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*40 Tips for an Exceptional, Superb & Powerful Life*

Friday, December 17, 2010

How's that for an attention grabber? And isn't this what we all want... an exceptional, superb and powerful life?

If you're not sure, allow me to clarify for you:

Exceptional: that which cannot be confined or defined by the ordinary or usual... by its very nature that which proves the rules without being limited by them. (Just let this one settle into your bones for a minute.)

Superb: of the most impressive or splendid or exalted kind of life, grand, majestic.

Powerful: having great (physical or otherwise) power [ability to do or act, vigor, energy] or influence in your life.

Anything here worthy of development in your life?

GOOD! Now, the following comes to me via VEEJAY via Patricia... THANK YOU, my dear friends!

I'm going to print these out on cards... one to a card, and read through the cards every morning as part of my reflection time each day (one to a card forces me to slow down, absorb and internalize each one). I'll pick one (or three, lol) to keep in the forefront of my mind for the day.

One of my biggest challenges is living my life mindfully and thoughtfully and graciously. I believe that these one line homilies hold the key to doing better in each of these respects.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day and while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.

3. Buy a TiVo (DVR), tape your late night shows and get more sleep

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, "My purpose is to__________ today."

5. Live with the 3 Es - Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy, and the 3 Fs - Faith, Family, Friends.

6. Watch more G movies, play more games with friends and read more books than you did in 2010.

7. Make time to practice meditation and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of six.

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants.

11. Drink some green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, seafood, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear your clutter from your house, your car, and your desk and let new energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn and pass all your tests. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.

18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past, so it won't mess up the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

24. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"

27. Forgive everyone for everything.

28. What other people think of you is none of your business.

29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.

30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

33. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

34. The best is yet to come.

35. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

36. Do the right thing!

37. Call your family often.

38. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: "I am thankful for __________." "Today I accomplished _________."

39. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

40. Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. Make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

I'm F.I.N.E. How about you? Care to join me?

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}




Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BF20PERCENT 12/20/2010 11:01AM

    Thanks again for a lovely blog.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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_RAMONA 12/18/2010 1:33AM

    MEMARE! Thanks, so much, for pointing that out... I never noticed that myself, LOL! You are one smart cookie!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

Comment edited on: 12/18/2010 1:34:01 AM

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DEVORA4 12/17/2010 9:52PM

  Hi Ramona, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, It's too bad that more folks have not read this, I intend to copy most of the tips on small file cards and read them every day. emoticon emoticon emoticontips. Thanks hum\n, debby emoticon

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WELLNESSME09 12/17/2010 7:28PM

    An amazing blog! thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/17/2010 3:27PM

  Ramona, this is just what I needed to read today. It can all be so simple if I just let it. I think I'm going to just print this one off and post it!

You are so gifted. I hope to one day see some of your essays in print! Your blogs always inspire me to look within and do just a little better.


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NOMORESTALLING 12/17/2010 3:21PM

    Absolutely emoticon

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MEMARE 12/17/2010 12:03PM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing.
These 40 things...good food for thought into the New Year.

The T-shirt picture says it all - I'm FINE - did anyone else notice that? emoticon

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SPARKLINGMEDUSA 12/17/2010 11:48AM

    I was writing these tips in my inspiration journal last night! How fortuitous that I'm reading them here too!

Comment edited on: 12/17/2010 11:49:17 AM

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DETERMINED_SOUL 12/17/2010 11:12AM

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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JUST4ME927 12/17/2010 9:02AM

    Amazingly powerful! LOVED it! Thanks for sharing.

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JOCALAT 12/17/2010 7:18AM

    loved your blog...especially your thoughts at th end....my friend with the gift of words!! Your an angel!!

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EFELL123 12/17/2010 5:54AM

    Thank you for sharing your 40 tips! What a wonderful and thoughtful thing to take time to post this for us at this time of year! It's worthy of a most popular blog award!


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INDYPEARTREE 12/17/2010 5:29AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! That is the best Christmas gift I could have received!

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MUSHCAT 12/17/2010 3:37AM

    Just what I needed to read and be reminded of at this moment. God bless you.

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You may not be...

Friday, December 17, 2010

...exactly what you eat, but good, nutritious food is a lot more important than society has made it out to be for quite some time now.

Anybody been watching the new cereal commercials? How about those 100 calorie snacks? Fat free dairy, anyone? Meatless meat?

So much energy and money is being put into developing 'food' that will supposedly allow us to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, and as much as we want without (supposedly) any of the negative impact of such imprudence.

...And don't get me wrong... a 'healthy food nazi' I will never be... I'm an unrepentant foodie all the way.

I am not talking about the occasional holiday meal, or the odd 'treat' here and there, or carnival food once a year. I am talking about what you consume and call 'food' 80 - 90 percent of the time... and I also think that 'good for you', dense in nutrients, fresh food IS decadent, delicious and inspiring... we spend a significant amount of money eating FRESH all year round... including 'out of season'... ever eat a fresh orange flown in just for you from Florida in February on the Canadian Prairies? Or fresh caught fish in a land-locked region? Or vegetables you've never seen grown in your mother's garden? THAT'S decadent!

Does anyone besides me stop to really think about this?

What happened to accepting and respecting our bodies for how and what they are created to be? What happened to eating to live (taking pleasure in eating for health and well-being), rather than living to eat (eating primarily for hedonistic pleasure)? When did good wholesome, healthy food, thoughtfully prepared and attractively presented become 'boring' or 'uninteresting' or 'less than' in some way? How did food and eating become so universally and unilaterally disassociated from nutrition and fueling our bodies?

These are questions I've been asking myself for many years, and that are now becoming front and centre in my family. My DH has finally begun asking himself these questions. We have a DD who absolutely NEEDS to be fed thoughtfully and with nutrition foremost and at the front of our consideration. In this new year we are likely looking at a whole new way of eating for a time... perhaps for the rest of her life.

I can't say I'm unhappy about this... not for her (a la Alwyn Cosgrove... she doesn't need the cheese poufs!), and certainly not for us. Thanks to SparkPeople, I am even more ready than I may have otherwise been to face this challenge. Here's a bit of literal food for thought, that is at the core of our ponderings. Thank you, Patricia, for putting it so conveniently in my sight!

The Power of Food
by David Zinczenko
author of the ABS Diet, and his latest, ABS Diet for Women

These 12 foods make up a large part of your diet. The more of these foods you eat, the better your body will be able to increase lean muscle mass and avoid storing fat. They have been proven to do one or more of the following:
• Builds muscle
• Helps promote weight loss
• Strengthens bone
• Lowers blood pressure
• Fights cancer
• Improves immune function
• Fights heart disease

Though you can base entire meals and snacks around these foods, you don’t have to. But do follow these guidelines.
• Incorporate two or three of these foods into each of your three major meals and at least one of them into each of your three snacks.
• Diversify your food at every meal to get a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
• Make sure you sneak a little bit of protein into each snack.

Here's an easy way to remember what's good for you. The first letter of each food group spells: A.B.S.D.I.E.T.P.O.W.E.R 12

1) Almonds and Other Nuts
Eat them with skins intact.

Superpowers: Building muscle, fighting food cravings
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus
Fight against: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, cancer
Sidekicks: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados
Impostors: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.

These days, you hear about good fats and bad fats the way you hear about good cops and bad cops. One's on your side, and one's going to beat you silly. Oreos fall into the latter category, but nuts are clearly out to help you. They contain the monounsaturated fats that clear your arteries and help you feel full. All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat.

But almonds are like Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest: They're the king of the nuts. Eat as much as two handfuls a day. If you eat 2 ounces of almonds (about 24 of them), it can suppress your appetite--especially if you wash them down with 8 ounces of water.

For a quick popcorn alternative, spray a handful of almonds with nonstick cooking spray and bake them at 400 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle them with either a brown sugar and cinnamon mix or cayenne pepper and thyme.

2) Beans and Other Legumes
Including soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans.

Superpowers: Building muscle, helping burn fat, regulating digestion
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, iron, folate
Fight against: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame
Impostors: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats; baked beans, which are high in sugar.

Most of us can trace our resistance to beans to some unfortunately timed intestinal upheaval (third-grade math class, a first date gone awry). But beans are, as the famous rhyme says, good for your heart; the more you eat them, the more you'll be able to control your hunger.

Black, lima, pinto, navy -- you pick it. They're all low in fat, and they're packed with protein, fiber, and iron--nutrients crucial for building muscle and losing weight. Gastrointestinal disadvantages notwithstanding, they serve as one of the key members of the Abs Diet cabinet because of all their nutritional power. In fact, if you can replace a meat-heavy dish with a bean-heavy dish a couple of times a week, you'll be lopping a lot of saturated fat out of your diet and replacing it with higher amounts of fiber.

