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Thursday, May 15, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 83-84 .... The End? Or The Beginning?

Today is my 60th Birthday!  When I started the challenge in February, I knew it would end just around my bithday, and here -- like all things -- it is!  In February, my mom was still with us, Cooper not yet home.  My lilac bush was a bunch of tangled, bare branches.  Now Mom is happily settled in Texas, Cooper at BYU-I.  My lilac bush today is overflowing with fragrant blossoms that we have shared far and wide with anyone who will take a bunch. Three months is such a short time, really, but so much can change.

After a fun visit with Bob before getting up,  my first birthday present this morning is a youtube video of my nearly 3-year old granddaughter singing Happy Birthday, and she sings it not "to you" but "for you".

My next birthday gift:  the scale and the tape measure! Today the scale said that I have lost EXACTLY 8 pounds since Day 1!  I msured and totaled that there 10 inches G-O-N-E.  For good.  1.25 inches from each thigh, 3.5 inches from my waist, 2 from my hips and 2 from my bust.  At less than 5 feet, with a very medium bone frame, I will never be a wispy little Asian, but this is a JOY.  No wonder all my slacks are too big.

Eight pounds is exactly the same size as a healthy newborn, about what I weighed when I was born.  Kind of fun to think about that on your birthday. 

I cleaned out a drawer yesterday and made a crazy discovery -- a little folder of where I have tried numerous times to lose these pounds before, over a 10 to 12 year period.  Measurements.  Weights, Dates, progress carts.  scribbled down.  Oh, how MANY times I have tried, knowing that where I was was "OK", medically speaking but not great as far as trying to dress this solid, short body of mine.

After the past three months and careful recording throughout, I KNOW that the only thing that takes the inches off are the weight training.  I have found that I really ENJOY this, and look forward to increasing my weights, and increasing my strength.

I believe that the Youthin was VERY helpful in kicking those pounds, as they surely had not budged all the other times I had tried.

Equally, probably MORE important is that I have also made some progress that, though not tangibly measurable, feels equally as significant as anything on a scale or tape measure.  More fulfilling scripture study.  More ideas on how to quietly and better support my husband, children and grandchildren without hovering.  More forbearance, charity and kindness with things that are outside of my control.  Definitely more energy, focus and clarity. Do they all connect to the weight management/sugar thing?  I truly believe so.

Will I take after pictures in a swimsuit?  Yes. Over the next several days, as I did in the beginning, but I don't think I'll post them.  Kinda personal LOL.

Will I start another challenge?

ABSOLUTELY.  This time, however, I will be following a WFPB program, and continuing with the weight training.  My core and lower body is where I need to most build strength, and I am convinced this is my best way to address osteoporosis.

In my little granddaughters video she sings "Happy Birthday FOR you" instead of to you.

And indeed, this is an extremely happy birthday FOR me, for so many reasons.  I am humbled and blessed.

What I wanted to do was to attend the Temple.  So that's where we are headed now, and I can't wait.  And then to try a vegetarian restaurant that I've had my eye on for years.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 79-82

My goodness, where do the days go?  I think about my blog posts constantly, but before it's all written down, another day has slipped by.

What has NOT slipped by is not only my intent, but the results of my intents.  Kind of hit a plateau on the scale, but can tell a great deal in my clothing.  It's all such a relief that I wont' be going through the rest of my life with these pounds.  I'm determined to make it a solid 10-12, no matter how long it takes.  I have not been as consistent with the Youthin, and that may be a reason I have plateaued.

Last Friday, I got to my cash register at work and a very large Hershey Bar was sitting there.  I looked at it, and someone said it was from the office as an appreciation gift.  With no thought at all, I threw it in my drawer and forgot about it .... when it was there on Monday, I remembered and unemotionally reflected to myself, "this has no more meaning to me than the fancy gourmet coffee packets that are at a hotel room. I don't drink coffee.  I don't eat candy bars."  I'm sure the candy bar is sitting there.  Hmmm.

Well, our conversation are non-stop on the Whole Food Plant Based diet, as presented in Discovering The Word of Wisdom.  In my mind I'm busy formatting another 12-week challenge for myself, and hoping to develop a plan to invite Meridian Readers along ... JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS living that way for 12 weeks over the summer, when fresh fruit and veggies are extra-plentiful.

The Mothers Day Shout Out is over on the website.  A lot of fun, and very sweet. Also way more time consuming than I had thought, to format the photos, e-mails, banners, webpages, etc. But worth it to share something, and to get more familiar with Facebook, as I know that it's an important part of reaching out.

On Saturday, Bob took me shopping or both Mothers Day and my birthday.  What FUN to buy a very cute pair of much smaller sized jeans, and a darling dress that looks cute now but will be cuter in a couple of months with more workouts.

Best of all was the e-mail from my daughter who, after seeing the family Mothers Day photos my daughter-in-law had taken, wrote:  "You look fantastic!  It really shows!" So that was fun, and
so is life.

Day after tomorrow ends this challenge for me --60 Years OLD!   Gotta finish up the survey to send to all my darling fellow challengers!  It's been fun to know I'm not alone.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 78

Nature's Skittles
It felt like summer today. Close to 90!!!!  For years and years, we've wanted a frozen yogurt place close to us.  Well now there are 3 within 5-10 minutes. I'm sure their business was booming this very pretty May evening.  But not from us.  What tasted good to us tonight are the Costco oranges that are sweeter than candy.  And I just LOVED this photo that showed up on my Facebook postings today from a dear friend.  What about you????

Isn't tha fun?  One of my friends tells her children that fruit is "Heavenly Father's candy".  And she's RIGHT!

Yesterday, when I did my aerobics workout on the stair climber, it was amazing how I did NOT get out of breath, and found a new level.  I didn't have to stop at ALL.  I've come so far since when I started on it in March, right when Cooper got home.

This morning, doing squats with the cable machine for my lower body workout, I was able to  lift 100 pounds!  And it really wasn't quite demanding enough ... next time I'll go for 110.

It feels amazing to have strengthened my body so much during these past three months, and I'm VERY excited to see where Challenge 2 will take me.

The new Ensign with the Conference report arrived a few days ago, and my heart is touched with the messages there, and the joy I find in the Savior.

Without a doubt, for me, the past 3 months have strengthened my physical body.  My spirit and testimony, and appreciation for mortality have been greatly strengthened!

Is it coincidental that strengthening your body strengthens your mind and spirit?

Not in my books!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 76-77

One week to go.  60 years old NEXT THURSDAY.

We are now reading "Discovering The Word of Wisdom" by Jane Birch outloud. If someone had told me that a book like this would be fascinating to both of us (as well as entertaining -- she's got the cutest sense of humor) I would have laughed and disagreed.

Furthermore,  if someone, one year ago, had told me that for my 60th birthday I would have kicked sugar out of my life, lost the 7-8 pounds that have plagued me for at least 10 years, be able to let a chocolate chip cookie pie sit in the refrigerator for days without touching it .... and have tossed out the small slacks in the back of my closet out because they are too big, I would have laughed and walked away, and felt sad that it wasn't true.

But it's true.  I will be forever grateful for the past 7-8 months and look forward with even more anticipation to further weight lifting, and increasing the weights for my workouts, and evolving from the B4L eating plan to more fully following a whole food plant based diet.

We've got both veggie steamers rocking every night, and Bob is on board as much or even more than me, as his cholesterol, though not terrible, is a concern for him.  He's always liked veggies, and beans, and not been much of a meat eater, so much of this is not altogether a big change.  I don't think this would have been as easy or as possible if we had teenagers at home.

His birthday is 2 days after mine.  Two of our children have birthdays within the same week.  There have ALWAYS been so many treats, and cake, and donuts, and candy, and chocolate over that week.  This year ... what I want is to go to the Temple and then to a vegetarian restaurant.

But will we have cake? Ice cream?  Some chocolate? Won't it feel like something's really missing if we don't?  It did at Christmas.  So I ate some candy. A little every day for about a week. But it wasn't as tasty or as satisfying as I expected or wanted it to be.

So I don't know.  I don't have the answer tonight.  It seems like you should have SOMETHING more than fresh fruit on your 60th birthday.

I'm not going to stay up figuring it out or deciding.

What I do know is that the oranges this spring have been incredibly delicious.   That I'm perfectly content with what we've been eating.  That I love how B4L has taught me how to eat ever 2-3 hours.  And that my heart and mind are more in tune with my Heavenly Father and the needs of my husband and children since starting.

This morning I wrapped up and sent darling pearl bracelets to my 2 daughters and my 2 daughters in law for Mothers Day.  It's Year 2 of my "All the Allen girls are pearls of great, great price" tradition, and that was the highlight of my day!  So cute in their pink wrapping paper with the gingham ribbon and daisy flower on the top.  Love, love, love my girls and their little ones.  I will do whatever it takes to spend as much time with them as possible, for as many years as the Lord will give me.  How thankful I am for eternal families, and the opportunity to establish a little bit of heaven here on earth :0)

Monday, May 5, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 73-75

Monday morning.  Workout completed: CHECK.  First small meal: CHECK.

I am fully commited to making my last 10 days for my 12 weeks EXCELLENT.  I did some quick measuring (been doing every 2 weeks) and am tickled to see 1 1/2 inches off each thigh,  inches off my waist, and 2 1/2 inches off my bust -- in about 10 1/2 weeks.

