Sunday, December 29, 2019

Now What?

Now What?

I am posing the question of, "Now what?" because it is now too late to avoid the holiday weight gain for this year. Truly, for most of us, there is not a realistic way of avoiding holiday weight gain. What I do believe is that I can avoid a big gain and blowing what I have been working so hard on just by staying focused on what I was putting in my mouth.

This image is what came to my mind when I thought about overeating or eating too much of a good thing. For me, it would have been emotional eating. If I was able to see through why I was wanting to travel to the dark side of eating, that was half of the battle. Stress can be handled in other, more positive ways.

Each person has their own way to get through the holidays. Maybe you can eat anything you want and never gain a pound? There really are people like that. Hard for me to believe, but they walk among us. Then there are those who go on specific diets. Been there and done that. Only to then gain it back when off that 'said' diet.

What has been working for me is reading information about making healthy choices by watching the amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins that I consume. I never thought that I could do without bread, without pizza, without potatoes, pasta. I now know too much these foods do not work well in my body. I feel so much healthier without them and the weight has really come off at a steady pace. Fifty pounds so far! There have been times when I hit  plateaus. Instead of getting frustrated and diving for ice cream or chips and dip, I have learned other ways to cope. Companies actually make low carb or zero carb ice cream, bagels, breads, pizza dough. Fast food chains are beginning to add to their menus items that work for low carb eaters. I never realized how much flavor the bun took away from a delicious grass - fed hamburger patty with onions, tomatoes, cheese, mayo, avocado, bacon, mustard all wrapped up with lettuce.

It gives me a chance to be creative in ways I never dreamed of. First of all, let's think about the holiday season. Actually it starts with all of the candy brought in for Halloween. Lucky for me, we do not have trick or treaters at our home. Most parents seem to opt for the trunk or treat parties these days instead of going door to door to strangers' homes. Wise in this day and age. So I only keep in a small amount of candy for special little granddaughters. This is usually the kind that I can resist easily. 

As soon as Halloween is over, there comes the Thanksgiving Feast. Food, food and more food. I don't know about others (well, yes I think that I do) but this always involves potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn pudding, cheese grits, yeast rolls, and several kinds of desserts.

People that I have watched eating in a low carb life style are the ones that have simply amazed me at how it is just the way they live now. Plus, there are so many healthy alternatives and great things out there to eat. I really did enjoy that whole holiday season and with a little planning I believe that I was about to avoid overeating. I chose quality foods if I was going have a slightly higher carb grams in my meals. One English roast potato instead of two and definitely instead of mashed potatoes. A tablespoon or two of cornbread dressing with turkey and ham - both definitely something that I can fill up on instead of eating too much of the dressing. Add fresh green beans wrapped in bacon and there was plenty to eat and truly enjoy both Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities.

All without feeling that I blew it and how will I ever get back on track. I did that last year and I believe that is what helped me not have a derailment this year. It was not a good feeling of beating myself up. My willpower is easy to lose if I don't stay ahead of it. And I am not easy on myself. I decided that I did not want to go through that again. My action plan had to be a strong one after my 2018 gluten and sugar fest. Why put myself through that again? There is a better way.

Doing a little research on holiday recipes that are lower in carbs and then testing them out was actually quite entertaining. My husband and I enjoyed trying Pecan Bars using almond flour. Delicious! So now, a new dessert added to the menu at our home, as well as other food stuffs. 

This season of holidays and our birthdays, I stayed with actually keeping track of what I was eating in my Carb Manager app. It held me accountable. To lose weight, I must be in a certain range, to maintain, another range and if I go over my range too often then I know that I am not a happy camper and I don't feel very good and that is inside and out.

It also means getting that recumbent bike going more and more. Some of the things that were on my wish list are helping me get it all together. Nutribullet! It is an amazing small blender that I can use to make delicious meal replacement shakes. My husband got it for me. It weighs out and calculates the protein, fat, calories for each one that I make. I made my first one today. It was positively delicious. It was so good that my husband wanted one for his meal, too. 

I am lucky in that he wants to make this his life style right along with me. We help keep each other in check without judging. We both love to cook so trying new things is a great creative outlet that we can share together. It has continued to improve our health and overall disposition. His doctor is overjoyed at his weight loss. 

