Eat Well, Move More

Somehow I missed posting yesterday. Actually, I know how that happened. Lack of sleep and lack of good, nutritious food.

My travels, from bus to cab to plane to plane, over the past couple of days have left me feeling a blur. Very little sleep has my words all jumbled and dull. And lack of food, partially due to a tight budget, but traveling this way brings its own set of challenges and limitations. For example, dinner last might was from a vending machine: poptarts, chex mix, and chocolate milk.

I’m in a complete carb fog. Choices for breakfast this morning weren’t much better. Heavy and upset belly, loaded down with not so great calories. I’m so looking to a comfortable bed and a home cooked meal at the end of these travels.

{October 1, 2013}   NaBloWriMo Day One

So, I’ve jumped in and joined the NaBloWriMo for 2013.  What is that?, you ask.  It’s a challenge where bloggers commit to posting to our blogs everyday for the entire month.  Today is day one.   

I’m hoping to find some motivation and inspiration during this challenge. I’m hoping to get back into my writing and blogging groove again. Life has run away with my writing time. And my cooking time, my work out time, and well, you get the picture. I’m going on a new adventure beginning tomorrow.  Not that I want to give a blow by blow of my life, but the eating-well-moving-more-loving-life is what I want to share.  

So, sit back, grab some popcorn, and prepare to be amazed…ha, ha, just kidding. 


{February 9, 2013}   Therapy


Not much to say today. I spent the entire day in bed dealing with simultaneous depression and anxiety. This is just part of what I deal with having MVPS.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I decided it was time for some nourishment therapy…or cooking if you will. Chopping colorful, fragrant vegetables is calming and therapeutic for me. It serves a dual purpose, nourishing both body and spirit.



{December 29, 2012}   Simple Spaghetti

Simple Spaghetti and green salad

Simple Spaghetti and green salad


Dinner tonight was refreshing and satisfying. After months of just eating, and not well, I needed to cook, actually cook for myself.  I’ll confess that the past month has been more full of eating take out or “quick and easy” foods that are not necessary good for me.  I blame it on not having the energy or desire to cook.

Dinner tonight was simply spaghetti and a green salad. Something about a nice steaming pile of spaghetti and tomato sauce makes me want to eat a salad. The two just pair together nicely. The spaghetti is comforting, and the salad is energizing.  It was the simplest meal to make.  Nothing fancy. Just good food.

My Simple Spaghetti:

  • Spaghetti
  • Canned Italian style diced tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil, oregano, garlic, sea salt, other spices as desired
  • A wedge of Laughing Cow tomato basil cheese (I was out of parmigiana)

Cook the spaghetti to al dente, then strain & rinse. Mix in about a teaspoon of olive oil and return the spaghetti to the pan.  Mix in the canned tomatoes and spices, warming over low heat for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in the wedge of cheese until melted.  Serve with a green salad tossed with a simple vinaigrette dressing.



{November 27, 2012}   Hitting a wall

Oh my! It’s been nearly five months since I’ve updated this blog.  Perhaps I should explain the reason behind my writer’s block.

I hit a wall.


In my last post in July, I mentioned my difficultly with completing a moderate workout, experiencing  asthma symptoms, rather shortness of breath, and dizziness.  After several more attempts at the same workout, I was still taking breaks and not completing the full workout. Even worse, I hit a wall of fatigue and pain that caused the walls to crumble in around me.

Flu-symptoms and exhaustion kept me bedridden on my days off from work.  Heaviness and burning aches increased in my limbs. The dizzy spells became more frequent. Panic attacks set in. By panic attacks, I mean full-fledged heart-beating-out-of-my-chest and feeling like my skin was crawling off of my body, leaving me unable to sit still yet unable to move. The panic attacks woke me from deep sleep at night. At one point, I felt like I might have been having a heart attack.

I suspect that the panic attacks at night were caused by nightmares, and I’m pretty certain I know the cause of those. However the frequent panic attacks in the daytime seemed to have no relevant reason.

After several trips to my health care provider, a few dramatic and frightening fainting spells, several missed work days, a referral to specialist, and a few medical tests later, I had my diagnosis. More accurately, I had a few diagnoses and a bag of new prescriptions.

My main diagnosis: Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome .  A fancy term for a heart condition that comes with an imbalanced nervous system.  Good news, it’s not life threatening. Annoying news, it can be life interrupting.

So, now that I’ve absorbed my diagnosis and allowed myself time to adjust to my medications, it’s time to adapt my lifestyle. And time to adapt how I will bring my lifestyle to the healthy lifestyle that I want.

Stay tuned to find out how I accomplish that.


{July 2, 2012}   Jillian kicked my arse

Oh. My. Goodness.

I’ve spent the past few months trying to work back up my stamina. I’ve progressed from a few minutes of walking a day to nearly an hour a day, at least 5 days a week.  I’ve only had one episode of debilitating pain and fatigue that kicked me down.  I thought I was ready to step it up to the next level of exercise, so I picked out a workout DVD from my collection of DVD’s.

