Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween = Winter?

Holy cats, batman! Who invited winter? 40 mph wind, snow flurries mixed with rain make for a pretty miserable Fright Night. Or maybe it's just perfect? Whatever. I don't like it. Moving on.

For the last week I've been feeling like I'm coming down with a cold. I immediately started in on the Zycam, green tea, and netti pot. I start to feel better, then a day or two later the scratchy throat and itchy ears are back. What gives? It's not miserable or anything, it's just annoying. The weather isn't helping. Hopefully it will be nicer outside and I can get a run outside tomorrow. It's almost 10pm and I have yet to get my workout in. P90X3 Yoga is on the books for tonight. I should do doubles, but think I'll save them for the weekend. Yoga is where it's at tonight. Maybe it will take away the tickle in my throat. Well, that and a glass of wine. It is Friday after all. And Halloween. 

What's your favorite Halloween indulgence? I'm more of an Easter candy person. Starburst Jelly Beans are my candy of choice. At Halloween I tend to enjoy a good Milk Dud or a Payday. Oh the Payday bar. Not a hugely popular one in the Halloween bucket but I love them. Those are the candy bars I'm snagging out of my kids' buckets. Except the don't trick or treat anymore. No one even buys them candy anymore. Just as well. I'd just eat it. 

My dad would buy Payday's and Twizzlers after Halloween and stick them in each tractor, grain truck, and the combine for us to snack on during harvest. Except by the time we actually ate them it was the next year's harvest and they were a tad stale. The positive about stale candy is you have to chew on it for a while to soften it up, therefore it lasts half of the afternoon instead of 5 seconds. Patience was key, otherwise someone is bound to lose part of a tooth. That's not a joke... It wasn't me, but someone did crack a tooth on a stale Twizzler one fall. Ahhhh, good times, good times. :)

What candy are you snagging from your kiddos tonight? Any good childhood memories of Trick-or-Treating when you were a kid? 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday- My Health Journey

This is almost a Transformation Tuesday but we're going with Throwback Thursday Transformation. See what I did there? Huh? Huh? ......

This is me and Coach at my cousin's wedding in September 2009. (Coach there... He's pretty hot stuff. Ow-oww!)

This isn't quite my rock bottom point, but really close. This is around 185 pounds. Mind you, I'm a tall girl. I'm 5'10" with broad shoulders. But 185 does not look good on this body. I can't blame a baby for this. That is just really bad habits and little activity. Just looking at this brings back a flood of emotion. I can tell you exactly how I felt in that dress that day. It wasn't a good feeling. It was the only thing nice enough for the wedding that fit me at the time- also not a good feeling. I never want to go back to that feeling ever again. Enter motivation and Beachbody. 

Fast forward to the Christmas when my aunt sent me this picture in a Christmas card. I saw it and wanted to crawl into a hole. I knew I had to change things, but nothing really changed until June when I decided to start running again. Running always seems to be my go-to when getting back into shape. I found Running Mate on iTunes podcasts and downloaded the 8 week program to help train myself to run a 5K. It was painful. I couldn't run for long. It was awful but I knew I had to do it for myself. By the end of July I was running 3-4 miles a few times a week and walk-jogging 2 other days. Some days I used some old Firm tapes and DVD's I had. But I still wasn't dropping a ton of weight like I'd hoped to. I was disappointed. I was sure this would take care of things.  So I signed up for Weight Watchers. It was slow at first. I was totally hooked on treating myself each day so I wouldn't get burnt out by restricting foods I liked. Guess what? The weight wasn't really going anywhere. I was mixing up one of my favorite 2 point desserts one night (fat free cool-whip, sugar-free butterscotch pudding, a diced apple and a can of pineapple tidbits in juice) and it hit me. Duh, Alison. Just because you have points left, doesn't mean you have to use them for crap food! Everything in what I was mixing up was crap except for the apple and the pineapple. Why not just eat the apple? I started making smarter choices, adding in more vegetables and fruits, more lean meats, a handful of nuts or seeds- and it turns out I was eating more food. I mean, veggies were free- no points. It was perfect. I started to see some progress when I realized this. Ironically, this is the exact time Beachbody entered the timeline as well.