Whatever happened over the holidays in your life, if you want to make your action plan, then go for it. The most important part is to make the plan realistic. It is never too late to set a new life/wellness goal and create a new you for the New Year. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Christmas Cheer

Spreading Christmas cheer is just a huge part of the month of December. For me, it really begins as soon as Thanksgiving is over. At least the decorating part does. My shopping started way before. I sort of keep my eyes and ears open all year for little gifts that may delight someone special. I know that the holidays should not be all about the presents, but I can't help it. I love seeing the faces of those opening something that I chose for them. Seeing their surprised faces is so rewarding. On top of that, I adore wrapping the presents. And, I developed my own plan so that I am not overwhelmed with wrapping our large family gifts all at once. I wrap as the gifts arrive or I go out to purchase them. 

I must admit that I am not one for going out to the big sales, hunting for a parking spot, going in and out of the cold or rain, dealing with crowds, etc. It is so much easier to shop on line and have it delivered. I know! This takes away from the brick and mortar businesses. We all must do what works for us and this is what works for me. Standing in long lines or trying to find a sales clerk to help me find what I need just is not my cup of tea. 

Christmas parties with friends is always a nice thing to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It truly is a special feeling to be invited to a friend's home for the celebration of Christmas. Especially if it is not an ugly sweater get together. We would not be able to go to one of those. I have sworn to Santa and all of his elves and reindeer that I will never, ever wear one of those.

Even going to The Grand Peabody Hotel with the beautiful Christmas tree in the Lobby, as well as the ducks swimming in the fountain and the Gingerbread Village baked and decorated by their Award Winning Pastry Chef, Konrad Spitzbart, in Chez Phillippe Restaurant. Steve and I now have a tradition to go to The Peabody between our two December birthdays for their High Tea. Such a delightful way to get into the spirit of Christmas.
Peabody Lobby Tree

The pastry dessert course in three tiers at The Peabody High Tea.

Our own decorations are quite fun to get out and place around the house. I am always happy when a stored box of ornaments and decorations or the tree does not have a spider lurking around, much less something else. We tried so hard to get our goldendoodles to sit nicely in front of the tree but they would have no part of it. They did it their own way.

Okay, okay, so our lights are Christmasy and we love them. They actually make little moving green and red lights on our walls, ceilings and floors in the front rooms of our home. Below, is a neighbor's home! What can I say? They truly love to decorate and go for it. I believe that each year they add something else. Amazing!

There is one thing about Christmas that I for one must be aware of. NOT to overeat. Since going on my lifestyle plan of Keto, there are many ways that I can work on keeping the carbs low. I won't be in my 20 - 50 range, that is for sure. Nor should I! Yet, I will allow myself to try a little of this and that, just because Christmas comes but once a year. I always make sure that it is quality calories. Many of our traditional food is low carb. Lucky me! So I do not feel left out. I will splurge and have a small bit of jalapeno cheese grits and for sure a bite of cornbread dressing and one of Steve's roasted potatoes.

 I am making Keto pecan pie and will find out if anyone notices. I know it is not the 100,000 calories of the Nutella pie, but it is satisfying. I always have ice cream so that the little ones (and some big ones) can make their own sundae.

Whatever gets you into the spirit of your holidays, go for it. I love a little mistletoe somewhere in our home, not that we need that to steal a kiss, just keeping in the spirit. With that being said, there is probably not a chance that we will have a white Christmas here in Memphis. I have seen my share and they are magical, especially if you don't have to go anywhere. The very best one of all for me was when my family met up in Colorado with my brother's family and just as we were all finished with breakfast and ready to open gifts, snowflakes started falling in the Rockies. Of course, there was already very deep snow, but each flake was just so beautiful to see on this very special day. The Ski Resort was closed so we were not going out anywhere. That really made me feel calmer and at peace.

So go ahead and have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now!

Monday, December 16, 2019


Maybe when you saw my title of this blog your mind went to another place. I needed to write this blog specifically for myself, which I suppose that is what I do each week. This was overwhelmingly what I had been feeling for about a week, maybe two. I needed to forgive myself for not accomplishing my to do list each day. Not only that, but to realize that I have that right and I need to exercise it when going through turbulent times.

My days and sometimes into the evenings have been jammed packed with 'stuff' to do. Add in there that  it is the holiday season and there is probably where the problem lies. This picture shows what I have been feeling like in my own mind:

Yes, usually you see a hamster or some other rodent riding in his little wheel within his cage. Because the fact that I can't stand hamsters, guinea pigs, mice or rats, I opted for a real human to represent me.

