Monday, December 3, 2012

Letting go of Perfection

Hi, my name is Michelle, and I have OCD.  There you have it.  (Admitting is the first step to recovery... right? :)

I've mentioned  it before...  You know... that I'm like the girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead?  When I'm good, I'm very, very good.  When I'm bad, I'm horrid.  So, really... what does this little nursery rhyme have to do with OCD?  Well, it can all be summed up into one simple word.  Perfectionism.  

I would love to live in a perfect world, where everything was... well... perfect.  My kiddos would never fight.  My carpets would be immaculate.  No dirt ANYWHERE.  And best of all?  EVERYTHING would be organized.  Ahhhh... I could just swim in a dream of perfect cleanliness and organization. (SNAP!  WAKE UP!!!!)

The fact is... this just isn't possible.  I have FIVE young kiddos.  I don't have a maid.  And I don't have a cook, and in all reality... aside from my husband and kiddos... I have no extra help at all.  So... no... the carpets are NOT clean.  The couch IS stained, the laundry ISN'T done, and I'm constantly playing catch up.

So what is the REAL battle here?  I have to make a choice.  I have to choose to live in a house that isn't perfectly cleaned and organized... and miss out on life...  Or to let go of my need for perfectionism and enjoy these precious years with my little ones.  I need to cherish these moments with my kiddos and understand that there IS such a thing as 'clean enough.'  The house doesn't have to be perfectly clean.

To put things into perspective, I often imagine that I'm in my 60's looking back... and I ask my 60 year old self... "What will you regret the most?"  Crazy as it might sound... this actually works for me.  As a 60 year old, I regret not spending time with my little kiddos.  Not taking the moments to build a relationship with them and make fun messy memories.  So... I go back in time... to the here and now... and I fix it.  I might grind my teeth a little, but I force myself to let them climb all over me and completely invade my personal space.  To let them play with play doh, and make cookies and get flour everywhere.

So what does all of this have to do with diet breaking?  Well... when the girl with the curl breaks the diet just once, BAM... she's not perfect anymore, so... she decides that she might as well break it all the way.  One cookie turns into 10, turns into a complete raid of the house for hidden chocolate and anything else that's forbidden!

Today, I'm starting a 10 day Shakeology Challenge with some friends.  And my challenge to myself is not to completely avoid cheating, because with my history... that's just not going to happen.  My challenge to myself is to let go of that perfectionism.  It's knowing that if I do veer off the perfect diet plan, that I need to let go of the fact that I 'failed' and jump right back into eating healthy again.

I'm excited about these next 10 days, because letting go of perfectionism is something I've been working on for awhile.  I've seen progress, and I'm determined to continue to change.

So, cookies, you are safe for now.  At least for today... I  mean... at least for right now...  We will take this one... step... at a time...   Perfectionism is over-rated anyway... right?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Insanity OVER... well... for a few days at least :)

I DID IT!!!  I finished the Beach Body Insanity program.  60 days of pure insanity and pain.  I'm excited about my muscle results... but a bit disappointed about my weight loss results.

Why?

Remind me of the name of this blog again?  Oh yeah, right... Confessions of a Diet Breaker.  If I was to write an article for every time I broke diet, well... that would be every day.  Frankly, I'm disappointed because once I realized that month number two gave me an amazing metabolism, I took the liberty of eating whatever I wanted for the first time in my adult life, without any consequences!  

The up side is that it was GREAT to not have to worry about the consequences...  Unfortunately, I didn't get to my idealistic goal weight.  HOWEVER... I am at a happy weight, and my body has never been this defined before, so overall... the results are amazing :)

Looking back...

Shaun T pushed me to extreme limits... and I did it.  I competed against kissy face girl... (You know... the girl with the short dark hair who always has some sort of sexyish look on her face?)  It's like... look at me... you're dripping sweat... and so am I... but... at least I can look sexy at the same time.  (In my best sing-song voice :) 

Seriously?  When I'm dripping sweat... the last thing I want to see is a miss kissy face in front of me, mocking my lack of grace and grimaces as I barely make it off the floor for the umpteenth Insanity jump... lungs ready to explode...  Nope... I'll take the chica with the long blonde hair and pure determination.  Yes... you're the type who inspires me to push to the limit.

Regardless... I'm excited about the results, and proud of myself for pushing through and sticking with it when I really just wanted to quit.  Now, I'm looking forward to repeating the whole process while dragging my hubby through it this time.  And boy... this is going to be FUN!  For once, I'll be able to push HIM to work harder!  LOL  CAN'T WAIT!  (She says with an evil grin on her face...)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bless me Father, for I have splurged...

If I was back in the confessional, confessing my dietary sins for the past week, it would go something like this... "Bless me Father for I have splurged..." and then I would proceed to regurgitate the following litany of dietary debauchery:
  • Chocolate (several Hershey bars I found left over in the freezer after making s'mores)
  • Beer (We had an Oktoberfest party with amazingly authentic German beer.  Took a few days to finish off leftovers...).
  • Roast  (Saturated and baked in Oktoberfest brew, slow cooked in the oven with potatoes and carrots.  Who can resist that?)
  • Pizza (THAT one was FORCED on me by two loving friends who provided dinner for our family on Sunday after staying the weekend...)
  • Dr. Pepper (Goes with the pizza...)
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte (Same friend insisted on buying me a coffee... how could I refuse???)
  • Oh yeah... BURGER & FRIES!  (I hit up TGI Fridays for lunch on Tuesday... something I RARELY do... but the urge was strong, and my friend had a discount card... *sigh*)
Today, I added to that list.  My MIL (Mother-in-Law, who is currently visiting along with my sister-in-law...) asked me if I would make some of my beloved homemade biscotti... so, being the good daughter-in-law that I try to be... I did.  Unfortunately, this loving act instigated a cataclysmic chain of diet-breaking events once again.  *sigh*  

In all sweet honesty, I really was determined NOT to taste a morsel... but as soon as that strong almond smell started wafting from my mixing bowl, I was done for.  From that moment onward, it was one disastrous snitch after another.  

After the biscotti was cut and toasting, I was forced to deal with a ton of crumbs on my cutting board.  And seriously... what's the best way to deal with these crumbs???  Put them on ice cream, OF COURSE!

Needless to say, I sit here, once again wanting to smack myself silly for failing to eat healthy... but so thankful that because I have been faithful to exercise, this last week has not set me back much at all as far as the scale is concerned... maybe that's why I've been so bad???  Argh!!!!!

My new goal is to get through MIL's visit... and then hit the reset button... again.  I am, however, going to endeavor to eat right the next few days.  Then again... isn't that what I always do?  LOL

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Making the decision to change.

Pictures courtesy of stock.xchng.hu
I wish I was one of those women who have it all together.  You know... the ones who live for their workout and just can't get enough. I've seen those girls.  They are in awesome shape, and they always look perfect!

Nope... that's not me.  I'd be happy to just wake up after sleeping in a bit and make my way to the couch with a cup of coffee and snuggle in with my babies to the latest episode of Dora or Diego.

The problem with this 'dream' is that I want to be fit.  I'm determined to be in shape.  I'm in my 30's, and I don't want to spend the entirety of my 30's feeling like I'll lose the weight... some day.  I'll get into shape... some day.  No.  The time is now.  And I have made the decision.