I ran my first 5K in September, then another in October. I started Chalene Extreme in November (because I was terrified of P90X), then started P90X the end of January. Two of my friends had been using P90X for quite a while and I was impressed with their results, but they were both fit when they started. I didn't think there was any way I was going to be able to do it too. When I added the weights the fat & weight fell off of me. I'm not even kidding. I was going to weigh-ins and dropping 3-4 pounds a week for 6 weeks straight. By May I had lost 30 pounds! Then I started going to fewer and fewer meetings. It was working so why did I need to go? I had minor surgery in mid May and had to take a month off from my intense workouts- walking and some lower body only. I started a new job that June as well and was working 8-5 most days and eating take out for lunch instead of packing. I fired up the p90 again in July. I got busier with work and kids and life and put on 5 pounds by October. I was ok with it but started back in at meetings for the accountability. I really liked the people in my group. I missed those relationships. That's also when they changed the points system. Suddenly vegetables were worth points. And my beloved fruit was worth even more points. But I could eat a ton of the crap processed foods and spend precious few points. That's when I canceled my membership. I couldn't buy into the fact that non-food was considered good for me.

Fast forward to this past May when I decided to bite the bullet and sign up to be a Beachbody coach. 
I was in a clean eating challenge group with Adie Smith from The Four Fit Sisters. I felt good.  Really good. When Adie asked if I would be interested in becoming a coach I was nervous but something told me I HAD to do this! I mean, when you look at my stats they're not bad.  I've kept 20 pounds off with the help of Beachbody programs and eating well!  Why not share this with others! I'm a teacher, and inspirer. I love to share what I know with others. That's why I love this coaching thing so much.  I love the products; I use Shakeology and the workout programs every single day. It seemed completely logical to share these amazing things with others so they can have results like I've had along the way.

Life happens, folks. I have worked really hard at staying active. In the last year I've run a half marathon. I started a round of p90X3 and got through the first two cycles (and quit), then started PiYo and did 30 days. Now I'm back to my P90X3. (progress, not perfection).  I'm stronger than I was three weeks ago.  I'm not where I want to be yet but I'm much closer than when I started this journey. I will always be a work in progress. I have to remind myself it's not about perfection, or perceived perfection.  I know that eating well and moving makes me feel so much better than eating crap and sitting around. Now I'm driven to find the truth in what fuels my body and keeps me feeling my very best each and every day. It's about progress. Stick with it, folks. It's worth it.  

I'm still taking people in my next challenge group. Will you join me in eating clean and getting rid of the added sugar? Click here or leave a message below for more details. Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Tuesday

Irving Berlin's White Christmas is one of my most favorite movies of all time. Bing Crosby's character, Bob, is a very business minded fellow, always looking for the "angle" or agenda in situations to make the most of the performance or situation. Bob has a classic line early in the film saying to Betty Haynes, "Come now, Miss Haynes, everybody's got a little larceny in them".

In my "regular" life I'm a high school teacher for kids with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities.  My role is referred to as "Functional Life Skills" class. It's a great job because I get to teach them cooking, cleaning, personal care, budgeting, and all of the stuff our "regular" kids don't get because they are busy learning academic stuff they will need for college and careers. The state and federal government has done their part in making my students accountable for being "college and career ready" now as well. Whatever that means for them. I'm dealing with various levels of reading and comprehension, sensory, and texture issues. Oh, and the almighty budget of course (womb-womp).