3) Spinach and Other Green Vegetables

Superpowers: Neutralizing free radicals (molecules that accelerate the aging process)
Secret weapons: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; beta-carotene; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber
Fight against: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis
Sidekicks: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans
Impostors: None, as long as you don't fry them or smother them in fatty cheese sauces.

You know vegetables are packed with important nutrients, but they're also a critical part of your body-changing diet. I like spinach in particular because one serving supplies nearly a full day's vitamin A and half of your vitamin C. It's
also loaded with folate -- a vitamin that protects against heart disease, stroke, and colon cancer. Dress a sandwich with the stuff, or stir-fry it with fresh garlic and olive oil.

Broccoli is high in fiber and more densely packed with vitamins and minerals than almost any other food. If you hate vegetables, hide them. Puree them and add them to marinara sauce or chili. The more you chop, the less you taste, and the easier it is for your body to absorb nutrients. With broccoli, sauté it in garlic and olive oil, and douse it with hot sauce.

4) Dairy Products
Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.

Superpowers: Building strong bones, firing up weight loss
Secret weapons: Calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer
Sidekicks: None
Impostors: Whole milk, frozen yogurt

Dairy is nutrition's version of a typecast actor. It gets so much good press for strengthening bones that it garners little attention for all the other stuff it does well. Just take a look at the mounting evidence that calcium is a prime belly-buster. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as those taking in less calcium. Researchers think the mineral probably prevents weight gain by increasing the breakdown of body fat and hampering its formation. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and other dairy products can play a key role in your diet. But I recommend milk as your major source of calcium. Liquids take up lots of room in your stomach, so your brain gets the signal that you're full. Sprinkling in chocolate whey powder can help curb sweet cravings.

5) Instant Oatmeal
Unsweetened, unflavored.

Superpowers: Boosting energy and sex drive, reducing cholesterol, maintaining blood-sugar levels
Secret weapons: Complex carbohydrates and fiber
Fights against: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: High-fiber cereals like All-Bran and Fiber One
Impostors: Sugary cereals

Oatmeal is the Bo Derek of your pantry: It’s a perfect 10. You can eat it at breakfast to propel you through sluggish mornings, a couple of hours before a workout to feel fully energized by the time you hit the weights, or at night to avoid a late-night binge. I recommend instant oatmeal for its convenience. But I want you to buy the unsweetened, unflavored variety and use other Powerfoods such as milk and berries to enhance the taste. Preflavored oatmeal often comes loaded with sugar calories.

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber (like vegetables). Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made from cholesterol and sending them out of your body. When this happens, your liver has to pull cholesterol from your blood to make more digestive acids, and your bad cholesterol levels drop.

Trust me: You need more fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Doctors recommend we get between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day, but most of us get half that. Fiber is like a bouncer for your body, kicking out troublemakers and showing them the door. It protects you from heart disease. It protects you from colon cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the intestines quickly.

A Penn State study also showed that oatmeal sustains your blood sugar levels longer than many other foods, which keeps your insulin levels stable and ensures you won’t be ravenous for the few hours that follow. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin slow your metabolism and send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels. Include it in a smoothie or as your breakfast. (A U.S. Navy study showed that simply eating breakfast raised metabolism by 10 percent.)

Another cool fact about oatmeal: Preliminary studies indicate that oatmeal raises the levels of free testosterone in your body, enhancing your body’s ability to build muscle and burn fat and boosting your sex drive.

6) Eggs

Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, vitamins A and B12
Fight against: Obesity
Sidekicks: Egg Beaters, which have fewer calories than eggs and no fat, but just as much of the core nutrients
Impostors: None

For a long time, eggs were considered pure evil, and doctors were more likely to recommend tossing eggs at passing cars than throwing them into omelette pans. That's because just two eggs contain enough cholesterol to put you over your daily recommended value. Though you can cut out some of that by removing part of the yolk and using the white, more and more research shows that eating an egg or two a day will not raise your cholesterol levels.

In fact, we've learned that most blood cholesterol is made by the body from dietary fat, not dietary cholesterol. That's why you should take advantage of eggs and their powerful makeup of protein. The protein found in eggs has the highest "biological value" of protein -- a measure of how well it supports your body's protein need -- of any food. In other words, the protein in eggs is more effective at building muscle than protein from other sources, even milk and beef. Eggs also contain vitamin B12, which is necessary for fat breakdown.

7) Turkey and Other Lean Meats
Lean steak, chicken, fish.

Superpowers: Building muscle, improving the immune system
Secret weapons: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6 (chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against: Obesity, mood disorders, memory loss, heart disease
Sidekicks: Shellfish, Canadian bacon, omega-3 rich flaxseed
Impostors: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak like T-bone and rib eye

A classic muscle-building nutrient, protein is the base of any solid diet plan. Turkey breast is one of the leanest meats you'll find, and it packs nearly one-third of your daily requirements of niacin and vitamin B6. Dark meat, if you prefer, has lots of zinc and iron. One caution, though: If you’re roasting a whole turkey for a family feast, avoid self-basting birds, which have been injected wth fat.

Beef is another classic muscle-building protein. It’s the top food source for creatine -- the substance your body uses when you lift weights. Beef does have a downside; it contains saturated fats, but some cuts have more than others. Look for rounds or loins (that’s code for extra-lean); sirloins and New York strips are less fatty than prime ribs and T-bones.

To cut down on saturated fats even more, concentrate on fish like tuna and salmon, because they contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Those fatty acids lower levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism: The higher your leptin levels, the more readily your body stores calories as fat. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat faster than animals with higher leptin levels. Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes found that the tribe that ate fish frequently had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the tribe that primarily ate vegetables.

A bonus benefit: Researchers in Stockholm found that men who ate no fish had three times the risk of prostate cancer of those who ate it regularly. It's the omega-3s that inhibit prostate-cancer growth.

8) Peanut Butter
All-natural, sugar-free.

Superpowers: Boosting testosterone, building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks: Cashew and almond butters
Impostors: Mass-produced sugary and trans fatty peanut butters

Yes, PB has its disadvantages: It’s high in calories, and it doesn’t go over well when you order it in four-star restaurants. But it’s packed with those heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can increase your body’s production of testosterone, which can help your muscles grow and your fat melt. In one 18-month experiment, people who integrated peanut butter into their diet maintained weight loss better than those on low-fat plans. A recent study from the University of Illinois showed that diners who had monounsaturated fats before a meal (in this case, it was olive oil) ate 25 percent fewer calories during that meal than those who didn’t.

Practically speaking, PB also works because it’s a quick and versatile snack -- and it tastes good. Since a diet that includes an indulgence like peanut butter doesn’t leave you feeling deprived, it’s easier to follow and won’t make you fall prey to other cravings. Use it on an apple, on the go, or to add flavor to potentially bland smoothies. Two caveats: You can’t gorge on it because of its fat content; limit yourself to about 3 tablespoons per day. And you should look for all-natural peanut butter, not the mass-produced brands that have added sugar.

9) Olive Oil

Superpowers: Lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system
Secret weapons: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E
Fights against: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Impostors: Other vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, margarine

No need for a long explanation here: Olive oil and its brethren will help control your food cravings; they'll also help you burn fat and keep your cholesterol in check. Do you need any more reason to pass the bottle?

10) Whole-Grain Breads and Cereals

Superpowers: Preventing your body from storing fat
Secret weapons: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc
Fight against: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease
Sidekicks: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels, whole-wheat pastas
Impostors: Processed bakery products like white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat

There's only so long a person can survive on an all-protein diet or an all-salad diet or an all-anything diet. You crave carbohydrates because your body needs them. The key is to eat the ones that have been the least processed -- carbs that still have all their heart-healthy, belly-busting fiber intact.

Grains like wheat, corn, oats, barley, and rye are seeds that come from grasses, and they're broken into three parts -- the germ, the bran, and the endosperm. Think of a kernel of corn.

The biggest part of the kernel -- the part that blows up when you make popcorn -- is the endosperm. Nutritionally it's pretty much a big dud. It contains starch, a little protein, and some B vitamins. The germ is the smallest part of the grain; in the corn kernel, it's that little white seedlike thing. But while it's small, it packs the most nutritional power. It contains protein, oils, and the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pyridoxine. It also has vitamin E and the minerals magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. The bran is the third part of the grain and the part where all the fiber is stored. It's a coating around the endosperm that contains B vitamins, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.