And when you think about it, those are just one-spot measurements, as there is no way to really measure with a tape measure the whole length of the mid-section, thigh, etc.

Well, hello, little honey!  No WONDER my slacks are loose.

My B4L world is somewhat rocked by the book "Discovering The Word of Wisdom" by Jane Birch that I have scanned by myself, and am reading out loud with Bob.  My article about is up on Meridian today.  It's a topper (and hilarious).  I will continue my B4L 12 weeks exactly as written.  I have not been doing very little meat as it is, but when I do my next challenge, starting May 16, I will do it  with the whole-food plant based approach,  continue with 6 small meals, and of course the workout.

Bob and I had a long conversation yesterday about the years ahead of us.  I'm my mother's daughter in so many ways physically -- very much the same body build, and excellent constitution -- other than  the osteoporosis that we're so proactive with.   But as far as our hearts and organs, we're extremely blessed.

Meaning that I will live well into my 90's (as she is) and very probably to 100, as her Grandmother and aunts have ...

If I'm going to live to 100, I'm going to be as healthy as possible!  I'm going to be as HAPPY as possible! I'm going to be as INDEPENDENT as possible. That means that I need to be happy, enthusiastic and embrace taking care of myself as a joy, and not a burden so that I won't burn out way too soon.  There are 40 years ahead of me that I hope I don't need anyone to help me with, very much ...

If that means there needs to be a bit of vanity, with the motivation of looking better in clothes and the fun of styling myself up a bit, then I guess that what it means.

My head is a-whirl with the fact that these miserable 7 pounds, that I have tried SO MANY TIMES in the past 10 years to lose, are actually G-O-N-E. Along with quite a bit of the clothing that has been my "go-to" wardrobe that is now just plain-old too big.

 Muscle is now developing and it is burning calories all day, allowing me to eat and not be hungry -- allow with the 6 small meals a day, there's never a reason to be hungry.

Well, I'm just excited on this Monday morning, and committed to B4L and seeing where the next 10 days will take me to for my end date ofMay 15, my 60th Birthday!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

12 Week Challenge DAYS 65-72

It's hard to believe (and I sure don't know where this week went), but I'm only 2 weeks away from finishing my 12 week challenge.

Although I haven't written in this blog as often as I intended, or followed the B4L program every day 100%, I am SO excited about my progress.  I can happily say that I've followed it over-all at least 90%, maybe even 95%.  Do I look like the before and after photos in the book?  No, but there's a definite improvement and I'm ready to take on the next challenge. 

And I still have 2 weeks left!

Emotionally, spiritually and socially, (ways that can't be tangibly measured or photographed) I am so much stronger, happier and "on-top" of myself, and in turn, feel much more in tune with my Heavenly Father, and my own immediate family.  It's hard to put into words -- even for someone who can't stop talking (and typing) like me.

I'm down nearly 8 pounds.  Pounds I have been trying to lose since I turned 50 and the aging thing hit hard, on top of never losing the last 7 pounds from my youngest child. They might not seem important (or even noticeable) to anyone else, but my energy is way up, and my smaller slacks are too baggy to wear!  The #1 skinny jeans now fit -- not comfortably enough for long-term wear, but they do, indeed fit.  And I'm going through old things and saying GOOD-BYE.  I have no intention of changing too much, other than living the Word of Wisdom more closely and with more joy as I progress.

I had an amazing conversation last night with Jane Birch, the author of Discovering the Word of Wisdom (her website is and having a great time preparing my Meridian article for next Monday ...

I'm laughing, remembering that old TV show "Father Knows Best" ... well, Heavenly Father is REALLY the one who knows best, what our bodies need.

And I'll be forever grateful to the Body For Life and Michael Phillips for kickstarting the weight training that has become so "just right" for me.

The only regret (besides the days that I was not able for one reason or another to do better on the program) is that I did not take regular photos of my lilac bush after the post on it 6 weeks ago.  It would have been such a cool time-lapse comparison.  It is just barely-barely starting to pop out a few blossoms, and will, as ususal be at its peak for my birthday on May 15, when my challenge ends.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 63-64

I think the thing I'm most delighted about with the challenge is how the exercise element is becoming a habit.  A true, genuine habit.  I so missed my workout on Monday, and writing about it helped me realize that without it, the day isn't quite right.  So what to do about that?  Just make sure there's 30 minutes FIRST THING that doesn't get absorbed into checking e-mails and facebook.

Saying NO to sugar has become a habit too.  Yesterday, at my little day job, our manager came back from the front office with a half-tub of large chocolate chip cookies.    She came to each of us with it, but when she got me, she said in a very cute way, "I'm offering, just to be polite, but I know what you'll say."  And I thought to myself, "Darling, if you ONLY KNEW how many years a tub of cookies like that would have dictated the rest of the day.

What a RELIEF, yes a RELIEF it is to just have those things come and go, like at social events where alcohol is served, and I don't even think about politely saying, "No thanks."  Over. Done.

It's a beautiful spring day here. The marigold border is in on one side of the front door gardens by the front porch/door.  I'm going to go do the zinnia seeds right now, then by Saturday, it'll all be done.  Marigolds booming, azaleas on their way, black-eyed Susan's putting out new leaves like crazy, growing, and zinnia seeds to make it ALL sparkle later in the summer.  We're not fancy gardeners, we just like old-fashioned stand-byes that tolerate the afternoon sun with no shade.

It's so exciting to know that by the time there are zinnias blossoms, in their glory filling
the front window, I'll be 9 months into being sugar-free, and blossoming just beautifully in other (much sweeter) ways, and hopefully glorifying my Father in Heaven with a purpose-filled life to better celebrate the lives of those I'm blessed to call my family and friends, and readers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 62

It was such a gorgeous spring day today!  I got my workout and scripture reading in FIRST, and oh, what a difference that makes.  Sacred time, both of them.

I spent 30 minutes in our front garden area before going to work, then returned to it at dusk.  Bob helped me finish getting ready for ZINNIAS!

  The last 2 years we have been too busy/pre-occupied to get our zinnia seeds in (plus the Dollar Store didn't have the seeds that have worked so well for us) and oh, how we MISSED them!  So I got out there this morning, and removed the fading daffodils (so sad -- but next year will come) to prepare the ground for the zinnia seeds that I bought at Amazon.  So exciting.

A gentle rain had really softened everything, making it possible to dig up a little bush that had totally died.  It always puts new meaning on "getting to the roots" when you dig something out, and hack it all apart.  I could wax eloquently (or at least pretend to?) on how this applies to the Challenge, but will save that for another day, in favor of ...

HULA HOOPING! I'd ignored the 3 we have for years, but tonight in the garage they caught my eye.  I've never been able to keep one up, but maybe I'll add this to the challenge as well.  There's nothing like it for building core strength, according to a friend that works at CURVES, who has the flattest, cutest tummy in the world (after 2 children.).

I asked Bob if he could do it.  He said that at one point, he could.  But tonight, neither of us could, so we just laughed it off.

But my MIND is off to the races.  And my fingers flew to YOUTUBE.  Wouldn't it be a blast if we could BOTH hula hoop and that be our talent for the Family Reunion this summer?  Wouldn't those 8 little grandkids get a kick out of a Grandma and Grandpa who had worked up a routine to some fun music? My grandparents never did anything like that.

Here's the YOUTUBE "How to Hula Hoop for Beginnners, and who knows.  Maybe by the end of the challenge, I'll post a video of me doing it ... 

How to Hula Hoop for Beginners

Oh, life is fun and a joy to share.  How thankful I am for my mortal body and this journey called earth life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 59-61

I just love this photo (found on FB today) ... It says it all!  And I DO feel that I have changed between the time I started this blog last October, and now.  It's quite remarkable, but for me,
with a couple of weeks "off" when we had so much family activity and I was less able to follow things, my official finishing date is the day before my 60th Birthday:  May 15, 2014.  I can't think of a more remarkable change to have made for myself.  Free of sugar, and diligently following a healthy eating and exercise plan for 12 weeks without "starting over."  With a plan and a personal commitment to just jump right in again the day after my birthday.

Let's see -- I think it's taken my whole life to feel as confident as I do now.  And  that this is truly permanent, with a vision of both how I will feel, choose and look as I enter my sixties, and beyond.

We spent Saturday and Sunday in Pennyslvania Dutch Country -- an Easter tradition for many, many years for our family.  The food served there is legendary.  But there are just as many lovely fresh veggies and lean meats to choose from as anything else, so that's what I did.  I had tastes of a few other things, but we just passed up the whoopee pies, donuts, cupcakes, and the dessert bars, along with the cookies that used to be the highlight of our trip to the Farmer's Market.  We came home with pickled beets, sugar-free apple butter, and a whole lot of really fun memories. 

We had such a good time.  Just me and Bob, sitting on a vista viewing the farm land and reading out loud on Easter Sunday from Darla Isackson's beautiful Easter Meridian article.   Bob always checks out some gorgeous illustrated children's holiday books from the library to enjoy.  We attended the Ephrata Ward, lovely people.  And drove and drove through the country side. 

Our long traditional walk on Easter morning through the Amish village of Bird-In-Hand was close to the farm house where Amish were gathering for Church, so many of them were walking and we all wished each other "Happy Easter!"

He is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed.

