Archives for November 2012

I saw that run going differently in my mind…

Oftentimes 99% of the time, a thing will happen and then I will write about that thing. Today was the 1%.

After a slight change in schedule, I found myself with the opportunity to take a midday run in Fort McAllister. This is something I have wanted to do for quite sometime and have never had the occasion. Today was that day.

I had it all played out in my mind. The run would be great, the pictures would be beautiful, the ease and wonderfulness would make for a great post. I set out to run the post I already had written in my mind.


Don’t get me wrong. It was a beautiful run. The weather was perfect. The air had that coastal smell. I headed out down Redbird Creek Trail first. It was my first real trail run. It was amazing.

Most of miles three and four were ok, but rocky. The road that leads from the park area to Savage Island is pretty rough rock. I ran on the shoulder mostly. It was alright.

Savage Island reminded me why I love the outdoors and why I really want to get the family into camping. There is another trail there. I enjoyed Redbird Creek Trail so much, I took it.

During mile six, Mother Nature reminded me that she, not me, was in control of my day. I think somebody told her that I already had this post written. She was not amused.

A root reached up, grabbed my right big toe, and I went flying.

I landed on the same hand that still hurts from the fall at mile 25 of the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. I fortunately landed on a different knee, but I busted my head and left shoulder in the same spot. It hurt. But I am about two miles from the car. So I run anyway. And the pain eases and I figure I can still log double digits.

So I take another lap to hit some of the offshoots I missed. And I fell. Again. Same hand. Other knee. Thank God no head. Didn’t really hurt, but it pissed me off. And I kept going.

Mile nine I realize that I still have enough time to circle Redbird Creek Trail one more time and hit that double digit goal. During mile 10…yep…I fell. Again. That one got my elbow. But I had to get back to the car. So I just kept running. Back to the van. Logged 12 miles.

In my opinion, you have no choice but to reflect on an ass whooping like that. And if you don’t salvage something from the mess, you might as well stay home. I didn’t stay home. I won’t stay home tomorrow.

So what do I know now? Nothing I didn’t already know. But reminders can be useful.

  • As much as I love my shoes, I need more than one pair. Even Barefoot Ted and the Tarahumara rock the  Huaraches.
  • Getting up is only part of the battle. Moving forward is only another piece. Doing the exact same thing that knocked me on my ass (or head) to begin with because I know I can make it work – that’s the win.
  • Things don’t always go the way I have them planned it. Suck it up, Buttercup – that’s life.
  • Don’t write the story before the story. It’s a waste of time.
  • I AM just that tough.

I logged those mile. I will log more. I will log more there. In fact, I already have a play date scheduled with the wonderful Madeline of Food, Fitness, and Family fame…unless I have freaked her out with this tale. Which I doubt. She’s pretty freaking tough too.

Are You Gonna Run That?

There are two kinds of people who say they hate running

  1. People who secretly wish to run but don’t
  2. People who who don’t realize they secretly wish to run but don’t

In all seriousness. I am not saying anything about the motivation or the what other folks need to do or don’t do. I try not to function that way. I get that what is “good” for one is not necessarily “good” for another. Like I said to the twigs – I ain’t mad.

I am talking to those of you who are making changes. And not just necessarily just running…maybe you are eating different, picking up the weights, putting down the smokes, getting rid of the old clutter, bringing in some new friends…whatever.

I am going to tell you something you probably already know…some people around you are not going to be quite as excited as you are.

The truth is, most people are not going to care. Because this is a big deal to you, this is going to feel like non support. I get that. Rest assured, it isn’t. They simply don’t care either way. It is a neutral. Go ahead and be okay with that. There is a bunch of crap they do that you don’t care about either. It is okay.

That is most people. But there are others…the ones that swear you are going to ruin your knees, lose too much weight, eat the wrong foods, hang with the wrong people, become overzealous, take on too much, not get enough, waste your time…you get the point. You have probably already heard it. I got a dollar that says you just read that in somebody’s voice who says it to you now.

