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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Prep Prep Prep

I have been struggling a bit (so what else is new right) ugh.

Trying to think forward to the work week I went out and got a lot of good healthy groceries.  Traditional wisdom says that you can't eat crap if you don't bring it into the house.  Experience says that you can manufacture crap from the healthiest of ingredients if you are motivated enough (cake anyone?)

Anyway...I know me.

In order to succeed in food choices I have to have a lot of good healthy choices
that are ready to eat without a lot of fuss.  If I am running behind (happens a lot more than I care to admit), or if I am feeling a little blue (yeah that happens too), I don't want to mess around in the kitchen.

So this weekend I did a lot of prepping.  I washed, peeled and cut vegetables for snacks - and put them into single serving baggies. I cut up watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries.

I measured out fruits and spinach for my morning smoothies, and put them in
freezer bags.  No ice needed in the smoothies...all the goodies will already be frozen.  Into each bag I placed:

  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup banana (about 1/2 of a 8" banana)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) spinach
Pre-made baggies of smoothie ingredients to freeze
In the morning I can pull them out and add whatever I am in the mood for into the blender with them - almond milk, protein powder, PB2 (ground peanuts so yummy!), kefir, yogurt, aloe juice, fruit juice.....whatever suits me that day.

The bottom line is that it's time I start taking control of myself.  I don't need anyone telling me what to do or how to do it.  I KNOW this stuff. It's up to me to stay focused and do it.

This weekend the focus was on redirecting my nutrition.  This week it will be on redirecting my physical activity to what works for Carly.  I'll come back when I figure out that plan....


Monday, August 19, 2013

Gonna Fly Now

You wanna flyyou got to give up the [crap] that weighs you down.” ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

I want to fly again.  

I have soared from time to time in the past.  

I have looked at the world from the bird's eye view with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. I carried a very light load and lived for the moment, enjoying the sun on my face and wind at my back.

And I have been crushed under piles of [crap] barely able to see even a crack of daylight breaking through the dark. You stay under those piles long enough and you even begin to forget there is a whole world out there with fresh air, flowers, sunshine and gentle breezes where you can breathe and be free.

Where I am now is somewhere in between.  I am free and don't carry the load I used to.  I was able to shed tons of other people's crap they had piled on me over the years.  I was able to sneak out from underneath other piles of crap I kind of asked to be put there as I was afraid of going too far or sailing too high.  That was unfamiliar territory.

Where I am now I am living in the sunlight, breathing in the fresh air, and have run fast and jumped in the air like Rudolph when he was first learning to fly.  I have sailed some....then realize I am flying, got scared, and came crashing back to the ground.  I have done that a time or 16 over the years.

Skaroo that.

I don't need to go back and psychoanalyze my past and figure out which trauma has created what barriers and which horrible experience piled too much weight on me.  


What I need to do is back up, getting a running freaking head start and jump in the air and just start freaking flying.  And if I discern something is weighing me down, I need to lighten it up or let it go.

I'm sick of going just so far in life and then self-sabotaging and inviting weights in.  I"m like a weight magnet if you will.  (lol ha..see what I did there?)

I don't have all the answers in life and I am not 100% sure how I am going to do it, but I am here, the sky is there, I like it up there and by golly it's my time to fly, with or without a freaking copilot in the cockpit.  (see what I did there, too? I slay me.)

Life is frantically busy right now, but I need to blog.  The Universe is screaming at me to blog.  Maybe I'll be blogging from a mile in the air one day soon and writing my words in the sky.....

One thing is for sure.  I do know some of the patterns and behaviors that I choose of my own accord that can weigh me down and I'm going to get out from underneath them once and for all so I CAN get airborne.  

Yup,..I'm Gonna Fly Now....


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Class Reunion, Part One

“Real nice party, Hapsburg. I see a lot of familiar face-lifts.”
Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear (1991) – Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen)

My 30 year class reunion is next Saturday.  I would love to say that it doesn't really matter to me what anyone thinks about the way I look, but that wouldn't be particularly truthful.  

I think if you were thin in high school and then gain weight, there's a panic about wanting to look like you did back then and that would have its own stress.

But I think if you were heavy in school and then show up 30 years later, still fighting that battle, it feels like a big 30 year very visible defeat.  In my mind I have been self-talking continuously since high school about how "this year" I am going to lose weight.  Year after year after year.  Ugh.

Everyone has their issues.  EVERYONE.  But people with eating issues (whether anorexia or compulsive overeating) wear theirs on their outer shell, displayed for all the world to see and comment about.  

I don't mind as much as I would have 10 years ago.  I have found the right path for me and I am very happy being on it.  I love my blog, sharing what I am learning, and feel pretty comfortable in my own (now excessive) skin.  It's been a hard fought battle to get where I am now and I'm not going to give up ground over old high school insecurities.

I am getting together with a group of women tomorrow for a 5k Mud Run (LoziLu) from high school in my own home town.  I haven't lived there since 1984!  I will be so much fun catching up. It's going to be a great time, a great week, and end in a great reunion. WHO we all are is what is going to matter.  That's where I am keeping the focus. 

I'll update you during the week.  I'm not sure what kind of signal I will have to get online....will try to do a daily blog though they could happen at night instead of in the mornings.

And I will certainly give you a Class Reunion, Part 2, once the grand event happens.



When it's pouring down rain, stay under the umbrella

"When it's pouring down rain, stay under the umbrella" ~ Carly

When life is coming at you in all directions, and you are overwhelmed, and have multiple things competing for your attention, is pouring down..... drop back to the very basics that keep the rain off you - use them as your umbrella to shelter you from the rest while you stay dry.

For example, I have a lot on my plate right now.  I'm wrapping up some work that is near deadline and in some ways past deadline while trying to pack for vacation while trying to get my house in order so it's good when I return while trying to reorganize my son's room while trying to plan for a 30th class reunion and a family reunion, while my dad recently got pneumonia while my son is visiting with him on his vacation while trying to work through the details on the sale of my house while.....

You get the idea. There is a lot coming down on me all at once.

But in reality, I can't control most of that.  Worrying about it yesterday was killing me, exhausting me, and causing my mind to be a hamster --- running endlessly on its wheel but getting nowhere.

Then, in a moment of brilliant inspiration, it came to me:  fuhgeddaboudit!  (Click here in case you are not familiar with fuhgeddaboudit.) 