There are so many lovely things to live for.  It feels delicious to have food in its proper place.

They called me in to work an hour early this morning.  It took my workout time, and, sadly, I didn't get to it when I got home.  I missed it, and am ready to FOCUS and NOT MISS ONE MORE WEEKDAY WORKOUT until my Birthday, on May 15!

I am down one more pound -- but also learned (Bob had a doctor visit where he was weighed) that our scale is 2 pounds. light.  Does it matter? No.  What matters is the overall progress, the focus, the freedom.

Yes, sir! Luvin' it --

Friday, April 18, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 56-58

Easter Weekend!  It's been such a cold week.  Very pretty on several of the days, but not warm at all.  It doesn't matter when we're warm inside, which is what Easter is all about, for all the most lovely reasons.  He is Risen!  He is Risen, indeed.

Easter candy has been a biggie for many years for me.  Those Cadbury eggs, the malted milk ball eggs, the chocolate bunnies, the cream-filled everythings .... not to mention the Hershey kisses in all the pretty pastel foils.  For many years, true confessions, I ate far more than our kids, and looked forward to the excuse of eating it while filling Easter baskets and the little plastic eggs to hide for our hunt.

Not this year.  Not at all ... And the true freedom is that I won't even care all that much.

We bought another little veggie steamer last weekend.  There are double-decker that cook separate veggies on the layers, but this was identical to the other one we have, and again, less than $5 at a Thrift Store.  I think people don't know how cool these are and just give them away.  So now we have two, and will happily use both!

We steamed TWO delicious fresh veggies tonight:  beets and brussel sprouts.  Bob likes them hot with vinegar.  I like mine cooled down, with a little pickle juice (either sweet or sour) straight from the pickle jar for pickled veggies.  YUM.

We talked about sugar at dinner while we ate our veggies ... That we miss it, but not the down-side of it.  I wrote all about missing it in October, and I don't know that that will ever change.  Just like I miss really wonderful parts of raising children, or homes we have lived in, or times of life that were especially fun or rewarding.  Yes.  We miss it, but for Bob, not the blues it brings, and for me, the instant and clamoring more-more-more that lasts for a good long time after eating it ... especially chocolate.  I do NOT miss that!

This morning, while finishing my upper body workout, there was such a euphoria after finishing with the 25-pound dumbells.  As I put them down, my own arms felt so free and so light! I wiggled and wave them again and again ... and thought about how free and light and happy it feels to have the pressure to eat sugar gone.  And of the Savior and how he takes away burdens and sadness ... and literally the weight of the world with his willing sacrifice. 

I treasure Easter, and the joy of spring, and want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible to celebrate life, and express gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the privilege of being granted a physical body for my turn here on earth.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 53-55

I am not sure at all where the days go, but fly-they do!

My last entry, we were just getting ready to head off for our little get-away.  Our son Spencer and his wife had given us a gift-card for a Marriott weekend that we finally had a chance to use!  Soooo fun. Swimming is one of our great treats, so we made sure we stayed at one with a pool

Guess what -- my old swimsuit, which had seen happier days to begin with, has gotten TOO BIG. Especially up top. This is NOT sad news by any account, and we stopped at the mall for a little shopping before departing.  I actually bought a cute swimsuit.  I'm determined to buy a smaller one before the season really starts, but this was a great "in-betweener" and I could really see my progress since starting the challenge.  YAY.

It was easy to make pretty smart food choices -- although spreading it out into 6 little meals was not that easy, and I let it go, concentrating on the regular choices in the Body For Life program on Saturday, with Sunday being a Free Day.  I also exercised on Saturday morning before leavings, so that Sunday could be my free day.

I didn't go crazy, but still treated it as a free day, and ate more than I usually do. We found a lovely little "Country-Cookin" place that had an "order-the-meat-and-get the salad-bar-free."  It was all kinds of healthy stuff, so I ordered the grilled shrimp and had my own party.  No dessert other than a sugar-free vanilla pudding with some fruit, and a very tiny taste of some overly-sweet chocolate concoction that almost hurt my teeth.  That taste is quickly proving that I just cannot do it as I used to ...

As I say, I did eat more than I'm used to at this point, and left (for the first time in many months) overly full.

For many years, I ALWAYS left a restaurant overly full, and after that last meal, I've decided I like that a whole lot better.  That several hours of feeling uncomfortable, and the scale being higher for several days after is NOT worth the moments of pleasure. At least for me.

The real point of it is, is that food and eating out is not a "be-all-end-all-you-gotta-eat-till-you-pop" kind of experience for me anymore.  It's just a nice thing to do -- and moderate amounts and no dessert can still be a LOT of fun!

We saw a huge range of people at the restaurants we ate at, and it's always fun to choose who I want to look like and be perceived as.  They're NOT the ones with the overly full plates, wearing over-sized clothes. Uh-uh.  Although they are perfectly lovely and wonderful and dear, and I'm not judging them or their character. I just want to be perceived as a healthy-sized, healthy-eating person.

The big article at Meridian today was an author that I have not seen before, Jane Birch.  Her article, "Discovering the Word of Wisdom, Discovering Joy" was excellent, and I'm looking forward to writing a follow-up on it in the next little bit. How blessed we are to have it!

We have been very busy with the "Spring Clean" days and the sale for, and it is also Spring Break from school.  I feel like I should be getting more done with my days, but it's all good.

The best thing -- is that the exercising and the small meals is becoming a very livable habit.  Whether I have a lot of time , or not.  I don't see too much changing when I end the challenge, other than documenting my progress, and starting a new one.

I have figured out, though that I'll be wrapping up Challenge # 1, all 12 weeks, right around my 60th Birthday.  I'm going to be as (or MORE) healthy and strong than I have ever been in my life, and I can't think of a better 60th birthday present!

The lilacs are progressing... and so am I.  No turning back!  Feeling mighty fine!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

12-Week Challenge Days 50-52

Just a shortie today as we prepare to leave for a little Spring get-away.  Guess what?  I'm gonna wear my skinny jeans and feel terrific.  (Not the #1 skinny jeans, but I'm getting closer!  These are the #2 skinny jeans that are getting baggy ....)

I had a fantasy yesterday ... that my doctor's appointment coming up in November, where we've agreed to test my osteoporosis again, is me looking like one of the before and after Body For Life stories and my doctor saying.  "Wow!  What did you do?"

And I'll say:  "Well, when you agreed that weight training and lifting was going to be great for my osteoporosis and overall health, I took you seriously.  And this is what happened."

Then her running the tests and calling back and saying.  "Just keep it up! What you are doing is helping!  The bone density and your management are extremely positive, and this is just excellent."

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 49

Oh, for a good LAUGH! Don't we all need MORE of them?!


I don't know that veggies meant much to me as a kid, but as an adult, they really ring my chimes ... I just can't get enough of them.  I always love a big salad, but TRULY LOVE them steamed, not too done with my kitchen hero: a veggie steamer!  I bought it for $5 at  my favorite thrift store.  I had never had much success with the one that works in the bottom of the pan ... you know the little collapsible stainless steel thing. 

But a TRUE STEAMER like the one below is a blast!

I use it constantly.  For some reason, everything tastes better, sweeter, crisp yet tender ... much less likely to get soggy/over-cooked.  More flavor -- often they don't need a THING to taste just fabulous.
Last night I finely sliced some cabbage, steamed them, and they made the perfect "noodles" for a veggie chow mein.  Delicious. In fact, I don't see why we can't use finely sliced cabbage as the perfect replacement for really any noodles????  They're so handy to cook in this, that you could really do the pasta for the rest of the family on the stove, and then this for us???

It's food (literally!) for thought, and to enjoy with 0 calories and lots of nutrients.

Body for Life is the real deal.  I called their 800 number with a workout question, and by golly if there wasn't someone there to chat with me on the phone (no hold) friendly, informed and interested in ME and how the challenge was going. 

Body for LIFE.  Cabbage "noodles" --  Broccoli "dogs" .... happy times!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

12-Week Challenge Days 43-48

Wow -- I don't know how 5 days crept by so quickly since posting, but they surely have.  It's been a very busy several days with Meridian responsibilities and managing our business.


What HASN'T gone by the way-side is sticking to the eating and exercise plan.  Boy, can I tell a difference.  On Sunday I wore a sweater that I don't even know why I bought it a year ago ... other than it was so cute at such a great price.  It surely didn't fit or go with anything.  But the 6 pounds gone and toning I have done is starting to really show.

I'm WELL aware that many are saying 6 pounds?  Oh, come on.  How could it make a difference? But you have to remember how very short I am (barely 4' 11") with a very medium bone frame.  No tiny Asian here to go with the very short height.  Throughout my entire life, 5 pounds is a full-size, and sometimes more.

Too, when you compare fat to muscle, there's a big difference!  In fact, as I am posting this photo, no WONDER my clothing is fitting so differently:  Above is 5 pounds of fat compared to 5 pounds of musle. ....

For General Conference weekend, we stayed very close to home to listen to the broadcasts.  On Saturday evening, I treated a friend to Subway -- how I love MUSTARD on everything these days.  I don't know why.  I just can't get enough of it!  It's easy for a sandwich to be a "mini-meal" by just not eating all the bread and adding a whole lot of veggies.  No Mayo is No big deal.

