Saturday, April 19, 2014

MDHLC- Week 6

This challenge has been a real eye-opener for me. 

Some days, most days it seems, I feel like I can't hit the goals I have set for myself, even if they are 'small'. And it can be discouraging.

This past week I did really great with my first two goals; whole foods and hydration. I only ate out twice; once for lunch and the dinner out last night for a date with E. I made all our other meals at home. We had super yummy, very healthy dinners every night and I started each day with a big green smoothie and had a Hugh Jass salad for lunch. Lots of fruits and veggies, most of them raw. I was very happy about that.

I stuck to my water and tea only during the week. No beer (until Friday night) and no coffee- but I will have some this morning. This goal was hit 100% so I am happy about that.

However, I sucked at activity this week. I only made it to the gym twice. And with only two days remaining I am just past halfway of my step goal. What happened? Well, I worked late Monday and Wednesday so no gym those days. And by late I mean I stayed a couple hours after, left to go eat dinner, then worked for a few hours more after that. 

It's been a long week. And super crazy as we implemented a big portion of a new ERP system Monday. I was pretty much attached to my desk all day long. Very little walking unless I had to walk to a meeting. It sucked. Every night my entire body was stuff and sore from sitting for so long. Ugh! Thankfully the two workouts I did get in kicked my ass... I made sure of it. I knew activity was going to be my biggest challenge this week and it was.

Mindfulness was also somewhat of a bust this week, too. I was really mindful when it came to eating so that's a win but when it came to taking care of myself; movement, relaxing, thoughtful actions- well I was all over the place on this one too.

So I got to thinking- ok, so maybe this week wasn't perfect. I was great on two goals and so-so on the other two. Does this mean that I need to change my goals? Lower my expectations?


It means I need to just try a bit harder. And yes, some times that's not possible. Some weeks doing that absolute best I can will still have me falling short but you know what? I'll take 75% successful over 0% successful any day!

I am almost 100% certain that I have not had a week so far where I reached 100% of the goals I set. BUT I can say with 100% certainty that I TRIED every single week. And that is what really is important. 

I don't know what I was thinking creating a challenge during the most hectic time at work, ever, and weeks of traveling BUT I am so glad I did because without this I would have no focus, no attention to what was happening in my life. So for me, I can honestly say, that even though I 'failed' every week I am still 'winning'.

So for week 6 my challenge is this: 

Don't lower the bar- set the bar where you truly challenge yourself and push a bit harder to reach it. 

For me this is WHAM 2.0

I need to keep my focus on whole foods and hydration while increasing my activity and mindfulness. I need more movement and less stress.

This week all goals are the same except I am switching gym workouts from 4 to 3 because I know that is all I can get in based off my schedule - and that will still be a challenge. 

Week 6 is going to be awesome, no matter what!

Are you with me???

Love and hugs,

Friday, April 11, 2014

MDHLC: Week Five

So…week four, our re-do week, is almost over. I was in such a desperate state that I had to call a mulligan. My life was so chaotic and out of whack that I didn’t even post this idea of having a re-do week to the blog. Ha! Yeah, it’s definitely not a good thing when you are hosting a healthy living challenge and you basically go on the lam for a week. Sorry.  Won’t happen again.

And because I was pretty much off the grid last week (aka California) I will give anyone a free pass that did not check in with me. I hope you all were able to take the last week and use it to revisit a goal or goals you have struggled with and hopefully had a bit more luck this time around. 

For me, I had to set a realistic goal giving the constraints of my schedule. I had aimed for a walking goal of 75,000 steps in week three and fell short. So, for  week four I aimed to hit this goal. The week is not over yet but I am confident I will reach this goal, even with a day filled with air travel and a long road trip this weekend.

That being said…I am sooooo ready for week 5.

Week five, for me, is all about pushing myself to get back to the basics and focus on the four things that are most meaningful to me…whole foods (particularly the plant-based whole foods diet I thrive on), hydration (less beer and coffee, lots more water), activity (yay! Back to the gym, finally) and mindfulness (in both my eating habits and how I treat myself- I need lots of self-care this week).

I call it the WHAM (whole foods, hydration, activity, mindfulness) challenge.

For week five set your goals around one or more or all of these ideals.  Try to set attainable goals while at the same time trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Mine  goals are:

·        Make my own meals, based off of whole foods, 80% of the time. This means if I eat 21 meals a week at least 17 should be home-cooked and whole-foods based.

·        Hydration- water and tea are my drinks of choice this week. I will allow myself one cup of coffee three times(Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and beer only on the weekend
·        Activity- gym/track at least three days and hit 80,000 steps for the week

·        Mindfulness- follow my hunger scale, make mindful choices regarding food, relax, rest and recover from a crazy travel week. Do something just for me. Maybe a massage or sleeping in on the weekend.

I am already so pumped for week five. Having this post written and my goals laid out make me excited and super hopeful. Hope you are all having a great week – I look forward to hearing all about it.

Love and hugs-


Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Rant About a Rant

Every once in awhile, something sets me off and sends me into a full-blown rant.  If you were reading last week, you know what I mean.

