SHAKINGTHETREE's SparkPeople Blog SHAKINGTHETREE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community I feel pretty..? It occurred to me today that it's been a long time since I've *felt* pretty. <BR> <BR> I've felt a lot of things over the past few years... and pretty was not one of them. <BR> <BR> I haven't ever really had too much of a self-esteem issue. I'm not what you'd call a conventional beauty, but I think I kind of have an attractiveness all my own... kind of like Bette Midler or Barbra Streisand. <BR> <BR> But lately, I feel kind of... I dunno... disconnected from my femininity, I think. I... Mon, 25 Sep 2017 15:39:58 EST Muscle - 1; Fat - 0 Scales. Love 'em, hate 'em... no matter how you slice it, they're still one of the most useful tools at our disposal while we are on the health and wellness journey. <BR> <BR> HOWEVER!! There are loads of other things we can use to determine whether what we're doing is making a difference. Tape measures! Calipers! Even that pair of jeans that's just a liiiiiiiittle too snug at the moment can tell us a whole lot about our progress when we put them on and they slide on more easily. (I lo... Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:29:51 EST Moving the needle With renewed zeal, I am on the hunt for information and resources that feed and nourish me as I tread (slowly, carefully) back on the path to healthier habits. <BR> <BR> One such resource I've been mining lately is podcasting. As it turns out, there are a lot of people out there with a lot to say! During my drive home from work, which can be long and boring, I like to try to find a podcast to listen to where I will do one of three things: laugh, learn, or be inspired. (On lucky days, I'l... Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:56:34 EST Well - it's working So I finally sucked it up and updated my ticker to what it should be. <BR> <BR> For the better part of a year, I couldn't bring myself to face that I'd gained THAT much weight... and now, I'm ready to own it. <BR> <BR> When you think about it - it's not too horrible. In June of 2012, I weighed 126. Today, when I weighed in, I weighed 166. So, I gained a mere 8 lbs a year, which isn't awful except for the fact that I just continued to let it creep back on. <BR> <BR> And honestly, I was... Fri, 8 Sep 2017 13:58:45 EST Thoughts on the USDA and the Food Pyramid Would it surprise you to know that the USDA's various diet recommendations and guidelines over the years (since the turn of the 20th century!) have been shaped by political lobbies? <BR> <BR> Ha. Probably doesn't come as much of a shock these days, especially since sooooo many more horrific things are happening at the highest political levels. But yes, it's true, and there's loads of literature out there concerning this very thing. I encourage you to read anything by Michael Pollan if you... Wed, 6 Sep 2017 13:18:06 EST Three weeks vegan, and eliminating other "stuff" Well, here I am starting on my fourth week of eating vegan, with a few more observations. <BR> <BR> -While "fake meat" foods are getting more and more palatable these days, I think I'll only eat them very rarely. Their ingredients lists seem mostly harmless, but they do not agree with my body at all. <BR> <BR> -I'm working on a recipe for THEE PERFECT tofu scramble. I'm almost there. :) <BR> <BR> -Seitan is tricksy foodses. Maybe I need to experiment with it more, but I didn't much car... Tue, 5 Sep 2017 11:48:31 EST Two Weeks Vegan: My Report I've been two weeks vegan, and I can say with confidence that this is a lifestyle I can live with. I haven't had any real struggles yet, and the difference in how I feel is undeniable. <BR> <BR> I've always been the kind of person who has done well with rules, and one of the great benefits of veganism is that the "rules" are very clear-cut. When I am given a set of well-defined rules with no wiggle room, it eliminates a lot of mental struggle for me, for some reason. For example, if I see... Mon, 28 Aug 2017 10:01:02 EST Busy busy! I have a gig tonight, so I planned allllllll my food for today. I am NOT leaving things to chance! <BR> <BR> Yesterday, I started poking around for fun, active things to do. Complicating the process is the fact that I already have choir on Wednesdays and band on