When that alarm goes off at 6am, and I'm still sore from the previous day and my baby's been up all night crying and fussing, I'm whining like a little girl inside, groaning and dragging myself out of bed.  I hate knowing what's ahead.  And to top it off, when the warm-up exercises start, my muscles are so stiff, it's sheer will-power to make them move beyond a snail's pace.  Being fit is a decision I have to remake over and over again, from the moment I wake up, and throughout every minute of the Insanity workout.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  I really don't like to do the Insanity workout.  It's hard.  I feel like cardiac arrest is only seconds away as I feebly go into a plank push-up position and try to look all strong and in control like the rest of the people in the video as they snap themselves from plank to standing with fingers touching their toes in one simple beautiful move.  While they're rocking the moves, I'm barely making it from floor to touching toes using some flapping fish sort of motion, sweat dripping down my nose.  Yeah... the picture of fitness beauty! (Notice the sarcasm there???  LOL)

The upside of it all???  I'm 37 days into Insanity, and starting to feel like I own the world!  For the first time, I have arm muscles that are defined and fun to show off.  (Yes.  I've always been a tomboy.  I like mud and I like showing off muscles... silly... I know...)  I can run up a mountain without dying when I get to the top, and I have the energy to run after five kiddos without feeling completely drained at the end of the day (Just partially drained... five is a LOT!  LOL).

The point is... If you REALLY want to make a change.  YOU CAN!  It's just a decision away.  You decide... How do I want this next year to go?  What will make me happier?  Feel better?  Feel more in control of my life?  I know the answer is different for everyone... but there is an answer out there, and it just requires one simple thing.  A decision.  And sometimes, it's a decision that's remade every minute of the day.

So make your decision to change... and then do it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Three steps forward, two steps back...

Well... I've made it through the first part of Insanity and the recovery week.  I'd LOVE to say that I've been the poster child for Beach Body, but... alas... my Beach Body diet has been more like a four days on, three days off kind of thing... or even worse... three days on, four days off.  

I think the reason why I'm so bad about sticking to it is that when I do stick with it, I see results FAST!  Then I think... geez... I have some wiggle room now... maybe I will join hubby and the kiddos in those chips and dip or pumpernickel rye bread slathered with butter, paired with a nice amber brew.

That's usually the Friday night scenario, followed by Saturday at the soccer fields, where there's always lunch on the go to think about.  About the quickest thing we can pick up is a burger.  And, c'mon... what's a burger without fries, ketchup and a coke?  (Coke meaning... soda... pop... or whatever the rest of you yanks call it ;)

Come Sunday, I just top it all off with a nice brunch with french toast or pancakes and that real maple syrup my Vermont cousins gifted us... See how easy it is to fall prey to good food???

Regardless, I still consider my results to be FANTASTIC!  I'm down 13 pounds and up a ton of muscle.  Just take a look for yourself.  This is my 34 day before and after pic. (I have to admit, the before pic REALLY embarrasses me now...)

My goal this week is to actually STICK WITH IT!  I want to see the 130's.  So, my goal is to hit 139.9 before my big Oktoberfest party next Saturday.  Because on Saturday... it's no holds barred. I'm German, Irish and French, and take my ethnic background quite seriously.  On St. Patty's day, I feast.  On Oktoberfest, I REALLY feast.  Can't wait for that pumpernickel bread, sauerkraut and all the rest of the yummy goodies that come with the traditional feasting :)

My geek friends are coming early to stay the weekend (and I say geek with pure delight, as I myself fall into that category... and have a mild love affair with Linux) and we're gonna have FUN!

I know I'll have to pay the bill Monday, when I go back to being 'good'... but, I'll just take those next three steps forward, and in the long run... I'll still come out ahead :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cheater, Cheater, Chocolate-Raspberry Torte Eater... YUM!

Today is my baby's first birthday.  I'm down over 11 pounds now, and yes, I am celebrating!  This, my friends is what I call a valid reason to cheat :)

We made our absolute favorite for baby's cake... Cook's Illustrated recipe of Chocolate-Raspberry Torte.  And if you've never had it, then you have NEVER had the richest, most indulgent, touch every aspect of your senses, throw you into dreamland, most delectable chocolaty dessert ever!  (Yes... I'm a bit over-enthusiastic about it, but... you just have to taste it to understand.  *sigh*)

Besides... I've already cheated by licking the chocolate off my fingers... off the spoon... off the bowl... off the glass cup measurer... off the floor... (just kidding... 30 second rule doesn't apply to drippy chocolate that has hit the floor... eeew.)  My point is... I've already cheated a bit, so with that curl right in the middle of my forehead... It's time to go all the way ;)

On top of that, we're having a family favorite for dinner.  Tacos!  I'll tone it down a bit by skipping out on the sour cream and skimping on the cheese, but... I don't think I can keep that meal to only 400 calories and give it the full umph it deserves.  Right?

So, happy birthday to my most beautiful Jacq Jacq, and thank's a million, my darling, for the best reason to cheat!

Shaun T... I'm sure you'll reckon with me in the morning ;)



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Insanity... "Groan and bear it."

Every morning I get up between 6 and 6:30 am to do my Insanity workout.  I'm grunting and groaning as I drag myself out of bed and force my tired body to stumble down the stairs, make my way into the living room and key up the video of the day while I grab my water.

Thank God that Shaun T isn't one of those annoying exercise video people.  I'll never forget P.E. in high school, when my friend Jackie and I somehow talked our coach into letting us do the Tony Little workouts while everyone else played basketball.  We'd be stretching it out and all the sudden, Tony would say something like... "Imagine me... all alone... with you... in your living room."  EEEEEEEWWWWW!  Um... I don't think so, Tony... But Shaun T?  Well... suffice it to say that I just don't mind spending a little extra quality time with him.  ;)

Too bad that "quality time" is spent with me huffing and puffing and barely making it through... ahem... the warm up.  Oh geez... did I just say the warm up?!?!

Don't judge me, my friends.  At least not until you've tried a little Insanity yourself!  In the last couple of days, I've finally reached the point where I can actually force myself to complete the warm up without stopping.  And I'm so proud of myself!  *smile*  I do have to stop about a million times throughout the rest of the workout.  But, hey!  I'm sweating hard at the end, so I figure I've done my part... and I AM getting better.

The best part?  After only 10 days, I'm 4 ounces shy of losing 10 POUNDS!!!  Yes... Did I say 10 pounds?  I most certainly did!  I just can't wait for what's to come.  My abs are starting to look a lot better, and the rest... well... it's comin' along pretty nicely too :)

On top of everything... I have so much more energy throughout the day.  I'm sleeping better at night.  And... I tend to get more done with the time I have. (Due to my surplus of energy.)

When all is said and done... I might groan and bear it in the morning... but the way I feel the rest of the day makes it all worth it, and gives me the energy I need to repeat the cycle again the next time my alarm goes off.

And to you, cute chick in the front, with the short dark brown hair and chiseled abs... Yeah... I've decided I don't like you just yet.  You're too happy.  You workout too hard.  And you look too good.

That is all :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bananas and Peanut Butter... My saving GRACE!

Borrowed from knackfornutrition.com
Following the Insanity plan means that I have to learn a new diet.  This is rather frustrating, because between caring for five kiddos, soccer, my Doula business, and the million other things I do - like clean house... I just don't want to take the time to get to know everything all at once.

One easy meal that I've discovered is an oldie, but goody.  The peanut butter and banana sandwich!

I take Ezekiel bread, Kirkland's natural peanut butter and sliced bananas to make a quick, healthy and yummy lunch in minutes.  In fact, If I just cut that in half, then I'd take care of one of the smaller meals in my five meal plan, and it only takes a couple of minutes to throw it together.  And believe me... with a big active family, time is of the essence.

The picture I use here is borrowed from another website, because I scarfed down my lunch today in my excitement to get the babies to bed and get to work.  But my sandwich had a top and a bottom, and no cinnamon.  Although... I think I will try the cinnamon on my next go-round.