As health conscious as I am, coupled with all of my students having cooking basic recipes/following simple directions goals in their IEP's, how do I also teach them proper nutrition without it being like I'm preaching my stuff to them? It seems unethical for me to push my agenda? I have an ethical problem with teaching my kiddos to prepare Easy Mac or Hamburger Helper for the sake of meeting a goal. Their goal is to be able to cook for themselves independently after high school. The best things I have for them to meet this goal is pre-packaged, high carb, high sugar, crap food. Thank the good Lord above I have a lot of flexibility in my job because Mrs. Reinholt is about to get real all up in Life Skills menu planning. Now, because I have to use the Easy Mac to assess, I will do one assessment with that. With that I will evaluate the cost, the ease of preparation, and the kids' success in completing the task.  I don't have to evaluate whether or not they actually like that food, just if they can do it in dependently with few prompts. Again, I fail to see the worth of that activity. They should be learning things they like! Things they will continue to do after school, right? I believe there should be a connection, something meaningful there in the assessment, not just assessing for the sake of assessment. Oh the wonders of politics in public education.

Anyone have any ideas of cleaner recipes that I can buy ingredients in bulk yet prepare individually? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to share any resources I may have as well.

On to today's Tasty Tuesday Recipe: Overnight Chia Pudding

1/3 cup chia seeds
1 13.5oz can coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Fruit or berries of choice (save for when you serve)

Mix chia seeds, milk, and vanilla in a pint jar or an airtight bowl. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Place in refrigerator overnight. The seeds will soak up the milk and expand slightly. It's pretty thick when it comes out of the fridge, so if you prefer a runnier consistency, you can substitute almond milk beverage for half of the canned coconut milk. Add the Fruit or berries of your choice (I had thawed peaches left from a smoothie) and enjoy.  The jar of completed pudding is 2 servings. It's pretty filling. I don't care for any additional sweetening, but you can sweeten with honey to your taste. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thoughts on Food and Wellness

Fall break is wrapping up here in our area. I can't say it's been terribly productive, but it has been restful. Much needed quality time with my kiddos and for myself. One of my main goals was to research nutrition. I've written about my intolerance of dairy and gluten, as well as my past unhealthy relationship with food. I know I need to reign in my eating habits and take my health more seriously. The pounds just don't come off as easily as they used to and the changes in where I'm squishy bother me.  So I queued up some of my tried and true go-to resources to look at different ideas and theories in attempt to put together my own plan. In addition to books, I watched Hungry for Change (available on Netflix) and Fed Up (available on iTunes for purchase or rental). Three commonalities in all of the media:
1) Sugar is toxic.
2) Vegetables are crucial for optimal health.
3) Processed foods should be avoided at all costs.

I don't subscribe to any one type of eating. I tend to agree with bits of many. I'm not vegetarian. I'm not all organic. I do believe in growing my own food. I don't believe GMO's are all terrible, however I do think we are straying too far away from our natural plant & animal ancestors. Bottom line: there is no such thing as truly organic produce. Unless you have the seeds or animal offspring of your great grandparent's, it's not truly organic. We've been crossing plant varieties and animals for particular features for a very long time (plants since the 1930's, animals for longer). Maybe it didn't happen in a lab, but it's all genetics, folks. Unfortunately, the way genetics is run today has caused a big problem with both food safety and quality.

There are so many things that stuck with me after viewing the two documentaries. We all know how we should eat. We try and we fail time and time again. It's so easy to say vegetables and fruits should make up most of our daily calories. It's easy to say I'm going to drink only water all day. Then at 2 o'clock you can hardly keep your eyes open, your head is throbbing, and you reach for the sugar-laden treat or drink for respite from the demonic sugar withdrawal.

Truth is food companies don't want us to eat healthy. They say all the right things about helping American's become healthy- slap a label on a package of processed chemicals and make it look healthy- TO SELL PRODUCTS. These mega-food companies control our FDA. They convince the government agencies to remove things from reports that have exposed truths about sugar in our diet. Then they stand behind the farmers and say the farmers will suffer if we remove the (insert commodity here). Farmers will be put out of business if high fructose corn syrup is removed from foods. I have a message for them: DO NOT stand behind and push me under the bus because of Your special interests. Bullshit. The farmer doesn't have the time or money to fund this stuff. This propaganda comes straight from the corporate side of agriculture and it infuriates me! I'll save my rant on corporate agriculture for another time. 

Did you know?  

