lost those wonderful memories, with the exception of a few that we had enlarged for our walls. After being missing for 17 years, my husband found them in a box in the basement. I was on top of the world.

Now, if I could bottle that feeling, it would be a bottle of lagniappe. I could concoct a liquid form of lagniappe, and take a spoonful as needed, and then live my life as if I just found my lost photos.

I was surfing the web and found an interesting site which led me to a book that I've just ordered on Amazon. It is a true a story written by a woman who was bedridden for 12 years. She thought about life and she thought about death. She thought about what she was losing and what she wanted to gain. Through her thoughts, she learned perseverance and determination. She wanted to live, wanted to get out of bed, and she found a doctor who was able to help her. There were medications out there that brought her back into the world again. From her website, I found this interesting thought . . .

"Yes, I have a chronic illness and yes, my life will never, ever be the same. I will not be able to do as many things, but it can be sweet and it can be better. Because I, in fact, have the power within me to change it into becoming more of what I wish it to be."

People as well as possessions get broken. If you live as if you are already broken, everything you experience can be lagniappe. Every single day is a blessing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 8:22PM

    Amen and God bless you.

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SPIRITSEEKER2 12/15/2009 3:01PM

I need to do this... love the blogs too

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FUNNINFIT 12/15/2009 8:37AM

    Awesome post-love reading these each week!

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MRSJARI 12/14/2009 11:49PM

    That is true - we need tomake it ourselves and not depend upong others for everything. We need to not give up. Good post!

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #30

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #30

Days Remaining: 50

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#30 - Remind Yourself That It's Already Broken

Hmmm . . . it's already broken. Interesting concept. If you buy something new, imagine that it's already either damaged in some way or disappeared. As your holding that new item, imagining what could be, it makes you really appreciate the item even more.

When you think about it, every item that you ever get in life is bound to be either old, worn out, lost, broken, cracked, stolen, stained, missing, dented, chipped . . . it doesn't matter what the item.

If it's a sweater, it's going to get those little pulls in it. T-shirts get all out of shape. Clothing eventually faces a bit. Jeans get torn. If it's a book it will get tears and dog eared corners. Maybe a coffee stain if you weren't careful. Cars get little dings and dents, and spills on the seat . . . or your kid throws up in the backseat as you're driving and lets you know that "it's pink."

Dishes, mugs, glasses will crack or chip, and sometimes shatter. Nice new coffee mugs will stain. Blankets get torn. Sheets get worn out. Bedspreads and comforters fade and lose shape.

You get your hair cut, and you can't get it to look the same way the hairdresser did the next day. And even if you appreciate the way that you are able to get it to look, in a few weeks it will grow out and you'll be back to square one.

Shoes wear out and get dingy. Nice white sneakers lose their crispness and get all dirty and wrinkly. Furniture and carpet . . . well don't get me started on those.

The point is that nothing stays new forever, so appreciate what you've got when you've got it. And the way I see it, unless it is truly your thing to hover over everything to keep it new, don't waste all of your energy trying to keep it perfect.

So, wear the nice clothes, because they do get dingy sitting in the closet. Sit in your new car when you get it and take in the "new car smell." Enjoy new dishware, new appliances, new furniture.

Growing up, we never sat on the living room furniture. If there were guests over, and you were lucky enough to be invited into the living room and sat on the sofa next to a guest, your eyes were darting around the room to see if mom was going to shoo you off the couch. It felt so wrong. That furniture lasted a really long time. But I've got to be honest . . . it wasn't very comfortable. But it was protected. That was mom's thing. Keeping everything new and perfect. You didn't mess up your room. You didn't walk on the carpet after it was vacuumed, and the living room was off limits.

My kids grew up in the opposite environment. Maybe too opposite in some respects, but I guess that's what happens. We wore out many carpets. Our couch was well worn. And my kids played in their rooms. I wouldn't have had it any other way for them. Whether or not they understand the significance is another matter entirely. I think I'm the only one that really "gets it."

One item that regularly reminds me that nothing ever stays new and perfect is the common bed pillow. You buy it and find it to be a task to get the freshly clean pillow case onto the pillow. It's bursting at the seams. A few weeks later the same pillow is swimming in the exact same pillow case. Those first days with the pillow are like a gift. Your own personal fluffy cloud that just cradles your head. Enjoy it, because it won't last.

But no worries . . . there is another white sale on the calendar. There is always a puffy pillow in your future.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 8:16PM

    Back in the "same" house that we grew up in together so seperately...I do have a tendancy to save new things...and I save "my" things. Like the "new" tahoe (132K miles on it) my hubby bought me, The kids were going on a road trip(the next day after work) and thought it would be more fun in one car...I absolutely, positively said no deal. It was my new car and I was going to enjoy it first. I'm such a selfish mom sometimes. I'll work on that. You know not keeping new things for some "special" day or occassion.