Today I am sore... all over.  Every move is pain.  BUT, I feel really good.  The baby is actually starting to sleep better with my diet change, and I'm getting some awesome nutrition from Shakeology.  I've been feeling happy and energized, and on top of all that... I'm down a couple more pounds!  This is my third day, and weight is dropping fast.

To be honest... I kind of expected the weight to drop fast the first week and a half.  That's normal for me.  The real test will be in a couple of weeks, when it has slowed down a bit.

For now... I'm sore, but excited.  And I know, that although I whine my way through my 6am morning workout... I can do this.  I just keep repeating that mantra.  I can do this.  I can do this!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Insanity is whooping my... um... tail...

So... I started Insanity yesterday.  I'd LOVE to say that I made it all the way through the first day fit test, but I didn't.  I'm a pretty tough gal... but about 2/3's of the way through, my stomach was on fire, and I felt like... well... suffice it to say that I became extremely nauseated and had to stop.  I was SO frustrated with myself.  I HATE stopping... and if there's one thing I'm not... I'm not a quitter.  I mean... I didn't expect to do amazing or anything, but I did expect to do better than that.  Oh well...

This morning, I got up at 6am and did the second day cardio workout, and... let me tell you... it is absolutely INSANE!  There is a reason they call this workout Insanity.  I swear...  the person who came up with this exercise routine is definitely insane... and I guess you could say that I'm insane for actually trying it.  I about died half-way through, and definitely finished half-a... (well... you get it... :)  I just kept telling myself, "If Anna can do it, I can do it."  

Yes, I'm VERY competitive... and if I have to tap into that to make myself finish these nasty little workouts... then that's what I'll do... I'm competitive, and I hate to lose... well, in this case... I'd LOVE to :)  (Couldn't resist that one!)

When I did my weigh-in yesterday, I was upset with myself, because I had gained more like 6 or 7 pounds, give or take a few... mainly give... (sigh).  So... (and I'm so embarrassed that I'm even putting this AND my picture out there in the public...)  I weighed in yesterday at 151.5 pounds.  *GASP!!!!!!!!*  (And yes... I did make that the smallest font... hopefully you can't read that number...  EEGA!)  I worked so hard to lose all of that pregnancy weight... and here, I let several chaotic months, lots of stress, and loose eating cause me to lose a bunch of ground... so discouraging.

After two days of Shakeology and Insanity, I'm already down a few pounds, so... I'm grateful that the shedding has begun, and determined to keep at it... although... I'm REALLY dreading what Shaun T has in store for me tomorrow morning at 6am.  Ugh... Can you hear me groaning?  :P

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On the verge of INSANITY!

That's it!  I've had it!  Sticking to a diet all by myself is just too hard for me right now.  This summer, I have gained five pounds.  FIVE POUNDS!  Okay... might not seem like much, but five can turn into 10, can turn into... well... you know...

So, I've made a HUGE decision.  I've decided to go the route of the insane.  I have signed up for Beach Body Insanity.  That's right.  I'm going to be working out insanely hard every morning with Shaun T.  And in addition to that, I'm trying out the Shakeology breakfast meal replacement.

Friends tell me... "You know, that's kind of extreme."  "It's probably only going to work for awhile, and then you'll gain the weight back."  

You know what?  Maybe I will gain the weight back... maybe I won't.  All I know is that I've battled depression this summer, and I'm tired of it.  Exercising makes me feel good, and as a result, I'm happy, and I am ready to be happy ALL the time.  

So... I have made the decision to:
  1. Get my butt out of bed every morning to exercise (starting Monday).
  2. Drink my breakfast (via Shakeology).
  3. Follow the Insanity diet (allowing breaks to maintain SOME sanity).
  4. Be a happier mama and wife.
  5. And ENJOY the fact that Peanut Butter is on said diet.  (YAY!!!  Oh, how I have missed thee!)
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  I'm going to put out weekly updates and pics in order to keep myself on task.  (Oh gosh... did I just say that?  Now, I'm REALLY gonna have to stick with it! ;)

I KNOW I can do this!  Now, I just gotta make it happen :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Making A Run For It

What do you do when you realize that you just can't stick to one way of eating for awhile?  Exercise, of course!

I signed up to run a half marathon with some girlfriends recently.  And I'm discovering that when you don't run as often as you are supposed to, and follow 'the plan'... that it really hinders the ability to make that weekly long run that just gets longer... and longer... and LONGER.

I live on top of a mountain.  Today, realizing that I was behind in my running, I decided to run down and up the mountain at least twice, which is over a mile.  I've never actually done this before, and you see... I'm from the plains of Texas, where a hill is really more like a bump that you can't see over when you're driving.  So when I went outside and started to run down the mountain, I almost fell flat on my face when the mountain quickly started to carry me down... almost to my knees... it was so fast.

The fun part came once I turned around to make my way back up... I think there's a reason why they say you "climb" a mountain.  I really don't think they were meant to be run.  I made it half-way up before I started to feel like my lungs were going to explode and my thighs and knees were ripping with pain.  Somehow, I made it to the top of the mountain between running and walking and half dying on the way!

Don't ask me why... but I did it a second time.  Only made it half-way up that time and had to stop and catch my breath, knowing that I was two seconds from hitting a dead faint with the sun beating down hard on me in the early afternoon. (And NO, I'm NOT being dramatic!  LOL)

Needless to say, I will not be running the driveway again.  Climbing? YES.  Running?  NO WAY!

The good news is... after another 3 1/2 mile run today, I believe I've earned a bit of reprieve.  I'm enjoying a nice cocktail with my hubby, virtually guilt-free, and slowly starting to feel the pain seep into my muscles.

Pain... sweet pain.  Actual proof of me actively trying.  Right?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Diet Breaking Paul Bunyan Style

I'm on vacation. This simply means... No holds barred when it comes to wetting my appetite with delectable all-American food and hanging with old friends.

We stopped over at a local venue here in the heart of the Twin cities (I LOVE to support local!). One swipe over the menu and I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted the Blue Ox bacon beef burger. My mouth watered just at the sound of it. Blue for bleu cheese, and Ox for beef... Right?

WRONG. I don't know how I didn't catch it. I mean... My kiddos have that old Disney movie about American legends. Blue Ox is Paul Bunyan's pet. Oh. So, who is Paul Bunyan? He's virtually a GIANT!!!

Now, what does this have to do with my lunch? My simple burger (which, might I add... I was sharing with my 7-year-old...) was INSANELY HUGE!

Check it out.

Talk about being in burger heaven! I only ate half, but boy was it yummy! Even with half of it down, they still had to roll me out the door when I was done.

But was worth it :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Correlation Between Broken Tea Cups and Diet Breaking

I'm BA-AAAACK!  I've enjoyed my blogging hiatus with my sister, who came to visit for the summer.  She was absolutely fabulous and amazing, and... of course... for quite a bit of her visit, the diet was out the window.

This summer, I was busy immersing myself in what my friend, Bridget, calls "blessed monotony".  You know... time where you just don't plan parties or visits or writing blogs or... plan much of anything.  Just be.  Wherever that takes you.

So... why broken tea cups?  What does that have to do with anything?  The other day, hubby was helping clean the kitchen (Yes... he helps do that domestic sort of schtuff... Thank GOD! :)  When he picked up one of my fav tea cups that had broken... and had then been repaired, he said, "You know what?  Your diet is just like a tea cup that has a little chip in it."  

"Seriously?"  (Couldn't wait to see just where he was going with that one.)  

"Imagine this tea cup is your diet.  You get one tiny chip in it.  You pick it up.  And then... you smash it against the wall and break it into a million pieces to finish the job!"
"You're diet is exactly the same!  You break your diet with one small thing during the day and say... 'To hell with it!  Might as well go all the way.' And then you spend the rest of the day 'enjoying' what you'll most certainly regret later."
You know what I realized?  He was absolutely RIGHT!  My diet IS like a tea cup.  Who knew?  What a great analogy.  For me, all it takes is one little slip, and then it's all over.

