ITS A MIRACLE!

Sunday a miracle happened.  We went out to lunch and I only ate half.  I ordered a hamburger and steak fries.  I have been cutting things like this in half, hoping the visualization would teach me to actually eat half.  For the first time, it worked.  I DID eat all the fries but no matter how you look at it, this is progress.  I would have eaten all the fries anyway.

I have been doing pretty well on this new program.  The web-site http://myfitnesspal.com has been a huge help.  It is free!  What it does is help me track what I am eating.  I do believe that this is a key part of any weight loss program.  I hate doing it but this site makes is as painless as possible.  It is the accountability part of my program and I am sure the reason I hate doing it is because I don’t want to be accountable.  It is so easy to lie to myself and determine that I only ate six wings, when I have NEVER eaten only six wings in my life.  I am sure that steak I just ate is six ounces.  I ordered a twelve ounce but it looks awfully small.  AND doesn’t it lose weight when it is cooked?  I really have to work at being honest with myself and record exactly what I eat immediately.  It is too easy for me to “forget” the blue cheese dressing or pat of butter.

The web-site keeps track of calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein.  My main focus has been on calories and fat.  At the end of the day, if I am under in those two columns I am thrilled.  I am constantly amazed at how out of control I really was.  Everything I choose is high in fat.  Everything.  I am conscious of this now and doing better with my choices, which made Sunday so great.  I had a high fat meal but I only ate half.  This is a huge step in the right direction.

I still eat all the foods I like but since I am learning which ones are lousy choices, I am having them less often.  I still have pizza, wings, burger and fries (not all at the same time).  I have one or two pieces of pizza and stop.  I have ten wings.  And now, half of a designer burger!  I work hard to stay away from fast food; there is no hope for me there yet. 

Something else I’ve noticed is that I always choose big dishes.  I’ve started using the smaller bowls when I eat cereal or fruit.  I do think that it looks like there is more there, rather than looking into a half empty bowl.  Restaurants use this practice all the time to make the meal look larger.  Why did it take me so long to catch on?  Because I filled the bowl, it didn’t look empty at all!

I am learning to enjoy fresh fruits.  I even ate a mango, not my favorite but I ate it anyway.  Who knew I would love kiwi?  I very much enjoy grilled green peppers and onions.  If that is what I have to do to eat a vegetable, so be it.  I am also starting to eat more chicken and fish.  Eating low fat fish is not easy but I am getting used to it.  I don’t think it will ever be a “go to” selection but I am not opposed to it either.

After dinner, if my calorie or fat count is higher than it should be, I exercise again.  I have to pay the piper.  If I am dog tired, the last thing I want to do is get on that stupid elliptical machine.  It is a choice I have to make with each meal.  I get extra in each category when I log my exercise which helps if I do over indulge, but my goal is to not need extra.

I have lost 9 pounds in 8 weeks which isn’t too shabby for someone who struggles to stay on track.  I decided to donate one pound of food for each pound I lose to a local food bank.  I put a laundry basket in the corner of the living room for the food.  When I lift the basket and can understand what nine pounds I lost feels like it is a huge motivator.  I don’t want that back on my body. 

I am trying everything and anything to keep myself motivated.   I don’t know what the difference is this time versus every other time I have tried to diet.  I only know that for today it is working and I am making progress.  I am grateful for that.

THINGS I LOVE

I was reading a meditation last night that asked “what are the things you loved the most in your life”.  As I drifted into my meditative state, I thought about my all the places I have been in my life.   I was surprised that my mind immediately turned to travel.

I thought about the beach and how much peace I feel when I am there.  I am a Florida girl and love Florida beaches.  I enjoy going in the water and feeling the power of the waves crashing into me.  Salt water is healing to my skin. 

I have happy memories of the beach, from a favorite family vacation at St. Pete Beach to my own personal retreats at New Smyrna.  John and I spent several days in St. Augustine last year, a rare treat for us both.  We thought that Rosie (our Boston terrier) would love the ocean water and were so very wrong.  She hated every minute of it, from the heat, to the waves, to the sand.  She was miserable.  Live and learn.  Next time we have a beach week-end Rosie will have a babysitter and stay home.  Beach living would be a dream come true for me.

I loved military life.  There is something about that life that really cannot be explained, you either love it or hate it.  I loved it.  Once I got used to living away from family everything fell into place.  Tom (ex) and I never lived on Post; we always lived outside the military community.  That enabled us to enjoy the local cultures and be a part of the community.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever leave the Central Florida area, let alone end up in Germany for 6 years.  I must admit that when we first received orders for Germany I was terrified.  Once I was acclimated I loved every minute of it.  Both times we were there we did not want to leave.  Life’s pace was much more relaxed.  You had the intensity of the military mixed with a culture very different from my own and yet, strangely similar.  It was fun to go for a Saturday drive and investigate a new area.  There was always a Volksmarch or Festival somewhere to visit.  Whenever we say a tent going up, we were there!