Ask me how I know 🙂

Complete strangers will feel free to comment on my distance, my pace, my clothes, my shoes (OH MY SHOES!), you name it. It is almost as bad as being pregnant. Mommies know exactly what I am talking about. Nothing extracts unwanted, unsolicited advice like a preggers belly (except maybe some hot pink vvf’s).

Is it right? Probably not. Is it useful? Not typically. Can it be hurtful and demotivating? If you let it. Is it ever going to stop? Probably not.

And it also isn’t helpful to cheese it up and say things like, “I don’t do it for them anyway,” or “Who cares what they think?” or the ever popular, “I have to do what I have to do to make me happy.”

Bet I just stepped on one of your favorites. How do I know? Because they are mine too. So before you storm off and swear me off, let me explain.

The truth is that some of these folks may be your children, your spouse, your family, your friends. You are, to some extent, doing this for them. You are looking to provide a better example, be around longer, participate more. In other areas of your life, these people provide counsel, are a sounding board, they are your shoulder. You do, to some extent, care what they think. And all this is not making you happy.

Making it takes more than a hackneyed phrase and 10 deep breaths. It takes balance, intention, and serious consideration. Some really great support sources help too 🙂

Persevering through the exterior noise takes as much training as actual exercise. And there are typical ideas that work in most cases. I have found it very helpful to

  • consider the gripe
  • consider the source
  • consider the context

Don’t just brush it off. I mean, unless you are one of the few people who can actually do that. I can’t. I pretend like I do and then I spend the next four days going over it again in my head and letting it fester. Yeah, not effective. Go ahead and process the noise so you can put it away. It may be a legitimate issue you need to address. Could be a crazy person that is always looking for stuff to be pissed off and negative about.

Or it could be someone who wishes they had the backbone to do what it is you are doing and being brassy with you is easier than being brassy with themselves.

Best part, I think your backbone can handle it. And I hope you have heard that before.

Tan Toes…Strong Woman

The Ladies at the Lighthouse

Seriously I thought that My Beautiful Chaos was always going to be the mantra of my life. Once I got married, had some babies, held down a job, and occupied some free time, what else was there but chaos?

The chaos is still there…it is still beautiful. I still love it. But it doesn’t compel me to create the way it once did.

“You are a great writer.” Dan says. “But you aren’t writing there very much anymore are you?”

“No,” I tell him. “It seems I am only motivated to write when something pisses me off. I don’t want to write pissed off.”

And that is true. But I do want to write. And where I once wore the badge of chaos as an honor, it now seems to be a place of uncertainty and instability. I have become more settled into who I am, what I am made of, and the wonders of constant evolution. I am proud that I can still handle the chaos. I am more thrilled that I am learning to thrive and wield it. 

So The Chaos still lives…it may even be updated once in a while. More than likely, old things there will strike me in a different way now and find itself migrated here. Who knows? But let me tell you a bit about here.

Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 2012

As you may know, my inner runner escaped last year. It has been a hell of a ride since then. I have been amazingly fortunate to meet some amazing people along the way. Good, encouraging people. Smart, helpful people.

I have been blessed in discovering a whole new part of me that made all the other parts of me make a little more sense. It is interesting how acquainted you can get with yourself during double digit mileage runs. It is amazing how competent you become in other aspects of your life when you realize you are tangibly just that strong.

Spinach Smoothie…yes, please 🙂

Please know this is not all about running. But make no mistake, running changed my life. And it changed my voice. In fact, it changed nearly everything about me. My relationship with my God and my family is better. My understanding of myself is more authentic. My confidence in all other areas is stronger. My mental, physical, and emotional well being has been transformed by healthier choices.

In short, life just doesn’t seem that chaotic anymore.

