Thirty-One Gifts

Hi! I'm now a consultant for Thirty-One Gifts! I use it to supplement my writing income.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Doctor and Ice Cream

When I was little, my mother took me to get ice cream after every doctor's appointment if I promised to be good.  You know?  Right?  I see the glaring irony of coming from the doctor and then eating something fattening, and my mother's participation in adding to my weight problem - using food as a reward - but I ate it anyway.  Heck, I was just a kid getting over a shot.

You know, we all reward ourselves with food at different times: to celebrate, to grieve, to drown our sorrows, and even because we lost weight!  (And even if we didn't.)  The thing is that food is a drug, and the more I watch Dr. Oz, the more I realize how fresh is the way to go.

But, I went to the doctor today.

I had uncomfortable procedures done and I wanted a frappucino.  Like bad.  So, I had one.

I didn't get anything to eat out.  Just the coffee.  It did taste good, and it kept my mind off the pain, or was that the anesthesia?  Hmm ...  I slipped back to a childhood habit.  I rewarded myself for making it through today.  I should have planned it better, like a non-food treat, but I didn't, and that's that.

Sometimes a coffee or a cone can cut the pain in two, just like a knife under the bed.  Just sayin'.  Back to berries tomorrow ...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thank you, Allison Bruning, for inviting me to the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.  Here's a link to Allison's page:  Allison Bruning's Next Big Thing
 The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a way for readers to learn about new books that will be released soon. The rules are simple:

1) Thank the blogger who invited your to participate and place a link to their Next Best Thing blog post  at the beginning of your post.

2) Answer the questions about your next release.

3) Choose five bloggers to write about their next releases and post their names at the bottom of your post with links to their blogs.

That's it.

So here it goes.

1: What is the title of your book?  She’s So Bipolar, which was born from a blog.  I expanded it and added self-portraits in the form of photos. 
2: Where did the idea come from for the book?  I am bipolar, and I really wanted a book out there for family and friends of bipolar people that they could relate to.  Working against stigma in mental illness is a passion of mine. 
3: What genre does your book come under?  Non-fiction. Honesty is the key to survival in this illness.
 4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?  Me:  Diane Lane or Parker Posey.  My daughter:  Natalie Portman. 
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  A bipolar author opens up to her audience about what it’s like to have the illness and offers helpful tips on surviving it. 
6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?  Looking for a publisher …
7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?  It took about a year for the writing and a year for the photographs.  I took all of my “mood” photographs during the time I was working on my Master’s degree.
8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  My book would be similar to An Unquiet Mind, by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. 
9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?  My daughter.  I want to leave something behind for her to understand the illness from my point-of-view.  My more general readership would be for anyone who knows someone with a mood disorder to pick up the book and not only read about what it feels like, but can see it in the photographs.  All those that are like me inspire me, because I know their struggle. 
10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  With chapter titles like, Medication Cocktails, I’m Manic Now: An Experiment in Writing, and Self-Therapies for Bipolar patients, there is not only a story there, but help as well.  I hope that someone can take away a better understanding of the illness, and give their loved one the support they need. 
Writers and Their Next Big Thing:

Just click on their name to see!
Mindy Kyriakides
Tricia Coburn
Robin Leigh Morgan
Jonathan Cronin
Julie Anne Wight

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sleep and Weight Loss

According to Science Daily, with eight hours of sleep, we burn more body fat - fifty percent more than those that don't get a good night of sleep.  There is more to a good night's slumber than just sleep.  Did you know your body burns fat as it sleeps?  Sure you did, but - did you know that you burn more by sleeping longer, at least the recommended eight hours a night?  The article goes on to break it down by how many hours and such, but the point is: sleep!

I have insomnia, and I am working it out with my doctor.  She'd kill me if she knew I was on the computer this late, or early, depending on how you look at it.  Why?  The back light of computers and phones are designed to keep us awake and alert.  A bad night's sleep can kill your weight loss.  However, it's the perfect time to write.  I'm stuck for tonight, but I can tell you one thing, I'll be watching my sleep even more closely now that the more I sleep the more weight I'll lose!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stinkin' Thinkin'

I have a friend who has reminded me that I have a tendency to have the disease called "stinkin' thinkin.'"  It's where you talk down to yourself, think you'll never lose all the weight, believe the naysayers and those that are simply toxic to your efforts.  It's negative thinking.  It stinks.  Now, my friend loved to tell me all about changing my way of thinking by mothering myself a bit and doing some positive talk and affirmations.

I thought she was crazy.