Let me give you an example.  And, oh yeah... today was a GREAT one!

Today was a rough day.  It's Monday.  (Gotta love Mondays.)  The house was a wreck.  I had paperwork backed up and covering the entire table.  The baby has a molar coming in and was screaming like a pterodactyl every other second.  Whiny four-year-old.  You get it.  

After taking the kiddos to the nursing home to see our lady friends, picking up another friend and then hitting the library with six kiddos, I made it back home utterly exhausted and tired, immersed in the tears of my 4-year-old, who was, unbeknownst to herself, REALLY missing her nap.  

I'd been good... so good... all day.  But... as good as I can be... the day called for one small piece of chocolate that I knew was hiding in the fridge.  So... I indulged.  Guilt free, chocotherapy.  

You know... If it had ended there, it wouldn't have been so bad.  But one piece of chocolate turned into an entire Hershey bar.  Which turned into eating pasta for dinner.  Which turned into chocolate chip cookies for desert.  Sigh.

All things said and done... I have a wedding to go to on Saturday, and a half marathon to train for, so I'm going to try to get back on the wagon.  Try to drag myself to the gym, and try to avoid all things chocolate.  At least until this weekend, when one of my best girlfriends is finally tying the knot.  

Now THAT'S a reason to celebrate :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

How Thin is "Thin Enough?"

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Healthy_Living_g284-Scary_Weight_p28147.htmlIt's no secret by now that I have some issues with my own body image.  For me, it is not "okay" to be overweight.  When I have extra fat on my body, I am not beautiful... well... at least when looking through my own 'beer goggles' (as they say)... that's what I think.

Right now, I'll be honest, I weigh pretty close to what I weighed when I was in high school.  I've never been ultra thin.  Only a couple of times have I even fit into a traditional size 6 and had room to spare.  I remember looking at girls in high school and being so jealous at how thin they were.  To me, they were beautiful because of their size. 

I grew up in a large family and have nine sisters.  Yes, you heard it right... my parents had ten girls... NO BOYS!!! (Talk about an ABUNDANCE of 'horror'-mones!)  The majority of my sisters and my mother are what many would call overweight.  It's been that way since childhood, which is where I know issues with my own body image began.

I do have a couple of sisters that are much more petite than I am, and when they would step on the scale, they would be 115 or 125 pounds.  Me?  When I hit 131 pounds a couple years ago, I had several people ask if I was becoming anorexic.  But, confusingly enough (and yes... I just made up that word), the number is what I focused on.  Young me in high school heard girls complaining about being 125, and all I could think of is... I'm 142.  I must be FAT!

I think most women and yes... even men... have a number on how thin is "thin enough."  For me?  Now that I'm out of High School and I've had five children, my number is 135.  My ideal weight?  131.  That's the perfect number.  If I get to 131 pounds, then I don't have to worry about which pose to make for the camera, because nothing is exaggerated so much that I think I look 'fat.'
Talking with some friends this week, I've seen that we all seem to have our own 'beer goggles' or should I say 'body goggles', where we look at ourselves with a distorted vision and assume that we're never 'thin enough.'  At least... that's what the world thinks... right?  We fall out of touch with reality.  Essentially, it comes back to that magic number.  The perfect number... the perfect size that we are aiming for.  
You know what's really funny?  In the past, I've been larger than I am now (especially after having babies) and couldn't wait to get back to my current size (which is 145).  Before, 145 was definitely 'thin enough.'  But now that I'm here... it's not good enough.  I still need to get back to that perfect number.  Nothing above it will suffice... at least that's what my 'body goggles' tell me.

So, really... how thin is 'thin enough'???  Honestly?  The answer is simple.  It all comes back down to body image.  (Doesn't everything???  Ugh...)  Being thin will never be good enough if I can't accept the body I've been given and realize that I'm loved and beautiful regardless of my size.  Skinny doesn't equal pretty.  It's soooo easy to therapatize myself on this issue. (Yes... I LOVE this new made-up word ;)

In all seriousness... I actually love who I am.  (A first for me in many regards.)  Now I just need to focus on learning how to love the body I'm blessed with.  Then maybe I'll finally reach the point where numbers won't matter. 

They say that the 'furthest distance a man has to travel is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.'  I get this, and am eager for the day when my heart will finally come to realize that I am beautiful because of it's size... not the number on the scale.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

On the subject of Morality & Diet Breaking

Last night was a BLAST!  Hubby and I made a great escape and took off on our own for a hot date.  And let me tell ya... last night, he was definitely my arm candy ;)  He looked good, smelled good and... well... he had the money.  No worrying about how much things cost tonight... I was a girl again on a date with my hot boyfriend!  (It's so funny how cheesy that word sounds when you've been married for almost 12 years... but that's how it felt :)

We drove out to a really nice local countryside bar & grill that just happened to have a karaoke DJ running tunes.  If you know me, then you know that I love to sing karaoke.  I don't care if there's one person or a hundred in the house.  I sing because... well... in addition to eating chocolate... it's a HUGE stress reliever for me.

Hubby and I bellied up to the bar (tunes from The Unsinkable Molly Brown skipping through my head now...), and immediate honed in on the smell of hot wings.  Oh gosh... I REALLY enjoy me some hot wings.  And while hot wings are totally on my diet, beer... however... isn't.  And... when you're at your local bar... and you order hot wings.  It's the hot wings code of ethics that you absolutely HAVE to order beer to go with them.  And thanks to my morality, because I am a women of ethics, I was strongly compelled to comply with the code!

We had an absolute blast just sitting there people-watching and met some pretty darn cool people... of whom you will be hearing a little more about in another article :)

Right before we took off, I did my own rendition of the old classic, "Makin' Whoopie," and this mother of 5 had a BLAST as the whole place stopped, and I had the floor.  Oh yeah... I was Rosemary Clooney at one of those classic swanky joints in a black and white setting... crooning out the tune in my husky alto... "I guess I'll keep her.  Man, it's cheaper... than makin'..... Whoooooopie."

The 'standing ovation' following the last note that slid off my tongue was sa-weet!  And yes... I'm sure that some probably had their beer goggles on, but... nonetheless... hubby was there admiring me like crazy (which I absolutely, positively LOVE)... I got out of the house and had a blast, and even got to enjoy a little 'diva' moment.  (Yay!)

The result of this amazing, craziful night?  I'm now carrying much less stress on my shoulders and ready for a soccer-free weekend, gearing up to avoid all the temptations that will surely be coming my way for the Memorial Day celebrations.

In the meantime,  I'll keep up that mantra... I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can... and just hope that it does it's trick for me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beauty: Almost Perfect (But not quite!)

When my first daughter was 4 or 5, I'd be fixing her hair in front of the mirror, and I'd tell her what a pretty girl she was.  Right after, I'd look her in the eyes and say... "Honey, where are you the most beautiful?"  To which she'd reply in her cute little baby voice, "In my heart!"

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could all have that mentality?  Beauty is in the heart... not in the body... not in the hourglass, toned figures that are constantly staring out at us from the checkout counters at the store..

I'm a country girl, and I LOVE country music.  When I see Faith Hill's picture in the magazines, I'm instantly thinking how beautiful she is, often followed by a thought on how imperfect I am.  She's so thin, doesn't even look like she's a day over 25... 30 at most.  Her skin and body are... well.. perfect!

Then I saw this picture of her on my facebook feed.  Faith Hill truly IS a beautiful woman, but her body is not perfect.  I mean... whose is?  Okay... I'm sure you could start naming a few people here, but when you look at the average person out there, you don't find perfection.  It's like looking at a bouquet of flowers.  On their own, some flowers might be too dull or too yellow or too fluffy or too whatever.  But when you put them all together, they make a masterpiece... and the details simply don't matter.

