Running Alongside the Wagon

We’ve all fallen off the wagon diet wise.  It sucks.  A vacation comes right in the middle of a month of eating well, the super bowl is a time for bean dip, pretzels and beer, you have a fight with your friend/spouse/co-worker.  All of these things and more can cause a girl to fall off the wagon.  And while you’re picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, sometimes the wagon is gets away from you.  What’s a girl to do?

The way I see it, you have three options.

Option One: Let the wagon go.   It’s too much to try to get back on it.  For whatever reason, you don’t want to be on it anymore.  So it’s gone, riding off into the sunset.  Chances are, another wagon will be along some time in the future when you’re ready to hop back on.  It’s time to say goodbye to this one.

Option Two:  Run like hell to catch up with the wagon and get back on it.  You just a hit a bump in the road that threw you off it in the first place.  You can jump right back on like nothing happened and continue the ride.  You’re strong, you’re committed, and next time you know that you should hold on just a bit tighter.

Most would argue that those are the only two options.  Stay off or get back on.  But I beg to differ.  As we all know, I’m not a girl who likes to live in absolutes, so I’m ready to offer up another option.

Option Three:  Run alongside the wagon.  This is my favorite option because it allows you to fall off and get back on as needed.  If you run along aside the wagon, it never gets away from you (and think of all the calories you’re burning).  It’s your choice whether you want to be on it or not.  There are days, even weeks, that you’ll enjoy a ride.  Then one day you’ll fall off.  Might take a few days to get back on, but if you run along side of it, you don’t abandon it totally.

I fell of the wagon about two weeks ago.  Up until then I was playing with that elimination diet, and then I went on vacation.  I have a strict rule that there are no rules on vacation, so I ate with abandon and drank all the beer I wanted.  I had an amazing time with my friends.  It was a perfect weekend.  But then Monday came along and then Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I still didn’t get back on that wagon.  But I was right beside it.  By Friday, I thought I might take a ride for the day.  I ate clean and even got myself to the gym.  But then on Saturday,  I jumped off for the weekend.  Come Monday, I got back on.   And I’m still on it enjoying the ride.

So often we think that dieting is an absolute.  You either do it or you don’t.  You’re either off the wagon or on it.  I kinda think that if you really are making a true lifestyle change, even on the days when you aren’t on the wagon, you’re running beside it.  You’re still making better choices than you were, and some habits stick with you.  You start to always order salad instead of fries and iced tea instead of a Coke.  A true lifestyle change is about learning to eat within the confines of your lifestyle. Which means that you are realistic about the days when you can’t be on the wagon, or just plain don’t want to be – but you don’t let the wagon go ahead of you.  You run along side of it, and eventually you get back on.

And because I’m feeling nostalgic, I thought I’d share with you what I think of when I think of wagons.  I’m proud to say that this is the car of my childhood.  To the Bear family, this one is for you!!

Until next time,

Always Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Yourself!

Have you ever run along side the wagon?  How did it feel when you go back on?  How did it feel when you made the choice to hop off? 

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Animals, Vegetables, and Minerals

In an effort to see what the heck might be causing the roadblocks to my weight loss, the Nutritionist and I agreed that perhaps it was time for an elimination diet.  I know, doesn’t it sound fun?  Who wants to join in?

We already know from eliminating gluten late last year that perhaps there is a sensitivity to it. How did I figure that out?  It went something like “Gee, I feel so much better when I don’t have all that wheat running around in my system.  Guess that means my system doesn’t like it.”  See how it works?  Now the key is to see if there are other things that are in my system that my system doesn’t like.

Turns out there are all kinds of foods out there that our bodies like to rebel against.  But what I rebel against, your body may love.  So it’s up to us to figure out what our bodies like and what they don’t like.  A simple way to do this is to eliminate some of the major foods and food groups that are in our daily diets.  So the list of no-no foods for this experiment is as follows:

  • Gluten (this includes wheat, barley, rye, malts – the stuff they make beer out of)
  • Dairy (cheese, butter, milk, eggs)
  • Corn (What? No tortilla chips?)
  • Sugar (naturally occurring sugars are ok. Just none of that refined stuff)
  • Vegetable oil (no comment.  I’m ok with this one)
  • Soy (this is in A LOT of food. More than you would think)
  • Peanuts (um peanut butter is one of my 4 major food groups. What’s a girl to do?)

If you look at the list what it comes down to is that I can eat animals, vegetables, and minerals.  Ok, I can get a little bit more creative than that, but it’s a good rule of thumb when dining out or faced with a menu I’m not sure about.  It’s kind of like I’m always playing 20 questions at meal time.  See, I can make a game out anything!