Our traditional Sunday General Conference feast was better than ever. For many years we have 3 friends who are more "family than family" -- Kathy, Kim and Maggie.  I fixed chicken cacciatore in the crock pot.  Always a favorite with lean chicken breasts, and lots of tomatoes and onions.  Kim,  who brings her delicious oatmeal "Conference" bread was not able to come -- the first time in at least 15 years, so no bread.  So Kathy brought some delicious Artisan bread instead that we enjoyed ... but a little went a long ways.

Beautiful Maggie (she's our accountant and our joke is that she knows more about us than God since she's been managing our businesses for going on 24 years ...) well she brought home cooked BEETS with a spice to them ... that was simply divine.  Oh, my. Oh, my. I could have made a meal of just that!  She did bring a butter sauce to go with them, and it too was delicious. A little went a long way, however, because the beets themselves were such a TREAT.

She also fixed a luscious green salad.

The fun thing about Maggie is that she is doing our challenge too, and her 5 pounds are REALLY showing as well! Her doctor is raving about the progress on her cholesterol levels (she's drinking the tea) telling her "whatever it is, just keep doing it!  This is fantastic!"

The dessert -- which has always been a pot luck of pie, ice cream, cookies, etc. had done a major overhaul.  Last October, half of us had abandoned sugar, so this time dear Kathy brought a luxury bowl of fruit with fresh pineapple and fresh BLUEBERRIES.

Does it get any better?  To feast on these luscious fruits and veggies, and the messages of conference and DEAR FRIENDS all in the same 4-6 hours?  Love it, love it.

Always so sad when it is over.

But -- I am looking forward to 6 months from now!  I have so much to show since October conference 6 months ago, and in the next 6 months I'll be able to say I've been sugar free for ONE YEAR!

My plan is to keep on exercising and eating right, simply as a matter of principle, to build strength and we'll see how the inches and pounds do as a secondary blessing.

I will NOT let this many days go again before blogging. Whether anybody reads these messages are not, it feels WONDEFUL to be honest and square with myself and the Lord on how I am taking care of myself -- I will NOT let it become an obsession or form of distraction, but will keep it in place as a means of serving my FAMILY and extending the precious hours of each day, week and month with health and energy.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 42

Today marks the half-way point of my 12-week Challenge!  There have definitely been some "lulls" in both my intensity and results, but overall, I'm way-enthused.  I think it must be the Youthin, the not perfect but consistent effort, etc., but I'm down about 6 pounds and the scale showed a number today I haven't seen in YEARS ... I just stared at it.  Everything is looser.  My skinny jeans, that I have used as my standard measure for over 10+ years, are still too snug to wear comfortably, but they zip.  Interestingly, I bought them when I was a Weight Wathcers leader, and my regular weight was actually a bit higher.  Goes to show how getting older has changed how it's all distributed.

I am ready to take on the 2nd half of the challenge with more discipline!  There will be more time since Cooper leaves on Friday to return to BYU-I.  It'll be just Bob and me, and the activity level is headed way-way-way down.  What a month it's been, with the quick trip to Texas and Mom, Cooper's arrival after 2 years in Brazil, all our children being here (and 2 little granddaughters for a week!)  So many dinners, friends, parties, gatherings, etc. for his return after 2 years.

It's just been magic.  I wish I'd taken more pictures.

WHEW -- But I've kept up with the program!  Exercise, mini-meals, water, Youthin ... And felt so physically fit and mentally in "high-five" mode for not just saying, "This is too crazy.  I'll start in April."

What it has all inspired more than anything else is that I LOVE the energy and clarity that comes from eating right and exercising.  I LOVE that more than indulging.  I LOVE leaving a restaurant comfortable and not stuffed.  I LOVE being able to wear my more fitted clothing.  I LOVE knowing that nobody (even my family) really cares that much about what I eat or how I look -- they love me for me. I LOVE being with them!

And that's why I want to be around for them in the healthiest best way possible, for both the immediate and long-term future.  The truth is, I am more secure,  more fun, happy, active, and comfortably "myself" when I feel my best.  And eating right and exercise does that for me. It's getting easier and easier to embrace this as a lifestyle.

OK -- DAYS 43-84!  I'M READY! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 41

I know I put it on this blog in one of the first posts -- that I'm an Elementary School Lunch Lady!  I am celebrating my 9th year with Fairfax County Public Schools.  People often ask me why, and I say "Well, it started out to provide health insurance for my family, since my husband has been self-employed for many years.  But it's grown into a really great way to spend 3.5 hours per day.  I'd be at home working/sitting at my computer, and this way, I'm on my feet getting great exercise, having a very fun time with both my co-workers and the children.  It's a great free lunch/salad every day. Yes, it's stressful, but it's also delightful.  I manage the rest of my day better, There's plenty of time off every day, and throughout the year.  Give me another five years, and there will be a little retirement too.  My uniform is as comfy as pajamas, it's 3 minutes from my house, and I love it!"

Yesterday our supervisor was there when I lifted a crate of milk (it holds 50 cartons) to move it from one cooler to another.  He kind of stared and said, "Did you really just lift that  like it was nothing?   Wow."  I just laughed, but apparently he brought it up again to my darling manager who said, "Well, truth is -- Carolyn's the oldest one here -- but she's the strongest and most fit."

Who would have thought?  I love it that that is how they perceive me.  I'm not going to let that change!  Body For Life has definitely upped my fitness level and strength, and with every passing day, I'm feeling the benefits. 

We took Cooper, and our other son and his wife to their all-time favorite steak house tonight for a last farewell dinner.  Mike's is the-the-THE place in our area for glorious food, service, atmosphere, etc.  I've never been a steak person ... and tonight was no different.  I always order this fabulous portabello mushroom entrĂ©e that, in my mind, is better than steak, and covered with roasted veggies.  YUM!

But tonight, I could only eat a small portion, and brought the rest home.  The company was by far the best part of the meal, and I'll make at least 2 meals out of that yummy vegetarian entre.  It's fun to leave a restaurant not stuffed and uncomfortable.

I wore my skinnier black pants, and we had such a great time -- I love how the Fat Burners make my skin look better ... or maybe it's the extra water or both.

BODY FOR LIFE!  So worth the exercise and effort.

Monday, March 31, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 40

I got up and really worked those weights this morning.  Our handweights only go up to 20 pounds, and that has gotten too light.  I will go shopping tomorrow for 25 pounders.  It was the most amazing thing, as I was focusing so hard (with my classical music urging me on -- that adds so much to my workout!) the answers to some concerns came so clearly in my head, as full sentences! It was SO encouraging ... and an answer to prayer that came at such a surprising time. 

Our wonderful Bishop and his wife had us over for dinner to see Cooper's missionary pictures from Brazil, and be with us before Cooper leaves on Friday.  She is a true health cook, and had fixed a delicious dinner with quinoa, chicken, and her own Ezekiel bread rolls with sprouted wheat.  She had a fabulous kale salad with raspberries, and She'd even made a dessert that I had a small taste of made with some grains, and a bit of powdered honey ... I'm not one to spend much time cooking, but her meal tonight was an inspiration.

I have a new book I'm so excited about:  "Joseph Smith and Natural Foods" by John Heinerman.  So many things have changed in 150+ years of course, but so many have NOT, and I'm excited to learn and share!

The scale is down another small notch or two, and the slacks that I was so tickled to wear to the Relief Society party two weeks, are VERY comfortable now.  A lovely day -- we will miss Cooper so much when he leaves the end of the week for BYU-I but it's a bigger thrill to watch your kids grow up and find their own paths :0) 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 39

Wrapping up the weekend.  I have got to get it through my head that if I want to exercise 6 days a week, I MUST get up early enough on Saturday to do that.  Sunday is definitely my day off from exercising.  A lovely, lovely Sunday at Church, then with Cooper's last Sunday with us.  We fixed his favorite baked chicken, sugar-free jello, and a big green salad.  Mashed potatoes and rolls for those who wanted them.  Yummy, but more than that -- yummy to the heart and spirit to just all be together before he leaves the end of the week.

It's Cooper's last week at home before heading off to Utah/Idaho and school.  There have been so many lovely invitations for us, and people we've invited as well.  One almost every day/night this week, and will be throughout this week too.

Last night we had a beautiful couple -- the wife who grew up in Brazil and the husband who went on his LDS mission to Brazil.  They met at BYU in the early 80's.  They are about our age, with grown children.  So talented and accomplished in their professions.  She brought a popular Brazailian bean and meat dish (fasjeida or something like that LOL) that is served over rice.  It was easy to make that work in the plan. I just had small servings of the rice and the lean beef.   We also had the popular soda that they drink constantly in Brazil called "Guarana" ... but after tasting it when Cooper first got home, I am back to  just water.  (Soda has not been a priority for me for many years)

Dessert was a chocolate Texas cake (Cooper's favorite), but we have become so comfortable saying, "Dessert and fruit" ... so everybody had whatever they wanted.  Cake or fresh strawberries and oranges.  It gets easier and easier and easier to just quietly pass, and at this point, nobody even really says a thing or thinks a thing when both Bob and I just have the fruit, or a little more salad from dinner.

I am ready to start the week with WORKING OUT HARD every day -- especially since there are special dinners Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with dear friends and family that mean the world to us.

The days of the challenge are clicking on by, and I know that the overall goal of the extended 10 (or 12 week as I am doing) challenge is to create a lifestyle.