  •  There are over 600,000 products at the grocery store. 80% of them have added sugar. 
  • There are 56 different names for sugar.  It's in things and we don't even know.
  • Cocaine addicted rats were given the choice between sugar and cocaine over a 15 day period. 40 of the 43 chose the sugar. 
  • Low fat items have as much, if not more sugar than their full fat counterparts. Low fat products usually taste awful. To make them taste better, they add sugar. The sugar makes you crave more food. Vicious circle. 
  • Food labels must include sugar content-- in grams only. Do you know how much a gram of sugar is? It's around a fifth of a teaspoon. Manufacturers don't list sugar as a Recommended Daily % because they don't have to and because most processed foods exceed your RD% in ONE SERVING. Our recommended daily % is 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams. 
  • There were NO diagnosed cases of juvenile type 2 diabetes in 1980. In 2010, there were over 57,000 diagnosed cases of juvenile type 2 diabetes. Correlation? The fat free movement in the 80's and 90's introduced low or no fat, prepackaged, processed foods. 

I realize there are other sociological factors at work here, but the sickening truth of the matter is slick marketing taught us to think healthy needs to be cheap and easy. As long as it tastes good we keep coming back for more, more, more. We can't help it. The physiological effect of sugar on our bodies makes our brains think we are still hungry. The sugar feeds the receptors in our brain like a junkie on drugs, fueling our need for more as our insulin levels drop. We have to kick the sugar or we are all in for a very large economic and healthcare crisis like we've never seen. It seems simple, but it's incredibly difficult. Sugar is addictive. Sugar is a drug. We are junkies created by corporate agriculture. 

I encourage you to watch either of these movies. This information has made me question everything I thought I knew about nutrition and wellness. In looking over what I have learned I'm pledging to take the challenge and go 10 days without added sugar. I'm hosting a 10 day accountability group. As part of this group you will receive recipes, tips, and inspiration in a judgement free zone. It's not going to be easy, but I promise to make it as fun as possible. Click the link below to get more information on how to ditch the sugar.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thrifty Thursday

Sadly, I have not started any projects this fall break. My eye is on a wall space I never quite know what to do with. I hang things on it. There's a light switch and a (broken) doorbell box to work around. I have ideas. I think a trip to a nice thrift shop will get the job complete, sans the few things I may need to pick up a the craft store. I've already purchased spray paint in 3 colors and 2 finishes; White satin, burgundy satin, and tan/beige glossy. My wall is a yellowish color that I should probably repaint before attempting this project but if I pain that wall then I have to repaint the entryway. You get the picture.

Here's what I have to work with.

Here are some of my Pinspirations, if you will. Now, I realize my wall is narrow. I have some other wall space I'm thinking I can try the window thing on. It's pretty cool. I like the different sized and colored frames. I will incorporate an R into the design. My worry is the boys knocking things off the wall since it's a busy place we go through often. The deer head is a favorite of my oldest son. We're saving that for his room.  No taxidermy (even fake taxidermy) in my kitchen thankyouverymuch.  

Any advice or ideas? Scrap it because it won't get finished this week and all hail breaks loose with basketball season in 2 weeks? Let me hear it. Any fall projects going on at your house? 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Willpower Schmillpower

Hi all. Happy Wednesday! As I grumbled and whined my way through yesterday I finally decided to say Eff it. I'm done being pissy and whiney about having to take these classes.  Yes, it's a pain. Yes, it's expensive (both time and financial). No, I don't want to do it. But I have to. Here's the crazy thing.  I LOVE to learn. I spend weekends and free time reading and researching things. It's what I do. So why am I so bothered by taking this class? Probably because it wasn't my idea. Well suck it up buttercup. No one cares that I'm pissed about this.  Done. Moving on.


One of the things I don't mind about going to class is having time to listen to my podcasts again. There is 120 minutes of time to fill with lovely sounds or instruction. I found a good one a few weeks ago that talked about going gluten free vs just eating good, clean foods. This is important because I really feel the gluten free thing is getting out of hand. Food companies have gone with this like a grass fire. There are all kinds of processed foods labeled "Gluten Free" these days. It doesn't mean they are good for you at all. They are still processed. They are still full of sugar and unpronouncable ingredients. 