Thursdays, and I am unwilling to give those two things up because they're probably the two best decisions I've made over the past five years. <BR> <BR> A while back, I took bellydance lessons and got very good at it, to the point ... Thu, 24 Aug 2017 13:28:55 EST A Week Vegan: Observations So I've been vegan for a week, officially. Here are some of the things I've experienced: <BR> <BR> -I feel lighter - not just physically <BR> -I'm peeing a lot <BR> -I'm pooping a lot (sorry, tmi!) <BR> -I'm gassier than I've ever been (also tmi!) <BR> -My skin looks better <BR> -IT IS NOT DIFFICULT AT ALL <BR> <BR> That last observation was revelatory to me. It may be because I've been a vegetarian for a long time and am used to reading food labels and being careful, but going vegan isn'... Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:02:32 EST A wee update. So I haven't really posted much of anything in a while... a lot has happened. :) <BR> <BR> 1) Through circumstances completely unrelated to me or my performance, at the end of the year last year, I came to the realization that I had to find a new job. No hard feelings whatsoever from me or my old employer, and it was a happy parting of the ways. It turned out to be a great thing, because now I am an office manager for a satellite office of another large law firm, similar to where I was b... Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:55:16 EST Grrrr. Is there a way to SHUT OFF the community feed on my Start Page??? <BR> <BR> I DO NOT LIKE Facebook. I DO NOT LIKE things that even resemble Facebook. I don't need to see everyone's stuff all the time. <BR> <BR> I certainly understand that networking with other people who have similar fitness goals has its benefits, but when I want to reach out for support, I'll reach out and get it. Likewise, when I want to reach out and give support, I'll give it. I do NOT need to see EVERYONE'S busi... Fri, 17 Mar 2017 12:10:04 EST Feeling groovy Yeah, I woke up feeling pretty confident this morning. :) <BR> <BR> There's a lot of uncertainty in my life right now, but I more or less have all my stuff together and am feeling great about where I am. <BR> <BR> I can't wait for the awesome things that are going to happen to me this year. :) Fri, 3 Feb 2017 12:14:05 EST Blessed Imbolc!! Hey, congratulations - we're halfway through winter!! <BR> <BR> I really have nothing to complain about; it's been a pretty mild winter here in the northeast, by comparison. We've had some terrible winters of late. Kind of nice to have a temperate one, for a change! <BR> <BR> Anyway, there are lots of new adventures ahead, and I'm looking forward to the renewal of spring. :) Wed, 1 Feb 2017 16:53:02 EST Whew :) Happy to report that I've lost all the weight that I've gained over the holidays. What a fight! I can't help but feel, though, like that extra weight was a mixed blessing... because it was just the extra motivation I needed to finally develop a regimen. I actually have a nice little routine established, and it's working well for me right now. I've got great momentum, and I think that finally having a routine that "clicks" has a lot to do with that. Of course, as I lose more, I will have ... Fri, 27 Jan 2017 12:53:15 EST Just... DOOO IT GO GET IT TODAY, SPARKPEEPS! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:23:28 EST Happy Sparkaversary to meeee! Six years! Hard to believe! <BR> <BR> There have been a lot of ups and downs, but I'm absolutely sure that those ups and downs would have much more difficult to navigate if I hadn't had Spark in my life. <BR> <BR> So - thanks, you guys! Some of you have been my buddies for a long time, and I'm grateful to be on the journey with you. <BR> <BR> <em>381</em> <em>593</em> Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:18:44 EST Eventful few weeks... Can't really go into details why, but let's just say that stuff is in flux, my friends... and when stuff is in flux, my best strategy consists of three things: <BR> <BR> 1) Staying alert and light on my feet; <BR> <BR> 2) Keeping a sense of humor and gratitude; and <BR> <BR> 3) Having faith that everything is okay, that *I* am okay, and the Universe has my back. <BR> <BR> So far, so good. :) <BR> <BR> I gained weight over the holidays, even in spite of my best