It seems that every event or circumstance the last few weeks have caused a series of more related events. I would have a planned out purpose of running errands and get in the car and, "Boom," the warning light of the car goes on and says a headlight is out. So add that on to the list of errands to stop by and sort out an appointment.(Let's not even get into the cost.) In other words, this is yet even another day to take care of an extra errand.

Insurance premium changes came in the mail which forces a long wait on the phone to speak to a human being, many times explaining it to one person and then being transferred to someone else to explain the situation all over again. Frustrating. It seemed to be something of this nature every single day. 

A policy that I started last year was to wrap presents as they were purchased. This is versus sitting down for part of several days to wrap forever...So, I have worked diligently on this and have kept up to speed with it all. I was not a happy camper if something had to be left to wrap for the next day. Why? It was on my to do list and by gosh, I wanted it done.

Two birthdays thrown in for good measure. And yes, fun, fun, fun! I would not change our plans for either one of our dinners out. Following that we were graciously invited to a Christmas soiree that we accepted. Would not have missed it for the world. The only other major thing to do that day was to get our youngest son to the airport for his American pilot training course. By the time I hold two bowls of dog food for our dogs to eat (and this is once in the morning and once at night), get them in and out for potty breaks, get dinner on in the crock pot, make a light brunch, take a moment to read the paper, check e mail, etc...the day is used up. Kaput!

Right here, right now, let me repeat. I have the right to forgive myself anytime I want. When I thought about what my Monday would bring, I had to remember this. YES, I do have the right to forgive myself for whatever I did not accomplish for the day. 

Monday and the start of a new week. I am going to slow it down. The weather brought a gray, gloomy and stormy day. It was time to forgive myself for not getting my Monday blog out earlier and probably cost me some readers. It is ok. I am so grateful that our two furbabies need us to help guide them to go out in the rainy weather, even when they really don't want to. This means it may take several times before they actual realize themselves that they had better go NOW. Neither one has had an accident and I know they do not want that to happen. I sure know that I don't want to return to those puppy days.

Also, on the to do list was to go back to the school where I taught and was the AP to read with my husband to two classrooms, the rooms where our granddaughter had been the year before and is in currently. What fun! Two fabulous teachers and two classrooms of amazing, polite students. As we walked the halls to the two rooms, we would get to see some of the staff that I worked with for all of those years. I am grateful to have the opportunity to take time out of my day (our day) to just enjoy and hopefully bring some joy and fun to those two rooms. 

All in all, things work out and if I can't cross off everything on my to do list, the world will not crumble. All is well!

Saturday, December 7, 2019



Becoming can mean so many different things to people. Let me explain how this blog is going to address the word 'becoming.' In my own words, it is what you continually evolve into becoming. The key word is continually. 

It is so easy for me to get stuck in a one way only mindset. By this, I mean to say that my mind doesn't just jump out of the box to do something another way, if one other way is not working. There are times that I keep trying and keep trying and keep trying. There is a method of madness to that and sometimes it works. Thank goodness many of our inventors "kept trying." Edison comes to my mind immediately, but there are so many others.

In some matters there is a quote that made sense to me one day when I saw it. It is a W.C. Fields quote, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There is no point in being a damn fool about it."  Even though he was before my era, I can still see his image and hear him saying this very quote.

There are many reasons why there are times to just move on and go at something another way to help you become more knowledgeable at learning something. You become happier in doing so. If I go ahead after trying and just accept that one way is not working for me, it is a okay to have that little down and disappointment and then move on. It is a way that I practice happiness. Happiness is developed. It is a choice. For myself, if I allow a short time to feel saddened, the happiness and excitement returns as I come up with new ways to overcome. That is the key to it all.

I know plenty of people, as I am sure most of you do too, that can be placed in the category of "I'll be happy when..."  When what? I can name at least 100 things that maybe I would be happier if only...So my question to myself is what am I doing about it? 

To grow intelligently, emotionally and socially one must continue to go down the path that will lead you there; in other words becoming more of what you desire to become. 

There was a book that I read recently entitled Becoming by Michelle Obama. It was very powerful. From a child through her teens and now a very intelligent woman, she never lost sense of where she was going. Yes, of course, there were times she had to reset her sails. That is the whole idea of becoming, which is exactly where I got the idea of mentally incorporating this mindset for myself. 