It’s been about 12 days on this diet and there have only been a handful of slip ups.  All choices on my part.  I really wanted those peanuts yesterday and over the weekend a recipe called for an egg as a binder.  So you choose your battles with this one.

And guess what? I feel better.  Weird, right?  Eating complete whole and natural foods and all of a sudden I sleep better and have more energy.  Life is so unexpected! So I’m willing to give this a little bit of a try for the rest of the month and beyond. Let’s see if I can kick down some of those roadblocks and get this metabolism up and running again.

Wait, what? I have a blog?

Wait, what? I have a blog?  Hmmm weird.  I seem to remember something about that.  I used to write about weight loss and other adventures.  Yes, yes, it’s all coming back to me now.  Perhaps I should start writing about that stuff again.  In fact maybe I should start writing about all the good things in the world besides weight loss adventures, like positive body image and what success means.  Yes, I think that’s it…

All kidding aside, I know it’s been awhile since we last chatted.  Almost two months in I think.  Bet you thought I was never coming back.  Turns out that after the marathon I didn’t have all that much to say.  Weird, I know.  It’s not often the I’m speechless.  And I think I needed some time away from the blog to figure out where I really wanted to take it.  I love you guys and I want to share things with you, but I want to make sure that what I have to say it worthy of sharing.  Otherwise, why read?

So here’s what I want to see happen over the next couple of months.  Obviously, there are still adventures in weight loss and life style changes.  I mean we can’t really take those away.  If you take the weight loss out of a weight loss blog, you don’t really have much left.  So we’ll keep that.  We’ll also keep stories about exercising and running.  ‘Cause, well, I like those. I think what we might eliminate is the dating adventures.  Because really, there haven’t been all that many adventures, and unless I have a really bad date, who really wants to read about my dating adventures anyway?  If do have an epically bad, laugh out loud funny because it’s so bad date, I’ll share.  Deal? Other than that, we’re going to move away from dating (and no I’m not giving up on dating, I’m just going to going to kiss and tell).

What I want to focus on more this year is the concept of success and what it means to me.  I’m not just talking weight loss success, I’m talking whole life success here.  What it means, why I want it, and how I’m going to get it.  I also want to concentrate a little bit more on positive self-image and confidence.  This might come in the way of talking about an article or interview or person who I find particularly inspiring.

If you’re a long time blog follower, you’ll find that this won’t vary much from the old stuff, I’ll  just expand on it.  You can look forward to weekly topics like my new favorite recipe or article of the week.   If you’re new to the party, welcome to my blog.  I hope you enjoy what you read.

So the blog is back and I’m super excited about it.  Now to start thinking about topics…

Be happy, be healthy, be yourself!

Lessons Learned

As we all know, and read, I can spend quite a bit of time complaining about my body and how it rarely does what I want it to.  And sure there are some challenges that I have, but in general, it’s a pretty good body.  In all my years, it’s only caused me a handful of problems, and for that I am truly grateful.  Especially when in the last month or so, I’ve become so aware of how precious our bodies are.  And how tragic it can be when problems arise.

I’m at the ripe old age of 33. By no means old, but no longer close to my teen years either.  The laugh lines are starting show through and my joints creak just a bit more than they used to.  Sure, I’m aging.  Guess what? You’re aging too (I promise I won’t tell anyone).  So things are bound to go wrong here or there.  It happens.  And it’s possible that some of the past abuse of this body is starting to catch up with me.  Which is why I’m on this healthy journey.  No to undo some of the damage, but to make sure that I don’t make the same mistakes again.  Learn from where you’ve been, let the lesson direct you on where you want to go (I just made that one up.  Sounds like a bumper sticker!).

In the last month several friends (all my age or younger) have faced things like Cancer, organ removal, or battling a chronic illness day in and day out.  And having heard their stories, I now realize that’s when you get to complain about your body and be frustrated when it breaks down on you.  That’s when you get to yell at the Gods and scream from the highest mountain that you hate your body. Not when you can’t lose 5 pounds no matter how hard you try.  And yet the people who should be screaming the loudest are the most silent.  Instead their spirits are high, their words positive, and all of them are fighting the good fight.  That’s what makes them so much more amazing.

I can complain and be frustrated for a lot of things.  But every once in a while you need a leveling event in life to put things in perspective.  This journey shouldn’t be about hating my body, or being frustrated when it behaves in a way I don’t want it to.  It should be about being thankful that it is healthy or at least on its way to being healthy.

So thank you to my Momma Bear and all of my friends out there for teaching me these valuable lessons:

  1. A body may not always work the way you want it to, but everyday be thankful that it is healthy and that it is working at all.
  2. Give thanks to your body every day for the incredible machine that it is – even on the days when you are in pain.
  3. If your spirit is broken, you body will break too – keep both of them strong.
  4. Always remember, you are not alone in any of your struggles. All you have to do is ask and people will come running to your side.
  5. Loving your body is about so much more than loving the way you look in the mirror.