She is, but in the good way. :)  Seriously, affirmations do work, and some positive meditation or goal-oriented daydreaming can do wonders for weight loss.  So does action.  She also said, "Move a muscle, change a thought."  We eat because we hate the way we feel, look, or whatever, but it usually involves emotions.  Talking yourself out of a binge or the wrong food is important to getting the weight off, and distractions like music, calling a friend, or even brushing your teeth will take your mind off your emotion, put you into action, and keep you from overeating.  I like doing things with my hands - writing, reading, painting, and other crafts.  They keep my mind off food and I focus on something productive.

I think my friend was right, again.  I started writing this to keep from going in the kitchen, and now I just want to sleep.  Thanks, Judy!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Butcher's Granddaughter

I'm a butcher's granddaughter, which means that I grew up eating great cuts of meat cooked perfectly.   I didn't realize how spoiled I was until I got married to a man that likes steak burned.  Luckily, that was a lifetime ago.  Now, hubby Kevin used to be a cook for restaurants in the early days, and the man can cook a medium rare steak.  Drooling yet?  Well ... I think I want to give up my daily intake of meat and go vegetarian several days a week.  I'm tired of feeling bad.

It's after consuming meat recently, that I realize the digestion process, and my body does have a hard time with it, which lead me to wonder if I should really be eating it in the first place.  I mean, I love it, but I am becoming more aware of how it is raised and shipped, (see "Vegucated") and I am starting to feel better the less I eat it.  I don't feel as dragged down or tired.  I feel "cleaner" inside, if that's even possible.  The more veggies I add, the more I am full and happy that I didn't choose a worse alternative.  Today's finds included yellow squash, which I'll eat raw or sauteed.  Love it.  I love have dried fruit and nuts for snacks.  It's much more filling than chips.

See, there are many reasons to go vegetarian.  I'm considering.  You know, there are herbivores and carnivores, and I don't think I could go off of it completely, but I can do without as much of it.  I think I'm in the "shades of grey..."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Recliner Chick Fights Back

You can talk yourself right out of exercising and eating right.  It's easy, isn't it?  That's because NOT doing something is way better than actually getting off the couch.  I am a recliner chick, myself.  I love it.  I want to stay in it all day long.  Sometimes, I do.  I have marathon Law and Orders or writing stints that last till all hours.  I love reading and movies.  I write for a living.  Therefore, I live in my chair.

That had to change.  The best thing I'm doing for myself now is getting up and down all day.  I pick a chore and do it.  I pick an activity, usually yoga, and do it.  I want light therapy, so I go outside and feel the sun and breathe fresh air.  I go out for my errands, instead of depending on others.  I can report that living a normal life is difficult.  Moving at my weight is hard.  Some days, I feel like concrete.  However, getting out of the "chair" is necessary for my survival.  Period.  I don't want anyone burying me in it.  I'm going to make a Pinterest project: a pallet couch.  Cushioned, of course, but it won't be as comfy as the recliner.  It will be for sitting.  Then, I can sell the recliner and buy that punching bag I want.  Hmm...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Death, God, Subway, and Aldi's

I lost my uncle today.  He lived a long life, but suffered from obesity and diabetes for many years.  Another one that has succumbed to illnesses of being overweight.  That's two in one week.  I think God is trying to tell me something.  It's really easy to "eat clean" when everyone around you is dropping like flies.  Don't worry about my uncle.  He's with his wife now, probably laughing and cooking for her - but it doesn't matter in heaven.  I hear you get a skinny body.  Ha!  I wish.  No, but seriously, he was ready to go, and he said he was talking to her just before he went in his sleep.  Peace.

So, with death on my mind, I went into Aldi's with a plan and a budget.  I was able to get all my snacks - yogurt, blueberries, avocados, apples, hummus, pita chips, and more, and I SAVED money.  Because I'm eating less, I still have almonds, strawberries, cantaloupe, and cranberries from last week's shopping, and guess what?  That stuff costs less than half of what chips and ice cream cost, which I didn't buy.

With the saved money, someone wanted KFC, but I suggested Subway.  I loved my 6 inch turkey with mustard!  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Obesity and Death

Did you know obesity can kill you?  Sure you do.  However, when faced with the possibility, it seems improbable.  It's not.  A good friend of my husband's died yesterday.  He was 47.  His liver failed him.  I won't go into details, as it isn't necessary and would cross some privacy lines.  However, I feel my mortality like no other time, as I am only two years younger and obese.

I feel like I'll die before I get all the weight off.  Hubby says that I'm fine.  Look, I've gone through enough death in my life that I know it can happen in a split second, particularly strokes and heart attacks.  My thoughts are with the gentleman's family, my husband, and lingering thoughts of trying to get on "The Biggest Loser," or joining a gym.  Maybe I need that motivation.  Maybe I just need to take a walk.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

So, I ate some cake...