So, what REALLY makes a person beautiful or ugly?  You see, I know the answer to this in my head.  I do.  And when I look at other people, I don't judge by those standards, because I really do know the truth of the matter.

The truth is... beauty starts in the heart.  In my opinion... those who have the most generous and least judgemental hearts are the people who shine the most and whose beauty is incomparable.  Some of the most beautiful people I know are not a size 4 or a size 6, but are actually more like between the sizes of 10 and 22.

Honestly?  It frustrates the hell out of me that our society has us so focused on size and weight that we can't see the forest for the trees.  It makes me angry that when we see these perfect magazine bodies and faces that some of our first thoughts are about how imperfect we are.  At least... that's where my mind goes.

I love that song by P!NK.  You know... the one about being perfect.  I belt that song out as I'm dancing in front of a mirror in my room (yeah... I'm crazy like that), and I sing it to my sisters and I sing it about my friends.  "You are perfect to me."  Don't change who you are.
They say that beauty is only skin deep... but they are soo wrong.  Beauty is much deeper than that.  Beauty is who you are... NOT what you look like.
Yes.  We all know this.  But do we REALLY know this?  I don't know about you, but as for me, I'm learning... it's taking time, but... I'm sloooowly learning that perfect isn't always, well... you know... perfect.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On the subject of Screaming Babies & Diet-breaking

Day:  Today
Place:  The Gym

Thank GOD for friends!  One of my 'Mom's Club' gals came over this morning and watched the kiddos for me so I could hit the gym, relieve some stress and work off some extra unwanted calories.  Wait!  Did I just say unwanted calories???  Now where the heck would I pick up some of those????  Hmmmmm....  Listen in for the gory details... If you dare!


Day:  Yesterday 
Place:  Home

Scene: 2  (I'm not even going to touch on Scene 1... just check out yesterday's post for details:)
House is clean.  Kiddos are behaving and somewhat quiet.  I'm happy and everyone's at peace.

Scene: 3
Four hours later...  Baby is screaming.  I'm scarfing down a bowl of Dutch Chocolate premium ice cream after polishing off all but one of the remaining miniature Heath bars.  (Thank GOD they're out of my house now!)

Now, why in the name of molasses did I go for the chocolate... AGAIN?  UGH!!!  Have you ever heard of letting babies "cry it out?"  I personally think that whoever invented this form of baby rearing was intentionally trying to create insufferable moments of "Mommy Hell" for those of us trying to figure out the 'right' way to raise these precious little persons. (Remember... this is traumatized me talking here....)

Baby #5 is very, very stubborn.  She already knows what she wants, and when she doesn't get it, she throws a tantrum.  And I'm not referring to a small baby tantrum.  Nooooo.... I'm talking about the arm punching, leg flailing kind, and she's only 8 MONTHS OLD! 

For instance... if I set baby down on the floor for a second, she'll start to scream.  I pick her up, she stops immediately, looks at me, gives me a huge smile and says "a-heh."  This same scenario happens at dinner time when she's not fed fast enough, and other times throughout the day when she doesn't get her toy fast enough, etc and so forth.

I have 9 sisters, and some of them have advised me on how awesome it is when babies learn how to 'self-sooth'.  So, I'm thinkin'... okay...  this sounds awesome!  I'll give it a try! 

Yesterday afternoon, baby was fed and changed and happy.  I needed to work on a few things, so I placed her in her pack 'n play.  Immediately, she looks up at me and starts to scream.  I'm thinking... this is an awesome opportunity to try this out.  So, I sat where she could see me.  I could talk to her, and she wouldn't be alone.  I'd just wait it out.  I sooo had this under control.

NOT!  She screamed.  And she screamed.  And she SCREAMED!  And I'm sitting there thinking... I got this... we can do this... Then, at one point I think I recorded the sound of her screaming and sent it to my hubby exclaiming, "You DID THIS TO ME!!!"  Okay... well, maybe that's being just a little over-dramatic... but I did send the sound bite so that he could appreciate how my day was going.

An hour and a half later, with baby still screaming I was ready to pull my hair out and in desperate need of immediate triage.  I kept thinking... "I'm not going to eat junk.  I'm NOT going to eat junk.  I'm NOT GOING TO DO IT!"  I think after that last one, I flew straight to the freezer to start instant chocolate therapy.

Once I calmed down... and once the baby decided to stop for... like... one second... I scooped her out of her play pen, and she was suddenly quiet, looked over at me with a smile and said.. "a-heh".  Yeah... *sigh*
After this harrowing experience, I think... um... I mean... I KNOW that I have decided that "crying it out" might be good for baby... but it is definitely NOT good for me. 
So... if you see me walking around with a baby in the Ergo on my back, it's not because I don't believe in letting kiddos have some individual play time, or that I think kiddos shouldn't learn how to self-sooth... but it's because baby and I have reached a treaty.  It's signed, sealed and framed on our wall, now.  Our treaty is this... I hold her...  she doesn't scream... and I don't indulge in unwanted therapies.

Oh... and by the way... thanks, baby, for helping me reach a new 5k record!  I ran the 5k in 35 minutes today.  Yeah... there was still quite a bit of stress left in me, only this time it worked to my advantage.  Oh yeah.  Oh yeah... Oh... (I think you get the picture ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday, fun-day... Pushing the reset button.

You know how they have the "Easy" button at Staples?  I seriously need a "De-Stress" button just like that.  And it would have to be red, because... well... I LOVE red... but red is the color that best represents how I feel when I'm stressed beyond all stressing... (and yes... I just made that up.)

This weekend was good... but it was absolutely CRAZY.  I enjoyed seeing my in-laws, however... our schedule was absolutely jam-packed with school interviews, soccer games (Saturday and Sunday), and play practice, in addition to all of that, the baby decided to wake up every couple of hours each night and systematically pull my hair out (while laughing thinking it was soooo funny...ouch!!!)!!!!

So... not only was I sleep deprived and running around like... (yes... I'm GOING to use a cliche here...) a chicken with it's head cut off... but also trying to be a good hostess while running on empty.
It's a very frustrating truth that I am a stress eater. There... I said it. That's the first step to recovery, right? When my stress reaches the boiling point, I immediately reach for the first thing I can grab that I'm not supposed to be eating... and follow it by whatever else is lying around.  If there happens to be candy or chocolate in the house... I'm a goner... or should I say... it's a goner???  *sigh*
It's rather embarrassing to admit it, but my "stress o'meter" was off the charts last night and I went haywire crazy on the candy FIL brought to my house and the biscotti that I had just pulled fresh out of the oven.  Heck... I broke down and even had some crusty white Italian bread with my dinner.

Needless to say... when I went to bed, I was NOT a happy camper (with myself... that is), and when I woke up this morning, I was still not happy with myself... especially after the baby did the pull my hair routine again last night. 

My head hurt... I felt yucky... so, what did I do?  Went straight for the irresistible biscotti sitting in a pile by the oven, dunked it into my hot black coffee (before I could stop myself) and enjoyed the one thing that was helping to glue me together as I stared at my messy house.

We said good-bye to FIL & MIL, and then I went straight for the ginger snaps.  Thankfully, my sister caught a message on Facebook and stopped me after only one cookie.... and I'm so glad she did! 

I snapped out of it, and put the junk away... got my kiddos in gear and did an hour and a half cleanup on the house.
A clean house works very much like a de-stress or reset button.  I'm happy to say that my house is clean and my kiddos are quiet, and I am slowly triaging from all the chaos.  I'm staring at the pile of mini Heath bars left by FIL and am willing myself not to touch them.  And... you know what?  I think I actually might win this time.  It is Monday, after all... right?  It's time to re-start the diet!