I asked myself what really mattered in that 24 hour period and distilled it down to the most basic things that I could control and that were the top priorities.  So I discarded everything else yesterday and focused all my energy on three things:

(1) Work.  My job is the most important priority.  Need the job to support all other aspects of life (as I am the sole provider for myself and for my son) Work is required for food, shelter, safety...the most basic human needs.

(2) Exercise.  I focus better, feel better, have a clearer head, and more energy to face the tasks at hand if I exercise.

(3) Eat well. For the same reasons as exercise.

By doing that, I was able to really focus on my work and accomplished more in one day than usual, despite the stress.  A lot more!  And all the other things I was worried about slipped to the background.  I'll take them out and look at them one at a time, when each becomes the priority.

For now, I am enjoying the peace that has come from keeping it simple, staying focused on a narrow scope, and making some excellent next right choices yesterday. Standing behind the strength of taking care of myself helped. Hiding behind (or underneath) food surely wouldn't have helped.

What do you do when life pours down on you?  What's your umbrella?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How to get rid of fruit flies (This really works!)

"Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana...."

If you love fruit and eat it daily, chances are pretty high you've had or seen fruit flies.  If you've made the mistake of leaving out overripe fruit, you've probably walked into your kitchen to find a happy extended family of them flying around.

There are a few things about fruit flies I'll mention, mostly because I didn't really think about this until I googled it the other day (desperate to get rid of my own fruit flies) and was pretty grossed out.  Why not share the "ewwwww" with all of you?  (You're welcome.)

Where  do fruit flies come from?

I always wondered how they found their way to the fruit so quickly.  Like - of all the places on the planet, how did they KNOW I had bananas or overripe cantaloupe laying around? Was it a phenomenon like hummingbirds that are attracted to bright red?  Did they have some 6th sense that told them where on the planet to fly?

I was much better off not exploring the answers, so if you don't want the truth, stop reading now.  Otherwise, the obvious answer is on its way...... the larvae are already deposited on the fruit.  In other words, you bring the soon-to-develop fruit flies in with you from the store or farmers market and it's just sitting there waiting to hatch.  YUCK.

How long do they live?

According to the Orkin Man, they live around 25 days, and really strong alpha males can make it 30 days.  

Okay Carly, get to it:  How do you get rid of them????

I researched and experimented and by FAR, this was the best approach.

  1. Get some small bowls and put about an inch of APPLE CIDER VINEGAR in each one.  Into each bowl put about 1/2 tsp dish detergent and mix it up.  Set them around where you have seen the fruit flies.  Almost immediately you will see them gathering around the edges of the bowls.  The apple cider attracts them, and the soap makes it so they can't fly out.
  2. Get rid of all organic matter that they feed on.  This includes all fruits, trash in the trash can, slime in the garbage disposal, residue in the sink or spots you forgot to wipe off the counter.  
  3. Bring all new fruit and veggies straight into the refrigerator.  For at least a month, do NOT leave any food source out for them.
  4. After preparing or eating food, don't leave the dishes until later. Wash them or put them in the dishwasher immediately.
  5. Be vigilant.  Just keep everything wiped down and all fruit out of sight.
I had purchased a couple of overripe canteloupes and left them out on the counter for a few days, along with some hanging bananas.  I woke up one morning to find a lot of fruit flies.  Not realizing it, by not emptying the trash in the morning before work, I kept giving them plenty to feed on (I each so much fruit and veggies in a day there was no shortage of peels etc. in there.)

Using the method above, in just a couple of days I went from a hearty infestation to seeing only a couple.

You should change out the bowls for fresh after 3 or 4 days - and keep it out there for a couple of weeks.

Sorry if you find this all so yucky, but if you're going to eat fruit and vegetables all the time, you're probably going to run into this like I did and you'll be happy to know what to do!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

10 Things I Keep On Hand

I have some things in my cupboards and in the refrigerator that are almost always on hand.  I keep them around as a "sure thing" for times when I am too...

L..onely or

(See previous blog article on HALT here.) be bothered with fixing food or foraging.  These are the "go-tos," the staples, the must-haves.  Here they are in no particular order:


I love them.  I try to eat them in the morning or afternoon but not at night because of their relatively high sugar content.  At between 75 and 110 calories (depending on size) it's a low cal treat.  They are easy to toss in a bag, bring in the car, keep at work and they are filling enough to stave off a food craving.

String Cheese

Delicious alone or coupled with something else, like an apple.  I need the calcium anyway and depending on the brand they are between 50 and 80 calories. I love the Frigo Light, the Weight Watchers are okay but always seem a little dry to me.  And when money is less of a concern I'll grab the Horizon organics.

Almond Butter

Good, all natural, no additives (organic) almond butter is filling and tasty on celery, with apples (my favorite), on rice cakes, or just on a spoon.  There's an amazing recipe for paleo fudge that uses it.  Trader Joe's almond or peanut butters are my favorite brand, but there's now an organic brand, Artisana, 100% Organic Raw Almond Butter, that comes in individual packets which makes it so easy to toss in a purse or in my hiking backpack.


I can't live long without my Cascadian Farm Fruit and Nut Granola.  As-is right out of the box, mixed with plain nonfat yogurt, as a cereal with almond milk....the only problem I have with sweet, wonderful, delicious granola is my ability to regulate my portions.  So for right now there's a granola moratorium in my house until the granola learns better self control. (ahem, the moratorium begins after this existing box is gone....)


I eat spinach every day. In salads or smoothies or sauteed or in an omelet or as a replacement for lettuce on wraps.  I have .blogged about spinach and all its wonder a couple of weeks ago. No matter what kind of a day I am having, I just feel so much better having spinach.

Coconut Oil

It is a healthy essential oil that holds up well when heated  Trader Joe's Extra Virgin is by far the most flavorful.  Spectrum Organic is much milder and available even at Walmart.  I use it in baking, cooking and even in smoothies. I tossed all other oils except Olive Oil and have never looked back.

Almond Milk

I buy single serve containers that don't need refrigeration (for convenience and for travel) as well as big ones for the fridge.  I get unsweetened plain, or unsweetened vanilla and both are tasty in my morning shakes, on granola, or just to drink.  As a beverage very high in calcium, this is almost a daily drink for me.

Amy's Organic Veggie Loaf Frozen Dinner

Because sometimes, I just don't want to cook, or think, or plan.  Tasty, hot, comfort type food that is good for you.  'Nuff said.


I keep tuna pouches on hand always.  I can eat tuna when hiking right out of the package, use it in salads, piled on top of rice cakes, etc.  So high in protein and omega-3's, it's just good for you.

