“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.

Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”

Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Spring Cleaning and our Big Sale!

The first weekend in May my church will host their annual benevolence rummage sale. Its a huge sale that brings in tons of folks from outlying areas, as well as those in close community to the church.

This sale is a great event, the best part being that 100% of all monies earned during the sale’s two-day run goes back out into the community in the form of charitable donations to struggling individuals. 

I love being a part of a work that has this kinda return attached to it. No big wigs or VIPS will be sucking up commissions after this event.  All workers are volunteers and all those who are helped by the sale are really in need.  This event is fueled by grass roots passion all the way, and I LOVE it, even though I am definitely not your average rummage sale lovin’ gal.

It’s this time of year when my mind turns to moving stuff out and thinning the fat that has been stored all winter, both literally and metaphorically.  Its in the spring that those in my family take a hard look at what they have and decide to re-purpose anything we’ve been storing that is too big, too small, not quite right, gently worn, never worn, unused, or worthy of re-gifting.

The church sale is the perfect place to make a difference with our abundance.

And the sale happens at the perfect time of year, when everyone is thinking “spring cleaning”.

As I’ve been thinking about the sale, I’ve also been ruminating on those things in my life that need pitching.  You know what I mean–attitudes, behaviors, habits and rationalizations that get in the way of a clean recovery from food addiction.  I thought it might be fun to make a list of those things I’m cleaning out of my head and life this spring, in order to move forward in my recovery.

I’ll be blogging about this more tomorrow.  Hope ya’ll come back then.

Oh, and by the way, I came across this graphic on pinterest the other day and saved it for posting later.  I love this, and wondered if one of my readers from the south could comment on the accuracy of this sign.

Is this true southern grammar?

Is this true southern grammar?

What are you getting rid of this spring?  When do you do your spring cleaning and what does that involve?

Overweight and Obesity Rates Soar

000 obesity

Catching up on my reading today, I came across this report on NBC news on-line about obesity and overweight rates that have soared since 1980 figures were recorded.

The line that caught my attention explained that from 1980 to 2013 overweight and obesity rates soared 28% for adults and a whopping 47% in children.

Our current interactions with food are killing us, but we Americans are not the only ones suffering from this obesity phenomenon. I was surprised to learn the Chinese are in second place behind the USA when dealing with the problem of oversized humanity. What is the answer? For some it is gastric bypass. For others, diet pills and excessive exercise. For still others, controlled eating.

Please give this article your attention and if you have any thoughts after reading it, I would love to hear them.

Are you concerned with the staggering number of Americans who are obese at this time in history? What do you think could turn this problem around for many, especially our children?

Stepping away from the ledge

000the edge

Have you every felt like this?

Like you were on the edge of some ledge and about to slide off?

I’ve felt that way before.

Sometimes with life in general.

Sometimes with specific and difficult components of life.

Thankfully, I don’t feel that way any more, because now I have a plan.

I have a program.

I have a strategy.

I have a way of developing my life through all its phases and stages now, especially through all the phases and stages of recovery from food addiction.

If you feel yourself moving closer to destruction with food, step away from the ledge and try some of the things I do.  Maybe you could…

1.  Begin a Food Diary or Food Reporting.  I know it sounds weird to report what you eat to another person or fellow sufferer, but it really helps me stay accountable and avoid those temptations I might otherwise indulge in–cuz ya know I’m gonna have to report that if I eat it.

2.  Join a Support Group.  I belong to a support group for people with eating problems that meets every Monday night. Unless it’s a snow day, a holiday, or I have out-of-town guests, I am at that meeting, sharing my successes with food addiction recovery and hearing how others are handling it. It helps to know I’m not alone.

3.  Do something different.  Over the last two years I have challenged myself to not only think outside the box, but act outside it too. That means I learned how to kayak, I went back to the shoe store 4 times to get a proper fitting walking shoe, and I called my podiatrist to make an appointment to have my orthotics resized and adjusted.  These are all things I would not have done without challenging myself to be brave and take care of me.  Try something different–it just might work for you.

4.  Pray.  Some people would probably say that I should have listed prayer first, because out of all the things I do to keep myself sane, prayer is probably the most important.  It’s true, it is, but I prayed about being morbidly obese for years, and nothing happened. It wasn’t until I pulled up my lil girl pants and did something about my addiction that things started to change for me.  I guess this point should be listed as praying, believe and DOING.  It’s the doing that get’s ‘er done!

5.  See a professional.  If you feel like you’ve come to the end of your rope, personally, relationally, or with your physical state of being, see someone about it.  You may need to have some blood work done, or you might need some meds.  Maybe you need an action plan, and some professional somewhere can help you with that.  Here’s the thing:  your best thinking and circumstances got you to the edge of that ledge, but you don’t have to stay there.  Break out. Back up.  Ask for help.  If you connected with someone who didn’t understand what you were going through the first time you sought help, try again.  Seek guidance and be thankful when it comes. There are some incredibly talented professionals out there, some of them with the same problems as you–some of them with the same loves.  Look for them. Find them. Utilize them. Join them in making YOU better.

