Posts made in February, 2013
Man, I am stoked that we’re almost to March! March is definitely one of my favorite months of the year. It’s the time around here when spring really starts to show. Our flowers start blooming, the sun starts shining and asparagus starts growing in the garden. Oh, and it’s my anniversary month! Celebrating six glorious of marriage to the hottest Canadian boy ever.
If you’ve never downloaded one of my wellness calendars before, these little guys have a daily wellness-focused challenge. Some days are simple (like, don’t forget to drink water!) and other days are fun and silly (eat waffles on International Waffle Day!). When you put them all together, you’ve got yourself a great start to a healthy month! I like to believe that a healthy lifestyle is built off of a lot of small, daily healthy decisions, and this calendar helps you get there. Download the PDF, print it out and hang it up so you can see it daily.
For a while now, I haven’t been shy about broadcasting my weight here for all to see (I’m 229.0 pounds this morning, if you’re curious). And, if I’m being totally honest, there has been some backlash over the years about me being so open with my weight. I’ve been told I’m a bad example because I’m scale-obsessed. I’ve been told I need to focus instead on the measuring tape. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t care what my weight is.
Well, the truth is, I don’t care what the number is. Care is an emotion, and there are no emotions tied to what pops up on the scale for me anymore. That number is just another measurement of my body (like my height–5’9″—or my shoe size–11–or my ring size–6 1/2). But what I don’t get is why other people care so much about that specific number of mine. What is it about being so open and honest about my weight (and maybe wanting to change it) that makes a few folks get all up in a tizzy?
Yesterday, when I was all pretzel-like while doing Bikram, I had a breakthrough. I think I figured it out. The reason our weight—the specific number—is so controversial is because we let it be! We give that number emotional power over us—both positive and, more often than not, negative. And more specifically, I think we give it power by being so secretive and protective of the actual number.
There are so many women out there (and men, too) who are so afraid to share their weight with the world. Listen, I totally get it. It can feel like it’s something to be ashamed of—especially if you feel like you’ve “let yourself go”. But I’m a big believer that shame is one of the least constructive emotions on the planet. And by letting ourselves be ashamed of our number, we’re letting our weight have the upper hand. We’re treating those three numbers (or more, or less, or with decimal points, whatever!) like our collective dirty little secret. If we don’t tell someone what we weigh, maybe they’ll think we’re smaller than we are. Maybe we can shave off 10 pounds or so with these black pants. Maybe they can’t really “see” how fat or skinny or perfectly normal we are just as long as there isn’t a number to quantify our size.
But of course, that’s not how it actually works. You don’t have to tell someone you are overweight for them to know it. Just like you don’t have to tell someone you’re a brunette for them to know it. Quantifying it or not quantifying it does not change the fact that it is what it is. And, if anything, maybe you’re doing yourself a disservice. Maybe by not telling folks what you weigh, you are filling your own emotional bucket with denial and a touch of dependence on the scale. If you don’t talk about your weight, then that might make it okay, even if it really isn’t. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Before BTHR, I used to hold my number really close to the vest, too. I lied on my driver’s license because I was afraid of what people would think of me who saw my I.D. with my “real” weight on it. I was afraid people would love and respect me less if they knew the truth of my weight—even the total stranger checking my I.D. at the liquor store. And that fear gave so much power to the number on the scale.
But a crazy thing happened. I decided to “come clean” here and, guess what, the people I love and respect and care for didn’t even bat an eyelash. They didn’t care. It didn’t matter. Knowing the number that quantified my bigness didn’t change how they felt about me. It wasn’t like they found out I was 200+ pounds and were suddenly like, “Wow, I never realized you were fat before, but now that you mention it…you are. YOU ARE TOTALLY FAT. I don’t like you anymore.” Nothing changed. My husband still loved me (although, he knew the number way before y’all did). My family still loved me. My co-workers still respected me. My readers kept reading (hi, guys!). The person at the liquor store didn’t even seem to mind that I was so chub-tastic.