Here's the thing. If you want to be really healthy eat good food. Eat things that grow from in ground or had a mother. It's that simple. Anything that has come from the earth is good for you. No one ever got fat from eating too many beets or peaches. My challenge for myself and all of you who read and follow me is this: eat as much REAL food as possible. Give up the processed stuff for a week. Tell me how you feel at the end of the week. I promise it will make a difference.

Addition: I completely spaced the podcast name and the person who talked about the "read foods". The podcast was Chalene Johnson's The Chalene Show from October 9 featuring Natalie Jill. You can read more of Natalie Jill's thoughts on gluten free living at

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tasty Tuesday Leftover Style

It's Tasty Tuesday here at the Milkhouse Door, ya'll! It's also fall break, though I don't feel like we've had a moment to actually take a break. Shouldn't it be illegal to have this much to do during a vacation? I think so. This darn college class I'm in is killing me. I can't believe all of the work I have to do. What the heck?!

Fall break for me started with fall hair color. Probably should have put on some makeup that day, but whatever. The hair is looking great thanks to my awesome color specialist and stylist, Hollie.  Thanks, my dear! Having my hairs did took all of the displeasure from getting my teeth cleaned that afternoon. 

Doesn't everyone take a selfie from the parking lot after getting hairs did?  :)
 From hair, to dentist, and on to team dinner prep for J's cross country team.  They ran in our Regional state tournament and placed 4th! We have 2 girls who also qualified individually as well.  Let's go Zebra Runners! Two of the other freshman parents and I had the team dinner. What's better for a bunch of 14 to 18 year old runners with the metabolism of Superman on speed? Spaghetti and meatballs of course! Carb load with some protein. My job was to make the meatballs. Ordinarily for an event like this I would have bough pre made frozen meatballs from GFS or something but J gave me an ultimatum. I'm a sucker for feeding my kiddos real food so it didn't take much for me to cave on homemade meatballs.  10 pounds of delicious grass-fed beef right there in that bowl. They were a huge hit! The leftovers went into the other 2 parent's freezers and I took some home too, which leads me to the Tasty recipe this week.

That's a lot of meat (insert crude joke here)

Saturday was rainy and cool. Honestly it was perfect for running, minus the annoying drizzle that started just in time for the races. We were damp but not soaked by the time we left and we were so thankful they ran just 15 miles away from home. We aren't so lucky with Semi-State this weekend which is over an hour away.

Needless to say, by Saturday afternoon everyone had their fill of spaghetti. I had several things left over from the week and had a brainstorm.  I had 3 cups of beef broth left from a gallon I had to thaw for another dish earlier in the week. Half of a spaghetti squash, about a cup of fresh green beans, a large sweet potato, and all the meatballs. I put all of this in a medium stock pot along with a jar of canned whole tomatoes and a bag of frozen vegetable soup veggies (carrots, peas, corn, okra), some salt and pepper, some onion and garlic powder and simmer about 20 minutes. Boom. Done. Leftovers gone. The kids were so cold and miserable from the rain they ate it without realizing there was spaghetti squash in it. Sneaky, mom. I fully believe in a don't ask, don't tell policy with vegetables: if they don't ask, I don't tell ;)


Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Motivation


Happy Monday, everyone! I found this on Pinterest this morning and thought it was a perfect Monday motivator. It's from the Free People Blog.  I haven't visited it before and wow, have I been missing out!  Some really great stuff there. It really makes me wish I knew more about graphic arts.  Someday maybe... 