And when that happens, those thoughts and feelings and questions tend to linger for a long time. So much so that a week later, they are still here ever-present on my mind.

This week, however, I am thankful to have a change of perspective. Instead of feeling gloomy about the state of the world and the fact that I don’t know how to change things I am instead hopeful. Inspired. Forward-facing to a future full of potential.

Thanks to three people in particular, I have been able to do a 180. And for the first time in a very long time I am seeing possibility in lieu of doubt, hope instead of fear, and pride in place of shame for my fellow man.

My Dad emailed me after he read my last blog post. He knows better than most that my hypersensitivity can sometimes be my downfall, especially when it comes to the things that matter to me the most. I’ll share with you what he wrote because he is, by far, the smartest person I know.

“You know, it doesn't matter what you do or who you are, if you're a conscientious person the weight of the world will overwhelm you if you let it. The vastness of the scale of suffering, or ignorance, or pain in the world is simply something that is beyond our ability to digest, let alone handle. So, what can one do??????? One can compartmentalize the perspective on suffering, or self-guilt, and recognize the truth that there really is only so much any one human can do. The reality is, no matter how much you fight back or sympathize, the reality is that in the end you will wind up doing ONLY WHAT YOU COULD. And none of us can fix the world, so we're left with committing to striving and do our best. Your best will be good enough. I try (sometimes) to live by Voltaire's maxim about "cultivating your own little garden." That's how you change the world. In the only way you can.

Maybe there aren't too many complex answers. Maybe, sometimes the simple solution is the wise one. Maybe the answer isn't all deep and cerebral. Maybe someone who can simply accept where they are will accomplish more because they don't falter. They're grounded, and probably more "on the job" than some snobby intellectual.”

It was clear, the answer I was looking for was simple. I knew he was right but I didn’t know how to take his words and transform them into my own actions.

The next night after I received my father’s email I was having dinner with one of the most amazing souls I know, Annabel from Feed MeI’m Cranky. I was going on, again, about the same topics I posted last week- shitty school lunches, no educational programs for nutrition, expensive/healthy foods, poverty stricken obese people, etc. and I was getting all worked up again. When I talk about these things I get so sick and sad and angry- these topics not only break my heart but also infuriate me and, as we’ve seen before, leave me feeling hopeless.

Then Annabel said something, a simple notion that would turn into a bigger giant snowball of ideas by the next afternoon. Why do we (yes, me- I am pointing my finger at me here) obsess over the bad when we could be, in turn, promoting all of the good that is out there? Then she began to tell me about this woman who started a blog and Facebook page dedicated to showcasing school lunch programs that are doing it RIGHT. It is called ‘School Meals That Rock’ and her goal is to show the world that it is possible to provide healthy and nutritious school lunches and showcases these schools and how they do it. GENIUS! Not only is what this woman doing an amazing idea, it inspired me to switch my focus. And although I am sure I will, from time to time, talk about these tough topics that sometimes bring me angst my goal going forward is to showcase the people who are doing great things to help alleviate these problems. This way, I learn about how to help, I focus on the good not the bad, and include you in on it too.

Then, as if I wasn’t inspired enough from my evening with Annabel, I had the pleasure of hearing Charles Best speak the very next day at the Ellucian Live conference I was attending. He was our closing keynote speaker and man, was I impressed. I should note that he received a standing ovation, I was not the only one blown away by his words.

Charles Best founded Donors Choose in 2000 as a way to find funding for projects at the public school where he taught. Donors Choose was/is a way to get much needed materials, technologies, and learning experiences into the K-12 classrooms that are in desperate need. Think of Donors Choose as the Kickstarter for K-12 educators…actually Donors Choose has been around almost a decade longer so maybe I should say that Kickstarter is the Donors Choose for those non-K-12 school projects ;)

Anywho, I could write a novel, literally, about this site and what Charles Best and Donors Choose have done to really help teachers/schools in need. I believe the stat he showed said 23M in donations. WOW! That is amazing.  So much good going to so many in need.  I love it!

And do you want to know something else that is amazing? Charles Best donated the speaking fee he received from the conference to the attendees in the form of a credit to be used to make a donation to any project on the site. He told us to find one that we can relate to. Maybe something regarding our favorite hobby or favorite book or even one locally because on the site you have the ability to search for projects by topics or by area.

As I listened to Best speak I immediately texted Annabel. I needed to know if she knew about this crowdfunding site. She did not but of course, she was now interested too. I began to think about what was important to me and all of these  thoughts came flooding in.

Do I have any schoolteacher friends that use Donor Choose? I need to post on FB and ask around. I would love to donate to their projects.

Oh, but wait…is there someone out there trying to have a project funded about nutrition or even school lunches or maybe starting a garden…I want to donate to those.

Are there any projects looking for funding in Pensacola? Could I help them in any way in addition to monetary donations?

Do my readers know about Donors Choose?

What about my University?

My family? My boyfriend?

I could help fund a project (and most of these projects are not asking for much at all) that can help the lives of all the students in that class and possibly future classes as well. This teeny tiny donation can have an impact that is exponentially greater than the amount donated.

