Back At It

Work started today. There aren’t any kids in class or anything until next Wednesday, but we are back. We are gathered around tables in the library debating schedules, sharing summer stories and laughing- lots of laughing. I think I landed in a pretty wonderful school. As for my classroom? I keep plugging away at it and keep leaving for the day feeling like I’ve made little progress- though I can rattle off the myriad of things that I did accomplish today. My room just seems a mess, still, and forget about curriculum. I have a big weekend ahead of me! That said, I know everything is fine and will be fine next week, it’s just a matter of getting this big list accomplished!

Bradley has posed me in this same spot almost every time we've been to Disneyland since our honeymoon in 1999.
Bradley has posed me in this same spot almost every time we’ve been to Disneyland since our honeymoon in 1999.

I wrote this several days ago, and keep second guessing whether or not I should post it. I’m embarrassed that people will think I’m crazy, but that very thought is what is making me post it. I know it is helpful for me to hear other people’s experiences reflect something like I have is helpful. Hopefully this might be helpful?!?! This day manifested a nasty anxiety/depression reaction for me that I’m fully over now. I think I was a little worried about a few things and a small thing triggered me.

I’ve spent the last, several years trying to shift the things I say to myself in my head. Of all the things that are a challenge in this weightloss project, the words I speak to myself are the hardest to get over. I possess a mind that is brilliant at oblivion and naïveté. I am like Joey, from Friends, sometimes. Like, it takes me a little longer to arrive at the punchline for some jokes, but it’s usually because I wonder if I’m thinking the right way! I just don’t see things and I usually assume the best of people until they show me, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are scoundrels. Because of that, I think I’m often blissfully ignorant of the things that people have said or looks that I may have received… But I can’t be ignorant of the things I make myself say to myself.

It’s horrible. At my lowest moments, I’m the one saying that I’m not good enough, that I’m not special, that I’m genetically predispositioned as an unconventionally attractive (read: weird-looking) person. I ask my self who I think I am and why I think I deserve the things I try for. I’m ugly. Fat. Lazy. Terribly awkward, terribly un-funny, I try too hard, I take it too far, I say the wrong things. I’m hopeless. I have a huge horse-head and flab everywhere. I’m a liar, I’m dishonest, slow, unintelligent, confused and a ditzy airhead. I’m not ‘adorkable’, I’m just a dork. I tell myself that everyone sees and knows all of this and they befriend me out of pity.
But the worst is when I tell myself I’m not special. Usually this is done through tears- I literally bully myself and make myself cry as I repeat it like a mantra, looking directly into my own eyes: you’re not special. You are not special. You are not special. You’re not special, at all… And I trade places, emotionally, as my eyes squint, meanly, like a bully, then widen in shock, as the victim, and fresh tears fall as I continue this sick game with myself. It feels strangely good to hurt myself deeply like that, something I don’t understand.

My New Do
My New Do

I hate when I get into a cycle like that, and sometimes it’s really hard to stop it. Like, right now, I’m in this cycle. I had a hard, hard, f*cking day, today. I got a professional haircut- the first pretty much since I’ve been with Bradley (he usually cuts and colors my hair) and it just resulted in a barrage of insecurities raining down on me. I hated on myself viciously, I told myself I’m not special, and right now, I am a willing believer. I believe all of those lies and I know they are lies. I also know that I have a strategy to chase them out.