(Insert... *ugh* *ugh* *ugh* I shouldn't have to "restart" so many times!!!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Impromptu Parties & Self Control

Today we had a party for the kiddos.  FIL (Father-in-law) bought some rib-eye steaks, cooked by hubby.  We even let the kiddos have some soda for dinner... for which they were THRILLED, as they are not allowed to drink soda on a regular basis.

So, what were we celebrating this time?  Remember that little post that I wrote on volunteerism?  Well... Hubby and I volunteer as soccer coaches for the local soccer league.  Today, all four of our soccer-playing kiddos had awesome games, and each kiddo scored at least one goal today.  That means that FOUR of our soccer-playing maniacs scored at least one goal.  Soooo.... the title for our party was "Every Kiddo Scored Today Party."

Honestly... I could come up with a new reason for an impromptu party every day.  It could be something as simple as "Baby's first time to sit up party." Or.. "I survived another day as mom to five party."  "The house is clean party."  "The laundry is DONE party." (That party would HAVE to be a HUGE celebration, since it's such a rare occasion...)  My point here is that there always seems to be some reason to celebrate, and some reason to lose complete control over what I choose to eat.

When I was a kid, I remember my mom being VERY specific about us only being allowed to have two cookies when we went to a party where there were cookies spread out on a table.  We would eat our two cookies and then be done with it.  So, how do we find balance when our chaotic life keeps drawing us into situations where we just don't feel like having only two cookies?  We want three, or four, or... however many it takes to get us past that desperate "I gotta have cookie satisfaction mode." into a place where we are completely satisfied?

In the strictest of confidence, I'll have to tell you... I still haven't reached a point where I always know when to stop.  But, right now... with my history... I honestly think it has to be a calculated decision.  "At the party, I will only have two cookies."  "I will only drink two beers." 
It's about setting limits before you get into the situation, and then following through with them.
Tonight, FIL bought a huge loaf of Italian bread.  I LOVE Italian bread!  (Especially when it's slathered with a thick layer of butter or dipped in olive oil... YUM!)  Tonight, however, I had a different outcome from previous "encounters of the bread kind."  LOL  Other nights I would immediately go after the bread and butter and unashamedly eat until I was stuffed.  But tonight I made a decision before I sat down to eat.  I decided that I wouldn't even touch the bread.  And you know what?  VICTORY!  Yes... I won.  I ate no bread.  I allowed myself to enjoy a glass of wine with my steak, and headed upstairs to put #5 to bed feeling good about myself.

You're probably thinking... WOW... she's not that pathetic after all... and doesn't break the diet nearly as much as you'd think she would.  But, honestly... being able to blog and write about food and my journey has been such a help!

It might seem like a small victory... but for me... it all goes back to the theme on balance.  Something I'm learning... although the journey may be somewhat arduous and long... 

But I'm realizing something rather important.  When I make good food choices during the day, instead of kicking myself at night, I go to bed happy, and as a result... I have just a little more self-respect... and it feels pretty darn good.

Friday, May 18, 2012

On the subject of In-laws & Ice Cream

If I could take you on a tour of Rome, it would go something like this.  (In my best Texan accent...) "This here is the Vatican, and right off of the right arm (as you're looking at it), you will find a scrumptious little gelati shop."  "That over thar is what they call the Spanish Steps.  Just around the corner is an awesome gelati shop with tons of flavors!"  "This pretty little building is St. John Lateran, and across the street and down a bit, is where you can get a delectible 'fragola e limone' gelati."

See where I am going here?  I have a completely embarassing love affair with ice cream!  I have been to Italy several times, and I STILL think about how the Spanish Steps are near the best gelati shop... not about how the best gelati shop is near the Spanish Steps.

I swear my first son was completely made up of cappaccino heath blizzards from Dairy Queen.  I used to be a level 3 Linux technician (Gotta love penguins :) with a company that hosted hosting companies (Yeah... I SOOOOO have a geeky side... and I LOVE IT!).  It seemed that almost every day when we would have our meetings, someone would volunteer to make a DQ run.  Of course, I HAD to order... right?  Oh, it was sooo good!  Now, I do think that further into my pregnancy, I eventually started to order healthier blizzards (is there such a thing???). You know... ones that had pinapple and strawberries in it instead of the heath and coffee... so I'm sure that was better for me ;)

One of my favorite ice cream treats is to get some really yummy vanilla ice ream (gotta love that Texas Blue Bell schtuff!), pile on the fresh cut up strawberries... follow with some chopped up pecans... pour on the hot fudge, and then slather it all with whipping cream.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Yummmmm....  Why am I doing this to myself?!!!

So... what does all this addictive ice cream history have to do with my In-Laws?  Well... they are here this weekend and EVERYTHING is thrown out of wack.  Over the years, I have conditioned myself to be able to say no to ice cream.  On a good day, I can easily go for some of my Chocolate Yumminess recipe and not think twice.  But... when the chaos and/or stress is high... my ability to say no instantly flies out the stinking window.

Today we were out at a couple of meetings and happened to have an hour and a half between them.  Mom-in-law was hanging with us, so I decided to take the kiddos and hubby's mama out for some ice cream.  I'd LIKE to say that I actually thought about not eating ice cream, and that I had a horid battle raging through my head that was eventually lost.
The truth of the matter is that from the very second I thought about taking them to this uber yummy & somewhat famous frozen yogurt place nearby, the only battle going on in my head was whether to get the small or the medium one!
*SIGH*  (Or should I say... **BIG SIGH**)  Well... I have so far behaved myself this evening... so does that count for anything?  I DO think that maybe that means I've found a bit of... wait for it... WAIT FOR IT....  BALANCE!!!!  Yes!  I said it... balance. 

Well... we are about to start family night, so I guess I get to go downstairs for a little "balancing practice."  We'll see who wins this one!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

From the Heart: Body Image

The Woman in the Mirror

I woke up this morning all smiles.  Life has been GREAT. I've been watching what I eat and basically staying out of diet trouble, so the first thing to cross my mind was... "I'm going to love what the scale says today!"  And after I weighed myself, I was ecstatic.  The scale was the lowest it's been since baby #5, and I felt beautiful and confident.

When I take a step back, and review the above scenario from the outside looking in, I can't help but do a double take.  Not long ago, after going through a really stressful couple of weeks, I was TERRIFIED to step on the scale.  I'd wake up in the morning and tell myself that I wasn't even going to think about stepping on the scale to see what damage I had done... but no matter how hard I tried to avoid it... I'd always weigh in anyway.
On the days that I weigh more and the scale confirms it, I feel disgusted... frustrated... irritated and discouraged. 
It's a fact that throughout the day, I am constantly plagued with thoughts surrounding my body image.  "How much do I weigh this morning?"  "Make sure breakfast is on the diet."  "How thin do I look in this outfit?" "Oh gosh... my arms look HUGE..."  I pick out a part of my body that's not perfect in my eyes, and I'm downright mean to myself. 

There is no way that I'd think those things about another person... but when it comes to myself, anything less than perfect is failure.
I have to wonder... why do I even care so much about how I look?  Heck... there was once a period in time when it was attractive to be a little chubby. Boy, do I wish we still had that mentality... It would be no holds barred with me and chocolate on a regular basis... that's for sure! 

Honestly, though... what's the big deal anyway?  My husband finds me to be extremely attractive, and people are constantly telling me that I'm a beautiful and talented woman.  That should be all that really matters, right? 

WRONG...at least society conditions us to think otherwise.  Ever since I was a little girl, I was conditioned to think a certain way based on the movies I've watched, the books I've read, and the friend's I have encountered... 