Based on the ease of how easy it was to choose much smaller portions for our special meal last night, and not feel obligated to eat the chocolate cake or drink the soda with everyone .... I'm at peace, and not feeling deprived in any way.

Tonight I'm grateful for the wise choices I've made for many years that have laid a pretty good foundation for really upping it a notch these past several months.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 38

About the Protein Drinks:  Pumpkin pie anyone????

Gotta be honest.  I'm not really one for too much more than "real food" for weight management. I think it goes back to a crazy high school (oh, it's been a challenge all my life) program in one of my Mom's womens' magazine where they promised an unbelievable amount of weight loss on a crazy concoction of raw eggs, orange juice and vegetable oil.  One or two days did me for LIFE on weird drinks.

BUT -- I think things have come a long way since then, and I've been using a protein powder from Melaleuca where we are members for a long time.

Body For Life strongly recommends their protein drink for 2 or even 3 of the 6 mini-meals. Read further and it will say that it is optional, but all of those who were really successful on the plan credit the protein drinks for much of their success.

SO -- I've been doing the drink faithfully a couple of times a day for nearly every day of the program.  I like the simplicity.  I like feeling like I'm drinking a milkshake.  I don't plan on doing this for the rest of my life, but I WILL do it 'til the end of the challenge.  I don't get hungry with them.  Feel very satisfied.

Almost every morning I make a delicious green smoothie with the protein powder (chocolate or vanilla), plus 1/4 cup of tea concentrate, some flax seeds and a whole serving of baby spinach leaves -- about 4 cups.  I add some Truvia.  The spinach really has no flavor when mixed like this, it just adds VOLUME and BULK, which are terrific in my books.  It tastes wonderful with either chocolate or vanilla.

IMPORTANT:  I always use 1/2 cup of crushed ice and cold water from the refrigerator dispenser. This is what makes it COLD & THICK.  If it is not enough liquid to process in the blender, I add some more cold water and use a wooden spoon to finish processing it

But this morning I read about a recipe for a pumpkin pie protein shake, and couldn't wait to try it.  Oh, my goodness!  I feel like it's Thanksgiving and I'm scraping the bowl of the pumpkin pie filling. SO GOOD!  Reminds me of the time or two when I've splurged when McDonald's and other places have a pumpkin milkshake for about 9,000 calories. But this is a nutritious MEAL!

Use the vanilla protein powder.  Add 1/4 to 1/4 scoop of canned pumpkin, a bit of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to taste.  Truvia (my go-to sweetener) and blend.  DELICIOUS!  It tastes just like pumpkin pie filling before it is baked.

This is definitely a repeat recipe, and inspires me to try some other ways to super-charge both the nutrition and the satisfaction of the protein drinks.


Friday, March 28, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 37

Although the dates on the calendar don't match up -- with the week I didn't record things with all the family, I truly am at DAY 37 in my success journal. It's a slow success -- got to admit.  But there's no denying the changes in how my clothing fits, the strength and intensity increasing in my workouts, etc.  The best feeling of all is just DOING it every day.

There are several days to catch up on.  I always have so much going on in my head it's hard to know where to start.

I wrote the Dear Glenn Beck article for Meridian a week ago.  My heart really goes out to him, and so MANY people I know, even very, very close friends, who can no longer eat normally with everyone else.  Their bodies just don't process food normally. They come to social things, but "not to eat" as my friend and the mother of two children with food difficulties, told me. What a bummer!  What a lifestyle change that NOBODY should have to embrace  ....

One of the comments at the end of the article said "I am really getting quite sick and tired of all the silly hype about avoiding sugar. When you get older things continue to go wonky. So be it."  Others have said similar things to me ... and that's just fine.  Everybody sure gets to do what they want to do!  Even my own grown sons drink more soda than I'm happy about.  But that's their deal and they are fabulous regardless!

This is my choice -- and as I watch these same wonderful sons of mine have one or 2 cookies, or a little candy, and then forget that it's there -- that's when I KNOW that they operate on a different mentality than mine.  I'm so grateful.  YAY for them!  YAY for anyone who can eat and enjoy sweets and treats without it taking over the evening, or the good time. 

Just because I've learned for me (and me only) that often eating sugar opens the door to more-more-more-more-more doesn't mean it's that way for all.  But for too many times through too many years  I've lost my freedom for an extended period of time -- sometimes for a few hours or a day or so, others for extended weeks or months,doesn't mean it works that way for everyone else. 

I'm so glad for them!!! And so glad that I'm at last finding my way.

General Conference is next week.  That means it's just over 6 months since I began this life-changing journey.  One of the blogs was even about looking forward to April Conference, and that I would have made it through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. And it's true!  I have.

It's such a relief ... on a daily basis.  To have put sugar in a quiet place that doesn't shout at me anymore.  I know too well it doesn't stay there without diligence and awareness ... but I know too, that I CAN and I AM managing just fine.

No drama.  I'm moving on to more important things in life.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

12-Week Challenge Days 35-36

Shopping With Kelly

I have the cutest 20 year old daughter.  She is the prettiest girl, petite in height at about 5'3" ... which is about 4" more than her Mom has. Thank goodness for that.  Like me, she really watches her weight, and we are both envious of our friends who eat all they want without gaining an ounce.  Not so for us!  Never has been, never will be.  For both of us, it was at about age 12 when it becameVERY clear that weight management would be part of our lives, although it's not that way for her sister or her brothers.  C'est la vie! There are far worse things to have to deal with in this old life.

She is a student in Rexburg Idaho. Last Mother's Day (Spring 2013) I went out to be with her and other family members.  We went shopping at one of the amazing 2nd hand thrift stores that are HUGE and FUN.  Though neither of us are really "overweight" it was distressing how the clothing fit!  Since we are both so short, it is VERY difficult to find dresses that work.  If it fits in the shoulders, it's too long in the waist.  If it fits in the waist, it's too small elsewhere ... 5-10-15 pounds would have made a big difference, and we both knew it.

This particular trip was especially disappointing.  Depressing, actually.  I don't think either of us bought anything new to wear ... I left with some cute placemats and dishes. But what I really needed was something fun and new to wear to Church, or on a date with my handsome husband.

Kind of like cable TV -- how can there be SO many shows and not something good to watch?  How can there be SO many items of clothing, and NOTHING that fits or looks cute? So FRUSTRATING!  It seems so unfair that men can just go buy slacks and shirts.  But for women.  OH, the variables in our figures that make finding a great outfit so difficult. 

And when you're less than 5 feet tall, it's impossible to hide a single pound.  In addition, as I have aged, my shape has REALLY changed too.  What a bummer to watch everything literally drop and spread over the past several years. I am encouraged to find that working out over the past 4-5 weeks with weights is very slowly but very surely making a difference in re-shaping my body and how clothes fit. 
For both Kelly and I, one of our goals is to re-do that shopping trip when we are together later this summer for our big Family Reunion the end of July.  We're both EXERCISING and BODY FOR LIFING every day with a conscious goal of going to that SAME STORE and being able to put on things that look a whole lot better based on our dedication to strengthening our bodies.

You know, it's bothered me for a long time that I would rather go buy something for my house, or a new book, or something for my kids or grandkids as a fun little treat for myself, rather than something new for me to wear.  I want to be excited about shopping for ME and feeling like I look MY best -- even if I am turning 60.  Make that ESPECIALLY since I am turning 60!

It's just been SO discouraging for such a long time to find anything other than sweater sets and loose fitting pants and skirts (usually black) that is flattering. 

I have every intention of changing that with Body For Life, losing 5-10 pounds, and reshaping what God has very graciously given me.  I have every intention of seriously upgrading my style!  I don't want to wear sweater sets and black slacks/skirts for the rest of my life!

While this is not the Number 1 priority for doing Body For Life, as I think about it, life has been easiest and happiest at the times when I could find attractive, stylish things that fit without it being a production.

Sign me up.  I am in this for the duration, and the 12 weeks are going to be the foundation of a very sound personal investment on every level.

It all feels mighty good to me and I'm committed!

Monday, March 17, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 32-34

Life has settled down and we had a lovely weekend.  Just Cooper at home, for another 3 weeks, then it will be just Bob and me.

I had another fall on Saturday morning.  Not serious, but it was an eye-opener.  I left the house in the early morning darkness to take friends to the airport.  I didn't turn on the front porch light, but missed a step on our brick front porch.  All of a sudden - just falling.  Last summer we put a pretty railing on the porch, not really for support but curb appeal. But was  I ever grateful for that railing!

It was a renewed commitment to do my best with strengthening my body and agility for ME, but to also know that lots of things are out of our own control.  (And for heaven's sake, to turn on the porch light!)  I know a lady who missed a step from the kitchen to the garage one morning while rushing to leave for work.  She ended up breaking BOTH ankles and was out of commission for months.  Her weight played a part in it, and you better believe it was very difficult for her to manage her weight having to stay at home and off BOTH feet for that extended time of healing.

Yesterday, with the snow forecast, it seemed like we should bake a treat, some kind of a healthy "something" -- but we sort of never got around to it.  A cup of sugar-free hot chocolate more than did the trick later in the evening.  It continues to be a surprise and a relief that I don't need to overeat one day a week as I used to.  Even with the Body For Life program that allows a day off that is unmonitored.