You see, over the past few years I’ve been doing this to myself in another way. When I feel good, really good, I allow myself a selfie photograph. I allow myself to look long and hard at myself saying that I’m worthy of the challenge I’m giving myself. If I don’t try, I fail by default. I’m generous and caring. I’m actually smart, quick and clever. I’m successful, funny, likeable, honest, warm and kind. I tell myself I’m a great teacher, a good mom and a wonderful wife. image I allow myself to marvel at my mermaid hair, make duck faces, kissy faces- any faces I want and let myself be charmed with what I see. I tell myself that I’m beautiful, I let myself be surprised at how pretty I am and wonder if it’s a trick, briefly, before I let myself blink back into a place where I’m enough. More than enough. A place where I matter. Where I’m special. Where I stand out. Where I’m more than adorkable or even more than a non-standardly beautiful woman. When I feel bad I try to replace one repeating negative loop with another, and it’s getting easier, but it’s still hard. I didn’t even want to write about it here because I knew as soon as I started writing about it I would have to put the strategy into practice.
And I did. I told myself that it’s ok to get new hair. That it’s ok to spend $100 on a cut and color. I’m worthy of having hair that has been treated with kindness. I would never say I deserve it or am entitled to it, but as a treat once every 16 years, I think it’s ok.
I feel a little better, now. I began this post, went and saw the movie Maleficent, with my family, and a little distance from reality was helpful. Realizing I haven’t posted any comparison pics in ages, I looked through my photos and lined some things up to post here, and saw the difference I have made in myself. I saw the strength I have laid out in photographs before me. I saw the evidence of my power as a woman and human being. I remembered possibility and began to come back to earth again. I forget how far I’ve come, sometimes. I made myself see it. It was a good thing to see, tonight. I needed the boost.
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Things Change

Random Photo: we took a family walk this evening, putting a skip in Martha's step, while Boy amazed us by actually riding his scooter the entire way!  It was a nice walk.  :)
Random Photo: we took a family walk this evening, putting a skip in Martha’s step, while Boy amazed us by actually riding his scooter the entire way! It was a nice walk. :)

When I committed to keeping a blog about my weightloss, I committed to recording the entire process: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was a testament to my commitment, the confidence I had in my drive. Honestly, though? It seemed more straightforward than it has been, to honestly and openly share the whole process. When I looked at Katie, from Runs for Cookies, as she documented her Weight Loss project and the resulting skin removal surgery, I wondered what the big deal was? Why was she so embarrassed to share pictures? I wondered why she didn’t want to let people know what her skin looked like. I was curious, because I wanted all of that saggy skin! I wanted to see what I should expect. To me, from the outside, it never seemed like it should be a big deal to show her skin to other people. To have that saggy skin that doesn’t have the fat inside of it anymore seemed like a badge of pride, not something to be ashamed of. A scar, for sure, but nothing embarrassing.

It turns out that the whole skin issue is one that is more difficult to contend with than I had realized. I honestly think I wouldn’t mind it so much, but it actually hurts! It actually makes clothes fit weird! It actually causes me open wounds! It stinks! Well, not like ‘phew! Who cut the cheese?’ stink, but, like as the colloquial kind of stinks/sucks/bites. Though, as with any skin, if I didn’t wash, it would stink. Fact of life, peeps. Anyhow…

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I was expecting smaller tatas. Really I was. You can’t expect to lose over 100 pounds and not see some breast density shifts. Through the gift of genetics and some generous eating habits, my rack topped out at a 44DDD. After giving birth, I didn’t call my 44L nursing bra ‘my bra,’ I called it ‘the apparatus’. I was happy when I was done using it. My point being that I could out-boob a lot of gals. I had plenty to share, more than we ever even needed at my house. You get the idea. So, I squeezed into bras for years, bursting out, practically, of ones that, these days, my once grandiose chesticles pool in the bottom of like rain in a barrel. I decided to measure up, bite the bullet and find out my new size. Clearly, after 130 pounds I need a new bra, yes? Deserve one! Need one for back to school! I found out that I’m a 38C. I’m almost sad to see the parade of D’s gone.
Here’s where the problem with this comes in. I have lots of skin area and little volume to keep it full, if you catch my drift. The skin pulls from the top ‘corners,’ under my arms, around my side to under my shoulder blades, connecting to all the tendons there that previously were supported in many areas by my flesh, not just the top side edges… If breasts have edges? Corners??? Imagine, if you will, a zip lock bag with a c-cup size of water in the bottom and you can imagine how it pulls. It hurts my back, my underarms and, quite often, makes me feel like I have paper tearing under my skin. It occurs daily and now I’m kind of freaking out that I might have to have surgery on them, too, or wear a bra 24/7 forever. Shiver.