Part of it was already there. I just needed to realize that accepting whatever I was experiencing, being grateful for what comes my way, whether it is all of my own doing (which is not always the case) or the urgency to tell someone else how grateful I am for how they guided me. (This way is the most fulfilling to me.)

Sometimes it just means taking a breather, not just daily, but several times within a day, to close your eyes, relax, imagine your happy place, take a nap or actually go for self-care in a big way and have a massage or facial. Playing with our puppies is another self-care strategy that I use. 

 “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” ~ Michelle Obama

Until the day that I die, I NEVER want that to be the end. Keep on BECOMING. Sometimes things take longer for a reason. Keep at it and witness the beauty of becoming.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

My Strategies to Help Me Destress Over the Holidays

Yesterday, I was aware that I was putting a bit too much stress on myself to get all that needed done on time. When I felt like I failed miserably, I made a notation to start earlier the next day and make a list to complete the tasks and get it all sorted out. As this day progressed and we were heading into mid afternoon, I realized that I would be once again a failure. Day 3 now!

A simple little anonymous quote that I used the day before as my positive mantra for the day said it all, and I, of all people let it get by me and did not take it seriously enough. The quote was, "It is most definitely too early for anyone to get their tinsel in a tangle. Chill out and let it go." By the end of yesterday, my tinsel was so tangled, I just wanted to toss it all in the trash after I finished jumping on top of it tangled mess.

It was at this stage that I sort of knew that is where I was headed. I had not accomplished all that I had set out to do for the day. Mind you, I had, with the help of my husband, taken quite a few things for Christmas decorations downstairs, gone through boxes and tossed two bags of 'not worth hanging on to any longer stuff.' It no longer brought me joy. Some of the decorations were long past their expiration date. 

Of course, that took time. Then there was putting the Christmas tree up and decorating it, without knowing how our new puppy would react. Davis, our older pup never bothered it. Maggie Mae has her own way of doing things. So I kept ornaments up a bit higher until I was sure that she would leave them alone. I must say that except for a red and white tinsel fat candy cane, she did not bother anything else.

The Christmas tree skirt is all that was out around the tree. I had not started wrapping gifts yet. The two dogs decided that the skirt was for pulling around the house like a blanky. Steve just put it up on the table until we were able to put heavy gifts that were wrapped on top of it. 

Steve helped by getting the stockings hung and they looked fabulous. Thanks to Thomas, our son, for bringing all of the Christmas boxes down from the pull-down attic (YES, I did say all) this is what we needed, or let me say, I needed in order to go through them all and sort them out. For two years we had been missing our newer decorations. What gets tossed, what will we use to decorate this year and what will go back to be stored.

That is my dilemma. NOTHING is going back up in that pull-down attic. It is too hard to get to, even once a year to bring down and take back up again. So now it is a matter of clearing out the closet attic which is not very large and has junk in it that needs to go. Plus, it needs vacuumed out or swept out because of all of the insulation mess. The other storage closet is somewhat cleaned out. It could still stand a bit of decluttering and this is when my tinsel was starting to tangle. It seemed as if one job was accomplished but that in turn caused two more jobs. Stuff was piling up!

The good news is that I recognized my feelings. I lacked clarity, felt negative, felt rushed, and although I did not throw a hissy fit, I felt that I could have if I did not gain control and stop blaming myself for everything that I did not get done.

Just as the two bees above, it is okay. Pick one and start from there. That is what I needed to do. One task at a time. Taking small simple steps each day is the way that all will get taken care of in it's own sweet time and way. So make a list and what gets done is checked off. I needed to take ownership of just what was truly accomplished. To my surprise, it was quite a bit. What is not checked off will start the next day. No one is going to come in and give me any kind of evaluation on this unfinished mess. I am not on a deadline except what I had put on myself, which in turn made me feel less than capable. I needed time to reflect on what I had accomplished and just take in deep breaths just to know that I should pat myself on my back because the list of what was completed was truly inspirational. 

My six ways to relieve holiday stress boils down to:

  • recognize that overwhelming feeling
  • start making reasonable lists with no time frame
  • check off tasks completed with no judgment
  • reflect on exactly what was accomplished
  • pat yourself on your back
  • be grateful for all that you have
It does not have to be done in a day, not even two or three days. I love ending this blog with Daniell Koepke's quote: