Saturday, July 12, 2014

I love you sweet baby

Sugar. Oh how I love sugar. I enjoy it in my tea, desserts, cinnamon toast, and even my sweet potatoes. I love everything about sugar, except its impact on my health.

In an effort to improve my health, I decided to stop drinking soft drinks.  I initially decided to give up soft drinks because of all the harmful chemicals. This was not an easy decision. I used to drink Diet Coke all day. And anytime I went to a restaurant that only served Pepsi products, I’d have a couple of Mountain Dews. (To be perfectly honest, I didn’t exactly “give up” soft drink.  I noticed that I would have about one soft drink per month. And last month was very stressful at work and just plain exhausting; so I had one soft drink per day.)  After I stopped drinking soft drink to improve my health, I quickly noticed that I traded Diet Coke at zero calories for sweet tea which is full of calories. (Yes, I’ve tried unsweetened tea, and that is just nasty. I may not have a lot of Southern qualities, but how I drink sweet tea is the one Southern quality I have! And just a tip, South Carolina has the best sweet tea).It didn’t take long for the calories to add up.

A couple of months ago I noticed that I’ve gained about 10- 15 lbs since I got married 10 months ago. I started thinking and praying about what I can do to improve this. I can set goals, but I need to be honest with myself and really take into consideration what goals I can actually meet. A few years ago I lost 50+ pounds, but now my life is completely different and I need to adopt new habits to accommodate.
A couple of weeks ago, my head had a mild but persistent ache. I kept telling my headache to go away. Yes, I talk to my body. As my husband and I spoke on the phone during my lunch break, he suggested to me that I consider fasting as a way to get my body to listen to me.  He must have felt my hand give him the Gibb’s slap when I went silent. He quickly added that I don’t have to fast from all foods; just fast from something I really struggle with and this will train my body to listen to me.  I start training my body now with small stuff, and in time the body will listen to me when I tell it not to hurt.

As I thought about what he said, I was mentally arguing with him for about a week. For instance, I would remember his suggestion, and then I would reason with him as to why this would never work. I had convinced myself that fasting is just an overreaction. I had also convinced myself that I would fail. How can I give up chocolate for just a few days? How can I give up my ice cream, breath mints, brownies, and so forth?

I started praying about this. I asked God for another option. It was like “come on God, show us there is another way, cuz I’m not fasting from chocolate!” After a few days in prayer God started answering me in a way I never expected. Every afternoon while at work I would have my sweet snack. I usually kept chocolate on me. If I’d run out of chocolate, I would roam around the building to every vending machine possible, even borrow money, just to buy some chocolate. I often joked that chocolate solved all of my problems. And this is when God tapped me on the shoulder.

“Hello my child. Why do you stress? I told you to give me all of your burdens. Why do you run to chocolate, soft drinks, French fries to relieve your worries? I’m right here. I’m only a prayer away. I will never leave you nor forsake you. What can your food do for you?” After this little in depth talk, I realized I need to take action. I’m addicted to food, and I need to overcome this addiction.

Deciding what to give up was only a minor challenge. Diabetes runs in my family, my triglycerides are triple the normal range, and I’m carrying so much extra weight. I realized that I was so addicted to sugar; I would even eat multiple life savers back to back just to suck on the sugar. This is a real problem for me, and my health is at stake.

I have to face this addiction just like an alcoholic or junkie. Sugar has too much power over me, and I need to take that power back. I gave up sugar!

I’m not suggesting that the same plan works for everyone. I know people who are vegetarian, vegan, on weight watchers, or on the Atkins diet. I know women who floss before each meal to trick themselves to eat less so they don’t ruin their teeth. I use a smaller dinner plate to trick myself into thinking my single portion is a plate full. I know women who have had weight loss surgery with much success. I had to find what was right for me! And although my health was a factor, far more important to me is stopping this addiction. I was putting food before God! My relationship with sugar was extremely unhealthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And that is why I chose this path. I had to end this love affair with sugar.

What do I do now without all that sugar?

I had no idea how often I added sugar to my food and drink until I made a concerted effort to avoid it. The other night my husband and I were preparing a healthy meal: chicken, sweet potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  We chose sweet potatoes over white potatoes for the health benefits. I’ve always added cinnamon & brown sugar to sweet potatoes. This is when it dawned on me; I have to learn a whole new way of preparing meals. I’ve noticed that I habitually go to grab the sugar or brown sugar regularly throughout the day, and now I stop myself (sometimes in midair).

Since I’m not adding sugar to anything, I’ve been looking for healthy alternatives. I drink about 60 ounces of water per day, and there are times when I just want something else to drink. I have replaced my sweet tea with orange juice that has added calcium and Vitamin D. Instead of drinking Swiss Miss hot chocolate “marshmallow lovers” when I get cold at work; I now drink wild orange tea sweetened with honey. The tea actually tastes better with honey than when I used sugar. I found a vegan recipe for chocolate oatmeal cookies that is sugar free. I’m eating more fruit since that is naturally sweet, and my body still craves sweet stuff. I started eating honey almond granola for breakfast in place of cinnamon oatmeal (which I always sweetened with sugar or Splenda).  And instead of sprinkling Splenda on my French toast, I add a teaspoon of vanilla extract in the egg mixture, and then drizzle honey over the cooked toast. It tastes pretty good.