Clothes fit weird. Things that fit my waist have to fit all of this extra skin in there too. It is just like a slightly inflated tire that hangs around my middle, just under my belly button. When I’m trying on clothes, I actually have to stuff it in my pants. Sooooo sexy. This is why I wear compression clothes all the time; it keeps everything in place! On top of that, things that fit my trunk (where the bulk of my excess skin is) don’t fit my legs and arms, and my torso is extended because of the skin that gathers under my belly button. Yes, there is still fat in there. Hopefully when I lose more it will get even easier.

My belly button can’t breathe. If you take the jump at the end of this article, you can see how my tummy has completely folded over, and it’s just like that all the time. It used to be, that as long as I wore my compression tanks, bathed daily and kept it clean that nothing would happen. A little extra maintenance, but nothing worse than shaving my legs, but lately it’s just constantly sore. And, to me, kinda gross. I’m just not hip to open, weepy, weird wounds. Maybe that’s just me…? Don’t think so. The wound may help me to qualify for my insurance to cover some of the skin removal surgery cost, but we will see.

I do find the skin a little embarrassing. I understand Katie now- as great as it is to be deflated, I want the evidence gone. While I think it has a kind of neat texture, I also think I feel like an old, flaccid lady sometimes too. I don’t always like the scar, I don’t always want to wear the information that I’ve lost a lot of weight on my body, sometimes I just want to be me and not be celebrating my so-far-so-good weightloss project. So there you have it. Guts and all, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Mostly though, and I need to make this clear, I’m really happy with everything. Daily, I’m grateful that I decided to take myself on and lose the weight. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and I’m determined not to let it go. Living with any of these ‘problems’ or embarrassments is a pleasure to endure, compared with what I lived with before.

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What I Ate Today

Breakfast: coffee with milk and half-n-half, Greek yogurt with raspberries, strawberries, granola & peanut butter Lunch: tomatoes, protein shake, apples & cheese, snap peas & dip
Breakfast: coffee with milk and half-n-half, Greek yogurt with raspberries, strawberries, granola & peanut butter
Lunch: tomatoes, protein shake, apples & cheese, snap peas & dip

I am ever looking for more information about diet. Everything I read says to do the weights because the weights build muscle and to do the cardio because it burns fat, but I want to eat a diet that helps me to build muscle and burn fat at the same time! It’s pretty tricky. At this point, I have decided to throw my hands in the air and just pick one- and I pick weightloss. I can bulk up and build muscle later, I guess. Not that I can’t build a little while I lose, I just feel the need to be focused on that one area so my head will stop spinning. ;)
Snack: watermelon, banana and diet coke x2
Snack: watermelon, banana and diet coke x2

Anyhow, as I was looking around for the magic diet that will be everything for me, I noticed that some folks who are presently training take pictures of their food and share it on their blogs, so I decided to do that today to show a typical diet for me. What I realized along the way was that taking pictures of everything I eat before I eat it actually prevented me from eating some stuff. Like, there was this heel that I cut off a delicious looking multigrain bread loaf and I so wanted to pick it up and eat it, but the thought of taking a picture of it totally deterred me. That made me think that photographing my food for a while might make me more attentive to my calorie intake.
Dinner: mixed veggie of grilled veggies, corn, arugula, Doritos, grilled sandwich and mozzarella/tomato/basil salad
Dinner: mixed veggie of grilled veggies, corn, arugula, Doritos, grilled sandwich and mozzarella/tomato/basil salad

It wasn’t a perfect system, as I found myself getting tea and water downstairs at 10:30 last night and I nibbled on some tomatoes and mozzarella leftovers and had a bag of pop chips, but in spite of that, I liked doing this and may again in the future when I feel myself unwinding.  By the way- those Doritos were simply sitting on the table, nowhere near me, when I smelled the most delicious smell in existence.  I sniffed around until I got to the Doritos bag and discovered that they should seriously make a plugin of that lovely corn chip plus cool ranch flavor.   Mouth watering.  I guess it’s been a while since I’ve had a real Dorito!
I tasted while we cooked- so a Brussels sprout and snap pea accompany my husband's cake fetish
I tasted while we cooked- so a Brussels sprout and snap pea accompany my husband’s cake fetish