So what's the point of this little biology lesson? Well, get this: When food manufacturers process and refine grains, guess which two parts get tossed out? Yup, the bran, where all the fiber and minerals are, and the germ, where all the protein and vitamins are. And what they keep -- the nutritionally bankrupt endosperm (that is, starch) -- gets made into pasta, bagels, white bread, white rice, and just about every other wheat product and baked good you'll find. Crazy, right? But if you eat products made with all the parts of the grain -- whole-grain bread, pasta, long-grain rice -- you get all the nutrition that food manufacturers are otherwise trying to cheat you out of.

Whole-grain carbohydrates can play an important role in a healthy lifestyle. In an 11-year study of 16,000 middle-age people, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that consuming three daily servings of whole grains can reduce a person's mortality risk over the course of a decade by 23 percent. (Tell that to your buddy who's eating low-carb.) Whole-grain bread keeps insulin levels low, which keeps you from storing fat. In this diet, it's especially versatile because it’ll supplement any kind of meal with little prep time. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, with a dab of peanut butter for a snack. Don't believe the hype. Carbs -- the right kind of carbs -- are good for you.

Warning: Food manufacturers are very sneaky. Sometimes, after refining away all the vitamins, fiber, and minerals from wheat, they'll add molasses to the bread, turning it brown, and put it on the grocery shelf with a label that says wheat bread. It's a trick! Truly nutritious breads and other products will say whole-wheat or whole-grain. Don't be fooled.

11) Extra-Protein (Whey) Powder

Superpowers: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons: Protein, cysteine, glutathione
Fights against: Obesity
Sidekick: Ricotta cheese
Impostor: Soy protein

Protein powder? What the heck is that? It's the only Abs Diet Powerfood that you may not be able to find at the supermarket, but it's the one that's worth the trip to a health food store. I'm talking about powdered whey protein, a type of animal protein that packs a muscle-building wallop. If you add whey powder to your meal -- in a smoothie, for instance -- you may very well have created the most powerful fat-burning meal possible. Whey protein is a high-quality protein that contains essential amino acids that build muscle and burn fat. But it's especially effective because it has the highest amount of protein for the fewest number of calories, making it fat's kryptonite.

Smoothies with some whey powder can be most effective before a workout. A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis (their ability to build muscle) more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising. Since exercise increases bloodflow to tissues, the theory goes that having whey protein in your system when you work out may lead to a greater uptake of amino acids -- the building blocks of muscle -- in your muscle.

But that's not all. Whey protein can help protect your body from prostate cancer. Whey is a good source of cysteine, which your body uses to build a prostate cancer–fighting antioxidant called glutathione. Adding just a small amount may increase glutathione levels in your body by up to 60 percent.

By the way, the one great source of whey protein in your supermarket is ricotta cheese. Unlike other cheeses, which are made from milk curd, ricotta is made from whey -- a good reason to visit your local Italian eatery.

12) Raspberries and Other Berries

Superpowers: Protecting your heart, enhancing eyesight, improving memory, preventing cravings
Secret weapons: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, tannins (cranberries)
Fight against: Heart disease, cancer, obesity
Sidekicks: Most other fruits, especially apples and grapefruit
Impostors: Sugary jellies

Depending on your taste, any berry will do (except Crunch Berries). I like raspberries as much for their power as for their taste. They carry powerful levels of antioxidants, all-purpose compounds that help your body fight heart disease and cancer; the berries' flavonoids may also help your eyesight, balance, coordination, and short-term memory. One cup of raspberries packs 6 grams of fiber and more than half of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Blueberries are also loaded with the soluble fiber that, like oatmeal, keeps you fuller longer. In fact, they're one of the most healthful foods you can eat. Blueberries beat out 39 other fruits and vegetables in the antioxidant power ratings. (One study also found that rats that ate blueberries were more coordinated and smarter than rats that didn't.)

Strawberries contain another valuable form of fiber called pectin (as do grapefruits, peaches, apples, and oranges). In a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, subjects drank plain orange juice or juice spiked with pectin. The people who got the loaded juice felt fuller after drinking it than those who got the juice without the pectin. The difference lasted for an impressive 4 hours.

...what do you think... aren't you worth more than the nutritional lies that society currently passes off as 'good food'? Don't you deserve the best possible food at your disposal?

If you answered 'yes', what are you going to do about it?

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

...Because YOU are worth it.



Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

More 'food for thought':

Part 1:

Part 2:

146 Reasons Why Sugar is Ruining Your Health

The 15 Worst Health & Diet Myths
by David Zinczenko, Men's Health Magazine

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_RAMONA 12/18/2010 1:27AM

    Thanks for the comments! ITSINTHE DETAILS, whey protein is more easily absorbed and it doesn't have the estrogen issues associated with soy... and soy doesn't have the amino acids that whey has... it's the amino acids which define protein as protein... and it's the amino acids that you need to build muscle. Quinoa is the only plant food that is a complete protein. Incidentally, Asian folk don't use soy as protein the way we do... they only use fermented soy... doesn't have the health risks, and it's the fermentation process which creates the health benefits... or eating it unprocessed as fresh raw beans (edamame). Soy as a protein is a North American phenomena. I always find it interesting that the very same people who decry the estrogen in our meat and milk are the same people who are getting their protein primarily from soy. I know what you mean about the taste... I really like the taste of soy milk... I was using it consistently for awhile but then I noticed hormonal disruptions, so I stopped. I've also used hemp protein powder and quite like it, too. I'm working up to whey for the new year. :)

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}

Comment edited on: 12/20/2010 4:15:06 PM

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/17/2010 3:45PM

  EXCELLENT blog!!!!! Thanks for all the detail. It was a good review of what I know AND I learned a few things too!

I have a question ... do you know why soy protein is an imposter? I use protein powders almost every day (in a morning smoothie) and have a few kinds ... soy being one of them, which happens to be my taste taste favorite ... lol

I like the taste of whey too but I don't really know WHY one is better than the other.

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MEMARE 12/17/2010 12:09PM

    Another great blog. Thank you! Keep 'em coming! emoticon

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GOLDENLEAF1 12/17/2010 1:48AM

    This was really well-thought out and researched. Thanks for the food for thought.


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Friday, December 17, 2010

Randy Pausch

I'm doing my usual Spark December strategising for success... I spend a goodly amount of time searching for the nuggets I need in my arsenal to hit the ground running (with intention and focus). The following comes to me from my friend Patricia:


M - Mindset — Take time to evaluate what's going on in your mind. What triggers your snack attacks? What distracts you from choosing healthy options? Write these things out in our free Online Journal. Learning what's going on inside can help inspire you to make better, healthier decisions.

O - Organize — Before you go to the grocery store organize a meal plan and create a shopping list. Sticking to a plan and list can help you look forward to the next snack or meal and build some excitement in eating.

T - Time — Make time for creative activities. Whether you take up dancing, run around with your kids, or even go out for a daily walk before work or after dinner. Whatever you come up with, try to make time in your busy schedule to do something fun and active.

I - Inform — Experiment with activity and healthy recipes to learn what you like. Information is a powerful source to keep you going. What's more, sharing what you learn with others helps build your confidence and enthusiasm.

V - Variety — Shake things up. Routines are helpful, but your body learns and adapts quickly. Try to keep it guessing with new activities and foods to make your body work for you.

A - Activity — Keep moving, and find fun ways to say active. Grab a friend and join a walk/run club or hit the community courts for a pick-up game of basketball. Find the activities that make you smile, and rotate through them.

T - Trust — No work is in vain when it comes to weight loss. Even when you're not seeing the results you expected, you have to believe your dedication is changing your life and body. Trust what you're doing will produce the results you envision.

I - Imagine — What does success look like for you? What size pants or dress will you fit into when you reach your next goal? Keep a picture of success in front of you, and your work will get you there.

O - Observant — Take notice of the changes going on with you. Are the healthy changes in your diet affecting how you feel about yourself? Are others taking notice? Do you look at food choices a critical eye? Observe the changes going on in you. They are real, and your family and friend will notice.

N - New — We're not in this journey simply to revert to our old ways. The change in our lives is real and lasting. In a sense, we're creating a new life for ourselves. Let the new you influence your decisions and activity as you continue to live smarter and healthier.

Yours in the Challenge,
Dr. Ian Smith, 'The 50 Million Pound Challenge'

...what're you putting in your arsenal for 2011?

Throughout this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

Whatever it is that gives you that 'three coffees, two flirtatious emails, a week of vacation' feeling...

Whatever it is that celebrates your shoulders and arms and hips and butt and thighs and knees and legs...

Whatever it is that belies anything anyone thinks they know about you...

Whatever it is that makes you feel alive and vibrant and vibrating with vitality...

Whatever it is that gives you a sense of accomplishment that only pushing beyond limits can give you...

Whatever it is that makes you cry with determination well placed and hold your head up with stubborn pride...

Whatever it is you dream about and long for and ache to embrace because it is really who you are inside...