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SPIRITSEEKER2 12/10/2009 7:44PM


Ha.. yes moms house was perfect.. mine was lived in and enjoyed....

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FUNNINFIT 12/10/2009 2:05PM

    Thanks for reminding us that all things new will soon become 'old'...newer doesn't always mean better!

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MRSJARI 12/9/2009 11:59PM

    Good thinking!

I remember as a child ssderving our visitors cookies from a silver tray. The visitors were relatives, and one of them asked who was the special person there deserving it. I thought to myself, WE deserve it, WE are special, but I didn't say anything.

We now use silver platters to take cookies to children's shows at church, for cookies everyday, and so on. I do not use my glass dishes because my children do not want me to, they want them saved for special days like Thanksgiving & Christmas.But we DO use them then! And my children are allowed on the sofa, the youngest regually brings her toys into the living room to play - they end up Everywhere! Just as her big siblings did. ?They do have to return to their home in her room, but we have a family home, not an adult home with some children in it. Thanks for the reminder!

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ONEELEVEN 12/9/2009 11:44PM


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STORMYGIRL6 12/9/2009 11:39PM

    I loved reading this, very good point..

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WORKOUTWITHPAM 12/9/2009 11:29PM

    Great Blog! Thanks. It really does seem silly to 'save' new things. For what are we saving them? I wonder...


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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #29

Sunday, December 06, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #29

Days Remaining: 52

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#29 - And Stop When You've Had Enough

So yesterday we talked about #28 . . . "No Matter What You've Consumed in the Past Twenty-four Hours, Twenty-four Days, or Twenty-four Years, Eat the Very Next Time You Get Hungry."

Today it's all about stopping when you've had enough. And this is one that I've already been practicing, and I can say . . . and listen to me on this one . . . it works!

It has been about four and half months since I joined Spark, One of the true differences in my success this time around on my journey is that I don't deny myself anything. If I want something, I eat it. But I did make a promise to myself to try to stay in my calorie range and that I would never, ever eat to the point of feeling completely and totally stuffed. You know, to the point of being uncomfortable. In four months I can honestly say that there was only one day that I had that feeling, and it was a couple of weeks ago over a large salad. I don't think it was intentional . . . I think it crept up on me. I was eating a salad, so I wasn't expecting it. And then suddenly, I just felt like "Ick!" Of course, I stopped. But usually I try to stop way before that point.

My husband and I were in New York City the weekend before Thanksgiving. I tried to make healthy choices, but I also knew this was my weekend in the city and I was going to do what I wanted to do. However, I stuck to my goal of not stuffing myself. We walked over a mile from the train station to our hotel. We walked about a half mile to dinner. Our first night I did great. I ate about half of my meal, saving room for dessert. Then I had key lime pie and ate until I felt just right. Then we walked back to the hotel.

The next morning I had an egg and cheese wrap. I ate half and tossed the rest (never used to toss food ever, because there were starving children in China). We walked 1.75 miles from our hotel to Madison Square Garden. We took a train to Hoboken where I got to meet the star of one of my favorite TLC shows . . . Buddy Valastro (The Cake Boss). I was in Carlo's Bakery, and had researched in advance. I knew that I had to buy a "Lobster Tail" which is one of their specialties. I wanted to try their canoli's (they put bits of melon in them so they've got to be healthy, right?). I bought a piece of the crumb cake and a few tri-color cookies (all items recommended on After having my photo taken with Buddy, getting his autograph on an apron, seeing his sister Mary behind the counter, catching Frankie hanging over the stair railing and seeing Buddy's mom, Mary out on the sidewalk . . . I headed outside to a bench in front of the bakery and ate a tri-color cookie and part of the crumb cake. I had some coffee. I called it lunch. We took the train back to Manhattan, took the Subway to our hotel and rested a bit.

We walked a mile and a half to Time Square for an early dinner . . . the I'm Stuffed Shrimp from Bubba Gump Shrimp. It was like heaven. I usually eat it all, and then dessert on top of it. But this time I ate just enough. I left room for dessert. More key lime pie . . . but I only ate enough to be satisfied (o.k., I ate most of it . . . but I had left room and I wasn't stuffed). We walked a quarter mile to Madison Square Garden, caught a New York Ranger game. We took an evening walk back to our hotel . . . 1.75 miles . . . then shared a mini canoli and a "Lobster Tail." Um . . . can you say heaven. If you're not into chocolate, this pastry was unbelievable. I shouldn't even speak about it on Spark. What am I thinking?