I love to travel and certainly had the opportunity while we were living in Germany.  It is a shame that we did not take advantage of the opportunities available to us but we could not afford to jump on the bus and go to Rome anymore than we can run up I-95 to DC for the weekend.  We saved our money and did the best we could.  We covered a large amount of Germany (back then there was East & West, we weren’t allowed in East!), and also visited Switzerland, Austria, France and Holland. 

In the US I haven’t done that well, although I have been to San Francisco a few times along with Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Las Vegas, New York (State & City) and Virginia.  I have a few more states to go.

I love to go out to eat.  (Notice I didn’t say I love to eat, although that would be true too.)  I don’t know what it is about going out for a meal that makes me so happy.  (Maybe that I didn’t have to cook?)  When I was young, going out was a huge treat, no one went out for meals the way it is done today.  Some people love to entertain in their home; I love to go out with friends or family.  The places I like to go are not expensive.  They can be very simple “Mom’s & Pop’s” type places to the normal chain or fast food joint.  I am economical.  It is more about the time spent with people than anything else.

Wednesday nights have been special for 20 years.  I meet with an amazing group of people that teach and inspire me.  It is a healthy environment.  I don’t go every week like I used to but it is nice to know they are always there. 

Notice this is “things” that I love and not “people” that I love.  I am fascinated that there were no physical things that popped up.  I love my home and belongings but not in the same way as I love the memories of my life.  I remember hearing that when you save things you don’t use you are just saving a memory.  Let the item go, the memory will be there forever.  I am pretty good about doing that.

I do love my blog.  I am happy with the acceptance I have received from so many people, especially people I do not even know.  That is so heart warming.  I love making a difference, stepping outside my comfort zone and sharing who I am and what I believe. 

I hope you will think about the things you love in your life and enjoy a smile or two.  I am grateful that I have so many wonderful memories to share.

THINGS I KNOW FOR SURE

 I am loved.   

 I am blessed. 

Being loved and being blessed are two different things.

There are things that I wish I hadn’t done, but there is nothing I would change.  I gained great wisdom from my errors.

Be honest.  It is easier than remembering the lie.

Don’t poop where you eat. If you need me to explain, just let me know.

FROG – Fully Rely On God.

When I am full of indecision, make no decision at all.

Be kind.

Pay a compliment to someone every day.

Mind My Own Business.  (Just because I know it doesn’t mean I do it!)

Listen.

You have to BE a friend to HAVE a friend.

Trust my instincts.

Take a chance.  What is the worst that could happen?

Do the right thing, if necessary, do the next right thing.

God loves me.

God loves you.

God loves us all.

GIRLFRIENDS PARTY – PART 3

This is the last part of my Girlfriend Party.  I am pretty amazed by where such a simple thought led. 

 When I married John in 2003, an entirely new group of people entered into my world.  Sadly, his mom had already died.  From what I am told, I would have loved her.  Bobbi, John’s sister, and her daughter Dori, have become a growing part of my life. 

 Karen is part of that new world also.  I don’t exactly know how we became friends because we are so different, but friends we are.  She is a wonderful cook and always supports my cooking attempts.  She laughs with me when I fail and celebrates with me when I succeed.  Karen always tells me I am too hard on myself.  Takes one to know one!  She always makes me feel special.  Every day she sends me a hello email.  Whether I am up or down, she remembers.  She asks about my mom.  She cares and shows me all the time.  I love her for that. 

 Rhonda and Sandy are friends that come as a set.  It just works that way.  We find the same types of things humorous and they are always fun to be around.  I love our lunches together.

 I have a lot of acquaintances, which sounds arrogant.  I don’t mean it that way.  People I work with, people we play pool with, church people, and so many others.  I enjoy all their company but they are not usually the people you share your life with.  One work person Tyna, has definitely become a friend that I trust and respect.  That is not easy to find in the work force these days.  She has taught me so much about being a woman in this industry and still having integrity.  She has been a friend every step of the way.  And then there is Helen, another friend, is one of my biggest cheerleaders.  Her encouragement is so appreciated and welcomed!  She is a ray of sunshine to me.  I can hear her husband John laughing about that, but she is great.

 Finally, I would invite Stephanie, my newest friend.  We are just at the beginning of our friendship but from day one, we just clicked.  I love it when that happens.

 If I had a party to celebrate friendship, these are all the women I would want to show my gratitude.  All these women are REAL.  We are all learning with and from each other to survive this world that surrounds us. None of us have all the answers but we are figuring out how to ask the questions.  Sometimes lessons learned come soft and gentle and sometimes they come hard.  They all come with love though and for that I am truly grateful.

GIRLFIRENDS PARTY (PART 2)

As I said in part one, I am having a party for all the wonderful women that have influenced my life.  It is certainly a varied group of women.  I hope you enjoy meeting the next group.

When I married 1975, new girlfriends came into my life, my Mother-in-Law, Heidi, and her daughters, Carol and Pinky.  Heidi and I had our moments but we learned to have the most wonderful relationship because it was something we both wanted.  She loved her family and accepted their ever changing lives. She loved yours, mine, ours, theirs, and someone else’s.  It didn’t matter.  If her children were happy, she was happy too.  I believe I learned acceptance from her.  Carol scared me silly at first.  When she called and said she was coming over, it was pure bedlam making sure the house was perfect because she was sure to notice.  I think she secretly liked that she had that effect on people.  We became great friends when I stopped letting her opinion bother me.  Her straightforward dealing with life taught me to be a little gentler.  Pinky was the baby of the family and we bonded in her teenage years when she and her mom knocked heads.  She has grown into an amazing woman.  Life separates all of us but memories warm my heart. 