Two of the most beautiful words in a teacher's vernacular are Fall Break.  My school follows a balanced calendar.  We essentially go 9 weeks on and 2 weeks off.  Fall is slightly different, attending 10 weeks and having 7 school days off so we can still get out by Memorial Day in May and have a few built in snow days in case the weather is nasty again this year. Since we have been on the go pretty much since mid-August, J is still running cross country (yay!), and basketball season is right around the corner (T starts this week), I was so important for me to get our calendars coordinated.  This includes my workout calendar.  Did you know when you schedule your workouts you're more likely to complete them? I was excited to see that I timed my P90X3 restart perfectly to carry me into the new year.  I'm done the first week of January.  Perfect! My goal of abs by Christmas is in reach! I'm pumped! 

Goal setting is so important.  Do you have a health or fitness goal before the holidays? 
Can I help you?  Email me at for more info. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Ramblings

Sums up life pretty well, don't you think? We only get on go around. Why not make it as fantastic and as stylish as possible!  Until tomorrow, friends. Enjoy your Sunday. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday

It's Tasty Tuesday everyone! This may be a little silly of me to start, as I normally have class on Tuesday nights but hey. Whatever. This week is online so I'm celebrating by procrastinating. #obvi
Tonight's dinner was a bit time consuming but so tasty, hence the inspiration of the post.  Baked Chicken Piccata and roasted Brussels Sprouts.  Both of these are two of my favorites. The chicken isn't the same, minus the full fat butter sauce with white wine, but good nonetheless.  It was even dairy and gluten free. #win

For the chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 jar marinated capers, drained
1 cup chicken broth
juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1/3 cup)
olive oil
coconut flour
salt & pepper
parsley (fresh chopped or dried)

Warning: My grandmother taught me to cook so I'm the worst at actually measuring things.  I'm one of those just throw in the amount that looks right kind of cook. My measurements for this recipe are approximate because I usually just add to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pound chicken thin between two pieces of plastic wrap.  The thinner, the quicker they cook. I also cut each breast in half because they are pretty big if you don't. Place a cup of coconut flour in a shallow pan or plate and add some salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken breasts in the coconut flour mixture and place in a greased (I used coconut oil) 13x9 baking dish. bake 10 minutes and flip, then bake another 10 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, take the 4 Tbsp of olive oil and heat in a deep skillet. Add the leftover flour mixture to the oil (no more than 1-2 Tbsp). This will help the sauce thicken.  Add the lemon juice, parsley, capers, and broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a fork or a whisk.  It will be a thin sauce, but tasty. Turn down heat to low and simmer until the chicken comes out of the oven.

When chicken comes out of the oven, add to the sauce and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through. This should take about 5-10 minutes. Feel free to bake thoroughly and add sauce later.

For the Sprouts:
Skillet or saute pan
4 Tbsp Olive oil
1 bunch brussels sprouts, washed, stemmed, and cut in half
Lemon Juice (1 fresh squeezed lemon)
Red pepper flakes

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet/sauté pan over med-high heat. Place halved brussels sprouts in pan and coat in oil, turing constantly. The goal is to get the nice, crunchy outside and just soft inside.  I turn the heat down to med-low and put a lid on them for about 5 minutes to get some steam going. You will want to watch them to be sure they don't stick. Remove from heat when cooked to desired doneness.

In a large bowl, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice from one lemon, salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.  I like mine a little on the hot side so I add close to 2 Tbsp. I also crush them a little bit in between my fingers as I add them to the mix to release some of the oils and heat in the flakes. Whisk it all together and add the brussels sprouts and toss.

Just because I didn't add the wine to the sauce doesn't mean I won't enjoy a nice glass of white wine with this dinner.  It is a very nice compliment.  Yes, there are a lot of dishes involved. It's not a super quick dinner.  I imagine you could combine some things and try it all in the oven together.  I like that crisp faux-fried texture that baking gives the chicken before placing it in the sauce.

