New Year, New Me! (and all the other things we tell ourselves)

Christmas got put away today, all the boxes loaded up and back to their spot in the garage for another year. It’s feeling fresh and clean in our space. The house is 99% uncpacked and is now home. The kids will be back to school and we’ll be in our full swing regular routine again. I love this refreshed feeling. Celebrations celebrated, visiting with family, meals prepared and savored….and now it’s quiet.

I admit it. I do love a new year. There is something about a fresh page turned in a journal, a new month, Monday, or another trip around the sun. I haven’t set resolutions for many years, but usually do a goal or two, and break it down into bite sized chunks so I don’t quit by January 5th.

I had two goals for 2019; read 30 books and walk/run 350 miles.

Hard to fathom 1000 miles on legs! Apparently I was on fire in 2016

I did not hit the goal I set for mileage on legs (walking or running) mostly because I would remember to wear my Garmin about 10 minutes after I left the house without it. (Insert eye roll here). I’m not disappointed though. I know I hit at least 300 and with all the walking with dogs we did over the last year – I’m happy with that. Not the ninja mode of years past, but did get in some biking and running in there while enjoying the California sunshine.

The reading goal I set was for 30 books. I have set reading goals in the past and barely got through half of what I’d set out to read or flat out didn’t record what I did read. I have an e-reader, love physical books and even Audible is fun once in a while.

This quote has stuck with me for a while and helps keep me motivated to read and continue to learn!

Other goals I’ve set in the past include not drinking, (but that’s more of an every day thing), weightloss goals, and arbitrary crap like “be a better person” with no plan of concretely putting it into action. I need concrete! Flippant wishes never get done. (The only area this doesn’t apply is cooking – I love not following recipes and flying by the seat of my pants in the kitchen!)

For this year, the mileage is set at 350, because it seems like a good do-able number, but enough to keep me foucused and off the couch. 40 books is the goal for reading. One more than I read last year – again, do-able but a challenge if I don’t stay on it. I’m also attending an online 12-step Recovery course. That’s sure to be scary and fun and all the other uncomfortable stuff. Lastly, I have a weightloss goal. Do-able, challenging, and necessary. The last 2 years were focused on health from the inside out; gettting a handle on depression/anxiety and getting my A1C numbers down out of the pre/diabetic ranges and lowering cholesterol. (Not to mention recuperating a dog post knee surgery.) Now it’s time to get back to a healthy weight again.

Here’s to 2020’s goals!

What are your plans and goals for the upcoming year? Any new things on the horizon?


My Job

It has been nearly 2.5 years since I made the decision to no longer eat anything with a face. I’ll gladly offer resources and information when requested, but am not out to convert others to become vegetarian or vegan. (I will never be accepted in the vegan camp becuase I still have a leather couch, etc. and will not throw it out, but I no longer seek leather goods or items made from animals.) This is what works for me. The whole thing is fascinating, honestly. I tend to geek out about things, diving into stuff headfirst then figure out the details, if needed, later. The benefits of eating whole-food, plant-based were just too compelling to ignore. That, coupled with the experience of doing it and seeing my how my own health markers were positively affected made it a no-brainer.

To some that know me in real life, it may come as a surprise, but I find it very hard to swim against the grain and do my own thing. Highly Sensitive INFJ personality types tend toward perfectionism. (You can determine your personality type here! ) In real life that might look like, “I’m only a good mom if everyone eats a nutritionally balanced meal and no one argues at the table.” (I’ll wait while you stop laughing and collect yourself.) The reality in our family is that the 4 of us are very food-incompatible; a daughter who eats and will try most anything, a son on the autism spectrum who has a very narrow window of foods, a husband who shies away from new tastes, but bravely tries to accommodate, and then me who lives on fruit, nuts and seeds, veggies, rice, beans and pasta. Going veggie was a natural progression for me, but it creates a bit more work to accommodate our family’s preferences. Good thing I love cooking!