Today’s workout was good. I spend 30 minutes running on the treadmill while watching the original Tenacious D HBO show on Hulu or Amazon Prime. I don’t remember which, I just know I squealed with happiness when I made that discovery. I loved that show when it came out in the 1990′s (I know it’s filthy, but sometimes you need filth to distract you from sweat) and I never saw it completely. Guess what I’m watching today while I run again? The hottie behind me worked his arms, crunched his abs and ran too. I felt pretty satisfied with this day! I’m noticing that I’m eating pretty fresh and for decent weightloss, but I definitely need to up my protein!
Work it!
Work it!

Lake 22

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I wonder if people who live on the Mediterranean look at that crystal-clear, turquoise-blue water every day with awe. I can’t get enough of blue water- in the mountains or tropical ocean (I’m not picky). Like, I have to take a picture of it whenever I see it! Such was the case, last Tuesday, at Lake 22! Gorgeous.

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Lake 22 is, simply put, famous around Seattle. When you mention that you like to hike, people rattle off a list of hikes that are ‘just great when you have little ones’ or are just a great experience, for one reason or another, and Lake 22 is always on it, along with Wallace Falls, Ice Caves, Heather Lake, Little Si, Rattlesnake Ridge and Mt. Pilchuck. We had plans for Rattlesnake Ridge and Pilchuck, but our kids spoke up and said that the views are pretty, but they prefer a swim hole at the top, like a reward for all their hard work. We could hardly argue with that reasoning, so we are rethinking our end of season hiking this year. ;)

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Lake 22 is in a nature reserve that was set aside in the 1940′s and left, pretty much, untouched from then. There are old growth trees, several waterfalls and the views along the ridge are gorgeous. The lake is pretty, but I agreed with the guide, the true beauty of the hike was the trail.

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The trail was made up of a variety of walking surfaces- we walked through waterfalls, through sticky mud, over boulders, on fist-sized gravel and beautifully maintained bridges and boardwalks! It was a fairly intense trail. Sometimes I feel lame for saying things like that, so this time I kept track of my heartrate as I traversed the trail. I got about 1200 feet of elevation over 2.5 miles. It took us about an hour and a half to go up, and my heart was consistently in the upper 140′s- solid cardio! That’s a good workout! I hate it when people talk down hikes and downgrade them to a walk in the woods or whatever. Hiking takes work. I’ll admit it. It’s just work that I love. My most favorite form of fitness!

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My daughter said that Lake 22 was her best hike ever. I think it had something to do with the fact that we also brought our nephew along. I sustained my first-ever-since-childhood skinned knee, complete with embedded gravel, which I’m strangely proud of. It was a really fun hike, one that we will happily return to.
We find most of our hikes in a book called Best Hikes With Kids-Western Washington and the Cascades. I’ve used it since before I had kids, mostly because it has a difficulty rating for kids (and overweight, middle-aged women, I’ve always added). If it says it will be moderately difficult for kids, I know it will be the same for me! If you’re looking for hikes with kids, this site from the Washington Trail Association has a pretty solid list of hikes to take with kids. While you may not have kids, I think that these are probably hikes with special features that make them either more accessible (easier), interesting (waterfalls and extra beautiful)and more fun (swimming)!

