Saturday, January 31, 2015


On Tuesday my students will celebrate the 100th day of school. It's a fun day of practicing counting to 100, doing things in groups of 100, eating the number 100 and more.

Today, I am celebrating 100. 100 pounds gone.

100 pounds gone!

Holy smokes. That's like:

100 boxes of butter
2 of these
 20 of my roommate's cat

1 toilet (really, I Googled it)

a 13-year-old child

a 70" diameter pumpkin
a hellfire missile (or HAL-3)

a miniature horse

a seal

a Rotax 503 2-cylinder, 2 stroke, fan-cooled airplane engine

a small deer

a large goat

Monday, January 19, 2015

Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

This is a family favorite (well, at least mom and I love it) that varies every time we make it. I'll give you the rough directions and you can adjust to your own tastes and likings.

Beef and Vegetable Stew
1-2 lbs of stew meat
olive oil
diced or minced garlic, to taste
1 yellow onion, diced
1 package crimini mushrooms
root vegetables- sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams, and/or carrots (this time I used 2 sweet potatoes and 3 carrots)
handful of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into about 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 small can of beef broth
1 large can of diced or stewed tomatoes, your choice, you can also get plain or seasoned tomatoes
herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste
red wine, about 1 cup or several good "glugs"

1. Sprinkle meat with herbs de provence and press in. Brown in olive oil in large stock pot. Add onions and garlic and simmer.

2. Add wine and beef broth. Simmer on low about 45 minutes.

3. Increase heat and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Cook until soft. Season with additional herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Work In Progress

A guy I was dating recently admitted to me that he has watched porn. The topic came up because we were talking about things we've given up for Lent in the past. He said he gave up porn for Lent a few years ago after watching the movie "Don Juan". "Good for him," I thought, and then moved on. But that admission of his has come back to haunt me on several occasions.

One of those occasions was last night. I could feel in my body tension and anxiety, but wasn't completely sure why. Instead of ignoring it, I decided to dig in to see what it was. As I started peeling back the layers, I realized that it was anxiety about his porn admission and insecurities about my body.

If he's watched porn in the past, does he still watch it now? 

Did he give it up completely starting in Lent, or did he go back to it after Lent was over?

What does he think of my body? 

I can dress up nice enough and flatter my figure, but what if he were to see me in a bathing suit? 

What would he think of the jiggly thighs, flappy arms, and belly pooch? The tummy that will always have extra skin no matter how many crunches I do?

My body will never be like a model's, super model or otherwise. I've gained and lost weight several times over the years. My skin may never shrink back. I have stretch marks. And on good days I can look in the mirror and say to myself, "I look damn good. I'm proud of how I look now." I feel comfortable in my own skin.

...But what does HE think? I feel afraid that he will compare my body to other women, porn stars, models, or even the girl at the next table. I feel afraid that I will always have this fear. Will I ever be comfortable enough in my own skin that I won't question what my man thinks of my body?

I cried a lot over these questions and fears last night. And today I read this article on Huffington post (read it here) that really resonated with some of the things I'd been thinking and feeling. Here's an excerpt:

After losing half my body weight, I somehow thought that life would get easier. Somehow, I thought that all of this would be easier. But as it turns out, it's harder. It's more frustrating and far more painful living in this body than it ever was living in my 300-pound one.
...Losing the weight doesn't necessarily fix anything. And losing that much weight doesn't necessarily land you in a bikini body, either. I have back fat. I will probably always have back fat. I don't have the money to undergo a full plastic surgery reconstruction and I'm not sure I'm vain enough to undergo such a procedure if I did. So at the moment, this is me. This is my body. This is my back fat. And this is my arm fat, and waist fat and butt fat.

I didn't lose half my body weight, but I lost about 100 pounds- a very significant amount. I thought some things in life would get easier. And I was right, some things did. And some things didn't, which I knew would happen, too. I just didn't realize this would all be so hard and result in so many tears. The blog article's author's story isn't completely like mine, but I "get" a lot of what she was saying.

I know dating is hard. All relationships are hard. The first few months were great. He seemed practically perfect. I knew we would discover each other's faults. I knew at some point I would come down from Cloud Nine and rejoin the real world, no longer looking through rose-colored glasses.  Is that what this is- taking the glasses off and putting my feet back on solid ground?