I’m no fool though. I don’t honestly believe that I can give up sugar until the day I die. Once I have this addiction under control, I’m considering adding a little dessert no more than once a month on a date night. I can no longer use “I’m on vacation,” “we’re celebrating something special,” “work is paying for it,” or any other excuse to feed my addiction. I just need to maintain my focus on healthy living, and stop worrying so much about what the scales say. As long as my cholesterol is on track, and I stay focused on eating properly, I’m sure that my BMI and waistline will improve!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Farting in the Elevator

I recently started using custom orthotics in my shoes. As I walk, the plastic orthotic piece rubs against the inside of my shoe, and exhales air. As my co-workers say, it sounds like I’m farting. My doctor suggested using powder to help with this noise. The powder usually changes the sound from a “fart” to a squeak.


The other day at work, I’m in the elevator with one of the new guys in finance. Although he and I have never been properly introduced, I know who he is. I send him reports at least once a week, but he of course has no idea who I am. As the elevator approaches our floor, I moved my feet just an inch and it sounded like I farted. I can’t laugh about it, because that would only lead to more suspicion that I actually farted, even though that isn't what happened. So now this guy’s first impression of me, is thinking that I farted on him while in the elevator. I really know how to make a first impression. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

OCD


This is one example of why my husband and I go together so well.
 
I’m one of those people who store my DVD’s in alphabetical order. It is the by far the easiest way for me to find a DVD. I tried this with my CD’s as well, but the CD organizer I own has individual slots for the CD’s and this became a nuisance each time I purchased a new CD. 

About two weeks ago my husband and I cancelled cable TV service. After about 2 months of research we decided to stream TV shows from different sources on our streaming device (Roku) instead. We live in a 2 story townhouse, and decided that we will only use the streaming device upstairs where we spend most of our time. Downstairs we only have a DVD player. One night I came home from work and meticulously went through our DVD collection and moved about half of the collection downstairs. Sometimes I enjoy listening to TV while cooking, or enjoy watching something while I relax on the couch after I finish my workout. I selected a few comedy DVD’s since these are not full length shows that require my undivided attention. I can simply turn on a comedy routine while I slave away in the kitchen. I selected a few family oriented movies in case we have guest with children. The clean living room down stairs is the best place for children to watch TV. I went through a few other DVD’s and made sure I picked some good quality movies that we can use to entertain guest, but also made sure that I left the DVD’s I watch regularly upstairs. I did my best to equally divide the DVD collection.

Last night as my husband and I cuddled on the couch he casually says “I just want you to know that every time I look at the DVD rack I want to throw something out the window.”

Me- Why is that?

Him- It is driving me crazy that you split up the alphabet.

Me- Do you think I took A-L downstairs and left M-Z up here?

Him- Well, yeah

Me, in a slightly higher pitch (and increasing in pitch with each sentence)- What kind of crazy nonsense is that? I can’t divorce the alphabet. The entire alphabet is downstairs & upstairs.

pause.. return to normal pitch….. No wait, we only have one DVD that begins with Z. So ok, most of the alphabet is downstairs. This was a thoughtful selection process (of which I explained). I wish you would have just checked out the selection.

Him- chuckling the entire time .. Oh good. I’m glad it was a thoughtful selection process. I feel better now.

Me- Yes, I’m glad our OCD was in agreement this time.  ..... chuckling.... See, this is why we’re so good together. No one else would understand this.
 
 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Surprise

 Last Thursday morning I decided to surprise my husband with a nice romantic evening. I found the recipe of the first meal I cooked for him. I left him a little note "have a surprise for dinner tonight. see you around 8."

 During the day, I started having cold symptoms. By the end of the day, I had a runny nose and sneezed quite often. I felt miserable, but I was still on a mission. After work I headed to the store to buy the ingredients for my homemade roasted garlic sauce.

I cooked the chicken, pasta, and cheese sauce. I remove the roasted garlic bulbs from the oven, and almost burnt my fingers squeezing the garlic in the cheese sauce. (Yes, I waited about 10 minutes for the garlic to cool). Everything is in the blender for the last step. I pick up the blender cup from the base to pour the sauce over the chicken, and SUDDENLY the bottom of the blender falls to the floor as does the roasted garlic sauce. I gasped pretty loudly. I was so upset.

I took this photo to show my husband his surprise. By the time I saw him that night, I had a full blown cold and just wanted to go to bed. Instead of a romantic evening over a lovely dinner, he ordered Chinese food and I took Nyquil and went to bed. Just another classic hysterical calamity.


Friday, March 14, 2014

the best one of all

We all like receiving gifts. Christmas is the known gift giving holiday. My mom loves to surprise everyone with wonderful gifts. I don't remember most of my gifts from childhood, but one gift made a lasting impression. I remember checking out all of the packages under the Christmas tree, and teased one of kids in my mom's daycare that the biggest box under the tree belonged to me. He immediately replied "the best things come in small packages." Why do I remember this moment from 20 - 25 years ago? My mom gave him a "book of life savers" from the Dollar Tree, and my gift was a globe. Yes, a globe to help me with my school work. As I opened the gift, I remember thinking "he did get the better gift. I'd rather have a book of life savers." 