We don’t have to live on the edge of a ledge, gritting our teeth and white-knuckling it through life every day.  Never again, I say!  There’s too much help out there to lose hope.  Change is possible–I believe!

When have you felt like you were stepping out onto a ledge?  What did you do to change things up and turn your life around?


Help, when there is no help

family picnic

I recently received an email from a friend who is preparing to spend an extended weekend with extended family.  She’s terrified.  Kary has been doing her level best to change the way she eats, recover from some food related illness, and get on board with a saner way of life.  I applaud her for all she’s done to redirect her eating efforts. I know how she feels about change.  It’s hard, for all of us, but it’s necessary and all the more so when bad health sneaks in and threatens to upend one’s life.

Kary’s most recent email discussed her feelings about preparing to spend time with people who not only don’t support her food choices, but can be emotionally draining.  As I said at the beginning of this post, change is hard, and it’s made harder still when you feel like you’re stuck in a situation where no one agrees with you, no one supports you, no one understands why you’ve rather eat better than take more medication (not to mention that everyone has an opinion that they are all too ready to express).  I know Kary can make it through this vacation with extended family, but I also know it won’t be easy.  I shared with her the two tricks I use to get through family parties, reunions, vacations, and other similar functions.  I really only have two tricks that I use, and most of the time they work.  If they don’t, I run in the other direction as soon as no one is looking. Oh, sure, call me a coward, but you don’t know my family.

Just kidding.  Most of my relatives are sane, and the rest are in wheel chairs, so hot pursuit is usually not a real threat.

I thought I might share my two, count them, two, tips for surviving the trauma of summer vacations with family here today. Are you ready?  Get a pencil and write these down.  They are, if I must say so myself, show stoppers.

My No. 1 tip for surviving a family vacation and not blowing your diet is this:  Drink, drink, drink lots of water.  I make sure that as I am milling around the picnic table or someone else’s parlor, I have a tall glass of ice water in my hands at all times.  When someone says something that I feel is disruptive to my spirit, I simply put glass to lips and sip, while shaking my head and furrowing my brow in a way that says to the other party, “Hmm, interesting idea.”  It’s not really a lie that I find what they are saying interesting.  I do find it interesting that someone I have not seen for five years would spend 30 minutes telling me first of all, “You look great, what are you doing, ” then quickly follow that up with any number of helpful suggestions for how I might lose fifty pounds.  I guess they don’t think about the fact that the weight they lost found its way back home to them.  Interesting, indeed.

My No. 2 tip for surviving a family vacation and not blowing my diet is to ask a lot of questions.  Between sips of ice water, and shaking my heads as I’m offered bits of info about how I ought to do this or that and I’d have better success, I ask leading questions:  How are the kids.  Did Kyle graduate, already?  Will he continue on with school?  What aspect of serving in Afghanistan did Sue like most?  You have five grandchildren now? Where are they living?  Do you see them often?  Tell me about them…

You get the picture–keep ’em talking about “their” stuff and you won’t have to explain your stuff.  It’s not a great game plan to pass along to anyone else, but it is what I do when I’m trapped by invited to join in on extended family vacations in the summer time.

Changing directions for a minute, I want to talk about changes with my food that have come about this summer.  Lately, I have been feeling good about the lack of white sugar and processed food I’ve eaten.  I can see that I am making progress, albeit slow, in altering my eating patterns away from foods that metabolize rapidly, like processed sugar and flours do.  I feel like the less processed foods and sugar I eat, the less I crave food in general, and sugars in particular.  Is that true of everyone who quits this stuff?

I feel like my diet is becoming boring, too, but in a good way.  Today, especially, I am feeling less chaotic and more like the fog of food obsession is lifting. I hate to say it is better for the long haul, because I’ve gotten here before and then been pulled back into the love/hate relationship I have with sugar.  I am hopeful, though, and that feels good to me.

I am drinking more coffee than I should, and I do use artificial sweeteners, so not great progress there, but progress.

I need to drink more water.  Doesn’t everyone?

I am also more aware of habits I’ve formed regarding food and eating establishments.  I now realize the draw there is for me to hang certain places, places where in the past I shoved food I loved into my pie hole as quickly as I could.  The aromas in these old haunts are, well, haunting.  Still, I am feeling more aware of the reasons why I found these places comforting in the past. That’s good news, because if I know how I got caught in the habit loop in the first place, I can formulate a plan for getting out.  Or at least that’s the theory I’m working with today.

I’m making a conscious effort to turn to savory foods more often now, instead of sweets.  I am also showing interest in researching recipes for savory dishes that I think I might like.

More and more I’m moving away from what got me sick in the first place, and replacing those substances with healthier fare.  I have more energy, less of a sense of chaos in my head, and a lighter feel all around because of these changes.

What are you doing this summer to protect your food plan and pursue healthy living?  I would love to hear about the changes you’ve made. Share away, my friend, share away…

Tossing My Cookies, I Mean Cabbage


cookie with shadesDo you ever worry about food at your house going to waste, or not being eaten by the time it begins to go bad, or lying around in the pantry long past the expiration date on the container? I do and I did for years. There is a decided difference in how I handle this problem today that is not at all how I handled it ten years ago, or even five years back.