So my journey has shifted out of the chaos and into the world of strong, tanned toes…what do I mean by that anyway? Well, a few things

My first barefoot run

  1. If you know me at all, you know I hate shoes. I only wear them when I absolutely have to. I live where it is sunny most of the time. Ergo, my toes are tanned
  2. My love of running hit a whole new level when I learned you didn’t have to wear sneakers to do it. In fact, you could (and some folks say “should”) do it barefoot! So, I tried it. It was like being a kid again. Now, because I can’t risk tearing my feet up, I am what is known as a minimalist runner (barefoot purest will appreciate that I know the difference).
  3. I think I was an ocean animal in my previous life. Ok, so I don’t actually believe in previous lives. But if I did, you would have no trouble convincing me I was a dolphin or a mermaid or something. I love the water. I love the sand by the water. I love my tanned toes in that sand and that water.

Turning 36

And the “Strong Woman”? There is a bit behind that too…

    1. I could not care less about being a twig. Twigs cannot, as a matter of regularity, hand mix concrete, use a chainsaw, push a mower, hold a sleeping five year old the duration of a Mass, help her husband move furniture, or run distances some people won’t drive to work in a car. That takes strong. Now understand, if you are a twig and you like that – more power to you. I believe in doing what works for you. I ain’t mad and I am for sure not trying to change your mind. It just isn’t me. And I happen to think muscles on chicks are sexy.
Tough Girls!
  1. I am not interested in being a victim. A strong mind and a strong body work with each other. Strengthening one is empowering the other. I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in the power of the mind. I believe that circumstances change only in so much as we have the mental and physical strength to change them.
  2. I am not sexist, but I am a woman and I am raising four of them. So, while I hope my writing is helpful for the fellas (and y’all are more than welcome here), I don’t really know a whole lot about being a strong man or raising strong men…so there’s that.

So, I am still fixing up the place. Feel free to offer opinions, ideas, and questions…I am looking forward to getting comfortable here 🙂

Diet ~ Reclaiming (or Deep-sixing) the word

If you have not read this, (I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first.
Seriously. Thanks 🙂

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

Definition of DIET

– food and drink regularly provided or consumed
– habitual nourishment
– the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
– a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight 
– something provided or experienced repeatedly

Origin of DIET

Middle English diete, from Anglo-French, from Latin diaeta, from Greek diaita, literally, manner of living, from diaitasthai to lead one’s life

The above edits and empasis to the definition are mine. And while I do not purport to have the authority to just change the English language, I do think that taking into consideration the origin of the word justifies a reclaiming of the idea.

The word diet is not bad or good. It is amoral. It is just a word. Unless it pisses you off. Then it has to be dealt with.

It pissed me off and it had to be dealt with.

In January. Nearly 4 MONTHS after this original post.

Lesson – you gotta be ready for you. There is no outside force that will do this for you. There is no knowledge, no article, no lesson learned, nothing cerebral that will make this happen. If you have a habit you want to change, you have to want to change it.

Lesson – Just saying you “really need to do” something. Doesn’t mean you really need to. It means you really want to need to. I wanted to need. When I actually needed, I did. It is all about choices.

The truth is, I wanted things to work the way I wanted them to work. I wanted to do what I wanted to do AND get the results I wanted to get. I wanted to feel strong, look strong and be strong while eating all the things I used to eat. Essentially, I wanted to be a ferrari that ran at an optimal level off of whipped cream…is that really to much to ask?


Notice the word “diet” needed the descriptive “bad.” And there is no time qualifier. “Diet” is not a program – it is a lifestyle. Diet is not a rigid set of unbreakable pass or fails. It is an evolving, daily practice of choices. These choices are not independent of each other. They are big picture choices, “if/then” choices. And they are widely personal. What works for one may not work for another. Food may not be an issue for you. This may be easier or harder. For me, it was, and continues to be, an amazing battle of the wills.