efforts... but it wasn'... Tue, 17 Jan 2017 10:21:12 EST Had to punt! Ohhhhh this morning. <BR> <BR> I got myself all prepped to work out this morning, and as I was suiting up to work out, Hannah stared me down with insistent eyes and a gurgly belly. She'd just eaten, and I could tell that it wasn't agreeing with her. <BR> <BR> So... rather than doing cardio with Tony Horton and risk the poop-splosions in my house, I took the dog on a brisk, 2-mile walk. <BR> <BR> Was it ideal? No. <BR> <BR> Was it as much of a calorie burn as I would have gotten from ... Tue, 27 Dec 2016 10:32:46 EST Epic fight What a struggle to get out of bed and work out this morning... I almost punked out. That would have been bad, because I have tons of stuff to do after work today and I almost certainly would have weaseled out of working out tonight, too. I got up and I did it, and I'm glad I did... but I didn't have the "oomph" I usually do. I am really dragging my tail today. I'm thinking it may be PMS. I hope I can find the energy somehow, somewhere, to get done all the stuff I need to accomplish this ... Thu, 22 Dec 2016 14:16:48 EST Yule Blessings! Today is the solstice - yaaaaay! After today, the days get longer! So glad... getting dark at 4:30 pm is pretty tiresome. <BR> <BR> I kiiiinda fell off the wagon a little, but really, all things considered, I'm doing okay this holiday season in terms of keeping things from getting way out of control. I can proudly say that I have not succumbed to any pastries, which for me is a BFD, especially this time of year. I've also not imbibed too much alcohol, which is also a big pitfall for me; ... Wed, 21 Dec 2016 14:04:39 EST Update on the Mojo Room I am painting my Mojo Room PURPLE!! :) :) :) <BR> <BR> The guy at the Home Depot actually tried to talk me out of it. He said, "I can't let you paint a bedroom this color."To which I said, "If it’s not a color that something should be painted, then Behr wouldn’t be making it, now, would they??" It's a beautiful deep plum color, and I’m going to paint the chair rail and trim cream. Suck my toe, Home Depot Guy. <BR> <BR> It’s going to be fun, funky, and feminine, and I'm calling it my Mojo Ro... Tue, 13 Dec 2016 16:19:25 EST A little off-the-rails - but back on track I completely bagged on exercise this weekend - ugh. But I'm going to get right back to it this week. I like the way it makes me feel, and I owe it to myself to do things that make me feel good. <BR> <BR> Did a LOT of running around and doing stuff, however, so it's not like it was a slothful weekend or anything. <BR> <BR> Eating wasn't too terrible, either. Not great - but definitely controlled. <BR> <BR> I'm totally ready to start 2017 strong! Mon, 12 Dec 2016 10:10:44 EST RIP Coffee Maker I think I've finally approached the point of frustration with my coffee maker. <BR> <BR> When I got it seven years ago, it was not great... it was a refurbed Krupps that I got on the cheap. <BR> <BR> Here is a list of how it offends me: <BR> <BR> • Sometimes the drawer for the grounds pops open and brews a nice, big pot of plain water <BR> <BR> • Sometimes it sits there and gurgles and fusses and a giant plume of steam escapes from the top and it brews a few tablespoons of really strong c... Fri, 9 Dec 2016 09:59:04 EST Quickity blog I will be tested today... <BR> <BR> Here are today's challenges: <BR> <BR> 1) It's going to be a LONG day for me. I have work, and then I have rehearsal... I will be on the fly today, and making healthy eating choices on the fly is always a challenge. <BR> <BR> and <BR> <BR> 2) I'm meeting my friend for lunch to celebrate her new job. It's a great restaurant with delicious food... <BR> <BR> So I'm going to do the best I can. I had a nice, light breakfast, I'm going to look at the r... Thu, 8 Dec 2016 10:05:39 EST One week in So I've managed to keep this up for a week. It's been a long time since I've done that! <BR> <BR> I feel great. I've now fallen into a little routine, and it feels good. As much as we humans love variety, we also love structure. <BR> <BR> Yesterday, I was chatting with my bestie about home stuff. I have a spare room in my house that I'm making plans for. I've decided I'm going to dedicate the room to CREATION. All of my creative stuff is going to go in there... my yarn and needles/hoo... Wed, 7 Dec 2016 10:25:15 EST No Whammies, no Whammies... Does anyone remember the game show "Press Your Luck?" It had a game board that shuffled around and you could win piles of money incrementally depending on where it landed... unless you landed on a little red guy called a Whammy. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Whammies would annihilate any money you scored, but usually in a kind of adorable, animated way (with a lawnmower, with a bomb, etc.). I was kind of fas... Tue, 6 Dec 2016 11:31:01 EST Working on those habits...! Lately, when I'm having a mental struggle (to eat something not on my plan, to want to stay in bed and blow off my workout), it's helping me to remind myself to strengthen the good habit instead of the bad one. To accede to the bad habit only gives it more strength, which will make it that much harder to overcome later. To push and strengthen the good habit gives it more power and will make it easier to do every time I have to make the same choice. <BR> <BR> I had a similar struggle this m... Mon, 5 Dec 2016 11:37:50 EST Tonight! Tonight is my first band gig! So excited! And definitely nervous. I was really fighting my lip last night at rehearsal, but my fellow tuba peeps are really cool and supportive, and while the band is focused on musical excellence, they also have a philosophy of a true volunteer musical group: "we do it because it's fun." So... I'm just going to try to relax a little... and maybe I'll go through my music this afternoon and make some extra notations at some trouble spots I had last night. <... Fri, 2 Dec 2016 10:10:07 EST Deep breath... So, I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a rough year, yes? <BR> <BR> On pretty much every level of my life, I am in the process of restructuring... in some cases, taking it down to the ground and starting all over again. <BR> <BR> As far as my health goes, I'm doing... just okay. <BR> <BR> I miss the days when I felt amazing. <BR> <BR> Right now, I feel gross. I don't hate myself or anything, but I *know* I can do better and feel better and that it will help me with everythin... Thu, 1 Dec 2016 10:26:26 EST Quickie blog I need to rein it in, folks. <BR> <BR> I feel gross, and I've finally had enough. <BR> <BR> So - I'm back on the wagon. I am exercising again, and I'm watching what I eat... and I do believe I will be giving up booze, as well. <BR> <BR> I just feel blegh and ick and ew and yuck, and I think I need to jettison the garbage stuff out of my body. Wed, 2 Nov 2016 12:24:39 EST Well well well well well well... As it turns out, this was actually a pretty good week. I've lost four pounds. <BR> <BR> And I know it's not a B.S., water-weight-related loss. Check out my stats: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I'm losing actual body fat, gaining actual muscle mass, and even though my water weight went up, I still lost actual weight. All good things, and it is compelling evidence that I am on the right track. So... yay for... Fri, 12 Aug 2016 10:45:17 EST HOLY HOT BATMAN Bleggghh. It's hot as a crotch here in the northeast... when I woke up at 5am, it was already 80 degrees and humid enough to make me sprout gills. Yuck. I wanted to start running again in earnest this week (encouraged by having a good, pain-free run last week), but this is the kind of weather that can actually be dangerous to run in. No thanks! <BR> <BR> So things are good. I've put on some weight. <BR> <BR> Considering that I had been losing weight due to depression/no appetite, I'm n... Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:24:51 EST Sometimes darkness can show you the light The lyrics to the song "The Light" by Disturbd are kiiiiiiind of really resonating with me right now. I'm still wrestling with the demons, with varying degrees of success... but I still have fight in me, and that's something to hold onto. And believe me, I'm holding onto it for dear life - and I'm seeking out inspiration for the fight in so many good places. It's so weird - even though life as I know it is kind of crumbling around me, I'm actually doing okay. I feel like I'm on good footi... Thu, 4 Aug 2016 10:30:51 EST Days 22 and 23 Going to my therapist may be the best decision I've ever made. I'm not out of the woods, by any means, but