Skinny Pop Popcorn

I get these at Fresh Market or Earth Fare and in big bags or single serve (100 calorie) packs.  I love the flavor, lightly salted with olive oil.  It is low cal, high fiber, healthy snacking.  The portion packs are great takealongs for road trips or at night when portion control could be a problem.  And if I am really "bad" and grab two, it's still just 200 calories!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Preparing Success for Vacation

I am working on preparations for a vacation. Where I am going there will be no gym for workouts, no free weights, no DVD player for P90X, and the stores I am used to having so conveniently around me are going to be a good half hour a way.

What that means is I have to plan in advance how I am going to handle working out, how I am going to handle eating healthy, and how I am going to try to maintain some sort of routine to keep my momentum going and not lose my footing.

I have already started working out the details.  For starters, after morning workouts I like to drink a healthy smoothie.  And while I won't be adding my spinach in, there's no reason I can't bring a shaker bottle and stick with my routine.  So I have made up little containers with my Secure chocolate meal replacement shake, PB2 powder (low cal ground peanuts that tastes like peanut butter) and "Greenergy" green vegetable powder.  I am adding to my luggage a couple of single serving non-refrigeration almond milk containers and my shaker bottle.  Voila.  Done and done.  When I get groceries there I will get more almond milk to have on hand for the rest of the time.

I have mapped out the place I am staying and it is exactly 3 miles to walk/jog around the lake.  There is absolutely no reason, rain or shine, that I can't get in a minimum of 3 miles per day, and then do all the other fun things like swimming, water skiing, tubing, whatever else comes up.  

My goal is to return from vacation at least the same as when I leave.  Even better will be returning one pound lighter.  It's all in the preparation and deciding that's what I am going to do, purposefully.

I will eat a big fat juicy burger while I am there.  I plan on eating one meal at Dresser Hill - a place with some of the best fish and chips and homemade ice cream.  So I guess I better plan on 6 miles (2 laps around the lake) on those days.

The key is, for me, giving this thought in advance, giving myself permission to splurge but accounting for it, and not going into it unprepared and without a plan.  If I pull this off it's going to be a major win in the battle between the old Carly and the new "this is a lifestyle" Carly.  Guess who's going to win?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

20 Inches Gone in 75 Days!

Cardio matters.  Stretching matters.
Weight training matters,  
And sticking with it no matter what matters!

The numbers don't lie!  Since May 6th I am down:

Chest: 1.5 inches
Waist (above belly button):  5.5 inches
Stomach (at belly button): 5.5 inches
Hips: 3.75 inches
Thighs: 1.75 inches each

And total weight loss in the past 75 days (since April 15th actually) is 20 pounds for a total of 48 since January and 82 overall.

While this journey is definitely not all about the numbers, let's face it, measuring and weighing lets us know if we're moving in the right direction. AND HECK YEAH I AM!

I am heading out on vacation very soon and have a couple of goals in mind while gone. Two important ones are: don't gain back even 1/8th of an inch anywhere, and don't gain back even one pound.  

It's too exciting to see the results of all my hard work and dedication to blow it on a vacation!

My happiness doesn't hinge on the numbers, but I gotta tell ya.....I am pretty freaking happy knowing that.....ready for this.....those next right choices are adding up.  Or down, as the case may be.  :-)


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Important Blog Announcement!

Due to changes in Google and their ending of the Google Reader many people use for reading this blog, I am going to be making some service changes soon that could affect your ability to get blog subscriptions to The Next Right Choice.

To ensure you get blog posts I make, please subscribe via email.

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You can always click on the blog link contained in the email and it will bring you right back here.

You can subscribe by entering your email address in the box below:

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Your email address won't get spammed or shared - it will only be associated to my blog.

And then when I switch services, I can port the subscription list easily with me without skipping a beat.

They will send you a confirmation email that you will have to click to confirm.


(back to "regular" blogging tomorrow).....


Friday, July 19, 2013

Count Calories or Chins.

If someone were to ask me my number one tip for losing weight I would answer without hesitation:  TRACK.

Track your food.  Write it down.  Count calories or macros or nutrition or portions or whatever system works for you.

I have used Weight Watchers Online with great results.  With WW you don't count calories (well you really do, but it's all under the hood and they do that part for you to keep you at a healthy goal).  With WW they tell you instead how many POINTS to eat.  (You must have so many fruit and veggie points, so many meat points, so many carb points, fat points, etc.)  

I found that incredibly helpful when I started this journey and in fact used it for the bulk of my weight loss.  It guided you through what is a healthy portion size and really made you think about how much of each type of food you were consuming.  I found I was eating a LOT of processed carb crap and very little veggies.

The bottom line is there was an online tracker, and an Android app (iPhone too) so that wherever I went I could drop in that meal and it would keep a running total.  In that way I knew when I had to stop for the day.  WW was also great because it is designed for people who make mistakes and missteps.  They built in daily and weekly overages, knowing full well that at some point you'd blow it.  But it was okay because they accounted for it with 35 "anytime" points to cover you.  Brilliant!

Now I use My Fitness Pal: (You can add me as a friend if you username is Carlyweb and I keep my entire food diary public.  How accountable is THAT?)

Every bite of food I eat gets recorded (most days) and it keeps me honest with myself.

It is SO easy to lose sight of what a portion size should be.  It is so easy to forget about that granola bar you ate this morning or all that half and half you put in your coffee this afternoon and before you know it, you are hundreds of calories over.  It only takes 3500 unaccounted for calories to gain a pound and frankly, I can do that pretty freaking quickly!

So today's tip is TRACK YOUR FOOD.  You don't need a fancy system (my fitness pal is free though and so easy!)  Even if you just keep a journal, diary, notebook...something. 

And write down every nibble.  ONE bite of fudge is STILL calories.  Just because you don't eat a whole something-or-another doesn't mean it's calorie free.

Be honest with yourself, because even if your mind deceives you....the scale will not.


Thursday, July 18, 2013


"The greatest masterpieces were once only pigments on a palette."
-Henry Hoskins

When you first get started on the health and fitness path, you're NOT going to see immediate results outwardly.  You're just not.  It is important that you keep your expectations realistic so that you don't give up too soon.  It's also important that you just keep going anyway!

There are many "victories" you can find along the way if you remain open and expect slow positive progress.