While there were no changes with the folks I loved, it did create some changes within me. Releasing that number into the wild returned the balance of power solely into my hands. By broadcasting what I weighed to everyone, suddenly that number was just that—a number—and nothing more. My weight was no longer my dirty little secret. It was no longer something to be ashamed of. It was no longer an embarrassing trophy of my fall from grace. It was just what it is—a number that had little impact on my life, my relationships or my health. My weight was suddenly totally powerless in the battle to control my emotions. By letting everyone know what my number was, I simultaneously stripped away all the self-imposed negative and positive connotations of that number.
I know going public isn’t right for everyone. And I’m not saying you need to wear a t-shirt with your weight printed on it. But I do think everyone could use a dose of reflection to figure out why they are holding their number so tightly inside. True, it could be that you like to keep your weight to yourself just because you’re a private person. But then again, it could be something else. Is it because you are ashamed? Is it because you are embarrassed? Is it because you’re afraid someone will judge you? For me, all of those fears were erased the moment I published my weight for the world to see. And now, there is no fear when I step on the scale at the doctor’s office or show my driver’s license. Try it, you might like having a powerless number pop up on that scale in the morning.
What do you think? Do you share your weight openly? Do you think by hiding the number on the scale we’re giving our weight power over us? Do you think I’m insane? Do you think I need to stop thinking during Bikram?
Considering we’re two weeks into my promise to go without sweeteners during Lent, I thought it was about time I give you guys an update on my challenge. To refresh your memory: I’ve been feeling pretty attached to sugar for a while now, and in recent months, my need for sugar has gotten to, what I consider to be, an unhealthy point. I figured now would be a great time to try to wipe my sugar-slate clean, go cold turkey and figure out how (and even, if) I can live my life without sweetening everything. I cut out sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, artificial sweeteners—basically anything I’d use with the sole purpose of sweetening food.
I have to admit, I’m absolutely dumfounded by how easy this whole thing has been. Of course, there have been a few moments where I really, really wanted something sweet (more specifically: a fudgy brownie), but overall, the sugar cravings have been really minuscule. Dare I say…I haven’t even missed sugar, really.
I think what’s making this such an easy transition for me is that I’ve allowed myself to have sweet foods, just not sweetened foods. Almost everyday, I’ve had a Medjool date for dessert after lunch. Nature’s candy! No added sweeteners, but definitely sweet enough to satisfy the craving for dessert. And I’ve been using banana, blueberries and other fruits to help up the sweetness of foods like yogurt, smoothies and cereal.
It’s amazing how sweet unsweetened foods taste when your tastebuds aren’t overloaded by manufactured sweetness. I can now taste sweetness is everything and anything! Before, if it didn’t have a full cup of brown sugar or honey in it, it probably wasn’t sweet enough for me. But now, I can taste how sweet grapefruit are and how sweet tomatoes are. In two weeks, I’ve managed to re-sensitize my sweet taste buds. That’s awesome!
The fact that we’ve been making our own maple syrup in our kitchen for the last two weeks and I haven’t tasted a single drop should give you an idea of how not tempted I am. I haven’t even licked it off my fingers. Nothing. Although, I hear it’s super delicious. And I can’t wait to have a big stack of pancakes on Easter morning! It’s actually probably a really good thing that I’m off sugar during sugaring season, because if not, I probably would have gained 15 pounds drinking syrup straight out of the bottle. I might have to go sugar-free every February just so you don’t find me huddled in the corner of the kitchen with a growler of syrup and a straw.
As great as this whole challenge has been going, I do have to fess up to one thing though. There is one area I’ve been fudging my no-sweetener rule—bread. We’ve been baking our own bread for years, and all of our tried-and-true recipes use a small amount of sugar to help activate the yeast (I’m talking one tablespoon of honey for a whole loaf). I did a little bit of research about baking yeast breads without the added sugar, and most folks say that, yes, you can do it, but it requires other additives (like special kind of yeast or vital wheat gluten). I’m not interested in buying special stuff just to make bread, so I decided that I was going to stick with our standard recipes and keep the small amount of added sweeteners. I’m okay with it because I feel like I’m still honoring the spirit of my challenge (not to sweeten something), but with bread, the actual chemistry of the baking needs the sugar to do its thang.