Heck just take a look at the mentality many men have toward women and the perfect size 6... or is it now the perfect size 4???  In our society, it seems as though you have to be practically showing your skeleton to be seen as the "perfect size," and essentially... to be considered beautiful. 
My goal is, and has been... to fight the current culture and be happy with who I am... in the size I am... and know that I am loved and lovable regardless of my latest pants size.
The funny thing is that as I'm writing this... knowing my success of this morning... I'm still stealthily sabotaging my healthy day by eating a handful of mini Kit Kats and Heath bars that my Father-in-Law bombed my house with this evening.

I tried to say no, but... well... *sigh*  I can only be strong for soooo long... and, we all know that my ability to control myself when my stress o'meter is off the charts is pretty much zilch. 

My promise to myself?  Tomorrow morning, I will NOT step on the scale, and I'll hope that my in-law's don't sabotage my diet any further with their visit. (And yes... it is THEIR responsibility for me making poor food choices... it most certainly couldn't be MY fault, now could it? ;) 

In the meantime, I'm realizing that the best way to stabilize my body image is summed up in one word... balance (And I say this only after I've eaten about a dozen mini Heath bars.  *sigh* )  Some day... I'll learn.   :)  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Decaf anyone?

I'll admit it.  I'm a spoiled brat.  But, I think that being the middle of 10 girls... and feeling lost in the mix... I completely deserve to be spoiled... right?  Well... at least a little ;)

Every morning, I start my day off with coffee in bed.  I couldn't imagine having my day begin without my hubby (Thank GOD for my sweet, thoughtful hubby :) tapping me on the foot to wake me up and announce that a fresh cup of hot decaf coffee is waiting for me.  Wait... did I just say DECAF????  Yes, I most certainly did... and yet... I still can't start my day without it!

Now, what on Earth would possess me to drink decaf?  Well, first of all, the Suzanne Somers diet has a 'no tolerance' caffeine policy.  I'd say that I gave up leaded coffee when I first started the diet, but the truth of the matter is that I gave up caffeine years ago... and have given it up several times since. 

The beauty of giving up caffeine is that if you really do end up needing a mid-afternoon or nighttime jolt... a little caffeine goes a LONG way.  A great example would be family trips. 

It's a good 24 hours of straight driving to get to my parents house, and with 5 kiddos, I really don't relish the thought of splitting it up and driving two full days to get there.  It's enough to make everyone cranky.

Introduce caffeine into the scenario and an entirely new picture is painted.  Hubby and I team up to drive the 24 hours straight through.  We leave around 11am while the kids are fresh and excited.  Hubby usually drives until 1:30 or 2am, and then this is where the caffeine comes into play.

Even though it's the time of day when I'm usually thoroughly exhausted, all I have to do is crack open a Dr. Pepper or drink a caffeinated coffee, and within minutes, I'm wired...  I'm jumping up and down in my seat and talking a million miles a minute. 

Yes, my dear friends.  THIS is why they invented caffeine.  I start driving, and at 6:30am when I see dawn start to spread over the horizon, I'm still hopping in my seat.

We arrive at Grandma & Grandpa's around 11am the next day.  The kiddos have missed out on about 12 hours of driving, and crankiness is at an all-time low (Well... for traveling, at least!).  Now... isn't that a heck of a lot less painful than the alternative?  I certainly think it's worth it :)

Yes.... decaf coffee... you are my friend.  I drink you... a lot... and don't get the jitters... or irritable... or have my eye do that crazy twitching thing that happens when someone drinks too much caffeine.  Then, when I need to stay awake... I can... I just have to cheat on you for a short period.  But don't worry, my friend... I'll be back!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Volunteering & the Self-Esteem Connection

I just spent seven and a half hours at a training session for our local hospital in order to give away four hours of my time on a semi-regular basis at the Women's Care Center there. 
Now why... WHY... would I... a woman with 5 kids, who is already coaching (and co-coaching) two soccer teams, volunteering at a local nursing home and playing full-time mommy, school-teacher, and maid, volunteer at the local hospital?
It would sound so wonderful if I made up some elaborate reason about helping further the kindness of humanity... but the truth of the matter is... I get a break!

I love my kiddos to pieces, and I could never be without them for very long, but even I need a break every once in awhile, so that I can come home and just bask in the joy of them running out to greet me as I pull into the drive.  As a bonus, while I'm away,  I get to be an adult for a few hours, see tiny little newborn babies, have intelligent conversation with grown-up human beings, and for at least 5 hours of my day... and I get to be ME... not mommy.

Truthfully... I really do enjoy helping others.  And it's not just only because someone else's life is being enriched... it's because MY life is being enriched.  When I'm able to help someone else, I feel good about myself.  Instead of focusing on my own life stresses, I am able to put that energy towards helping someone else to feel good, or to relieve their stress.

Now, what does all this have to do with food or dieting?  The connection is in self-esteem.  When I am helping someone else... when I'm offering part of my day to give someone else a smile... I'm not so "me-focused."  And with that focus being pulled away from myself, food is suddenly not so important.  I don't really care if I skip the bread and just eat the ham, lettuce and cheese for lunch, because I'm so wrapped up with the conversation I'm having with my retired friends, Pipp & Bill, that the food I'm eating is no longer the highest priority on my lunchtime agenda.

The point of the matter here is... the more that I focus on the well-being of others, and the less that I draw attention to myself...  the facets of life that push me, and tempt me to break the diet, just fade away.

Essentially... in the end, I believe it all boils down to a self-esteem connection... The psychology behind it... well... I'm still working on that one ;)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate-Covered Stress

It often seems that whether or not I've broken the diet completely depends on the level of stress in my life.  The more my stress o'meter goes up, the more I make poor food choices. 

I have several modes when it comes to stress.  Light stress is usually appeased by a nice nap time for the kiddos and some of my diet-friendly chocolate dessert.... but what I want to talk about today is when my stress o'meter goes beyond the normal everyday stress and pushes into the red zone... or should I say... the chocolate zone.
The stress that drives me to immediate and necessary chocolate intervention is the kind that creeps up from my stomach, into my throat and forcefully pushes it's way up too and almost out of my mouth.
It seems that when my stress factor rises above the coping zone, the only thing that can appease it is a handful of chocolate chips... usually followed by another handful... and another... and then... another after that. 

The euphoric sensation of chocolate melting in my mouth, dripping down my throat, and the virtual hug that ensues... (Yes... the consumption of chocolate actually releases the hormone oxytocin, which is the same hormone released when given a really good hug.) helps to release a bit of steam from my interior stress pressure cooker.... so to speak... leaving me with a delightful sensation of peaceful bliss.

I know full well that it's only a momentary reprieve from the stress that seems to forever haunt me... however... it's a bandaid that I will gratefully accept.  In my opinion... chocolate-covered stress is sooo MUCH better than stress all by itself.

Now, that being said... where's the chocolate???

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! Time to take a break :)

I LOVE Mother's Day!  I get to sleep in, and then all my kiddos and hubby "surprise" me with breakfast in bed :)  I get 5 cards with the sweetest messages from each of my kiddos and my hubby. 

I'm SO proud to be a mother and love each one of my 5 kiddos like CRAZY! 

Today, it was breakfast with a smile.  Hubby made me an omelet, and the kiddos helped to turn it into a beautiful smile.  And the best part?  There was enough to share with everyone, so when the kiddos started asking for bites, it was easy to be generous :)

Even though breakfast was totally on the level, every diet has to have some scheduled breaks, or they would be completely impossible to follow!  So, today, I'm taking a break between 3:30 and 6:30 when some of my "Fro Ro" besties come over to hang and share some Mother's Day festivities.