So what's for dinner at your house? Do you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see on Tasty Tuesday? Leave me some love below.  Here's to your Tuesday being Tasty!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Plateaus, Ruts, & Wake Up Calls

I'm going on month 5 of this Beachbody Coach thing. I still love it as much now as I did when I started this spring. Try as I may to keep up with everything when school started again in August, I definitely fell off the wagon so to speak.  I'm feeling a renewed spirit lately.  My workouts have been steady but I've fell into a huge rut.  The weight and inches aren't falling away like I feel they should be at this stage of the fitness game. Last week I threw out my latest challenge.  It's a No excuses, free accountability group. I sat down with my team podcasts and buckled down. I researched my nutrition plan.  Spreadsheets were compiled. Workout calendars written into the schedule. When you take the time to schedule your workouts you're more likely to followthrough with them. Makes sense, right? 

I love that every day is a new day to start again. In fact, each meal, each hour, each minute of the day is a perfect time to start over. Today is day 1. Again.  Haven't I been here before? So much of life is attitude.  Yes, I spent a good portion of last week moping and feeling sorry for myself. Poor me. I'm not good enough.  Well suck it up, sister. (It did feel good to write about it and do the whole ugly cry run- not gonna lie). When I mapped out my food for the day in a color coded spreadsheet something clicked.  Turns out I've totally been ignoring the food department. I'm such a visual person. I'm not sure why I didn't think of this sooner. Other than it took me a few hours to get it all compiled. There's that part. When I think of all of the time I spend preparing healthy meals for my family this seems pretty small in comparison. This little spreadsheet will last as long as I need it to last.  I can tweak it as needed. Well, hello world! I've been spending all this time working on meals while ignoring the portion control. Turns out even healthy eating will keep you from hitting your goals. Yes, yes, and yes. #facepalm

My other issue: not hydrating well enough.  I'm on my feet I don't carry a water bottle around with me all day. It sits on my desk and looks pretty. I should carry it with me. In all honesty, all I need to do is walk over to my desk and take a drink. Not difficult. Honestly, I like water.  I don't mind drinking it. I just don't. And boy do I feel horrible when I neglect my hydration! When I have my water for the day I feel happier, perform better, and just feel better in general.  Seems too simple but it's true. Again, duh.

So here we go. It's time to start again. What do you struggle with most?  How can I help you?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

An Open Letter To My Younger Self

Yesterday's workout; the cathartic run. You know, that run where your mind a tumultuous sea of emotion crashing along the edges of sanity.  That run where you have to stop and cry after the incessant pounding of the emotional waves breaks you down and the brain stops processing rationally.  Yep.  That run.  My boys all think I'm crazy.  They have no idea what I'm talking about when I describe that run.  They just go run and, well, run.  No emotion.  No tears.  Note to self...

There are days I look at my boys and swear I'm looking back in time at myself. Then there are the days  feel I'm looking straight at myself in the mirror. #Yikes  I've worked incredibly hard to overcome the demons of self-doubt and not subject my kids to the time sucking fear and worry I felt as a pre-teen and teen (and sometimes now). Yet here I stand staring those demons in their ugly green eyes through the faces of my children. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to play into the hands of the devil and his ugly games of self-doubt. Those struggles have made me who I am, much stronger in many ways, though those feelings of self-doubt and loathing creep in from time to time to knock me off my positive position. Perhaps to keep me humble. If I could send my 11 and 14 year old self a letter back in time it would go something like this. 

Dear Alison, 

You are amazing.  
You are kind. 
You are brilliant. 
You are compassionate. 
You are helpful. 
You are a hard worker.
You are creative.  
You are incredibly passionate about things you believe in. 
Do not sell yourself short of your abilities. 

One person's opinion does Not define you. It only defines that person. We all know that person is not who s/he tries to make everyone believe s/he is. Eleanore Roosevelt said it best, "No one makes you feel inferior without your consent."  Believe that with all your heart. 

You will be good at math. You will actually come to enjoy math and its linear patterns of thinking. Take Physics even though it scares you to death. Don't let one class keep you from academic honors. Take Accounting. Spreadsheets will be your friends, not that you know what spreadsheets are yet, as Microsoft is just in it's infancy. You will understand later. It will pay off. 