Backyard Pool Laps

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On those hot, 95 degree, August days, it is exceptionally difficult for me to get outside, in running shoes, to do much of anything. While I’m better about using my treadmill, the best and most pleasant thing I discovered this summer was to do laps in our little backyard pool! We bought a 15 foot wide, 42 inch deep paddling pool for the kids this year. On the days that were just too hot to exercise, I would go walk and run circles in the pool for 30 minutes. It is a great, progressive workout. At first I can only walk through the water, but as the current picks up, I’m forced to go faster and faster, if I want to keep up the thigh focus of the workout. Not only did the running-in-the-pool method of cardio help with keeping cooler in the hot summer days during a workout, it also gave me a fabulous leg workout! On top of that, the last time I did it, I kept track of my heart rate. It stayed in the 140′s the whole time I was moving, and if that’s not a good cardio workout then I don’t know what is.
My kids would say the best part of Mom’s pool workout is her stellar whirlpools! They love to swim along behind me on their paddleboards, swirling quickly around the outside circle or twirling like a leaf in the center. We all enjoy it!
That said, whenever I hit the pool with the kids, we have an agreement:
1. Stay out of my way. I only use the pool sometimes and appreciate the ability to get a solid workout in… Plus, I will kick you out if you mess it up! Mostly I don’t want to hurt you (or me) by tripping on you and landing on you!
2. If you find yourself in front of me, go to the middle. It’s the fastest way to support staying out of my way!
3. No splashing. I’m a major killjoy in the pool, I guess, but I am usually wearing my pedometer and it can’t get wet.
4. After 30 minutes of letting me get my cardio in, I’m a really fun mama who will dive in, splash, continue the whirlpool, make up dance routines and generally have a good time. I need it by then- I’m all hot and sweaty and need to cool down! Ironic, huh?

Doors, Windows & Narrow Stairs

I think Robin Williams’s passing is the first celebrity passing that has effected me profoundly. For some reason, it feels like family has passed- my brother or uncle. It’s true- anytime I saw him on a late-night talk show, I would cringe. He just seemed like he had a spout that he would open and it would all just come pouring out. I would cringe because I feel like that sometimes- my spout opens and four hours later I’m horrified at the things I let out of my mouth, what others might think of me! It’s never that bad, but I worry, nonetheless. I would worry that he was the same as me and would have regret and anxiety, while also admiring his willingness to be so raw in public. Robin Williams came to me as Mork, but earned a place in my heart with Dead Poets Society. Through the vehicle of that movie, he made education seem more valuable than the diploma or job at the end, and that little, knowing smile he used so well drove the point home. He was just good. As a person too. I’m sure you’ve heard the comic book shop tales of how he connected with anyone. He was a good man.
Then, today, we heard that Chris Walla is leaving Death Cab for Cutie. Chris is a good man, too, for many years he was my husband’s BFF, he Dj’d our wedding… And he’s an amazing artist. The things he does not only as a musician, but as a producer in his own band on his own records are just incredible, and I feel so selfishly sad that he needs to be done with Death Cab. On the way home from Idaho last week, we put Death Cab in, looked at one another and started singing along. You know the kind of singing I mean- the kind like you’re alone in the shower? That kind. Loud! With soul. It was fresh again and we got all excited about seeing them the next time they played. I love DCFC and it suddenly feels like one of our children suddenly grew up and moved out, that end of an era kind of feeling and our heads are spinning like we missed it all, somehow. We got busy having babies and building houses and didn’t pay close enough attention as his star rose.
In both cases, it was inevitable. Robin Williams couldn’t live forever, and I would hope that all the DCFC members would retire eventually. I just wasn’t ready. I wanted one more really good Robin Williams movie like Fisher King or The World According to Garp, I wanted another small theater opportunity to see Death Cab for Cutie. I’ll take solace in the fact that our friend is healthy, he is intending to enjoy his life now, and there is the very comforting thought that there another album coming soon. I’ll just have to continue to miss Robin Williams, as silly as it seems. We watched Jumanji the other night and said goodbye to him that way. I’ll admit to many shed tears during our viewing.

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On the plus side? I got into my classroom today- a full two weeks before I thought I’d be able to! Woohoo! While I didn’t get very many of those boxes behind me unpacked, I did create a mental map and started sorting things out. I’m pleased to report that it is going faster than I expected. Phew!