Because it is who you were created to be...

JUST DO IT... the best you can...


Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEST_LIFE_NOW 12/17/2010 3:50PM


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MEMARE 12/17/2010 8:47AM

    Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing, I feel like i've just received a Christmas present! emoticon
I really like all your other blogs you've provided the links for too! emoticon

Have a very Merry Christmas! emoticon

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JOCALAT 12/17/2010 7:20AM

    Have you read Randy's book...its awesome...I also saw his last lecture on tv...its very moving!!

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EGGBASKET1 12/17/2010 2:23AM


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DREAMBODY10 12/17/2010 1:39AM

    Great tips..I love motivational tools

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KATYBUG48 12/17/2010 12:43AM

  Good guidelines, Thanks

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When you know better.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

As much as I love this little cyber community, something that I see only rarely is blatant, no-holds-barred, gut-wrenching, edifying honesty; and when I do find myself in it's presence, I am brought to my knees in gratitude and awe. Tonight was such a night.

I've spoken before about my deeply ingrained tendency to lie... a dynamic that I've all but eradicated in my life since just before I joined SparkPeople. I've also lived most of my life under a blanket of shame... something about which I must still be vigilant.

I've been struggling the last few months to keep the shame at bay (it's sort of the gift that keeps on giving in my life), and it's especially hard this Advent season... a time for penetance... if I allow myself to, I could talk myself into being solely responsible for everything from the empty toilet paper roll to global warming... and it would all have the very same level of dire seriousness. Now, put like that, anyone (even me) can see the ridiculousness in my thinking... yet, when I am feeling inordinately vulnerable, I persist in going 'there'. Tonight I found myself considering what 'need' this might be fulfilling, and I think I hit upon an answer thanks to a perfect storm of Spark blogs (thanks Diane, Paula, Erin and Laurie!).

Wallowing in shame keeps me busy and distracted from taking responsibility for that which is truly mine to own. If I'm extra hard on myself for everything, I never have to take responsibility for anything. Wallowing in shame is a back door way to remain a victim on the altar of the less than nurturing relationships and circumstances in my life.

My friend, Erin, labelled herself a 'glutton' and a 'food hoarder' tonight. Before tonight I would have never applied those labels to myself... I was too busy being ashamed to risk the weight of yet another 'sin'. Yet, as she described why she was saying this, I couldn't deny that I saw myself. It was an uncomfortable place to sit.

And as uncomfortable as it was to sit there, I felt something in me lighten. It was as though shackles dropped from my spirit. Almost simultaneously and without judgement (that's what simply labeling BEHAVIOUR does... it eliminates judgement), a host of other dysfunctional behaviours came to mind that supported the 'hoarder' 'glutton' mantle:

...filling my plate with food without pausing to consider if I really wanted it... without assessing my hunger level... putting on the plate what I always ate and eating because it was 'mealtime'.

...eating more than I really wanted, long past being 'full' because it was a food I especially liked and someone else was eating it all up... I wanted 'my share'.

...cleaning my plate because it was 'sinful' to 'waste' food when so many were hungry... and giving myself points for my 'virtue'.

...preparing good, healthy food... stocking the fridge with fruit and vegetables... only to pass it all over for something 'quicker' or more 'satisfying' in the moment.

...buying more than my family really needs 'just in case'... of what? A flash famine? Fifty or so unexpected guests? I live in a city... it's not like there aren't 4 (really!) grocery stores within 5 minutes of my house open until eleven at night (one of them all night) if I really NEED something!

...buying food because it looks SO good, knowing full well that there is already an abundance at home.

These are things we rarely talk about... at least I've not noticed anyone talking about them. We talk about food as if it's the enemy. We bemoan our disinclination to exercise. We beat ourselves up for countless stumbles along the way. It sometimes seems to me that we'll talk about anything other than the gritty truth behind how we got here.

So why do I employ 'hoarder' and 'glutton' behaviours?

I think, in part, these are learned behaviours in my life (starting with the childhood 'you'd better clean your plate'... it was truly liberating the first time I threw away perfectly good food once I was full instead of eating it) that ceased to be productive or constructive (perhaps they never were... I do know that my thinking has been tainted by a father who didn't always have 'enough'), but that persist on some level. I've made some huge strides with regard to these behaviours in the last two years, yet I think I'd have moved along a lot faster if I could have framed them in terms of 'gluttony' and 'food hoarding' for myself... it's a really graphic picture.

I also think I need to be gentle with myself as I explore these ideas. I know many of my dysfunctional behaviours grew out of sincere attempts to meet my needs as productively as I was able. As I learned and grew, my behaviours didn't always change at the same rate. Just last evening, my DH asked me how many pieces of bread I wanted (yeah... pieces!)... and I got impatient... irritably I responded with, "why do I have to decide right now? Why can't I start with a half piece, and then see if I want more?" And a light went on in my brain. For the first time in maybe forever, I wasn't deciding how much I HAD to eat before the meal even started. I realized that I had a VERY long history of not listening to my body to continue to overcome... and I'm now moving in the right direction.

Ironically, tonight I was on the way to clean out my fridge (food bought with my 'eyes' not my family's needs in mind)... to make room for the fresh, unspoiled, healthy food I just bought.

Once I was done with the fridge (it wasn't nearly as atrocious as I felt badly about it) another thought occurred to me... the things I was throwing away reflected my 'desire' as well as my reluctance to 'waste' food (a half cup of this, a piece of that, something that is supposed to be good for me, but I didn't find a recipe that appealed).

Upon further reflection, I believe that my desire and my realization sometimes gets ahead of my ability to make good on both... and both desire and realization can get ahead of my feelings and my ability to do better in any given moment.

Perhaps my life is still too cluttered to make room for the new ideas and practices I'm struggling to adopt... sometimes my heart and mind are too cluttered.

Perhaps I haven't yet found anything to meet certain needs more effectively than did my old habits.

Perhaps what I desire isn't taking into consideration what is practical... I rush new habits in without thinking about whether or not they jibe with who I am right this minute... I don't think about how I can transition more gracefully... and then it occurs to me that perhaps certain transitions can never be 'graceful'... perhaps there is always going to be 'collateral damage'. I know I never grow evenly or gracefully. Until tonight, I sort of thought that was just me... now I'm not so sure.

Once thing I am certain about... other than my sadness over the waste, and my chagrin at not doing a bit better (perfectionism is a nasty character to live with)... when I am busy being ashamed and trying to hide from that shame, I am also neglecting to recognise my legitimate growth, and I am making it even harder for myself to move beyond my self-defeating dynamics.

Before I read Erin's blog, I was struggling to make myself go and face the evidence of my 'sinfulness', and I was beginning to spiral away from better habits. Having now faced the fridge (and my propensity for what looks like 'food hoarding'), I don't regret not eating one bite of what I threw out. I don't regret not instilling these same dysfunctional ideas in my daughter. Better that the food spoiled in the fridge, than it 'spoiled' on me or ruined my new resolves. In retrospect, I really do think that I still came out a winner. Two years ago I may have come to a different conclusion (there was then absolutely more waste than virtue in the fridge), but tonight I can claim victory, despite the desire for further growth.

Thanks to Erin, the food currently in the fridge will be consumed more conscientiously.

Thanks to Paula, I have stepped out from underneath the mantle of shame (perverted pride), and I've moved a little closer yet to self-respect and genuine pride.

I continue to console myself with this:

"You do the best you can. When you know better, you do better." MAYA ANGELOU

I hope that you might take comfort in it as well.

I pray that you may find peace within and all around you. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content. May the presence of Christ settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

May God always and abundantly bless you, and those you love, in every way that you require. May he hold you gently in the palm of his hand in a very personal way, and may you rest in the fullness of his love, his grace, his strength, his wisdom, his rescue, his redemption, his healing, his inspiration, his restoration and his mercy as you require it! May you carry in your heart this Advent season an extra special awareness of God's great love for you; and as Christ is born anew in your heart this Christmas, may you feel his sweet and gentle baby-fingered touch upon your life, and may you see his miracles all around you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

P.S. Thanks for the comments! For those of you concerned about inappropriately labeling myself, I appreciate the caution, and don't worry... I don't see the label as one that applies to my character (or Erin's) as much as it applies to cetain behaviours I sometimes employ. I can't change what I don't acknowledge. You see, I spend so much time trying to outrun indictments of my character (because I really must be the horrible person I was told I was for so very long... see that toxic shame?), I often don't pause long enough to just look at myself honestly without judgement and with simple acceptance, and deal with whatever is tripping me up. To have someone so genuine and gracious so honestly use such harsh labels without apology, or even really embarrassment, sat me back on my @$$ and invited me to take stock without the cloud of shame. This is how my blog frees me in my 3D life... here I can say what I fear the most, and realize that it's not as scary and awful as it felt rattling around in the dark and bruised places within my mind and heart. If I'm frightened and sick at heart over what is essentially 'me' I am paralyzed and stuck. When I can think in terms of behaviours over which I have total control, I can change any of my circumstances. I am NOT simply a sum total of my behaviour, and knowing 'why' I do something doesn't readily change behaviour. An indictment of the behaviour I dislike is what usually empowers me to take the first step away from it toward something new and more fulfilling. Does this make sense?