I LOVE FOOD. It was one of the biggest jokes when the Husband and I were dating. He couldn’t figure out where it all went! I am an amazing cook. I appreciate great meals. I eat for pleasure and not purpose. If I am hungry and the food is not great, I won’t eat. If it is wonderful, I will eat…and eat…and eat.

Simply put, I quit smoking before I changed my diet because it was easier.

I needed a full reset. Not a permanent change (I had tried Atkins years ago, and while it worked, it was not sustainable), but a serious “control-alt-delete” reset. I looked into a few things. I knew what I didn’t want

  • fad diets that require long term usage to maintain
  • shakes, powders, pills
  • artificial
  • expensive

I opted for The Daniel Fast. It is 21 days of over achieving veganism with some spiritual help. Why it appealed to me

  • I can do nearly anything for 21 days
  • it did not require me to buy anything but food
  • it was completely natural
  • it is super easy to follow

In a nutshell


  • consume anything with or from a face (meat, cheese, seafood, dairy, butter – nada)
  • consume anything processed
  • no sweetners (no sugar, no honey, nada)
  • drink anything but water (no coffee, no tea, no booze, nada – water!)


  • drink LOTS of water
  • eat anything from the ground (beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits, veggies)
  • start on a slow day – you may feel a bit tired/cranky the first day or so. Lots of water helps

Side note – I tried to limit grains, beans, etc. to breakfast and lunch. Almost full veggie dinners. Some folks have done this and go heavier on the the starches and grains. Their weight loss isn’t as great. I was really heavy produce (high bulk/low calorie). And I exercised throughout – the energy level bounces back quick.


  • Be super careful what you reintroduce and how. I had a steak on day 22. I was sick for four days after.
  • Be mindful what what you reintroduce and why. I had successfully cut out processed, artificial foods with ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Could not think of one good reason to go back to that. Except for Jalapeno Cheetos…I miss those things…
  • Figure out what works and keep it simple. I basically figure if it comes out of the dirt or the ocean, it is fair game. Everything else has to be considered on the “if/then” scale.
  • Pay attention to your body during and after. I have found that my skin is one of the first things to gauge the quality of my choices.
  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing this to be a healthier you. Guilt, stress, self-beratement does not equal good health

Me now

  • I almost never eat red meat. It makes me feel physically bad. Occasionally I will. So far in the last 7 months I think I have had red meat 3 times.
  • I LOVE pork. Bacon is the main reason I reject vegetarianism. I limit my pork to very rarely. Maybe once a month. It is a treat – not a staple.
  • I have eliminated most dairy for the same reason as red meat. I can tell a difference when I eat too much of it. I use an almond creamer for my coffee as that is the only major adjustment that I needed to make for daily use. I still love cheese on my sandwich – but it too is a treat.
  • I eat some fowl. Not often. Once or twice a week.
  • I love whole grains, beans, legumes, etc. This has replaced the meat products and provides the calorie count I need for long run days. I tend to stay away from them late in the evening, but they make a great breakfast!
  • I love my juicer. I use it for those veggies I probably would normally eat. I hardly ever put fruit in it as I would just assume eat that. I have found that I can throw nearly anything into it. As long as I top it off with apples, it tastes good.
  • I won’t eat out just anywhere. And I won’t eat just anything. And I am not tacky about either. Staying focused AND positive are important.

In all this, please remember, I am not stuck up about any of it. I treat myself to frozen yogurt. I have had a burger with cheese off the grill. But I did opt to NOT have cake on my birthday. I have indulged and I enjoy it. But it has its limits and consequences. I don’t do it like everyone else and I don’t expect folks to do it like me. But I am apprecaitive of what I have learned, and continue to learn from others. And I hope I have been helpful here.

Enjoy your lunch!


A few more excuses…

If you have not read this, (I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks 🙂

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

If you missed my First Steps

This comment was left on the last post (when it was originally posted here)…I loved it because it yet again proved I was not alone. I have thought this same thing over and over again.