The next morning we had coffee and crumb cake. We had a light lunch later and we wandered the city before taking the train home.

I came home having gained about a pound. But I still felt I achieved my goals. I never felt stuffed once.

I think one of the most positive lessons I've learned in my four-plus months on Spark is that if I wait until I am hungry to eat, and I eat just enough to feel full . . . it works. There is no icky, stuffed feeling. Most important . . . there is no guilt. I did not feel guilty for anything that happened in New York City. I had a great time, I wouldn't change a thing about what I did (except perhaps not buying the crumb cake and throwing in a few more of those darn "Lobster Tails.").

"Stopping when you've had enough food will lead to naming what you truly want. Instead of living your life crowded onto one note - FOOD - you become a warm, rich chord, a whole symphony." --Geneen Roth

So true!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPIRITSEEKER2 12/7/2009 2:45PM


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FUNNINFIT 12/6/2009 7:53PM

    Way to stick with it!

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COFFEE666 12/6/2009 12:16PM

    It sounds like you had a great trip! I must remember that bakery if I ever make it to the actual New York City and not just the state.

I know that the eating when hungry stop when satisfied is a big key for me as well. Good job, and good luck!

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #28

Friday, December 04, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #28

Days Remaining: 54

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#28 - No Matter What You've Consumed in the Past Twenty-four Hours, Twenty Four Days, or Twenty Four Years, Eat the Very Next Time You Get Hungry

To those who following my blog . . . I haven't checked the "arm and leg" exercise from my last blog, but promise to give it a shot over the weekend.

Moving right along, "Eat the Very Next Time You Get Hungry." What a revelation. This is one that I've been following for quite some time, and I have to admit, it seems to really work well for me. Let me compare my past to my present day eating habits.

Past . . . I would eat some cookies or candy and then starve myself for hours because I ate the "bad" food. I would be ravenously hungry and my next meal would be A MEAL. I would feed the crazy hunger. Then I would feel bad yet again because I ate the big dinner after consuming the cookies earlier. So the next morning I would skip breakfast. I would go into an eating fest sometime around lunch. Feeling all miserable from all I ate, I would just say "whatever" and go for some snacks.

Present . . . I eat breakfast no matter what. If I'm hungry, I will sometimes have a mid-morning snack. I eat lunch sometime between noon and 1:30 (when I get hungry). I will usually have a mid-day snack when I get hungry. Around 3:00, after eating the snack . . . I am still hungry. I usually drink some water after convincing myself that it's not hunger . . . I'm just tired. Then I come home and do dinner and usually a snack at night. I try to make it about the hunger, and I try to eat before I am ravenously hungry. Hmmm . . . it works.

Starving yourself leads to a binge. The binge leads to guilt. The guilt leads to starting yourself. It's a circle that never ends. Denying your hunger is denying the life force that keeps you alive. It's not regular eating that causes weight gain. Hunger is just a basic need that we need to learn to respond to.

I'm reading this today, but I'm thinking about a scenario that occurred for me yesterday. I teach scrapbooking classes at a local store. So I taught a class last night and got in a little early to set-up and prep for my class. I brought an apple for the car ride (I was hungry). My class started at 6:30 and it went later than I expected. I ate a banana, but since that banana was serving as my dinner, I was really, really hungry.

Getting out of class, it was 10:00. Where I live, you don't find much open at 10:00. I was really getting hungry. Do I grab something from the local MacDonalds or do I get home and go CRAZY eating everything I can get my hands on? I decided to go with the MacDonalds option. And I went for the French Fries. My thought was . . . it's 10:00 at night . . . eat what you want . . . then go home, do a few chores and go to bed. I didn't eat a 1,000 calorie dinner. I just ate the 500 calorie fries which I had room for. I was satisfied and followed through with the rest of my plan. Mission accomplished. Could I do this every day and get away with it . . . probably not. But it's one day . . . one order of fries . . . and then right back on track again.

I find that when I deny my hunger and repeatedly deny my cravings, it leads to something bad. So I listen to my mouth, stomach and my head and just try to stay in my calorie budget.

It works. It really does work!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 7:56PM

    My only comment here is...It works for chocolate too. For me anyway...I've noticed that when I "think", I'm craving chocolate I grab 6 m&m's and eat them with 3 pecan halves (that's 2 m&m's per pecan half emoticon) And I can walk away...without feeling guilty that I eat them. Plus craving taken care of.

Comment edited on: 1/3/2010 7:58:01 PM

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TALLTABBY 12/5/2009 7:52PM

  That is a great point! I always have believed eat when your hungry. There is no point in starving yourself. Every meal is new opportunely to eat healthy. Trust me you could have done alot worse then those fries.

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