1 John 1:8-9: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

"Forgiveness is an on-going practice."

1. Remember that forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself so you can move on in your life with a greater sense of peace.
2. You cannot change what happened to you but you can change your relationship to it.
3. Begin to practice forgiveness regularly by becoming aware of when you are feeling hurt, and make a decision to resolve it right away.
4. Acknowledge what happened from your point of view.
5. Recognize and accept your feelings with love and compassion rather than with anger and judgement.
6. Be willing to give up being the victim in the situation and ask to see the blessing in what happened.
7. Look at the situation from the other person's point of view to gain greater understanding.
8. Open your heart to look beyond the wrong doing and into the heart of the other person.
9. Visualize what it might feel like to feel peace and harmony within you.
10. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart. Ask the Spirit to guide and assist you.





Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

The people who started it all tonight:

'Just Do You' (MEZZOANGEL)

'Gluttony, My Sin' (ERNO8151)

'Honesty can erase shame.'

If you don't already subscribe, you should consider adding Erin and Paula to your blog subscriptions... they're both among those who are taking a sincerely honest approach to the journey and she has a way of putting into it into words that will always take you few steps further into your own heart and a few steps farther down the road to your best self.

S.P.S. The Divine Miss O saw a specialist Tuesday... an MD who is also a Naturopath and a licensed acupuncturist. It was a blessed experience. He took us into his lovely, soothing, very attractive office. He made us all comfortable... introduced himself and made eye contact... he deliberately spoke to Miss O and patiently listened to her replies. He checked her throat because she said it was a little sore. He didn't rush. He spoke slowly. It felt as though we were the only people in the world for AN HOUR. He listened to us. He asked many questions. He took careful notes, and asked for clarification. He gave us some evaluative surveys to fill out in reference to all aspects of Miss O's daily doings. He answered our questions.

We are booked to go back at the end of January. Before then we will complete the surveys and return them to his office. He will review the copies of all of Miss O's previous test results... I had copies with us... to form a plan of action as to what further testing should be done... he believes testing should be done with purpose... to answer 'why' not to simply 'rule out'. He was happy to see that she had been tested for Celiac and, NO, blood tests are not at all definitive with respect to Celiac.

I asked him if it was unreasonable for us to expect definitive answers. He said no... Miss O's body is trying to tell us something and it's up to us to listen. She should not feel ill without explanation. EVER. He has started her on magnesium immediately to see if it can impact on her constipation (her 'normal' since birth)... and incidentally he believes that is a clue (nobody else has). He gave me credit for putting her on probiotics, and reassured me that the dose was appropriate. He didn't once speak to us as though we may be 'slow' and he didn't once look at me like I was daft.

After Christmas he thinks there is value in a three week elimination diet (no dairy, no gluten, no yeast) to see if it has any impact, and allergy testing may be done.

We left his office feeling ever so hopeful. It's a good place to be right now... better than where we were.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAKIPOPUP 12/10/2010 5:30AM

    There is nothing so freeing as taking "real" responsibility (as opposed to feeling responsible for everything in the universe, particularly the bad stuff). It opens you up to the possibilities in everything you experience - and is a tremendous relief as well. When this revelation was given to me (some years ago, now) it also helped me to be less judgmental of everybody else -


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    Wow! I had never considered the idea that (to be blunt, sorry I tend to be a bit candid) I suck and am a glutton and going to eat more candy is not changing anything. Berating my self for bad behavior clearly has never solved my problems. You don't get to steal and then "be scolded then forgiven". Society doesn't say that's Ok. So why do I think that berating myself makes being a glutton OK? You have shed a huge amount of light on something I had never considered. If you've done nothing else today you can know that I didn't go to the candy dish thanks to your insight so thank you!! As of this moment I will no longer consider my bad behavior as a trade off for berating myself. One, doesn't make up for the other, they just make everything worse. My sister once said, "it'll be easier for me to not eat that than it will be to deal with it later" I think what she meant was, it's easier to not eat that and continue to love my self than it is to eat that and dislike myself. emoticon

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    I read your blog thoroughly and slowly as I could see myself in so much of it. I agree with our friend Tina...we must be careful of the negative tags we place on ourselves, but I know that wasn't where you were stopping with your words. They were words that you needed to face about yourself so that you can move forward and turn them into positives. Her words of caution are good ones though as the bad stuff is easier to believe at times.

One phrase that really rang true for me was "these are learned behaviours in my life (starting with the childhood 'you'd better clean your plate'..." I heard that so much and even dealt with a "grandma" on one of our trips this fall that didn't like that we didn't make our daughter "clean her plate." I can't make her do that! She has some of my tendencies so I know that is a trap I don't want to set for her future!

Thank you for being so openly honest about this aspect of your journey! I'm right there walking beside you!

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ERNOINACTION 12/9/2010 2:45PM

    There so much of this that rang true for me. The food behaviors especially but also the piece about transitioning behaviors. I see so many people on SP try to do so much! They make progress for a but but then are burnt out. I want to say something but it's difficult to do so: 'Hey ever think about focusing on one or two things instead of doing everything?' Might not get you quick results but it's a long term thing and it takes a long time to change a behavior you've had since you we're a kid. Thanks for your reflections. We're all just looking for what's best for us and you are doing a great job of it! I also appreciate the shout out.

What a great Dr visit with Miss O. It's so great to have a Dr that pays attention to what you have to say. It WILL get better! All the best, Erin

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LILPAT3 12/9/2010 11:16AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TINATC26 12/9/2010 10:35AM

    Oh Ramona,

first, let me address the end of your blog..I am thrilled that you had a good appointment with Miss O and you felt "heard" and cared for.. honestly, is there anything better than that? Praying the you find your answers for Olivia and solutions that will make your dear girl, and you and your DH by extension, feel better.

As for your blog..be careful with words such as gluttony, my friend, as they have such negative connotations. Blatant honesty is important, we learn much from it, especially when it is coming from within, but please realize the difference between being honest with ourselves, with who and what we really are and why we are that way, and with JUDGING those things. Discovering what is at our core is important, but only because it gives us our starting place for our journey to something healthier and better.. I am with you as you take each step, my friend..right next to you, cheering you on!! Here's to another baby step in the direction of success!

Love you!

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ARTHURTOM 12/9/2010 9:45AM

    I've had people here at spark people get rather upset with me when I respond to a topic or blog when someone is screaming for help about the advice I leave. Just yesterday I responded to someone's blog who couldn't figure out why they've been on their diet for a little over two weeks and couldn't figure out why they have no energy or motivation to continue.

A responder after me dismissed my comments about this person not getting enough food to eat. The responder didn't give any solid advice other than to push ahead. My thoughts are that our bodies respond to everything around us and what we put into it or what we should be putting into it and don't.

To blindly forge ahead and not knowing why you feel as you do based on numbers and starving yourself is not only wrong, it will lead you to brand spanking new pounds in the future.

I feel it my duty to refute old wives tales, superstitions and other beliefs that are contrary to good nutritional health and I will pull no punches when it comes to that on Spark People.

It goes along with truth...facts. Thank you for the thought invoking blog.


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IAM_HIS2 12/9/2010 9:42AM

    This Advent is special for you...what a insightful experience you are having...your blog has pressed on some buttons for me too.

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MINDY502 12/9/2010 7:29AM

    Thanks for sharing your blog from the food aspect to the faith aspect. We can overcome these things through God that is for sure. Glad to hear that you have found freedom from the things that were binding you. God Bless!

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Magi of a Different Sort...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

...come early, no less... also bearing gifts!

...But first some words from the sponsor:

I don't know about any of you, but I began my Seasonal panic waayyy early this year... like in July... right after we flooded and we were overrun by plague after plague. I don't have the first clue where any of my Christmas stuff is... except to vaguely acknowledge that it's somewhere in the C-can storage container (bigger than my living room and dining area combined) still ensconced on our driveway... probably until next Christmas. Decorating is going to be of a minimalistic theme this year.

The funny thing is, this somehow feels better... and I was at a loss to figure out why until just this week. It FEELS better because I'm just going about my business, living my LIFESTYLE, and not treating it as anything special... or perhaps what I really mean to say is that it's no more or less special than the rest of my life.