My choice today: Jillian Michael’s Biggest Winner series.

I chose it for its combination of large and small muscle group exercises, and for the simplicity of basic exercises. The last thing I wanted was fancy footwork or complicated combinations. I am so uncoordinated these days.

Jillian kicked my arse. I only made it half-way through the first DVD this morning.  I stopped a couple of times, pausing to catch my breath, then rejoined. I had to stop at the point that I was dizzy.

I’m not  sure if I was pushing myself too hard or if my asthma was to blame.  Nevertheless, I got more of a workout than if I had not done it at all. I will try it again this evening after work.  And I’ll continue to try, over and over.

Something to keep in mind about workout DVD’s: You can pause. You can take a bit of a break (while still moving around, walking to keep your heart rate up) and rejoin it. It is also OK to stop when it gets to be too much, cool down, stretch, and go back to it another day.  Just don’t give up easily.

{June 30, 2012}   Peaches and Cream

Lighter Peaches & Cream French Toast

Before Baking…after setting overnight in the fridge.

I love breakfast foods. I can’t help it. And when my children are staying with me, it is so much more fun to try new breakfast recipes.  This morning my children had Peaches & Cream French Toast Casserole, modified from this recipe at   They use french bread, whole milk and cream in their recipe. I don’t usually keep those kinds of foods in my refrigerator. My version is slightly lighter on the calorie and fat side.

I made a half batch, so I had to tweak measurements. I love to cook. I love new recipes, but I hardly follow them to a T. This is not a “quick breakfast”.  It worked well for me to prepare it over night, and my teenager popped it into the oven in the morning, while everyone else was getting ready for the day. I’ll try my best to recreate my “recipe” here:

6 slices of whole wheat bread (stale is better than fresh), cut into cubes

3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup 2% milk (or skim if you prefer)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. sugar (or honey)

approximately 8 to 12 oz. frozen or fresh sliced peaches

For the Topping:

1 cup 2% (or skim) milk

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. lemon rind

1 Tbsp cornstarch

  1. Layer the bread cubes into a lightly oiled 8×8 casserole dish. 
  2. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, vanilla and sugar. Pour egg mixture over the bread, and shake the casserole dish to to allow mixture to seep into all of the bread. Layer the sliced peaches on the top, and then put the casserole into the refrigerator to set over night. 
  3. For the topping: In a small sauce pan, mix together the topping ingredients (milk, sugar, nutmeg, lemon rind, cornstarch) and bring almost to a boil. Watch closely, you don’t want to scorch this.  
  4. Once almost to a boil, simmer on a low heat, stirring frequently while waiting for the mixture to reduce & thicken to consistency of “cream”. Allow the cream to cool in the fridge over night. I just put mine into a mug.  
  5. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the “cream” over the top of the casserole, covering the peaches.  Let the casserole set on the counter for about 1/2 an hour before putting into the oven. B
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until set.  Cool slight, and serve. 
We didn’t even need syrup. It was just sweet enough.  Not to mention, it looked beautiful!   I was able to get a very small piece. The kids gobbled up the rest. 
If you try this, let me know what you think. I guessed on my measurements, so you may need to tweak to your taste.

{June 25, 2012}   A Delicious Twist on Oatmeal

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that “I just don’t do that oatmeal thing”.  Oatmeal in the traditional sense just does not sit well with me. The texture is just, well, yucky. My children are staying with me, so I was looking for recipes to stretch some pantry items (such as oatmeal) and make a healthy breakfast. I stumbled across this fabulous recipe at A Cozy Kitchen.  I had the strawberries (in the freezer) and the oatmeal, so we gave it a go. This was fantastic!  No gooey oatmeal texture, not a cookie either.  It was a delightful springy, muffin like experience.  We used double the strawberries and it turned out just fine.  Check out Adrianna’s recipe linked below.

Some of the best stuff isn’t planned. And today I present you the most delicious accident that’s happened in a loooong time. You’re actually supposed to be staring at cute little baked oatmeal cups. I pictured you whipping them up

via Strawberry Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal.

Adrianna’s photos are much prettier than mine. But this was my first try at making this recipe, and this was the piece I was able to salvage from my hungry children.

{June 16, 2012}   What lurks in the closet

Super sexy summer sandles

I was getting ready to reply to a couple of comments to my last blog post The Ugly Truth…the numbers, when I realized that maybe I should just start another post.

Erin said: “I enjoy wearing cut off shorts and sweatshirts. Will that change when I finally feel good about my body?…”

Beca said: “My goal is to be able to stand up straight and put on those heels collecting dust in my closet!!”