Here are just some of the rewards, benefits, small successes that you can be on the lookout for over time:

  • When you eat the very first healthy, clean meal that is calorie or content controlled, think of how you FEEL.  It feels good to make that next right choice.  Stay in that moment and enjoy it.
  • When you drink a lot of water, you can feel your body responding and after a few days your skin will feel a little softer and healthier.  You may be less puffy (my face improves a lot when I am well hydrated.)
  • Your poopies will get more regular and less sludgy (yeah, I went there.  I'm sorry, but you are what you eat and when I eat sludge, I poop sludge.  That's a good barometer for me if I'm eating the right things.)
  • Eating less refined CRAP and more lean protein and dark leafy greens/vegetables you will find you have more energy and a more positive disposition.
  • After just a couple of weeks you will feel your clothes fitting better and bloating leaving the scene.
  • You might be sweating less.  (When I eat processed CRAP I sweat a lot.  When I exercise a lot and don't eat CRAP, I stay a lot cooler.)
  • There will be a little extra zip in your step.
  • You may have more focus.  I sure do, in all areas of life, when I am exercising and eating well.
  • You will feel so much better about yourself, knowing in your heart that you are doing what you can to be healthy.  That feeling translates into all your other interactions.

It can be frustrating making good next right choices and not seeing the scale drop 5 pounds per week, or not seeing the inches melt away immediately.  Take a slow, steady, consistent path to healthy eating and exercise and the slow, steady, consistent results WILL add up over time and you WILL reach your goal,

You just can't give up.  If you keep going, you'll make your goals.  If you turn around and go back to eating CRAP and ignoring the health ramifications of not will never find what you truly want.  You know it's not back there.  It's ahead!! So get moving in that direction!

My friend Matt shared this with me while I was quitting smoking and felt like it was never going to get easier.  It applies here, too:

'A man meets a guru in the road. The man asks the guru, "Which way is success?"

The bearded sage speaks not but points to a place off in the distance.

The man thrilled by the prospect of quick and easy success, rushes off in the appropriate direction. Suddenly, there comes a loud "splat."

Eventually, the man limps back, tattered and stunned, assuming he must have misinterpreted the message. He repeats his question to the guru, who again points silently in the same direction.

The man obediently walks off once more. This time the splat is deafening, and the man crawls back, he is broken, tattered and irate. "I asked you which way is success," he screams at the guru. "I followed the direction you indicated. And all I got was splatted! No more of this pointing! Talk!"

Only then does the guru speak, and what he says is this: "Success is that way. Just a little past splat."


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stop Eating CRAP

I have a guaranteed, one line sentence that can change how your body looks, how your body functions, and how you feel.  One sentence.  Do this, and you will turn everything around.  Ready?

Stop eating CRAP.

Yup.  Profound, isn't it?

Let's look at what that means, really.  All at once, or in tiny incremental steps, make the goal to eliminate (or drastically reduce) the following:

Eat less CRAP:
C - carbonated drinks
R - refined sugar
A - artificial sweeteners &colors
P - processed foods

Eat more FOOD:
F - fruits & veggies
O - organic lean proteins
O - omega 3 fatty acids
D - drink water

I have seen those acronyms all over the web (I have no idea who to attribute them to, however.)  They are used for fitness, health, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, fighting ADHD and a whole array of wellness topics.  

Why?  BECAUSE CRAP IS KILLING US!  All those items have no redeeming nutritional value, and deplete the body of its ability to heal itself and keep itself healthy and strong.  I believe that while the body is busy trying to get rid of all this CRAP, it is less able to fight off disease.  It is less able to effectively use the nutrition we do get from other foods.  It doesn't move things along properly.  It depletes us.

I also believe we need the healthy stuff.  And lots of it.  That includes organic pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, plenty of NON-GMO grains and meats where the animals are not fed GMO corn, olive and coconut oils, ground flaxseeds, wild caught salmon and other fish, and yes, plenty of water.

This isn't rocket science.

If we eat chemicals, refined sugars and flours, and non-food - we are not taking care of our bodies and we are making ourselves sick and unhealthy.  We should not be eating all the canned stuff, the high sodium stuff, the artificial preservative and coloring stuff.

We just need FOOD.  Without the toxicity.

Why is it so so so hard for people to believe this?  Why do people refuse to look at the reality that what we are eating, and what we are feeding our killing us.

The more I learn, the more I want to buy land and grow my own food, raise my own cattle and chickens, etc.  Unfortunately, I'm far too spoiled and well, lazy, to do all that.

So I WILL go to my local farmer's market, buy fresh local foods, search for Non GMO labels, spend most of my time shopping only the outer edges of the grocery stores (where the whole, real foods live), and try to eliminate the CRAP.

The less crap I eat, the less I want it.  And that's a very good thing.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Body Image

I was talking with my BFF earlier (my best fat friend) who has been on this journey with me since elementary school.

Together her and I have probably lost and then regained 1,500 pounds over the years - so we have a lot of shared perspective on this whole body image topic.

One thing we were talking about is how despite our significant weight loss and our solid progress over the past couple of years (she looks fabulous and has been near goal for quite some time now) we can still FEEL as fat as we were at our highest and we can still SEE ourselves at our fattest.  It's a little scary how easily our own body image can change based on the choices we make on any given day.

This picture was taken yesterday by a coworker who told me that a couple of times during the day, when she saw me walking down the hall, the word that came to her mind was "skinny"  (Not really that I am skinny, but maybe that my weight loss is so drastic that I'm moving in that direction?)

I asked her to take a picture so I could see what she saw.  She snapped front, side and back for me and when I looked at the pictures I thought, "wow!  That's me?"

I am looking at it right now as I type this and I am trying to imagine what I would think if I was meeting myself for the first time, or if I saw myself on the street.  I think I'd just think that was an average woman.  Heavyset/big, for sure, but heck so is most of America.  I wouldn't say "more fat" than anyone else.  In other words, I see nothing abnormally large in the photograph.

But in the mirror, I see every flaw.  Just sitting here, I can feel the loose torso area and when I look in the mirror, my eyes frequently zoom right in on the flaws to see if they are properly hidden/masked/etc.

And my perspective is influenced also by that day's choices.  This is where my BFF and I were laughing.  If I work out and eat healthy, I can look in the mirror and see a pretty cool chick who's got it going on.  Miss Thang.  After a weekend like the 4th of July (my 4 day bender) I would look in the mirror and see the same girl who was 81 pounds heavier!

I don't have this whole body image thing figured out yet and it really does fluctuate in ridiculous degrees.

What I do know for sure, though, is that when I make my next right choices - eat well and keep my body moving - I feel good about myself and that translates into the filter I use when looking in the mirror.

Body Image:  One more reason to keep making next right choices.