This is my current epiphany... also so very much earlier than expected... and yet right on time... I'm truly learning to live like it's 'Thanksgiving' and 'Christmas' and 'Easter' and 'summer holidays' ALL YEAR 'ROUND! I am still, and likely eternally, 'run off my feet' (some things seem to be ever a work in progress) and it is ALL special and worthy of my utmost graciousness, and JOY. These are the gifts I am learning to give myself every day... not just when I'm supposed to be 'en pointe' for 'special' occasions... because I now know deep in my soul that it is never about the food, or the decor, or the special clothes, or the presents.... It's about PRESENCE... others and MY BEING present in the midst of the nutrition/nurturing, and ambiance, and functionality of my environment.

I suppose I must sound a little crazy... but it is a very subtle shift in my thinking that is making all of the difference to me and my well-being. By elevating my every day to the level of 'holidays' all my days have become 'holy' days, and my priorities have become more constant. I'm not on this roller coaster of seasonal peaks and ordinary day valleys... there isn't such a huge chasm separating 'regular' days and 'eventFULL' days... all my days are a more homogenous brand of SPECIAL. It's now much harder to tell the difference between an 'average' day and a 'special' day around here... and it all had to come apart for me to get here.

I suddenly 'get' Martha Stewart... I've always admired her and longed for the beauty with which she surrounds herself (believing I've never had the money or time to get anywhere near her standards myself), while I also COMPLETELY missed the point.

Martha Stewart is simply the original LIFESTYLE guru (you think the magazine would have clued me in). It's not about the details (here's where the magazine confused me... these will be different and individual to each person)... it's an ATTITUDE and BALANCE as to how I express this mindset in my own life... and my life is lived on a much less grand scale than is Martha's... yet my life is filled with many very 'good things' on a smaller scale. I have also come to understand that Martha's life built slowly and, whereas you or I may feel overwhelmed at creating some 'Martha' in the midst of our life as it is right now, she just wakes up each morning and steps into it... as it has SLOWLY come to be. An 'essential' life is built in much the same way a puzzle is... piece by piece in the context what is integral to the big picture of each person's life.

I believe I finally understand what is essential to my happiness, and I realize there really isn't much room for anything else in my life, or in my home. (THANK YOU, Kym for reminding me of who I really am).

So for this season, my home and my life will be less detailed and specific to Christmases past, but it will most certainly be more peaceful, joyous and holy for all of that because it will be concerned with only that which is essential... just as it is every day from here on in.

...Another part of my epiphany is directly related to my journey here at SparkPeople.

You see, I'm not one of those people who gain weight over the holidays... I never have been... in fact, I actually usually lose weight, I know... you hate me... but understand, it's not because of any real virtue on my part. I've always been slightly mystified myself... how is it that while everyone else around me gains weight I actually lose?

I finally figured out that I lose weight because in my concern to not gain 'too much' I become a more conscious and care-FULL eater. Let me say that again...

I become a more conscious and care-FULL eater...

...not rocket science, not miracle drugs, not a special diet, not a holiday miracle just for me, not great shapewear, not deprivation, not rigid rules about what I can and can't eat...

I become a more conscious and care-FULL eater...

...I eat only when I'm actually hungry... I really LISTEN to my body, I don't drink the bulk of my calories, I eat slowly, I am conscious of portion size, I sip water all day, I consider whether any particular food is tasty enough to warrant the calories, I eat 5-6 servings of veggies and fruit FIRST, I eat every 2-3 hours, and I eat whatever I actually want. GO FIGURE!

It NOW occurs to me that this is a lot like making all my days 'holy' days... and this is exactly what I've been doing as far as 'lifestyle' is concerned. Here's to every day being a holiday!

Now, back to those Magi... here they are... I'll let them speak for themselves!

Tom Venuto

"Whether the weight gain is a pound or ten pounds, did you ever ask yourself why does holiday weight gain happen at all?

Here are some common answers I’ve heard:

“I’m too busy over the holidays to work out as often as usual.”
“I’m more stressed over the holidays, and the food is there, so I eat more.”
“I have at least three parties to attend and then there’s Christmas and New Year’s, so it’s impossible to stay on a diet.”
“No one can tell me not to enjoy myself over the holidays so I’m just going to eat whatever I want.”

These answers all have a few things in common.

First, they assume that it’s an either/or proposition: You can either get in better shape or enjoy yourself, but not both. Stated in reverse: You can either deprive yourself of holiday enjoyments or gain weight, but it has to be one or the other. The truth is, “either/or thinking” is a very limiting form of thought.

Second, these are all excuses or rationalizations. “I’m too busy” for example, is always an excuse, because I have never known someone who was too busy to make time for his or her highest life priorities. The problem then, is not lack of time, but that most people do not make exercise or eating healthy a priority. We all have the same amount of time - 24 hours a day - but the way people prioritize the use of time is the difference between success and mediocrity. And remember, words mean little. Actions reveal a person’s true priorities.

Third, none of these are the real reasons most people gain weight over the holidays to begin with. The real reason is because an intention was never set for the opposite: To get in BETTER shape over the holidays.

Most people set a “goal” to get in worse shape over the holidays!

It’s not consciously set, of course, as few people would intentionally set out to gain fat. They simply do it by default. In their minds, they accept that it must be just about impossible to stay in shape with everything going on over the holiday season, so why bother?

Once the decision has been made, then the rationalizing (“rationing lies”) continues:

“Why should I deprive myself?”
“Family is more important.”
“Worrying about diet and exercise during the holidays is neurotic.”
“I don’t care if I gain a few pounds, I’m going to enjoy myself anyway.”
“It’s only these two or three weeks that I let myself go wild.”
“I’ll start the first week in January and lose the weight then.”

As a result of this “negative goal-setting,” they expect to work out less, eat more and gain a few pounds, and they don’t seem to even consider alternatives.

But what would happen if you set an intention and a goal to get in better shape between now and New Years’s Day?

What would happen if you decided that it was not an all or nothing proposition and that you could enjoy the holidays and all it has to offer and get in better shape at the same time?
And what if you decided that your health and your body were the highest priorities in your life, because you realized that can’t enjoy anything else in life, including family or holidays, if you don’t have your health?

Here’s what would happen: You would get in better shape!

I’m not all that different from you just because I’m a bodybuilder and fitness professional. I have many of the same problems, concerns and struggles as you do. Although today I always get in better shape between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and that’s a result of a conscious choice, a close examination of my old belief systems and a lot of action.

For most of my adult life, I wasn’t much of a traveller and I didn’t enjoy flying or staying in hotels. I had a belief that if I traveled, my workouts and nutrition would suffer. After all, “it would be hard to stick with my usual bodybuilding diet, and I wouldn’t have access to my usual gyms.” Because of these reasons (excuses), I never did much travel back in those days.

Then I was forced to take some trips for business reasons. Predictably enough, my nutrition and workouts suffered while I was spending time in airplanes and in hotels. With my experience having confirmed my beliefs, I re-affirmed to myself, “See, travelling is nothing but a pain. You just can’t stay on a diet and training program when you’re out of town.”

After several more trips, I noticed that something very negative happened: I surrendered. I had resigned myself to “not bother” while I was on the road. I let my expectations create my reality.

But I didn’t let it go on for long. As soon as I became aware of what was happening, I decided that I wouldn’t tolerate it, so I challenged myself and my previous limiting beliefs. I asked myself, “Why the heck not? Why let myself backslide? Why even settle for maintaining? Why not challenge myself to improve while I’m traveling?” The answer: There was no reason, there were only excuses.

From that day forward, I set a challenge for myself: To come back from every trip or vacation in better shape than when I left. Of course there were exceptions, as when I went on a vacation for total R & R. But I never let travel get in my way again…

I prepared food that I would eat on the planes so airline food was never an excuse…
I only chose hotels that had kitchens, so I could cook my own food…
I went food shopping immediately after check-in…
And I actually found myself training harder than usual!
No matter where I was training - it could even be some “dungeon” of a gym in the middle of nowhere - it didn’t matter because my mind was focused on improving and looking better when I came home than when I left. I had a goal!

What do you think happened? It’s not hard to guess: I always came home in better shape than when I left.

The idea that you can either enjoy the holidays or stay in shape - but not both - is damaging and limiting. It hurts your social life, your emotional life and your physical life. Life is not an either or proposition; it’s a matter of balance.

Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself, re-evaluating your expectations and acting in accordance with all of the above.

Your expectations will become your reality.

What are you expecting this holiday season? Are you expecting to be in better shape after holiday parties, celebrations, banquets, dinners, and desserts? If not, then why not? What’s preventing you from enjoying all of the above and still getting in better shape? Do you have a limiting belief which dictates that it’s one or the other? Could it be that you never set a goal, intention or expectation to do it? Could it be that you’re rationalizing or making excuses? If so, then I challenge you to change it this year.