I throw it away.

You heard me right. When food is expired or expiring in my house now, I throw it away. I don’t eat twice what I need, I don’t slightly fresh foods, and I don’t try to push food on others who don’t want it, don’t need it, or don’t like it.

Instead, I throw it away.

I give myself permission to throw it away, because I know that tossing it is healthier for me and my wallet than eating more.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about those old habits I had with expiring foods, before I got clean. It’s a wonder to me that I don’t still think the way I once did about them. Used to be I would say, “Oh, what a shame.  If I don’t eat that, it’s going to go to waste.”

Now I say, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” always making sure my back is to the trash can.

I’m not crazy, after all, just getting tough with food.

I like the decided change I’ve made with my eating, and I like the fact that I’m losing weight again.  I may have hit on the right combination for me to make my body respond as I need it too. I’m hopeful, anyway, and keeping my fingers crossed.  The last thing I want to do at this point (or ever again), is attempt to shove more food down my pie hole at a time when I am finally seeing some progress.

It has been five long months FIVE LONG MONTHS that I have been on this stupid plateau.  Time to change.  Time to toss!

I’m learning that while some foods will always spoil faster than I can eat them and therefore will go to waste, that’s no reason for my waist to expand [and my hips, and my flabby arms, and my thighs…].

This girl is tossing like a Olympiad, and finally seeing some results.  Viva La Garbonage–or however you say that in Spanish.  (I think you say it: basura, but I like Garbonage better.)

What’s that, you say, Mr. Pepper?  No, I won’t be eating you tonight. Say hello to Mr. Garbage Can.  He can’t wait to make your acquaintance!

Celebrations & Food


Friday night we had friends over for supper.  It was David’s birthday and we celebrated with veggie packed stuffed peppers in red, yellow, orange and green skins.  I loaded the peppers with scant ground beef, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, black beans, corn and brown rice, then sprinkled on a little extra sharp cheddar and let them slowly cook in the oven.  Oh my, what a flavor explosion in your mouth when those babies were done!  We served ‘em up with a fresh fruit platter, green peas David had grown in his own garden (even though he was the birthday boy, I insisted he bring some of the fruits of his labor and the PA soil), and some whole grain bread slices with real butter.  I did not eat the bread, but I did mow down on those peppers.  Who said you have to fill a pepper with starchy mush alone?  Our peppers tasted like they had sprouted legs only hours before and fairly danced out of the garden and onto our plates. 

We ended our birthday celebration with a little something sugary for David, a pineapple upside-down cake.  I had a small sliver of the confection and left the lion’s share for others.  My hubs had requested the PUD cake, after having a slice at someone else’s house recently. I hadn’t made one in a long, long time, but it turned out fine.  It definitely is something I would not make all the time, but for this special occasion, it was good.  We spent the time after dinner watching the drama in Boston, as the younger of two brothers lost his freedom forever, a result of peer pressure and a faulty morale compass.  I’m praying for his momma.  It’s never easy seeing your children in trouble.

This weekend was a cold one at our house, and a windy one too.  I keep thinking about starting a small garden this summer, but we are weeks away from anything like that at my homestead.  Burrr, it is still chilly, too chilly to put plants in the ground.

I often dabble with the idea of having my own garden.  I’ve tried growing veggies in planters on the patio, or in car tires filled with dirt. No luck. I do not have a green thumb.  I either overwater, or underwater them, or the rabbits and deer eat the green shoots.  When they do grow, I get puny veggies for my efforts.  I am again thinking about doing something, but I’m not sure why.  I love fresh veggies, but I hate pulling weeds and I know NOTHING about making any plant grow. 

Cut flowers are more my style, since they are already half dead when they come into my possession. 

Over the weekend I lost my food journal. I looked everywhere for it, but no luck.  Hence, I did not record my food this weekend. This morning I thought, “You couldn’t mark what you ate on a scrap piece of paper?” 

Honestly, it never occurred to me to do that.

I’m a little overwhelmed right now with personal stuff going on at home, so I’ll give myself a pass this time.  It never helps to harp on my food failures anyway, and I’ve promised to double record my food the rest of the week.  Not sure why, but it seemed the right thing to do. 

I am finding that I’m more honest with foods since I’ve been journaling.  And journaling seems to have awakened my mind to the different food types I incorporated into my diet a year ago, when I was trying hard to lose weight and cut out all that sugar due to a diabetes diagnosis.  I’ll be rebooting my food plan before the end of the month, inserting some of those other foods that worked to get me healthy, and changing around some things with the foods I’m eating now. 

I’m still working on my April goals, as follows:

     —Journal what you eat each day, each meal.

     —Exercise for 30 minutes, at least 3 times a week.

     —Eliminate carbs at dinner time, at least 3 times a week.

That last one is proving harder than I expected, but I keep re-committing myself to it. 

Today is the beginning of another week ripe with possibilities.  I’m excited, because I believe Change Is Possible!