I really like my therapist and I feel like I'm going to get good help. <BR> <BR> I don't have the energy to type much at the moment, but I did want to check in with myself. Eating and exercise, even in spite of it all, have been pretty good. As it turns out, developing a routine that's healthy is helping me, I think. They say that when you're depressed, if you stick to a daily routi... Thu, 23 Jun 2016 14:33:44 EST Day 21 Today: work, therapy, workout. <BR> <BR> So glad I get in to see the therapist today. <BR> <BR> *~*~*~* <BR> <BR> Public Service Announcement: I had a few people yesterday respond to my mention of depression by alluding to life being a roller coaster ride. Here's the thing: telling someone who suffers from depression to "enjoy the roller coaster ride" is like telling someone to enjoy their chronic illness and take pleasure in their suicidal ideations. "Hey, cheer up! Enjoy the thrill... Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:57:51 EST Days 18, 19, 20 The weekend was a little hairy... I was emotionally pretty distraught and so working out was difficult (shoot, even just getting out of bed was difficult), but I did okay. I'm only missing two workouts at this point, and I'm catching up on that this afternoon (worked out this morning, and am going to do legs/back tonight when I get home). I'm going to do Wednesday's workout (Core) tomorrow, and I'm going to do tomorrow's workout (yoga) on Wednesday. Then I'll be more or less caught up on e... Mon, 20 Jun 2016 13:28:44 EST Days 16 and 17 I bagged out of yesterday's workout because I simply couldn't find the mental energy to do it. Depression is like that... it can rob you of all of your will to do the things you normally enjoy. I decided rather than force myself to do it to instead get a good night's sleep and then get up early and do yesterday's workout this morning, which is exactly what I did. Tonight, I'm supposed to go see a show (I really don't want to go, but I have friends in it and I want t be supportive of them),... Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:01:28 EST Day 15 My old scale was not functioning properly, so I bought a new one. It's fancy, and tells me my weight, body fat %, muscle mass %, water weight %, and bone density. It also connects to my phone via Bluetooth, so I have an easy way to track my stats. <BR> <BR> Since June 3: <BR> <BR> - I've lost 5.2 lbs (I am now 151.4 lbs) <BR> - went from 32.8% body fat to 31.8% body fat <BR> - went from 27.6% muscle mass to 28.1% muscle mass <BR> - water weight has averaged about 49.1% <BR> <BR> Seeing t... Wed, 15 Jun 2016 10:47:15 EST Day 14 So I bolted upright in bed around 1:30 am, and I was not able to get to sleep afterward. Pretty common for depression. <BR> <BR> Tried staying in bed, meditating, reading, etc. - and around 5am, I figured it was pointless and got up. I worked out. <BR> <BR> I'm sure I'll crash later, but I'm going to try to force myself to stay awake for as long as possible so I don't have the same problem tonight. <BR> <BR> The upshot is that waking up so early (too, too early) allowed me time to pack... Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:04:59 EST Days 11 & 12, and 13 Did yoga, as scheduled, on Saturday. <BR> <BR> Bagged leg day yesterday, but it was only because I was busy doing other things. I got up early and did yardwork, and for some reason I felt motivated to go on a cleaning jag and so I began moving my bedroom furniture around, vacuuming, throwing stuff away, etc. I did that literally all day long, and it felt good to do. Will it snap me out of depression? I really don't know, but it certainly didn't hurt. I have more I'd like to do this week... Mon, 13 Jun 2016 09:30:05 EST hey, here's a good link to describe what I am going through. This is literally everything that is happening to me right now. It sums up pretty darn perfectly what depression is. I hope you read it - not to understand me, but to understand what everyone who suffers with depression goes through. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>05/depression-part-two.html </link> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 14:09:41 EST Days 9 and 10 Yesterday, I found my brain so full of angst and static that - against my better judgment - I went outside and ran. I figured I could do a half hour of running and then do P90X plyo, but only half (each exercise once). I ran well, even in spite of everything; my foot is giving me a little pain today, but nothing terrible. The plan to do a half hour of plyo after, however, did not materialize. I was far too tired and only ended up doing about 18 minutes of it. Mission accomplished, though... Fri, 10 Jun 2016 10:48:32 EST Day 8 Still on the exercise wagon. <BR> <BR> Still depressed. <BR> <BR> Still hanging in there. Wed, 8 Jun 2016 20:32:54 EST Days 6 and 7 I had to bag my workout yesterday - first day of my period is always rough. No matter - I brought my workout clothes to work today. My boss leaves at about 1:30pm, and so I will have the office to myself for the remainder of the afternoon. <BR> <BR> Tonight, I will mow the lawn, practice, and try to straighten up my room a little. Being depressed means that stuff piles up... and I think that looking at all those piles of stuff is not helping matters any. <BR> <BR> *~*~*~* <BR> <BR> I ... Tue, 7 Jun 2016 09:54:15 EST Days 4 and 5 Sticking with my workouts is proving to be very grounding. I was shocked at how good yoga felt yesterday. Usually I fuss and complain about it because it makes me feel creaky and old, but - maybe because I have so little energy to put any kind of emotion into anything - I had literally no ego going into it and I just went through the routine as best I could without thinking of whether what I was doing was "good enough" or not. I actually felt great afterwards. <BR> <BR> I nearly skipped l... Sun, 5 Jun 2016 13:51:38 EST Day 3 Got up. Worked out. Pushing through. I have decided that working out and practicing music are going to be my constants and my daily "me time." <BR> <BR> *~*~*~* <BR> <BR> I thought I was getting better... but I backslid last night and I feel pretty bad again today. I thought I was feeling good enough to go out and meet a friend at a theatre fundraiser, but that was a mistake... because of the people and the noise and the alcohol, I completely shut down. I cried during my entire drive h... Fri, 3 Jun 2016 09:36:24 EST Day 2 Upon waking up today, I nearly bailed. Didn't, though, because when I go home tonight, all I want to do is practice, read for a bit, and maybe put away laundry. That's it. <BR> <BR> I got MOST of the way through plyo today, but stopped because my heel started to do funny things. I desperately do NOT want to re-injure, so I erred on the side of extreme caution and stopped after 53 minutes. Seeing that I'd promised myself I was going to do at least a half-hour, this is far from failure. <B... Thu, 2 Jun 2016 13:05:01 EST Short update I got up early and exercised this morning... so there's something to be a little happy about. I hope that with regularity, it will help improve my mood. It wasn't the prettiest workout ever, but that's not the point. The point is to move and do something. Anything. <BR> <BR> I also got my meals squared away for the day - all but dinner, which I'll figure out when I get home. <BR> <BR> *~*~*~* <BR> <BR> I need to think very hard and very carefully about my life - where it's going, whe... Wed, 1 Jun 2016 09:50:11 EST So much for intuition As it turns out, my friend Neil was NOT a good choice to open up to. Turns out he was copying and pasting my messages, verbatim, to show to a girl... a girl into whose pants he is trying to get. Desperately. So desperately, in fact, that he was using my problems as a way to make conversation with her, saying he was so saaaaad. I found out because he coped/pasted my messages and accidentally sent them to me instead of her... probably because he was drunk. Isn't that awesome? I'm pouring ... Tue, 31 May 2016 11:52:06 EST I've had too much to think. Still hanging in. <BR> <BR> I'm in the process of gathering my thoughts because my friend Neil took notice that I've not been myself and asked me what's wrong. <BR> <BR> The fact that he noticed this is remarkable, because - for better or worse - I am a very skilled actress who is extremely adept at convincing the world that I'm great and everything is fine while on the inside, my spirit is flatlining. It's also remarkable because he lives just outside of London, and I live here in Del... Fri, 27 May 2016 10:24:29 EST