There’s [a little more than six weeks] until the end of the year. Why not see how much you can improve your physique over the holidays, without depriving yourself of any holiday enjoyments or festivities?

Just step up your expectations.
Step up your standards.
Step up your nutrition.
Step up your training.
Step up your action.
Step up to the “holiday fitness challenge” the minute you finish reading this, and then just see what happens!

Eat right, train hard and expect success!"

Excerpted from:
'My Holiday Fitness Challenge To You'
by Tom Venuto

Burn the Fat Blog: the hottest FAT LOSS blog on the Net
(the archives are an AMAZING resource!)

...Magi #2:

This is Alwyn Cosgrove. Alwyn is a world-renowned and respected fitness expert and trainer. He is a superstar in the world of physique transformation for men and women. He’s trained champions in multiple sports and winners of multiple 12-week body transformation contests. He is a two time stage IV cancer survivor who fought his way back to fitness after a terrible ordeal... he knows exactly what it feels like to have his world reduced to nothing and have to fight his way back. A former Taekwon-do international champion , Alwyn has utilized his personal experience as an athlete and combined it with the advanced theories of European Sports Science and the principles of modern strength and conditioning systems to create a strategy recognised as the science of total training. He may be my new hero.

Now, if you're not in the mood to have your a$$ kicked HARD, then stop reading now.

However, if you want some some plain speaking (perhaps the Scottish brogue I hear in his voice as he speaks softens the rhetoric for me... I'm a sucker for accents), and an uncompromising perspective for getting this done, read on.

Alwyn’s thoughts on the problems with fat loss attempts today....

"This week I have heard more excuses as to why people are not losing fat than I have ever heard in my life. I have literally heard people tell their trainers - "I am following the nutrition program exactly, but instead of an egg white omelet for breakfast, I have a muffin and a latte". Hmmm. Not "exactly" the same is it?
So I thought this would be a good time to share some of my 'wisdom' for those of you still looking for the magic pill.

Having worked with hundreds of individuals over the years and as a trainer, magazine writer and lecturer to other fitness professionals I am amazed how often I am asked "What are the secrets to fat loss?"

I can vividly remember doing a photo shoot at our gym with a male client who had lost 85lbs of fat and now had a nice six-pack to show for his efforts. My own gym members came up and asked me what his "secret" was. THERE'S NO SECRET. They seemed to think I'd given him the "real" information and had withheld it from them! He's been given the same advice as I give to everyone else - he just chose to follow it a little more closely.

Fat loss is not under the control of the magic fat loss fairies. It's based on simple changes in behaviour.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to launch into an Alwyn Cosgrove rant. Those among you who are politically correct and easily offended can stop reading now. And if any of the rest of you are offended, then I'm sure there is a new diet book that will tell you exactly what to do to achieve fat loss nirvana (hint - "you have to eat less, fat boy" tends not to fill up a 300 page diet book). So put down your copy of "Eat Right for Your IQ" and listen up.

To lose fat:
Eat less calories than you burn.

Yes, there are some factors that can make this a little more difficult - metabolic type, medical disorders, food sensitivities, medications, sleep patterns, etc. But these are the minutiae - the small details. Even if you adjust or control for every single other variable in your body and your environment - if you consume more calories than you burn - you are going to gain fat.

Here are a few basic truths that no one really wants to hear:

Think about the foods you are about to consume. Are they going to bring you closer to your goal? Or will they make you feel like crap and take you farther away from what you want? Yeah I know that when you were younger, before you had kids, you could eat blah de blah de blah and not gain weight. Too bad - times have changed. And I know your friend can eat whatever he or she wants and is in great shape. Yay for them, sucks for you. But no amount of whining will change the fact that you need to work to get your butt in shape.

Stop rushing your meals - eat slowly. This will give your body a chance to actually realize that you've eaten, and register that you are full. It takes 20 minutes for the satiety mechanisms to kick in. Give your body a chance to tell you that it's full before you cram another 500 calories in your pie hole.

Eat smaller portions. Unfortunately you cannot eat unlimited amounts of the food you would like and still get lean. Sorry. Second helpings? I seriously doubt it. Appetizers, main course and dessert? You're kidding me.

Make correct meal choices that contain appropriate servings of protein, carbs and fats. I love the new "low carb diet" options at most restaurant chains now. A steak with melted cheese on the top. That's not a diet food people. I also saw a low carb buffalo wings option. The difference? No carrots to dip in the blue cheese. Like that's your problem - too many carrots in your diet.

A big a$$ bowl of pasta? That's what marathon runners eat the night before the race. If you have a marathon planned tomorrow then go ahead. If not - you don't need the calories.

"You are what you eat" is a true statement. And it wouldn't surprise me to find out that some of you have eaten a fat b@st@rd or two in your time. Are you a lean piece of meat - or a saggy nasty sausage?

If certain foods are a "trigger" for you and you cannot eat them sensibly, then you have to give them up. I have known very few people that can eat their "trigger" food and not end up blowing their diet. Once you "pop" you can't stop right? Usually one cookie means the whole bag. So you can't be trusted. Don't have them in the house.

You do not need something sweet to finish your meal. This is a conditioned response from your childhood days when cleaning your plate meant ice cream. 'Need' something sweet? Do you realize how much you just ate? You don't need anything. Dessert is not a psychological need for survival. It is just a bad habit. Habits can be broken. You do not need the cheesecake.

Do not buy junk food. If it is there - you will eat it. If you have a craving for candy and there's none in the house - it's highly unlikely you'll get up and go to the store. You'll just sit your a$$ back down and finish watching American Idol.

Oh, and buying the junk food "for the kids" is an absolute bullsh!t excuse. The kids do not need the cheezy poofs either. In fact, in my opinion, the childhood obesity epidemic has been caused by parents buying sh!t for their children. It's essentially child abuse plain and simple. Depriving your kids of crap is a good parenting decision.

If you screw up a meal - do not, I repeat DO NOT try to adjust the next meal to "make up for it". All you did then was screw up two meals. If you overeat at meal number one - just get back on track. Immediately. Because thinking "Well, I've blown it now so I might as well REALLY blow it," is akin to getting a flat tire as you drive down the freeway and getting out and totalling your car.

Cookies, doughnuts and muffins are crap food choices. You can't ever justify eating them on a regular basis. And low carb, fat free cookies, doughnuts and muffins are still crap - don't kid yourself.

Yes you can eat fast food. It's called grilled chicken sandwich or a turkey sub, Jarod. Fries? No. And you do not need to supersize for an extra $.50.

Yes it's hard. You want to look great? Nothing tastes as good as lean and buff feels. It's true. This week I've heard "It's too hard - I want an easier diet". What that means is "I'd rather eat crappy foods than look or feel any better. I have made a conscious decision to get fatter because my love for junk food is a more powerful love than my desire to get lean." It's unfortunate, but you will have to work for the body you want.

Little changes add up. Switching from a glass of orange juice every morning to a cup of green tea will save you 100 calories per day (this is without including the antioxidant and thermogenic benefits of green tea). That adds up to over ten pounds of fat loss per year.

Little discrepancies add up too. A Big Mac meal is about 1500 calories. You'll have to walk 15 miles to balance that out.

If you aren't a fat loss expert - hire one. Or follow a plan written by one. I wrote a 16 week all inclusive fat loss program called AFTERBURN that includes diet cardio and weight training. If you don't like that option I have an online fat loss training program. Using either of these approaches means you CANNOT fail. You just need to follow the program. I'm amazed how many people STILL ask me how they can get single-digit lean. The info is out there people.

This is by no means a complete list but I think you're probably getting the point. There is no secret to fat loss. At any one time your body is either getting leaner or it's getting fatter. You just need to adjust the balance. In today's world it just takes a little effort on your part.

But if you want to eat whatever you want you have two choices:
1. Move a lot. A LOT.
2. Gain weight, get fat, accept it and stop complaining.

And if you want to look great, the keys to fat loss are (from my politically incorrect colleague Lyle McDonald):
1. Change your eating habits: so that you're eating less.
2. Change your activity patterns: so that you're expending more calories.
3. Repeat: Keep doing this over a long period of time.
4. Forever: Newsflash, you don't EVER get to go back to your old eating habits unless you want to get fat again. To maintain weight loss means maintaining at least part of the changes you made to 1 and 2.

It really is that simple. If you are not losing fat it's YOUR fault. It's not mine, it's not your trainer, it's not your husband, wife, kids or your boss - it's YOU. There are 168 hours in each week - no matter who you are. Maybe you train for three of them. That leaves 165 for you to completely blow it.