Monday, July 15, 2013

The "A" in ADHD

What might ADHD look like in Carly's world?

For starters, I get bored easily.

I get overwhelmed easily.

I get great, enthusiastic ideas. I think about them, run around talking about them and researching about them, and then never quite get around to implementing them.

I charge full force into a project like rearranging a room, or closets, or cupboards, or something "organizational" and not long into it I am ready to throw everything I own in the dumpster and start fresh, with nice, clean, empty spaces around me.

I have a pretty short attention span, and can get overwhelmed by "too much" of anything and having to think of all the pieces of the puzzle at once.  Growing up my mom always called me "scatterbrained" (she meant it in a loving way -really!)

Reigning in and distilling ideas, projects and activities sometimes takes herculean effort for me.  At times I bounce between small bouts of focusing on my finances, the household chores, laundry (yuckkkkkkk), schedules, etc. and at times after assessing all there is to do, I opt to sit down and do absolutely nothing instead. (Facebook, anyone?)

You might think that would translate to getting bored with working out, too.

Nope.  Not at all.

Routine and simplicity make my life SO much better.  I work out the same days (mostly) and we do variations of the same stuff when weight training.  When walking and jogging I go to the same two greenways (or the treadmill).  I like the structure and the simplicity.

I don't have to think about it, analyze (or over analyze) it.  I don't have to research it.  I don't have to put it together or figure out where it fits. I just get up and do it, and it feels fantastic.

On Monday and Thursday mornings, I do weight training.  All other days I do cardio and when I have extra time or extra motivation, I do extra abs.  Easy peasy, just the way I like it.

I follow up the morning workout with the same shake (or slight variation) every day.  It's easy.  I don't have to think about it.  I can make up parts of it in advance so I just have to add the liquid and shake or blend.

I highly recommend that if you are ADD/ADHD or just new to working out OR just don't have a lot of time to plan OR just don't care to plan elaborate schemes....then let the KISS principle apply:  Keep It Simple Silly.  Find out what works and just keep doing THAT until it doesn't work anymore. Make a simple workout chart and check off the moves as you complete them.

By keeping it simple, it is easier to give it my full and undivided attention to get the most out of it.  And although not officially diagnosed (yet), I think I do have ADHD (and am pretty certain I have had it all my life. More blogs to follow on that topic as I explore it.)

I think the "A" in ADHD also stands for Awesomeness.  It's a burden, but I'm willing to carry it for the greater good.  I have a friend who tells me the "A" in Carly's ADHD stands for Audience, as in, I need one.  Hmmmm.......I will neither confirm nor deny, but if you like my blog, be sure to share it with friends.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Quick Recovery Matters

I always wondered how the skinny people managed to stay skinny when I saw them eating pizza and ice cream with my own eyes.  Or average weight people who I saw at a ballgame pigging out on fries, hot dogs, burgers and beer.

The trick in this "it's a lifestyle, not a diet" perspective, I am learning, is to make a quick recovery after the indulgence and to keep your eye on the goal ahead.

In the past I would eat well for x number of days or weeks and then go hog wild eating everything in sight for a day, which became two days, which turned into a guilt-laden week and possibly into a slip so bad I didn't even feel remorse anymore as I ate anything I wanted (and gained back substantial weight in the process).

Right now I'm in a really good place and see things much differently.

This past holiday weekend I had a 4 day slip.  I ate ice cream, cake, cookies, barbecue, bread, more ice get the idea.  By Sunday night I had gained a full 5 pounds.  In four days.  You read that right.

Monday morning I decided to not look back, not beat myself up and not worry about it.  I ate healthy this week, hit the treadmill or the trails every single day, did weight training as scheduled, and ate super cleanly.  I didn't undercut my calories.  I ate what I was supposed to, drank lots of water, avoided all sugar and most flour, and kept my body moving.  In other words, I did what I have been doing without beating myself up over last weekend.

And guess what?

I am down two pounds.  I don't mean I gained those 5 and now lost 2 so I'm still up 3 (if you followed that math.)  I mean, I lost those 5 PLUS an additional 2!

They are gone and I understand why.  It was a QUICK recovery while my body was still used to a higher metabolism and used to eating cleanly.  My healthier body helped me process that unhealthy stuff quickly.

If that slip turned into a couple of weeks, my metabolism would have slowed way down, my muscles would have started to decrease, and my body would have gotten attached and snuggly with the extra fat.  I would have been on the fast track to gaining it all back!

Here's today's advice.

If you have a glutton-fest, well, so be it. Don't let that be an excuse to keep slipping. Let that be a motivator to work out well, eat cleanly, and turn it back around quickly. And don't wait for "Monday".  Get up NOW. You will feel SO glad you did.

Now I'm not worried about the odd pig out day.  I am starting to understand that it's a day, a choice, a way to enjoy the moment - without derailing the master plan even a little...IF that's how I handle it and IF it happens rarely.  The more frequently, obviously, the less likely to recover.

My goodness.  I think this might be what that "lifestyle change" lingo is all about.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

On Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking on November 1, 2009.  For years I battled smoking and weight.  For years I tried to overcome both, unsuccessfully.  For me, I had to overcome the smoking first in order to have the time, energy, ability to breathe, and the stamina to tackle exercise. Quit All TogetherI stumbled upon and found a Forums area.  This area is designed for people like you and me to support others who were trying to quit smoking.  I learned a lot from them and they held my hand through the very difficult process of quitting.  I formed some lifelong friendships there and have had the pleasure of meeting several of them in person.

Someone recently reposted my 2 year anniversary "ramble" in the forums and I thought I'd share it here.

If you are trying to quit, or know anyone who struggles with quitting, pass this along (there's a facebook share button on the side, too) ...who knows, maybe it will help.  If I can help anyone quit and regain their freedom from the horrible addiction of smoking, it is my privilege to do so, and only fair to pay it forward for all the help that was given to me.


"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." -Martin Luther King

You say you want to quit smoking. Do you? Really?

Are you willing to give up your comfort zone?
Are you willing to walk where you have never walked before?
Will you trust those of us who are ahead on the path to help guide you?Are you willing to shatter your deeply held core beliefs about yourself?

I held so many lies as my core beliefs about myself and about life that had to be shattered and rebuilt in order to make it this far. Lies, like:

1. "I am a smoker. A smoker is just WHO I AM."

2. "Cigarettes are my friend; they've been there with me through every life event."

3. "I can't make it without smoking. Life is too hard."I'm here to tell you that this kind of thinking is the addiction talking, and they are all lies.

Let's debunk those lies...