I know at some point I'll have to talk with him about the porn if we are to have a relationship. I know I'll have to keep addressing my body-image issues. Tears are very close to the surface here. These are hard issues and are scary (and everything seems worse at night, as my mom often says). Praying for peace- John 14:27 (27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.).

This will be a work in progress. This body acceptance. This blog post. This issue about his porn viewing, if I decide to see him again. This life is a work in progress.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Don't Believe Everything You Think

Thoughts are just thoughts, not facts. 

Feelings are just feelings. They aren't good or bad- they just are.

The past doesn't dictate my present or my future.

He's not that other guy, or any of those other guys, or even like my father.

I cried myself to sleep last night.

I got home from my date, washed my face, but on my pj's and laid on my bed and cried. I woke up an hour later and crawled under the covers and fell back asleep.

At first I didn't know why I was crying, I just know that something didn't feel right. I slept fitfully most of the night, until around seven this morning when I finally feel soundly asleep for a few hours.

Being more well rested I realized why I was crying and why last night felt so awful.

He said he's thinking of going back overseas again. It triggered my ancient crossed wire of men leaving me, starting with my father and all the other men I've dated.

I remember at dinner that as soon as he said it, the thought crossed my mind "what can I do to make him stay with me". I remember a feeling of slight deflation, like someone let a little air out of my balloon. I also remembered that I don't have a good poker face and that my feelings and thoughts are written plainly there. I didn't want to spoil the evening or put undo pressure on him so I tried to change my face and looked away.

Don't make decisions when stressed.

Things always seem worse in the night.

Don't be too needy or clingy.

I am glad I exercised yesterday after work. 

I'm glad I ate a big healthy salad for lunch. 

I'm glad I got a good night's sleep the night before. And last night.

Those three things helped me yesterday and today to start feeling better about myself. I woke up feeling beautiful and sexy. I woke up with fresh eyes to look at the situation. I woke up and surfed Twitter.

Yah, I surfed Twitter.

I came across an article titled "5 Ways to Lessen that Relationship Baggage (and improve self-esteem)" (read it here). I just couldn't resist, because I had an inkling that part of why I was so upset when I went to bed was because of something in my past. The article spoke to me from the first sentence. It could have been words I was saying to myself. It was what I most needed to hear this morning. I kept reading; I was hooked. It's all advice I've heard many times before. All things I know to do or to avoid. They were good reminders.

Yes, I have relationship baggage. We all do. One of my oldest hurts and biggest fears is  that the man in my life will leave me. It started in childhood. It continued through to adulthood. In many past dating relationships men have left me. On a few occasions I left them before they could leave and hurt me. Last night that old wire was triggered.

He is not those guys. He is not my dad. He may leave me. He may not. I may leave him. But today is not the day for that to happen. He is a good man.

No matter what, I will be ok.

I am ok.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Few More Thoughts

A few more thoughts about last night's blog that I forgot to include because I was exhausted.

At times this week when I've been feeling low and not loving my body because I was uncomfortable in my own skin, I wanted him to hold me. When he holds my hand or holds me in his arms, my worries fade away. I feel desired. I feel beautiful. I feel perfect just as I am. While it's not bad to feel that way when with my guy, shouldn't those feelings first come from within? Shouldn't I make myself feel desired, beautiful, and perfect just as I am?

While I don't want to "should" all over myself, I do know that on one side of the coin, I shouldn't need anyone else to make me feel this way (just me and God), But on the other side, it's nice to have someone who makes you feel that way.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Uncomfortable and Unsure

Confession: All week I've felt bloated and been gassy.

I'm sorry, I know it's not lady-like and perhaps it's TMI. But it happens to all of us, right? And hey, this is my personal blog you're reading, so it's like you're reading my diary of sorts.

I've been uncomfortable in my own skin all week. My clothes feel like they fit a little differently- uncomfortably- even though the scale doesn't say I've gained weight. But this discomfort has been affecting my thoughts, mood, and emotions.