We all have excuses. Just a few more things to get in place, then I will be ready. Tomorrow, Monday, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the quarter, after this season, at the New Year…whatever. If you are anything like me. That time will just keep pushing itself backwards to a new milestone. I have heard of this phenomenon somewhere. I think it has a name…oh yeah, procrastination. (Don’t you like how I pretend I don’t know this cat amazingly well?)

First, I am not a fan of the word “excuse.” I think, by definition, it conveys the appropriate idea. By connotation, it sucks. When we say “excuse”, we assume lazy, non committed, unable, failure, lack of discipline, untruthfulness, and general full of shitness.

We are not any of those things. I am not any of those things.

What I am is a married mother of four children with a demanding profession. I am active with my family, friends, parish, and community. What I am is what you probably are – challenged to do one more thing in your non-forgiving 24 hour day.

I prefer “challenges” to “excuses”. And if you are one who thinks that is little more than a cop-out or feel good semantics, just keep going with what ever works for you. But most people I know already have more than enough self hate speech going on in their heads. If that kind of motivation works for you, go with it. Seriously, I am for whatever helps you achieve your goals. But for me, it is paralyzing and defeating. Then, not only do I have real challenges to contend with, but I have to move past the mental sewage that just stink piled in my brain. No thanks.

Second, I found no point in morally sorting my challenges. Do I lack time because I watch too much TV or because I have four kids that need homework help? Do I eat fast food because it was the only option or because I just really wanted that cheeseburger? Did I make this choice because I am a good, upright super citizen of the world, or a big, fat piece of crap? See, how it doesn’t matter? Just more brain sewage.

But, I DO have challenges. The most pressing one is time. And there are a ton of reasons this is a challenge. Some could be classified as legitimate and some not. Not the point. The point was not beating myself up over choices I had made with my past time, but making this new thing a priority…making new choices in spite of, and without carrying the baggage of, the previous choices.

I am always thinking about how to answer your question. “April, how did you do it?”

The answer is I haven’t done it. I am doing it. And it is a process of waking up every morning, identifying the specific challenges to my priorities for this specific day and making it my mission in the next 24 hours to successfully navigate those challenges. Not yesterday’s challenges. Not maybe unforeseen challenges of tomorrow. Not cranked up brain sewage shitness. But honest to goodness logistics of today’s “To Do” list.

There is no better day 🙂

Gearing Up and Walking the Dog

If you have not read this, (I will tell you…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks 🙂

It is true that I should have been writing about this all along. When Lisa says it, it is almost always true. But I didn’t. And I know why.

I didn’t know how the walking would turn out. I didn’t know where it all would lead. Truth be told, I still don’t. Who in the world wants to embark on a journey of such a personal nature in a public way without knowing the end? Well, I don’t know who would, but I can tell you who wouldn’t. This girl.

Fear is a funky thing. And we will talk about that maybe. Not now I don’t think. I don’t really feel like giving it any play right now. But, just know, if you are fearful, frustrated, failed before – you are not alone.

In 2010, I looked like this ~ and that ain’t so bad. 30 something Momma of four. Busy woman, limited schedule. A little extra weight, a little soft. But my clothes fit poorly. My energy was down. My blood pressure was up. And Karen Handel still looks great.

However, in the middle of the summer (swimsuit season!!) this happened. And you can read all about that “AH Shit” moment here.

And I was over it. Sort of…this picture was taken in May…it will take me THREE more months before I actually DO anything.

Battling self-esteem issues, depression, stress, and general mental and physical pissed offedness (<< should SO be a real term), I needed to get to where I loved to be – outside. But the phone and the kids and the chores and the world follow you outside. The dog needs a walk…so that’s what I did…

On August 12, 2011 at 6:41 a.m., I laced up my shoes, leashed up my dog, turned on my Nike+ app and walked. Ka’nani and I covered 6 miles in an hour and a half. It was amazing. So I walked some more. (I switched trackers a few times…I don’t use Nike+ anymore. I am on Endomondo and you can friend me here.) **UPDATE** I am also toying with the idea of using DailyMile. With the number of friends I have using it…I may not have a choice.