The humorous gift exchange resumes in adulthood. I love kittens and cats. They are so cute and adorable. At one time in my life, I owned 3 cats. One year for Christmas my mother gave us all pajamas. I watched as my sister opened her package of pajamas, and when I saw the puppy pattern I just knew that my pajamas would be a kitten pattern. Not so much! Mom decided that the three of us should have matching pajamas; we all had the puppy pattern. Now, I don't want to dispute her logic. I can understand the desire to have your kids wear matching clothes. Usually this stops in elementary school. When we are all adults, it's kind of silly. 

One Christmas after I moved into a new apartment, I needed more kitchen utensils and equipment. Mom asked for my Christmas list. I sent her an email telling her I needed help with kitchen supplies and included a list of the few items I already owned. I asked her to get whatever she thought was best because I didn't really know what I needed. Apparently mom just glanced at my note, and for the first time in my adulthood she actually purchased the items on my Christmas list. She bought me everything on the list of items I already owned. A year or two later, I asked for a gift card to Lane Bryant. I wanted more clothes, and really liked that store. This was the funniest "surprise" from mom. I received a gift card to the local grocery store. I could go on and on with humorous tails of my surprises from mom. As the years continued, I stopped giving mom a Christmas list. She has this deep need to surprise us; which trumps the Christmas list that she begs for every year.

In 2013 things were completely different. I had just gotten married. I had a bridal registry at 3 stores. Registries are great. I wish stores made a Christmas registry- HAHA! Mom bought us the one item we wanted more than anything else; a down comforter. I absolutely love down comforters. I purchased one about 10 years ago, and have only used down comforters ever since. Last year I got a new bed to upgrade from a twin to a queen, so my comforter no longer fit the bed. Mom hit the jackpot this Christmas!

So, what is the hysterical calamity you ask...

Yesterday I went to an allergy specialist to determine what is making me so sick. I am allergic to dust mites (one of many allergies). Dust mites are very attracted to feathers. Who can blame them, right? I'm really attracted to down comforters myself. LOL The doctor told me to toss my down comforter.  I'm sitting there thinking "really?? you want me to toss my favorite thing in the house??" So, I offer a solution, "can I just get it cleaned?" As we discussed the various ways I can keep this, I'm laughing internally. The one time my mother gets me an awesome Christmas gift, a doctor wants me to toss it. I don't believe this. 

I'm now looking into way to dry clean this comforter on a regular basis, and possibly using it less frequently. We will probably buy a few other blankets, and each week when we change the sheets we can rotate the blanket so maybe I only use the down comforter once a month. Still working on this plan!

Stubborn One

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Valentine's Day

My husband really spoils me. For Valentine's Day, he gave me the Dolphine experience at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Blonde moment

I got married in September, and like a crazy woman decided to move 6 weeks later. Now that life is starting to settle down, it’s time for me to change my name and address on EVERYTHING. After notifying businesses of our new address, I decided to use our wedding guest list spreadsheet to obtain all of the information we need so we can notify our friends and family.

I found this cute little picture online of fish jumping from one fish bowl into another, and it simply says WE’VE MOVED! I used some left over 8.5 x 5 cards we used for the wedding invitations, and printed up 24 cards to mail to our loved ones. 

I went through the guest list spreadsheet and checked off names as I addressed the cards. Since we just moved, and I haven’t quite found all of our stuff yet, I decided to pass on making return address labels and handwrite our new address on all of the envelopes. This will help me learn my new address, right? (if only!)

My husband grew up with a family of 4 girls. He refers to them as the “sister family.” I know all of their first names, but none of their last names since they are all married. Although I am a great speller, I lose this skill when it comes to names. You can have Shawn, Shaun, or Sean. So, I addressed most of the cards to Mr. & Mrs. “thus and so.”

I have 24 cards and 6 stamps. So I mailed 6, and wandered around my new town looking for more stamps. After I found the post office, I was quite disappointed that this particular office doesn’t have the automatic postal center (like an ATM, but dispenses stamps instead of cash).  I wandered around town a little more, and found a larger post office.  Much to my disappointment, none of the post offices on this side of town have any of the convenient customer friendly stuff I use after business hours. I’ll spare you the profanity I used in my frustration. Two day s later I finally purchase more stamps at a grocery store.

Ah! I can finish mailing my cards. All done!


A few days later I receive a card in the mail addressed to Mr.  & Mrs.  Roberts. I assumed they were the former tenants of my new apartment. Then I realized the mail was my address change notification. I stared at the mail trying to figure out what I did wrong. I stamped it, and included my return address or how else could the post office return it to me. I then realized the return address was the same as the mailing address. I felt so stupid – LOL. This is how well I know my new address. I didn’t recognize it on my own mail. Course, I asked my husband who this couple is and wouldn’t you know it, from the sister family. That’s why I didn’t recognize the name.


I’m trying so hard to be domesticated and all, but I really think this gene skipped me!