But just a little piece - don't worry!  I had a very small cake done like the top of our wedding cake, same flavor, and same decor for our Valentine's treat.  No candy.  Now that I've had one small piece, I don't feel like finishing the cake, it's just nice that we had a little.  Limits.  I'm learning limits.

Now, do I need a piece of cake?  No.  I also don't have a huge heart box of candy to eat on for three weeks.  That's a good thing, and I still treated myself.  Besides, Kevin gave me flowers that he grew on property himself.  They're red roses, and the color turned out to be fabulous.  What could taste better than that?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentines- No chocolate, please.

My hubby wants to take me to dinner for Valentine's Day, and while that seems very appealing, I find that I want something different this year - like a physical date.  No, not that part, shh... that's later.  I'm talking about a date where you are physical with a sport or thrill-seeking activity.

Of course, as thrill-seeking as we are is something like bowling or putt-putt golf.  You know?  Anyway, it would burn minimal calories, but it would burn and not put on weight.  Went to the doc today, and I was not happy with my weight.  I had not changed.  Stayed the same.  With some meds and Peri-menopause now against me, the doc says truck on, I can do it.

That's the idea for an active date.  The other thing is a walk to the park and a healthy picnic.  I like that one the best.  I don't know where we will end up, but I know one thing - I don't want chocolate.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Groceries at Aldi's

Aldi's grocery chain is relatively new in my part of America.  I know it is a European store, because they told me, but also because I lived overseas and loved them then.  Now, why is this relevant to this blog?  Prices.

The cost of veggies and fruit are fantastic.  I paid only $1.39 for a package of blueberries.  $1.19 for a cantaloupe.  Their cheeses, yogurts, dried goods, and meats are all less than Publix or even Walmart in some cases.  It is a small store, and you must put a quarter in the basket to release it to you - you get it back when you return it, and you must bag your own groceries, so take your own "green" bags.  This all helps them cut the costs to you for those goodies like avocados for only .33 each. (on sale)

I loved shopping there yesterday, and bought not only blueberries, but oats, cantaloupe, apples, cranberries, almonds, and more.  Everything that Jillian Michaels suggests is not there, but enough is for the price and convenience.  Also, I wasn't as tempted to buy junk.  I was too busy looking for deals on the clean food.  Check them out!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sweating Your Butt Off...

Hey!  Glad to see you are back, too.  I am beginning to love sweating.  I know it's the pounds melting off of me, and I love that thought.  I cleaned the offices yesterday, and I can tell you that cleaning - doing all that you have to do without stopping - and includes mopping, sweeping, bathrooms, and more.  For a house - there's laundry, dishes, garbage, and fill in the blank____.  If we look around, there's a lot to do just around the house.

I don't like to clean.  I hate it.  However, as my friend, Robin, points out, no one likes to clean, but it is a necessary evil and it does burn calories.  Besides, you'll have a clean house when you're done!  Come on, you know right now that you've got at least one load of laundry and a closet that needs cleaning.  Do it.  I don't take my own advice on this one all of the time, but I will be from now on.  I wanna sweat. :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Yoga is Changing Me

Yoga is changing my life.  I love the meditation part, as I'm learning to just relax, and I find the poses challenging.  I can't do them all or even close to gracefully, but I feel stronger inside.  I think I may be getting muscles.   Hmm... now why would I do that?  Because it feels great, that's why.  I've been doing more yoga than anything else, but I love it.  I think I'll go to step 2. :)

Eating: well, I've replaced all my snack food.  There's still junk in the house, and I even grabbed a handful of chips today, but I've decided to keep the other stuff around me: soy nuts, peanuts, apples, tangerines, and loads of veggies.  Having a lot for dinner fills me up and leaves me without wanting dessert.  That's a good thing.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Year, New Goals

SO, I only, and I mean only, gained 3 pounds over the holidays.  My blood work is better, and I am losing some weight.  I have a 25 pound goal right now, as I'm trying to take them in small increments.   Those 3 pounds weren't bad, considering the average weight gain over the holidays to be 10-15 pounds.  I only weigh at the doctor, so the 13th is the next weigh-in.  I hope some weight has really dropped.  I have been working out like crazy in the past week.  I completed yoga, Jillian's shred DVD, and chores around the plant.  I'm still working the food out.  Eating clean is tricky when I don't buy the groceries.

It's amazing how much better I feel this week.  I am exhausted today, but I have had more energy in general.  New in town: estrogen meds.  Yay!  Maybe I'll get balanced out.  Doc says it will be that much harder to lose weight with being Peri-menopausal, but it's not a challenge considering the weight I have to lose.  That is the ultimate challenge.  Here's a great video, and one that I'll be emulating.