You are inquisitive. Do not be afraid to ask questions and feed the desire to always learn more. Despite what one person may have told you no question is ever silly or unreasonable. Don't be embarrassed by his/her comments just because that person was trying to save face when s/he didn't know the answer either. No question is silly or stupid. You are not stupid for asking questions. Don't let that person make you feel stupid when s/he is really the one who looks like the fool.

Sometimes we just need to let things happen. There's a reason.  Just go with it and make the best of the situation. Trust me.  A lot of times it turns out better than you expected. 

Hard work is the answer. Always give your best effort even when it's hard. Don't give up just because you think you won't do well.  Guess what happens when you think you won't do well: you won't do well. Have faith. Prepare. Work hard. It pays off. 

Meet new people. Talking to new people is fun. Don't be annoyed by your dad who never knows a stranger. It's a great quality and will bring wonderful people into your life and take you places you never expected. 

Take the road less traveled. Literally and figuratively. Yes, your dad does take a different way home. Yes it may take an hour longer. These times will be some of the most cherished memories you have. Sing the songs. Talk about life. Enjoy this time with him. And figuratively- taking the road less traveled leads to some really cool experiences. You will learn a lot about how things work. Practical knowledge is often the most valuable kind. 

Stay active. Believe you can be good at sports. Learn about the games you want to play. Study them. Work at them. The time on the field and courts will develop leadership qualities and friendships for life. Believe you can be good. Don't rely on the coaches. Learn for yourself. Sports and activity last longer than high school. Build the skills now for the time school isn't a part of your life and becomes optional. Don't let activity be optional. 

Learn to use food as fuel instead of fun and stress relief.  Food is not the enemy. You are already becoming aware of how certain foods affect your health. Don't use it as a punishment or reward. Save yourself the years of heartache and struggle for control. Trust me on this one. 

Don't settle. Go for the big dream. Pie in the sky. There are Absolutely NO Limits on what you can achieve. IU is reality. Now set the bar higher. Work harder in class. Work harder on the court and field. You can get there and do well. Don't give in due to fear. Go for more. You are worthy.

Learn how to manage your time. I know there's a lot going on. Tons of homework. Practices. Work in the fields on weekends and after school. Responsibilities at home. Learn how to use those pressures to manage time more wisely. It will pay off. 

Be a good friend. Listen. Have fun together. Cry together. Value that time. Stay in touch. Boyfriends shouldn't come between you. If they do, dump the boy. Your friend is probably right about him. Friendships are more important. Don't let friends walk all over you. Don't be afraid to say no when you're not ok with something. If they are really a friend they won't ask you to do something you're not comfortable with. Some friends are boys. Stay friends with them. Boys can be good friends too. Some girls get it. Others will get it later. Friendships change over time. It doesn't mean you can't call that person a friend. You never know when you may need each other again.  #dontbeajerk

Smile more. Smiling makes people wonder what you're up to. No one ever got mad at someone who smiled at them. Well, no one over the emotional age of 5 anyway. #lightenup

Embrace your Faith. Learn how to pray. Prayer isn't always in a church or lead by a teacher or any of the other things you learned in Catholic School. Prayer is deeply individual and is not a cookie cutter everyone-says-the-same-things-all-the-time kind of thing. Learn how to talk to God in your way. 

Learn forgiveness. There have been some pretty poor examples by people who were supposed to be leaders/teachers/clergy/experts/friends. Use them as examples of how to not live your life. Forgive them, but don't forget. You will be amazed at the weight lifted from your heart when you forgive them. Turn it over. It's life changing. 

Don't give up when things get difficult. The devil is trying to keep you from achieving your full potential. Giving up will only make things worse for you. Life is hard. Keep a positive attitude. Don't make it harder on yourself by giving in to temptation and taking the easy way out. You are more than that. Push through. Be mentally tough. You are capable. You are strong. Push through. It's probably not as bad as you think it is. You are worthy.

There will be more lessons.  These are some of the most valuable that help set the foundation for later years. Until then, take care of yourself. Stop beating yourself up. Stop thinking you're unworthy. You are so much more than you think you are. It's ok to be ok with you. Believe in You. You are worthy.

37 year old Alison