Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A dear SparkFriend, JLITT62, who has stuck with me through the ups and downs of my journey, wrote a blog today about how her husband is starting to vary his potatoes and meat diet because she is setting an example. Her blog got me thinking AND writing!
When John and I first hooked up, (that is truly an awful expression, isn't it?) he was an avid swimmer just finished university and settling into his first job. Straight out of living with a bunch of his friends for five years (and living on Kraft Dinner and wieners!) and then back to living with his parents; talk about a wake up call. Apparently, his mom was never much of a cook and even went so far as to serve canned potatoes!
Okay, and there I was, still living with my parents and basically complaining about my mom who always made sure there were veggies on our plates, fruit for dessert, lean cuts of meat, etc, etc. Yes, I went wild in university (not a drinker) but with junk food. What do you mean I can have a bag of chips every night and Mom wasn't there to push freggies at me!
So, when John and I eventually left our parents home and got married, we varied quite a bit with regards to what constituted a "good" meal. My idea was to eat out and John's idea was to have KD, a banana, and a glass of milk. Honestly, that man drove me insane for the first six months with his "you gotta drink your milk" thing at meal times!
Things quickly changed and I became more health conscious after the novelty of junk food wore off. I was never allowed to cook when I lived with my parents so I was 34 years old and just learning. Luckily I had several great cookbooks and I had a husband who would eat anything!
I've learned to keep meals pretty simple. A piece of chicken, baked potato, lots of veggies and of course that glass of skim milk. Yesterday was grilled salmon, steam asparagus with pine nuts, roasted red peppers and a baked potato.....AND a glass of milk! ha!
Anyway, John has always been appreciative whenever I cook but I wasn't aware of how appreciative. Several weeks ago when we were together with his family, John reached for an extra helping of spinach salad. His mother (bless that woman) pipes up and says, "John you really shouldn't be eating greens because that is what caused my gall bladder to fail" and John basically told her she was full of poop! I had to leave the room! John has already had his gall bladder surgery and eats spinach and other greens several times a week. Then she started in with how raw vegetables were too hard to digest as John was reaching for his second handful of baby carrots.
Then yesterday while painting, I knew we needed something cold to drink. John asked for coke (his weakness) but when I went outside with my fruit smoothie, he said it looked delicious! Sneaky me had one stashed behind me for him and he was very thankful. I put protein powder in it along with 6 kinds of fruit, frozen yogurt and some orange juice. He questioned the protein powder and I told him it would keep him fuller longer.....I think he is starting to love Spark as much as I do!
Anyway, lead by example! Good for you food can taste awesome....just ask my dogs who loved their blueberry, mango and banana freezer pops! Move over Milkbones!
Monday, July 25, 2011
How fitting this image is to me as I reflect upon the past year of my life. See, a year ago, I wasn't happy. I wasn't happy with anything despite years of therapy and mind-altering drugs taken in the name of depression. I fooled many people but the one I couldn't fool was myself. I knew things had to change or I was going to grow old as a bitter old lady so was so judgemental about herself that it was downright painful.
Thankfully several things happened. First of all I started re-reading a book that has made a tremendous difference to my life which is called "The Highly Sensitive Person ~ How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms you" by Dr. Elaine N. Aron. This book was given to me by a dear friend/psychologist who I started seeing the second time I was quite suicidal. At the time I had skimmed through it but last July I started to really read the book and to understand what others could see in me that I couldn't see in myself. I thought for years that I was flawed because I'm not like a lot of other people but I'm beginning to not only accept myself but to love myself.
Yes, the past may help shape our futures but we can grab that future and gently cuddle, caress and nurture what that future will look like. This is where Spark came in! About the time we decided to formally adopt Louisa, I was at the vet clinic and my vet was talking about how she reshaped her life. She knew me quite well and suggested several websites to me but the one I really loved was Spark. Being the cautious sort, it took me about a month to actually sign up but my life has changed......for the better....and it isn't at all to do with weight loss.
Yes, I'm trying to lose some weight but more importantly, I'm learning (at age 45!) to love myself through acceptance!
I fully accept that I have depression which requires daily medication. It is not a character fault (check)
I fully accept that I have the body I have now due to neglect, lack of exercise and pure ignorance (check)
I fully accept that while I'm no supermodel nor athlete, my friends like and accept me for being me and not because they have to (a work in progress)
I fully accept that my husband was not forced to marry me. He did because he loved me and continues to love me warts and all (again, a work in progress)
I fully accept that what I eat and what I do for exercise is my own free will and only I can take responsibility. So each day I try to show my body that I love it..... by making smarter food choices.
And finally here is a picture that somebody took of me just last week that I initially cringed at. Not only is my toothy gap quite noticeable but I have at least three chins but you know what.....I am a work in progress and I am posting this picture to show you all that I can accept my self-perceived failings and turn them into blessings!
In conclusion, here is a quote I recently discovered and which I have posted throughout my house.....a gift to me from me!
“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”
Thank you to all of you who have been part of my journey of self-discovery! This chickie is pretty cool afterall, who would have thought that a year ago?!
Friday, July 22, 2011
I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but my husband and I decided we would paint both our front bridge and back patio. Now, I realize some of you are scratching your heads because I'm sure Newfoundland is one of the rare places on earth that calls a front veranda a bridge! So, it is basically an uncovered veranda that runs two-thirds across the front of our house and our back patio is about 16 by 12. To add to our misery (ha!) we decided to remove all of our window shutters (decorative) and paint those two. Three weeks of hemming and hawing, we agreed on a colour..sort of a sage green.