I saw a quote recently that “our job is not to convince others to our way of thinking, but to find our own path so that others may find theirs”. This hit me harder than I expected. Is it in our nature (or perhaps just mine) to convince others – of anything and everything? If mellowing with age has taught me anything, it’s that none of my “stuff” really matters in the big scheme of things. Not my circus – not my monkey has become a common mantra. My job is simply to love those around me well, and do what I know is right for me.

Like eating meat, the decision to abstain from alcohol is not only against the grain, but at times isolating. Among military spouses, it’s the norm. It’s how you get through rough depoloyment seasons. It’s how you get through the parenthood olympics, or so we are messaged to believe. Its the one thing that to opt out of immediately begs the quesiton, “Why?!” To not drink is to be dieting, detoxing, Whole30ing, or pregnant.

A blog I read regularly, the author had a recent post entitled, The World Doesn’t Stop Drinking Just becuase I Did.” Always with the impeccable timing you crazy universe! Yet again I’m told to sit down, be quiet and work my program. In my enthusiastic, straight-into-the-deep-end-head-first-ness, I forget that my journey is just that – mine. If it helps others, great, but it’s not my job to do the convincing. My only job is to do the journeying.


I’m not a big fan of sticking a toe in the water. With most things, I’m a jump right in kind of gal. Over the years I’ve played around with various levels of vegetarianism, and was for a solid year shortly after high school. (Going to Mexico and seeing open air meat markets the summer after reading Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle really clinched it.)

Through my fitness journey, countless documentaries, Michael Pollan-type books and a love of cooking, I’ve played with the idea of once again returning to a whole foods plant-based diet. When I look at my dogs – and know the connection to them that we have – it’s not hard to make the leap that other animals have a similar capacity.

In addition to being animal-lover, a proponent of reducing our carbon footprint, embracing a plant based lifestyle can help us not only live longer, but thrive while doing so. I have long been skeptical of eliminating entire food groups, demonizing carbs etc. I will always come back to one question: Can what I am doing now be sustained when I am 90?  I definitely hope to still be eating my veggies and telling tales at 90!

I have found some great resources that will ensure vitamins and minerals needed will be obtained, such as this great app Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen:

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The other major factor(s) to consider are my minions and hubby. My husband is a meat eater. We both found our text exchange hilarious!

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My poor husband! (Luckily for him, deployment is on the horizon so he can eat whatever he wants.) What I adore about him (among many things) is his willingness to be supportive and try new things, even if it scares him. (And yep, adopting a veggie diet will be an adjustment for sure!)

My first experiment got the thumbs up from everyone, however! I tweaked a banana bread recipe and made it vegan and it ROCKED! Couldn’t even tell the difference!

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Super picky son said that it tasted different but I think he was pulling my leg because he totally ate it. Stinker! The kids are very low-meat eaters anyway, so it’s not a hard sell for them. It’s mostly the grown ups that have a learning curve to navigate.

Finally, with the pre-diabetes diagnosis last year, and struggling with depression – refocusing on diet and exercise seems like a step in the right direction!



It Wasn’t All That Long Ago

I have labeled my son a “picky eater”. Much like his father, he prefers to eat only a few different foods, is reluctant to try new things, and detests condiments, sauces or dressings of any kind.

While not all of this is necessarily bad, as a parent, I see other kids happily gobbling down anything placed in front of them, my other child included. As a baby, I would introduce a food, he would spit it out, refuse it, etc., and then I wouldn’t offer it again thinking he didn’t like it and okay, off we go to the next new food to try. What I didn’t realize but later learned is that kids, as well as adults, often have to be exposed to a food 10-12 times before they can really decide if they like it. Familiarity is key. (When I pointed this out to my husband – a couple of weeks later, I caught him eating a banana. He has sworn he HATES bananas due to texture, but was giving this familiarity thing a try!)

Let me just say that this whole process is so foreign to me. I am an eater. To the point that I once had over 50 lbs to lose. Seriously?! I know my way around a fork. I think that may be why it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my son just has a narrow window of tastes right now.

As a result of this beating my head against the wall, I decided earlier this year to just relax about it. I always tried not to watch and wait to see if he’d try something new, or pressure or punish. But I know he was able to feel my frustration with his “selectivity”.