1. I am NOT a smoker. I am Carly. Carly, a non smoker is who I am, who I was born to be...who I always was - underneath the addiction was a scared non smoker just wanting a chance to break free.

2. Cigarettes are my ENEMY. Through every day since age 11, they have been poisoning me, sneering, jeering, and patiently waiting for my demise. Cigarettes are poison; they cause death, destruction of families and misery. "I" was with me for every life event. "I" was responsible for soothing myself during hard times and I can do it without the poison....(In fact, I have found so many wonderful ways to experience all life's events...being PRESENT, and not anxiously trying to escape for that smoke.)

3. I can, in fact, make it without smoking. Life is hard for all of us. Smoking just makes it so much harder. The added guilt, shame, labored breathing, stench, expense, and distraction from real living....egad I am so grateful to be free. Life is not easy, for any of us. But it's MUCH easier than it used to be now that I don't smoke. And that's a fact.


During that first month when I quit I cried a lot. I kicked. I screamed. I felt nauseous  I couldn't think. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't function very well. I was scared and excited and awkward and so out of sorts.

But I read what everyone was telling me. They were saying, it's hard, Carly, but it will get easier IF YOU DO NOT SMOKE. Just hang in there. Believe us. There will come a point where you don't think about smoking. You won't crave it. You'll be free.

I didn't know what that could possibly look like. I didn't know what that could possibly feel like. I had no frame of reference. It was like I grew up since age 11 locked in a dungeon with lots of other really nice smoking prisoners.  Other folks kept sending me messages that there was another world out there with sunlight and fresh air and breezes and freedom.  I could kind of imagine it, but couldn't really understand the big difference.....BUT I BELIEVED THEM. They had gone before me and knew what I did not know.

And I read and read and read everything that those successful people were trying to tell me. I read their profiles. I read their stories.

I shared my process openly and kind of fearlessly. I figured, holding it all in and trying to do it all MY way had failed me dozens of times. My way doesn't work. It just doesn't. So I figured if I spilled it all out and let the successful people share their suggestions, experience, strength and hope...I'd have a chance at doing it DIFFERENTLY.

And it worked. If they told me to go put my head in a freezer for 3 minutes during a bad craving, then come back and post, by God I did it! (I’m not making that up, I really did that.) If they told me to go to bed at 8 p.m. and wake up the next day a winner, well, nite nite, see ya in the morning! (I really did that, too.)

What I can say now is what they told me two years ago.

If you don't smoke, it WILL get easier. If you don't smoke, there WILL come a time when you don't think about it, don't crave it, and don't want it. I know. Because that is where I am now.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." -Martin Luther King

Take one step. Then another. Then another. And I promise you, there is a path out of the dungeon and it is way better than you can possibly imagine.
Believe us.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Your Journey Awaits

“All journeys have secret destinations 
of which the traveler is unaware.” 
~ Martin Buber

I don't believe that it is everyone's calling to hang upside down from a zip line, to raft in the whitewaters of the Ocoee River in the Cherokee National Forest or to hike to a mountaintop in the Smoky Mountains. Blogging about life, goals, fitness, diet, motivation and adventure isn't a part of everyone's journey, either.

And 10 years ago I certainly didn't imagine that any of this was going to be part of my own life's journey.

At that time I was a morbidly obese, severely depressed, emotionally abused and incredibly isolated woman whose spirit was beaten down and trampled.  I felt I was living someone else's life because I was not following my own heart, my own dreams, and I was not honoring the authentic me who was buried deep down inside of me and stripped of her own voice, goals, dreams and desires. 

On April 15, 2005 I made the decision to escape from that life and to start on a new journey toward the life I knew was waiting for me.  The one where I was free from all the piles of everyone else's garbage that was dumped on top of me, and free to explore the world through my own eyes - to find my own calling.

I think once you make the decision to start on a path toward something better, you need to remain a little flexible and let unexpected good things happen.  Once you set some goals and start taking steps toward them, understand that there will be terrific and unexpected events, people, opportunities and adventures that will be presented to you that never would have been presented to you if you did not start down that path!  

If you seize those moments, those opportunities and adventures will lead you to secret places you didn't know existed and to new goals, dreams and desires you didn't even know you had!

For instance, after moving out I met someone who led me to finding a new, better job.  At that new job, I met people who led me to explore health and fitness a little bit.  I joined an online support site to quit smoking.  Quitting smoking led me to be able to breathe again and start physical activities. Getting active and starting physical activities attracted active, fit friends whose friendship led me to try many new things. The process of losing the weight and turning my life around led me to blog. Blogging has led me photography because I want better photos on the blog!  It has also led to a desire to write a book.  

Throughout this leg of my journey I have discovered countless people, places, adventures, stories, and moments I could never have had if I didn't decide one day I wanted something better for my life and just put one foot in front of the other with the belief that I would find my way.  I have discovered courage I didn't know I had, strength I didn't know I had, and have completely rewritten the ending to my story.  

You don't have to change your entire world like I did.  

But if you are not happy with any part of your current situation, know this.  Once you step on the path toward what you DO want, you will find so many cool things you don't even realize you want!  And things you'd never find by playing it safe and staying stuck.

Take one step out there toward your goal .... dare to dream ... dare to believe ... and your journey will take you to places that are hidden from you now...but are right out there waiting for you on your path. 


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Super-Size Your Workout

Let's face it...

...some of us just can't do jumping jacks without giving ourselves a black eye or bruising an unsuspecting body part.

I once worked with a trainer who instructed me to clasp my hands together behind my back and bend over and reach those clasped hands behind me toward the ceiling.

I completely faked the whole move, embarrassed that I couldn't even touch my fingertips together behind my back, let alone interlock them.

The thing is, the trainer did not think about my limitations.  She had never lived in a body like mine or experienced my level of obesity.  Unfortunately, my self esteem took a hit until I gathered the courage to tell her. Only then were we able to make some modifications to get the same benefits from the move.

That got me thinking that there must be other people with the same issue. Do you ever see exercises on youtube, DVD, demonstrated by trainers, or at the gym...and you try but just can't do it (or don't try because you know you physically can't?)

There is absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about.  If you carry more than a few extra pounds, chances are high you just can't do all the exercises exactly as they were designed.  And that's okay!  You can make a few adjustments and get the exact same benefit from the modified move!

This blog post is for both the trainer and the trainee, to explore ways to modify exercises and at least maybe start the dialogue together.