I'm going to make dessert... haven't decided quite what, yet, but it will be wickedly off the diet.  That's for sure!

If you're a mama, I wish you have the best Mother's Day!  I'm going to relax and enjoy the reason I'm celebrating today... my kiddos :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On the subject of Aliens & Diet Breaking

Photo from fanpop.com
Now, you might say... "She's breaking her diet just because she wants to have something to write about."  *SIGH*  How I wish that were true.  The truth of the matter is that I really do make up these elaborate excuses to either eat or drink something that is normally forbidden.  On the up side... I will probably never lack for content for this blog.  Which brings me to the subject of... you got it... Aliens.

Thank you, TJ, for enlightening me on the subject of Aliens and getting me to watch that movie called, "The Fourth Kind" as well as a few episodes of "Ancient Aliens."  Of course... I just had to move out into the middle of NOWHERE, and now in the deep darkness of night, when I'm outside, it's no longer the snakes and creatures I fear.  Nope.  It's aliens! 

When hubby is home, and there's a flash of light outside, my first thought is... lightning!  When it's dark outside and I'm all alone, a flash of light could only mean one thing... ALIENS!!!

Last night, my hubby went out with some friends, leaving me alone at night for the first time in our new house that's on top of a mountain, snuggled right up next to a rather large forest.  The kiddos went off to bed, and then it was just me.  Me with my WILD imagination, in a large house with windows that do not yet have curtains on them.  Before I knew it... I was seeing deranged hikers breaking through the glass with an axe, ready to murder... and aliens landing in the clearing behind my house.

If I had hair on my back (Thank God I DON'T!)... I'm sure it would have been standing straight up.  I called a few friends... but everyone already had their Friday night plans in play.  I had to do something!  If you've ever seen the movie, Anne of Green Gables, you'd understand my plight.  I can completely relate to how she was feeling while walking through the forest with Diana Berry... her imagination was simply out of control.  To be honest... I'm not even sure if I fully do believe in Aliens... but I do know for a fact that my imagination does.

So... how do I take control?  By simply introducing a few comfort foods.  They tend to stifle my imagination, reroute my brain cells and calm my nerves.  They DON'T, however, help me to reach my pre-summer swimming suit goal :)
Fortunately, my hubby came home just as I was finishing my treat.  I was now safe from the aliens, but caught red-handed breaking my diet... again.
I just have to remind myself of what Miss Stacey said to Anne (in Anne of Green Gables)... "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it."  Yeah... that's why I'm starting my diet again... tomorrow...

Friday, May 11, 2012

MNO - They MADE me do it!

Okay, so... what is MNO?  Mom's Night Out... of course!  I'm a member of the local "Fro Ro" Mom's Club, and let me tell you... these ladies are AWESOME!  Last night some of us decided to meet up at a sort of unofficial Mom's Night Out at Vino de Formaggio on Main Street in Front Royal. 

Now, let me tell you... the owner is extremely flamboyant, and the restaurant was out of quite a few things... no lemons... no beef something or other... and no... well, you get my drift.  The funny thing is... you really don't care what they're out of, because the place has such a strong character appeal, and I think that's actually part of it.  LOL

So... what did they make me do?  (They are SOOOOO merciless!)  I was doing great!  I ordered a cheese and meat platter... gave the ladies my bread.  Water was on the menu (with no lemons, mind you!  LOL). 

THEN....

Mr. Flamboyant (owner dude) walks over and asks me if I'd like a drink.  Mind you... all the moms are enjoying a glass of wine or beer, but I was happy and content with my water.  Now... here's where the "force" came in... my gal, Michelle, leans over and says... "It's your night out!  Have some fun!"

Cruelty... real cruelty at it's best.  *SIGH*  So... with my arm twisted behind my back, I enjoyed a nice glass of red wine... don't really know what kind it was... Mr Flamboyant took care of that... but it was good... real good.  It touched every inch of my palate.  And of course... Mr. Flamboyant made sure to refill my glass when that one was empty (only once... mind you :).

After Vino de Formaggio, a couple of the girls and I moved on over to TGI Fridays for some... yeah... you got it... karaoke :)  Beer was on the menu. (Only one... mind you.)  No one had to twist my arm this time.  I hadn't been out in awhile, so Girl's Night was fully in swing.  A few songs... a bit of harmonizing... some fun dancing... great girl talk (BTW, what is said at TGI Friday's stays at... well... you know...) and two hours later we were gleefully headed home with an awesome night behind us.

So... thank you Mom's Club for forcing me to break the diet.  With all the fun we had last night, I must say... IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!  You guys rock :)

In reparation for what I have done...

I am now going to sit home tonight and babysit the children (and maybe catch a chick flick on Netflix... :)  while Trent goes out and enjoys a friend's birthday party at a joint downtown.  I just couldn't take two nights of diet-breaking in a row!  I'd lose all sense of diet control.  Well... that... and I just couldn't find a babysitter.  :P

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chocolate Yumminess "Sanity Pill" Recipe :)

My sister asked me for the recipe for my "Sanity Pill"... so, instead of sending it in one LONG text message, I decided... what would be better than just posting it here?

This recipe originally came from a Suzanne Somers dessert recipe my sisters made.  I have never seen the original recipe, and ended up adapting the recipe a bit anyway.  When I'm feeling weak, it's my definite goto. 

What is it?  It's like a chocolate mousse... or so I think :)  Sometimes I use almond flavoring in place of the vanilla... and if you really want to get adventurous, the original recipe adds a couple tablespoons of amaretto or grand marnier to it right before it's whipped up.

Chocolate Yumminess Recipe

1/2 bag special dark chocolate chips
2 sticks butter  (yeah... it's for a nice fat-loving diet :)
1 tsp vanilla
6 eggs (separated)

Melt chocolate chips and butter (sliced up for easier melting) in a double boiler.  (I use my 4 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup sitting over a large sauce pan with simmering water)

Meanwhile...
Mix up the separated egg yolks on a high setting until they are creamy. 

Once the chocolate mixture cools a bit add the egg yolks and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and stir in.

Clean out your bowl and then mix the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Add the chocolate mixture to the egg whites, stir in, and then set the mixer on high for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, the dessert is finished!  You can enjoy some at room temperature or refrigerate first (which is recommended).  It all just depends on how desperate you are for that chocolate fix!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keeping it real... my "Sanity Pill"

Sometimes it's REALLY hard to stick with it.  Right now, I'm on day three of not cheating on the diet... and remember... this is a diet I've been on for three years now.  *Sigh*  Hence, the blog.... 

It feels really good to stick with it.  Especially when I step on that scale in the morning.  I know... I know... you aren't supposed to step on the scale every day, but I just can't help it... I just HAVE to know if all my hard work is paying off.

So, what do I do when I hit that mid-day crisis?  You know... the one where the kids are FINALLY napping or being quiet in their rooms (Honestly?... I LOVE that time of day...) and the first thing I do is think... "Hmmmm.... what can I eat that will send me into that 'I'm so completely fulfilled' contentment?"  I make my cup of decaf black coffee (and yes, I'm thinking about that swanky little song sung by Julie London when I say 'black coffee'  :) and get myself a bowl of some homemade delectable chocolaty yumminess that is most certainly ON my diet.  (Nope... no fake sugars... just some really dark chocolate mixed up with the best schtuff!)  I sit on the couch with the baby, turn on Netflix and lose myself in a couple commercial free episodes of "Glee" (my current amusement). 

Speaking of Julie London... I think I'm going to go make myself a cup of hot black coffee (Can you hear the swank?  Ka CHANG!)... listen to some Jazz... and just wonder what the scale has in store for me tomorrow.  I'VE BEEN GOOD!!!  Now that's something to shout about :)

Good NIGHT!