It's been 2 weeks, so I measured again this morning and am down fractions of inches that add up to about 2-3 inches since last time I measured.  Not gonna set any records, but I'm the tortoise not the hare this time! 

No doubt about it, my clothing is definitely roomier and more comfortable.  Staying put at about 5 pounds lost since starting 5 weeks ago. I am encouraged about all of it, but most by the steadiness of spirit I am feeling in making the meal pattern and foods plus the exercising a  livable lifestyle/habit. 

I am thinking of it all as a TIME INVESTMENT that will pay off for the rest of my life.  Who doesn't have 10-12 weeks to do that?  And what better time than now.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 29-31

The party's over ... (I'm hearing the old tune that Nat King Cole sang in my head ... ) all the family and company have gone home.  My 92 year old Mother who lived with us for the past year and a half has moved to my sister's in Texas.  It has felt like 78 RPM (for those who remember the old record players) for longer than I care to even THINK about. 

The time has FINALLY come when I can do more for myself and for my 10-in-10 challenge buddies!  It's time to schedule some conference calls, start sending out a short message each day, etc.  YAY! 

Throughout the past week, with all the company and special happenings, I have not followed the B4L (Body for Life) 6-meals exactly, but generally, and this morning the scale was down another little bit. Just over five pounds in 5 weeks.  I exercised some, but not every day, and may put my finish date one week later with the big week that it was ... but I didn't bail on it at all, and it was SO fun to be trimmer and more energetic for this special family time!  To wear a size smaller ... and to forget about myself as we celebrated Cooper's return from Brazil together.

I'm well aware that this may seem like "nothing" to most of the world, but for an under 5 footer turning 60 in a couple of months, with a slowing metabolism, this is AMAZING!   I have tried for at least eight (maybe ten?) years to lose these 5-10 pounds. Nothing seemed to make a difference at all.  I am CONVINCED it is the Body for Life strategy of 6 small mini-meals each day, a little more protein and alternating the aerobics with the strength training/weight lifting.

With things settled down, I am committing to the Youthin as well.  I haved used it in the past, but not for more than a few days or a week at a time.  I have printed out all my own "Let's Do It!" handouts, and will do the Youthin through the end of my 12 week challenge.  What I loved about Youthin in the past was the nice energy flow AND that my skin looked brighter and younger. I'm excited to see how it goes for using it for the next 7-8 weeks!

I have a hard time remembering to take the 3 o'clock fat burner and capsule, so I've set the alarm on my cell phone as a reminder.

ANOTHER BIG THRILL:  For the monthly ladies night at Church last night, I wore a pair of fitted slacks that, like the dress last Sunday, I'd purchased a couple of years ago.  They were snug when I bought them (why do we even buy things that are too small?)  and I never wore them, but they were too cute (and too expensive) to just clear out of the closet and give away.

It felt so fun to wear them last night, with a cute top/sweater that I hadn't even realized matched them.
HOORAY!  I put them on as a lark, then found the top, and they were both  extremely comfortable all night! 

SO! It's five weeks into the challenge for me, and has already paid off in lovely ways.  I don't know that anybody else notices or cares, but it's not about THEM. It's about ME.  And I know how I can concentrate on others when I feel good about myself.

MORE THAN ANYTHING ... it's given me a bright and shining window to look forward to.  Definitely more energy and clarity.  And an improved VISION of what I'm all about  What if it turns out that my favorite exercise (lifting weights) is one I can do on my own terms on my own schedule at my own house, and that it results in stronger BONES and looking/feeling a whole lot better?

I'm thrilled to have a fun group with me as well, and committed to being as much of a support to them as they will let me be through daily messages and phone calls a couple of times a week.

Life is good :0)  Body for LIFE!

Monday, March 10, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 26-28

As I write this on Monday Morning, I am starting WEEK 5 of my 12 week challenge.  So much happened last week between snowstorms, tea business matters, and most of all the arrival of our son Cooper from his mission!  Our daughters from Utah and Idaho arrived, along with 2 granddaughters, a son and daughter-in-law from Texas, and other family and friends that are "more family than family" ... through it all I could have eaten (and in the past have) anything and everything that came my with all the hub-bub. Double and triple portions in a "celebration" mode/excuse. But I did not.

And it was just fine.  How far I have come since last fall with managing sugar!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART:  Cooper and the great, (and extremely fun!) blessings of all our kids being together for the first time in three and a half years.  "Families can be together forever" felt very, very real this weekend, and I will never forget the great spirit of it all!  I wish I had a picture to post here, and will get them from my daughter-in-law today to post ASAP.

As I got up yesterday (Sunday) morning at 5.AM (so early for Cooper's report to the Stake President and his group) ... I thought "It is all such a special -- how I wish I had something cute and new to wear!"  I thought of a dress I had purchased a couple of years ago for "inspiration"  -- more fitted than I usually wear, and definitely a size or 2 to small.   I had not even put it on after squeezing into at the store, and it has just been hanging there for 2 years!

I PUT IT ON -- and it fit!  Just comfortably and wonderfully!  It was so worth every effort of the past five weeks to have that little dress and sweater.  I wore it from 6 AM until about 10:30 PM, when every last guest (we figured 75-100 church friends and neighbors) who came to our welcome home party last night for Cooper.  That little fitted dress was COMFORTABLE ALL DAY!

Far more important was Cooper, his address in Church, our family, dear friends/neighbors and the great spirit and celebration of the day, but feeling good in that dress was a delightful bonus that I will not forget!


FRIDAY-SATURDAY BEACH TRIP: We went for a quick overnight to the beach, mostly for our favorite-in-the-world pizza and fun clothes shopping for Cooper at the outlets, and a chance to all be together in the car for several hours up and back.  I found that 1 piece of pizza was more than enough, and a lot of salad with a little dressing on the side.

THE FAMILY DINNERS: We returned late Saturday, for our oldest son and daughter-in-law from Texas who had just arrived. We served an old family favorite:  make-your-own sub, and tomato soup.  I just forfeited the bread, and had a dandy little meal.  Once again, no one REALLY cares what you eat.  I can eat to suit myself!

ON Sunday we had lasagna (the frozen ones from Costco that everyone loves, especially the kids), and I had a small piece, but will do better on that one next time, as I've found I really don't care for it even all that much. But still fun.

THE WECOME HOME PARTY:  Of course we had the Costco cake, that in the past has been a huge problem ... but I didn't have any -- and didn't even care.  There's some leftover, but I know it won't be the problem it was in the past.  We baked a whole 6-7 dozen of the Nestles chocolate chip cookies from the tub -- where I used to eat the cookie dough.  But somehow they all got baked, served and were gone -- and I didn't have one.  I did have a few chips. .... People brought rich cookies, lemon bars, etc.  Those sugary things came and went without me even tasting.

We served WATER to drink, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies as well.  And that was that!

The FUN of all those friends, guests and family far surpassed any thing we served, and the day is one I will treasure for eternities. 

I will post a picture later today or tomorrow. 

My FAVORITE people in the world are my husband, grown children and the beautiful families they are building.  I will do WHATEVER it takes to spend every possible moment with them and do whatever I can to build, strengthen and add to their lives and  joy so that our goal of being a forever family will continue be a great desire for all of us ... What a difference it makes to be at a greater sense of peace with my health and body.  I can forget myself and just enjoy them, and be there for them in the ways that matter most.
FOR FUN:  A dandy new outfit never hurts ...  and a desire to be IN the pictures rather than just TAKE them is a gift all by itself!

Friday, March 7, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 23-25

Oh, my goodness, what a FUN roller coaster ride this week. Our missionary son Cooper (serveing in Santa Maria Brazil since March of 2012) arrived just two days ago! Our daughters from Utah and Idaho arrived later that afternoon with our 2 little granddaughters.  We spent the day driving in the car to both airports, (BWI and DULLES) Emily and her little girls were a surprise for all, so it was just a blast.

Cooper is amazing and wonderful!  Our daughter in law Cydney made the loveliest video that I am sharing here.

That meal at the end?  Chipotle.  And me?  The burrito bowl -- without cheese, without sour cream, without guacamole, without a lot of things but mostly veggies, a little rice and little beans, and it tasted fabulous.  Next time I'll have the put half in another bowl to take home.  All OK.

We made the traditional family Texas Cake to welcome home (hello 3 sticks of margarine ... and me nibbling half of it to death for years,) but now it's Friday. That cake has come and gone without a blip on my screen.  What a joy and a relief.

As far as exercise, my weight training stuff is in the downstairs family room, where everybody is sleeping.  No room there, so I've turned to the old stair-stepping machine in the garage.  Cold, yes.  But a BETTER aerobics workout.  I've been enjoying high stepping on the trampoline, but this is working the old legs and heart even better.  I won't be giving it up.

The most important thing is my darling FAMILY.  All together for the first time in nearly four years, and the time together is just so rewarding for parents.  To feel so good physically is a tremendous blessing as well, as the demands on our time the past 2 weeks have been absolutely unreal.

YAY 12-Week Challenge!   YAY 5 pounds down!  Life has never been sweeter ... without sugar.

There are nearly 75 people getting launched on the challenge, and starting MOnday, I'll be sending daily messages.

WELCOME ALL!  Enjoy this fun video of us at the airport on Wednesday ....