Other than the bread thing, I have been pretty strict with my consumption of sweeteners. Every now and again, I’ll realize that something I used had sugar in it (like the pizza sauce we used on our pizza this week), but I try not to get upset about because it’s a mistake to learn from—next time I’ll make my own pizza sauce sans the sugar! But I’ve definitely become an ingredient list hound. You’d be amazed at the foods that have added sugar in them. Salsa! Crackers! Cereal! Juice! Dried fruit! No wonder, as a whole, our society’s tastebuds are conditioned for over-sweet foods. How can they not be with it being present in everything? Whole, unprocessed foods, are where it’s at.
I’m so happy I’m doing this challenge for Lent. I think, if nothing else, it’s really taught me that my sugar addiction is almost entirely in this twisted little brain of mine and not a physical addiction (although, I know for some folks, it is). Once my brain got on board with the no-sugar thing, my body followed suit immediately and I’ve been successful. It’s amazing what the right mindset can do!
How is your lent promise going? Anyone else who gave up sugar having an easy go of it like I am?
For those of you that have been kicking around here for a while, you know that for the longest time, we had pizza every, single Friday night. It was tradition for us! When both Craig and I were working full-time, it was a great way to celebrate the upcoming fun of the weekend. But then our schedules got crazy. I started working from home some days and then I started working only four days a week and then, for the past few weeks, we’ve not been going to work at all. So our standing pizza night has kinda fallen by the wayside. Weeks will go by and one of us will say, “Oh wait, we haven’t had pizza in a while!” Craig started his new job this week, and I’m hoping we eventually get back into a more set schedule, and with that, a standing pizza night! But for now here’s our eats from Monday, pizza included. Pizza was delicious (as always) but it just isn’t a Monday night kind of food, is it?
- I started off the morning with a mug of Blueberry Green tea. It’s quickly overtaking Jasmine Green to become my favorite green tea. The blueberries add so much sweetness to it! I love it.
- Breakfast was an egg, sausage patties and goat cheese on a homemade bun. On the side, I had half a grapefruit and a glass of milk
- In the morning, I snacked on a hard-boiled egg, some veggies, a clementine and two peanut butter cookie date balls.
- Lunch and afternoon snack were rolled into this big honkin’ smoothie. In the mix: frozen bananas, plain whole-milk kefir, frozen strawberries, unsweetened protein powder, chia seeds and ground flax. I managed to freeze my bananas at the perfect ripeness this week, so this smoothie was super yum!
- Pizza night! I did a beer crust with feta, red onions and pesto on top. Anyone else like to slice their pizzas into tiny slices? It always makes me feel like I’m eating more. I had these three little slices, plus a side salad of lettuce, spinach, red onions and sunflower seeds. There was also a small pour of beer that escaped being photographed. Annnnd, I definitely snagged another slim piece of pizza when I realized I was still hungry.
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten so far this week?
1. My grapefruit knife.
I’m not a big fan of kitchen unitaskers—those gadgets that just have one, crazy specific purpose and you only use once or twice a year. But this unitasker is my bestest friend. I love grapefruit, but I always hated how difficult it is to eat, but this two-sided grapefruit knife is the absolutely best. I’ve had lots of grapefruit tools in the past, and none of them work as well as this one. I got it from Crate and Barrel. Highly recommended. If you love grapefruit, it is totally worth the $6.
2. Candy Crush Saga.
Are you guys playing Candy Crush Saga? If not, you probably shouldn’t start because it is the most addicting game in the history of all games ever.
3. Sugaring season.
I’m going to write a whole post about this once sugaring season is done, but, guys, I am loving making maple syrup. It’s so much fun (well, everything except for hulking the 30 pound buckets of sap up the hill to the house). I haven’t even tasted the stuff yet because our first batch was finished the day after Ash Wednesday, and I’m still loving making it. And we’ve already made our money back. We spent about $50 on supplies and we’ve already made about $80 “worth” of maple syrup (according to Costco’s crazy cheap maple syrup jug prices). And our buckets, taps and covers will last for decades if we take care of them. Yay for cheap, hyper-local sweeteners!
4. $6 growlers.
We pick up our CSA at a local brewery on Wednesdays. We recently discovered that, on Wednesdays, the brewery has a special where they’ll fill your growlers for $6 a pop. That’s a steal. And delicious. I <3 beer. So on Wednesdays, we pick up our CSA, get a growler, and we’re pretty much set for the week.
We spotted the first dandelion of the season this past weekend. Spring is here, kids! Spring is here!