I've noticed this week that I've questioned if my guy likes me. Nothing in the way he interacts with me has changed for the worse, so where do these doubts come from? I can only conclude that it's because I'm not happy with me. (In fact, things seem a bit better between us. I've been distant because I haven't felt good and he's seemed more eager to reach out to me, which is a good thing I believe.)

Reflecting on my food choices this week, I've stayed in my calorie limits and I don't think I've eaten anything terribly bad for me. In fact, I've eaten mostly good homemade dinners, which isn't always the case. But I've eaten rushed meals or eaten later in the evening than usual. I suspect that these may be culprits in my "stomach problems".

I also think I've missed out on eating enough veggies. That, I think, could be another big problem. Tomorrow, I'm back to my big salad for lunch routine. And if I get to bed soon and sleep well, I'm getting back to my workout routine after taking the past two days off for various reasons. (I know I shouldn't workout 7 days a week because the body needs rest, but I didn't even have energy for a short, moderately paced walk today that I was hoping to get in.)

So, while I'm feeling uncomfortable in my skin and having moments of doubt about my relationship (wondering if he still actually likes me, I know I still like him), I have realized it's not a good time to make any decisions (about the relationship, or other major things). I need to take care of myself and try to get back to status quo with my food, exercise, and sleep. I need to care for my physical self which will then help care for my emotional self- starting now. It's time for bed. Hopefully a good night's sleep, a salad for lunch tomorrow, and I'll start to feel like a new woman, my old self again.

Monday, January 5, 2015


Your words matter- what you tell yourself, what you say to others. Let your words bring life.

My mother shared some healing words with me this evening. She was just thinking of the conversation I'd had with her the night before and had a suggestion for me on how to approach the person who'd said the hurtful words the day before.

I'd just arrived in the fitness center at the apartment complex and was getting ready to start my workout when she called. It was a time of day she doesn't usually call, so I figured it was important. It was. Her words brought tears to my eyes; tears of gratitude for her loving support and Godly wisdom. I have an amazing mother.

She suggested that I approach the person with some Biblical wisdom. God loves me because He made me. He loves me because of who I am- I am His. I am His beloved child, a daughter of the King. No matter what I look like, my Heavenly Father will always love me because of who I am (and Whose I am). I need this person's love to reflect the kind of love God has for me- a love that looks past my physical appearance and sees me for who I am.

I thanked my mother for sharing these wise words and told her I loved her. These words kept tears close to the surface as I completed my workout as they kept ruminating in my mind. (In fact, a couple times I had to stop and take some deep breaths to keep the tears from pouring out. I'd let them fall later, in private, I told myself.)

I'm not sure I'm ready yet to approach the person who hurt me with their words, but I'm grateful for my mother's Godly wisdom and timely advice. I am blessed.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Words Hurt

You said some really terrible things tonight. I'm trying to believe that you didn't mean for them to be so horrible, but they sounded pretty horrible.

You said NOW I look beautiful.
You said don't gain all that weight back.
You said I look so pretty now.
Now you want to put up pictures of me in your cubicle at work. 
You said NOW men will want to come sweep me off my feet.

I'm trying to believe that you meant to say you are so proud of me for my hard work. Or that you think I look great. Period. Not great compared to how I used to look. I look great period. I was still pretty before. I radiate now. I know. 

But your words came out quantified, like compared to before when I was fat and ugly. (I wasn't fat and ugly. I was beautiful before, too.)

You said don't go back to how I was. No one plans to get fat and gain weight (again). It's not healthy. Everyone knows that. We would all choose healthy, vibrant lives for ourselves if we could. Life isn't always easy. 

I'm afraid to tell you how your words hurt me. I'm afraid that you won't understand. Does that mean I shouldn't tell you how hurt I am? I'd like to believe that because you love me you would want to try to change, but for as long as I've known you this is how you've been. Will you ever change? 

Your love has always felt conditional. That is why we can never be as close as I'd like for us to be, perhaps as close as you'd like us to be. But I have a right to keep myself safe and being close to you doesn't feel safe. 

Why do the ones we loves the most also hurt us the most?

The Butt, The Belly, and Self-Image

I got some new pants after Christmas. They make my butt look great. But I have to be careful or they show off a little muffin top when I'm bloated.. (Additional incentive to eat well and continue my fitness plan- my clothes look better on me.)

After a few days of being back from vacation and back to my usual workout routine my body and mind are feeling a lot better. I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about myself- until I looked at myself naked in the mirror. I saw a belly that's pouchy and a butt with some extra dimples.

When I see that I want to keep it covered. I feel grateful that it's winter and bathing suits are out of season. I feel grateful for spanx and spandex that help put things in place when dressing up. And I wonder if I can ever do enough crunches or lunges to put things back where they belong.

On days like today where I've been eating well and taking care of myself, I let those thoughts slip quickly from my mind. But I know there will probably be other days where those thoughts will nag and linger. Those are the days I fight to remember how far I've come. I fight to forgive myself for the damage I did to my body for so long and the abuse I put it through.

My body will never look the same as someone who had always maintained this healthy weight. My body bears the scars of someone whose weight has gone up and down and up again for several years. But my body is amazing and resilient. It has brought me this far and now I plan to take good care of it so it can take me many years into the future.

To my body- I'm sorry and thank you. I am grateful for your strength and support.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Let's "Slow Down", aka the death of a relationship?

Family relationships. Dating relationships. Roommate relationships. Ahh, the joy of human interactions. Yes, this is one of the topics that has been ruminating in my mind that I've been considering blogging about for a few days.

Let go of the past.
As if dating isn't hard enough on it's own or the holidays aren't stressful enough on their own, combine dating during the holidays and what do you get? A few more gray hairs to hide, I think. Oh, the joys of memories of relationships past: he cheated on me and dumped me over Christmas/New Years. Is the current guy seeing someone else? Will he dump me, too, when I start acting crazy because of old memories, family stress, and sugar crazies? It's enough to make me want to crawl under a rock and hide for two weeks. What do I do instead? Open my big mouth and send a text message.

Yah, we're in this awkward stage where we've been seeing each other regularly now for a few months. I'm not dating anyone else, and I'm pretty sure he's not either. He's my steady guy. I'm not interested in seeing anyone else. I'm pretty sure he likes me a lot. Though he's not good at telling me, he's really good at showing me. He takes me to nice dinners, treats me like a lady, cheers me up when I'm upset or stressed. He's pretty freakin' wonderful.

So, going home for the holidays, when people ask if I'm seeing anyone I say I've got a boyfriend. He's not officially, but it's easier to say that than try to explain all of the above. Back in Seattle I ran into an old (male) acquaintance that I knew from my dance school. We ran into each other twice at different dance events. The second night he tried to kiss me as I left. I saw him coming in and so I turned my head and he got my cheek. I'd previously told him I had a boyfriend. I did later that week tell him that I was angry at him for trying to kiss me when he knew I was seeing someone else. He apologized, sort of. He says he was tipsy from drinking and got carried away because of my pretty smile. (I think it's BS, but decided it wasn't worth calling him on it because I was only in town for a few days and won't likely see him again, at least not for another several months.)

Well, I'd had sugar earlier that day. And I'd had a drink at the dance, so needless to say I was feeling not quite myself. I got home a little after midnight amped up from dancing, my mind turning from the attempted kiss, and my body feeling funny from the sugar. Sleep was not going to come easily.

After tossing and turning for a few hours, I grabbed my phone and texted my steady guy. I confessed the attempted kiss and how I diverted it. And then I told him my desire to be his girlfriend and for him to be my boyfriend because I didn't want anyone else kissing me but him and I didn't want anyone else kissing him but me, and what did he think of that. And then I hit send. Holy crap, what did I just do!?! I turned my phone off, now chicken and afraid of his response, because "what if" all my fears about him cheating on me and dumping me on New Years just like the past relationship guy came true all because I had a freak out at 5 am. I turned my phone back off and tried to go back to sleep.

A few hours later I woke up and turned my phone back on. There was a reply, of course. He said I'm a special woman to him, but he's not ready for that relationship status. In the light of day, maybe I'm not either, but now what? How do I act? How do we go forward? I start freaking out again and send him another text. I should have just left it alone, but in typical girl (or just me) fashion, I text back. After a couple messages back and forth he sends the dreaded "maybe we should slow down". Holy crap, what have I done!?

I replied, of course, not smart enough yet, or awake enough yet, to realize I should have stopped several messages ago, in fact probably should never have replied to his response in the first place. After a couple more messages I stop and turn my phone off. His last words to me "Don't worry about it. Enjoy your vacation." And in the back of my mind his words keep swirling around "maybe we should slow down."

How can I not  worry about it and enjoy my vacation now after the stupid things I just said in texts? In my mind I start thinking "that's it, this relationship is over, and I've killed it. This is all my fault. I should never have messaged him at 5 am; I'm an idiot." Thankfully my mother and a good friend talk me down and support my decision to not message him. They help me stay strong and wait.

I try to go forward to enjoy the last few days of my vacation. It's not easy. I keep finding occasions when I want to text him something funny, ask him a question, share a picture, but I don't. Saturday and Sunday were long days of waiting. Monday I wake up to a text from him. Nothing terribly exciting, just a comment about the weather in SLC, but the best news from him after a few days of radio silence.

The relationship did not die. I gave him some space; he gave me some in return. And he picked me up on New Years Eve for dinner followed by a quiet evening watching the ball drop on TV. Not a break-up. He's not the guy I dated in the past. He likes me and he has never lied to me. This guy is different and he'll move at his own pace. We'll move at our own pace. And I'm learning to be ok with that.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

I've had several ideas for Blog post titles and ideas going through my head the last couple days. Too bad I didn't write them down so now I don't know what  great words of wisdom I thought I had to share.

So maybe it doesn't have to be majorly inspiring (awe-inspiring or otherwise), maybe it's ok if this is just about every day life. Here goes.

It's the new year. Any resolutions? No, actually, I've only ever made one resolution in my life (and stuck to it) that I remember. But I do have some goals for this year.

1. Think before I eat.
2. Remember why I started this journey- keep in front of me my goals that I started with last year.
3. Don't let food rule my life and don't let emotions rule my eating.
4. Don't make decisions when I'm feeling out of sorts, other than to get back into sorts by getting a good night's sleep, eat good for me food, and get some physical activity into my day; in other words- take care of myself.

The last two weeks I sort of forgot some of these things. I know, it's the holidays, stress mounts, it's easy to do, but then one might question the importance of those goals in the first place if they are so easily forgotten or set aside. They don't lose their importance during the holidays, in fact I should focus on them even more carefully when I know I will be stressed, as a form of self-care and stress-prevention.

As I sit here writing, I'm over-tired and my stomach is upset with me. I didn't get enough sleep last night and I haven't eaten well today. Not very good self-care. I'm not going to beat myself up, but I am doing some self-observation to remind myself how this came to be and reminding myself of my goals and what I need to do to get back on track.

Note to Self:
What do I need? I need to get to bed soon (but I knew I needed to get some of these thoughts of my head and shared with you so that I would sleep better). I also need to rub some peppermint oil on my belly, drink my peppermint tea, and forgive myself for not eating enough fruit, veggies, and good protein today. I'm coming up with a plan for tomorrow, starting with going to bed soon tonight and heading to the fitness center at the top of my priority list for tomorrow, along with defrosting some chicken so I can cook at home tomorrow instead of eat out.

Knowing these things are making me not feel like my normal, lovely self, I'm observing how I am feeling instead. I'm feeling needy and oh so very short-tempered. I want company, but only someone who will pamper me. I'm not sure it's fair to inflict myself on anyone, so I'm not asking for company. And the poor cat keeps getting pushed off my lap and tossed out of my bedroom. (Somewhat in my defense, every time she goes in my bedroom she chews on my wall decor or the tassels on my throw pillows or knocks my fragile angels on the floor breaking their wings off, so I'm only protecting my things.) Oh, and the darned cat keeps stopping right in front of my feet when I'm walking; and since she's dark gray and small and our apartment is poorly lit she's almost gotten stepped on on a few occasions. And I'm having very little patience with her.

And men. Should I even go there? I just don't understand them. Most of the time I don't think I ever will. Ok, so taking my own advice, I'm going to not make any decisions or assumptions about what this particular one is thinking or feeling. I'm going to go put my pajamas on, turn off my phone, and crawl into bed for a good night's sleep. Maybe my relationship with him (and food!) will look differently (better!) in the morning after a long night's sleep.