And I just walked…nothing too serious. And don’t let the high mileage fool you. I was poking along pretty good. There were walks where I averaged more than 17 minutes a mile. Towards the end of the month I had picked up some speed and started jogging. But that was only because my body said it was time and it was okay. Even then, I never broke the 11 minute mark. That 8 mile stint that you see on the 24th took me nearly 2 hours. And what a mind clearing two hours it was!

By the end of the month, these were the numbers I had accumulated. But let me tell you a few things about them.

I had lost NO weight. None. Nada. Read that again…the scale DID NOT move.

And that pissed me off a bit. And I had to do some soul-searching about that for a minute. Because while the scale reflected nothing, my personal well-being was starting to reflect a lot.

I felt stronger. I felt stronger. Yep, I typed that twice. Why? Because that one change changed everything. It wasn’t about being skinny or fast ~ it was about being better today than I was yesterday. It was about mental fortitude and physical ability. I didn’t have to compete against anything but my own challenges. And I was winning!

And I was just walking the dog…

Ka’nani August 12, 2011

I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…

So a really cool thing happened on my Facebook page a few days ago. I posted this ~

After 5 pregnancies, 4 deliveries, nearly 36 birthdays, I NEVER thought I would look this way again. Stronger than I have been since I was in my early 20’s and my washboard is back (although with some new tiger stripes). Melissa, Tanisha, Marc, Victoria, Dan, Shannon, Tony & Allison, Lisa, Sabine ~ and a host of others I can’t tag because of facebook’s stupid tag limit ~ Thanks…the hard work, attention to food and body, focus and spirit connection, is not only paying off now, but is proving to be a shift in lifestyle and not another tangle with fad diets and sporadic exercise activity. I really appreciate y’all. My future grandchildren thank you as well!!

And my friends did this ~

**Are most of the comments made by folks that liked thus not actually resulting in 117 individual people? Yes. Did that change the number of notifications that came through and actual instances of encouraging moments to me? Not on your life.

Almost immediately my friends came to my side, encouraging and congratulating. The amount of happy conveyed was immeasurable. I hoped one day to return the favor. I quickly discovered how.

There are a bunch of folks out there just like me who want to make different choices. They are frustrated with their fitness level. They are frustrated with their diet. They want the results I am getting. I always recommend for them to get the best waist training corset. They want me to tell my story. And I will. In a minute. This conversation has to happen first.

I hit a ton of roadblocks in my journey. I am still hitting them. I do not do everything “right”. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what that means. In all honesty, if I did, I probably still wouldn’t do it.

While researching, talking, and listening, I encountered quite a few folks who obviously did know “right.” And if it didn’t feel right to me, conflicted with a different piece of research I found, or just didn’t factor high onto my personal priority list, well, I was obviously the uneducated dolt who just didn’t care enough about my well being to hear what they had to say.

I can’t function that way. Good on folks who can. That ain’t me.

I am going to go back to last year and tell you my story thus far. Please know that I made no decisions haphazardly and my choices may or may not fit for you. That’s okay. We are all different. We all have different perspectives, resources, priorities, desires, and lives.

Here is what I can tell you.

  1. We aren’t talking real estate, so I am not trying to sell you anything 😉
  2. Every word of that Facebook post is true.
  3. I am happier than I have been in years.
  4. Your choices are not my choices and vice versa. So there is no judgement here. You do you, I do me, and maybe we can help support and encourage each other in the process.
  5. I am not a professional dietitian, nutritionist, sport medicine, whatever ~ I know some, but I ain’t one. All the information I give you will be solely anecdotal with references that stand on their own.
  6. Thanks for everything. I can use all the help I can get.
  7. In appreciation for that help, I offer all the help that I can.