Two More Weeks

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{This is what the last three weeks have felt like!}
As my summer is winding down (TWO MORE WEEKS?!) I’m starting to take inventory of my summer weightloss and training schedule. Then I laugh and laugh and laugh! Oh my, let me wipe a tear from my eye… Seriously, though, my dirty secret is this: I’ve been writing all about these awesome dietary changes and before/after, non-scale victories and wonderful life- experiences, but I haven’t pushed myself as a runner and I still haven’t gotten under 208!. In fact, I’m still going up and down between 207-211, depending on the moment.
Regarding exercise, frankly, it’s flipping hot out. I don’t relish running outdoors when it’s anywhere over 80, running in the cool morning makes me sick- my stomach just can’t deal and I get horribly nauseous, and by night time, my tummy is all full of the day’s food and it’s like BLECH! Gross. The wah-wah-whiny-sneaky-lazy part of myself actually benefitted me a tiny bit for once, this time round. I figured out that if I walk just fast enough, I can keep my heartrate in the 130′s without running. While I’m not doing myself any favors as far as half-marathon training goes, I am moving, daily, burning calories and hopefully even some fat. Maybe. Lifting a little too, just not like I should be. My secret hope is that with all the raw food and all the treadmill walking, the fat will just melt away. I know this will not work, but it doesn’t keep me from trying. :)

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Every day I ask my kids what their plan is for being active. I think, left to their own devices, the warm weather outdoors would go nearly wasted were it not for this question. My daughter can, very happily, lock herself into her room with her barbies and books on tape, while my son can build with Lego with the same attention, and forget it if Minecraft or Animal Crossing is involved! The day could be lost altogether! LOL!
Anyhow, they often choose the pool, which is great, but on Friday we headed to the very busy Bothell Landing trail that connects to the Burke Gilman Interurban Trail. When we left the house we didn’t have any big goals, but once we got on the trail (right by Wayne Golf Course, headed north) we walked into the tunnel and found that it had totally been made over and beautified! To us, it looks like a Mary Blair influence, and we just adore her (ala the designer/artist behind such gems as the Small World ride, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland)!
From there, we started spotting all kinds of wildlife. It started with the doe (a deer, a female deer) who was followed in short order by her two little spotted fawns. Soon thereafter we saw a snake, a robin and a raccoon! We challenged ourselves, then, to find as many critters as we could. By the time we got out of there, our list had grown to include a frog, heron, crow, beaver, ducks, fish and a few different insects. It was a very exciting walk to take with our nature explorers.

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Last night, Bradley and I had an ever so rare opportunity to go on a date. Think I’m kidding? The last time we had a night without kids was in March. Before that? Probably December. All of this would be cool, in most circumstances, but I’m around kids all of the time. When I’m not with my own, I’m with a classroom full of them. 99% of the time, this is totally cool. But sometimes it’s really nice not to have to think about making dinner for someone else and the cleanup after and the always on alert with one eye looking and one ear to the ground… To let that go for a few hours every once in a while is such a blessing.
We made use of our time by dressing up in cute clothes, driving to Edmonds and walking around until we saw a menu that pleased us. We ended up at Epulo Bistro because, let’s face it, I’m into cooking shows lately and they’re all marveling about burrata cheese, and Epulo had some on the menu! They also had a watermelon/tomato/mint/watercress salad, grilled cauliflower and grilled green beans. We ordered and canoodled like two love-starved 40 year olds (let’s call it like it is!), but we kept it rated 1980′s-style PG. The picture above is after our food was served and we dove into it with complete (HONGRY!) abandon, only afterward realizing this was a rare opportunity to create our very own food photography in a restaurant! That never happens with us. Seriously. Clearly, we are at a Martha Stewart level of food photography here… lol! But it was tasty (ohmygraciousthecauliflower!) and mostly made of vegetables! Some raw! Woot woot! It is totally fine that by 10:30 we were laying in bed, listening to Beck (Morning Phase) and drowsing off to sleep, right? It was a good night. So good that I was ready for those kiddo hugs when they came!
And if you’re wondering, burrata cheese tastes like cream cheese and butter whipped together. It’s reeeeeally yummy, but I’m just as happy with some cream cheese. That said, side by side, I’d pick the burrata. Yum!