So, we've been busy. It was my job to do the shutters so I gathered the supplies and set up a spot to which Lou and Maddy were drawn like magnets. Nothing says dog owner than shutters with dog fur painted in them! When it came to the small, intricate areas I couldn't get a small enough brush. I went to a paint store and bought one but it was pretty useless and then I went to a hardware store. After much grumbling I went to the bathroom and found a) and old L'Oreal Lip gloss and b) a travel eyeshadow brush. Both were did just the trick much to John's amusement.
So, then when I was sort of overtired and starving I made a bad food decision.....McDonalds! I did opt for a Happy Meal with 1% milk, fries and hamburger but I seriously think I burned off all of the calories for the meal in the drive-thru lineup. See, I had taken Maddy and Lou with me and they were so happy to be in the car. But then they saw the seagulls in the parking lot and all hell broke lose! By the time I got to order I had calmed them down until Lou starts whining like a baby and the young man said it sounded like my child was fussy! Bah-ha-ha! Thank goodness Lou was wearing her seatbelt because when they handed the food out I thought she was going to go through the window!
We ate our "supper" out on the back patio sitting on the dog beds and were getting pretty lazy until a good song came on the radio. Well, up John jumps and says "let's dance". I almost died from laughing. There we were dancing around the dog beds, the dogs, the paint cans, the wet paint, and laughing til we cried. I still think we had a touch of sunstroke to be so silly!!!!! Oh well, it felt good to be so carefree! Must have been the paint fumes!
I hope this finds you all well and that you don't think I'm too much of a nutcase!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Well, first of all I have to thank each and every one of you who took the time to send me some rays of sun last week. When I posted that as my status I never even thought of SparkGoodies so I was sure surprised when I started receiving them from you all! Once again, you've all astounded me with your friendship and generosity! Oh, yeah, and the best part....the sun has been out now for the past three days!!!! Yipee!!!
Which reminds me. Every night when I watch the national news there is usually much made about the heat waves that are plaguing much of North America. My first gut reaction was, well I wish we could have some. But then I realized that you have to make the best of what you are given and where you are living. Yes, I know many of you are under duress due to the extreme heat but even in those conditions take the time to be thankful for where you are. You could be an elderly person with no air conditioning, a homeless person, or an abandoned pet with no access to any relief.
To continue on with my gratitude, I am blessed to live where I do! I know it is not an ideal climate and many leave here do the relentless weather but we have so much to be thankful for. Last night as I walked deep in the woods with John and the dogs dusk approached far too quickly but what is the worse that could happen here? A few extra fly bites if we had to spend the night outdoors. There are no worries of being attacked despite what watching many episodes of Criminal Minds would have one believe. I am thankful for that!
Okay, enough preaching! I've finished up the "Climb Gros Morne" virtual challenge. Here is what it involved:
"You must also climb 2644 steps (on a stairway or uphill) to represent the 806 meters elevation (806x3.28 feet per meter). This distance can count towards your 16 KM."
The hardest part for me was the uphill steps but I finished those last night and so have that challenge under my belt. Another challenge I am in as part of my Newfoundland team is to virtually walk the Newfoundland T'Railway system. As of yesterday I have walked 30 km of the almost 900.
As part of another challenge I'm in, the 60 day summer challenge, I'm plodding along. I'm managing to make good nutritional choices, am walking and I'm getting my water in each day. Not doing the greatest with tracking my meals but I'm working on it.
Anyway, I must go and spend some time with John as today is our 11th wedding anniversary!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
As most of you know, my husband's brother, wife and children were here visiting so needless to say we were kept busy. We hadn't met the children before and they are 13 and 10 so we weren't sure what to expect. I'm glad to report they are two well-balanced kids who are mannerly and are extremely witty and talkative. They love Maddy and Lou and took them for many walks which is good for all of them. Sam and Grace (the nephew and niece) wanted a dog but now they realize that pets are a lot of work. I think children should be exposed to what pet ownership is really like when they reach that age where they go "puppy" crazy.
The sun was out for two days while they were here which is kind of a drag but which we kinda get used to living on an island where we can have three seasons in one day. Sunday we gathered at a relatives cabin and it was nice enough for the kids to swim and fish. It was really a nice day to get together and to chat....and eat!!!! ha!
I've learned some things about myself the past couple of days. I was told I'm high strung by my psychiatrist and I'm still not sure what she meant by that. We were just talking about different things and she was telling me how far she has seen me come in the past five years. Apparently the first day I met her I wouldn't make eye contact and I cried constantly. Now five years later, I'm talkative, funny, and introspective (her words - not mine)
Then Grace and Sam told me that I am such a cool aunt. Me? Really? And then Grace piped up and said she liked how confident I am...that one made me almost cry. Apparently they both were worried about meeting us and I put them at ease....wow.....that really touched me. I told them I had been worried about meeting them too and we all laughed.
Another big victory for me was to actually hang out with John's family. Traditionally, we haven't done much at all with them despite his parents living within 10 minutes from us. We were all so very different but this week taught me that we can get together for special occasions and get along quite nicely. For the record, John doesn't get along with his parents either but we've vowed to start taking them out and making and effort.
Another non-scale victory was we all went out to supper. I deliberately would not order a diet Pepsi and instead drank 3 large glasses of water with my veggie/chicken stirfry. I felt so much better afterwards.
I know now that I have to tackle my journey one day at a time and one decision at a time. As long as most of the decisions I make during the day are Spark-oriented, I will be fine. It can't be an all or nothing battle for me and I have to stop referring to weight loss as a fight of any sort. I am not fighting my body; I am embracing it and trying to nurture it to where I want it to be!
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