So, that being said, I will post about my health choices. But you have to know, you are probably already mostly awesome 🙂 Your path may have different things in store for you. I can’t wait to hear what they are!

…But I am not Stuck Up About It

If you have not read this, (I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks 🙂

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

If you missed my First Steps
…or Some Excuses

This is not supposed to be the next step…this revelation actually didn’t hit me until my Daniel Fast. But, with it being the Nation’s Birthday tomorrow, I figured we should talk about cake.

This is a beautiful, nearly ready to give birth, 210 pound April Groves. And 210 may not be so bad…except I started at 130. 80 pounds ladies and gentleman (look at that neck!)  And while my Savannah was a respectable 8lbs 15ozs, that is still little better than 10% of my total weight gained.

Since I was in the Navy, I had to go back to work 6 weeks after her birth. While you can wear your maternity uniform for a while after that, who in world does that? In my 11 years in the Navy, I NEVER saw one woman come back from maternity leave in their maternity uniform. We maybe should have, but we did not.

The Cliff Note’s version is I got down to 160 before I had to go back to work. Yeah, that uniform was a sight. I had a job conducive to regular and extended gym time and a great workout buddy (not as great as you, Mel!) Next thing you know, my post pregnancy body was doing some crazy stuff. So I egged it on. Atkins was king and the gym was my friend. I got down to a lean 120 pounds with muscles to boot.

I learned a lot on that journey. I learned that ~

  • water was the absolute best thing I could put in my body – ever.
  • Weight training is the key to all shape issues.
  • Weights can be heavy, and that is good.
  • Food matters.
  • You can get your body back.

But, what I didn’t learn was the importance of sustainable change. My health and wellness was not in a GNC store or a diet book or a fitness magazine. I thought that it was and I loved them all. But, as we all know, over the course of the years to come, I would put back on 40 of those pounds – and I ain’t knocked up.

I say ALL of that for a few reasons

  • If you have taken off and put on, you are not alone
  • If you have started, quit, started again, you are not alone
  • If you have tried stuff that worked and then didn’t, you are not alone
  • If you have huge goals to make, you are not alone

Basically, you are not alone.

I chose to do a hard reset with my eating at the beginning of the year. I will get into the hows and the whys later, but for now I will just say that the Daniel Fast was one of the best choices I ever made. I read most of the book. In it was my “Damn it!” moment. Face palm included.

Susan Gregory said something that should be obvious. Obviously, it wasn’t. She discussed a situation that occurred during one of her fast times. Her daughter in law had prepared a special meal. In that meal were foods not appropriate for the fast. Do you know what Susan did? She enjoyed the meal with her family.

She cheated. She gave her self some breathing room. She enjoyed her life. She practiced moderation. She was not stuck up about it!

And that’s what I had been. Totally stuck up. Either all or nothing. Militant or complacent. That isn’t a lifestyle – it is a life sentence. And that mentality only leaves you looking for parole!

I came to understand that there are times when strict discipline is necessary, especially during the beginning stages of a particularly difficult habit change. But, while many of us believe that grace and forgiveness are wonderful gifts to give to others, we rarely find it appropriate to gift it to ourselves.

Now, I gauge myself.

  • Have I been allowing too much “moderation?” It is easy to tell – I feel bad. I call them food hangovers or endorphin withdraws.
  • Am I about to partake in something for which I know I have very little control? I try very hard not to eat donuts. I love them. I will eat the whole box. Moderation be damned. Yeah, I need a 12 step. I probably won’t eat even one because I just can’t.
  • Am I going to enjoy this or feel guilty about it? If it is just going to make you sad, leave it alone.

So tomorrow I will probably not have any cake (it is kinda like the donut thing). But I will most likely eat a burger. I may even put cheese on it! Of course, I will probably log some miles before the festivities too.

Because it isn’t about quick fixes – it is about living my best life.

Enjoy the holiday!