Raw

During my family reunion I had a number of people address my weightloss and the ‘how did she do it’ conversation happened often. My answer is always the same- lifestyle shift focused of healthy eating and lots of movement- but one question caught me off guard: how much raw food do you eat?
I think a lot of people confuse the wide variety of fringe-ish healthy diets and kind of lump them into one vegan/raw/vegetarian/paleo combo! It is true- I take pages from all of these dieting theories and combine them into my own little food pyramid, but the raw question actually got me excited. I answered, upon a little reflection, that I probably eat about half of my food raw… Then I kept watching my food intake to see if I was actually accurate or if I over-inflated my rawness prowess. Guess what? I observed that I actually eat more than half of my food raw. That was a pretty awesome discovery.
One of my goals this summer was to try out different eating philosophies. I wanted to try a raw food week, to follow a macrobiotic week, to be vegan for a week, but maybe it’s ok to adopt things partially, like I already seem to be doing with the raw. I am pleased, beyond measure, to realize the natural shift that has happened in my/our family diet.

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I read online, recently, about how those little baby carrots that are ready to eat are actually treated with chlorine to keep the bacteria away. I intended to do more research, you know, to determine if this was a Facebook meme or truth, but in the meantime, we switched to eating carrot sticks made from whole carrots in our home the old fashioned way. I didn’t need to do any research, though. We had forgotten what real carrots tasted like! It turns out, carrots that we cut at home don’t need to be drenched in ranch dressing to cover up the lack of flavor! Carrot sticks, in fact, are so sweet and tasty that we eat them without anything. This was a nice rediscovery!

Reunited

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Every three years, my extended family gets together for a big family reunion. In my lifetime I’ve been to 12 reunions, which means that since I’m 40 years old, I have only ever missed one reunion in my entire life! Our family reunions are like sleep away camp for grown-ups, but our kids are there too- we all just run wild together. It is really fun. You should have seen my daughter’s face when I told her that she didn’t have a bedtime, she could have seconds thirds and fourths on licorice, she was encouraged to sing a dirty (but traditional) song and I wasn’t too concerned about how dirty she got! Needless to say we had a blast.
In my lifetime, I’ve always felt like one of the biggest girls around at any event. I have pretty consistently looked around any room in any event and always thought, “Welp, I’m the biggest girl here. AGAIN!” And when you’re consistently the biggest girl at any event, in any room, you just kind of accept it as the way things are. But secretly, in the secret little dark parts of my mind, as the big girl, I always wished for the opportunity to be different than the biggest girl. It’s like that chance to really show what I am instead of just the shell that held me all together. Sometimes as the fattest girl in the room, I felt marginalized or unimportant. Most likely that was just me putting those perceptions on myself, but it didn’t make me feel any better that I was thinking so loudly about what I was worried other people were thinking. Anyhow, it has always been a goal of mine to go to a family reunion not being big for once. And, of course, I need to say here that being big is not the worst thing in the world, I just wanted people to notice me- not my weight. I didn’t want my weight to define who I was to my extended family for always. Also? For some inexplicable reason, I have always wanted to have long hair at a reunion. The funny thing is, anytime I’ve ever lost weight, I’ve always gained it back in time for the next reunion. Whenever I’ve been growing my hair out to any decent length, I’ve always cut it off before I’ve gone to the reunion. So, at every single reunion that I’ve ever been to since passing through puberty, I’ve had hair that shorter than my ears and a weight that exceeded 250pounds!

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So… This picture…
I was looking and looking at my family (these are most of my own grandpa’s descendants) trying to figure out where I am, and there I am, that tall, slightly chubby woman with long hair, off to the right there. I was absolutely shocked when I figured out that was ME! I didn’t even recognize myself because I was seriously looking for the fattest girl in the picture and I couldn’t find her! That was a good feeling.
Long hair- CHECK!
Thinner – CHECK!
LOL! Sometimes it’s the little things…
Or the littler and longer things that make you feel good.