If you are not good at self discipline then hire someone who will make you accountable. Until then realize that the choices are yours. Getting really lean is not difficult in terms of knowing what to do - it's doing it that makes the difference."

'The Science of Total Training' Articles

'10 Things I've Learned'Ramblings From a Mathematically'Challenged Fitness Coach'

'The New Rules of Lifting for Women'

'20 Things That Make Me Shake My Head'

(ASIDE FROM ME...You also don't have to figure out how you feel about it all, or why you feel as you do, you just have to DO WHAT you know WORKS! How you feel, and an understanding of why you struggle, will become clear to you as you move through the process. "Know thyself! A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly." ANDRE PAUL GUILLAUME GIDE)

...In case Alwyn wasn't enough, and your 'britches' need a little more 'dusting' here is what PINKCOCONUT had to say:
'In Which I Am Long Winded But Inspired To Share'

...Last, but not least:

Craig Harper

Ho, Ho, Ho!!!

Guess what today is? Six weeks (and a bit) until Christmas.

Sh*t, really?

(ASIDE FROM ME: I honestly almost CHOKED at this point!)


Here are a few things that many people will do in the coming six weeks:

1. Eat and drink too much – even though they say they’re serious about getting in shape.

2. Rationalise their stupid behaviour with some mindless rant about it being ‘that crazy time of the year’. The inference being that the Christmas period is somehow a legitimate time to fill their body with crap it doesn’t need.

3. Gain weight.

4. Wonder why they have gained weight (curiously).

5. Tell themselves – and everybody else – how exhausted they are (thereby talking themselves into exhaustion) and stumble towards the ‘finish line’ (Dec. 31) like some kind of martyr.

6. Wonder where the year has gone and come out with some very clever and insightful questions like “where has the year gone?”

7. Delay the setting of any goals and the changing of any behaviours until post-Christmas because…. that’s what they do every year.

8. Tell anyone stupid enough to listen how disciplined, amazing and productive they will be from January 1.

9. Talk and think themselves into a state of anxiety over a range of things.

10. If they’re male, they will wait until December 24 to start any shopping.

Here’s what I suggest you do:

1. None of the above.

You’re welcome.

From 'The Christmas Idiot'
By Craig Harper

Sign up for Craig's FREE email articles, and his FREE Ebook:

YOU'RE WELCOME!!!!! In your case, I'll even waive the fee, LOL!

"Behind every self defeating behaviour in your life is a lie that you are believing." RICK WARREN




Before 'Progress' Pictures - September 2010

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror.)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is not a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

Through this holiday season, and well into the New Year, for all of you I pray... may an all abiding peace fill your thoughts, rule in your dreams each night, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself in ways you have never before experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your cares be lifted. I pray that faith enters a new height in you, that your territory be enlarged, and that fulfillment is just one step closer.

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life! AMEN.

{{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

P.S. It's snowing here... big, soggy, almost a snowball in and of themselves, flakes and I'm drinking coffee as I put this together... I don't know what possessed me, but I put a tablespoon of cocoa powder in with the grounds, and my usual splash of vanilla in the carafe before I turn it on... IS THIS EVER GOOD!!!!!

S.P.S. HEALTH REPORT: a week and counting with no evidence of CA-MRSA for both DH and myself! While I have a headache when I wake up, and it's still there when I go to sleep, in between I can mostly function. The Divine Miss O is fine, except that she isn't always, lol. Sigh. It's apparently a journey... she holds her own as long as she gets enough good sleep... we're just biding time until the specialist appointment in December. We treat symptoms as they crop up (and then go away)... she misses a day or two of school every couple of weeks due to fever and lethargy (this week she's home more than not). Weekends are hard on her... an activity a day is too much sometimes, yet we're reluctant to pull her out of ballet and soccer completely... it's hard to find the balance. I'm just grateful she is no where near as ill as she was March-June.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYROSE 12/1/2010 1:35PM

    *sigh* I've felt so out of touch with minimal Spark Time, and dealing with those that need that Swift Kick... but taking it also as an opportunity to look in the mirror.

Thanks for sharing the (Oh so nummy) Magi for their wisdom is the same as yours: In telling the truth when no one else will.

Many, many hugs and blessings for this minimally decorated, but abundantly full holiday season!

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ASH72461 11/16/2010 7:52AM

  i loved it
the holdays are alway a challenge for me
but i plan i not gainning any weight
i plan on exercising and counting calorie during te holiday season emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KYMBERLEIGH_C 11/13/2010 10:30PM

    Oh Ramona, as always you read my mind (and thank you for the special thank you) So, what shall we do with our 6 weeks (gulp) and a minute ??? Sadly (seriously, it really is sad) my friends are all in the computer, so I must figure out the camera workings, or use a mirror and still try to look reasonably "cute" LOL I am going to attempt to do this photo shoot somehow though, he would have appreciated it even at my chunkiest, and it will be one more "freeing" thing for me to step another bit forward and away from that past. Thinking more lately, I did stand up to the family and of course, there's some who'd just as soon ignore me right now then speak to me, but although missing them on the holiday will hurt, I feel some freeness at knowing that there will be NO stressors around my holiday table. We are free to celebrate and be thankful in our own way, at our own time, and NOT spend a lot of cash we really don't have to travel and kennel the pups, etc. Feeling good about life right now..............

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/13/2010 6:15AM

    Ah, the holidays . . . my parents (both 84) are coming across 3 states to be with me this year. That always makes me very happy. Meals are always a consideration though. Old traditions really seem to come out during those weeks. I don't usually bake though. You're right, just too tempting!! Don't need it.

I just have a question, how do you have the time to write these wonderful blogs? It would take me 3 days to write one like yours. Now mind you, it's in my head and comes out in speech, but my DH wouldn't endure it if I took "his time" to write like you do. Must come easier for you . . the writing I mean!!

Anyway, have a wonderful weekend GF . . . . love and blessings, Jan

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DETERMINEDJANET 11/12/2010 12:29AM

    Great blog!

I just mentioned to the hubby tonight that I'm not feeling ready for the holiday season as I don't even have a Christmas card in the house. I usually have our Christmas letter well in hand by this point and I haven't even started on it. I know it is coming though...I'm already getting "save the date" emails for events.


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OMELYN 11/10/2010 7:52AM

    Wow! Sounds like you are moving in the right direction, and sharing the journey so vividly with us all as usual.

I am decidedly not in Christmas Mode, have a great book to reread about Advent, which I will share the title of as soon as I get home... got to work now but wanted to say hi.
Love ya

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ALECIA0823 11/9/2010 10:48PM

    Thank-you, Thank-you! What a great post as we approach the holidays! I really liked the "magi" and what they had to say, certainly three very wise men, but I was most struck by your own comments about living every day as a holiday or "holy" day. This is often a theme heard in Christian circles, I know I've heard multiple sermons on living Christmas all year long, or something similar. I've tried to live that way myself. But I had never heard anyone, even the most educated pastor, describe that way of living so vividly or truthfully! I pray that you continue to feel as though it is Christmas or Easter or some other delightful day every day!

Also, praise the Lord that you and your dh seem to be free of the bacteria! I pray that you will soon have answers for your daughter as well! God Bless!

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GIRLINMOTION 11/9/2010 8:55PM

    Thank you for sharing all your gathered information and wisdom regarding being in the present.


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BERRY4 11/9/2010 6:33PM

    I have been "soaking" in 2 of your "magi". I have been reading & rereading 2 books (1 by each) to retool my thinking. And I find it interesting that I had just updated my status before reading your blog...
** I WILL lose weight between now and New Year's Day!
** I WILL drop down into the next set of 10's--closer to my goal weight!

Thanks for putting it all down & spelling it out!!

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TELERIE 11/9/2010 5:27PM

    Great set of Magi you're offering here. I'm a fan!
Wishing you peace and pleasure and all good things every day and also during the holiday! The important thing is spending time with people, not with all the decorations. Big hug!

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KNH771 11/9/2010 4:03PM

    Wow! Four blogs in one! Craig's email cracked me up. Short and to the point. Alwyn's email made me smile too - who says there isn't a "magic fat loss fairy"?

I like your point about being in the present. I keep "meaning" to get back to doing a daily gratitude journal, but lately I haven't done it - even though it's sitting on my bed. I've been thinking about a slimmed down Christmas too. Usually I put up three or four trees and all kinds of stuff. This year I was thinking much simpler. For adult gifts, I'm having people remembered in a Novena of Masses at Catholic University. Small gifts for the kiddos.


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JILLWILSON2102 11/9/2010 2:44PM

    Ramona as always your words are food for the soul. I wonder if I might inquire about Miss Olivia and how she is doing? emoticon

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