We're off to a fun overnight at a favorite beach place, and his homecoming is on SUNDAY MORNING.  Don't know if I'll have time to blog before Sunday night or Monday morning, but I'm IN THERE, and eating right ... for every right reason.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 18-22

Whew - so much has happened since the last post, I hardly know where to start.

MOST EXCITING:  As I prepared the lists for the 10-in-10 Challenge, there are over 50 participants!  Woo-hoo for all!  I'm tickled to have powerful messages to share every day, starting tomorrow.  But today is my own update:

I was all set to post on Thursday, my own Day 19 of Body For Life, when the power went out and was gone for 5 hours.  It surely made me grateful to live in the USA where this is an exception.  It was our night to finish getting ready to take Mom to Texas the next day, so instead we visited with neighbors (coming to bid her good-bye) by candlelight -- how they have loved her!  Guess which was more fun?!  Packing or visiting???  One brought cookies, and she said, "I know you won't eat these, but maybe your Mom will ..."  It's kinda fun to know that's my reputation!  People seeing me as a healthy, disciplined eater who doesn't do cookies.

In any event, we got up at 4:30 the next morning (power came on at midnight) and it all got done before I went to my little day job.  I am so GRATEFUL for the 6 mini-meals. It has made a huge difference mentally to know that I can eat that much.  The scale is doing great.  For me.  Others, I know, wouldn't be thrilled with this nearly 4 pound loss as I am for this many days on the program,  But these are pounds that haven't budged in YEARS (as in 5+ years) so I'm thrilled.  It gives me hope that I really CAN get down, and into clothes that I've given up on.

I wore my jeans on the plane, and they were COMFORTABLE the whole time!  These are ones that I put away last Spring, as they were way too tight.  By the end of the sugar-free cravings month of October, they were wearable, and now they are just comfortable.  Happy times.

We stayed with our married kids in Austin, Texas, who live just 20 minutes from my sister where Mom now is.  Justin & Brooke, and their 6 darling little kids, ages 10-2. 

In the past, I've just eaten whatever while we've been there -- lots of kids stuff, cereal, chips, etc.  But not this time.  Just the fruits and veggies that Brooke always has.  I passed up with no problem the big fresh doughnuts that were there at the end of the kids' community basketball games.  Then neighbors brought over a huge plate of chocolate iced cookies, that were no problem to just leave ... all in all. 
What a CHANGE from past trips where I just ATE the whole time.

I did have a FALL:  I went to the playground with Luke (nearly 2) and Lexie (4 1/2) during one of the basketball games when the little ones were bored.  The play set was wet from an early morning rain, and I just plain missed a step that I didn't see.  Wow.  I fell on all fours, landing hard on one hand, but was just fine.  Such a wake-up call, however, that this is what my efforts to strengthen myself are all about.  And it will be WORTH it to do whatever I can.

I did miss my 6 mini-meals, my protein and more veggies that I'm used to when on my own.

I know I've expressed it before, but I can't get over that at the end of this VERY stressful stretch of several months with more challenges than this blog is about -- I'm at a lower weight than I've been at for years and so on top of my health game, so much more interested in healthy eating and cooking, so able to just ignore the sweets and treats that have dominated my life -- especially during stressful times.

The energy that comes from this renewed focus and self-management is really a mood lifter!

Taking on the Body For Life challenge is helping me address the remaining carbs cravings, and helping me to fill them with complex carbs (fruit and whole wheat) in such a better way.  (I said good-by to the "C"s as in candy, cake, cookies, cream frostings, ice-cream, etc. in October, but really ate more bread than I knew was wise.)

Now I'm taking that on too, and it just feels SO good!

Now we're busy getting ready for COOPER to come home tomorrow!  Outside is a frozen winter landscape ... and it's been a lot of work to get our house back to normal -- moving Mom's hospital bed, couch, etc. to storage.  Getting the dining room table out of storage, etc., etc.  We love her with a all our hearts and will do ANYTHING for her ... but it makes me more determined than ever to not have my kids need to do this much for me.  Anything I can do to address my own needs is my personal choice and priority for my later years!

She was just darling as she watched the preparations for the trip, but feels so sad, knowing how much is required to care for her in our homes.

We've turned the page for a new chapter now, as Cooper comes home for a short stay before heading off to BYU-I.

This is our WEEK! With Cooper's return, my daughers and granddaughters coming from Utah and Idaho, Spencer & Cydney here, and Brooke & Justin also coming!  ALLL my children... how I love them all and want the best for each of them!  And for ME not to EVER be a burden on them!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

12-Week Challenge - DAY 17

Today marks two months since Mom's fall the night after Christmas.  She broke her left shoulder.  It was not a serious break, but it was a complete game changer on her care, her independence and the roles of all her six children.  Bob and I are here in Virginia pretty much alone with her as my siblings are scattered all over the country with varying abilities and circumstances to pitch in.   It has been especially difficult on every level as she has lost so much independence.  For 2 weeks, she truly thought she had come to the end of her life, and had 6 separate out of body experiences that lasted for several hours.  And during those weeks chose to be alone with no contact other than me and Bob ... It's been a very spiritual time of solitude for her!  In the end, however, her body rallied, and the plan we'd made before Christmas to move her to my sister's in Texas, is happening this weekend.  We will fly with her there on Friday and return on Sunday.

I won't try to describe all the emotions ... all I can say is that if this had happened before October, I would have GAINED 10 pounds, eaten everything in sight, my skin would be a mess, and I'd be an emotional train wreck.  And sad and embarrassed that nothing fits.

As it is, I'm just tired.  I can get over that :0) My slacks fit, my skin looks great, and with all the emotions of the situation, I know that they haven't been mucked up with sugar highs and lows. Those strong emotions are the real deal.  How I love my Mom, but most of all my husband.  What amazing people they both are.  But it's time for us to be on our own.

I think the highlight of my day was my 20 minute aerobic session!  I looked forward to it, and worked up to my 4 cycles with greater intensity on each one!  I didn't have to stop at all until I hit the last "all-out" push for level 10 intensity.  I haven't felt pushed and exhilarated like that since I did timed runnings for physical fitness tests in middle school and high school.

How good it is to have this exciting new challenge, even if the timing coincides with so many immediate family needs.

One week from today Cooper will be home from his mission in Brazil!  We are SOOO excited!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

12-Week Challenge: DAY 16

(For New Readers looking for the October Beat Sugar entries, please click on "Older Posts"  They were done throughout October 2013.)

I continue to just get excited everyday by the messages and before/after pictures from the Success Journal!  (Available at Amazon CLICK HERE  It's kind of pricey ($22.00) for how I usually live on the thrifty side of life, but is 100% helping me stay enthused and committed.  When I think of how much a Weight Watchers meeting cost, this is very affordable ... and I deserve and need it!

What if the real me, turning 60 in May, is a whole lot stronger physically and mentally, than I had originally thought was possible?  I love the growing vision in my heart of the last 30 years of my life being in peak physical form ... for doctors and family and whoever to say, "You look terrific!  How'd you do that?  And for it all to reflect how STRONG my bones and muscles are.

Bill Phillips has a quote in one of his books that a healthy spirit deserves to live and thrive in a healthy body.  I like that a LOT.

Lots of new people joining the 10 week challenge, and to you I say, "Woo-hoo!  Welcome!"

It seems crazy to me that I am taking this challenge on when my family life is as busy as it has ever been with 1) preparing to take/move my 92 year old Mom to Texas on Friday afternoon with Bob and spend a day with our grandkids in Austin as well; 2) Returning on Sunday afternoon to Virginia; 3)  then cleaning and preparing for family to start arriving on Monday afternoon all to celebrate; 4)Cooper's return from Brazil on Wednesday afternoon.  The rest of the week is schedule in much of the same way ... with things that everybody wants to do while they're home.

Could the timing be any tighter?  I don't think so, and was totally out of our control on this crazy situation since Mom's fall on December 26.  

So!  You know what?  Life will ALWAYS be busy (maybe not THIS busy, but always things happening.)  That's how it is!

I loved a Neal Maxwell quote -- something to the extent that  "You should definitely plant shade trees.  You may not find much  time to sit under them, but they're lovely to look at ... and think about."

So --

1)  Will there EVERY be a BETTER time to do this challenge? No. 
2) Do I feel SO much better on top of my game when I'm eating and exercising? Yes.
3) When did eating out of control and sugar when under pressure and stress EVER help?  Never.4)When does eating right and exercising help with stress?  Always!

'Nuf said.  Carry on, my dear.
Tonight Mom, who dearly loves her treats, and I went through her dresser where her stash is.  Before October, that was always a good place for me to find/snitch candy.  It still is, although now I don't care and didn't give ANY of it a second thought as we scooped it up to send with her:  Chocolate marshmallows, Gourmet Canadian toffee and caramels, suckers, peanut butter cups, chocolate-orange sticks, a box of licorice all-sorts that I used to just love ... Hershey's kisses.  Imagine all of that JUST SITTING THERE and it not even being a temptation anymore. 

I fixed dinner for the missionaries tonight as well -- and how odd to be able to scoop out chocolate chip cookies from the tub we keep for that very purpose, and not need to eat the dough as I went along.  It's strange, I remember years ago as a freshman at BYU baking cookies with a gorgeous girl named Ruby with a beautiful figure.  We made the whole batch and she didn't lick a spoon, scrape a bowl for tastes, eat the dough in any way at all.  Why should I remember that from 1972 ... 40 years ago?  But I do.  And now I'm turning into that.