After a couple of months of “relaxing” about food, I’ve noticed some things. FIrst, when I do put a meal on the table, there is always at least 2 things he will eat and likes, plus 1 new thing. He doesn’t have to eat it, but does have to sniff it, lick it, or bite it. If he doesn’t like it after that, okay. So far he has tasted brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli (4 WHOLE BITES!) and zucchini bread. He passed on the brussels sprouts (so did his sister), but we’ve made it a game of “try the new crazy food mom has made!” They laugh and we keep it light as we chomp, crunch and tear through the food!

And more importantly, I’ve been remembering how far we’ve come. While at a restaurant, I overheard a mom ordering a root beer for her preschooler. In my mind, my first thought was NO! A preschooler doesn’t need soda! But I had to stop myself and take stock…(you know the verse: that pesky one about the stick in someone’s eye, but you’ve got a log in your own, or that other one about glass houses….)

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I drank soda at least weekly.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I RARELY worked out.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I could eat obscene amounts of really unhealthy food.

It wasn’t all that long ago that it didn’t occur to me that not every meal has to be a feast.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I didn’t know I should be reading ingredients and nutritional information.

It wasn’t all that long ago…for so many things.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I began MY journey. My journey isn’t going to be like anyone else’s.


Here’s to me getting that log out of my eye, setting my rocks down, and grabbing some Windex to wipe down my shiny glass house!

For my kids…

As a part of losing 50lbs, my diet changed. I do not drink soda. I don’t drink juice. It’s water or milk and coffee with nonfat milk in the morning. I have had 2 glasses of wine (separate occasions) in 5 months. I didn’t finish either glass.

When it comes to the kids, however, I have been giving them watered down juice. I didn’t think much about it, but recently learned that it has nearly the same sugar content as soda! Yikes! It’s the same as giving them a soda. Ack! How did I not know this?

As a trainer I know always said – why do you feed your kids crap and you won’t eat it yourself?! Your kids deserve better! I knew this in my head but always used the excuse that my son is EXTREMELY picky. Insanely picky. He eats some fruits and would live on cheese pizza and a gallon of milk if I’d let him. For the 3 and half years of his little life I have struggled with food with him. Probably making all the mistakes that will make food a bigger issue than it needs to be. However, after a trip to the dentist – and a few cavities – it’s time to become a little hard core.

So here is what I’ve done:

*I dumped the sippy cups (it was over due anyway!) Both kids are drinking out of big kid cups. I have been cleaning up spills left and right (but how else do they learn, right?)

*I no longer buy juice. They don’t need it. Milk or water. Period.

*Food is for eating at the table ONLY. Ugh. I love sitting on the couch and grabbing a snack. This is the one I’ve had a hard time with but I’m REALLY tired of stepping in a mashed banana or some other nasty food that’s been there for who knows how long. (Gross, I know!)

*The short order cook has been replaced by a chef who doesn’t cook multiple meals. It’s my job to provide a healthy meal/snack – its their job to eat it. If they choose not to, then that’s their choice. I’m tired of the food battles. (Obviously, I make at least one or two things that I know he’ll eat and one “new food” to try.)

*One bite rule. You don’t have to like everything, but you do need to take one bite. One bite will not kill you!

*No More Fast food. This is a biggie. I don’t go to fast food joints anymore, but Daddy still likes to. While Dad is deployed he is cutting out soda entirely. (YAY!) And when he gets back – as a family we will not go anymore. There is nothing there that will nourish our bodies. When ever I do eat fast food, all I feel is lethargic and sleepy. And gross.

Too harsh? Well, after watching this:

It got me thinking about some of the things I need to work on. I do not want my kids to have those kinds of struggles. Or wait until they’ve spent a decade being overweight/obese to finally do something about it like I did.

We will see how it goes. In the midst of being hardcore and making some new rules, I’m trying to maintain my sense of humor and not “cry over spilled milk” – and since we got rid of the sippy cups, I get to practice that at least once a day! Ha!

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