And to my Momma Bear and all my friends out there, thank you the examples you set every day by dealing with your diseases and challenges with grace, laughter, smiles, and unbelievable strength.  You are amazing and I love you.

Ok, ok, sappy post over…

Fall In Love Every Day

Today my note from the universe simply said,  “Who will you re-fall in love with today, Jackie?”.  I enjoy hearing from the universe every day, even if the universe has really awful grammar (and I’m not on to talk).  It seems that some days the notes are more poignant than others.  Today’s was one that really hit home (sorry it’s World Series Time. I’m all baseball thinking all the time).  We all know that I’ve waded in the dating world for the last year or so with not a lot of success.  After trying to analyze my success, or lack there of, over and over, I have pretty much given up trying to find all the answers. It’ll happen when it happens. I have a certain amount of faith that fate has something in store for me.  Whether it comes knocking tomorrow or a year from now, I know it’s out there.  So it doesn’t do me a lot of good sit around on my couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s  having a pity party.  Especially, when I know that I can fall in love every day.

In the last few months, I’ve discovered that if you find a way to fall in love every day, it makes life just a little bit better.  Think of how many times you say “I love…” in any given day.  It’s a ton.  There are all kinds of love in this world, but in most cases, you have to fall in love with something or someone every day.  So why not celebrate it?  Search out those moments every day, so when you lay your head down at night you can proudly say, “Today I fell in love with [insert person/place/thing here].”   Think for a minute what that would do for your spirit.  How does it feel when you go to bed every night knowing that you fell in love that day?  What is your morning like when you know you’re going to fall in love during the day?  Sure falling in love with a cookie is going to be different from falling in love with your toddler on Halloween or the smell of the forest just after it rains — but love is love. No matter what package it comes wrapped in. Find it where you can and celebrate it every day.  I guarantee in doing so you will find immense amounts of joy and that warm fuzzy feeling we all long for.

What did you fall in love with today? 

Dear Bathroom Scale

Dear Bathroom Scale,

It’s been five weeks since we’ve seen each other.  It was hard for me at first, when I looked at your empty spot in the bathroom.  Even harder sometimes when I thought of you under the bed collecting dust.  There were several times in those first few weeks of our separation that I just wanted to get you out from under the bed and put you back.  I wanted to forget that I had banished you from my life, and I wanted everything to be normal again.  But I’m stronger than that.  So I left you there.  I’m not going to say I’m sorry for what I’ve done because I’m not.

When we parted, all you were doing was causing me pain.  It felt like an endless cycle of frustration every time you and I were together.  A girl can’t live like that.  There has to be something else.  She can’t give anything that much power.  And yet there I was, practically every day, hoping that somehow you would change everything.  Wishing that just once you would show me something that I could be proud of.  But you never did, so I had to say goodbye for a while.

I think the time we have spent apart has been good for me.  I’ve done a lot of things in the last 5 weeks, none of which had anything to do with you.  I learned the art of celebrating non scale victories and I can see two tiny little dimples on my tummy where I think my abs are trying to break free.  I did that all on my own without your help.  And that spot of yours in the bathroom has been taken up by something else.  Looks like I might be learning to live without you.

Originally we were only supposed to take a break for 5 weeks.  This amount of time was intended to get me past the marathon training, plus two weeks to get my eating and regular exercise back on track.  We’re quickly approaching the time for our reunion.  I don’t know how to feel about it.  I want to see you, but I’m afraid that we’ll just end up right back where we were 5 weeks ago.  And all that frustration and hurt will come rushing back, erasing all the victories over the last month.  And what if you have bad news for me?  I’m not sure I could handle it.  So I’m at a loss.  Part of me wants to build a healthy relationship with you.  Part of me just wants to leave you under the bed for ever and ever. So what do we do?

I think I want to try to make this work.  I really do.  I think building our relationship is important.  So let’s go forward with the reunion.  But don’t expect that same old me.  I’m going to be on guard and probably a little shy.  And if I don’t feel like you’re not giving me what I want, then I might just put you under the bed again.  And it might be like that between the two of us for the next couple of months.  But let’s try this relationship again and see where it goes.  I think both of us have had some time off and we can make it work.  I have faith and I’m willing to try.

                            All the Best,

                                                         Jackie

Soundtrack to My Life

All of us should be so lucky to find someone who loves us for who we are.  I hear this song and it gives me hope that there is someone out there for all of us.  For all of you who have a love like this, don’t forget how lucky you are.  For all of you waiting for a love like this, have faith.

Just another song in the soundtrack of my life…