It feels WONDERFUL! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 15

I am just 2 weeks into this 12 week journey.  Woke up overhwelmed with all there is to do to get ready to take Mom to Texas on Friday, return home and get our home ready for Cooper's return, and all the other family.  Do I have time to exercise and think about eating?  Do I even want to?

Cooper, our 4th child, comes home from his LDS mission in Brazil next week!  We're so very excited.  All of my e-mails to him have had a title from the hymn book: Today's was "Does The Journey Seem Long" ... his 2 years are nearly over. 
Feeling somewhat burdened, I headed downstairs and opened my B4L Success Journal.  There was the before-after story for the day, a busy airline pilot.  What a difference in his smile and the shape of his body.  That did it for me.

I got on that trampoline and did it with INTENSITY. It felt so good to let my concerns and stress of all that is happening be thrown into my energy there.  (LIstening, as always, to my classical music.)  I was SO much stronger today!  Only had to stop about 2 times on the last two intense level 9s, instead of every 10 seconds.

I felt so much better I did a weigh-in and was shocked to see I'm down a bit over 4 pounds since starting, and over an inch and a half from my waist.  So encouraging. 

And what a great way to launch the day ... so different than how I woke up.  All in about 45 minutes from just "doing it."  right out of bed. 

The more I drink water, the more I need drink, and that is great too :0)  Did 2 of my meals together, and I don't think I want to do that again.  But all in all ... not too bad for how intense the day was in many ways. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

12 Week Challenge DAYS 13-14

I am thrilled to see so many new readers at the blog, and new people joining the 10-in-10 Challenge!  I so hope (and have it in my prayers) that it will be a rewarding and wonderful experience for all. 

When my children were all home,  weekends were difficult times to eat wisely.  Teenagers and kids coming and going and all their activities always meant lots of food that wasn't what I really wanted to eat, but in the name of convenience and going along (and the time element) ... it was difficult to follow any kind of plan.  Gotta say that being just adults at home makes healthy eating a lot simpler!

Today is my Mom's last Sunday with us.  (For new readers: She has been with us for a full 18-months -- bed-ridden for nearly all things but getting to the bathroom, and had a fall the day after Christmas that completely changed our game.  We love her very much.  She is 92, very alert and a spiritual giant, but has become completely handicapped due to osteoporosis, curvature of the spine, and complications from lower-body injuries earlier in life.)

We will take her (Bob and I) to Texas and my sister who lives there next Friday. (Flying -- very carefully and with a lot of planning!) So, today was our last home-sacrament meeting with her.  Spencer and Cydney (my son and his wife) came and joined us for the day. They are cute and fun ... Spencer is a big cookie guy.  I'm not going to not have the things he is used to for snacks and hanging here, but we've more than figured it out:  A tub of Costco Chocolate Chip cookie dough, that we keep frozen in the outside freezer.  And some leftover candy from different things/Christmas on a shelf that I forget about and cannot reach.
BUT:  That tub of cookie dough was a huge problem for me for years!!! We bought it often for the exact purpose of being able to make cookies in a hurry for whatever.  Why did we need it often? Because I ate the dough.

 I'm embarrassed to admit how often I'd just plain eat most of it.  Quietly on my own.  I am humbled to realized that those days are gone! It's hard to even believe myself that I forget about that tub until he comes, then grateful I have it for Spencer.

Today was my "FREE DAY" on the B4L program, and I thought I might eat a taste of the cookie.  I put it in my mouth --- and within seconds realized it didn't even taste very good.  I remembered, too, a week ago waking up with that awful feeling in my stomach after bread late in the day.  So I didn't eat it.  Just spit it out.  And that was that.  Wow.  I don't know that I'll ever eat chocolate chip cookies again.

We cooked a turkey dinner -- one of Mom's favorites and Bob's too -- for her last Sunday here.  Everybody dearly loves cranberry sauce, but another shocker:  I didn't even want any.  The turkey (we always just cook a breast in the crock pot til it falls apart... SO SCRUMPTIOUS) was so perfect without any-any-anything!  I did have a small portion of potatoes and gravy.  Skipped the rolls.  We steamed some broccoli, and had sugar-free jello with fruit.

I was really too full at the end, though my portions were small. I think I'm REALLY getting used to the smaller, more-often meals.  And finding that's how I'm just plain the most comfortable. 

It seems that as the days go by, more than I had ever thought possible, food is becoming a pleasant interlude, but not the dominating part of my thoughts, as it has been most my life.

Humbled IS the word.  Seeing my mom's frail little body ... oh what inspiration she continues to provide for me to be as strong and healthy as possible!  To take whatever preventative measures are possible to build bone and muscle to ward off the further deterioration of osteoporosis in my spine, hips and to the strength and agility to catch/support myself in the event of a fall.

YAY -- SO excited to start Week 3 tomorrow!

Friday, February 21, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAY 11-12

I am so excited.  Scot has agreed to allow me to share what I am doing with Meridian ... will there ever be enough words of gratitude for them and their marvelous publication?  It brings so much good to this world, so lovely -- yet so difficult!  Even when you have the truths of the gospel.

And why is it that food is such an easy place to run to when things get scary or tough?

There will also never be enough words for the depths of gratitude I feel for being free from sugar.  I blogged about it through October, and now that it's four months later, what a relief to have been able to help my mom, the changes in her life and ours over the past 2 months -- WITHOUT SUGAR! Without gaining weight! Without the sugar blues.  Whatever I have felt and said, has been from the heart and not from the distortions to mood and spirit that sugar brings.

Today was very busy.  Maggie, our accountant spent the day with us for our tea business.  Oh, my.  I do wear a lot of hats.  Most of them are very fun, and I love every aspect of our business.  Including the jigsaw puzzle of bookkeeping.  But the end of the year business matters, and meeting up with all the local and federal government requirements are not for the faint of heart.

Thank goodness for the extra soup from night before last:

A long time family favorite. 

1 Jar of spaghetti sauce
1 Jar of water
1 Bouillon cube
1 large chopped onion
1 box of frozen spinach.

Bring all but spinach to a gentle boil.  Add the box of frozen spinach.  Lower the heat and cover.  Cook gently until the spinach is well cooked.  Serve over pasta, or our favorite:  ravioli squares.

Today, as it was reheated, I added TOFU.  YUM! It is basically flavorless, but turns into whatever you need it to be and is INSTANT protein!  A piece of whole wheat toast on the side.

Well, in a bowl of soup is peace and happiness, and solace.

And with Body for Life -- you can eat again in just a few hours.

What's not to love?

And NOW I GET TO SHARE IT ALL with my Meridian FRIENDS!!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

12-Week Challenge DAYS 9-10

Lots happening with getting ready to move my Mother to Texas a week from now.  I could go on and on about her, my love for her, how I admire her, how none of us ever expected her to live so long ... but I'll just leave it as a great deal of gratitude for all the good she brings and the strength she possesses and shares with the world.  And what it all inspires for our family and far beyond.  She practiced sitting in her wheel chair for a couple of hours today, getting ready for sitting a long time at the airport and on the plane. Good for her!

I think I could live this program forever.  Eating 6 times a day, knowing that there's a day you can take off ... Although quite truthfully, my Freebie day will never be based on mindlessly eating sugar, cookies, cookie-dough, dessert or "whatever comes along".  If I have it, it will be a CHOICE, and for something very special.  It is very different know than back in October when I thought about it all the time.  I just don't think about it the same.

As I chatted with my sister about it (who had read through the blog here) I voiced again the social elements that are involved.  I'm working my way through them.  But 98%, quite honestly, are not big enough at this point to get too twitter-pated.  Lots of people don't drink alcohol or soda, smoke, eat certain foods, wear certain items of clothing, etc., etc.  I don't do sugar.  As a matter of choice. 
"Ain't no big thing" -- as they used to say in Hawaii. 

But it was until 5 months ago.

Tonight as we were watching the Olympics, I ate the rest of the green salad from dinner with my fat-free Italian dressing.  It lasted ever so much longer than a cookie or a bowl of ice cream.  And totally satisfied that need for "something to crunch on". 

To not be done eating ... but quite honestly with those 6 little meals a day, I'm often eating, and even well into the evening, which is a lovely change of pace!

I think the biggest thing happening is my increased stamina.  I'm getting excited about being able to lift more, and last a little longer with my workout sessions.

As we watched the gorgeous women figure skaters tonight, just little wisps -- dancers really -- yet so incredibly athletic, I refuse to get involved in any kind of judgment on my own lack of athletic prowess.   Or really any athletic interest, to be honest.  My sons Spencer and Justin got it all for the whole family.

But the lifting is REWARDING, and my classical music on WETA radio is just perfect for it.

Can't wait for my upper body workout tomorrow morning.  Ben (my neighbor/trainer) is going to come over at 7:00 a.m., and he's so fit and such a fun contrast age-wise and every-wise that it's just plain FUN.  It all (including his company) gives me a lift that lasts all day.  I love to see  how he has taken his work/talent as a gymnast and professional clown seriously.  He's got some great abs exercises, and is patient with me just finding my wings with all of this.  It's like having one of my kids root for me.

YAY for today.  Yay for tomorrow.  Yay for how 10 glasses of water a day is blessing my SKIN. YAY for how comfortable it is quickly becoming as a way of LIVING.