Several years ago, when my weight was edging near 200 pounds and my self-esteem was at an all time low, I was stuck in a rut of dressing to match how I felt about myself.  I felt frumpy, sloppy, ugly, and wanted to hide from the world.  So I dressed myself in boring, uninteresting, and quite frankly ugly attire.  Jeans, t-shirts, sweat pants or pajamas were the daily uniform at home.  Dark colors, nothing that drew attention were the preference.  Not only were these outfits “comfortable”, but they were the only items that I owned that “fit” my body. I felt less self-conscience dressed like this.  No, not really. I felt like I just blended into the background dressed like this, invisible, so no one would see me as I saw myself: Fat and Frumpy.

“Dressing up” was sometimes required of me (to please others).  Dressing up consisted of wearing items that didn’t quite fit me right or didn’t feel good. This made my very uncomfortable in my own skin and very aware of how large I was. I would fidget, fuss, and tug at my clothing throughout whatever event I was attending.  I couldn’t wait to get home and get out of a pair of ill-fitting slacks, a skirt that  rode up and didn’t stay in place, or a blouse that I had to safety-pin to hold to keep from having a costume faux pas.

The thing is, I really wanted to dress nicely, fashionably. I wanted to feel good in beautiful clothing. I wanted to feel beautiful. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t do that until I lost “the weight”.  “The weight” that I wanted to lose back then was a big number and seemed so far away.  My wardrobe consisted of clothes that were either too tight and painfully uncomfortable…and clothes that were way too baggy and unflattering.  Neither helped me embrace ME…my body, myself, who I was inside.

One day, I decided that I deserved to feel better about myself and how I felt when I went out in public. I started to purge my closet of anything that was too big or too small, that didn’t fit right, or that I just didn’t like. I took the time to learn to find clothing that fit. I stopped worrying about the size, the number. I started looking for things that not only were comfortable and fit RIGHT, but were PRETTY and made me smile.  I told myself, “So what if this top is from the plus-size section?” It fit well and looked very nice on me. So what if the jeans I picked out were a size 18 with wide legs? They were much more flattering than the old, stretched out size 14 pants that I kept squeezing myself into. I chose COLOR and looked for shapes that worked with my body.

You see, I had been waiting for my body to change before I learned to appreciate myself.  That was backwards thinking, and it was hindering my ability to reach my goals. When I learned to accept the good things about my body and stop fighting against myself, my attitude changed. Having a positive attitude changed my outlook when it came to eating better and exercising. And wouldn’t you know it? The weight started coming off a little more, and my body changed in good ways. I rewarded myself with continuing to dress myself a little better.

And with shoes. 🙂  What do I love about shoes?  They are more forgiving in size than clothing.  And they come in so many fun colors & styles.

Like Beca, I have some heels, and some outfits, that lurk in my closet, waiting for me to reach my goals. I can’t wear the 4 and 5 inch heels often. The excess weight (and where it is) affects my balance and my posture as well, making wearing heels difficult. But I do pull them out every once in a while and remind myself that I will wear them again.  But instead of putting those back in the closet and forgetting about them, I pull out the things that I can wear now that make me feel good. Feeling good helps me focus on my goals, not my shortcomings.

Yes, I still have a couple of  “frumpy” outfits lurking in the closet, for those bad days.  The pretty outfits far out number those now.  And of course, there is always the shoes.

{June 15, 2012}   The ugly truth…the numbers

This is not the before photo I intended to put up, but this is me.  I am still working on my “good-bye” photos to give better views of the “shape” that I’m in, so that I can see the progress when I take new photographs in a couple of months.

Some may say, “You don’t look so bad. You don’t need to lose weight. What are you talking about?”   The package can be deceiving. Fashion can help us hide our flaws. It’s what lies underneath that holds the real story.

This is a photo taken very recently by my daughter.  What you may or may not see is my bulging belly, my oversized hips, flabby arms. And you certainly do not the see the size of my a…, ahem, behind.  You won’t see the high blood pressure or other health issues. You probably don’t see the unhappiness deep down inside, because I am so disappointed in myself for not taking better care of myself. You don’t see the frustration when I glance in a mirror or the private humiliation while trying on jeans in the dressing room.  Perhaps you can relate?

At the time of this photograph, my weight was somewhere around 168 pounds.  This would not be a bad weight if I were closer to say 5 foot 9 inches.  I am not anywhere near 5 foot 9 inches. I am actually a petite 5 foot 2 inches, who earlier in her life had a slender frame.  Carrying this excess weight (about 4o pounds excess) is not comfortable nor healthy.  My BMI is over 30, which falls into the “obese” category. How humiliating is that?

My measurements are as follows:

  • Bust  39 inches
  • Chest 33 inches
  • Waist 37 inches
  • Hips 45 inches
  • Thighs 23 1/2 inches
  • Upper Arms 13 inches

Our bodies are not perfectly symmetrical. My right leg and arm measure slightly larger than my left, so I averaged those numbers for simplicity.  I still fall into the “pear shape” category, but I do have quite the belly these days. I didn’t have a “belly” until recent years, and this concerns me.  It’s the shape of my body and amount of fat that I carry that I want to change.

This is my starting point.

et cetera