In 1979, when the Army moved us to Germany, Mary Ellen was the best friend I could have.  I was terrified and she showed me the ropes.  We were neighbors and told each other that we did not want someone sitting on the doorstep every morning.  It wasn’t long and we were inseparable, sitting on each other’s steps, every morning.  I do not think I could have survived that first year without her.  She allowed me to love her son as my own and when they were transferred it was devastating.  Such is Army life.  We still correspond although it has been 20 years since we have seen each other. 

When we left Germany in 1982, we moved to Texas and I began working as an apartment assistant manager.  I met another Carol in Dallas who took me under her wing.  She generously taught me how to be successful and when I moved on to a management position with another company, it was with her blessing.  I could not have had a better teacher.

In the mid 80’s I joined a spiritual Fellowship that truly saved my sanity.  As we moved from station to station I met many people within this program.  When we settled back in Florida in 1990, I found a group that introduced me to three women that would totally change my life and the way I view friends.  From these women, I learned to be an adult, to be accountable for my actions.  I learned to be honest and open to change.  My mentor & sponsor tells me all the things I don’t want to hear and makes me face truth.  She does all this with the most amazing love and kindness you could ever imagine.  Another woman was a rose nut and she taught me how to grow roses, which also taught me I didn’t have to know everything, I just had to be willing to learn.  The third lady is pure love.  She just loves me and makes me feel like I am the most wonderful friend in the world, even when I am not.  These are the women that held me together when my world fell apart and told me that tomorrow would be better.  And it is.

These women and many others within this Fellowship helped me to learn to trust God above all else, to love unconditionally, to have compassion for others and to spread hope to others by sharing the life I have lived.  I can never repay the gift of love they share on a regular basis.

All these people must be at my party.  And there are still more to come.

GIRLFRIEND PARTY!

I was reading a book the other day that talked about how important it was to celebrate our birthdays.  They are the day of the year that we thank that person for being born, for being who they are, the good, bad and ugly so to speak.  If we believe that we are each made unique, then we should embrace all the parts of each other that make us unique, even if we don’t particularly like it.  Aren’t these the things that mold and shape us and help us to become who we are?

That got me to thinking, if I had a party to celebrate all the wonderful women that have influenced my life, who would I invite?  It would certainly be an interesting group of women.  I am not worried about living or dead, whether I even know where they are, I am just remembering and enjoying the cycles of my life and who softened an edge here or sharpened one there.

My mom has to have been the most influential, teaching me right from wrong, how to give and share.  And my two sisters are certainly my girlfriends too.  Barb teaches me to persevere and Patti teaches me to look at things differently.  Aunt Jean made me feel normal and gave me a sense of belonging.  I also have two other Aunt’s that made an impact on me, Aunt Mary Louise, who is so very down to earth, she reminds me to be who I am.  And my Aunt Mary is the gentlest, kindest soul.  I am amazed at how much she has done for others in her life.  These Aunts are the ones that I spent the most time with, the ones I know the best.

Kathy and her sister Kay had to have been my very first girlfriends since we grew up together.   I cannot remember a time in my life when they were not a part of it in some way.  Through them, their Mom certainly had an influence as well.  I was up there all the time and talking to her was easy.

In Elementary school, the constant friend was Holly.  She moved away after 6th grade. Holly was always a free spirit, the artsy type that danced to her own tune.  She introduced me to the Beatles and dancing.  I have not seen her easily in 40 years but still miss her.  I always said if I ever had a little girl, I would name her Holly.  I never did have that girl, but I really would have!

My Middle and High School years were full of adventures with Phyllis and Linda.  Phyllis and I met in 7th grade.  We had all of our classes together.  Linda and Phyllis were best friends so we became a trio.  They introduced me to roller skating and we spent all our spare time at Skate City.  We learned all about boys and teenage life there.  Phyllis was the girl that all the boys followed.  She has always had the most beautiful smile.  Linda was tough, on the outside anyway.  She was a good friend, always more honest than you wanted her to be.  She and I competed for Phyllis’ attention a lot more than either of us would like to admit.  I learned about being a real friend from these two ladies.  I was Maid of Honor at both of their weddings, not because they picked me over the other but because they were fighting and they picked me instead of the other!  It didn’t matter.  I loved that time in my life.  My High School years were the most fun and I cannot imagine them without Phyllis or Linda.  Whenever I get a chance to see either one of them I am thrilled. 

I have a cousin Karen that I have had a great relationship with over the years.  We are the same age and had everything in common.   We still correspond with each other, and when we see each other, like we did a few months ago, it is like we’ve never been apart. 

There are still many more women for me to share about so I am going to break this into more entries.  I hope that you will think of the women that shaped your life.  Who would you invite to your party?