Here are a few examples:

The Challenge:
From losing so much weight, I have a lot of excess skin that won't go away without surgery.  I hate it, but it's just a fact of my life.  That means when I do jumping jacks, I have honestly heard skin slapping together.  I was mortified.  If that had happened at a gym or with a new personal trainer I may have never gone back.

The Solution:
Spanx. Compression bodysuits. I have purchased all in one spanx compression under garments that hold everything taut.  I can "jumping jack" my butt off and that skin isn't going anywhere.  This also solves the problems of generalized jiggling and drooping which could be embarrassing at the gym.

The Challenge:
The trainer wanted me to stand, bend one knee while reaching down to grab my foot from behind and then pull the foot up behind me to stretch the quads.  Except that I couldn't even reach my foot.  At all.

The Solution:
Grab the back of your pantleg, or the loop on the back of your workout shoes.

Alternate Solution:
The trainer can  lift your foot up toward the buttocks for you.

Those are just two quick and easy examples.

The whole point of this post is that you can't fix what you don't acknowledge.  Tell your trainer when you hit something that just doesn't work and be willing to explore alternatives.

If you are reading about moves, or watching them on DVD, pause the thing and Google for alternate ways to work the same muscle group.  There ARE alternatives.  If you can't find one, find a forum on physical therapy.  I guarantee people with injuries or therapists who work with injured people have great ideas on how to modify exercises!

Don't give up or quit because something doesn't work the first time.  In reality, just trying the exercise you'll get some benefit from it and if you stick with your program, eventually you will tackle them all!  I am doing things now that I couldn't even do 3 months ago, and that's a fact, Jumping Jack!


Well Shiver Me Timbers!

I'm strong to the finish cause I eats me Spinach ~Popeye

I have found over time that one of my absolute staples in life is spinach.

When I have a hectic week coming up, or extra demands, or a lot of physical activity, or want to be mentally sharp, or in general just want to be at my best - I make sure there is spinach in the refrigerator (and lots of it.)

It helps keep me mentally sharp (clear headed), assists in giving me energy, and helps my body process the rest of my food better.  Without knowing the scientific benefits of spinach, my empirical evidence over time shows that spinach is good for me, and helps keep me at my personal best.

I don't need "proof," but the research from the medical community, nutritionists and the food industry all agree on the proven benefits of spinach:

  • Rich in vitamin K (which has been shown to bolster bone-mineral density  and therefore protect against osteoporosis and reduce fracture rates. 
  • High in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and even selenium, which may help protect the liver and ward off Alzheimer's. 
  • A study in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that the carotenoid neoxanthin in spinach can kill prostate cancer cells, while the beta-carotene fights colon cancer. 
  • Low in calories but helps keep you full, so aids in weight loss.
  • Researchers have identified more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory agents.
There are many ways of getting spinach into your weekly diet, and several sites I read recommended 1 cup of cooked, or 2 cups of raw, at least 4 times per week.

I like to toss spinach into my "green" smoothies in the morning.  I use an Oscar personal blender and I will make up a couple of blender bottles with my blueberries, strawberries, 1/3 banana, 1/2 to 1 cup spinach and put the whole bottle with blender attachment into the freezer.  In the morning I just add coconut water, coconut milk, almond milk, yogurt, juice, or whatever else looks good and blend away.

There are many other ways I add spinach to my diet. I saute it with a hint of olive oil and garlic for a great side dish.  I add spinach to my turkey or tuna wraps. Try a poached egg over a bed of spinach.  It's amazing! I add it in omelets, quiches and even turkey meatloaf.

I think my favorite way of eating spinach, though, is in the following salad:

Strawberry Chicken Poppyseed Salad

- 2 cups raw spinach
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans (candied pecans are extra tasty)
- 1 tbsp bacon pieces
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- 3 ot 4 oz. grilled chicken meat
- 2 tbsp poppyseed dressing

I never get tired of this salad.  If I am extra hungry I add a diced hard boiled egg as well.

I think Popeye was really onto something.  If you do nothing else this week to change your diet, find a way to add spinach 4 times during the week. Then come back and tell us what you think.  It just feels GOOD taking care of ourselves and spinach is surely one thing we can do easily to make ourselves feel better!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Not Enough Time? Really?

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." ~H. Jackson Brown

I am guilty.  The words have crossed my lips more than once. "I don't have the time to workout." When the reality is "I don't have the desire to work out."

We spend our time doing what we want to spend our time doing. When working out becomes a priority, we miraculously find the time for it, because we make the time for it.

Unless we own that how we spend our day is a choice, then we will feel powerless to do anything differently. What a great way to abdicate responsibility for our own health and wellness. There's no time, it's not my fault.  I call B.S.

If you are a mom who is on a school committee or two and who carts little Suzie around to 5 activities each week, leaving no time to work out, please realize, you chose to join those committees and you chose to put little Suzie into 5 activities each week.  And you can also choose to restructure your life just a tad in order to make working out work for you.  This may include dropping a committee or dropping one of Suzie's activities.  I believe making your health a priority will benefit the entire family and teaches Suzie not only to prioritize, but also how to take care of herself later in life.

If you are a dad who works 10 hour days with a long commute and lots of chores and "honey do" items every day, you can choose to give up 30, 45 or 60 minutes before bed or first thing in the morning to work out (and let something else slide to the weekend perhaps).

Actually, when you do restructure your week and make time for working out, you'll be amazed at the extra energy you will have to tackle that honey-do list, and the ability to better deal with the rest of your hectic schedule!

I have found that working out in the morning works best for me.  One a really good day, I wake up (that really IS a good day, no?), drink a coffee while checking my email, and facebook, start the blog entry (on days that I write the blog, that is), go workout, come back and drink a green smoothie while finishing up the blog, shower, and get to work. 

And despite getting up 3 hours before I have to leave for work, on the days that I actually do workout first thing, I have so much more energy and focus - I get through the days MUCH easier than on days I sleep in and don't work out.  Go figure. I also sleep much better on nights I have worked out.

My whole point is that if you want to work out - and you really will never regret working out.  (No one says, man, I wish I didn't work out!) - make a routine that works for you.  If working out right after work fits in your schedule, commit to it!  Maybe just after dinner, or just before bed?  Maybe you don't have time to get to a gym (that's okay!)  Pop in a workout DVD or hit a treadmill or just go for a walk in the neighborhood.  Jump rope in the driveway!  Do push-ups on your kitchen floor! You get the can be flexible and find a time and place to get in some physical activity.