So this is what he means by ‘citizen philanthropist’…

So here I am today, a day later. Still buzzing from these realizations. So excited to write about this. To share with you some projects I found that excite me. And to encourage you to take a look for yourself and see how you can help. A donation to a school project is basically an investment in our future. How could you not spare a few bucks to help make the world better?

Or maybe you are a teacher and you are struggling getting basic materials for your classroom. Maybe Donors Choose can help you. Now is the time to ask for help. It is the time for us to be a better community and support our fellow man. Ok, I know- I sound like a cliché but it’s true.

And if you don’t believe me, just ask Stephen Colbert…he’s on the Board of Directors for Donors Choose. And he presents the celebrities he interviews with donation credits for the site the same way Charles Best did for us. How cool is that?

Anyway, thank you for sticking around to the end of this rant. I hope you found it positive and uplifting and maybe it inspired you to find ways to help.

And, if you have some more free time, check out some of my favorite projects on Donors Choose J

Healthy Food Helps Our Bodies - this one is both local and involves nutrition education so you know it is at the top of my list!

Books and Music, A Great Combination  

Cosy Comfort - this one is from my high school and the most amazing thing is this project raises money to buy materials to make blankets to donate to charity. LOVE IT!!!

Kindergarten Listening Centers - this is my friend Kari's, from My Weighting Place, son's former kindergarten teacher and when I reached out on FB to see who was using Donors Choose Kari shared this with me. I love this one too so I had to share!

Thanks for reading!

Love and hugs,


Thursday, April 3, 2014

I'm on a Plane!!!

So, right now I am cruising somewhere ~ 33,000 feet above the Earth and because technology is so wicked awesome I am able to hop onto the interwebs and write for a bit.

Actually, I really should be finishing up a paper for my grad class but I needed a break.

And I also needed to vent.

Well, maybe not vent as much as talk. I have a lot on my mind right now and no one to talk to so here I am- my home away from home :)

Currently, there is a 'famous' food blogger sitting next to me on my flight to LA. She was talking earlier to both me and the gentleman between us about what she does, why she was flying to LA and why we should know who she is. I'll admit that even though I did not, in fact, know who she was specifically, I did know of her through her accomplishments. Guess she has earned the right to call herself a famous food blogger, but I digress.

She was talking about food and dieting and the gross shit that we eat, especially in processed and take out foods. Which I totally agree.

Nothing she was saying I disagreed with. In fact, nothing she said was novel. It's all stuff you've heard before- even from me- like eat real foods and understand labels, etc.

But while she was talking, as I sat there nodding my head as she ran through her canned spiel, it got me thinking about some issues that really bother me.

Most people, well at least most educated people, know that eating junk food, processed food, fast food is not the best choice. Most people, I believe, understand the idea that they should drink less soda and eat more fruits and veggies.

And the things you read, even here, are pretty much common/universal concepts.

With that being said, something that plagues me constantly, why can't we change knowing all of these truths?

Why aren't we teaching our kids about nutrition in school? Why weren't we/ aren't we being raised knowing that all calories are not created equal?

Why are school lunches bullshit? Why can't they be free and healthy instead of garbage?

Why can't businesses afford working parents the ability to have more time being parents? I know that feeding kids junk food/processed food comes partly from convenience and partly from pressure, among other reasons and I blame the structure of most U.S. businesses for a bulk of these issues.

Why do we treat obesity rather than try to prevent it?

Why the fuck don't we realize that obesity and poverty have a direct correlation and do something about the quality of foods available to the poor? This disgusts me. Urban grocers don't even get fresh foods.  WTF!

Why are vegetables/fruits, especially non-GMO, organic ones, so craptastically expensive? And beef and dairy so ridiculously cheap??? (Yes, I know it's because of subsidies but therein lies the problem)

Why are we, and by we I mean me, doing more to stop this plague? This scary as shit health epidemic? Why Dacia, why? Why don't you do something????

I have these conversations with pretty much anyone who will listen. About how scary the food industry is, how we are creating bad habits and addictions from childhood and we don't even understand why, how it is so much more expensive to be healthy (true) and if you are poor- forget about it.

Honestly, I don't know what to do.

I look around me every day and see someone whose life breaks my heart.

I mean, I can barely afford to eat the way I would like to (really, i can't) so I make concessions, too.

We are all out there making concessions.

It's just the way it is, right?

But why does it have to be that way?

I don't know the answer. Or even the point of all this other than to tell you I struggle with these thoughts daily. And that I feel helpless because honestly, I just don't know what to do.

We have so many powerful people out there advocating for diseases, most even preventable or curable through healthy eating and activity habits, and yet where is the fight to treat the cause?

I don't think the world needs someone to tell them not to eat fast food, I think what the world needs to know is where they can find affordable AND healthy alternatives.

Or if those arent available, to figure out some way to create them. I need to know that there is a change that will come that will create better options for us all....

Not just for those that can afford it.

Healthiness should not be a luxury item...

Thanks for listening!

Love and hugs from afar,