I'm getting off my soapbox now, because I have finished the blog and am going to go workout and practice what I preach. I find that the easiest and best way for me is to hurry up and start my workout before 6 a.m. and before my body figures out what I'm doing.  :-)

Have a great day, and go do something.  Heck, do 3 sets of 20 jumping jacks right now, by your computer in between checking your facebook updates.  See!  There is time!  Do it!


Monday, July 8, 2013

The Never Fail Steps

I have a lot going on in my world, and in my mind, at all times.  I am easily distracted and it doesn't take much to get nudged off course.  It doesn't take much to dive off course, either.  Or to forget that I even HAVE a course.

(I am exploring adult ADHD and the very real likelihood that contributes to my derailability.  Yes, I made up that word.  You like? hehe)

I am starting to recognize that there are patterns to my stumbles which can lead to derailment.  I don't know which comes first - an emotional trigger or a physical one, but the same basic pattern happens:

  1. I eat something that is not planned for, not healthy, and sugary, or floury, or fatty that makes me feel badly (physically or emotionally).
  2. The next day it is SO easy to do it again.  Only on this day I may not work out either.
  3. The next day I can't even look at a vegetable in the refrigerator.  I don't feel like fixing anything healthy.  I don't feel like chopping, dicing, preparing.  I want something easy and carb-loaded.  
  4. I feel like total crap and feel myself totally slipping.  I don't want to clean the house.  I don't want to get healthy groceries.  I don't want to DO anything. I am lethargic and blah feeling.
  5. I start beating myself up for my shortcomings.  I am weak.  I want to get on track but can't.  I am frustrated.  I get panicky.  The house is more cluttered.  My mind is more cluttered.  I become less "able."
And just like there are patterns to slipping in this way, there is also a "Never Fail" list of steps I can take to turn it back around.

  1. Get honest about it.  Tell someone.  Be accountable.  It may not be my fault (per se) that a slip started, but only I can turn it back around and you can't fix what you don't acknowledge.  
  2. Make ONE freaking next right food choice.  Period.  Make a salad.  Choose a nice egg white omelet.  Eat an apple.  Eat SPINACH.  That almost always turns the food day around for me.
  3. MOVE.  Get showered, get dressed, put on shoes, and GO SOMEWHERE.  Get out of the house.  DO something.
  4. EXERCISE.  There is nothing like fresh exercise to put my brain back together (kind of like unscrambling an egg, if that were possible.)
  5. Do one nice thing for myself.  Maybe a pedicure, an eyebrow wax, picking up some new lip gloss...something that reminds me that I'm worth being nice to.
That's it.  That turns it around. It never fails to turn it around.  I have to FORCE myself sometimes.  I don't WANT to do those things when I feel crappy.  BUT....I know if I don't, I will feel even crappier and continue a downward spiral that leads toward total darkness.  

I have seen the light that comes from making healthy, positive next right choices.  I have enjoyed the freedom that comes with good self care and forward motion.  And I want more and more of that.  I am not willing to slip backwards,

So today, I am making myself accountable and calling it out. (Overate at a party Thursday, then had a ton of pizza Friday, ate fairly badly Saturday, and by Sunday didn't exercise and didn't eat a single healthy thing.  Also didn't go anywhere, do anything, and felt lethargic all day.)

I am working out in a few minutes.

Then I am making a nice green smoothie for breakfast...with spinach.

I am bringing in a great salad for lunch, with some apples and healthy snacks.

And I will call this a 4 day blip and not a derailment.  Because I won't let it become one.

This is not easy....and with what I believe are ADHD complications it gets even more difficult to manage.

But those never fail steps to turn it around REALLY never fail.  So no matter why I  slipped (it really doesn't matter, does it?) I have a PLAN and a prescription to keep reaching my goals.

Think about what works for you.  What turns around a "slip?"  What turns around negativity for you?  Write it down into a couple of SIMPLE steps and put it on your refrigerator or monitor or bathroom mirror.  And fall back onto it when you can't seem to get the motivation you need.

I (we) can do this.  Absofreakinglutely.  No excuses.

Nike was right.  Just do it!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Don't Wait To Start Living!

When I weighed 320+ pounds, there were a lot of things I wanted to do one day.  You know the day...that magical, amazing, perfect day on which I would arrive at my goal.  On that day I would be the right size - wearing the right clothes - with the right hair style - and everything would be blissful and....well....right.

When I started this journey I began to realize that putting off living waiting for "someday" was ruining my experience of life.  After my mom passed away last year it become even more clear that there is NOTHING to be gained putting off living today in hopes of some perfect or better future day to experience life.

This is all we have, folks.  We can only live RIGHT NOW.  

I am still moving toward my weight loss goal.  It will happen this year (yay!) but I have plenty of work ahead to get there.  In the meantime, these are a few of the things I have been doing this summer anyway:

  • zip lining (yes that's me in the video above, showing the others how to zipline upside down!)
  • white water rafting
  • hiking (a whole lot of hiking in the Smoky Mountains)
  • swimming
  • wogging (walking/jogging) at some gorgeous riverfront parks
  • going out on photo shoots to play with my Canon Rebel camera

Guess what.  I still have too much fat.  I have too much loose skin.  I am jiggly in places you wouldn't expect.  I still have 60 pounds left to lose. I am too heavy for some activities that have lower weight restrictions.

So what.

Maybe it's because I'm 47.  Maybe it's because I know I'm doing the best I can (even when I slip'n slide backwards and prove yet again that am not perfect.)  Maybe it's because I know all too well there is no do-over button and this is no dress rehearsal.  Maybe it's because I am so excited to have my life back as a result of all my good choices these past couple of years.  Regardless of "why" - I don't really care too much about what I look like while enjoying MY life anymore.  I don't really care if I look silly or imperfect. I owe no one an explanation and don't need to justify my right to enjoy my life on this planet.  And I certainly don't have to apologize for my existence.

What I really care about is getting out there with my son, loved ones, friends, and experiencing all that life has to offer.  My mom hung a plaque in my room when I was in high school that comes to mind now:

"I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.  He gave me life that I might enjoy all things."

Get out there.  If you're 20 pounds overweight, or 100 pounds overweight, within the limits of your abilities get out and LIVE LIFE.  Don't sit out the invitations to parties or reunions or picnics or parks.  Do what you can.  Be with your loved ones.  Enjoy the laughter, the sun, the life you have been given.

And if you make ONE next right choice toward creating the life you really want, the reward will be instant.  You'll feel instantly better about yourself and more likely to jump in and join in.  Do it.  

Your life won't wait forever.  The longer you put things off to "the future", the shorter it becomes.

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